Wednesday, January 28, 2015

X-Men Forever by Chris Claremont issue #16 (2009)

I was out of commission for four days due to a full-day re-watch of Doctor Who series 8 with a trusted geekmate and then an unexpected attack of stomach flu afterwards (two unrelated events, of course). That has to be the worst crippling illness for a glutton like me because there were only a few sources of pleasure I can derive from (comics being one of them) and food usually occupies the top of that list. I had to slightly fall behind my readings so I'm going to have to adjust my schedule for XMF issues for this week. I've also realized that I might stop doing individual reviews after volume 4 which is the current one I'm reading about Rogue and Nightcrawler's Mississippi mission. I might decide to post one review for a story arc instead regardless of the number of issues it is composed of just to save time and whittle down my insights to the most important content.

But I digress. Let's talk about the aforementioned story arc now. With the addition of the main plot, two other things happened for this issue. We'll briefly tackle those first since they're merely details in the background that more or less signify the process of the ongoing threads we've been following for a while now. 

First is the one concerning Nick Fury after S.H.I.E.L.D agent Diana Dugan and Sabretooth uncover a man posing as one of the agency's officers sneaking in the underground rooms of the Xavier Mansion, possibly planting or taking out something there (we have yet to find out). Fury and Dugan went on to investigate possible agents who may be double-crossers themselves but has so far only made some definable progress with a female agent who, teary-eyed, explains that it was the Consortium who found her first and recruited her in no time, that she had no other choice but to obey their orders because this organization has certain pulls in places she warns that they wouldn't believe. I believe this means her loved ones must have been threatened. Fury and Dugan obviously want to get to the bottom of this so they may apply more questionable tactics and that's where Sabretooth is more than happy to provide.

The second one is about Hank and Professor X in the laboratory with Moira MacTagert, arguing about their research concerning the cure for mutant burnout. Xavier agrees to share his notes with Hank but Hank still believes he is hiding something and this offends Xavier so they started yelling at each other and Moira had to get in between them and stressed that the task they are undertaking should be prioritized more than whatever petty unresolved issues they may have between them. Xavier apologizes again for withholding the discovery of the burnout this long but Hank decided to walk out of the lab, possibly to clear his head. I honestly can't blame Hank for still resenting the professor but I sure hope they can work together nevertheless. There is a bigger picture here that needs to be understood perfectly before they ever hope to accomplish anything.

Now Southern Comfort mainly focuses with that hinted storyline from the previous issue where Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler) receives a phone call from a childhood friend-turned-lover-now-ex named Amanda and she seemed to be in some sort of trouble. Rogue offered to help since she is after all born and raised in Mississippi where Kurt is headed to see said woman. On the way there, he started discussing the nature of his relationship with her and their eventual fallout. Amanda was the first person who loved him regardless of his physical mutation (being blue and having a tail). Worried sick, Kurt could only hope he's not too late. When he and Rogue arrived at the place, they started looking for her inside a house whose address Amanda left Kurt awhile back in case he wants to contact her. To their surprise, it was Mystique who was waiting for them. It turns out that she shape-shifted into Amanda when she made that phone call to Kurt. But why the deception?

A little historical background for the novice: Originally, Rogue used to be a villain and she was Mystique's adopted daughter back in the early decades of the X-Men continuity. Fast forward to now: this should explain the tension and bitter feelings Rogue has for her during this encounter. When Mystique delivered her to Professor X, Rogue became a different person under his tutelage (one can say a different character interpretation; truly, thanks to Claremont, Rogue's present characterization has turned her into a fan-favorite heroine) and so she's not that eager to make any sort of reconciliation with her former guardian after all these years especially when Mystique has proven time and time again how elusive and deceptive she could be. However, Mystique maintains that this time she wants to make things right, starting with her children. She atomic-bombs the revelation that Kurt is her son after all which shouldn't be surprising to anyone who may have suspicions about it considering they both have blue skin (it's totally not racist to make that connection, okay?).

Rogue is not fucking pleased and doesn't want to listen to any more of Mystique's bullshit (apparently, Misty is worried about the mutant burnout though assures his son that Kurt has an immunity to it, thanks to her genetics). Rogue tackles her and they break into a window and crash a car. Unfortunately, with Rogue's super strength, she managed to destroy some sort of gas tank when one of the car's door ends up landing on that tank and everything goes KABOOM! with the impact. Once Kurt teleports to the scene, he finds Rogue unconscious but no sign of Mystique. He panicked when he realized that Rogue was hardly breathing so he decided to perform CPR on her, knowing that she will siphon his powers through such a direct contact. Mystique watches from afar, unable to discern what was happening at first. When she finally approached them, she realized what Kurt had done. Apparently, siphoning can be a two-way thing: Kurt was momentarily transformed to an average-looking human while Rogue got everything definable about Nightwalker: the blue skin, four-fingered hands, tail and the teleporting ability. Well, joy. But for how long could they both stay that way?


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