7:08PM: Uncanny X-Men # 122: Cry For The Children! The heroin issue, where Storm goes wandering around Harlem and walks into a nice multicultural shooting gallery, where a bunch of junkies are hanging out, and where John Byrne doesn't give a fuck and draws one of the sad little criminals in a "Sharks" jacket, letting us know that, for Byrne, West Side Story & a bunch of pathetic drug addicts walk hand in hand down a street paved with broken dreams and clear glass vials. Then Arcade shows up, looking like a combination between a clown and Col. Sanders, and he likes to spin his hat while he talks. So far, I can appreciate that sort of behavior.
I know it wasn't these guys fault, but whoever came up with Luke Cage's old outfit should be run over by a train.
7:02PM: Geez, Wolverine, what are those? Virginia Slims? What a lame looking cigarette.
6:55PM: Uncanny X-Men # 121: Shoot-Out At The Stampede! That's got to be the worst title yet. Stampede At The Shoot-Out would be preferable. Aw, well, that's titles for you. Anyway, this will live in my memory as the Giant Arctic Owl issue. Other stuff happens, but the ending is so awful--they just run away from the Canadians again, not resolving this whole Wolverine-is-bought-and-paid-for by the Canadian government. I suppose there's potential for it to be a somewhat emotional story about indentured servitude, but knowing Claremont and Byrne (from what I've seen so far) it was just be a ham-handed story where the word "slave" got used in a really obnoxious fashion. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm looking forward to the next issue--they're going to get home, finally, yes? They're going to see all their belongings packed up and cry next to their headstones? Cyclops and Jean Grey are going to have an uncomfortable reunion? Banshee will officially be fired?
6:53PM: Maybe this is just shitty drawing, but the owl keeps changing size from panel to panel.
6:49PM: "You may be a match for my human form, woman. But can even you stand against...A Giant Arctic Owl!"
Well, I think Storm should be able to take an owl no problem. She is a goddamn super-hero, right? And if you're going to shape-change into a "giant" owl, it should be bigger than Storms head. That just looks like a regular sized owl.
6:41PM: Uncanny X-Men # 120 Wanted: Wolverine! Dead Or Alive! That's the first double usage of punctuation for a title. Once again, I'm more curious about the mechanics of story here then the story--did Claremont invent this Alpha Flight team? And how long was it before they had their own series? Here, they just come across as a group of incompetents, especially when one of them takes a plane (with civilian pilots on board) and throws it into a building. I've seen Die Hard 2, and I know that planes can blow up really easy. Otherwise, it's another adventure that relies on Cyclops having a lousy plan, which he of course provides, and once again the team is hampered in it's attempts to get home.
The Homer thing is becoming somewhat apt--while I doubt if there are that many references to the Odyssey to be found here, they do have a lot of people assuming they are dead, and they're just trying to make it home before some occasional sex destroys committed relationships. Also, Cyclops.
6:40PM: I guess this is back when Alpha Flight wasn't considered a shitty joke of a team.
6:34PM: Well, if i'm going to nitpick complain about the treatment of women, I should acknowledge that both the pilots on this airplane are women, and they are being treated as capable, non-crazy individuals. Still, that "just a girl" thing leaves a bit of a bad taste.
6:30PM Wolverine said his name was Logan. Is that a first? Also, I should acknowledge that the boat owner from way back did get reimbursed for his boat, but he's still a mutant hating prick. I don't care to change my thoughts due to this disclosure of information. But yes, he got reimbursed for his hovercraft.
Also, i'm not catching the malefic lines yet--maybe I'm missing them? Or is that because Phoenix has been shuttled to the background?
Sharif--excellent point about Lilandra. That whole relationship is too ridiculous to enjoy. And yes, "I'm only a girl" was Mariko.
6:23PM Uncanny X-Men # 119 Twas The Night Before Christmas... I guess I'm just used to the tendency at DC to do these really obnoxious Christmas stories where Superman gives a kid a train and Red Arrow punches homeless people, because i'm once again surprised that an X-Men X-Mas is mostly another fight comic. Things simmer down after the easy defeat of Moses the Mastermind Of Magnums And Merlin of M-Words--thankfully, Banshee is there to show off his "sonic" powers, which, while based in sound don't seem to affect anyone but the person he focuses on. Whatever, there's no science here.
