Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Uncanny X-Men #164-#166: Breaking Brood

Uncanny X-Men #164 adds another to our little cover gallery of women exhibiting primal forces surrounded by worried onlookers. This time, it's Carol Danvers, formerly known as Ms. Marvel (until Rogue stole her powers in Avengers Annual #10), who is accompanying the X-Men on their random space excursion.

They've escaped from the Brood's ship, onto the Empress Lilandra's yacht, but Hunt-Master T'Crilee͞'s fighter is ordered to disable and capture them. (wow, I never thought I'd get to legitimately use that Unicode character - COMBINING DOUBLE MACRON ABOVE, in case you're wondering, which you probably aren't).

This does not work out so well for the Brood. They'd been experimenting on Carol in #163, and they triggered something within her. She becomes Binary! An enormous power, fiery and bright, taking the shape of a bird, which would seem to be such a brazen Phoenix knockoff that I'd call it plagiarism if it weren't for the fact that the name "Claremont" is on these pages and the ones 40 issues ago.

It also doesn't work out very well for Storm, as she accidentally breaks her vow never to take a life. She only meant to use her space lightning powers to stun them, see. And then she senses a life developing within her. At which point Wolverine comes clean about the eggs.

Our X-Men are left in a desperate situation with a bunch of character-defining stresses. Storm doesn't want to take any life, even parasitical life developing within her (the word "embryo" is used repeatedly, as if to nail the point home). Cyclops is prepared to put aside his "don't kill" policy at the great danger. Nightcrawler prays, and Wolverine is a materialist. As Cyclops gets ragier fighting (due to the development of the Brood), he swaps roles with Wolverine, an irony which is pointed out by Logan and foreshadows their eventual reversal thirty years hence.

Warbird and the Acanti fix everything. We are left with a dangling point: one egg is left, which must be Xavier. Oh dear.

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