Monday, November 21, 2005

Better Forgotten Moments in Comics History: Uncanny X-Men #139

I kid you not. This scene and this scene alone from Uncanny X-Men #139 almost made me quit buying the book way back when.

And this was during Claremont and Byrne's awsome initial run on the title. Even for an obsessed and unabashed Chris/John/Austin X-Fan like myself it was just so darn painful to read, so awkward I was embarrassed for Claremont, Byrne, every reader and Marvel as a whole. Xavier and the gang going along with Kitty's lame joke like it was a clever pun made the entire scene even worse. Then to top off this uncomfortable scene also had Storm putting the initial moves on her 'Kitten', a theme that would appear with regularity under Claremont's pen, and was pretty distasteful.

Two issues later the great Days of Future Past storyline began, and that did a lot to make up for the awfulness of these panels from #139.

As sharp-eyed blogist Bully observes in comment:

On the other hand, these panels also feature one of the greatest throwaway lines in the history of the X-Men. "Why the new costume?" "Why not?"

No secret origin of the startling new costume. No dramatic crossover story behind the new duds. No moonlight vow that this uniform would be the way he would present himself to the world from that moment on.

Just: New costume? Why not?

So, within a fistful of panels, you have one of the most painful examples of Claremont overcharacterization and one of the most subtle, quick exchanges that goes against everything we've come to expect from Marvel Comics. It's a wonder that, like matter and anti-matter, X-Men #139 didn't self-implode.
I confess I missed that this go around. That's a great observation about the trend of that time being that conflict and costume change equals characterization ie, Secret Wars (as was spoofed with deadly aim in Cerebus by Dave Sim).

2 comments:

  1. All absolutely true. Cring-worthy!

    On the other hand, these panels also feature one of the greatest throwaway lines in the history of the X-Men. "Why the new costume?" "Why not?"

    No secret origin of the startling new costume. No dramatic crossover story behind the new duds. No moonlight vow that this uniform would be the way he would present himself to the world from that moment on.

    Just: New costume? Why not?

    So, within a fistful of panels, you have one of the most painful examples of Claremont overcharacterization and one of the most subtle, quick exchanges that goes against everything we've come to expect from Marvel Comics. It's a wonder that, like matter and anti-matter, X-Men #139 didn't self-implode.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Hassles". Fans should have realized then that Wolfie is way, WAY older than he looks.

    ReplyDelete

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