Monday, May 5, 2014

Haunted by the Past: X-Men 141

X-Men #141 (January 1981)
"Days of Future Past"
Chris Claremont/John Byrne/Terry Austin

Karen: I feel like this is a big day for us here at BAB. This has got to be one of the biggest issues of the Bronze Age, and personally, it marks the beginning of the end of my love of the X-Men. After issue #143, Byrne and Austin would leave the book, and a lot of what I enjoyed about the title seemed to disappear. But for over five years, this was not only my favorite comic, it was an obsession. The X-Men were the perfect fantasy escape for this pre-teen/teen  -the ultimate outsiders, yet they were also incredibly cool and though they fought each other (hello Cyclops and Wolverine) they were also a family too. One could imagine belonging to the X-Men in a way you could never imagine joining the Avengers or the Justice League. Each issue of X-Men was approached eagerly, and it rarely disappointed (well maybe the Murderworld stuff did a little). The creative team was going strong and readers felt like they were a part of something special. So along came X-Men #141, and it just blew everyone away. From the incredible covers -with #141 becoming legendary - to the amazing time-travel premise, this two-part story is a tour-de-force. It's no wonder that -for good or ill -it became the basis of so much to come in later X-Men stories. So let's get to it, shall we?

Doug: Well... just a second. True confession time. Maybe "true reminder" time would be a better way to put it. Our longtime readers may recall that I've said in the past how I left comics when I entered high school. The year was 1980, and the last X-Men I saw over a five year period (no, silly -- it didn't take me that long to graduate; I picked the hobby back up in the spring of my freshman year of college) was #130 -- I was ushered out by the Disco Dazzler! That's right -- left just as the "Dark Phoenix Saga" was ramping up! So for me, a recent purchase of the DoFP tpb gave me the opportunity to finally read this story. 

Karen: You're right -I'd forgotten in the heat of my excitement over this review that you dropped out at the absolute worst time in X-Men history! You missed out on the whole Dark Phoenix saga and Days of Future Past -oh man, Doug, talk about bad timing! So yes, I can see you won't have the same connection to this material that I do. But maybe that's a good thing -you'll be more objective.

Karen: Our splash page opens in a decimated-looking New York City. We see a woman in a dull green jumpsuit with the letter 'M' over the left side of the chest. She's carrying a box of what appears to be medical supplies. We are told this is Kate Pryde -not Kitty. For it is the twenty-first century -the future, and the state of NYC is typical of most of the U.S. Kate is on her way to rendezvous with Logan -and she's worried about the safety of her surroundings. And with good cause. She soon falls through a trap door and is ambushed by a group of toughs that look like they stepped out of Mad Max. Kate warns them that she's on official Sentinel business, but they scoff -the leader says they hate the robots almost as much as they hate 'muties.' He threatens Kate and she gives him a swift kick in the gut -it's about all she can do, as a collar prevents her powers from working. Things don't look too good, but then her friend Logan shows up. It is, of course, Wolverine, a little gray at the temples, but none the worse for wear. He quickly takes down the thugs, without using his claws, as his signature attack would alert the Sentinels of his presence. Logan is now a colonel in the Canadian Resistance Army, and he's working to take down the Sentinels. It turns out that the other super-powers are planning to launch nuclear missiles the moment the robots head out of North America. So he and Kate and the remaining X-Men are going to try to stop it from happening. He gives Kate a small component, part of a larger device called the 'jammer.' He tells her phase two begins at midnight and wishes her luck.

Doug: Kate is very serious-looking. This sure isn't the little Sprite that had recently entered the X-verse. But Wolverine's certainly recognizable immediately. There's a lot going on in these first few pages, both visually and through the text. I felt it was a lot to digest, and it raised a ton of questions for me. One thing I was struck with early here was that the X-Men actually are wary of the Sentinels. My impression of the Sentinels through time had been that they looked great, but rarely succeeded in accomplishing what they'd set out to do. So that they were in some fashion of control in this era seemed off. Claremont and Byrne were spinning a mystery.

