Thursday, December 18, 2008

Psylocke learned mindcontrol from the best

I suppose its inherent to the nature of telepaths, but most of the X-men's telepathic members have used mind control at one point or another. Back when Stan Lee was writing the team, Xavier used his powers to make Beast's parents forget all about him. Talk about a doozy, but while Claremont was writing, team telepaths made the mind their personal playground. Jean Grey, as Phoenix, was guilty of manipulating Kitty Pryde's parents for instance. But near the end of his run, Claremont had Betsy Braddock, aka Psylocke, commit several mindcontrol transgressions against members of her own team! Lets review some of the highlights...

After returning from a mission to the Savage Land, Psylocke sensed that the cyborg criminals known as the Reavers had invaded their Australian homebase. Knowing they were severely outmatched, Psylocke decided to give the team an easy way out: the Siege Perilous. This was a gift the X-men had received a while ago from the otherdimensional ruler Roma. The gem shaped device turned into a portal to the afterlife. Whoever entered through it, was granted a new leash on life, providing a form of instant reincarnation. Prefering this over certain death, Betsy used her mental control to convince her fellow X-men to enter the Siege as the Reavers approached to finish them off. Certainly a powerful moment, but also remarkable as she gives the other X-men no say in the matter. They have to die, because Betts says so. Doesn't really seem right, does it?

Still, Betsy also used the Siege and was got reincarnated. Sort of. I'll spare you the convoluted history of early 90s Psylocke, but basically: she didn't reincarnate into a new form at all. An amnesiac Betsy appeared on an island near Japan. There, she was recovered by Matsu'o Tsurayaba, a businessman who had close dealings with the crime syndicate known as The Hand.

One of their best operatives was the female assassin Kwannon. This minor telepathic hitman got severly injured on assignment, which gave Matsu'o a brilliant idea: lets combine the two women! He got his wish, thanks to the outerdimensional villain Spiral and her Body Shoppe. Spiral placed Betsy's mind inside Kwannon's body, much to Matsu'o's delight.

Also, because this storyline ran during Marvel's Acts of Vengeance crossover, in which heroes fought villains they were unfamiliar with... for that reason alone, the Mandarin showed up in X-men. One of the Mandarin's ten rings of power lets him control minds and... well, I suppose you can see where this is going, right?
"Next: Lady Mandarin!" Ow, next issue blurbs... sometimes you ARE downright profetic. Yes, I suppose because of the Acts of Vengeance, Claremont had Psylocke 'retrieve' the Mandarin's rings, binding her ever closer to his will. In a startling dream-like sequence, Psylock was forced to kill her fellow X-men and her brother Brian Braddock. They all had one of the Mandarin's rings. Once she completed the set, she was under his complete control, allowing for the transformation into Lady Mandarin. But in her new form, this Psylocke really was into mindcontrol. Lets see what she does when she encounters her former teammate Wolverine and his sidekick Jubilee...

"I am Lady Mandarin"... *SIGH*... I suppose I could fill another blog with THIS particular writing tick of Claremont's. At one point or another most of his characters feel the need to enter the scene shouting their own names. I get why he started doing this, its a great way to introduce new readers to the often confusing array of characters running around any given X-men comic, but still... its hardly realistic. Yet, 'Lady Mandarin' had 'nailed the kid', but her real target was Wolverine. The Hand wanted to forcibly recruit him as their new assassin. Mind you, this was in 1990, a good 15 years before Mark Millar introduced the same concept during his Wolverine run.

Yup, its mind control at its finest... using her telepathic powers, Psylocke tried to brainwash Wolverine, in an attempt to get his primal, violent urgings to work for the benefit of The Hand. It seemed to work for an instant or two, but Logan broke free. So, if at first you don't succeed... try, and try again... In her new body, Psylocke fought Wolverine and used her psychic knife, the manifestation of her mental powers, to get the job done.

Awww, Betsy Braddock... Once, your telepathy floated like a butterfly, now your knife stings like a bee-yotch!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Shadowy Charley: Mindcontrol Xavier style

So, just where had Charles been while the King was busy conquering Earth?

