Chuck Austen’s X-Men: The Draco, Part 1

Ah, the Draco.  This is the story you think of when you think “Chuck Austen’s X-Men”.  Now that Nightcrawler’s father has been revealed (via flashback), we now get to the story where Nightcrawler and his X-Men buddies interact with dear old dad.  This is good stuff, people.  And by good stuff, I mean bad.  Very, very bad.

Took Place In
Uncanny X-Men #429-431

Team Line-Up
Archangel (Leader), Havok (Leader, I think), Nightcrawler, Iceman, Wolverine, Husk, Jubilee, Juggernaut, Northstar

Others You Should Be Aware Of
Polaris, Nurse Annie, Professor X, Sammy the Fish Boy, Carter Ghazikhanian

In a Nutshell
Nightcrawler meets his maker (well, half of his maker, I guess), Juggernaut misses his goldfish and Polaris needs therapy.

Late one night, a naked Nightcrawler decided to steal the Blackbird.  Well, actually he decided to scream and chant for a while and then steal the Blackbird.  Wolverine, who was calmly drinking beer on the roof of the school, made a quick yell of “Come back here!” but shockingly enough, it did no good.  So let’s see what’s in the kitchen, shall we?

The last place you’d think to look for him.

Iceman’s in the kitchen!  Did you guess?  You might recall that Iceman was stabbed by Black Tom Cassidy waaaay back in Hope and since has been undergoing a rather lame secondary mutation in which he’s turning completely to ice.  He’s been trying to keep it secret, but unfortunately he decided to go hang out in the freezer wearing nothing but his boxers, so that plan went up in smoke (or water vapor, tee hee).

Iceman gets called out in Xavier’s office for having a lame mutation and Archangel and Havok begin debating whether Bobby has the right to keep secrets when all of a sudden Wolverine busts into the room and screams as loud as he can to the people five feet in front of him whether anyone sent Nightcrawler on a mission.

Dude! Indoor voice!

One has to wonder just what Wolverine was doing in between the time he saw Kurt take off in the plane and when he got to screaming in the office since in that time the X-Men had time to discover Iceman, chip him out of his ice hold and allow him to get dressed and explain the situation.  Then again, Wolverine had been drinking…

More hilarious is that Professor X, being the world’s most powerful telepath as well as being about five feet from Wolverine when he yelled his question, still takes a moment to clarify the matter.

Gathering the “lame team”, Professor X explains that he had been trying to locate Abyss, who had been missing since the previous Uncanny writer’s run, and noticed a string of teleporters heading towards a specific point that just happened to be the island Havok, Polaris and Nightcrawler visited a few stories back.  Xavier, being oblivious and kind of a dick, didn’t bother investigating the matter at the time (and in all fairness, the previous event had nothing to do with this one) but now that Nightcrawler is headed there it dawns on him that the matter should probably be investigated.  Havok takes a moment to reiterate that they found an ancient civilization of mutants “predating all known civilizations”.

Who’s the next step in what?

And it’s here that I must pause to question this tidbit of information.  For those not around when it was first published, the span of Chuck Austen’s X-Men takes place during Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run.  A key part of that run is the discovery that mutants are becoming so commonplace in modern society that in ten years ordinary homo sapiens will cease to be born, as all babies will be homo sapien superior.  The next step in human evolution.  Key factor of the X-Men.

The revelation that a civilization of mutants predates all known civilizations completely undermines that, as they become not the next step of humanity, but a previous one.  Mutants aren’t the future – they’ve been here all along.  You might as well call them neanderthals or aliens or something.  Or a really stupid and pointless plot point that will never, ever be touched upon again.

Let’s continue.

On a random beach off the coast of Florida, we get a little blue guy wearing swimming trunks walking towards the sea.  We will later find out that this is Abyss, which might come as a surprise as he’s never looked remotely like he does here, done seemingly to give him resemblance to Nightcrawler.  Anyway, Nightcrawler (still naked) picks him up with his Blackbird.

Someone just read Holy War.

Back at the mansion, Havok is saying goodbye to his new girlfriend Nurse Annie (our hero, you recall) but just as she solicits post-mission sex (because she’s a trollop), Xavier brings in a shackled Polaris who of course makes a scene.  Now you would think that Xavier would have been able to detect Annie and Havok’s presence there and wait a minute, but he’s oblivious and a dick.  Havok leaves and Xavier explains that he’s finally getting around to taking a jaunt through Lorna’s ker-aaaaaaaaazy mind but he prefers to do it in the infirmary since it is, after all, the happenist place in the mansion.  Just then Juggernaut storms in and asks for a moment of Xavier’s time, and wouldn’t you know it, Xavier leaves Annie and Lorna by themselves.

Juggernaut asks for a plane to go visit his little fish buddy Sammy, but Xavier quickly gives him a no because his parents have taken legal action to prevent the known criminal from seeing their son.  Then the two start yelling at each other and Juggernaut smashes a wall down…and then Professor X agrees to let him go to visit Sammy.  Not that it’s now any less illegal and will not cause any less trouble.  But apparently Juggernaut’s father beat them both so Xavier is cool with Juggs going as long as Northstar goes with him.  What could possibly go wrong?

