Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kulan Gath's total mind control part II: Ye Olde Mind Control

When we last left Manhattan, the recently revived ancient devil priest Kulan Gath had used a master spell to turn the entire island into a Hyborean citystate. Quickly conquering his many super powered enemies, Gath seemed utterly unbeatable. 

Even the Hellfire Club's Selene, as ancient and malevolent as Gath himself, was the N'garai worshipping sorceror's help (and mouth)less prisoner. But Kulan Gath wasn't satisified with merely mentally controlling the Morlocks, a fair share of the New Mutants and most of the Avengers. No, he wanted more mindless pawns to control...

He got his wish when the Avengers Starfox and Wasp were presented to him after one of the various fights that make up this two parter. By showing them their greatest fears, Gath was able to sufficiently weaken their will so he could bend them to his control. For Starfox, its the understandable fear to turn out like his brother Thanos, the genocidal despot... Understandable, because they share the same genes and upbringing...

But Wasp's secret anxiety is losing her humanity and shifting into a more wasplike form. Sounds horrible, lets hope its just an illusion. I mean, what are the odds of something crazy like that actually happening, right?

Ah well, at least it was still a buck fifty.

But the Wasp in Gath's reality was actually a control leeching vampire that drained her victims of the will to live, while Starfox used his great beauty to control anyone invulnerable to her teammate's pretty boy charms. Like Colossus. 

Still, it wasn't just the bad guys who use mind control. In the approach to the final assault on Gath, Captain America had Rachel Summers resort to some mental nudging to enter Kulan's keep.

"These are not the black leather clad SM slavegirls you are looking for"

Barely covered Star Wars pastiches aside, this was hardly the final time Claremont relied on mind control to help the story get across. After Captain America managed to bring in Rachel and the New Mutant Magma as prisoners, the endgame against Gath quickly unfolded.

The wizard was rendered powerless by Storm who managed to snatch away the source of his power: the magic necklace he carried round his neck. But the battle wasn't quite over yet. Remember how easily Gath managed to overpowered Selene? Almost like she wasn't quite herself, right?

Either Amara suddenly developed telekinesis or something is very, very wrong... 

Proving once again that appearances CAN be deceiving, it turns out that Selene had secretly taken Magma's place, giving the girl her appearance so she would be taken as Gath's slave. Now in possession of Kulan's necklace, Selene was ready to take over the world...

That is, if only Storm hadn't reached out to the dying techno organic New Mutant Warlock who offered a solution...

"There are worse fates"

Say, you don't think Storm could have meant being written by Brian Michael Bendis, do you?

Anyhoo... After changing into a semi-techno organic creature, she attacked Selene... infecting her with the techmode virus that turned her into a techno organic creature herself.

Some beautiful Claremont commentary accompany this rather... interesting... piece of art by John Romita junior. But there are some nits to be picked.

First, there's Warlock/Storm draining Selene's lifeforce, basically killing her. Whatever happened to Storm's sacred vow to never take a life? Second... How can Warlock even exist within the limited reality of Kulan Gath's Hyborean revertion master spell? Its already odd the Avengers member Vision is still a robot, how does an alien techno organic mutant shapeshifter fit into ancient times?

Still, ignoring all logic and established continuity for a second... lets see what happens next...  

With Strange freed from his previous existence as a statue in Kulan Gath's throne room, the master of the mystic arts quickly came up with a way to deal with this whole mess. A bit of a shame Strange's way of dealing with it had about as much emotional maturity to it as a toddler closing its eyes and wishing real hard all the bad things never happened.

"What you just experienced was a temporalspacial claudication..."

An awfully fancy term for: we prevented Kulan's ascension from ever happening.

Sounds fancy and plausible enough, that is if you ignore the simple fact they were only able to achieve this by adapting Kulan's masterspell... A spell Gath  invoked √°fter his initial ascension... So if Gath never arose, how could the spell have been there to stop him?

And... erm... My head hurts.

Skipping all that pesky temporal logic just like Claremont did, Strange caused the timeline to skip a beat so the original closing scene from Uncanny X-men # 189 had a rather different outcome...

Doctor Strange managed to prevent Gath's return by making his necklace disappear.

Not by invoking the flames of the Faltine and burning Kulan's presence from the amulet... Not even calling in the ruby ringed might of Raggador to pound it to dust. Alas, not even a single 'the power of Vishanti compells thee!' with complimentary pea soup spitting.

Nope, Strange does this.

Saving all mankind by yanking a mutant massacring Nimrod sentinel to the present, all the way from that far flung future of... 2014.

Yeah. Guess that's why they call the doctor... Strange.


hypnofool said...

As someone who's always had a fascination with mind control in comics (which x-men cartons and comics no doubt played a part of), I want to thank you for cataloging all these great examples on your blog. It's been a blast going through your entries and seeing the depth of Chris Claremont's kinks and the various ways he tried to shoehorn it into the series.

Trinidad...The New Eco-tourism destination said...

WHAT DE ASS?! I read this arc two months ago and I always believed NIMROD travelled to the past in pursuit of Rachel. But now it all makes was Strange's doing! Thanks for clearing up this mystery.

(and hello from Trinidad, I am one of Chris' biggest fans).