Sunday, 26 August 2012

X-Men #94-#95: Four of these X-Men Will DIE!!!1

X-Men #94 (August 1975) is the first issue to be written by Chris Claremont. We'll be covering Claremont's work for a while, and we'll have plenty of time to discuss his stuff. Here though, he's been handed a new set-up of X-Men by Wein and Cockrum, and has to make it work.

First thing he does is write out Sunfire, who had the least reason to be there. Sunfire, in this and in the previous issue, was treated with considerably less depth than in #65, and is quickly disposed of. Then go the old X-Men (apart from Cyclops). This is done fairly casually, without the introspection we often get in Claremont's copious narrative panels (something that Giant-Size X-Men #1 was using extensively, too). The self-examination here is largely reserved for Scott, who is unsure in his role as leader of this team of new X-Men. It seems that Jean, Warren, Bobby, Alex, and Lorna had all conferred about their decision to leave before meeting Xavier, but didn't share their conversation with Scott, who's left surprised. That's got to be hurting him - his good friends, including his girlfriend and his brother - walking out just like that.

Our plot is Count Nefaria (we met him in X-Men #22-#23) attacking NORAD. The Avengers are away doing something. (The Marvel Chronology project places Beast's appearance between next summer's Avengers #146-#150). I wonder why didn't Xavier contact Beast when he was putting the Krakoa rescue team together? If Beast feels able to call on the X-Men's help, surely Xavier could have asked him. If I were him, I might feel a bit aggrieved to be left out.

Proudstar came into conflict with Cyclops in a Danger Room sequence in #94, where he demonstrated a wilfulness that endangered himself. That's his come-uppance in #95. Determined to stop Nefaria getting away, he destroys the escape plane, causing it to explode, taking himself out with it. He's killed by his own pride. Ouch. That's two of the three non-white characters introduced in Giant-Size written out, already... And so it's gone straight from having a very WASPish cast, to a Star Trek-like diverse international cast which is nevertheless still largely white, and anyone with darker skin must be foreign.

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