[WIR] X-Men: The Strangest Super-Heroes of All!

WistfulD

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Yes, according to Claremont (mild spoilers for future issues/events):

Spoiler: Show
Asked about his intended plans for Madelyne's character, Claremont said:

The original Madelyne storyline was that, at its simplest level, she was that one in a million shot that just happened to look like Jean Grey [a.k.a. the first Phoenix]! And the relationship was summed up by the moment when Scott says: "Are you Jean?" And she punches him! That was in Uncanny X-Men #174. Because her whole desire was to be deeply loved for herself not to be loved as the evocation of her boyfriend's dead romantic lover and sweetheart.​

I mean, it's a classical theme. You can go back to a whole host of 1930s films, 1940s, Hitchcock films—but it all got invalidated by the resurrection of Jean Grey in X-Factor #1. The original plotline was that Scott marries Madelyne, they have their child, they go off to Alaska, he goes to work for his grandparents, he retires from the X-Men. He's a reserve member. He's available for emergencies. He comes back on special occasions, for special fights, but he has a life. He has grown up. He has grown out of the monastery; he is in the real world now. He has a child. He has maybe more than one child. It's a metaphor for us all. We all grow up. We all move on.​
Scott was going to move on. Jean was dead get on with your life. And it was close to a happy ending. They lived happily ever after, and it was to create the impression that maybe if you came back in ten years, other X-Men would have grown up and out, too. Would Kitty stay with the team forever? Would Nightcrawler? Would any of them? Because that way we could evolve them into new directions, we could bring in new characters. There would be an ongoing sense of renewal, and growth and change in a positive sense.​

Then, unfortunately, Jean was resurrected, Scott dumps his wife and kid and goes back to the old girlfriend. So it not only destroys Scott's character as a hero and as a decent human being it creates an untenable structural situation: what do we do with Madelyne and the kid? ... So ultimately the resolution was: turn her into the Goblin Queen and kill her off.​

Good god, I did not realize how, well, decent the intended storyline was going to be. Previous to this thread starting, I was of the opinion that 'Scott wasn't a jerk, the writers just kept making him be one' -- which of course is pretty silly, since the writers get to make the character-- however, it felt like the writers kept making tonally nonsensical decisions with Scott for the sake of drama. Well, we've read this thread and I came to realize that, no, Scott was never really written as all that good, and was taking jerkish actions from the beginning. Now I at least remember why I thought it was the writers -- you give a character this kind of story and then choose not to do it? Yeah, writer's fault. :cry:
 

Zenio

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Good god, I did not realize how, well, decent the intended storyline was going to be. Previous to this thread starting, I was of the opinion that 'Scott wasn't a jerk, the writers just kept making him be one' -- which of course is pretty silly, since the writers get to make the character-- however, it felt like the writers kept making tonally nonsensical decisions with Scott for the sake of drama. Well, we've read this thread and I came to realize that, no, Scott was never really written as all that good, and was taking jerkish actions from the beginning. Now I at least remember why I thought it was the writers -- you give a character this kind of story and then choose not to do it? Yeah, writer's fault. :cry:
The thing is that isn't Claremont's fault entirely. It was the writers of other books (Kurt Busiek of Astro City fame in fact was the one who came up with the retcon that it was never real Jean that became Dark Phoenix in the first place.) that brought Jean back and the Editorial (i.e. Jim Shooter) that came up with X-Factor as idea. So it's a case of too many cooks working at cross purposes which does tend to happen in a shared universe.
 

WistfulD

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The thing is that isn't Claremont's fault entirely. It was the writers of other books (Kurt Busiek of Astro City fame in fact was the one who came up with the retcon that it was never real Jean that became Dark Phoenix in the first place.) that brought Jean back and the Editorial (i.e. Jim Shooter) that came up with X-Factor as idea. So it's a case of too many cooks working at cross purposes which does tend to happen in a shared universe.
Yeah, sorry, I was not clear enough. I'm not looking for a specific individual to blame. More a realization that yes, I was right originally -- Even if Scott kind of was thoughtless and clueless from the get-go, he should have gotten a better (and more positively-light-casting) narrative than the slowly-making-worse-and-worse-decisions that we've had with him off an on for the past 30 or so years.
 

JJ Hall

Last Red Hot Swami
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March 22, 1983

At the movies:


On the radio:


New Mutants 5

Charles tries walking again, but collapses after only a single step. He vents his frustration at the inability of the great telepath to control his own mind and his concern that the stress is keeping him from mentally supervising the New Mutants. Lilandra reassures him they don't need him to be on call all day every day, which of course means something nasty is about to happen.

