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Jun 23

X-Men #12 annotations

Posted on Thursday, June 23, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN vol 6 #12
“Controlled Demolition”
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Colourist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller 
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. Just the X-Men posing in their tree.

PAGES 2-5. Cyclops fights Dr Stasis.

Cyclops initially assumes that Dr Stasis is an agent of Mr Sinister. Given his reaction, it doesn’t seem as if he was ever exactly on board with having Sinister in the Quiet Council (and why would he, given that he spent some of his childhood in Sinister’s orphanage and doesn’t exactly have happy memories of it).

The display case contains the fake EMT gear that Dr Stasis wore when he killed Cyclops in issue #7. He already had it in the case at the end of that issue.

Dr Stasis insists that he is the original Nathaniel Essex and that Mr Sinister is one of his experiments gone wrong. He clearly knows something about Sinister – he knows not only that Sinister used stolen mutant DNA to turn himself into a mutant, but that the DNA came from Thunderbird, something that was only established in a text page in Powers of X #4. Generally, this guy seems a little bit less eccentric than Mr Sinister, but that’s very much a relative term – he’s more of a lunatic who thinks that he’s acting like a level-headed realist, while Sinister is in some ways more self aware as a giggling cynic.

Thanks to time travel, Cyclops was around for the creation of Mr Sinister in Further Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix, and he knows that the real Sinister always had the diamond symbol on his forehead rather than the club shown here.. He certainly doesn’t seem to give much credence to this guy’s claim to be the original, and treats it as a delusion. But since Sinister himself is the umpteenth iteration of the individual, it’s certainly possible that this is a surviving earlier incarnation.

He claims that he’s been “here” since arriving from England; we’ve been told before that he was in New Jersey, but the road sign at the end of page 5  shows he’s specifically in Essex County. But if he’s claiming to have founded the area, this doesn’t work – Essex County has been called that since the 17th century, and Sinister doesn’t get powers until 1859.

Stasis has a photo of what seems to be a Victorian child with some sort of growths on his head, possibly an early mutant, and appears to be motivated by trying to help this kid. Nathaniel Essex did have a son, Adam, who was born with numerous birth defects and died at the age of 4. However, we saw his body in Further Adventures #2, and he looked nothing like this. Quite how Stasis hopes to help a child who appears to exist solely as a picture is a whole other question.

PAGE 6. Recap and credits.

PAGES 7-15. The X-Men defeat Cordyceps Jones.

Pretty self-explanatory.

“First it was those awful bugs in Kansas.” Issue #1.

“Then I almost got run over by the High Evolutionary’s Teslelephant.” Issue #3.

“I remember what you said at the Gala, Jean.” Shown in flashback in issue #4.

Rogue gets one final flashback to how the current team got themselves elected – just in time for the next Gala to come around. (For this sole purpose, we seem to be working on publication time rather than Marvel time, which…. okay…)

PAGES 16-17. Scott and Everett meet with Ben Urich.

“Schaefer’s Diner, across from the Little Theater.” There used to be a “Little Theater” on Broadway, but it was renamed in 1983 and is currently called the “Hayes Theater”. It still has a “Little Theater” sign above the door, though. Doesn’t seem to have a diner opposite it, judging from Streetview, though there is a restaurant next door.

“Mutantdom has solved death.” A rare use in this series of normal English, though the inexplicable “solved for death” shows up again on the newspaper article later on. (I assume it’s meant to be a play on “solve for X”, but it doesn’t really make sense.)

“If we don’t stand for the truth, then we’re just another council.” Referring to the Quiet Council, obviously, and harking back to the suggestion from the tail end of the Hickman era that the X-Men were going to serve as a potential competing power base. You wonder if this line makes much sense to Urich.

“Cyclops fell… I took your memory of the story to protect my people…” Scott died, and Ben’s memory was wiped, in issues #6-7. Everett admitted responsibility in issue #8.

“It’s not the first time I’ve forgotten a story.” I’m not sufficiently up on Daredevil continuity to know precisely what’s being referred to here, unless it’s the obvious point that Ben knew Daredevil’s secret identity and elected to keep it secret. But if that was what he could have in mind, he could hardly say he “came to do the right thing”, at least not while implying that the “right thing” was to publish.

PAGE 18. Data page – the Daily Bugle front page with Ben Urich’s story.