Well... long story short... A while ago, Xavier got mugged by an anti mutant mob and would have died if the Morlocks hadn't taken him to their healer. He managed to put ol' humpty dumpty head back together again, but Charles didn't allow himself any time to fully heal. This caused him to have a fatal heartattack in Uncanny X-men # 200.

Luckily, his ladylove Shi'ar empress Lilandra had been aware of his anguish thanks to their mental link. She came to his aid and teleported him away so he could get the proper medical attention on board the Starjammer. But when the stargate to Earth got destroyed, Charles was left stranded in space.

This meant the X-men were cut off from their mentor for an extended period of time. But as luck would have it, another crisis brought the X-men and Xavier together again. Lilandra's terrorist sister Deathbird asked intergalactic teleporter (and singing sensation!) Lila Cheney to bring the X-men to her. Lila complied and after a brief struggle, Deathbird told the X-men what was wrong. Well, take a look. She wasn't kidding: something was very-very wrong indeed...

Professor Xavier, using his mental powers to enslave the Imperial Guard along with the Shi'ar empire itself? Surely, its still years before every writer started to paint the X-men's benign leader as an evil mastermind, so this is totally out of character for the man. But the mind control fun didn't stop there, because when the X-men confronted their mentor, he got a few new playthings.

"The X-men are mine"

But who are you, anyways? Turns out the real professor Xavier was being kept in a stasis jar, while his body and powers were copied by... A Skrull. More than 15 years before Secret Invasion, Claremont had undercover Skrulls trying to destabilise other worlds. After his ruse was discovered, the Skrull dropped the Xavier guise and took on Psylocke's form when the team tried to free Xavier. Luckily, Forge wasn't as vulnerable to Psy-Skrull's psychic knife as he'd hoped.

 "You've disrupted my pattern... triggered a partial reversion to my base form..." 

You just gotta love Claremont's knack for over-X-plaining the obvious. But still, Forge's battle with the Skrull formerly known as Xavier/Psylocke marked the end of the battle for domination of the Shi'ar empire. Professor Xavier was freed and, when told about the Shadow King threat, he decided to return home and deal with the crisis. Lets take a look how he chose to start the fight against his mind controlling arch nemesis.

That's Charles, dressed in Shi'ar battle armor (hence the triangular helmet), mind controlling a group of Scottish soldiers to hand over the X-men's old Blackbird jet. Charles had hoped the King wouldn't notice his return until it was too late, but the Shadow King was very much aware.

In fact, he sent someone very close to Xavier to take care of the professor. The King mind controlled Peter Nicholas to confront Charles when he was at the X-men's former headquarters in Salem Center. Peter who? Remember how Psylocke suckered Colossus into the Siege Perilous?

No? Well, it was one of his better deaths... Colossus was reincarnated as Peter Nicholas, a New York artist who, rather conveniently, was a dead ringer for Peter Rasputin. So much for advancing on the karmic scale. Of course, once the Shadow King found out about him, Nicholas was forced to attack Xavier and Stevie Hunter. Close to death, Xavier found himself with no other alternative than this...

Yup, that's Charles Xavier for ya... Destroying an entire person (a soul, if you will) to save his own life. He erased Peter Nicholas and brought back the original template of Peter Rasputin, who the Shadow King hadn't managed to get his claws into.

Talk about character suicide... Still, it worked and good ol' Colossus was back in the game... And did we need him! Shadow King finally revealed himself to Xavier... take a look.

Ow yeah, the King meant business. He had taken over the mutants on Muir Island: Legion, Strong Guy, Multiple Man, Siryn, Rogue and Moira McTaggert as his personal strikeforce.

His 'Islanders' had already taken out most of the X-men, but Xavier alongside X-Factor managed to defeat the King. However, it turned out to be a costly victory...

The Muir Island/Shadow King saga brought Claremont's 16 year run on Uncanny X-men to a close. He would later return for two more mind controlled runs, which we'll cover next time!

Beating it to death: Shadow King's shtick part 2

Just imagine for a second you were a powerful but disembodied psychic entity... Trapped on the astral plane, looking at a world you can no longer directly influence. I'm sure after a while you'd get pretty pissed off, right? That's basically the entire reason for the Shadow King acting the way he does (apart from being pure evil for, well, evil's sake I suppose).
When police detective Jacob Reisz died of an appearant heart attack, the Shadow King took control of his body and started recruiting people for his cause. No, he didn't really need a physical presence in this world, he could easily influence folks from afar.