Karen: Kate certainly looks haggard, and in the context of the story, it makes sense. My impression of the Sentinels was different from yours though; while the X-Men had always found a way to stop them, I never considered them pushovers. And of course, this is yet another iteration, a 'new and improved' version if you will.

Karen: Kate's trip back to the Bronx is a depressing one. The buses are pulled by horses, indicating perhaps oil has been cut off to America. We are now told the year -2013! - and that there are three classes of people: H for baseline human -allowed to breed; A, for anomalous humans, people carrying mutant genes, forbidden to breed; and M, mutants, who were relegated to outcasts by the Mutant Control Act of 1988. Most of mutantkind was exterminated -we are told millions have died since the Act was passed (could these all have been mutants in North America? That number seems awfully large. Would it include mainline homo sapiens as well?). Kate enters the interment camp where she lives and walks past row after row of tombstones, and we see the names of many characters we know, some who were mutants (Charles Xavier, Scott Summers, Kurt Wagner) and some who were not (Ben Grimm, Reed Richards). It does seem that more than mutants were killed in this terrible reality. Kate thinks to herself that they will try to ensure that this nightmare never even happens!

Doug: Ah, stories told in some future epoch. Talk about partying like it's 1999! I've always thought the best thing about the original Planet of the Apes series was that it was set around 2000 years in the future -- no need to worry about catching up to that! Anyway, you're right about the apocalyptic scene Kate travels through. In a way, Chris Claremont was setting up later storylines -- or at least feeling them out -- with his caste system. The Morlocks, the island of Genosha... I can see how those ideas could flow from this storyline. From the cover we know this is going to be dark, but there was something about seeing the non-mutant heroes deceased that struck a nerve as to the seriousness of this situation. The long path back into the concentration camp was eerie marked with all the headstones; Claremont and Byrne had done some homework in regard to memorials of this sort left over from our own stupidity in this history.

Karen: Kate joins with fellow X-Men Storm and Colossus, now Kate's husband, and Franklin Richards, last survivor of the Fantastic Four, and his girlfriend, a red-headed telepath/telekinetic named Rachel. They begin to discuss their plan when a man in a wheelchair comes up. No, it's not Professor X, but Magneto! Circumstances have caused the former foes to become allies. While Colossus questions whether their plan will work, Magneto says it must, if the world is to survive. Kate and Peter (Colossus) take a moment alone. He feels concern over what they plan to do - he says if they succeed, their love might cease to exist along with the Sentinels. Kate says if it is to be, it will be. But more than that, if they are successful, they will create a world where their children can grow up free and unafraid. The Sentinels killed their children -if she can change that, it is worth the risk.

Doug: Did you wonder at all about the X-Men who would survive and form the backbone of this future team? I think it's a cinch that if Dave Cockrum had been on the creative staff, Nightcrawler would have been a survivor. You know, I was going to wonder why they didn't take the opportunity to introduce a new character here, but they did in Rachel... not Summers yet, though. She'd certainly become a major player in another 50 issues or so. Wait -- the idea of Magneto as a good guy started here, too. Man, I guess I didn't know how much Claremont would mine from this story over the succeeding years!

Doug: The inclusion of Franklin Richards surprised me, but it was actually nice to see him finally grown up. Speaking of, did you ever think Peter was too old for Kitty? Wouldn't he have been in his early 20s when she joined up -- and wasn't she only like 14 at the time?

Karen: I would have liked to have seen more of Franklin -he looked a bit like his uncle Johnny, but talked like his dad! I wonder if he still had his reality-altering abilities? As for Peter and Kitty, I think I've read that Peter was in his later teens -perhaps 18, and Kitty was about 14. So yes, perhaps a bit awkward -not to mention illegal! - but then she was a little more mature and he was somewhat naive. As far as chemistry goes, it always seemed like a nice match.