Pretty much exactly that.

Back at the island, the X-Men see a bunch of people form a circle and open a portal in which a handful of costumed beings come out…but hold that thought, because none of them appear in the entire next issue.  Instead, head over to Canada and watch Sammy the fish boy’s dad beat the crap out of him for a while, just like we all assumed he would.  You see, even though his parents went through the Canadian government to get Alpha Flight to shut down Xavier’s school to get him back, his dad really doesn’t want him back.  It’s a shame there wasn’t some sort of mutant school they could have just left him in to not worry about him.  But that’s silly.

So back at the infirmary, Lorna suggests that Annie join them in Professor X’s mind trip (not the fun kind) to give her a chance to better understand mutants, since she hates them and all.  You’d think she’d get a grasp on them now that she’s banging her true love who is a mutant, but I guess Annie still hates mutants.  She has her reasons.

And then Xorn shows up to call her a racist, refuse to help treat Lorna (because apparently Xavier thinks he can heal mental issues), and ask Carter to be placed into his special class.  I’m not certain if the X-Office had shared Morrison’s reveal that Xorn would eventually be revealed as Magneto, but this tosses out any kind of subtle foreshadowing that there’s something shady about Xorn by having him ask to have Carter under his guidance specifically because he’s a powerful mutant.  When this issue came out, it was ridiculously uncharacteristic for him and left me scratching my head.  Then Morrison’s reveal came and I was like ‘Ooooooooh.  That didn’t work at all.’

Oh, snap!

So anyway, Xorn taunts Annie’s racism (she has her reasons) and leaves, and the Nurse who so recently admitted her problem with mutants is so offended that she agrees to go into Lorna’s head (because THAT’s a good idea) and even tells Lorna that she should take a jaunt through her own head and see her reasons (that she has) for disliking mutants.  Instead of, you know, just telling someone.

At least someone does.

Oh, and that son that Annie’s so protective of?  He snuck away on the X-Men’s jet and is now on the evil island.  He even mentally contacts Sammy the fish boy and brags about it.  You’d think that Wolverine would have been able to sniff the lad out, but I suppose the plot demands he be there (SPOILER ALERT: It does not.)

Anywho, Professor X takes Annie into Lorna’s mind only to find themselves put directly into a memory of Polaris and Havok doing the nasty.  Xavier then “takes control of the situation” (which you’d think he would have done when he started this) and ends the pointless “catfight” between the two unlikable ladies and goes into the matter at hand.  So we shift the mental scene to Genosha to find Lorna performing a do-it-yourself DNA test to find out if she’s really Magneto’s daughter.

I’ve been mildly curious for like 30 years but way to busy…

I have to say that Polaris’s history before she wound up under Mesmero’s control in San Francisco is one of the biggest unexplored storylines in the X-Men world.  We know that she was raised by parents who were actually her aunt and uncle since her real parents died in a plane.  A robot double of Magneto claimed that the magnetic mutant was his daughter but Iceman showed up in the nick of time with evidence revealing her true parentage and all ended well.

Here, we have Lorna finally getting around to look deeper into the issue, saying that her real parents died under “mysterious circumstances” (which I suppose is true) and that the one who proved it “wasn’t trustworthy”.  That would have been Iceman, who we will see Lorna dating very soon.  But whatever – do-it-yourself DNA test to prove whether Lorna is actually Magneto’s daughter.

Back at the demon island, a huge army begins coming out of the circle of teleporters, but thankfully two guys come up and deliver Carter to the X-Men.  Then the action resumes and Iceman gets hit by an exploding arrow that explodes and shatters him.  Shattering Iceman is one of those things that creators do every once in a while to show that he can pull himself back together because he’s super powerful.  But he’s not doing that here (even though he’s done it before at this point) and instead Archangel just starts carrying around his disembodied head.

Anyway, more action, a lot of yelling, and then a huge dome of energy erupts and everyone vanishes with just a crater left to show what had been.  The next issue’s “previously” summary calls it a “powerful telepathic blast” but that doesn’t make any sense.

Prettiest part of this story.

Back to Polaris’s story, we find that the test came back to reveal that Magneto was in fact her father, and that she went and investigated her parents’ plane crash to find (for the first time) that every scrap of metal in the wreckage had been highly magnetized.  So she returned back to Genosha, mad as all get out, but found that she was greeted as a celebrity, since Magneto, hearing of Lorna’s investigation, went ahead and announced the matter to his people.

So let’s recap the matter.  Magneto had a daughter named Lorna Dane and through unknown circumstances, left her with two people who claimed to be her parents.  Then he killed those parents in a plane crash, but rather than taking his daughter back, let her be raised by the dead “mother’s” siblings who themselves claimed to be her parents.  And then he did nothing through her entire life, including when a robot imposter claimed to be her father and when she was possessed by Mr. Sinister’s Marauders, which happened while he was living WITH the X-Men who were stuck fighting her.  But then she goes and looks into the matter, and he just goes ahead and says to the people “yep, she got me”.

Ah well, it doesn’t matter.  A minute after she got back, the nation got destroyed by Sentinels.