“It was not so long ago that we all heard the voice of Charles Xavier in our heads…” House of X #1.

“[T]he apparent murder of mutant fashion designer Jumbo Carnation.” New X-Men vol 1 #134. “Apparent” because although he was being mugged at the time, he actually seems to have died of a drug overdose.

PAGE 19. Ben Urich reflects.

“My name is Ben Urich. I’m a reporter.” This is an intro line for Urich’s narration from the Frank Miller Daredevil run.

“They were hated and feared, then loved and adored…” Apparently the basic point of this last year: the X-Men have basically succeeded in their effort to be accepted as mainstream superheroes.

PAGES 20-22. The X-Men in Madrid.

They’re fighting the Mole Man, but it’s backdrop to them discussing the upcoming “annual” election, so he doesn’t even get mentioned.

“Irene’s in a fit, saying that only I can prevent ‘mutants walking through a gate and never returning'”. Irene is Destiny. Rogue is apparently being shunted over to some other title – most likely Knights of X, where her husband Gambit has been appearing.

“There is something I must do in service of Arakko…” Presumably Sunfire is off to X-Men Red‘s supporting cast.

“Cyclops was right.” Seems to be a callback to the “Magneto was right” slogans from the Morrison run – an interesting way for Scott to position himself.

PAGE 23. Orchis regroup.

“I trust our friend is ready for her debut at the Mutie Gala?” This probably refers to the X-Men story in Free Comic Book Day: Avengers / X-Men / Eternals, where Moira MacTaggert kidnaps Mary Jane Watson with apparent plans to pose as her in order to get into the Gala.

PAGE 24. Data page – quote from Dr Stasis. This isn’t Duggan’s final issue, but it is the end for the current roster (and, I think, the end of the second trade paperback).

PAGE 25. Trailers.




Bring on the comments

  1. Tim XP says:

    I can see the appeal of having an annual election for the readers, but the idea that an entire year has passed in-universe since the last Hellfire Gala is going to cause no end of headaches for anyone trying to assemble a proper Marvel chronology in the future.

    Maybe they’ll say Krakoa has rejected human timekeeping systems and instituted a new calendar where a few human weeks = 1 mutant year.

  2. Ceries says:

    Urich taking a moment to deepthroat “the Krakoan security apparatus” is hilarious to me. They literally wiped his mind! But it seems like any sympathetic human character must accept that the mutants are gods who do as they will. Frankly he comes off like a propagandist, not some bold truthteller.

  3. Allan M says:

    The Urich panel’s a direct callback to Daredevil #230, part of Born Again, during which Urich has found an informant, a police officer who admits to giving false testimony to get Matt Murdock disbarred, at the behest of the Kingpin. One of Kingpin’s goons breaks five of Urich’s fingers and warn him to drop the Murdock/Kingpin story, which he does. And the same goon calls him on the phone and have him listen as she kills the informant – the closeup of his face is a direct callback.

  4. Rob says:

    I believe Cyclops Was Right was used during the Bendis run post-AvX and during the subsequent Bunn run after Cyclops was killed in Death of X.

    If it wasn’t used on-panel, it was certainly a hot debate in fandom at the time.

    Also, Urich, like the entire world, had his memory of Daredevil’s identity wiped by the Purple Children at the end of Mark Waid’s run.

  5. Si says:

    I can see the point of moving the Krakoa setting in real time for a while. Yes it will create enormous headaches for anyone trying to reconcile the time scale, but the time scale has never made sense.

    One of the biggest problems the Krakoa story faced was that it was laughable to believe an entire nation was built on an uninhabited island in the space of a few weeks, becoming important internationally and running a global drug industry from the farm up. Putting a few years in between foundation and the present makes the premise more sturdy. It’s still miraculously fast, but at least there’s some sense of legitimacy.

    It will be a problem if they’re onto Gala X in 2030 and the Runaways are still buying zit cream in their own comic, but for now I can see the merit.

  6. Omar Karindu says:

    The battle with the Mole Man here might be a nod to Astonishing X-Men (2004 series) #7, when the X-Men also took on the Mole Man as part of an effort to be accepted as mainstream superheroes.

    IIRC, that was one of the other times the X-Men tried to be accepted as plain ol’ superheroes.,

  7. Omar Karindu says:

    Also, the Purple Children erased the world’s memories of Daredevil’s secret identity — including Ben Urich’s memories — in a flashback in the Charles Soule run. Waid’s run introduced the children, but the mindwipe didn’t happen in that series.