Karen: The mutants initiate their plan later that night. Franklin assembles the jammer, which shuts down their inhibitor collars and allows them to use their powers. Rachel then uses her mental powers to send Kate's consciousness back in October 31, 1980. Young Kitty Pryde has just walked in on a live session in the Danger Room. Yes, she just walked right into the room! She even says the door was unlocked, to which Wolverine replies, as he battles a robot with buzzsaw hands, "Kid, that flamin' door is always unlocked!" You really have to wonder what Professor X was thinking. As the X-Men -Angel, Storm, Colossus, and Wolverine - battle different threats in the room, they try to reach Kitty and the panic button to shut the room down. Kitty has frozen in fear but Storm manages to conjure up a mini-twister to blow her away from danger and into Colossus' arms. Nightcrawler teleports into the room and hits the panic button, shutting down all the threats just in the nick of time. Kurt tries joking around with Kitty about her first Danger Room session, scheduled for that morning, but Kitty is visibly uncomfortable around him. This hurts Kurt's feelings but he says he will give her time. The older X-Men gather in the control room to run the training scenario the Professor has designed for Kitty. It's completely non-threatening, and Kitty walks across the room easily, using her phasing power to pass through every challenge. The X-Men get a good belly laugh out of it, and are all smiles -until Kitty collapses to the floor. What they don't know is that Kitty's mind has just been hit by her consciousness from thirty years in the future.

Doug: Of all the X-Men issues through the Bronze Age, what percentage of them contain a Danger Room scene? We mentioned this in our review of X-Men #4 a couple of weeks ago. But you know -- it never gets tired, because anything can happen in that space. I always felt it gave artists a chance to cut loose. I felt bad for Kurt, but thought Kitty's reaction was very natural. I think it represented the fact that even as outsiders, there could be some more outside than others. Each X-Man had incredible powers, but no one looked as Kurt looked. Kitty's wariness seemed to be innocently offensive, if you know what I mean. And wasn't it great that Wolverine counseled Kurt? These folks had really grown through the years -- way different from the group that always seemed ready to fight each other back in the early "All-New, All-Different" years.

Karen: Looking back, it seems like Wolverine matured a lot during the Dark Phoenix saga, or right after it. He was far less of a jerk after Jean passed away, and wound up becoming a responsible team member. In some ways, his growth is similar to Hawkeye's. I can't help but think that this was all purposeful on Claremont's part.

Doug: I really liked Storm's ascension to leadership. She seemed a natural to take the reins after Cyclops left. She always had such a great relationship with Kurt and Peter, and Wolverine was just going to be Wolverine no matter who was "in charge". I really loved it that Kurt, even after Kitty had somewhat shied from him, was the one who got to her first after she collapsed. He has such a big heart, and was always a team-first guy. I thought Claremont sold Kitty's transformation to Kate quite well with the more mature speech patterns. John Byrne and Terry Austin did a top-notch job of conveying the confusion on the faces of Nightcrawler and Wolverine. Did you find Angel to be a fifth wheel on this team? He's so appealing visually, but really has no power set beyond flight, and to be honest he seems incomplete without Bobby Drake along for the ride.
Karen: It was interesting to see Storm become leader -I'm not sure I had seen those qualities in her before. She brings a certain maturity and calmness to things, although I think she lacks the tactical know-how of her predecessor, Cyclops. But then, did these X-Men ever fight effectively as a team? We've discussed that in almost every review we've done of the book! Kurt's determination to break through with Kitty, to get her to see him as more than a monster, was very well done. The transformation from Kitty to Kate was conveyed well not only by her speech but I thought the art showed a change in her posture too. As for Angel -yes, I never really knew what he was doing with this group. He certainly didn't seem to belong with them. It was like an old man trying to hang out with the cool kids. 

Karen: On the plane to the capital, Kate expands upon her story: Kelly is not a bad man, but is concerned about the ever-increasing number of super-powered people in the world. The Brotherhood killed him to put humanity in their place, but instead, it escalated tensions and caused anti-mutant sentiment to grow, leading to the Mutant Control Act and the reactivation of the Sentinels. The robots decided the best way they could achieve their programming was to take over the country. They also decided to begin exterminating all super-powered beings, mutant and non-mutant, hero and villain. By the year 2000, all of North America was under Sentinel rule. And most of the X-Men were dead. Now the Sentinels are about to expand their jurisdiction to the rest of the globe, which will set off a nuclear war that will destroy the planet. The surviving X-Men of the future came up with this plan, and Kitty was chosen to be sent back, because at this age, she had not been trained to protect herself from psychic assaults.

