Thursday, August 7, 2014

Magneto Wishes Me A Very Happy Birthday (Issue #104)

April 1977
I am excited. Why? Because this issue came out in April of 1977. Turns out, *I* came out in April of 1977, too ... OF MY MOM, THAT IS! Wow, it's way more gross, when put like that, than I ever thought it could be!

But, anyway, here is the issue that was on newsstands while my mom was in labor for however many hours it was, delivering fat little old me and my huge head. Was this issue sitting on a spinner-rack in the hospital gift shop? Possibly! But, for certain, at least one kid was reading this issue as I entered the world, covered in blood and mucus. Too far.

It's a riff on the cover of X-Men issue #1, with the new cast in place of the old. That's neat-o, right? MAG neat-o?

And that's about all I have to say about that.

Banshee's love-interest and part-time caretaker of Professor X, Moira MacTaggert, has an island lab. As she's still in NY with Xavier, helping him cope with his space-people hallucinations, she's left it in the capable hands ... and hands ... and hands of a guy named Jamie Madrox! Madrox! My eyes went wide when I read that name! As a fan of mid-90s X-Factor comics, I knew that name all too well. As a kid, I'd think, "If only *I* had his powers, I'd never be lonely again...", then drift off into a wistful, friendless silence. I won't spoil what his power is, because the comics don't tell us, yet, either. How do you build suspense?

As our group of X-Men approach the island, their hovercraft flies apart, as if by magic. Magnetic magic. It's Magneto. He's back, and feeling confrontational. Magnetically confrontational. He announces hisself as the master of the "Legion of Evil Mutants" (formerly "Brotherhood of Evil Mutants", but that's women's lib for you.)

Meanwhile, Moira and Scott, arriving in an SR-71 Blackbird, run into a pocket of exposition: Moira's island is a "mutant research center" that can hold - and hopefully rehabilitate - evil mutants. Entering the facility, Cyke and Moira come upon a defeated Jamie Madrox, who warns them that if the X-Men are on the island, then they are doooooomed. Also, we are told via asterisk-text that Jamie was last seen in Fantastic Four. I had no idea. Guess I'm not as big a Madrox fan as I thought I was! Also, I realize I like Oreos more ... so I'm not as big a Hydrox fan as I thought, either.

Jamie then launches into a story that is so filled with "while you were not reading the X-Men, so much crap happened you won't believe it" ... that you just won't believe it. Apparently, Magneto was being held at this facility ... in BABY FORM! Because he had been turned into a baby!

But Eric The Red, Havok, and Lorna "Polaris" Dane (I keep thinking Lorna Doone, don't you?! And now, with Jamie Madrox, I think of Hydrox cookies. Someone should do a parody where all the X-Men are cookies. Wolverine could be called SNIKT-erdoodles) bust in and un-baby-fy Mags, so now he's pissed that Xavier saw him as a helpless baby child. So much for this being a "rehabilitation facility".

So it comes down to the inevitable X-Men vs Magneto fight. It goes just about as well as you'd think it'd go when two of the X-Men are, essentially, made of metal..

Only his CLAWS are metal?! Retcon, ahoy!

Luckily Cyclops has finally caught up with the rest of the gang and blasts Magneto with his decidedly nonferrous eyes, knocking him out. Then he orders all the X-Men to run away. It's a strategic running away, though, because Cyke realizes that the real plan is to get to Prof X by luring away all the X-Men, leaving him vulnerable to attack. You know, like exactly what Black Tom said his plan was in the last issue, when they tried exactly the same thing! This is your first warning, Chris Claremont.

Anyway, Magneto wakes up, mugs,"oh my achin' head!" and then claims this as a victory. In the background is a door marked "Mutant X" (NOT Weapon X, mind you) and it starts to glow. But were told that won't matter until later. So forget I said anything ... until later.

If by "triumph", you mean "beaten so badly you black out and are left for dead by your assailants" then, yes, "triumph".

The last page is a confuse-o-fest full of Starjammers (their first appearance, I'm told!), princesses-in-spaceships, Eric The Red threats, and a Grey family reunion. Honestly, the panels jump around so much, you might get comics-sick. Vomics.

And that is how my birthday issue goes.

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