  8. Dave says:

    “If it wasn’t used on-panel, it was certainly a hot debate in fandom at the time”

    Indeed. He was frequently referred to as Rightclops.

  9. Joseph S. says:

    Do the my ever actually refer to an “annual” vote, or this year’s gala? I guess I wasn’t reading closely but can’t we just presume it’s a… I don’t know, seasonal event? Or maybe they’re countering years in Mercury time?

    Also re: Mary Jane… Cyclops really stresses here that resurrection only works for mutants. Yet we’ve already seen Wanda resurrected, which while an atypical non-mutant is nonetheless still not a mutant. And we’re dealing with reality warpers and such. So, there was a line in the solicits recently about changes to resurrection that made me think maybe they really will kill MJ in an X book, but resurrect her?

  10. Michael says:

    “why would he, given that he spent some of his childhood in Sinister’s orphanage and doesn’t exactly have happy memories of it).”
    Also, more recently, Sinister was responsible for everything that Alex went through in Hellions and was allowed to keep his seat on the Council.

  11. Michael says:

    @Joseph S- the problem is that the only reason they were able to resurrect Wanda was because she was MISTAKEN for a mutant, and Cerebro recorded her memories. There’s no reason for Cerebro to record MJ’s memories. (Unless, of course, they want to retcon an incident where MJ was mistaken for a mutant but that would seem like an Ass Pull.)
    I’m still guessing that the line in the solicits refers to Moira sabotaging the resurrections somehow and they need Kafka’s research with clones and memories to fix it but curing Kafka means Norman goes evil again.

  12. Mike Loughlin says:

    If anyone hasn’t read Daredevil: Born Again, I (and most comic book fans over 40) highly recommend doing so. It’s one of Frank Miller’s best scripts. David Mazzuchelli’s art is similarly excellent. If you like Batman: Year One, this is the same creative team at the same time.

    Anyway, I liked this issue- Larraz & Gracia continue to produce beautiful, exciting work, the story was fun- but it was completely overshadowed by this week’s Immortal X-Men 3 & New Mutants 26. I think the problem is the weightlessness of the scripting. The defeats of Cordyceps Jones and Dr. Stasis should have felt more momentous but it never fe!t like the X-Men were in any real danger.

    The Ben Urich scene rang a bit false. I was glad to see Synch confess that he erased Henry’s memory, but the reporter was too forgiving. Shouldn’t the notion that the X-Men interfered with the free press be terrifying? “They can’t die AND they’re willing to mind wipe you if they don’t like what you say about them. And these are the ‘good ones!'” The fact that they came clean is a point in their favor, I guess,but I can’t imagine a reporter of any scruples being okay with Synch’s actions.

  13. Si says:

    Just thinking, is there any reason beside Cerebro backups why humans can’t be resurrected? You could do a quick “after last year’s murder, we do a complementary one-off scan of everyone invited to the MutGala.”

  14. Chris V says:

    Cerebro being unable to record baseline humans is a major reason why only mutants can be resurrected. Without Cerebro, it would be an empty husk resurrected, not the actual individual.
    Another conjecture is that Krakoa doesn’t have access to enough of the logic diamonds to be able to store billions more beings.

  15. Si says:

    Yeah you couldn’t do the whole planet, but the 100 or so guests for the gala would be easy to cater for. I don’t think it’s that Cerebro *can’t* scan humans, just that it *doesn’t*. It’s obviously built to detect mutants, but surely Xavier can mind scan whoever he wants with the recording button on. I may be wrong here.

    Then of course you could set up an insurance service, 10 million dollars a year for a non-mutant to be resurrected upon death. 20 to be resurrected with mods.

  16. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    It’s flat out bizarre Urich was fine with getting his memories erased.

    I had assumed the story would be Urich finding out what happened, then turning against the X-Men and rightfully so.

    But I keep forgetting Krakoa can’t be questioned.

    Why can’t you resurrect a human? You just need DNA and a mind scan. There shouldn’t be any reason they can’t, other than they don’t want to. They don’t even need the logic crystals anymore, they have the Waiting Room.

    Who’s more important to the survival and prosperity of mutants, Captain America or Sabertooth?