But hey... your heroes need someone to punch, so the Shadow King recruited Lian, a woman (dressed in black leather, in true Claremontian style) who acted like his second in command. He also gathered a bunch of footsoldiers known as Hounds, who acted like wild animals and were dressed in... ow, you guessed it.

So, what was the Shadow King all about this time? Ow, the man had a big plan! He wanted to feast on all the hatred and bad feelings of humanity. You see, negative emotion is like a drug to the Shadow King. He feeds on it, so he does everything he can to fan the flames of intolerance and hatred.
It was never explained on panel, but I guess that's why people around Polaris suddenly started acting crazy. She had lost her powers in the Savage Land, but all of a sudden Lorna was superstrong and had some kind of uncontrollable negative emotional pull on people. Which was bad news in itself, but then the Shadow King showed up on Muir Island where Lorna had been residing. He took control of Xavier's son Legion and started pulling the strings behind the scenes. Take a look...

That's Legion, shown here in his Jack Wayne persona, pleading Carol Danvers for forgiveness. Carol had come to Muir Island after she got seperated from Rogue (its a long story involving the Siege Perilous, the Reavers, Magneto and more). Once she got to the island, Legion and the King tried to take her over. Poor Carol didn't really stand a chance. Not that her former mind-partner Rogue fared any better when she came up against the King...

... Hmmm, well, if you can't beat them, join them I suppose. But where Rogue joined with the King semi-willingly, there were others who offered more of a struggle. You see, Shadow King was also busy controlling the American government. In such an undertaking, there's one government official you just can't ignore: the ever ready willing and not very able Valerie Cooper. Val fell under the King's influence too, but at least she felt a little bad about it...

Owww snap and all that... But the King still wasn't without his pet peeves. He carried a particular grudge against Storm, who he considered a prize possession that had gotten away. He was hell bent on getting her under his control. Storm, by that time, had been reduced to a preteen by Nanny and was running around New Orleans with the (in those days) mysterious and exciting mutant thief Gambit. Shadow King tried his darndest to get to Storm.

The road to Storm went through the ragin' Cajun but the King and his hounds were very eager to add him to the list of mental accomplices as well. The big win for Shadow King was Storm herself however and, like he tried so many years before, the Shadow King once again attempted to control the weatherwitch.

Of course, Storm broke free and got away with Gambit (hey, this is called the X-men not Shadow King... the bad guys still always lose). Yet, the King and his flunkies remained a thorn in the X-men's side and they even expanded their targets to include the other X-teams like X-Factor. Here, original X-man Jean Grey gets blindsided on the Astral Plane by the Shadow King and Lian, his Queen.

Jean was saved by (early 90s bad ass) Psylocke, but by then it was obvious: the Shadow King was a problem that had to be dealt with. So, who you gonna call? Yup... the man who originally took care of the King: Charles Xavier. In part 3: we find out getting Charles back also involves some mind control and the professor is revealed to be a fan of 2 can play that (mind control) game!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Shadow King's Shtick part 1: King Control

Shadow King.

If there's a single villain Chris Claremont created that served his penchant for mind control during his tenure as writer on Uncanny X-men, it has to be him.

Who is the King? A malevolent psychic entity with no physical form who delights in causing pain, trouble and mental suffering. His main foe is Charles Xavier, who he met many years ago when the Shadow King inhabited the form of Egyptian telepath Amahl Farouk. Check out this page from Uncanny X-men # 117.
 A young Charles meets Amahl in Cairo and senses his innate evil.

Charles and the Shadow King fight, the villain wants to destroy Xavier's mind and leave him an empty shell, ready to be corrupted by the King's evil presence. This is basically his entire shtick. But Shadow King severly underestimated Xavier's mental powers.

 Charles defeated Fahrouk, which forced the King to flee the Egyptian's body, basically condemning the entity to a life on the astral plane. This ensured the Shadow King's vendetta with Charles Xavier.

