Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Uncanny X-Men #215-#216: Aftermath

Annuals are strange beasts. They do not form part of the regular publication pattern of a comic, instead being off to one side. Which is fitting, as their stories often do not form part of the continuous narrative, either.

Look at X-Men Annual #10, for example. The Chronology Project puts it between Uncanny #210 and #211, despite there being no actual gap for it to fit into, merely because it is the least worst position. There is no true ordering of events, because this is fiction: #215 is a sequel to both the Massacre and this Annual, without caring that they are contradictory. Also, it has Mojo in it, and I've not really been covering the annuals unless they are absolutely essential to the plot or thematically interesting. So, let's skip that, simply noting that Longshot is a regular in Uncanny now, and he along with Rogue, Dazzler and Psylocke are sent to Muir Island with the wounded. We'll pick up their story later.

While Scott is dealing with the disappearance and apparent death of his wife Madelyne Pryor over in X-Factor, those of us who have been reading Uncanny X-Men have known since #206 that she's actually alive, if not well, in San Francisco.

What we still don't know is how we came to be there. Back in #206 itself it looked like an attack on idea of X-Factor. Now, with the Simonsons taking over that series, it can be dealt with collaboratively. Pryor wakes, identifies herself to the hospital staff, and we get enough flashbacks that I think we're supposed to believe she's nothing more complicated the first victim of the Marauders.

#215 picks up another plot thread introduced by X-Factor: the attack on Sara Grey's home (also Maurauders? They presumably also did Karma). Storm and Wolverine visit the place, after Sara doesn't answer any calls. You might think that the firebombing of a mutant rights activist might end up on the tellybox and they'd know already, but it's apparent that the X-Men don't watch any New York market television (otherwise X-Factor wouldn't have been such a surprise to them).

They're not the first mutants to have visited the place, of course: Wolverine can smell Scott and... Jean. Jean?

With our subplots dealt with, we get to the villains of the arc: Storm is captured by a trio of powered people: Super Sabre, Crimson Commando, and Stonewall (all appearing here for the first time). Stonewall is a funny name to give this one, I note. They have a career structures that could have come straight out of Watchmen, and a litany of complaints about modern America's supposed moral decay 1 that closely mirrors Rorschach's. They don't even know about her mutant history: they found her at an arson site, and that's good enough for them to go all Running Man on her. Some fighting later, and unlike Rorschach or the Punisher, they are persuaded of their own hypocrisy: if what's illegal is wrong, and taking the law into your own hands is illegal, what they are doing is wrong. Well, I say persuaded. There's some level of threat involved, it must be admitted.

1. i.e. it starting to live up to the high standards that the framers accidentally expressed in the document they wrote.

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