Doug: How about the kid dressed up like a member of the Newsboy Legion? Someone please tell me -- was this the first time in Marvel's history that some sort of registration of super-powered types was proposed? Of course in the Avengers a few years earlier the feds had dispatched Henry Peter Gyrich to serve as a security liaison to the team and clean up some of their lackluster policies (of course he brought other irritations into the mix). Marvel would seem to touch on some of these themes over and over, culminating in Civil War

Doug: It seems odd that the Sentinels could accomplish all of that without any of their former masters involved -- the Trasks and Stephen Lang (of course there's a reason they weren't involved, and it has to do with pushing up daisies -- but I think you know what I mean).

Karen: I assumed these were a more advanced version -so their AI had progressed to the point where they could think for themselves and create plans and strategies. Which is pretty scary.
Doug: Did you think it odd that Kitty Pryde had been with the X-Men for some months and had not yet had psychic shielding training? I don't know that her phasing powers would be a threat to the team if she were to be turned against the team, but certainly she'd have had knowledge that could have been psychically pilfered. Of course, everyone was preoccupied with that Hellfire Club thing. 

Karen: It's hard for me to tell how much time has passed since they first brought Kitty on board -not too much I think, since this is her first Danger Room session. 

Karen: Flash forward thirty years. The X-Men have escaped the Sentinel compound with Wolverine and are traveling through the old subway tunnels. We are told that Magneto (called Magnus here, not Eric) stayed behind, sacrificing his life to give them time to get away. They are moving along when suddenly the roof of the tunnel is blasted away -and so is Franklin! He is disintegrated by a beam from the Sentinels. The mutants are warned to surrender. Rachel is stunned, but Storm tells her to fight back, and she does -with a telekinetic blast that looks suspiciously Phoenix-like. Hmm. Storm blasts a robot with lightning but it is too insulated. That problem is solved by a Septuagenarian fastball special.  Another patrol of three Sentinels appears and Colossus handles them by knocking a building over on them. The X-Men are determined to make it to the Baxter Building -the Sentinels' base.

Doug: This story sure does pave the way for Magneto to be seen in a more sympathetic light, doesn't it? And does the fastball special ever get tired? I think not!

Karen: Back in 1980, we go inside the Pentagon, where we see a woman named Raven Darkholme. She works in the Department of Defense, but is in reality the mutant shapechanger Mystique. She enters a room and inside we see the members of the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants: Destiny, Avalanche, Pyro, and Blob. Blob's old fashioned -he doesn't like taking orders from a woman and this sets off a squabble with his team-mates, but Mystique soon settles him down. Then she tells them all to get ready -it's time to strike!

Doug: I thought Destiny, in regular clothes, sure looked a lot older than she'll appear once in costume. Threw me off a bit. Pyro's no looker, is he? The Blob fills that comic relief roll, doesn't he?

Karen: In the Senate, Robert Kelly is speaking at a hearing about mutants. This scene was recreated in the first X-Men film. Xavier and Moira MacTaggert are there as well. The X-Men show up in civilian attire and the Professor reads their minds to find out what's going on.However, as Kelly goes on, wondering if there will be any place in the world for 'ordinary people' as more and more super-powered people appear, the wall of the hearing room begins to crumble and collapse. As the audience flees, the dust settles and the Brotherhood appears. Mystique threatens the Senator, but then a lightning bolt slashes down in front of her. The X-Men face the Brotherhood, telling them that if they want to harm anyone here, they'll have to go through them. With that challenge, Mystique then orders her team to kill the X-Men. It's game on -in two different times!

Doug: I was surprised at how public the altercation was between the Brotherhood and the X-Men. Granted it had to be given the circumstances, but it seems that throughout their history the very existence of the X-Men was always a secret. Here, they identify themselves and dive right into the scrap with the bad mutants. But then the reporters assembled recognize Warren Worthington III as the Angel -- so that cover had been blown years ago when he bankrolled the Champions. Avalanche looks like a dude that might be at home in the Wrecking Crew! And I love Wolverine's bravado when the Blob says they don't look like any X-Men he knows. "That's right, Fatso. We're better." No exclamation point, just matter-of-fact.