Yet, for the longest time (Uncanny X-men 117 was released in the late 70s) the villainy of the King wasn't much more than just another part of Xavier's origin... Just like Charles had been buddies with Magneto or had his legs crushed by the villain Lucifer... That was, until New Mutants came along and the King resurfaced again.

Xi'an had every right to be frightened. After a fight against Viper and the Silver Samurai she had mysteriously disappeared . She'd presumedly died in a big explosion only to resurface months later... Not quite herself... Well, lets just say there was more of her to love.

Yes, this is Karma, friends... The Shadow King had taken control of her mind, still in his 'Amahl Farouk' persona. Using Karma, the King finally had an outlet for his physical urges again. He liked to indulge himself with food and drink, causing Karma to become hugely obese (as Farouk had been). But don't be afraid, good always triumphs over evil in the end. No matter how obese...

Begone fattie, be goooooone... Ah, if only actual weight loss was that easy. Still, this wasn't the last time Amahl 'Shadow King' Farouk would plague the team.

A couple of years later, Shadow King was back. This time, the X-men had disbanded and the mutant inventor Forge was trying to locate the team. On the astral plane, he came face to face with the King (again posing as Farouk).

Forge had to fight for his very life, because the King planned to consume his mind and take over Forge's body... All in an attempt to once again gain entry to the physical world. Forge managed to beat off the Shadow King, but in the end the entity accessed our world through the corpse of one detective Reisz.

In that guise, he would plot one of most audacious (mind control) gambits yet. More on that next time!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Polaris just can't catch a break

Ah, Uncanny X-men # 254 & 255... A sequel to issue 250, of sorts and a guilty pleasure for yours truly. The X-men had pretty much disappeared, died, wandered off or mentally forced by Psylocke to enter the Siege Perilous in order to avoid getting killed by the Reavers. 

Yet, Donald Pierce and his band of cyborg maniacs are hardly people... let alone people that take no for an answer. They wanted to kill some X-men, so they went out to find some. This led them to Moira McTaggert's research lab on Muir Island, where reservists like Banshee and Forge had been residing as of late...

Another former X-man happened to be there as well, Lorna Dane. After having been recently depowered, she went to Muir to gather her thoughts. But on the way there, she also discovered some new powers totally unrelated to her lost gifts of magnetic manipulation.

All of a sudden, she became like a mutant She-Hulk without the green skin. That didn't offer much protection against the Reaver Pretty Boy, tho...

Being raped isn't half as bad when its done by a pretty boy! Anyways... Pretty Boy used his mental powers "rewriting the mental wetware of the brain" to get Polaris to switch sides. Fortunately, Banshee was there to sever the connection just in time.

Still... poor Polaris, before long she was exposed to this...

Ah yes... THIS storyline then. Another new super power popped up that caused everyone around her to act far more agressively and violent. This made her a perfect recepticle for the machinations of the Shadow King.

More about his huge evil scheme next post, but the Shadow King took over Charles Xavier's son Legion and used him to practically enslaved all the super powered folks on Muir... Starting with, you guessed it, Polaris...

Mindcontrol is not a thing of the past

Now, for the past few months I've been making fun of Chris Claremont's past efforts in the field of comics. Of course, it might appear I'm just picking on a side of his writing that's long since a thing of the past. Well... just to prove that Chris still can't resist a good mind control plot, I give you this scene from Big Hero 6 issue 3, released last week.

Honey Lemon, the woman with the magic purse, gets attacked by a mysterious villain with a mind controlling whip... And before you can say 'plotdevice done to death and beyond'... Honey Lemon belongs to the bad side.


Back to some older comics?

Savage land, savage loss of any mental control

Uncanny X-men # 250! 

A nice round number waranting a big anniversary issue. Claremont decided to celebrate by taking the (by that time severely thinned out) team to the Savage Land again.

There, they faced off against Zaladane and a new band of Savage Land mutates. One of them was Worm, whose power... well... You can see what he does. Coating his victims with self produced jelly, basically turning them into his slaves...

Of course, in the same issue, Zaladane employed a form of control first used by Magneto. You see, the whole storyline began with the magnetically powered Polaris.

Lorna Dane was last seen as the mind controlled vessel of the Marauder Malice, but at the beginning of the story she appeared free of Malice's influence right before she was kidnapped to the Savage Land... Where she met Zaladane who claimed to be her sister (Lorna...Dane...Zala...Dane...see?).

