Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Confronting The Factor - Part 3 (Issue #39)

Not really a true three-parter, since the last issue was cut short for a dulls-vill "origins" story and, I assume, so will this issue be, too. So, more like a 2.5-parter? I will not go count pages and compare against an average page-length (minus ads) of previous issues, despite how badly I want to do that.

The cover promises new costumes, so you know I'm way more excited about that than about "the fateful finale" battle.

One other thing I'd like to point out, before we get started: I really love that tiny picture-within-a-picture on the cover. (Is there a name for this? There must be. You can't have hundreds of thousands of Marvel employees saying, "You know, that tiny picture-within-a-picture on the cover?" all day every day. It's a waste of everyone's time. And the first thing an efficiency expert would do would be to give it a name. I am not so full of hubris that I would in any way deem myself worthy to name it, so I will continue to use the long form of "tiny picture-within-a-picture on the cover" until told the correct term for it.) I love how it looks like Cyclops and Marvel Girl are peeking around the corner and mugging for the camera, as if to say, "What's happening, here?" Maybe their look is a plea to us, the audience, to explain what Iceman and Beast are getting up to?

Here we are. Watching Cyclops and Iceman break into the missile silo to destroying the air filtration system because Factor Three said they would be dumping knock out gas into it so that they could launch the missiles and start WWIII. Cyke and Ice'm give no thought to how the men in the silo will breathe without fresh air being pumped to them through said air filtration system, but one crisis at a time, ok?! Wait in line, asphyxiation! Knock Out Gas was here first! And, look, you didn't even take a number! Now the next crisis is going to show up and get in line ahead of you. It's not our fault that the number tickets were not immediately noticeable upon your entry into this deli, nor that you just want to purchase some dried Pappardelle and now the guy who came in after you has your ticket and is buying, what seems like, a half pound of every meat and cheese they offer! Caputo's.

Then this happens:

Uh. It's not just me, right? That's messed up, right?

But its only an illusion created by the sick mind of the Mastermind. So now our two heroes have him and Unus, the untouchable to deal with ... but NOT phallic machine parts. Trade up? Things get too intense, so Cyclops melts some ice with his eyes, causing an all-concealing mist / steam that our "heroes" can escape under cover of.

Meanwhile, in the USSR, the other X-Men fight the Blob over a suitcase bomb. What a country! In Russia, the men X you! The Blob is all like, "This bomb I'm holding is going to blow up everyone but me, because I'm fat." And Marvel Girl is like, "Uh. No. You'll die, too. Also: You're fat." And The Blob is all "Woop woop woop woop! [Curley running away sounds]" And by default, the X-Men win the day. Oh, and they throw the bomb into the air, where it explodes, they care not where.

Ah, back in the day when comic-reading nerds were expected to
know sports references! Times have changed!
[Also: Pretty sure Juan Marichal (a baseball sport pitcher)
never pitched straight at the sky.]

With both parts of Factor Three's "Start WWIII With Two Bombs" plan thwarted, the X-Men converge on the Mutant Master's base only to be re-confronted by The Blob, Unus, the Vanisher, and Mastermind. It promises to be THE knock-down drag-out to knock-down all drag-outs. (If you think beating up on second-string evil mutants is something to be proud of.) But then Professor X appears and says something like, "Wait up, yo! Mutant Master is playin' ALL y'all! Kill THAT dude!" Something like that. I paraphrase. Also, it's pretty apparent to everyone present that the Mutant Master is hiding something. Plus, since tensions in the MM camp have been mounting, Prof X's indictment was nothing less than a repeat of the death of Archduke Ferdinand - except on a mutant scale and with less bombs and more finger-pointing and less WWI results. Or something. I paraphrase.

So everyone joins forces and attacks the MM. Banshee finally wakes up and uses his banshee-ness (banshositude?) to create a frequency that destroys all of the MM's robot henchmen without hurting the mutants. He can also remove stains without fading your fabric. Also: The MM breaks apart revealing that underneath his human facade he is... a giant green alien... from the Sirius star (an XM company). And if there is one thing that unites all mutants, it is their hatred of aliens, especially when they try to muscle in on Earth.

The fight isn't going well for the MM, so, instead of being humiliated by defeat at the hands of mere earthlings, he takes his own life (all Sirius-ians come with a self-destruct button, it's true!)

Looks like something that would birth from a pod found in RJ's vegetable box.
This is an inside joke that maybe ONE person is laughing about, right now.

But what about all the deadly, dangerous super-evil super villains? They're let go, of course! Xavier gives some lip-service to "now that we've fought side-by-side, we have to let them go" and not ONE of the X-Men is like, "Screw THAT - ZAP!" saving them all from future tussles with these fellows. One too many cheeks have been turned.

Back at the mansion, Jean gets girl-excited. FOR CLOTHES!

"Thanks, douche, for ragging on my last attempt at making costumes for you. A little gratitude?" --Certainly not Jean, or any other woman, in this comic book!

Now each costume is a primary color. Mainly because Jean is a huge fan of that Primary Colors movie. Not the book, so much ... she just really likes Mike Nichols films.

Then, as a "BONUS", we get more Cyclops origin story! This time, we learn that Scott is an orphan (awwwww) and Xavier is working with the FBI (boooo!) to track down known mutants (yay!!!). Scott gets chased around by some bigots (booo!) and hops a train (choochoooo!) where he's attacked by hobos. Then he enters a shack where he runs into the first evil mutant ever. Who is it?! We will find out in the next ish, natch. CLIFFHUNG!

Wanna read the source materials? Have fun with THAT! They're in here:
Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men - Volume 4