Karen: It's hard to believe all this story was packed into one issue. So much goes on here, and there are so many small character moments throughout. The level of detail and thought in the story is fantastic. The Baxter Building as the Sentinels' base? Outstanding. Kitty and Peter together? That was amazing at the time -remember, she hadn't been around very long at this point. The art is also terrific. As usual, it is dynamic and packed with detail. Byrne's characters are emotive and distinct. There's so much emotion in this story -seeing the graveyard with the names of so many of our favorite characters in it, it brings a lump to the throat. It's easy to feel the pain that Kate and the other future X-Men feel. Even all these years later, after this story has been built on and copied and redone to death, it has power to it. No wonder they have made a movie out of it!

Doug: I agree with everything you just said. If they knew at the time that this was the swansong of Byrne and Austin, then they were going to end their run on the very top of the mountain. And before we leave, just a quick comment on that art team. Look through this entire issue if you have it -- there's no short-cutting. I'd say 90% of the panels have a detailed background. Although I think Byrne's earlier 1970s art on this title was better, this is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Great, great creative talent on display in this issue, from all the stakeholders.


Anonymous said...
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William said...

Like most other people of our comic reading generation I love this two-parter. It's a great story, and it features John Byrne at the absolute height of his artistic powers. The artwork is truly beautiful to behold. Also, it was Byrne who came up with the plot for DOFP. But according to him, Claremont added some text that ruined the whole point of the story.

Byrne explains it himself here on his forum. (It's the post from Byrne about halfway down the page).

As I said, I love this story, but there is one major flaw that has always bugged the heck out of me. And that is the fact that apparently a bunch of robots managed to kill every super powered being in America, with the exception of the few we see at the beginning of this tale. (And what a coincidence that the only survivors just so happen to all be mutants). So, that would have to mean that a bunch of "man-made robots", took out THE FANTASTIC FOUR, and THE AVENGERS! Which means they would have had to have killed the likes of THOR, WONDER MAN, THE HULK, IRON MAN and so on!

These are the heros who have, on multiple occasions, saved the world from threats like Galactus, Thanos, and countless alien invasions and other major threats. But a bunch of overgrown tinker toys made up of regular metal, wires and circuits were too much for them. -- Yeah, I don't think so. Now, I know we are supposed to suspend our disbelief for stories such as these, but that's just a little too much for me to swallow.

So, I guess it's a good thing that the X-Men movie franchise is not set in the same world as the Avengers movies. It will make it much more "believable" that the X-Men are among the only survivors in this apocalyptic future reality.

Edo Bosnar said...

Karen, absolutely everything you wrote in the first part of your first paragraph applies to me across the board - and I couldn't have expressed it better myself.

And Days of Future Past is certainly one of the best X-men stories from this period (or ever, really). It's just too bad that it sowed some of the seeds of the X-men's later destruction, in that Claremont just kept on going back to this dystopian future for story ideas instead of just letting it stand as it was (almost as big a mistake as bringing Jean Grey back, in my opinion).

Just a few points: on the romance between Peter and Kitty, it always made sense to me that geeky girl in her early teens would fall head over heels in love with a big, handsome, kind-hearted guy like Peter. Also, at this point, I don't think Peter was 18 yet - I vaguely recall a story in an issue a few years later in which he's in a bar getting hassled by a bartender, and indignantly saying, "I'm almost 18!"

And Doug, Angel definitely seemed like a fifth wheel to me. I remember thinking he was really out of place, too. I guess after Cyclops left, Claremont and Byrne decided to put him in as a kind of token original member (and I assume Byrne liked drawing a guy with wings). Personally, I think Iceman would have been a much better choice - he's much more useful, it would have been more interesting seeing him interact with the newer X-men, especially Wolverine, and in this story specifically, it would have been cool seeing him and Pyro go at it.

Dr. Oyola said...

I am working on my own post about this two-issue story for my blog, so I won't give away too many of my thoughts here (mostly b/c I cam still trying to figure out my exact angle of attack, but I think a friend and I are going to tackle it Doug & Karen style. . . i.e. as a dialogue).

