Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mastaar Blastaar (Issue #53)

Hard to believe that in 1969, after 53 issues and 6 years, the cover price was still 12 cents. A far cry from the $3.99 / $4.99 we see on today's issues. "But what about inflation?", I ask on your behalf, because you just couldn't be bothered. "Surely 12 cents in 1969 money is enough to buy a CAR these days, so it's no savings!", you ask again, in my mind. Nope! In today's money, it's only about 75 cents. Think about THAT the next time you walk into your comic book shop! 60s kids were asked to spend about 75 cents - today's kids are asked to spend around $4. Further, back then, there was only ONE X-title, today, there are (at last count) four million. It's sure harder to be a kid, these days. What I'm saying is: Kids, when your folks tell you how easy you got it, tell 'em to stuff it and throw some MATH in their faces.

The above paragraph highlights how, sometimes, there's just not much I'm going to have to say about the cover, if I'm to be expected to do so for each issue.

While messing around with one of dead ol' Professor X's various mind-machines ("He won't mind me playing with his stuff - he's DEAD!" [famous last words - and famous FIRST words, when you're writing a comic book story!]), Jean grey overloads the widget and causes a rift into the negative zone - or is that "The Negative Zone" (mit kapitals?) - to appear.

Girl Martyr Month is August, silly! Remember? You forgot to get me a card... again?!

Blastaar, a hairy prisoner of this space-outside-of-space is all to eager to take advantage of Jean's inter-dimensional cock-up and is like, "Don't mind if I DO!" and does the Blastaar 2-Step through the hole and into our hearts.

This is how we say hello in The Negative Zone!
(AND goodbye!)
And here you were, thinking he got the name Blastaar by being a blast at parties! Perhaps you thought it was a birth name. Nope! It's cuz he likes to BLAST, as he is all too eager to demonstrate to the X-Men. A Deadly Demonstration. [OOOH! That'd make a good title for Dr. Who Episode from ... 1969, I guess?]

So, as Blastaar begins to tear apart the X-Men, I realize we're back to that old X-Men pattern of "lose/run away/win" that I THOUGHT we'd outgrown, after that wonderful 4-parter that we just all went through.

To add insult to injury, Cyclops then uses his eye beams as some kind of rocket propulsion to make himself fly.

Well I be done seen 'bout everything,
when I see a Cyclops flyyyyyYYYYYY!

Who approved this?! I know that it's weird to nitpick something like a flying Cyclops when I'm willing to swallow a man who can grip walls simply because he has huge feet, but this just strikes a false note. It's a decision that seems outside of the world they've been building. It's like they've broken some contract with their audience. Can I sue?

The only assumption I can make as to why this issue is so terrible is that this story was written years earlier, then sat in a drawer, unused. One day, Stan Lee, reaching for his bottle of whiskey - or his gun (Kirby was coming nosing around again, asking for money) - when he happened upon it and was like, "Hey! True Believers! Take a month off, I've found this old script!"

And then THIS happens:

"Also, why haven't you had any babies, yet?!"

Everything is easily wrapped up when Iceman creates a snowman made of ice ["Why didn't you just say "iceman", then?!" Because, know-it-all, I wrote it that way, first, and it sounded confusing, so I changed it. I can't win with you, can I?!] Marvel Girl then uses her brain-powers to animate it, so it looks like a living snowman made of ice [this time I did it just to annoy you]. The ice golem body-slams Blastaar back through the energy portal he arrived from. The end.

So, it was a monster of the week issue. That shouldn't be that bad. After all, not every issue can be part of a gigantic, earth-shattering epic story line, but this one was handled so inexpertly. It sticks out like a sore thumb. A sore thumb that the X-Men are slowly pushing into your eye sockets.

I didn't read it. Is that me breaking my contract with the audience?! OH! TERRIBLE IRONY!
Sue me.

Follow along by picking up X-Men - Volume 2 Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus)!