Thursday, April 12, 2007

Grant Morrison's New X-Men 138

[This post is part of a series looking issue by issue at Morrison's New X-Men run; for more of the same click the labels link at the bottom of this post.]

Is there a joke about the Beast, who is pretending to be gay as a stunt, saving two old homosexual stereotypes from a giant "flamer"? (Quentin's Wax friend is on fire running at a bus; this is in the first few pages of this issue). If there is I don't get it. The whole sequence catching Herman goes on far too long. It is a weird anti-climax as well, since the riot is over.

Are we supposed to take Wolverine's posturing seriously as he screams at Quentin's gang like a military leader screaming at his troops? The problem is how do you not laugh when he barks, describing the aftermath of the riot, "one dead, and one missing, presumed evaporated"? I just don't know what to do with that. A failed attempt at weird seriousness? A failed attempt at humor? It must be a failed attempt at something since I cannot tell what it is supposed to be clearly.

Is Emma Frost really younger that I am? Cause that is freaking me out a little, as she turns out to be only 27. Was I the last to know she was not in her thirties?

What are we to make of stupid Quentin Quire's apotheosis? He converts to pure light as a secondary mutation caused by DRUGS. Morrison likes his drugs, apparently, but Kick is supposed to be a bad drug -- we will learn more about why it is evil at the end of the run, and it has nothing but bad effects on Magneto. Yet it triggers Quentin's ascension to a higher plane of consciousness. Later we will learn how far he ascends, but it is quite surprising. Quentin goes from jackoff to the guy who spouts Morrison's most beloved peace-love-sheep one-world philosophies: the world is one thought that has been divided into ignorant boxes, fighting each other is like one finger fighting another and so on. (I have never found these ideas very persuasive, but do not hold them against Morrison at all, as long as he remains, overall, a good storyteller). Why does Quentin get to get enlightened?

In terms of being a good storyteller we get some good foreshadowing as Quentin speaks while becoming light -- Manhattan gone, the school is gigantic, the professor missed the point, the enemy within. Wonderfully, these serve double duty -- we think many of them are fulfilled by Planet X but then we see they are better fulfilled in Here Comes Tomorrow. That is good writing.

Why does Xavier consider Quentin's apotheosis to be a waste, and not a positive change? He told Lilandra that maybe her empire being ruined by Nova was not a bad thing. Xavier steps down as headmaster and says the Riot has taught him to reconsider non-violence. The riot taught him that? Really? Because the girls had to just take him down after talking didn't work? Wolverine has done stuff like that a hundred times. I don't get it.

The riot shuts down basically because the school is going on break. Morrison is making fun of the student riots in France in 68, which shut down for the same reason. Lots of stupid kids everywhere, I guess is the point, though it is an odd one.

Dust is on the plane with Jean. A great character, this is her second, and second to last, scene in the run. What a waste of an interesting character.

Scott is breaking up with Emma just as Jean catches them in an embrace. What a cliche!


Mitch said...

I have to admit, Emma being 27 was a shock to me too. Not that I think there should be any concrete ages attached to ANY of these characters, but I've always silently told myself that Scott, Jean and the other originals were late 20's, Rogue, Kitty and Colossus were early twenties and Nightcrawler and Storm were also late twenties. In my mind this puts Emma at mid-thirties. Wolverine- who knows. Magneto and Xavier- sixties. But whatever.

neilshyminsky said...

I remember Emma's age being an issue on my message board. I can't remember the exact context of her 'I'm 27' line, but it was perceived by most people to be disingenuous/defensive, as if "27" is the new "29". Her relationship with Scott is also much more interesting if she's significantly older, I think - if anyone should have repressed mother issues, it's him, right?

Matt Brady said...

I don't recall the context of the reveal of Emma's age, but I wouldn't expect it to be genuine. She's so self-conscious about image (she mentioned a nose job earlier in the run), I'm sure she wants to be perceived as younger than she is. I bet she's supposed to be mid-thirties, at least. Of course, Marvel time is all screwed up anyway (in 40 years of real time, Scott, Jean, and the others have aged 10-15 years, but Kitty Pryde has aged 8-10 years in half that time), so it's kind of silly to speculate about the ages of these characters.

neilshyminsky said...

Kitty has variously aged 10 or 2 years - when Kavanaugh was writing in 1999, Kitty said she was 16. Jubilee's age also tends to go forward and backward at will. It's a very silly thing to argue about ages in Marvel comics. Maybe Morrison was being provocative for that very reason?

Geoff Klock said...

Matt, Neil: you are right that it is silly to speculate about the ages of characters, but Morrison started it by having Emma claim a certain age.

Neil: you are too nice -- do you really think Morrison was trying to be provocative?

David Golding said...

I always thought it was precisely Morrison having a joke about Marvel Time.

neilshyminsky said...

Geoff: *shrug* No, probably not. Given how thoroughly he mocks the X-comics, though, I think that I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt. The option exists in the text to read it that way, I think, whether intentional or not.