Tuesday, 4 September 2012

X-Men #101: Phoenix Rising

X-Men #101 is split into two halves. Firstly, it follows up the cliffhanger from #100. The shuttle crashes, but the X-Men (well, apart from Jean) are safe. Just as they are wondering where Jean is, a figure arises from the water, proclaiming herself to be no longer Marvel Girl, but the Phoenix 1. She then immediately passes out, and has to be sent to the hospital.

We get here our first big hint that Wolverine is into her, but in a way that indicates Wolverine has never had a romantic interest before. Mind, his memory is probably a bit swiss-cheesed at this point.

Professor X can't be having with them crowding her bedside all the time, so sends them all (apart from himself, Moira, and Scott) on holiday. Fortunately, Banshee has just the right destination.

Now, we've seen already how X-Men is not great at non-U.S. cultures. Our new lineup from Giant-Size #1 were basically just stock characters, that Claremont has started to flesh out a little. We take a bit of a step backwards here. Banshee has inherited his ancestral home in County Mayo, on the Atlantic Coast (er, okay), which is great big castle built over a thousand years ago by Liam Cassidy to keep out Viking raiders. That dates it to Ireland's Second Viking Age, which works, just about. The keep is stone, which in itself dates it to the 12th century, but the panel admits it has been rebuilt over the years, so let's assume it's been upgraded.

The real problem is that Claremont here does not appear to realise that Ireland isn't just a version of England with different accents. We got a crown on the Irish Post Office logo in #99 (really Dave Cockrum's fault), and now we find Banshee has not just inherited the castle, but also the title of Lord Cassidy. The what now? This is Mayo in the Republic of Ireland. We can't very well read Banshee as part of the Anglo-Irish nobility who had themselves given titles in the "Peerage of Ireland". So that makes him part of the Gaelic nobility? The ones who were deprived of their lands and territories by the English and only got semi-recognised later on? Despite my surname (and lots of other Irish surnames in my family tree), I'm a 4th generation immigrant to England, so I am not entirely certain of my ground here, but it seems utterly ridiculous.

So, they spend a week in Dublin and go to Banshee's castle that he just inherited. Unfortunately, his cousin, Black Tom Cassidy is hiding there already, waiting for them, with the Juggernaut, and has set a trapdoor for them...

1. A decade later we'll find out that she wasn't kidding when she said she wasn't the woman they knew. But enough of that silliness when we get to it. Jean is Jean.

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