Monday, 26 November 2012

Uncanny X-Men #199: The Writing on the Wall

Mystique can see the writing on the wall: it reads "MUTIES". She's gone to Val Cooper and given herself and her Brotherhood up. See, I'd read a summary of Uncanny X-Men #199, but summaries are only good at saying what happened. They're no good at pointing out what doesn't happen.

In this issue, what doesn't happen is that Mystique blows her cover identity - Raven Darkholme, assisant to Val Cooper. The incident is therefore much easier to read as Mystique being typically tricksy, and much less a shocking moment for her character than I had thought it would be. Having said that, the idea of Mystique-as-betrayer doesn't really exist yet, does it? She's just a perfectly ordinary evil shapeshifter, not a perfidious one.

Val Cooper agrees for an amnesty for Mystique's team - to be renamed "Freedom Force" - if they are able to bring in the Mutant Enemy No. 1: Joss Whedon. Er, no, I mean, Magneto.

Magneto, Lee Forrester and Kitty Pryde are at a holocaust event in New York. Kitty's great-aunt died in it, and Magneto himself, as we've discussed, is a survivor. Kitty wonders aloud about her great-aunt, and it just so happens that another set of Holocaust survivors attending had heard of her. Someone also recognises Magneto, and therefore presumably know his real name, or at least the one he was using in the 1940s, but at no point refer to him by it. Coincidence is just how superhero comics work, but I think it's worth a special mention here: this is woeful plotting for something which is trying to make a point out of how large in scale the Holocaust was.

So, while they're there, who should arrive on the scene but Freedom Force! Or rather, Lee Forrester reveals herself to be Mystique really. It's not entirely obvious when the switch was made: but it seems likely Mystique has been delaying the confrontation specifically to do it in the Holocaust museum, so that she can score some extra points.

There's a little bit of fighting (during which Pyro calls someone "cobber" - so he's Australian now, or possibly just Claremont doesn't clearly distinguish different types of Commonwealth slang), and ultimately Magneto realises he can't win and more to the point, shouldn't. He gracefully gives himself up for trial.

While this is all happening, Rachel Summers is visiting the Greys in Annandale-on-Hudson (well, creepily trespassing in their house, anyway). She finds the memory crystal thing that had been left there in #136, and laments the fact that she'll never exist in this universe. Scott is about to has a child, certainly, but with Madelyne Pryor, and not her mother.

Oh, and she declares herself to be Phoenix, and makes herself a new costume. This will be awkward to explain to Scott, who still isn't aware of her connection with the Greys, and with him. There's something about Scott Summers and people not wanting to admit to his face about being his relative.

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