Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Breaking the mindcontrol mastermold

Is mind control always wrong?

Judging from the 75+ previous posts, the answer might seem obvious... but no, sometimes mind control isn't merely a tired writer's tool or a way to act out fanboyish obsessions with power and seduction.

Even Chris Claremont proved that on occassion... For instance, in today's entry covering Uncanny X-men 246 & 247 that feature two forms of mind control, written from a whole new angle.

The two parter starts with Carol Danvers in New York, visiting Arabella Jones, an old friend from her days as Ms. Marvel.

No, no worries, its not an error, that ís Rogue talking like she's Carol. Because, well, she kind of is. Rogue once used her absorption powers to drain Ms. Marvel, but she didn't just get her powerset, Carol's persona was imprinted on Rogue's mind as well. 

Until recently, it had remained dormant but during a traumatic trip to Genosha, Rogue was forced to relinquish control of her mind to the Carol aspect of her persona in order to survive... Causing the two to fight for dominance ever since.

Quite frankly, I'm not quite sure why the X-men were cutting 'Carol' so much slack. It may sound cruel, but she really wasn't much more than a psychic imprint of the real Carol Danvers... A woman who was still very much alive... Fighting alongside professor Xavier and the Starjammers in space at the time, as the cosmically powered Binary. Having this bitter afterimage torture Rogue seems cruel.

Of course Claremont didn't allow himself an easy way out and went out of his way to point out that the two personas in Rogue's head caused a form of static that made it impossible for telepaths to go in and sort stuff out. How... convenient.

Still... its powerful stuff, if you're willing to consider 'Carol' to be a real person. Speaking of people who aren't exactly real... Does anyone remember how Doctor Strange and Illyana altered the timeline to make sure the Hyborean wizard Kulan Gath wouldn't rise to power and turn Manhattan into his own private barbaric playpen?

Well, they did... and due to their tampering, a supersentinel from the future called Nimrod was shifted to our present. Nimrod is like the Terminator, capable of assuming humanoid form and learning from his mistakes... yet he always seemed unable to adapt his nigh fluorescent pink hue into something a little more imposing.

Anyhoo, whenever Nimrod wasn't wiping out mutants or fighting crime, he was enjoying a relatively quiet life as Nicholas Hunter, foreman of a New York explosives crew. So far so good, until one day he picked up a piece of metal on a jobsite that wasn't simply debris...

Turns out what seemed like an ordinary piece of shrapnel, was actually the command module of the prime Sentinel Master Mold... the grand poobah of all mutant hunting robots... and a very early predecessor of Nimrod. Which would explain why he would be mostly pink as well... Sigh.

One might argue that this, shall we say, familiarity allowed the Master Mold to take control of Nimrod... But following that exact same logic, shouldn't my Windows 3.11 from 1992 be able to completely hack and control Windows 7? After all, it came before... right? Ahh, suspension of disbelief.

Getting back to the story, Master Mold quickly used the materials of the building site to grow to gigantic size, adapting the advanced Nimrod technologies to gain even more upgrades in the process. Psylocke and Rogue (with 'Carol' behind the wheel) were the first to take notice of this threat and Carol flew into action wearing her old Ms. Marvel duds. Lets see how it went...


The Master Mold knocked out Carol, giving Rogue her own body back... Groggy or not, she helped the innocent bystanders get to safety and before long the X-men showed up to fight this massive menace. But, as it turns out, Master Mold was forced to fight another opponent on the inside as well...

So... when two entirely artificial intelligences are combined... a human telepath can still affect them? Wow, that's a real brain zinger. 

In the end, the X-men were able to blast the Master Mold to bits... but by then it had already incorporated Nimrod's capacity for preservation. If only a single shred remained intact, the robot could and would recover... and the nightmare would start again. Also, the internal bickering between a pink faced father of mutant killing robots and a futuristic killing machine who for no other reason dan too bee distinctive, started toiking like a Nooow Joisey tough guy... Ahhh, feggedaboutit!

Dazzler came up with a solution to the problem: simply send the Master Mold through the Siege Perilous... that mystical portal to the afterlife and reincarnation Roma gave the X-men a while back. Anyone who passes through the Siege, will be judged based upon his or her actions in life and given a new life based on the outcome.

Despite their inner monologues, Master Mold and Nimrod are still very much machines... So, Dazzler basically sent two toaster ovens to be reincarnated... And a few years later we ended up with Bastion and Operation: Zero Tolerance.

So much for balancing the scales and granting a new lease on life... There he is, still robotic, still fulfilling his notion of the prime directive.

And he STILL dressed in pink. I guess karma really is Boy George's bitch.


Branden said...

"Carol" is more than just a psychic imprint- she is the totality of Ms. Marvel's experiences. While it is true the Carol's body was back running around as Binary, that body had all of the memories returned to her by Professor X but none of the attachments- for example she knew her family and friends but she had none of the feelings one would have for them. Rogue had essentially permanently (at that point) mind-raped her. Plus you gotta remember that Claremont loved the character, especially after she got raped and mind-controlled by Marcus in the Avengers.

Nathan Adler said...

Despite appearances in Uncanny X-Men #247, Chris Claremont revealed on the old racmx site that he had never intended for the Master Mold configuration to get sucked through the Siege Perilous with Rogue after it had merged with Nimrod.

During the scene where Master Mold is holding Rogue and anchoring itself to the ground, Dazzler shoots them just as the Nimrod Memory Core convinces the Master Mold Memory Core that their merger is akin to being a mutant and that he "fulfil his Primary Directive" by not only killing Rogue but itself. Just as Nimrod says this, Dazzler fires her laser.

The next panel shows the laser hitting Nimrod/Master Mold in the head. It doesn't appear to be doing any harm. Then, in the next panel, there is a HUGE explosion. Then, in the next panel, we can see Rogue being blasted through the Siege Perilous from a massive shockwave.

Key Points:
1) Dazzler, even at her best - which she wasn't at this point because of fatigue - couldn't have disintegrated the Nimrod/Master Mold Construct. Especially after Rogue had just done a sub-orbital dive bomb onto Nimrod/Master Mold while having absorbed Colossus' steel form and Nimrod/Master Mold recovered quickly.
2)The panel with Rogue being blasted through the Siege Perilous via shockwave shows no hint of Nimrod/Master Mold being blasted through.
3) Nimrod/Master Mold never reconstructed itself after it's destruction.
This hints STRONGLY that Nimrod/Master Mold self-destructed as Alison hit it with her laser. That would also explain the massive shockwave that flung Rogue through the Siege Perilous.

Master Mold anchors itself to the ground to prevent itself from going through the Siege Perilous, and restrains Rogue - after being convinced by the Nimrod Memory Core that their merger is akin to being a mutant - with the intention of fulfilling its "Primary Directive", and killing itself, since it now considers itself to be a mutant.

Further, it would be totally intent on ensuring it does not go through the Siege if it suspects it has become a mutant, since it would fully realise that it may be reborn as a mutant, anathema to its "Primary Directive".

In the meantime, Dazzler fires her laser at its head, which has no effect. It then self-destructs, and Rogue gets blasted into the Siege by the shockwave.

The merged Master Mold/Nimrod does not attempt to reconstruct itself, since it would realise that doing so would continue its mutant existence, thus it ensured its own destruction was permanent.

Unknown said...

This was the era of X-Men comics I grew up on. Silvestri's art is still some of my favourite art ever on this title. It was so raw and sexy.

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