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Jan 18

The Complete Moira: Part 3

Posted on Saturday, January 18, 2020 by Paul in Moira, Uncategorized

Three posts into the series, we finally reach Moira’s first published appearance! (For part 1, see here; for part 2, see here.)

X-Men vol 1 #96 by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum and Sam Grainger (“Night of the Demon”, December 1975). And here we are. Moira shows up at the X-Men’s Mansion, responding to the invitation from Professor X (which we saw her receive in Classic X-Men #2). This is the point where she gets introduced to the X-Men, who at this point consist of Cyclops, Banshee, Storm, Colossus, Wolverine and Nightcrawler. Later retcons will establish that Moira has met Cyclops and Wolverine already, but neither of them remember it. Sean is immediately taken with Moira, kicking off their romantic subplot which will later settle into a long-term status quo.

Moira and Charles both tell the X-Men that she has been hired as the new housekeeper, to look after the house and the X-Men while he’s away. At that point, the demon Kierrok attacks, and Moira promptly gets a machine gun from the armoury to fight it – though Banshee actually bundles her to safety before she has the chance to use it, and the X-Men defeat Kierrok without her. This story is reprinted in Classic X-Men #4, which adds a page of Moira and Charles having a private conversation where they reminisce about their past relationship.

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Jan 11

The Complete Moira: Part 2

Posted on Saturday, January 11, 2020 by Paul in Moira

Last time we covered Moira’s history before the recruitment of the X-Men. This time, I’m going to go through her appearances from there through to her first published appearance, near the start of the Claremont run. This is, if anything, even more piecemeal than part 1 – that’s largely because these are mostly one-off stories published in no particular order. It settles down once we get to her debut.

Classic X-Men #43 (back-up) by Chris Claremont, Mike Collins & Joe Rubinstein (“Flights of Angels”, January 1990). This is the back-up strip which appeared alongside the reprint of X-Men #137, the climax of the Dark Phoenix Saga. The first page has a montage of flashbacks to the life of Jean Grey. They include an unexplained panel of young Jean Grey protecting Charles Xavier from an unseen attacker, while Moira bundles him to safety.

This ties into the vexed question of what on earth Charles and Jean were doing together before Jean joined the X-Men. X-Men #1 (1963) shows Jean arriving at the school with the rest of the team already formed, and seemingly not knowing much about it. Claremont established a back story where Xavier actually met her first, long before the other X-Men, and helped her to control her powers. What he didn’t establish was any good reason for the two of them to conceal that fact from the rest of the team. But occasionally he hinted at some sort of secret pre-X-Men adventuring career for Charles and Jean, which presumably contains the answer – and this flashback seems to be part of that. The most explicit reference is in Uncanny X-Men #381 (2000), where Jean talks about finding a secret cave full of treasure “before the founding of the X-Men, during a period when Charles Xavier and I worked alone.” It remains an undeveloped part of continuity, but apparently Moira’s involved in it somewhere.

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Jan 4

The Complete Moira: Part 1

Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2020 by Paul in Moira, x-axis

One of the big ideas of House of X and Powers of X is the massive retconning of Moira MacTaggert. Under Jonathan Hickman, Moira is no longer just the X-Men’s scientist friend; she’s actually a mutant with the power to start life over again, every time she dies, and with perfect recollection of her earlier lives. Plus, she has knowledge from those earlier lives of things like Nimrod, the Technarch and so on.

How well does any of this actually fit with the established history of Moira MacTaggert? On one level, it doesn’t really matter all that much. The idea that the Marvel Universe fits together seamlessly is a fiction; as long as it feels like it works, that’s probably good enough for most purposes. Which means it’s generally good enough to be consistent with the broad strokes, and with any details that the readers are likely to remember. It’s hardly a big problem if there’s an inconsistent line of dialogue in a long forgotten fill-in story.

Still – how does this retcon fit together with Moira’s established history? In this series of posts, I’m going to look back over every Moira MacTaggert appearance and see what emerges – both in terms of how it fits with Hickman, and in terms of whether it ever really fitted together in the first place. I’ve been working here mainly from the list of Moira MacTaggert appearances on the Marvel Chronology Project.

Basically, we’ll be running through Moira’s appearances in more-or-less chronological sequence, though I’ll skip her prior lives since they’re entirely documented in House of X and Powers of X, and I’ve written about that already. As it turns out, Moira’s back story is both quite detailed and full of enormous gaps, so it’s going to take us two posts just to get up to her first published appearance. This time round, we’ll follow her current life up to the formation of the X-Men. Since these are mostly appearances that were intended to flesh out her back story, there’s a lot to cover here; the pace will pick up in future chapters when we get to stories where she’s just hanging around in the supporting cast or explaining the plot. She does that a lot.

So we kick off with…

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