Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Uncanny X-Men #264: Alphabet Hunt

Uncanny X-Men #264 starts with a couple of New York cops witnessing a Genoshan state kidnap squad attacking Forge.  The elder partner is killed, natch, leaving the more junior partner, Officer Jones, alive.  Jones had previously appeared in X-Factor #51, not that I picked up on her importance then.  The Genoshan magistrates are there to abduct Jenny Ransome and Phil Moreau, our escapees, who are staying with X-Factor. (Jean, by the way, is now aware of the Muir Island X-Men, Excalibur, the New Mutants, and is feeling very interlinked, but still no mention of phone calls.)  The Genoshans are roundly defeated by a teamup and handed over to the authorities, who then in turn send them back to Genosha with some harsh words.

This apparent willingness to tolerate continued existence of paramilitary death squads on US soil is fairly out of character for the US government, but can be read as something like extraordinary rendition.  There must have been  high-level contacts between the US and Genosha about this sort of thing, even if nothing is written down.  How high, though.  To Cooper and Gyrich, sure, but this must be going to the the President, surely?  I wouldn't want to be a mutant in America in 1990.

Oppressed people form communities in enclaves, safety in numbers.  Back in the 1960s we saw the X-Men find a kind of sanctuary in Greenwich Village, associated with the counterculture.  In this issue we see the start of another: Forge is found in New York's "Alphabet City", which consists of Manhattan east of 1st and north of Houston.  This is the same place that will later become known as "District X"/"Mutant Town" in Morrison's New X-Men and Peter David's X-Factor.  But here Claremont has this already, as a place mutants hide.  From my sofa 3,500 miles and 23 years away, it appears that Alphabet City is exactly the right sort of place to have set a mutant enclave in 1990.  It's gentrified now, of course, but where isn't?

I wonder where the mutants live in London.  There's lots of them working in Camden Market, of course - there are any number of stalls selling mutant-made wares (or at least, so they say, although who can tell if that pot was really glazed with mutant fire or just gas power...?), and lots of the more visually distinctive mutants like hanging out in an environment where they don't stand out too much.  But apart from the ones who got in early and bought, it's got too expensive to live round there, so they've had to retreat towards the Holloway Road, if not beyond.  Finsbury Park is pretty good for flying practice and other training, I've heard.  The sapiens-passing ones with more economically-useful powers are scattered throughout, of course, and not necessarily always in contact with the greater mutant community.  Quite a lot in Highgate for some reason.  Mutants never really did discover Shoreditch and East London, I mean, why bother, when they had Camden?