    That’s gotta be worth a crystal.

    And I’m not sure exactly how they’re downloading minds from the Waiting Room, but that’s another problem.

  17. Si says:

    Urich didn’t mind having his very brain tampered with, Laura didn’t mind being turned back into a murder-puppet with metal bones, people are very permissive under Gerry Duggan.

  18. MWayne says:

    I think Mike L nails it: Duggan’s X-Men has been serviceable enough, but I feel the weightlessness of the story-telling as well. Nobody ever seems in real danger; the stakes never seem that high (even when they actually are). There was gravity to Immortal and New Mutants this week, the stakes felt high, and both overshadowed the “first year finale” of this title.

    On another note, we are changing rosters, but other than a speech about his history, did Sunfire actually do anything or interact with any of the other members beyond battle banter? He will be gone, and it seems like he was never there to begin with.

  19. Evilgus says:

    Beautiful art with some stunning visual moments. But agree with the weightless storytelling and the missed opportunity in terms of character development. Now this will be remembered as just another team with a random cast.

  20. Drew says:

    “@Joseph S- the problem is that the only reason they were able to resurrect Wanda was because she was MISTAKEN for a mutant, and Cerebro recorded her memories. There’s no reason for Cerebro to record MJ’s memories. (Unless, of course, they want to retcon an incident where MJ was mistaken for a mutant but that would seem like an Ass Pull.)”

    Okay, we can work with this. MJ’s body was once possessed by Red Sonja’s time-traveling spirit, right? And Selene was alive when Red Sonja was active. So how about when the, uh, non-copyright-infringing red-haired warrior maiden’s soul returned to her own time, she retained an echo of MJ’s mind inside herself. And then in some untold tale, Selene partially drained this unnamed, pulchritudinous scarlet-haired warrior, not enough to kill but enough for a copy of MJ’s mind to transfer into Selene. So now the X-Men just need to pull it out of Selene and put her in a spare Jean Grey body, and BAM! — instant 1970s-era Mary Jane.

    Hey, it’s no crazier than half the plots of Marvel Team-Up. No-Prize pleeease!!! 😉

  21. Ryan T says:

    In addition to the above notes on ‘Cyclops is Right’, Jay and Miles Xplain the X-Men also pushed the phrase, including having a t-shirt

  22. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    So did Quentin Quire.

    I bet his was bespoke though.

  23. Daibhid C says:

    I strongly suspect that if they’re still doing the Hellfire Gala thing in five years, they will just quietly not mention how many of them there have actually been. I mean, the Marvel Universe has Christmas every real-world year, and we all pretend that makes sense.

  24. Karl_H says:

    The team election has a pretty close cousin in the Legion of Super-Heroes fan elections, which allowed readers to vote on the new leader of the team. It started in 1968 and there were new leader elections every 1-3 years for a while. I’m not sure how many of these were fan elections but I do remember voting in them back in the 80s.

    These elections didn’t feel like time was getting compressed weirdly because: The Legion was divorced from the timelines of the rest of the DC line, and was more open to allowing characters to age (albeit in spurts); it wasn’t tied to an ostensibly ‘annual’ event like the Gala; and storytelling was, I think, denser back then, making it easier to believe that an entire year’s worth of stories had taken place between elections.

    Also, maybe, I was younger and less critical.

  25. Alex says:

    Christ, Rogue just escaped Excalibur.

  26. MasterMahan says:

    My, Ben Urich is weirdly nonplussed about being violated. Did Synch make sure no one else messed with Urich’s mind to make him more pro-Krakoa?

    Sadly, it’s mostly likely that Urich is fine with it because Urich is Good, the X-Men are Good, and he therefore supports them because they are both Good.

  27. Luis Dantas says:

    I will not be too surprised if at some point in the future it is revealed that the resurrections are all Proteus’ work without his knowing it, and the rituals and the other members of the Five are only there to focus and direct him.

    Including the claim that baseline humans can’t be brought back that way.

    After all, it is hard to imagine any logical reason why Cerebro could record nearly all mutants but not a random human.

  28. MasterMahan says:

    I suppose if Marvel wanted to justify resurrection only working on mutants, they could say it’s because of Hope. Hope’s power is linking with other mutants. Perhaps she’s not just connecting the Five together, but connecting them to the resurrectee. If they’re not a mutant, or something close like Wanda, it won’t work.

