Monday, 17 September 2012

X-Men #119: Christmas in Japan

After being effectively taken prisoner by a Japanese ship, X-Men #119 starts with them arriving in Honshu after a six-week voyage. Yes, that's right, they didn't try and bail out. In fairness, it's nothing but Pacific Ocean between the two places, but still - six weeks incommunicado, on top of the week or more they spent in the Savage Land. Instead, they've made friends with the crew.

Agarashima (another made-up Marvel place, in case you are keeping track) is ablaze. Storm uses her powers to summon wind to hold it back (? - why not a storm)?

They decide to make for Sunfire's house, hoping he'll help them. The city has been evacuated at least, as Wolverine discovers from reading a newspaper. Yes, Wolverine can read Japanese. We've got used to this now, but it would have been a very big deal in 1979. Nowadays every Western otaku is learning Japanese. In 1979, not so much.

They quickly arrive at Sunfire's manor (I don't even know how they find it - maybe they look him up in a directory), which is happily within walking distance of the port they happened to land at. Sunfire is unimpressed and orders them arrested, only to be contradicted by Misty Knight! Scott phones home to find the mansion's phone lines disconnected. Apparently he doesn't think to call Moira in Scotland, or even the Avengers Mansion, who'll surely be worried about Beast. Misty carefully avoids telling Scott "oh, hey, yeah, I saw Jean at the airport, she didn't mention you were gonna be here", and similarly Scott avoids telling Misty, "I'm sorry, I have some bad news. Jean didn't make it out", as otherwise Scott would cease to assume that Jean and Hank were dead. Why even have bothered having Jean and Misty see each other so recently if you're not going to do anything with it? Wolverine meets Sunfire's cousin, Mariko, chats to her in Japanese, and almost introduces himself to her as Logan (the first time he's done that! We only know it at this point because the leprechauns in Cassidy Keep somehow abstracted it from his brain.)

But anyway, there's a madman threatening Japan with earthquakes, Moses Magnum. He's already demonstrated he can cause them whenever he likes, and is now threatening to sink Japan entirely. His demand is to be made dictator. Colleen and Misty at least have found out where he is based (the Kuril Islands, which do exist, but were under the control of the Soviet Union), although how a couple of NYC-based detectives with no superpowers were the best people to figure it out it unclear. Oh, except Colleen's grand-uncle, Mr. Osama, is in charge, so maybe it is actual bona fide nepotism.

They get their planning on and assault the base. It works out quite well, despite unexpected mandroids, resulting only in the sinking of the entire Kuril island group. The X-Men celebrate Christmas in Japan, and realise that although they started as loners, they've bonded and become a family. Oddly, Colossus particularly misses his real family at Christmas, which is strange because (a) Christmas is not going to be celebrated so much in the collective farm and (b) even if it were, Russian Christmas is 6th January anyway.

Cut to: Edinburgh [Waverley] station, where the "legendary Flying Scot [sic]" has arrived from London. The appear to have got some decent photo reference of this at least, as it looks plausibly like a Class 43, and bears the excellent British Rail double-arrowhead logo. It's carrying Jean Grey (who had spent six weeks in the Greek isles), and is met by Alex, Moira Lorna and Jamie, who've made the trip down. They're gonna hang out in Edinburgh for a while before heading back to Muir Isle. Which we get a location for - it's not a fictional Hebridean island, as I'd imagined, but north of Cape Wrath, a place there aren't really any islands at all...

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