Friday, April 20, 2012

Perfect The Stranger (Issue #11)

I could not get past the cover of this one without having to stop and blog because I noticed this:

A stranger is just someone you haven't met yet ... so....

Also: How well do we really know anyone? Aren't we all just strangers, even to ourselves? Perfect Strangers? Don't be ridiculous. Bibby babka. Help me...

SUMMARY!
Cyberno ... I mean Cerebro picks up the scent of a super being so powerful that it breaks the projected image. Yes. It BREAKS the projected image! (Not the projector ... the image!) Think about that! A being so powerful it cannot be contained by projected light particles! Why ... it almost defies sense! And physics, too! But I guess if we've already bought in to eye-beams and icemen, I think it's safe to say that physics and sense have left the building in a blaze of tangible light and unicorns.

MORE shocking, however, is the fact that Iceman is back in his booties! NOOO! (Why does this bother me SO MUCH?! Does he wear them because his feet get cold?! Are they special boots?! We are given no clues and it's slowly destroying my brain.)

Anyway!

Since this The Stranger fellow might be the most powerful yadda yadda we've heard it all before, naturally, both the X-Fellows and Magneto are looking to recruit him.

Magneto and the Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants find him first by cleverly waiting on the other side of a wall that he feels compelled to walk through. (Apparently, Magneto picked up "Stranger Scent" at Bass Pro Shops to lure him in there. What? It's as good as the no-explanation they give in the comic!)

But wait, turns out, getting a mutant to join your band of evil isn't as easy as finding him first and saying, "Ah-HA!" because The Stranger isn't so keen on being strong-armed into joining the BOEM. As one will, he expresses his displeasure by turning Mastermind into stone and cocooning Magneto and Toad. (And I don't mean "making old people randy and talk in ways that make younger viewers embarrassed to be watching it with their parents and grandparents, because the parents heard it was 'funny'" type of cocooning, either.)

Seeing this, The Scarlet Witch and her way-to-close-to-be-comfortably-siblings brother, Quicksilver take this as their cue to high-tail it back to their home in "central Europe".

Back to Vaguelvania (or possibly Genericstan) for us!

To nobody's surprise, The Stranger turns out to be an alien who is - to everyone's surprise - on a specimen-gathering mission, but not the sexy / gross kind (I'll leave whatever that means up to your imaginations). Nope, he's tasked with collecting mutants from around the universe to bring back to his planet for study. He has chosen Magneto and Toad, so it's no wonder the rest of the galaxy hates us, if those two are our good-will ambassadors to the stars. The Stranger, with captive mutants in tow, rockets off to the stars, never to return.

Which is weird, because I'm pretty sure I remember Magneto being in at least some of the comics I read in the 90s ... guess I was mistaken! ? Maybe it was Magnooto I'm remembering? [Five points to the reader who sends in concept art for Magnooto!]

With The Stranger gone (we barely got to know him!) and Magneto and the BOEM disbanded / abducted / stoned, the X-Men can return home to their safe-haven, Xavier's mansion ... which they have to check top-to-bottom for bugs!

How do they expect to keep others safe?

This is a way better method than simply, oh, I dunno ... BUILDING A FENCE?! You're telling me, X-Men, that EVERY time you return home you FREAK OUT about the possibility that you've been infiltrated and bugged? I used to feel that way, too, then I remembered my front door locks. Maybe you should look into that? Though, the fact that they have NO at-home security makes that scene from issue #3, in which a GIRAFFE was able to sneak up to the mansion's window and surprise Iceman, seem a bit more plausible!

Side note, now that I think about it, the giraffe was the carny folks' first salvo of attack in that scenario? Interesting choice! "Maybe they'll be so freaked out by this evolutionary wonder that they will be stunned into giving up!"

Also: BUILD A GOD DAMN FENCE!

The results of their search turn up nothing, but then Cyberno, dammit, CEREBRO starts beeping.... Something BIG is coming! Wait for it... WAIT FOR IT...

CONCLUSIONS!
Pretty (seemingly) final ending for some of these characters, huh? I'm guessing that in 1965 "turned to stone" and "sent into space" was the closest the writers were allowed to get to "died horribly"? Though you can just bet that I am drooling at the prospect of seeing the first important character die in these books! (Heck, seeing a minor character die would be something.) YES, It's ghoulish and grim, but, to me, it's like watching your child grow up. It'll be a rite of passage for these books. I'll take video of it and post it to Facebook. I'd be a great parent.



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Want to read along? This story is covered in X-Men Volume 2 (Marvel Masterworks)