Saturday, January 3, 2015

X-Men by Chris Claremont issue #4 (1992)

I was still reeling from the three-part Magneto story arc while reading this, to be quite honest. Luckily enough, this issue was the much-deserved wacky break from all the stressful and heartbreaking Prof X/Mag that I was bombarded with the last time. Here we got to see some of the X-Men (Wolverine, Jubilee, Gambit and Rogue) fool around and act like a bunch of college kids. While these four played basketball together, Gambit flirted rather lasciviously and downright creepily towards Rogue then made her go out on a date with him as his victory prize for winning the game. It's as ridiculous as it reads, guys.

Later on we see Gambit and an all-dressed up Rogue about to ride his motorbike but then Wolverine shamelessly offered to chaperon them and he was also accompanied by everyone's-kid-sister Jubilee. To add more insult to the injury, Beast strolls in and happily cockblocks Gambit by offering his services as a chauffeur for Wolverine and Jubilee. Forced into the most awkward group hang ever, Gambit didn't even bother resisting because I'm pretty sure he's confident enough to put on the moves with Rogue even if there are two grown men and a teenage girl watching. Hell, he may even enjoy an audience.

I love that he even managed to insert a "Brady Brunch" joke in there too, in case the readers don't get the semi-incestuous vibe in this scene (WHICH WE DO, thank you very much). There is never a moment Gambit is not trying to get some tail, okay? I do question his sanity though. Rogue has made it pretty clear that any kind of skin-to-skin contact will zap his energy from him which, of course, if you're Gambit simply means that the girl is just being a relentless tease. You know what, there's no point trying to rationalize a hot-blooded womanizer's thought process so let's move on to the plot of this issue.

But let's talk about the subplot concerning Moira first since it still ties back from the last story arc. She's clearly still traumatized and no one is really expecting her to recover from the guilt-ridden, hellish experience she had just been subjected to the last time because of Magneto's rage which she inadvertently caused to herself, what with all the genetic code-tampering and amoral negligence and all that. Her boyfriend Sean (Banshee) wanted to make her feel better but he couldn't speak to her because his jaw was recovering from the previous battle so Professor X volunteered some short-term telepathic link between the lovers which should have been super awkward for everyone (including Cyclops who was just there, accompanying Prof X like the teacher's pet he is) given the history Moira has with Charles (they were engaged to be married once). But then again, Charles Xavier has done a series of frequent creepy things in the run of X-Men so we can just sweep this part of their dynamic under the rug and just believe that Prof X was doing a nice thing for an ex-lover and her current boyfriend. So let's jump to the plot.

The plot seems to be about villains I do not recognize at all except for the fact that they were a part of Wolverine's past and want to take revenge on him--or use him in some self-serving way. That's the unavoidable problem when you're technically ageless with a bad temper or a mutation that attracts the most vile of people to experiment on you. Typical Wolverine story, you know. Still, like I said, I know certain things about the X-Men comics particularly those I've watched from the cartoons or anything involving the professor or Mags, but I'm a little uneducated with the baggage of other characters. There's this Japanese fellow named Matsuo who is totally sporting a rip-off Wolverine hair and a dead character whom he resurrected and who calls himself as the Omega Red. At this point in the comics, I'm grasping at straws. I'm figuring out things little by little and hopefully will be more enlightened later on.

For now, I'm giving this issue a high rating because I enjoy the fluff and lightness to the scenes involving the fivesome as well as that character conflict with Moira. The action scenes at the later part where a group of armed men sabotaged the fivesome were exciting to look at. Though well-trained mutants, Beast, Jubilee, Rogue, and Gambit were captured and detained (thanks to carefully altered drugs, of course). Meanwhile, they separated Wolverine because Logan has a death match to participate in with Omega Red in the next issue. While this climactic event happens, a distraught Moira just left the mansion to get some alone-time and the cab she was riding in drove across the site of the abduction but poor Moira was too consumed by grief to even bother checking out what happened so she indirectly allowed her friends to be taken. But then again, I can forgive that. It's not like she can be of much help. Sure, she could have contacted Professor X earlier but it's not like the professor doesn't have a way of being alerted when his students get captured.

This issue had a great build-up and pacing to it. I'm getting a hang of Claremont's verbosity too even if some of his dialogue do come off stifled. Jim Lee draws women very beautifully too and his action panels are dynamic enough to keep things interesting visually.


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