Using some technology left behind by Magneto/the High Evolutionary/the aliens who built the Savage Land (take your pick) Zaladane robbed Lorna off her powers and claimed them for her own. This left the metallic Colossus especially vulnerable to her and she forced him to kill a young mother and her child...

How cruel...

(of course, they turned out fine...)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nanny knows best

One of the weirdest villains Louise Simonson ever came up with was Nanny. A rather misunderstood scientist who wanted to save mutants by... well... capturing and turning them into child-like robots. Of course, a form of mind control is used to do this... In Uncanny X-men 248, Nanny and her aide Peter (aka Orphan Maker) decided to save the X-men and proceeded to do so. As seen above, they first captured Psylocke. A smart move, because it gave Nanny (and Claremont) no less than two credible ways to mind control folks.

So, here we have a Nanny-controlled Psylocke taking on her teammates Storm and Colossus. Storm is able to break free, but Peter is not so fortunate. Before this scene, both Havok and Dazzler had fallen prey to Nanny... With Rogue and Wolverine gone, this only left Storm free to deal with Nanny and Peter. Which she did, by destroying Nanny's vessel... She seemingly died in that attack and the team buried her remains the following issue.

Of course, this being Uncanny X-men... no one ever really dies. A few years later, Storm turned up alive and welll. But she was mysteriously turned into a preteen. How, you ask? Well, as it turned out: Storm didn't really destroy Nanny's ship... In fact, she was captured and Nanny destroyed a fascimile of her own vessel as a decoy, so she could have her way with Storm. Look at what she did to the windrider: trying to control her mind by reverting her to a young child... But Storm is a powerful person, she fights to protect her own mind. Good for her... Makes me wonder why Claremont ever took a liking to her, though...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Maddie Pryor's prior mind control

The nostalgia factor is strong when yours truly revisited Uncanny X-men vol. 1 # 234, one of the first X-men comics he ever read.

It turned out to be a great issue, set in the middle of the team's period in the Australian outback. Madelyne Prior, Scott Summers' estranged wife, was functioning as the X-men's tech support gal, operating the massive computer complex underneath their new headquarters.

So far so good... but once Maddie discovered her husband was part of X-Factor along with his first love Jean Grey, she quite understandably got pretty miffed. Her intense anger made her susceptible to the machinations of Limbo's prime demon S'ym, who sought a powerful minion who could quite literally unleash hell on Earth... Madelyne proved to be a perfect and welcome pawn, as she  began her slow transformation into the Goblyn Queen...

As the Queen-to-be, Madelyne suddenly developed several powers. Immunity to mind control for one... Quite a shocker for Claremont... AND the Genoshan genengineer who wanted to turn Madelyne in a mindless mutate in service of Genosha.

An attempt at mind control that failed? Ouch... that's gotta smart!

Bargain Basement: One storyline, two kinds of mindcontrol!

Meet the Dire Wraiths. Back in the 1980s, these aliens were a big threat to the Marvel universe. Sort of like the Skrulls nowadays. The Wraiths were busy infiltrating Earth, sort of like Secret Invasion, only their way of replacing people was a little more... drastic. A Wraith would use its dartshaped tongue to literally suck out the victim's brain thereby assuming his or her form. Not exactly mind control... but at the very least its an other example of people acting against character in order to advance the story. No... When it comes to actual mind control, the Dire Wraith storyline gave us the following in Uncanny X-men 188...

Yup... Nazé, Forge's Cheyenne mentor had been replaced by a Dire Wraith back in Uncanny 186 and now both of them were claimed by an unseen mystic force*. Two for the price of one... Ow Claremont, talk about spoiling yourself with sweet deals like that!

* In case you care: The unseen force was the big chaos demon only known as The Adversary who would cause major trouble for the X-men somewhere down the line. The Adversary used Nazé as a puppet in his schemes to take over the omniverse. I'll save you the scans, trust me: it was mindcontrol at its finest.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Malice Masters Mindcontrol

John Byrne and Chris Claremont have very different creative processes. Byrne loves to plan ahead, while Clarmont prefers to have plenty of room for last minute improvisations. Yet, when they were co-plotting Uncanny X-men together, these disparate styles led to some truly creative, great storytelling.

