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Sep 19

Giant-Size X-Men: Storm #1 annotations

Posted on Saturday, September 19, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

by Jonathan Hickman, Russell Dauterman & Matthew Wilson

COVER / PAGE 1: Just a picture of Storm.

PAGES 2-4. Jean and Emma talk to Storm about her condition.

This flashback is picking up from Giant-Size X-Men: Jean Grey & Emma Frost #1, which came out way back in February (although that gap would have been shorter without the pandemic). That issue established that Storm had been infected with a techno-organic virus by the Children of the Vault, which was going to kill her. This obviously ties in to the recurring theme in Hickman’s early issues about the dangers (to mutants) of technology and the accompanying need for Krakoa to be free of conventional technology.

Emma makes the tactless but technically correct point that death isn’t supposed to be a concern for the X-Men in the Krakoan era since they can just be restored from back-up. Storm returns to this point later in the issue, but in a purely logical sense it’s correct – why waste energy trying to cure people when you can just start over? In the short term, the answer is “because it’s more work for the Five and it delays the resurrection of other mutants”, but in the case of terminal illness, that argument doesn’t really hold water.

Emma is being unusually obnoxious here, and Hickman seems to be writing a throwback version of the character that doesn’t bear all that much resemblance to her behaviour in Marauders.

M is the one who comes up with the solution; it’s not immediately obvious why she’s the one to spot something that eluded all the X-Men’s normal genius characters, but the implication seems to be that she somehow knew about what was in the World.

Oddly, in Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1, Storm told Fantomex that “our best mutant scientists believe the only way to save me is inside the World” – even though M was right next to her. Perhaps Storm had M’s idea checked over by the scientists first, but it seems odd that she doesn’t give M credit.

PAGES 5-6. Credits and recap. The main story overlaps with Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex, in which Fantomex was preparing to break into the World to get some technology or other that was apparently going to save Storm.

PAGES 7-9. M and Cypher recruit AIM agent Ned.

We saw this guy briefly at the end of Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1. Ned makes clear that he’s already betraying AIM to Fantomex for money. Interestingly, in Fantomex, he was already waiting with Fantomex outside the World before the X-Men arrived – but here he’s meeting with the X-Men in advance of that.

PAGES 10-16. The group talk before entering the World.

This scene doesn’t quite fit neatly with the Fantomex issue. A big part of this scene is Fantomex openly announcing that he can’t actually pay Ned, and basically trying to persuade the X-Men to stump up the money so that the mission can go ahead. They need Ned’s stolen AIM technology in order to enter the World – as he explains, he was working on the AIM group who were meant to be “hack[ing] the temporal bubble of an artificial world”. In Fantomex, Ned was equally concerned about his money but was answering questions – immediately before entering the World – about how much Fantomex was going to pay him.

The splash page of them entering the World was also shown in Fantomex, but looks entirely different here – not that any of the details matter, but the Fantomex version doesn’t even show anything apparently resembling the battle that we see here. Dauterman’s version is a little more abstract and less surreal.

PAGES 17-20. As the group try to get to the right building, Storm tries using her powers and passes out.

Warlock, who normally disguises himself as Cypher’s arm, acts more openly here. M presumably sees this and doesn’t appear surprised by him, which is odd.

As for Storm, the idea seems to be that the World doesn’t naturally have weather, and that she’s trying (and failing) to impose it on the malleable environment using her powers and force of will.

PAGES 21-27. Storm comes round, and an AIM machine separates her from the virus.

Ned gives us some technobabble. The World is a “radical evolutionary experiment in a closed environment”, which is true – the whole gimmick is that it’s a time bubble in which weird evolution plays out over short timescales. For no terribly obvious reason, we’re told that in such places, systems that normally compete tend to intertwine itself – specifically, “organic and technological ones”. This makes more sense within the logic of Hickman’s cosmology, in which technologically-enhanced humans are the main rivals and threats to mutantkind.

AIM apparently find this an undesirable side effect of the World, and have built a device to disentangle such systems. This is the thing that separates Storm from the virus.

Fantomex and his World-based “brother” Ultimaton have already beaten the World’s AIM cell before the rest of the group get there. There’s a vague hint that Fantomex, being Fantomex, might well have pursued a different plan if the others hadn’t shown up just then.

Storm gives us a speech (in captions) explaining why she’s putting herself through this instead of just taking Emma’s resurrection route. She comes very close to saying that Krakoa’s resurrection scheme as undermining the value of life, which is interesting in itself, since very few characters have been in any way critical of it. Of course, you could choose to read this as Storm rejecting the use of resurrection as anything more than an insurance policy.

PAGES 28-33. Ned deals with the virus and everyone says goodbye.

Ned isolates the separated techno-virus in a containment field to make sure it doesn’t develop into a dangerous artificial intelligence, while the Klaxons of Foreshadowing go off all around him. Cypher exchanges a few words with the virus intelligence in an epilogue, and anticipates meeting it again. I’m not aware of a key to decode the virus’s one line of dialogue.

