Thursday, August 29, 2013

Eric & Havok & Lorna & ? (Issue #97)

February 1976
JUDGE THE COVER!

In case you can't read it, Storm is shouting:

"Stay back, my fellow X-Men! This is one battle that CYCLOPS must fight ALONE!"
To which Scott says, "Wait WHAT?! No, it's cool. I don't have that much pride! I'd really rather live with your help than die without it!"

So, I guess this issue is like the Civil War of X-Men. Like, you know, as in "brother v. brother" not like THE Civil War Marvel storyline from a few years back. Look, I probably just shouldn't have said anything....

Doesn't Brother V. Brother sound like a good assassin name?


SUMMARY!
Xavier is having space nightmares.

Comfort Sleep Shirts by Xavier - Won't wrinkle, even in the buggiest of nightmares.
(Available wherever fine X-Manswear is sold.)
In these dreams he sees giant fleets of giant alien spaceships fighting in giant alien space. A shift takes place, now he's inside one of the ships and a bug-eyed alien is reaching for him. Also: It's the first day of school, it's the day of the big test, he's not wearing pants, his teeth are falling out, he's covered in spiders, his teacher is a clown, and he's falling off a cliff. Naturally, he wakes, screaming.

Elsewhere, Lorna "no superhero name" Dane is falling in love with Alex "Havok" Summers. Then she gets zapped in the tummy by a bad guy:

"Ow, my abdominals!"
Who is this mysterious bad guy?! Someone she recognizes! Possibly from the line, the other day at the post office. Or maybe he just looks like someone she knew at school and she only thinks she recognizes him! Speculate on THAT!

Ok ... THEN, in the notes that I took while originally reading this issue, almost a year ago, I had written:
Note to Future Self: Please spend a few moments talking about the ad on page 10.
OK, Past Self, here we go:



BOY! Am I glad I left myself that note, because I surely would have skimmed right by that when reviewing the issue for to get my screen-grabs. Wow! Let's all just take a moment to soak in the fact that P.A.C.K. stands for "Professional Agents / Crime Killers"! CRIME. KILLERS. Nothing about politely stopping crime, here. No, they KILL IT.

But who ARE these Crime Killers?!

WARPATH: He sends coded messages! Does he give them the way to decode it? No! Why is he the only one sending coded messages? Shouldn't they all be doing this? Why is no one else concerned about message security?! I'll bet it frustrates Warpath to NO END when they send him un-coded birthday greetings!

DR. STEEL: Doctorate in kicking ass. Also: Botany. Exactly how does his steel hand "...make sure the last thing they see is my dragon tattoo!"? Because he uses that hand to press bad guys' faces into his chest, where they smother to a sweaty death.

THE WHIP: Part of me thinks that a "weapons specialist" would choose things other than a bullwhip, bolos, and multiple boomerangs. Maybe, dunno ... a gun?

BIG JIM: His catch phrase of "I can't promise anyone will come out of this mission alive!" was quite a downer, really. I wonder how many kids felt obligated to ensure at least one of the P.A.C.K. dudes died during the mission, based on that suggestion. So much blood is on your hands, Big Jim! (And it won't wash off as easily as it will off of Dr. Steel's steel hand. Though, there is no mention of it being stainless steel, so it could rust...? GOD, there is so much to wonder about about these guys, guys!)

A quick Googling turned up this page that has more real images of the dolls ... I mean, ACTION dolls, if you're interested. Man, I almost don't want to go back to the X-Men after this.... Sigh.

Anyway!

Havok hears a scream and comes running, but whatever zapped her in the stomach also scrambled her mind (are the X-Men's brains in their stomachs?), because Lorna, in turns, zaps Havok in his tummy. Zot!

Polaris?! Ok, it's nice that she finally chose a mutant name, but does
she realize that that is a star? Was she going for "polar", as in magnetism?

Meanwhile, all the NON-zapped-in-tummy X-Men are at the airport to see off Professor X, who is going on some trip or something. Shortly after the be-wheelchaired baldie boards the aircraft, Polaris and Havok are like, "HI! We're here, too! ZAP ZAP ZAP! Let's fight!"

Fight fight fight.

In the process they destroy an entire plane (don't worry, Xavier wasn't on that one! Fwew! Oh, who was? Who cares?! NO CONSEQUENCES!) Then, the mysterious, tummy-shooting villain makes his appearance. It's ...

He's BIG BIG BIG and he's RED RED RED!
Eric The Red?! Well that's just stupid and weird, because Cyclops masqueraded as Eric The Red to get close to Magneto, but there is no real villain called Erik The Red. Well, I guess there is NOW! Shows you what I know!

I have a theory about who is under that red horned mask, but I won't share it here, lest I'm wrong. Plus, by not telling you, when his true identity IS revealed, I'll be able to say "I knew it!", no matter what. I desire feeling correct just that much, yes!

So then we know, for a fact, that people didn't start
mis-quoting it as "thing coming" until after 1976?!

Fight fight fight.

And then Wolverine and Banshee (who were elsewhere) show up in a silly flying car and Eric is all, "Whoa! We're outnumbered! Time to go, gang!", even though he and his team were already way outnumbered when they originally started this fight. Maybe Mr. Red is bad at math?

Anyway. The last shot is great, because it's an image of someone watching that guy who is creating new sentinels as HE, in turn, watches the X-Men. Who Watches the X-Men? These guys:

"There's never anything good on the 'There's Never Anything Good On Channel' channel"
(Also known as "Fox"! BOOM!)

It's, like, showing duality ...?