And as this post will show, great minds *do* think alike. Sort of. Confused? Don't be. We'll get to the point eventually.

First, lets revisit Uncanny X-men # 214, in which Storm, Rogue and Wolverine meet up with Allison Blaire, the mutant songstress Dazzler. After she'd been publicly outed as a mutant in the Dazzler graphic novel, she'd changed... carelessly showing off her mutant light powers on stage, which isn't the smartest thing to do in a world that hates and fears you.

What's gotten into Dazzler, you might ask? Well, its more of a question WHO, as we meet Malice, a psychic entity capable of controlling both mind and body. As as a sign of her presence, Malice's hosts manifest a slave-collar like choker around their necks. Very tasteful. Malice bodyhops around quite a bit during her first appearance... Which causes fun scenes like this...

"There's more malice in her sweet soul than she gives herself credit for.
But I go where I can have the most fun... and do the most harm!"

Ah, exciting... Wolverine in a berseker rage about to attack his teammates. When has that ever happened before, eh?

In the end, Malice is driven out... yet, a few issues later, we discover Malice was actually part of Mr. Sinister's Marauders. In order to be a more effective part of the team, Malice decides she wants to bond permanently to a host. Awww... it's truly heart warming to see even violent psychic entities feel the need to settle down and be exclusive.

Oh, look who she picked to go steady with, by the way...

"Malice... you possessed her!"

Her being Lorna Dane, better known as the X-men's Polaris! Quite a nice reveal back in the day and one of the few instances Claremont's dabbling with mind controlled heroes wasn't quickly reversed. Malice stuck with Polaris for a good few years before she was cast out. She briefly reappeared alongside Sinister in X-Factor during the mid 90s but remained mostly forgotten after that. It wasn't until Mike Carey's run on X-men  (Legacy) that Malice showed up again to take control of Karima Shapandar, the Prime Sentinel... A possession that gave us the immortal soundbite "I've gone digital, bitches"*

Soo, what does all this have to do with John Byrne ? Well... At about the same time Malice appeared in X-men... Just look who the Fantastic Four had to deal with...

Meet Malice, mistress of hate. And no She-Hulk, she's not kidding. Malice was mean and nasty, dressed in black leather with a spikey slave collar to boot. If that doesn't sound like a typical Chris Claremont female, I don't know what does... Ow, and here's the final straw...

Surprise, surprise... Malice was actually a mind controlled Sue Richards... Ow Invisible Woman, when will your suffering end?**

* No, the actual panel didn't say 'bitches', but it sure felt like she meant to say it.
** Not quite as sarcastically hypothetical as you'd expect, considering Millar's current run on FF is called 'The Death of the Invisible Woman"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mind control? Not even Power Pack is safe!

Say what you will about Chris Claremont, when it comes to mind control he's an equal opportunity offender. At least, that's what he proved in Uncanny X-men # 195 when he subjected small kids to it.

The story: Morlock and natural mother Annalee was desperate after her children had mysteriously disappeared.

So, what do you do? Well, you could always search for them of course. Maybe ask your fellow Morlock Caliban to help out, he's able to sense mutants after all... Or, you could go and kidnap someone else's kids. Yeah, that is indeed the easiest way out.

The Morlocks went out to get Annalee some replacement kiddies and, instead of raiding an orphanage, they opted to go after the Power children... Better known as Power Pack.

The kids got their minds tampered with, convincing them they were indeed "momma Annalees's children". But young girl Katie Power managed to break free and informed the X-men of her situation. So, the team came down into the tunnels and set the matter straight.

Lessons learned? You're never too young to be played like a puppet when Chris Claremont is writing you... And, for those of you wondering what happened to Annalee's actual children? They were killed. By Scalphunter. Of the Marauders.

Hey kids... comics!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Phoenix, a chip off the old mind control block

Ahh, the 1980s. A decade of change... But not for telepathic red heads in X-men comics written by Chris Claremont. And lets be fair... he wrote all of them.

Back in Uncanny X-men # 131,  Jean Grey mentally manipulated Kitty Pryde's parents into sending her to Xavier's school. Like mother, like daughter... in Uncanny X-men # 203, Rachel Grey, Jean's daughter from an alternate future time, tries to coerce the X-men to do her bidding as well.

