Wednesday, 21 March 2012

X-Men #31: "You dare compare that villain to me... To the Cobalt Man?"

X-Men #31 returns normal service, with the Warren/Jean/Scott triangle coming in back into swing. Helpful Xavier makes his first appearance, poking Scott into taking up Warren's offer of a lift, to drop some books off with Jean at Metro College. There they meet Jean's new friend Ted Roberts, and has brother Ralph Roberts, who has worked for Tony Stark and is interested in cobalt. Hmm, I wonder where that's going. Meanwhile, Warren bumps in to old friend Candy Sothern [sic], and Hank and Bobby go on a date to Coffee-a-Go-Go. OK, so, ostensibly a double date. Although they will rush off together to be alone during the middle of it and end up taking their clothes off.

Turns out that Ralph Roberts has built some powered armour just like Iron Man, only of cobalt, called, um, Cobalt Man! He plans to sell it to the government, but it turns out to have two drawbacks. Firstly, there is a two-hour time-limit before enough Cobalt 60 builds up and he becomes a walking bomb. Secondly, it makes him mad. (Well, his story is he had concussion, and he's sticking to it). The X-Men abandon their dates, team up and defeat him.

In theory this story shares the same weakness I've been finding a lot lately, in that it is an Iron Man story that the X-Men happen to wander in to. Iron Man's absence is explained by the fact that he's on a date (but so were Bobby & Hank, and Warren and Candy and Jean and Scott were about to have moments!) How, then, is it more successful? Because it has the character moments that were missing completely from #30.

There turn out to be disappointingly few characters named "[Element] Man". If you're a comics creator reading this, why not invent some? Actually, no, invent some "[Element] Woman" characters instead. There are hardly any of those.

6 (S)The Doves song
22 (Ti)Iron Man villain
24 (Cr)Triumphant Comics character
26 (Fe)Black Sabbath song, Ted Hughes novel
27 (Co)Iron Man villain
50 (Sn)looking for a heart
80 (Hg)Charlton hero
94 (Pu)DC robot villain

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