("Uncle Xavier needs you!")
Ah, crap; issue #27. This one really pissed me off the first time I read it, and the intervening years have not been kind. About the best thing one can say about the start of this story (chronologically speaking, since the comic kicks of in media res and then jumps backward) is that having Angel essentially say "I was delirious when I accused you of trying to kill me" is a bit better than it all turning out to have been a dream. It's still a massively frustrating cheat, though. Last issue saw Cyclops resolving to admit his feelings for Jean and "accidentally" shooting down his rival in love.
Now, it's been made clear that no-one thinks Cyclops was to blame except Scott himself, who deals with it by deciding he won't open up to Jean after all. You know, just like he hasn't since this ridiculously drawn-out subplot first arrived. If this love triangle was your hard-partying mate who'd asked to crash on your sofa, you'd be calling the police by this point.
At least there's a nebulous but allegedly massively dangerous threat somewhere vaguely on the horizon, maybe! I shouldn't make fun, really; a hazy towards a dire future probably qualifies as Thomas' best contribution yet to the X-Men ethos.
I'm getting increasingly uncomfortable with the narration referring to Marvel Girl as "the lovely Jean Grey". It's probably not the biggest example of the comics' rather patriarchal attitude, but I think it's especially bothersome because it's not offered as dialogue, but as an objective appraisal. Putting her in charge of designing and making the team's new uniforms really isn't helping, either.
Xavier's recruitment drive doesn't go very well, does it? Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch have joined the Avengers, and Spiderman can't even summon up the courtesy to decline politely. It's kind of humiliating, actually, though at least this time round the Professor has had sufficient sense to not tell his desired recruits exactly where he lives. That's progress, I guess. Shame such newly-acquired wisdom doesn't stretch to not promoting the Mimic to deputy leader the day he arrives. I don't care that Cyclops has resigned. He could have murdered a puppy and pinned it to Xavier's wheelchair, and the correct response would still be to promote Beast.
Ugh, this is getting complicated.
I think it's obvious at this point that Roy Thomas is writing the comic in "real time". Which, y'know, is perfectly fine, if a little short-sighted (and rather problematic as far as this blog's mission goes). You have to do it right, though, and Thomas clearly isn't: his issues reference the time of year in which the comic will be released, but his stories don't fit in at all.
Consider the following: we know that Count Nefaria's attempt to hold New York to ransom took place in June. Immediately upon returning from tricking him out of his money, Jean Grey receives the letter telling her she must leave the X-Men.
We next see her preparing to leave, only to return at the weekend to visit the X-Men, and to help battle the Locust. The next issue, in which Kulkucan first appears to show off his massive keyhole earrings, is specifically stated to start as the X-Men drive Jean back to college after defeating Doc Hopper.
By the end of the Kulkucan storyline, Cyclops has accidentally injured Angel, and this issue kicks off upon the X-Men's return to New York following that disaster.
We learn that same day that the trees at Metro College campus have turned auburn, which means that something like four months - at minimum - have passed since Jean received her letter, despite everything that happened afterwards taking less than a fortnight, and despite it being mentioned previously that Jean had arrived at Metro during the summer.
This is bad storytelling, whichever decade it hails from. I hope it doesn't seem to self-serving, in the face of this contradiction, to excuse away the auburn leaves, rather than anything else. It's the only clue that's indicative, rather than a direct time-stamp like "June" or "summer". Trees with brown leaves are possible in summer, as I understand it, either due to disease, lack of water, or some kind of "stress", so let's assume something like that is to blame. Hell, who knows what effect three dozen weekly superhero battles will have on the surrounding vegetation?
Ted describes introducing Jean to Cal "the other day", which suggests two days have passed since the X-Men returned from San Rico. Only one day is specifically referenced, but I can imagine Xavier's examination of Angel's injuries taking us into a second.
Lastly, one thing that I did enjoy was that it was the wounded Angel who gets to ambush the Puppet Master and render him helpless. I'm not sure that makes up for the stupefying idiocy of Warren following the X-Men when he knows that a) he can't fight or fly, and b) he'll immediately hand his powers to the bellicose Mimic, but it all works out in the end.
Friday 15th to Sunday 17th of June, 1979.
X+441 to X+443.
1 Marvel year = 2.68 standard years.
(Iceman is 33 years old)
|"I didn't think it was Ringo Starr!"|
"See why you should never doubt a woman's intuition, tiger?" That's one way to explain how Jean is so sure the Mimic's powers have returned. The other is that she's a fucking mutant telepath.