UNCANNY X-MEN #17
With the cliffhanger of last issue we let the dust settle on another death with a funeral and some recriminations from Wolverine, who is out for blood. But when all is said and done the big question remains, who is Emma Frost? And why is Juggernaut the only one who knows about her?
Characters: On the face of it the tragic death of Rahne IS a bogus way to go, off panel and not in battle. And to top it off a trained mutant werewolf taken out by four baseline humans. But not every member of the x-family can go out in a blaze of glory and self sacrifice for the greater good. Loa, Blindfold, Strong Guy, Velocidad, Joseph. Not every hero HAS to die a heroic death. In fact it’s statistically erroneous. Likely yes, 100% occlusive? Not so much. And it pains me to say it, but there has to be some element of tragic and wasteful death, even among the key hero community, it can’t always be the great rallying sacrifice. So I don’t see it as a cheap way for a New Mutant of good standing to go. Maybe that’s because I’m STILL in denial that this is actually what happened. I’m still convinced she has been snuck out and taken off the radar to go stealth mode for some reason. I mean realistically speaking she has a healing factor and so an attack like that would mean a few days to heal, not death. My rule of no body no death still stands.
That could have all been projection and what Kwannon showed him was somehow faked and the very reason the O.N.E. showed up was plot device, to avoid him causing bloodshed for something that will later be revealed as a fake out. I know, I know. Clinging at straws but that’s the only way I can deal with this latest development here. If she is indeed dead then it will be an easy back door. And let’s face it, how often do mutants stay dead these days? While we are at it let’s also think about who we are talking about here. Rahne Sinclair is the most passive of the New Mutants after selfriend Warlock. She clearly overreacted to the advances and showed her ‘true face’ then panicked and was reticent to take action against the attackers, preferring not to escalate things.
This isn’t uncommon in attack victims, they don’t assume the situation will progress beyond the parameters of a normal confrontation. No one ever expects it to move to bloodshed, or hardly ever anticipates that will be the end result. When traumatic events occur people rarely say after “I knew that was going to end like that” it is almost always a total shock. That’s why they call it PTSD. Even the attackers themselves seemed shell shocked when confronted about it later, like they still couldn’t believe themselves what happened. This isn’t in any way a defense of them. They were definitely deserving of the throw down Logan came at them with, in fact “let’s see you deal with a real threat to your masculinity” were I think the words running through my head when he showed up at their house.
Story: Speaking of dealing with things…Finally a funeral. Dealing with grief in different ways. Me I listened to Funeral For a Friend song Roses For the Dead (hence the article title) and that song resonated in SOOO many ways to me for her. I get it. Cyke and Wolvie deal with it differently, Logan going for a face off with Fearless Leader after first going on a revenge kick. How DID that end by the way? Did they survive? How did they get away from ONE? And where was Kwannon afterwards? Then he and Cyke getting down to what defines their different viewpoints. But still judging each other. If that was the only reason Rahne was killed off then I will be annoyed.
Art: With the controversy about the story it seems the change in artist has basically gone unnoticed by anyone at all and with no Salvador we had to rely on another 90’s hero in Whilce Portacio for a evocative cover and a truly different style within. For me it has to be said it was a welcome change. And Carlos Gómez suited the mood entirely. The funeral was particularly poignant as everyone managed to look suitably forlorn and resplendent in their Sunday best, particularly Illyana and the earring nod to her Extermination outfit. I don’t think I’ve seen as many well turned out mutants since the wedding…of Scott and Jean that is. And there was more energy and natural feel of movement between the panels and not just some display of poses and characters stood mid battle this issue, which is something we’ve had a little of lately. But as I got over the abject homo-eroticism of THAT fight scene even I couldn’t fail to notice a little error. Those are FORCE not LASER beams there fella. Please stop with this!! There is canonically no precedent in the comics for Cyclops optic blast to be heat generating.
And with the finale another cliffhanger, I KNEW there was a reason Emma wasn’t on the list. I SAID it. Though I didn’t think for a moment it was because she’d wiped everyone’s memory of her. Thinking back that jibes well with Iceman, after their team up she showed up at Mutant Pride and only Darkveil seemed to recognize her, no one else even registered her presence. She seems to have taken a leaf out of Xavier’s book of hiding. And it’s interesting that Juggernaut is the only one who didn’t take the whammy. Is it because his powers are mystically protecting him, or is he really too thick for a complex mind manipulation to work on him? I’m sure the next issue and the return of the King will answer these and all my other questions.
And yes, I too rolled my eyes at the result of Rahne’s death as an excuse for the boys to fight. And there is a startling rise in pointless death of female characters so far in Rosenbergs run, in comparison to the male. Although I’m not too sure about the trap/trans allegory. This concept existed before trans people were “mainstream” and is not exclusive to the trans experience. And I haven’t heard him actually state categorically that this was the parallel he was trying to draw, people just assumed it was. And if it WAS then this isn’t the first time in comics this sort of ‘trap’ thing has been approached. Iceman/Cloud then also Iceman/Northstar, were both stories that revolved around the misunderstanding of these kinds of situations. So do we focus on the controversy and speculation caused and ignore the issue itself? The fact that violence is happening right in front of us? But apparently we would all rather raise our voices to speak out in rage about the issue than dealing with THE ISSUE. Death is cheap. I only hope this isn’t a Dynasty/Dallas style kill all ready for a reality change when Hickman takes over.
A lot to take in and some considerable bending of characters, though not impossible maybe a little improbable.
Uncanny X-Men #17: Roses For The Dead
- Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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