BUT. . . part of that difficulty is that there is SO MUCH to possibly explore in these two jam-packed issues. It is amazing because it is both everything that was good about comics of the time and a portent of everything bad to come. It is like a synecdoche for the late Bronze Age/early Copper Age.

Since, for me my first exposure to Sentinels was when they captured the X-Men right before the beginning of the Phoenix Saga - I have never had a problem thinking of them as powerful and potentially very capable. To me they are the classic X-Men villain.

Also, Edo, I think you are over-thinking the whole "they killed all the superheroes" thing - my impression is that at first they were government-approved things, so when they turned it was a surprise. Maybe it is still unlikely, but as a comic reader I feel like some holes are egregious and some holes (like this one) are easily filled by creative use of our comics knowledge.

This is the beginning, not the end of my teenaged X-Men obsession. I started collecting Superhero comics exactly one year after this issue came out, so it was recent history and something I borrowed from friends to read.

To me it is still one of the best examples of the capabilities of the serialized superhero form. There are so many moments in this issue alone that made me think "these days those two panels would be its own issue and it would suck!"

More later perhaps. . .

Edo Bosnar said...

Hmmmm, Osvaldo, I think you mean William...

Dr. Oyola said...

Indeed, I do, Edo.

I am just too used to us being at odds. ;)

My apologies.

Edo Bosnar said...

Oh, don't worry Osvaldo. Something's sure to come along soon that'll have shaking our fists at each other... :P

Murray said...

Well, I agree with Karen's stance 100%. I was mad for the "all new X-Men" from their introduction. I even had my one success at getting a letter published in a comic during this period! It went from "really good" to "great" and pretty much after this story...slammed into a wall of soggy succotash. By this age, I was past being a completist that followed a title no matter what. I bought, and kept, only what caught my fancy.

For those questioning the potency of the Sentinels, one has to go forward and backward in Marvel history. Go back to the Neal Adams period of the original X-Men and Avengers #102-104 (1972). There you see Sentinels with their power to counter powers in full, tactical combat. Both those super teams are hard-pressed to destroy the robots. But they can be destroyed. Now we jump forward to Excalibur and the end of Alan Davis' run (very like this issue of X-Men - when Excalibur abruptly stopped being at all entertaining) Here we see the other aspect of Sentinels. Powerful, and coming off an assembly line. Sheer numbers where their powers may fall short.

Interesting that in recent days on Bronze Age Babies, particular comic issues have been praised for when Marshal Rogers and John Byrne were at the top of their game. I think credit must go where it's due. The commonality between these two artists? Terry Austin inks. If these pencillers seemed to "droop" after that, maybe there's a correlation?

Doug said...

Murray --

I think you are right about Terry Austin, and it's what perhaps sets him apart from Joe Sinnott (commonly regarded as one of the top inkers, if not the gold standard): Rogers and Byrne still looked like Rogers and Byrne under Austin's brush. Those inked by Joe Sinnott looked like they'd been inked by Joe Sinnott.

Jerry Ordway is another fine inker that could maintain the integrity of the original penciler's intentions.

And I'm hopefully not denigrating Joltin' Joe, whose work and stories I love.


J.A. Morris said...

Like Dr. Oyola, I'm working on a DOFP post at my blog.

But I'll never forget the first time I saw this cover. I was 9,visiting a friend who subscribed to X-men,and 141 arrived in in the mail. We saw the word "SLAIN" pasted over the names of so many X-men. It was shocking! We just opened it up & read it all in about 5 minutes. The future stuff, plus the New Brotherhood showing up at the end was too much. We wondered what would happen next issue, longest 30 days of my childhood!

Abe Lucas said...

There was a lengthy period of time when I was burned out on this story because of how it pushed forward the "Mutant Menace" aspects of the X-Men. Sure, that was always a part of the book but it really took hold after 141-142 and as we know, made its presence known on the cartoons and films that followed.

Having said that, I was blown away by this story at the time but my goodness was it depressing; and it always will be. The dystopian future that these issues chronicled were unlike anything I was used to reading at the time. There's also the fact that whatever miseries going on in my pre-teen life also come back, so there's that personal association for me, as well.