God, it's really stuffy in this room. I've got the window on, but i bet it smells like a fucking dorm room. Just all dude rank. Dude rank and X-Men, welcome to Saturday at my place.
Anyway, I guess I'll be reading about Colossus and his family soon, as his "i miss little papa and tiny mama and wee wee sister in motherland" complaints are coming every other page now.
6:16PM: I'm going a little slow, as bowl of food has been brought to me. I realize it's somewhat pathetic to be eating a bowl of food, but I don't what to break my concentration, and I'll have plenty of time to eat off plates at a proper table tomorrow. So for now, I eat my lovely home-cooked meal out of a bowl, like some kind of sad, pathetic little man with no hopes or dreams beyond making it through another three hundred pages of comic books.
6:08PM: Uncanny X-Men # 118 The Submergence Of Japan Well, it's all kind of going alright, I guess. There's something totally absurd about whatever is going on with Professor X, and it's breathtaking how long they're keeping this whole "everybody thinks everybody else is dead" story. Also, I'm never going to get over how often they show other super-heroes saying, that they're "too busy" to come help out with the entire "Huge crisis" thing. They don't even say "oh, you can handle it." This woman, who must be Iron Fist's girlfriend gives him a call and the guy is just all "naw, i'm gonna stay here. Talk to you later bye."
But then you get to the end, after the weird sexist thing with the Japanese woman, and it turns out that the bad guy is some black guy with a severly receding hairline who introduces himself by saying "I am Moses Magnum, master of the magnum force!"
And then I kind of understand why Iron Fist and Luke Cage won't get on a plane.
6:06PM: "The fault is mine...I am only a girl." The fuck?
6:04PM: Oh, and Sunfire is still totally an asshole.
5:58PM: Cyclops, to Wolverine: "You read Japanese?" "Yup." "I...didn't know." Yeah, well, that's why you're kind of a half-ass leader that no one on the team respects except for Colossus, and that seems to be mostly because he's got the mind of a 12 year old. I can't believe I'm disliking Cyclops this much, but he's a real fucking tool.
5:47PM: Uncanny X-Men # 117 Psi War! The whole issue is an Aesop's Fable told by Professor X, about how he went to a third world country and killed some fat guy in a mind-war, and it reminded him that he should start his own private army to kill all mutants who's politics he disagreed with. I am totally taking that out of context.
Still, this is kind of something I'd been waiting for: after all the issues I've read, this is the first time Professor X has explained his actual motives behind having a team of X-Men in the first place--because there are evil mutants, and good mutants should stop them. Up until then, every single issue has related to problems coming TO the characters. This is the closest they've gotten to having a purpose--oddly, it's after they've all seemingly died that Professor X points out that he had one. (Maybe you should have shared it with them? Eh?) Artwise, Byrne continues to do great faces and classic super-hero bodies, while letting the backgrounds play out however he wants too. Why does the airport go from white and yellow to blue, to black with concentric circles in orange? Well, why not?
Oh, and music wise, it's been this Skyphone album--it's more of a squeeky Brian Eno type sound, with long ass tracks, so it hasn't made much of an impact. That's good. To be honest, it was hard to pay attention to the comic when I was listening to Santagold, as that music is pretty interesting--good or bad, it was interesting.
I'm kind of amazed that some of you guys are reading along. That's pretty spectacular.
5:42PM: I'm disgusted by the fact that when telepaths do battle in the astral plane, they do so nude, but with their groins missing--it's just an invisible coating of skin where their junk should be. Show me the junk. If i've got to wade through love letters to Phoenix and Storm the Goddess of Ripped Fabric, then I want to see some cock and balls. That's only fair.
5:40PM: My wife is cooking spaghetti from scratch! How lovely. Oh, and don't worry about me Sharif. I drink coffee like this when I'm trying to go to sleep, it's actually not that out of the ordinary. On another note, the Arabian Shriner version of the Kingpin has showed up.
