Wednesday, July 2, 2008

WEAPON X #1 – March 1995

Unforgiven Trespasses

Credits: Larry Hama (writer), Adam Kubert (breakdowns), Karl Kessel/Dan Green/Chris Warner (finishes), Pat Brosseau (lettering), Mike Thomas (colors)


Summary

Weapon X and Jean Grey go on a mission for the Human High Council to infiltrate Apocalypse’s Great Sea Wall in the Atlantic. They ride on a Sentinel, which is spotted by Apocalypse’s Infinite soldiers when its radar-jammer burns out. When the Infinite soldiers learn that two alpha-level mutants are on board, they send out a call for one of Apocalypse’s alpha-mutants. Jean sends Weapon X to eliminate the control center while she waits for the mutant presence she senses to arrive. Havok responds to the Infinite’s call and confronts Jean. Weapon X quickly disables the control center and returns to stop Havok from killing Jean. They escape on the Sentinel, but Havok follows. The Sentinel shoots off its hands, grabbing Havok and sending him through a teleporting transporter. Meanwhile, Cyclops informs Apocalypse that two mutant couriers have brought information given to them by Sinister to the Human High Council. McCoy sends a message to Apocalypse, telling him that Havok requires surgery to remove the Sentinel hand that’s been merged with his body after his fight with Weapon X. Apocalypse theorizes that Weapon X and Jean Grey are Sinister’s couriers. In London, the Human High Council meets to discuss the information Sinister sent them. They now know that Apocalypse’s peace proposals with humans in America are a diversion to cover his plans to attack Europe. They discuss a “doomsday strike” against North America. Suddenly, Magma appears and attacks the Council. She’s stopped by Weapon X, but not before she wounds Brian Braddock. Angered, Braddock says that Project Scorched Earth must be initiated.


Continuity Notes

Weapon X is, of course, this world’s version of Wolverine (he must’ve dropped the hyphen some time after the X-Men Chronicles stories). His partner is Jean Grey, whom he suspects only loves him out of gratitude for saving her from “the pens”. In a previous battle with Cyclops, Weapon X lost his hand and Cyclops lost his eye.


The Human High Council members are revealed to be Brian Braddock, Moira (MacTaggert) Trask, Bolivar Trask, Emma Frost, and Mariko Yashida. Psylocke also appeared in the background with the rest of the Council in X-Men Alpha.


Review

According to a comment Alan Davis made in the first issue of Rough Stuff magazine, the X-editors always wanted him to draw Wolverine and Jean Grey making out on a cover during his run. When he asked why, he was told that the “fans” would go nuts over it. I guess Marvel used the AoA event to give the audience what it thought they wanted, as Wolverine and Jean now get their own series together. The appeal of Wolverine and Jean together is kind of lost on me, but Hama does a decent job with the pairing. Having Wolverine suspect that she feels gratitude more than real love is a good idea that at least introduces some complexity to their relationship.


This is an action-heavy issue, but it also manages to move the storyline along. The pair’s mission at the start of the issue is a little unclear, but since it mainly serves to re-introduce the characters and allude to more backstory, it doesn’t bother me too much (at least it’s not another training session). If the idea is that they’re disrupting the base so that the Sentinels can reach America undetected, that’s ground already covered in Amazing X-Men #1. This could be the first continuity disconnect within the AoA titles, but since their mission is so vague in the first place, it’s hard to say. At the very least, the opening action scene gives Adam Kubert a lot of cool things to draw. I like his interpretation of the new Sentinels and Havok’s redesign especially. The three inkers don’t really mesh well, but most of the pages come out looking fine.


Hama continues to interject realistic elements into his stories, even when the title has been removed even further from the real world. A lot of the opening dialogue in this issue combines military speak and technological jargon with varying degrees of success. The Infinites don’t just say “The Sentinel’s broken through our defenses”; instead it’s, “The Sentinel must be running a fifth generation passive ECM suite! It is invading all weapons tracking systems and has penetrated our inner perimeter!” Havok doesn’t just complain about teleporting, he gripes, “You had me go through molecular disincorporation, risk the E.M. distortion wave and risk cellular-mapping reconstruction…”. It’s one of his writing quirks that I actually do enjoy, but it’s pretty heavy in this issue. The meeting of the Human High Council also tries to apply real world politics into the new reality, with the characters debating the merits of preemptive strikes and nuclear attacks. This scene feels more organic, although the selection of the Council members is odd. It’s pretty convenient that they’re all established X-characters, isn’t it? (And why on earth would Mariko Yashida be a member?) It seems like the Council became a dumping ground for the X-characters that couldn’t be worked into any of the main titles (and don’t ask me to explain how a few mutant characters ended up on the Human High Council). The actions of the Council will actually have large consequences that impact the entire event as the months go on. After Hama finished playing with the repercussions of Wolverine losing the adamantium, his solo title started to feel somewhat aimless, so it’s nice to see the AoA crossover give the title some direction.

6 comments:

Arvin Bautista said...

Man the missing hand was just so stupid... but Jean and Logan did really look good together, they both still felt like their characters but to see them in a circumstance in which they could make such different decisions and still feel organic was refreshing.

In fact, I'd venture to say that most of the main characters' AoA counterparts were pretty good examinations of their personalities under opposite circumstances.

The ones that don't seem right, Sabertooth seemed too good, Beast seemed too evil, and I hated how one-dimensional Havok was written. I always thought he kept getting short-shrift on his character, given his relationship with his brother. The guy just can't catch a break!

Teebore said...

I always thought that the action in this issue is what allowed the Sentinels to land in Maine in Amazing X-Men 1, but perhaps I was misunderstanding it then and misremembering it now.

Also, I too have never understood the appeal of and/or obsession with the Wolverine/Jean relationship amongst fans.

rob said...

This is another good one. I've never been a big Wolverine/Jean fan, but I did like the way AoA played with the Scott/Jean/Wolvie dynamic.

For some reason, I've always like that the Human High Council was a dumping ground for X-characters with no other role in the story. I probably just thought it was cool to see them all being used in this new way.

And I agree that Havok was way too one-dimensional. His constant angry whining was one of the only hiccups in Factor X for me.

Ritzy said...

wow very nice blog you have here =]

Im currently trying to read the xmen comics, but im a little lost.

Has the singular "Xmen" comic line ended?

I seem to find titles such as xforce, uncanny xmen, xfactor.. but not the original xmen line.
Do you know if its still continuing or what issue it stopped at?

thanks.
Ritzy

rob said...

This might be a good starting point to outline the various X-titles -
http://www.uncannyxmen.net/db/article/showquestion.asp?faq=4&fldAuto=289

It seems a little out of date (2005/6), but will give you a good idea. Yes, X-Men is still running. But it recently changed its name to X-Men:Legacy (not reflected in that article). It, along with Astonishing X-Men and Uncanny X-Men, are the three flagship books, and are all still running.

rob said...

Sorry, the link got cut off -

http://www.uncannyxmen.net/db/article/
showquestion.asp?faq=4&fldAuto=289

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