Thursday, 6 September 2012

X-Men #104: Magneto vs the New X-Men

X-Men #104 follows on from #103, with our Away Team still in Europe. They've gone to Scotland, to what will later be called Muir Island, which is where their housekeeper keeps her secret mutant genetic research facility.

Claremont seems determined not to have his characters be normal people troubled by mutant concerns. Banshee has his massive baronial castle. Storm is now actual royalty. Colossus is brother of one of earliest Russian astronauts. And now Moira MacTaggert is not only a professor at the University of Edinburgh (presumably actually U.S. professor = lecturer, but who knows). I suppose at least, there was something strange going on with Moira from day one, but I'm left wondering if there's anyone in these Isles who doesn't own a castle or something? Still, at least there doesn't seem to be anything special about that Canadian dude, beyond his mutant powers, whatever on Earth those are. And that lad with the eye beams, he seems to be a perfectly normal orphan.

As we saw last issue, Magneto is plotting something, and he duly lays an ambush for the X-Men (of which they are warned by young James Madrox). We haven't seen Magneto in these pages since before the hiatus, and the last book I covered with him was Avengers #110-#111. I'd have been perfectly happy for his reappearance to be unexplained. But that wouldn't work: the last time he'd popped up was Defenders #15-#16, which left him regressed to a baby. (?) So, he gets better.

The fight is quite well thought out, as Magneto takes down the new X-Men in turn, before being bested by Banshee, whose "sonic screams" (who thought that up, eh? what other type of scream is there?) disable him. Eventually they realise it is just a trap - Erik the Red has been behind all this, and he's after Xavier, not them, Magneto is just to distract them. So, in an uncharacteristic display of good sense, they just skip out, getting back to New York to meet a recovered Jean Grey, her parents, and her roommate Misty Knight (who happens to be a superhero, but it's not quite clear whether she and Jean have swapped notes yet).

Magneto flies here. I don't remember him doing that before, though I could be wrong. He has long dialogue about how, so I'm assuming he hadn't. My theory was always that he uses the helmet to fly, by basically just dangling from it. His neck must be quite sore, and it's an embarrassing answer to give, which is why we get all this mumbo jumbo about force fields instead.

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