Saturday, 13 October 2012

Uncanny X-Man #161: Waiting for Gabrielle

This breaking news just in. Professor Charles Xavier is still in a coma. I'm a bit unfair, as Uncanny X-Men #161 actually advances this plot. We are told that "an alien consciousness has become part of him", and he's getting worse.

Moira says they've used another telepath to try and reach him - but he tried to use her as a means of suicide, which we've missed. Cyclops and Corsair are back from their visit to Havok and Polaris in New Mexico. Cyclops points at the complete botch that Storm made of the mission to infiltrate the Pentagon in #158, and suggests maybe he ought to be back in charge. Which seems reasonable enough, but he then backs down, ascribing it to the distress of Xavier being ill.

Xavier is remembering his visit to Haifa, in Israel, 20 years ago (so, 1962 at the time). He'd been there after his trip to Cairo (where he encountered his first evil mutant, we will remember, and a young Storm too). He's gone to meet his friend Daniel Sharon, who is working at a hospital with survivors of the holocaust. He meets a chap called Magnus there, who he can't mindread, and a young woman named Gabrielle Heller, who was at Dachau, who is not in a good way. He's able to telepathically deal with her block and get her conscious again. Soon enough she's doing all the tourist stuff with Magnus and Charles, and starting a thoroughly problematic relationship with Charles. Charles and Magnus start having hypothetical debates about mutants and what humanity's reaction to them would be. They do not, sadly, have comedy routines about keeping trousers up, even though Xavier should probably have kept his on.

Suddenly wild NazisHydra attack, and events force Magnus to reveal that he the power of manipulation of metallic objects and magnetic forces! Yes, he's Magneto! This all means that Xavier secretly knew Magneto before Uncanny X-Men #1! They rescue Gaby, who is being held in Kenya by Baron Strucker, and Magneto decides to "liberate" their stock of gold, proclaiming that mutants will fight for survival.

This will be our first major problem with the sliding timeline. You can fix Magneto's age a bit by the fact that he's been de-aged and re-aged, and Xavier gets a new body soon enough - so they can be biologically any age you please - but Xavier and Magneto meet as more-or-less contemporaries in a period where Holocaust survivors can be young women. And we can't age Heller too much, 'cos Xavier has a kid by her. Not that we know that yet, of course.

With that flashback out of the way, Xavier wakes up, and everyone is relieved. Lilandra, who has been sticking around, makes ready to leave, and invites them to space for a space banquet - Moira and Charles stay on the surface, as does Illyana. But then drama! Deathbird appears and assassinates Lilandra, and notes that the X-Men will be hosts for the brood-spawn!

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