As in Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex, Ultimaton once again refuses to leave the World. This time Fantomex decides that he’s going to stay. (It’s not the first time he’s chosen to stay in the World as a base, though.)

Ned also chooses to stay so that he can pursue scientific experiments in the World – thus passing up all the money that seemed to motivate him up until now. He claims that he’s more interested in the scientific opportunities. Since he’s held up his end of the deal, the X-Men let it slide, but Storm’s naturally sceptical.

PAGES 34-35. Trailers. Once again, the Krakoan reads NEXT: X OF SWORDS.

Bring on the comments

  1. Chris V says:

    Well, that was a waste. More time killing while building up potential future threats.

    Some readers speculated that Storm was going to be overtaken by the virus and become an enemy during X of Swords. They pointed to a mystery character in promo art saying it looked somewhat like Storm infected with this virus.
    No. Not really any changes in the status quo, just a lot of extra money.

  2. Ben says:

    Like the Nightcrawler issue, this doesn’t actually give it’s star character anything to do or say anything about them.

    Just more set up.

    But I do love that Dauterman art so much.

  3. Si says:

    Have I missed a reason why it’s mutant supremacy vs machine evolution? Why don’t all the mutants just hop in a big vat of techno-organic soup now so they’re part of the future, and millennia of warfare is avoided?

  4. Chris V says:

    Because then, eventually, the Phalanx hive mind comes along and takes away everything that makes a being unique before killing everyone and everything else.

    Moira is hoping to avoid that future for everyone.

  5. Luis Dantas says:

    In case you don’t know, @Si, that comes from the last few issues of Robert Hickman’s House of X and Powers of X series, which involve a lot of flashforwards of possible futures that Krakoa is presumably attempting to avoid.

  6. Salomé Honório says:

    I love Dauterman’s art, across both issues. But “Giant-Size” increasingly feels like a completely farcical concept, and yet another unnecessary dilation of Hickman’s X-Men.

    “X-Men”, the flagship title, is a sort of anthology series, rotating between different events or characters. Sometimes, it abruptly cuts with the one story-line in favour of others: *where is Mystique?!*

    “X-Men: Giant Size” does the exact same, only with more pages, and better art. It somehow manages to duplicate the core title and further confuse its actual identity, while conceding on the chance of even shaping its own.

    Again, Storm features nearly incidentally in a story that is both completely about her *and* has next to nothing to say about the character.

    Meanwhile, Juggernaut #1 comes out next week. I mean, for fuck’s sake…

  7. Si says:

    I read HOXPOX way back when, I must have missed that bit. Ascension didn’t seem to be a bad thing, except in that it wasn’t happening to the mutants. I don’t doubt that I got the wrong idea.

    Now I have to question how ruling all the non-mutants, living on one island, with one culture, with one immortal population, and eventually Infinity Warps-style chimeras, is preserving individuality. But maybe that’s the point.

  8. Chris V says:

    No, there is the moment where the Librarian, who is one of the leaders of post-humanity, decides that they have made a terrible mistake, and the Librarian basically allows Moira to escape so she can be killed by Logan, and restart reality.
    Ascension was definitely not seen as a positive thing for anyone.

    As far as Krakoa, yeah. Well, it’s still better than a hive mind. heh
    What you wrote is very much true. It seems that Moira’s plan is going wrong.

    In one of her past lives, Sinister tampered with the cloning process and it ended up creating a hive-mind between the Chimera mutants, which ruined Moira’s plan.
    So, there seems to be some playing with the idea of comparison and contrast, in some way. I’m not totally sure where Hickman is going with the idea…but what else is new?

  9. Si says:

    That’s one plot that I’d be keen to see unfold.

  10. sagatwarrior says:

    Si says
    “Have I missed a reason why it’s mutant supremacy vs machine evolution? Why don’t all the mutants just hop in a big vat of techno-organic soup now so they’re part of the future, and millennia of warfare is avoided?”

    Also, way back in the 1990s with the “Phalanx Covenant” saga, a major plot point was that the Phalanx could not absorb mutants into their hive mind, something to do with their X-gene. The Phalanx would rather destroy all mutants if they could not absorb them. I don’t know if that has been retconned or not.

  11. Chris V says:

    Si-There’s some speculation online that Moira’s plan involves Krakoa evolving in to a “world mind” for the planet.
    This may be why it seems like mutantkind is moving towards a collective intelligence.

    We know from Moira’s past life that only beings which can evolve to the level of a world mind can contact beings like the Phalanx. Other life forms are too minor to be worthy of contact with the Phalanx.

    This may play in to what Sagatwarrior just posted.
    Moira’s end goal may be to develop Krakoa in to a world mind and then destroy the Phalanx.

    Mutants will give up their individuality as a sacrifice to save all other life on Earth and also achieve immortality for mutants at the same time.
    Although where events go from there, I’m unsure, as Marvel surely doesn’t want to give up their X-Men franchise.

    There is the Moira’s death card to play of course, but there would have to be a way to make the destruction of the Phalanx victory continue on to Moira’s final life, otherwise, everything would be back at stage one again.