If you could get Annie if you’re not too busy…

I could point out that there’s an art error on the Sentinels attacking Genosha, but we’ll dismiss it as a mental image rather than the actual happening.  See?  I can be nice in these things.

So back in…well, ‘elsewhere’, the X-Men are gaining their bearings, as Nightcrawler comes to and realizes his hand has been melded into the hand of the guy next to him who did not survive the experience.  He also realizes that he’s been naked for almost three issues now, but that’s okay, since as Jubilee hints at, he’s got a huge penis.  Har har har.

I’ve got nothing…unlike Nightcrawler (hi–yooooooo!)!

So Archangel cuts Nightcrawler loose with his sword (did anyone else notice that Archangel is carrying a sword now?  I didn’t.) as the X-Men fill him in on what’s been happening.  And that’s when the evil group who showed up at the end of part 1 and didn’t bother to be seen in part 2, announce that they should have realized that one of the X-Men would probably notice Nightcrawler STEALING A GIANT SONIC JET, because it was “too complex a plan” with “too many variables”.

As complex as two-step plans get.

Okay, I’m also going to give you a couple of terms that get tossed out.  Austen is trying to push that mutants not only outdate other civilizations, but that there were tribes of like-powered beings.  This idea was presented in Dominant Species (remember the werewolves?), and hinted at when the ancient angel-winged mutants were discovered.  The angel wings are called “Cheyarafim” and the demon-type “Neyaphem”.  This will never come up again, but I thought you’d like to know.

So Archangel politely offers to bleed onto Nightcrawler’s mangled stump in a hilarious bit of dialogue, only to find that it burns him rather than heals him.  By the next issue his hands are fine, so we’re going to assume…whatever.

Ewwwww.

They also notice that Archangel is wearing “the tunic of the Angels” but that is just a huge coincidence.  In fact, it’s odd that the matter was even brought up – after all, it’s not  like the story dealt with how Archangel got his new outfit; he just kind of had it when Kia Asamiya came on board for art duties.  And it’s also tossed away like almost all of the info found in this story.  And just as Azazel, the big red demon, is trying to calm his forces down, the winged girl-Crawler flies at the X-Men yelling “DEATH TO ALL ANGELS.”

I must say, that with names like ‘Azazel’ and ‘Yidrazil’, the girl’s name of ‘Jillian’ is laughably normal.

In Vancouver, a bunch of bullies are beating the crap out of Sammy the fish boy until he freaks out, calls himself the Juggernaut and beats the main bully into a bloody pulp.  What we’re getting at is Juggernaut has been a bad influence on Sammy and would it would probably be a bad idea for the known super villain to show up.

Meanwhile, on his way to Vancouver, Juggernaut gets in a ha-ha-larious exchange with his chaperone Northstar in which he doesn’t understand homosexuality and therefore calls Northstar a girl and wanders why Northstar doesn’t find him attractive.  As far as exchanges with Northstar go in this series, it’s pretty much the best one.  And that isn’t saying much.

Oh, Juggernaut. Adorably ignorant lunkhead.

Back in Polaris’s memories, Lorna gets to relive the slaughter of Genosha, taking a moment to yell Magneto was right all along, and then tell Professor X that she’ll be okay and not hurt anyone else.  You’d think it would take a little bit more than an exposition-laced jaunt down memory lane to wipe out the crazy, but she promises, so that’s all well and good.  Except for Nurse Annie, who’s under a table freaking out.  Her entire presence in this sequence was pointless, beyond the sight gag of seeing Polaris in the sack with Havok.

THAT’s what the fanbase thinks of me?

Meanwhile, Jillian is still launching herself at the X-Men, but slow enough to give them three sentences of dialogue before Husk jumps in and deflects the attack.  The X-Men wail on her a bit before a fight apparently breaks out (the art is kind of sketchy on the details) as Azazel stands around yelling ‘stop’ only to be ignored by friends and foes alike.  While this is going on Jubilee asks Abyss who a) also survived the teleportation circle and b) apparently didn’t get merged into the circle like Nightcrawler did, just what he can do.

Abyss opens his portal stomach, but instead of pulling things in, he blows things out, including a dog, a skateboard, and Mystique, who has apparently been living in his stomach for the past 25 issues.  But don’t feel bad for her – she has taken the down time to change her outfit into a nice summer dress.

A cohesive, intelligent plot?

And that’s where we’re going to stop for this edition.  Tune in next time for the exciting conclusion, including the explanation of Azazel’s plan, Havok’s idea on how to restore Iceman, and Jubilee doing absolutely nothing.

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5 comments

  1. Im glad your onto this one I checked out after the Wedding stupidity. So am I to understand that Mystique is important to the story but instead of writing her into the story in an organic manner Abyss just pulls her out of his stomach portal? Sounds like Austen has a similar portal ability in his arse.

    Like

  2. Will there be no more of these articles? I check back every day looking for an update.

    They’re brilliant and I need more!

    Like

    1. I plan to finish the entire series, yes. I will be posting the second Draco as soon as I’m done – and it’s almost there!

      Like

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