Lets set the stage here. When it comes to early 80s Marvel crossovers, you just can't ignore The Beyonder. In 1984, he was introduced as the driving force behind the first company wide, massive crossover: Secret Wars. This 12 issue series was the biggest hit Marvel ever published, so it automatically merited a sequel.

The Beyonder, a supposedly all powerful being from a different dimension, came to this universe to learn more about humanity. This led him to visit all the different superhuman groups of the day in his quest for knowledge. Which, in turn, led to Secret Wars 2...

Much like a big child, the Beyonder quickly grew frustrated with his inability to grasp the intricate complexities of mankind. In one of his temper tantrums, he decided he wanted to die. His executioner was to be Rachel Grey... He granted her Phoenix-like powers (just like her mom) and basically dared her to confront and kill him. Rachel fell for his bait and decided to destroy the entire universe by breaching the M'Kraan Crystal.

But before confronting the Beyonder... Rachel decided she couldn't do it alone. She needed more power... She wanted the minds and souls of the X-men to fuel her as she fought the one from Beyond. Now, if you ask me, that's like trying to fight drought in the Sahara with 6 extra raindrops, but I'm sure Rachel had her reasons. Some of the team gave themselves willingly, some were sleeping and other like Storm protested heavily...

Nothing some mind control can't fix... The apple really doesn't fall very far, does it?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Selene brings out the be(a)st in people

One of the nice things about Selene: her mindcontrol comes in all shapes and sizes. There's the direct approach (as seen in the previous post) and there's this... Subtle mental manipulation. Selene turns the rather chunky Black Rook Friedrich von Roehm into a mindless killing machine... Again with the slave collar and chains and black leather. Oy oy... Talk about living your fantasy, Chris... (not to play devil's advocate, but doesn't Von Roehm look a lot like 1980s Chris Claremont? Just sayin'....)

The possessed Von Roehm is taken over by Rogue, who in turn gets mindcontrolled by Selene, who immediately goes after Rachel again... And hilarity ensues...

Selene sings a single tune

Selene is pretty much the quintessential Claremont villain. She hits on all the cliches people have been joking about for years now. She's an ancient, powerful goddess type figure who's used to being worshipped by slaves... Her dresscode is mainly black, leather outfits... and ow yes: she likes to control minds. She established her usual modus operandi during her first appearance in New Mutants # 11. The New Mutants had come to the hidden land of Nova Roma where Selene was posing as the seductive wife of one of Nova Roma's ruling senators. The immortal mutant Selene was actually the head priestess of a dark cult that worshipped death and celebrated human sacrifice.
Selene quickly developed an unhealthy obsession for Danielle Moonstar, better known as the illusion caster Mirage. She wanted to groom Danielle, looking to turn her into a being as dark as herself. Mirage and the New Mutants managed to escape, but Selene followed their trail back to New York.
There, she quickly adjusted to life in the new world by working her way into the Hellfire Club. The position of Black Queen was still vacant after the Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix debacle and it didn't take the superpowered Selene much effort to convince Sebastian Shaw to allow her a seat in the innercircle as the new Black Queen. And be fair, doesn't she just look ravishing in black leather?
Selene thrived in the Big Apple, randomly feasting on the lifeforce of bums and other lowlifes to restore her own life and beauty. But, always keeping an eye out for new subvertable talent, Selene soon noticed Rachel Grey-Summers. In Uncanny X-men 184, Selene first tried to claim Rachel...

Rachel was able to drive the age-old vampire of thanks to the timely intervention of Professor Xavier. Of course, if at first you don't succeed... A few issues later (UX-189, for those of you keeping track) Selene gets a new chance to take over not only Rachel, but the New Mutant Amara "Magma" Acqueilla as well. They both wanted revenge and snuck into the Hellfire Club to get it. Things... didn't exactly work out (chains and a slavecollar, Claremont? seriously? why not just whip them a bit to make the fantasy complete?!)

And a few years later... Uncanny X-men 454... Claremont's back and so are Rachel and Selene! Same old motivations, same old fight... same old outcome. -Yawn-