5:35PM: Oh, bananas! Lilandra is trying to make coffee, that oh so lovely thing that is so lovely i never want to do this again ever, and last night i picked up Bottomless Belly Button and oh god I'd rather be reading that right. Keep trucking. Wolverine called Colossus "Bub." So now we just need an old fashioned "Best I am at what I do, and what I do is repeat the same cliched catchphrases."
5:27PM: Uncanny X-Men # 116: To Save The Savage Land! I didn't notice exactly when it changed, but these aren't very long anymore. Some are only 20 pages, and one of those is usually a big title sequence. The shorter it's gotten, the more things are getting compacted--the background art is a lot more basic--mostly just color fields, sometimes they match the areas they're in (a yellow room makes for a yellow colored background) and other times they just change on what must be a whim. (Light blue would make sense for the outdoor stuff, but it came up a few times here for interiors, clashing with what the rooms had been in the first place.)
Violence wise, things are getting more similar to what I know of the X-Men--everybody but Wolverine tries really hard to save the bad guy when something happens, and turns a blind (but grossed-out) eye to whatever Wolverine does with his claws. In one part, he sticks his fist in a gigantic dinosaurs mouth and pulls the trigger. Biologically, that means the claws should have popped through its head, underneath its brain, meaning it wouldn't have died immediately, but I guess he could have turned his fist inside its mouth. Well, that's disgusting.
The ending is straight out of Homer--a storm takes the X-Men away...forever?
5:26PM: And now Wolverine has off-handedly mentioned his healing factor, so I guess that's coming into play.
5:22PM: I don't know what Wolverine did, exactly, to make Nightcrawler and Storm get so grossed out--obviously it involved one claw pop and death, so I can imagine. And what I imagine is a pretty good indication that maybe this Wolverine is going to start to behave the way Wolverine does now. I wonder if this book will include the first use of the term "Bub."
5:13PM: Uncanny X-Men # 115: Visions Of Death! Good god, that's a lot of talking. Page after page after page of Ka-Zar and this Lykos guy talking about some guy called the Petrified Man, or the Sun-God, and an alien race of vampires, and exploding golden cities, then Ka-Zar talks about how he was flying around in an alien war on top of a flying shark and the shark has a belt on it, but then the shark disappeared and he fell down and hit his head, and Lykos "nursed" him back to health.
Then at the end of all this goofy ass shit, the X-Men, who all had ripped up their costumes and gone native for a week of sun & sexiness, they put their costumes back together (and i'm sure this relates to the "unstable molecules" they made them out of, and go "Hey, that's screwed up but fuck you, we're rolling out. Just remembered that shit was pretty bananas when we showed up here in the first place, also I should probably tell my girlfriends parents that she's dead." (Jean Grey, who isn't, but they don't know that.)
Awesomely enough, after all the explanation, Tarzan, I mean Ka-Zar, says "Oh really? Don't care about the God problem? That's cool, actually, I was just describing it because I wanted to let you know what's up 'round here, but have a great time going home and thanks so much for having unprotected sex with the women of the village, I'm sure it was great. Peace out motherfucker!"
4:55PM: Uncanny X-Men # 114: Desolation So, for all the reliability of Cerebro, it apparently doesn't work when the team is out in the Savage Land, where, within a week, all of them have stripped off their shirts and Colossus has decided to have a menages a trois with a couple of women who look like every perverts fantasy of deserted island. So they go from the team that will stop at nothing to yell at each other and save the world in half-ass fashion to the Blue Lagoon in about, oh, say 20 seconds. Meanwhile, Jean Grey and Professor X are off crying it up at the Cry Cry Baby Mansion in Babyville, New York.