I used to obsessively re-read the Claremont-Byrne run while I was in middle school but despite this story's importance, I always stopped reading after the Dark Phoenix saga wrapped up. One reason was because of how upsetting--for lack of a better term--the story was but also because it signaled the end of Claremont-Byrne-Austin. The last issue they did, #143, is NOT among my favorites. The obvious "Alien" ripoff (later brought to epic scale in the Brood saga) but also for imo some of the most annoying pages in UXM history: Kitty's battle with the demon. Those pages were spackled with soooo much narration and thought balloons as to crowd out the art. I thought it was excessive even for the era and a symbolic slap in the face by Claremont to the art team, but then maybe that's just me reading entirely too much into the creative friction that eventually broke up this greatest of all comic runs.

Anonymous said...

I have been telling myself: "Prowler, old man, you really need to pull these two issues and the Wolverine, Days Of Future Past, out and reread them before you go see the movie". Then I gurgle something about grapefruits and olives and once again I'm in the front lawn in my underwear..........but that's a different story.

Getting back to the issue at hand. This was a story that really did grab me by the throat and sit up and take notice.

Karen, I echo your thoughts on Kurt. His outward appearance not coming close to the true gentleman and hero that lay beneath. I do see from the pages y'all have posted that as soon as Kitty collapses, Ororo orders Kurt to her side. I'm sure Kurt was halfway gone, but it was an action ordered by Storm.

Second quick point, perhaps it was Kitty's lack of psyche training that allows her future self to merger with her younger self.

Third, there is a gap between Peter and Kitty. I would think somewhere in that neighborhood of 4 to 5 years. But I felt in the beginning that the creative team handled it well. And as their relationship developed, it was the younger leading the elder. (Contrast this with the early X-Men when Professor X expressed his unspoken love for Jean. Could she have been much older than Kitty when she became part of the X-Men, first class.)

Something tells me I had another point....dagnabbit, how did I get in the yard!?!

Oh wait, it's not Wolverine that goes "back in time"? The movies got it wrong? Whaaaaat!?!

The Prowler (apologizing for the obscure Huey Lewis and the News reference).

Fred W. Hill said...

In the late '70s and until the Days of Future Past story, Claremont & Byrne collaborated on so many mags they were nearly to the Bronze Age what Lee & Kirby were to the Silver Age -- alas that it all came to an end due to similar reasons, over profound disagreements over story points. Still, this remains a high point for both as well as for the X-Men title. I kept collecting the X-Men for the next four years or so, but it lost a lot of its appeal for me, as did many other Marvel mags by the mid-80s. And I agree with the consensus that the Angel wasn't a particularly good fit with this group. He didn't have the gravitas of, say Captain America when he was left to mind the 3 new recruits, or of Cyclops when he stayed on when all the other old X-Men members quit. Frankly, whatever one thinks of his transformation into Archangel later on, Warren really did need a boost in powers. Even as good ol' Marvel Girl, Jeannie had more potential than Warren power-wise, even if Lee, Kirby, Thomas, Drake and whoever else plotted those old X-Men yarns were all unwilling to really let her go loose the way Stephen King did with his similarly powered Carrie (something that came to mind when I saw the remake from last year).

Dr. Oyola said...

Iceman would have been a better fit with this group than Angel (what was he doing at this time?).

He was the youngest X-Man before Kitty and thus could still need training and would have been a natural opposite to Pyro.

Plus, I have long felt that not enough has been done with his character (though I will admit to never having read the original X-Factor) and am a fan of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends.

Anonymous said...

Well well we now come to the infamous DOFP storyline. Like Doug, I didn't get to read this and the Dark Phoenix saga when it originally came out, so I've always felt I've missed out on that particular bit of X-men lore.

Yes, I do agree that Terry Austin contributed a lot to Byrne's layouts. His inks really enhanced the art, and I believe that we have to mention both Byrne and Austin together whenever we discuss how great the artwork was in this period.

As for the Sentinels, they are easily a solid threat (see X-men 57-59 for proof of this) and it's quite possible to see them taking over the world, especially in an alternate timeline.

- Mike 'nights of past futures' from Trinidad & Tobago.

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