Monday, April 02, 2018

We've seen bits from the start of this mini-series a couple
times, but I didn't have the first three issues until much later. Today's issue I've had since 1984--maybe not this copy next to me, but still. The X-Men and the Micronauts #4, "Doppelgänger!" Written by Chris Claremont and Bill Mantlo, pencils by Jackson "Butch" Guice, inks by Bob Wiacek.

The issue opens with Professor X creepily creeping, er, rolling, up to Danielle Moonstar; and flat-out molesting her. Xavier is being controlled by the Entity, the evil side of his personality run amok; it would be some years before I realized the Entity was supposed to look like Xavier's armor from X-Men #117, too. Still, the New Mutants were still quite new (the checklist this issue says they were on issue #14) and putting aside the fact that their teacher just assaulted the hell out of them, I think this would already be at least the second time they fought the senior team of X-Men!

Meanwhile, deep in the Microverse, the combined X-Men/Micronauts team is attacked by Baron Karza, in the body of Kitty Pryde. Keep in mind, I only had this issue as a kid! But Claremont and Mantlo catch the reader up pretty quickly. We'll pretend not to notice "bodyswap" and "team member turned evil wears less clothing" are two more bingo squares on Claremont's usual tropes...Meanwhile, at the head of Baron Karza's fleet, Kitty in Karza's body orders the bombardment of the Entity's world, but then receives a psychic flash from Professor X. Kitty/Karza teleports down to the planet's surface, but Karza's shifty underling DeGrayde "forgets" to give the order to stop the bombardment. Kitty/Karza confronts Karza/Kitty, but they are interrupted by the arrival of the heroes, which is in turn interrupted by the dying Professor X in the Entity's body, which still has a knife sticking out of its back in several panels.

Back on earth, using the power of Cerebro to amp up his own, the Entity is about to start destroying the Microverse; although the orbital bombardment might kill everyone first. Calling the heckin' awesome Bioship, the heroes first escape Karza's fleet, then the Entity's destructive blast; as the Micronauts' Fireflyte transports them back to earth. There, the New Mutants attack the Bioship, which I'm not sure I've ever forgiven them for. (Takes internal inventory, looks deep in own soul...) Nope, still mad!

Luckily, the New Mutants were still rookies, while the X-Men and Micros were pros even at their tiny size. Still, Magma causes a small volcano near the Bioship, who was hurt too badly to get away; and inside, Nightcrawler has to try to keep the Entity's body alive long enough for Professor X to take back his own. A new player then enters the fight: Kitty's dragon, Lockheed! First on the side of the X-Men, he scatters the New Mutants; but then tries to kill Karza/Kitty, since he can tell that's not his Kitty! Worse, the Entity realizes the mindswap, and furious over the deception tries to force them into each other. Not in a good way, sickos!

Professor X fights the Entity inside his own mind, and it's a quick one: the Professor gives himself a stroke, or at least pretends to, to scare the Entity to run back to his body, which dies. Also dying: the brave Bioship. The Micros are stuck on earth and the X-Men are stuck at action figure size, but Commander Rann won't ask the Bioship to sacrifice itself. (Storm acts like she would...) Fireflyte says she can get her team back to the Microverse before the Enigma Force closes it off forever; and in a way, this would be the last time they would be seen in the Marvel Universe! There were only maybe two issues of the Micronauts' first book left (and only one more issue written by series creator Bill Mantlo!) and they wouldn't appear on earth at all in New Voyages! (There was a Secret Wars II crossover, but the Beyonder went to see them, they didn't come to earth!)

I'm already sad, but the worst is here: the Bioship sacrifices itself to return the X-Men to normal size. I hope they gave him a decent burial and didn't leave his bio-corpse on the front lawn of the mansion...We've mentioned before, but this was at least the second time Professor X went bad: his evil side attacked the team in X-Men #106...a fill-in issue co-plotted by Bill Mantlo! Later Xavier would become Onslaught, or part of him; along with several other dickish, terrible things he's done since. In fact, "Dark" Xavier here destroys multiple planets in the Microverse, some of them inhabited, yet there was no editorial edict that Professor X die to pay for his crimes, as there supposedly was for Dark Phoenix. Well, they were tiny planets, anyway.

1 comment:

Mr. Morbid's House Of Fun said...

Goddamn, that panel with Evil Xavier molesting poor Dani...dude looked like he was about to straight go down on her. How the hell this made it past Shooter I'll never know.

Good point about Xavier never really be punished for these episodes, especially when he did it a couple times versus Jean's one. I guess equality in the workplace had yet to catch up in th MU around then.