I think it was Bill Hicks who once wondered when we tv commercials were just going to turn into full on pornographic short films, where a woman would just spread her legs, completely naked, and start masturbating while the announcer said "Go buy a Cadillac." That's sort of how it feels to read a comic from almost 30 years ago where Storm is drawn in such a fashion that says, hey, 13 year olds, if you wrap your fist around your junk, you'll find a magic place inside your mind where God lives and he will bake you fresh bread. Make sure you lock your bedroom door! Let's be clear: i'm not offended. I'm not saying 13 year old shouldn't masturbate. Hell, all those school shooters and 14 year old mommies and daddies should've masturbated a lot more. I'm not saying this shit isn't sort of sexy in a "well, it's a cartoon" kind of way. But it just does nothing for me. I don't get why it's there. It's not like comics are like a television show, or a movie, where sexy people sell it to an audience. All the little sales reports they do say that the audience for barely dressed chick heroes is pretty meager--otherwise that Witchblade and Lady Death shit would outsell Spider-Man and all the other big boys. But it doesn't, because there just aren't that many people who want some mildly titillating imagery. As it is, it's not offensive because it's sexist, or any of that. Shit is just boring and irritating. And let's not fuck around: if I don't get why it's there, and it doesn't make the story better, I'd just as soon not deal with it. Some people are just like, aw, take the bad, leave the rest. Fuck that. I ain't running a democracy in my brain, and i'm not going to play support group on my taste.
4:52PM: I don't know about the rest of the world, but I could do with a little less of guys looking at Storm and screaming about how beautiful she is while she behaves like a coquettish nymph and says things like "I was given these robes. Do you like them?" Sister, that shit ain't a robe. You've torn some rags up and tied them around your groin and your nipples. It's just a lot more than I feel like reading about.
4:47PM: Why does Cyclops keep getting mad at Wolverine when he puts himself in situations where he might get himself hurt? Wolverine has that healing factor thing. Doesn't Cyclops know that? How has that not come up in all those danger room sequences they keep mentioning? I think the best song on the new Santagold album is "Starstruck," fully acknowledging that it's the silliest song on the planet.
4:41PM Uncanny X-Men # 113 Showdown! Well, it's an apt enough title, although this issue doesn't totally make a huge amount of sense. All that shit with Storm (who is only claustrophobic when it helps the story, just as Jean Grey is only a goddess when it's necessary) ended with her failing to get out the X-Men out of a jam, but then there's no indication at all what happens next. They just get out of it. So go figure. It's still not that bad of a fight scene, what with the whole group finally, after around twenty issues, fighting as a team. Cyclops still isn't much of a general, more of a shepherd with anger management problems.
4:35PM So the whole reason that they're going to escape is because the robot Nanny leaves the room for three to four hours at a time? Where does she go? To clean other areas of the empty facility? Yes, it's nitpicky, I know, but seriously, it's a goddamn robot nanny and that doesn't deserve even the slightest "benefit of the doubt." Maybe I'm just upset that the X-Men are going to escape before Cyclops gets his "bath and massage" from the robot nanny. And you know what else? The story doesn't say it, but clearly these motherfuckers are wearing diapers. Diapers.
These chairs look exactly like the ones in the latest Angry Youth Comix.
4:25PM Uncanny X-Men # 112 Magneto Triumphant! Well, never mind. I guess he doesn't have his purpose yet, because Magneto's entire, nefarious plan, the one that he's set up a secret base underground inside an ice floe with the only entrance through a live volcano (yeah, just ignore the lava/ice thing), that whole plan is just to imprison the X-Men with a robot nanny. A robot that he calls "Nanny." And that he bought a french maid costume for.
He bought, or made (which i find the prospect of to be even more hilarious and probably more accurate) a French Maid outfit for a robot, and he gave her fake hair, and, AND, he gave her lipstick. And then he called her "Nanny."
I'm not intimidated. I don't care what else the story says, about how this is payback for Magneto getting turned into a baby, about how Chris Claremont's idea that "If there is a hell, it cannot be more terrible than" to be treated as a six-month old child.
Fuck, I'd even been warned about this. I knew that this robot Nanny was coming. I'm still just---I don't know. Blown away?
4:18PM: I actually have read some of the Ultimate X-Men series-the early Millar stuff, and I thought it was alright. I liked the way Magneto was presented there--less as a lunatic villain, and more as a lunatic villain with a purpose. As awful as he was in the stories I read--totally genocidal and the rest, it came from a clear, defined purpose and motive. He made for a good villain. So far, from what i've seen here (which is very little) he seems like a run-of-the-mill bad guy who's yet to reveal any hard core motive to raise mutants above humans in a worldwide fashion. I'm writing this early in the issue here, so it may change. Probably.