Monday, 17 December 2012

X-Factor #8-#9/Uncanny X-Men #210: Prelude to a Massacre

X-Factor #8-#9 and Uncanny X-Men #210 cover basically the same timespan and share moments, so they're here, together in the same post. Also, the next post (well, not the next post actually, I've got a run of New Mutants, I want to sort out first) is going to be even more of a nightmare. So consider this an experiment.

X-Factor #8 starts with Scott and Jean mopping up after the recent attack by Glow Worm and The Bulk. Jean berates Scott for leaving his wife and child and not telling anyone or allowing anyone to tell her.

Upstairs, Hank, Warren, Bobby, Vera, Artie and Rusty are watching the tellybox: Vera was being interviewed by Trish Tilbit, and there is news footage of the five X-Factor members (really Rusty, Vera, Hodge, Jean and Warren) fighting with the X-Terminators. Rusty worries he might be recognised from the news footage, but Bobby and Warren reassure him that that's impossible.

In the Pentagon, Mystique is briefing the team on their new target: Rusty Collins, who is wanted still following the events of X-Factor #1. Destiny has detected he is somehow entwined with X-Factor, and examining the news footage provides a match.

"Later that night", X-Factor are called by the Mayor's office about the battle between the X-Men, Hellfire Club, and Nimrod in Uncanny #207-#209, and decide to go as X-Factor. Rusty wants to come but is told no.

After X-Factor leave, Artie gets a vision, of Freedom Force's helicopter, and him and Rusty try to alert Hodge to it, but he is rude and dismissive. Rusty decides to go warn X-Factor himself.

Just as X-Factor arrive at Central Park - at the Sheep Meadow, they are apprehended by Freedom Force, who accuse them of harbouring Rusty, "a known mutant and a criminal". Unfortunately, this Rusty has just caught up to them. Before the general fight starts, Spiral vanishes (she's off to tempt Rachel with the Body Shoppe at the end of #209).

See "Party in the Park".

Another young mutant who is passing, named Skids, rescues Rusty from Freedom Force, and they run away, before they are identified by a passing mob. X-Factor are left behind having been attacked by Avalanche.

X-Factor #9 starts with Freedom Force having caught up to Rusty and Skids. X-Factor are in hot pursuit (it is now "this morning", I'm not sure how that happened).

"Party in the Park" concludes. Rachel is sent to Mojoverse.

In Uncanny X-Men #210, it's the morning rush hour. Rogue can't find Rachel. She does a random construction rescue, and then goes for a makeover at Bloomingdales. Leaving, she spots an advert for X-Factor, which is news to her, and figures that's why there's been so much anti-mutant nonsense going around lately.

At the mansion, Colossus has changed into his only good uniform: his old-style one.

Kitty is fixing up Cerebro so that non-telapaths can use it.

Magneto approaches the Hellfire Club, after a battle that was "hours ago".

X-Factor are thanked for turning up at the Central Park battle, but point out they really should have called the Avengers.

X-Factor and Magneto spot each other in the street, as Magneto is entering the Hellfire Club.

Rusty and Skids are cornered by Freedom Force, but the local mob interpret this as some mutants attacking a couple of humans. The mob stones Freedom Force, and X-Factor are forced to protect them.

Rusty and Skids slip away, and head into the sewers.

Artie sees something terrible is going to happen to Rusty, and after another dismissive response from Collins, goes after him, leaving a message which X-Factor find. He's gone to the Morlocks' tunnels.

X-Factor change into their X-Terminators outfits and go underground.

In the tunnels, Artie finds Leech and Caliban.

Elsewhere in the tunnels, Rusty and Skids find a dead body, but are soon found by Freedom Force. The X-Terminators arrive - and are recognised by Blob as the original X-Men - and there is a proper battle. Freedom Force withdraw.

The X-Terminators split up. Warren and Jean are sent with Rusty and Skids back to HQ, while

The Mutant Massacre begins.

Back at the Pentagon, Mystique realises that Warren is out as a mutant, and decides to see what dirt she can get, to give to Trish Tilbit.

Magneto is invited to be White King by Sebastian Shaw (the Black King). He promises to consider it.

A mob chases Nightcrawler. Kitty (along with Illyana and Piotr) are able to talk it down.

Logan, with Ororo, tracks Rachel's last position to the Delacorte Theatre (which is in Central Park at 79th, well north of the Sheep Meadow at ~68th).

Tommy, a mutant who had fled from the west coast on trains, is arriving into Grand Central station, as she is killed by a group identifying themselves as "Marauders".

First thing I notice laying it all like that is that the timing is impossible. X-Factor get called to the Battle of Sheep Meadow at night, encounter Freedom Force and there's no obvious break before they bump into Magneto. But for Magneto it's clearly been hours since the battle was over. Another little oddity is the dialogue in the shared scene. It's not exactly the same. Today, it would be. And the content is a little odd: they're being thanked for having turned up to the Sheep Meadow battle. Which they hadn't. Still, it's a pretty impressive first effort at a crossover between the titles. And it gets bonus points for maintaining comprehensibility even when read individually.

Over in X-Factor we have some fun role-reversal between the G-Men of Freedom Force and the evil mutants the X-Terminators (the bits where Mystique has to tell Blob to stay in line as he's a federal agent now are hilarious. and she transforms herself into Uncle Sam to make the arrest! worth the price of admission alone).

Uncanny is rather more of a mish-mash of random things, but generally setting the mood for the events which are about to come. The significant step it makes is deigning to acknowledge that X-Factor is happening, even if it is a horrible mistake.


  1. I think the format for the shared/parallel storylines works well. It's easy to see when events are running alongside each other and when they lineup across the title. Nicely done.

    Another little oddity is the dialogue in the shared scene. It's not exactly the same.

    Yeah. I've always loved these issues for their build up to the Mutant Massacre, and the general sense of impending dread they instill (and for at least doing a partial crossover between the books), but the little details that don't quite line up have also always bugged me.

    1. In the end the crossovers during the Massacre were slight enough that I'm not repeating this format for the Mutant Massacre, or Fall of the Mutants. What I'm doing you'll have to wait to Monday to find out. :-)

    2. Yeah, Fall of the Mutants is barely a crossover. These issues leading up to Mutant Massacre cross over more than anything in that storyline does. And by Inferno, things seem to settle in to a pretty standard "this issue, then that issue" progression (a few odd New Mutants issues that run in the background of other issues aside).