The kids are enjoying themselves at the fair -- Ferris wheel, cotton candy, even a plane ride:



A group of Evel Knievel-style stunt motorcyclists called Team America are there to perform, and Roberto's thrilled. He saw them once in Rio, and rattles off their names and specialties and notes it's weird to see them here, as they split up a while ago. He's obviously a big fan, but claims the autographs he asks for are for his sister, because it's not cool to show enthusiasm for what you love. Only three of the team are together for this show, as a one-time thing to help one of them get a school off the ground. The absence of the others is noted with disappointment by a shadowy figure with binoculars, but she gives orders to her subordinate to go ahead with the plan anyway. The villains wait until the climax of the show, then send in a wave of armed men to capture Team America. They knock the riders off their bikes and send the crowd stampeding in all directions, then advance on the dazed stuntmen. Charles isn't answering their "mindcall," so Sam makes the case that they can't just stand aside:



Does Xi'an think wearing a costume, any costume, makes you unidentifiable? Not that I want them to start wearing the hoods, of course!

The other kids follow Sam's lead, and once they've had a moment to recover Team America get back on their bikes and join the fight as well. The goons are no match for the hero teams working together, so the boss sends her top man in to get things back on track:



Harada, AKA the Silver Samurai, smacks the heroes around for a bit, which finally prompts his quarry to show:



The Rider manages some impressive moves, including continuing to ride after Harada chops off the front wheel of the bike, but the villain wins their fight and unmasks the black-clad hero:



Rahne and Roberto try to help, but Harada's able to teleport away with Dani before they get to him.

She wakes up in an unfamiliar facility and goes looking around, but quickly finds herself in a deathtrap. She has to use the motorcycle provided to escape, but can't even get it to start before giant spiked wheels crush it. She's nearly crushed herself, but her captor shows her mercy and has Harada bring her up to meet her -- Ophelia Sarkissian, AKA Viper:



Dani accidentally conjures images of Sarkissian's past, angering the villain. She promises Dan will pay for that insult "with your life!"

At the mansion Charles, Lilandra, and the New Mutants confer with Michael Rossi, who briefs them on the people tey saw earlier:



None of that explains why Dani was dressed up as the Dark Rider, but Charles has a theory about that. He uses Cerebro, which for the first time is lowered over his head like a helmet, to test it. In the meantime Sarkissian breaks into the home of Team America's former leader to bully him into agreeing to get something for her, lest something terrible happen to a young fan of theirs. He agrees, and later the entire six-person team meet to discuss it. Charles and the New Mutants drop in as well:



He informs Team America that he'll help them control their powers, confusing the kids, who think rescuing Dani should be the priority. He tries to explain his thinking, but Roberto's not satisfied with it:



While Xi'an disapproves of Roberto's aggressive posturing, she agrees that they should try to find Dani "with or without Professor Xavier's aid." Charles is aware of their rescue plan and respectful of their courage, hoping that if anyone needs to die, it will be him.

Script: Chris Claremont
Pencils: Sal Buscema
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Next Time:

 

Spatula

More Ideas Than Time
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The crossover with the motocross heroes, especially so early in the run, struck me as a very weird choice.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
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So, Team America. They had their own licensed comics series, based off some toy line. As much as I can discern, it had just gotten cancelled after 12 issues, with the abrupt reveal of the Dark Rider/Marauder (a series-long mystery) while they were fighting HYDRA. (The last few issues smack a bit of desperation, guest-starring the likes of Iron Man and Ghost Rider.) The cover to the last issue includes a "Because YOU demanded it... the End of Team America !" blurb, which kinda tells you everything. While the first issue was written by Jim Shooter (who also came back to co-write a few more), most of the series was written by Bill Mantlo, of ROM/Micronauts fame.

Thus, their guest-starring in a couple of early issues of New Mutants feels all the more incomprehensible. I guess it's an alright excuse to get the kids to fight actual supervillains such as Viper and Silver Samurai (since HYDRA had just been tied to Team America's origins), but it doesn't speak well for the book having any kind of long-term direction or consistent tone.

(From what I can discern, the missing two members of Team America are the ones who suddenly got married in the last issue of their title - very much a deck-cleaning exercise - which is as good a reason to write them off as any.)
 
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