Friday, May 1, 2015

D is for Diplomacy (Issue #107)

October 1977
JUDGE THE COVER!

The fine print:
"BEGINNING! The incredible saga of-- The STARJAMMERS!
Will it be the END of the X-Men?!"

I know it's a play on "windjammer" - which is a type of marine vessel, in case Alex Trebek ever asks you - but "star jammers" sounds like a description of a person who loves the idea of celebrity and thinks famous people can do no wrong. Marilyn Manson wrote a song about it: "Star J@##ers, Inc."

OR it's a word describing someone who owns a factory that makes toast-toppings out of celestial bodies. "Here at Star Jammers, our star jam is made from only the youngest stars, from around uninhabited planets!" (A scandal arises when it's revealed that Galactus is a major stock holder.)

Pearljammers? (Can't find a better joke! She dreams in color, she dreams in red....)

I'll say one more thing about the cover: I give it points for putting the ! after the ? -- I don't like when it's the other way around. You're emphasizing a question, not questioning an emphasis! Right!? The perfect solution is, of course, the interrobang, but I won't talk about that, as this is an all-ages blog.

SUMMARY!
Materializing on another planet, the X-Men come face to face with D'ken (who is space-princess Lilandra's brother) and his army of assorted aliens! "Assorted Army Aliens" is the name of one of those checkout-line impulse toy-bags that kids would beg mom for, as a reward for being "good" when grocery shopping.



Not sure if you noticed, but there is a HUGE crystal in that scene, above. I'm guessing it's going to be important. Comic creators rarely draw a giant crystal, if it's not going to do anything. Rarely.

Cyclops tries the diplomatic approach, first:

CYCLOPS: Hey! We came for Eric the Red and space-princess Lilandra. Hand 'em over!
ALIENS: No!
CYCLOPS: Well, I tried! *ZZZZZOT!* (That's his eyebeam sound. And it is just now, 107 issues in, that I realize that his beams don't have a "trademark" sound. Wolverine's claws are always "snikt" - that's good branding. Always. Be. Branding, Scott!)

Thus ends the limits of Cyclops' diplomacy, and a planet wide war breaks out!

SHZAK?! Keep workshopping, Scott.

The general of this alien army, Gladiator - a kind of punk-rock version of Superman - and his Imperial Guard set about beating the space-snot out of our favorite mutants. That is, until the Starjammers show up and turn the tide! (Are there tides in space? There are solar winds, so maybe there are lunar tides? Ahoy!)

Anyway, the point is: I was right! That giant crystal is central to the story! It's called the "m'krann" (as in the popular expression, "MMMMMMMM, that's some GOOD Krann!" that Krann-eaters, the world around, exclaim, whenever they eat some good Krann), is essential to D'ken's evil plan. See, once every million years, it aligns with some stars called - get this - "DEATH STARS" (no relation to Darth's sweet ride) and it unleashes some kind of power. (I'm gonna go ahead and guess it's some kind of "death power". Just a hunch - unless those stars had the worst marketing department of all time. (I'm talking about marketing a lot.)) D'ken wants this power and it's why he had to stop his space-sister from reaching Earth and enlisting the aid of the X-Men. He didn't, she did, and they are, so it's failure all around.

Another part of this guy's plan is that the princess should be sacrificed to something called a"Soul Drinker":

He has a Crazy Straw Tongue!

Why does D'Ken need the Soul Drinker to drink 'er soul? Unclear. I think this guy is just improvising. Villain Improv is always the worst: "OK, I need the name of an alien and a location! I think I heard 'Soul Drinker' and 'a planet with a giant crystal'. Yes. And...." *SCENE*

... but Nightcrawler bamfs in and saves the un-drunk space princess. Sorry I let that lay for so long, I hope you didn't get anxious. But, apparently, this is the first time ole Crawlie's ever transported someone else, as the exertion almost kills him. But it doesn't. (That happens in 2010! SPOILERS! (Look, at the rate I write these recaps, you'll all have forgotten I said that, by the time I cover those issues... if I ever get to cover those issues! I'll probably pull a Nightcrawler (die) way before then!))


ANYWAY, while all this fighting and soul-drinking (or lack thereof) is going on, the nine "Death Stars" align and - WHOOPS! - the universe blinks out of existence for couple of seconds! It's probably fine, right?

Meanwhile, back in Starlab - a lab in orbit around Earth - an astronaut is talking to Reed Richards about "the blink" and they agree that a couple more of those could destroy the universe! Sure, a pair of dudes in a space lab conclude that something's bad, and we're all in agreement, but have thousands of scientists talk about climate change and we'll deny, deny, deny! (In the Marvel Universe, is Storm to blame for climate change?)

Think about THAT!