Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hording The Mind Control Part I: Kiss Kiss No, Wait, Why?

The year is 1987.

Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered in syndication, Ronald Reagan urged Soviet premier Gorbachev to 'tear down that wall', Microsoft celebrated the debut of Windows 2.0 and Chris Claremont paired with Alan Davis to produce the undeniably odd, mind control ridden Uncanny X-men annual # 11. 

In many ways, this annual reads like a test run for Excalibur, the British spin off Claremont and Davis would launch a year later. Not in the least because the story prominently features future Excalibur mainstays Captain Britain and Meggan.

The annual opens with Wolverine staggering home to Xavier's after an intense night of boozing. Dangling a sixpack in one hand and loudly slurring an old drinking song, his approach wakes up the entire team, who appear genuinely concerned for his well being. But Logan slumps past them, ignoring their concerns. Turns out today was supposed to be his wedding anniversary, that is if Mastermind hadn't mind controlled Mariko Yashida into cancelling the proceedings.

Even after Mastermind's involvement was discovered, Mariko still refused to marry him because of the responsibilities she has as head of her clan. His greatest desire was to win her heart again, but honor and duty bound him from pursuing the matter. This caused him considerable pain, which he tried to dull by going on a bender. Unfortunately, not even an alcoholic stupor could provide relief. His healing factor treats alcohol as a poison and quickly counteracts its effects.

Of course, Wolverine never shared this information with his teammates, who were understandably concerned about his erratic behaviour. Then again, Wolverine's always been portrayed as a considerable drinker... It still has Psylocke and her British guests worried though, yet before long Brian Braddock turns the subject to how his little sister is doing after she decided to remain with the X-men in the 1986 annual.

Psylocke appears to be riddled with self doubt, questioning her role with the team and how she even fits in with them. The awkward discussion is cut short when Psylocke picks up a mental alert from Storm, who was right in the middle of getting mugged in her own attic by a mysterious assailant. After a quick mental summons, the team races to her aid only to find the villain of the piece hard at work...

Just how someone decides on the codename 'Horde' while still being just one person is never mentioned. He is too busy making his case to the X-men, making sure they know he means business. 

"Evidently, our initial encounter was an insufficient demonstration of my power."

This is a cue for the X-men to attack Horde with all they got. But the villain proves completely impervious to all their attacks. Which is fitting because, in true Claremontian style... Horde seeks to subject and dominate the X-men, especially Storm whose beauty pleases him. Must be because of the similar hair do. 

So, what is this 'great task' Horde wants the X-men to undertake? 

"Why sully MY nails, dollybird... when I can have menials do so FOR me?"

Horde wants the X-men to infiltrate the Citadel of Light and Shadow to steal its legendary treasure: the crystal of ultimate vision... A textbook MacGuffin if ever there was one. Horde's motivation for recruiting the X-men is flimsy at best. If he truly is as invulnerable as he appears, he wouldn't even need to rope along unwilling accomplices. But Storm agrees to it anyway, reasoning that Horde is lying and is actually too afraid of something inside the citadel to get the crystal himself.

But before the team enters the ominious looking building, we're treated to this scene...

Out of the blue, Logan and Storm kiss. There's absolutely no established, let alone legitimate reason for their behaviour, but this one scene set a precedence for the years to come...

For instance, Uncanny X-men # 245, in the middle of the X-men's time in the Australian outback. The men on the team had just returned from a rather eventful night on the town, which Logan capped off by going in for a repeat performance...

After Claremont left, the physical relationship between Storm and Wolverine was completely ignored, that is until Chris returned to the X-books for a third time in 2004 and we get this scene...

"I'm the best there is at what I DO."

And apparently what he does best is platonically snog teammates. Well, so long as they're having fun.
Speaking of fun, that's the last thing the X-men have in part two of Hording The Mind Control: The Drop Becomes The Ocean


David said...

So, on your last post, I commented something regarding the 90's X-Men cartoon. And here I am doing it again. In that universe, there is a possible future timeline ruled by Mastermold (and not the same as Days of Future Past) in which Storm and Wolverine are married. It was a two-parter that featured Bishop, Shared, Forge, and the always-unappreciated Trevor Fitzroy. So there's yet another example, sparse though they may be.

Jayson said...

Oh boy. This one. It's Claremont Concentrate.