    I don’t know how fun this story (if the speculation about Krakoa becoming a world mind is on the right track) will be if it means alienating acting mutants losing more and more individuality for, potentially, hundreds of years in to the future before Hickman’s end game is revealed.

  12. Chris V says:

    That’s wholly about the Eternals.
    I know Hickman just recycled some of his ideas for an Eternals relaunch to the X-Men. How much so is my question.




  13. neutrino says:

    There seems to be a retcon, with the world no longer being an AIM creation but one they were trying to take over.

    The Librarian wasn’t sure it was a mistake. He didn’t think he would lose his individuality, but he thought it might not be a real existence. Moira’s been killing humans increasingly since her sixth life, so it’s hard to see her sacrificing mutants for humans.

  14. Chris V says:

    The Librarian wasn’t totally sure it was a mistake, no. The Librarian has no way to know for sure though. He had enough doubt to allow Moira to be killed by Wolverine, knowing this would reset reality.
    Otherwise, they would have won. They were seconds away from their “victory”.
    They were going to take Moira away where she would become immortal and not be able to restart reality and change events.

    It makes little sense that the Librarian would allow Moira to die and then live again if her ultimate goal is the death of humanity.
    It seems that Moira’s learning experience from that life is that the real enemy are the “machine-gods”.

    In this scenario, she’s not sacrificing mutants for humans either. She would be making the only choice where mutants can win and survive.
    She said she was convinced that “mutants will always lose”.
    In order for mutants to win, they must stop the “machine-gods”, who are the real enemy.
    This also has the added effect of saving humanity.

  15. Chris V says:

    See, in this scenario, Moira and the mutants are pretty much in a race against time with the post-humans to evolve in to a world mind.
    Whichever side evolves to the level of world mind first will be able to make contact with the Phalanx.
    If the post-humans achieve this goal first, mutants lose again.
    So, mutants rise up and take power to slow down human progress and police the planet, giving the mutants more time to develop a collective consciousness on Krakoa.
    Then, the mutants win and will be able to destroy the Phalanx.

    The sacrifice is the individuality of mutantkind, not the sacrifice of mutants, who would actually achieve (or be on the path to anyway) immortality.

  16. Chris V says:

    Or, in other words, the Eternals are racing against the Deviants to form the Uni-Mind in order to confront the Celestials to stop their judgment.
    Because this would be an Eternals plot.

  17. Chris V says:

    Oh, one more thing. Moira learned her lesson from lives seven and eight also.
    She thought that by using brute force and decorating war, that mutants could conquer the planet.
    She found out that this just hastened humanity’s evolution in to post-humanity, and mutants end up losing.
    She realized she needed Xavier’s vision for her plan.
    Instead of declaring war and fighting, it would be better to adapt Xavier’s dream to Apocalypse and Magneto’s ideologies.
    Mutants could coexist with humans and become dominant through benevolence, rather than conquest.
    Mutants will offer drugs to help humanity. They’ll offer organic based tech, rather than rely on machines. They’ll help humanity advance without resorting to machines, and placate humanity.
    Humanity will see mutants as benefactors, rather than competition, slowing down humanity’s progress towards post-humanity.

  18. Chris V says:

    This could also be, although I’m not totally sure, the reason for why Destiny must remain dead.
    What is Moira afraid of Destiny seeing?
    That mutants will give up personal relationships as they develop in to a collective consciousness.
    The love between Mystique and Destiny is the greatest purpose for them both. It is what Mystique wants most.
    Destiny will foresee that they will have to give up their exclusive love for one another in order to achieve Moira’s goal.
    This may be too high of a price for them.
    They’ll fight Moira’s designs and alert other mutants who may not want to give up their individual identities for the greater good (Shaw will definitely fight this, for one).

  19. Luis Dantas says:

    You mean The World, the environment associated with the Weapon Plus project and where there is time dilation, right?

  20. Luis Dantas says:

    Sorry, my question above was for @neutrino.

    This overarching plot (as established in HoXPoX) does indeed work better for Eternals than for Mutants.

    @Chris V, I may be wrong, but to the best of my understanding Destiny will be specifically looking for Moira if/when she is ressurrected. Being a precognitive, she will have at least a chance of finding out early about any hidden plans and deceptions going on in Krakoa, and she will expose Moira’s power if she finds that useful.

    It did not come to anything, but at one point in the early days of X-Factor Destiny was portrayed as the kind of precog who had some measure of perception of competing timelines (she pinpointed Jean Grey as a focal point for such). Which arguably she isn’t, but I guess that ship sailed for a long time.

  21. Chris V says:

    I don’t think Destiny will necessarily be looking for Moira.
    She would know Moira was still alive.
    What she said was that if Moira ever betrays mutants again, like she did in one of her early lives, then she will know and her and Mystique will hunt her down and kill her again.

    I thought that was a clue by Hickman, but it doesn’t seem to be.
    She will be able to see the future of Krakoa though.

    It would be ironic if Moira really is trying to save mutants, but it interferes with the personal relationship between Destiny and Mystique. So, they would want to stop Moira, even though she is still doing what they told her.

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