    But that’s just me speculating. By the information we’ve been told about resurrection, it should absolutely work for a human if they want it to.

  29. Dave says:

    The DNA part of the resurrection is based on Sinister’s science, right? Has he ever cloned a non-mutant?

  30. neutrino says:

    Vertigo of the Marauders.

  31. YLu says:

    There must be some uniform difference between human and mutant minds, given Cerebro’s ability to detect mutants across the world by their minds. So I don’t think it’s a huge leap from that to the idea that it can only record mutant minds.

  32. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Why would Sinister have trouble cloning even simpler human DNA?

    Also he’s not involved in the process beyond providing a sample.

    Which is still insane, he has a DNA sample of Northstar’s infant adopted kid no one new was even xgene positive?

    This is all breaking down into magic now.

    Cerebro being a mutant director has never really made much sense, but it’s used as a general psychic amplifier all the time.

    Why couldn’t they download a human mind?

    None of this is internally logical.

  33. YLu says:

    There’s no reason to believe Sinister already had the baby’s DNA. All that would be required to resurrect the kid is for someone to collect DNA from the corpse, and they can do that like tomorrow.

  34. Devin says:

    At this point I’m almost convinced that it’s not that Krakoa CANNOT resurrect humans, it’s that they WILL NOT, and Cyclops’ disclaimer about the technology is just a cover.

    I also suspect this will be a plot point in Judgment Day.

  35. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    As ever, lovely art, but what happens on the page feels sort of… weightless?

    I’m kind of sold on the X-Men succeeding as public heroes – it’s sudden, especially since it took them less than 12 issues. Maybe that’s why it was an easy win after easy win – to show them ‘as the world sees them’?

    Which would explain why we almost never see them off the clock – the public is not privy to their lives, and neither are we. Except for the Cyclops thing.

    But it’s a shame – the X-Men have always been (well, since Claremont, at least) about the interplay of differing personalities and whatnot. This is a nice roster! Some of these people barely know each other! And now their turn is done and… they still barely know each other.

    I hope that the next team will get more time to themselves. And I also hope that the closing of this issue is a partial misdirection and more people stay. Basically I want Laura and Lorna to stay on the team.

  36. JDSM24 says:

    1) No-Prize Theory time: Wanda is in fact , Really a natural-born X-gene mutant after all , I.E. She Really is Magneto’s biological daughter after all I.E. The High Evolutiomary just merely LIED to her about everything since the Axis retcon , which makes perfect sense to me , because
    A. HE is a notorious liar (he lied to Jessica Carpenter that she was merely an evolved spider, one of his New Men, and he lied to Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy’s clone that she was merely a non-related human woman who had been given fake-memories and a full-body plastic-surgery makeover in order to become an identical Duplicate to the OG GS)
    B. His claims to Wanda and Pietro in Uncanny Avengers about the alleged truth of their origins were never independently verified anyway by any other doctor or scientist
    C. Vision discovered a secret in HE’s files that was so shocking that he never told Wanda or anyone else for fear of what it could do to them (meta-Rick Remender writes an “Out” to undo this retcon)
    D. HE’s “revelation” that Django&Marya Maximoff were W&P’s bio-parents were later further retconned in that DM was just the brother of their real bio-mother, Natasha Maximoff, the secret-OG Scarlett Witch of Wundagore
    E. NM coincidentally looks and acts exactly like the Ultimate-version of Magda Maximoff, the Witch of Wundagore in the Ultimate Universe
    F. Ghost-NM finally meets Wanda at last , and revealed she was killed by her babydaddy/their bio-daddy when she told him about their existence (he apparently didnt know they even existed) and he had a fit of murderous rage at this confession from her
    G. Except she never says anything else about him
    H: Now , who does he remind the readers of ? Hmmm…. (Meta-James Robinson writes an “Out” to undo this retcon)
    I. On a further meta-level , literally nobody except DOE-hard hardcore Magneto-haters, ever even bothered to respected the retcon at all, as it was absolutely inorganic and the result of Ike Perlmutter’s sheer spitefulness and pure pettiness against Kevin Feige
    J. Which became moot & academic anyway when Disney acquired Marvel
    K. Which is proven by the absurdity that W&P are supposedly not mutants yet are recorded by Cerebro , the only non-mutants to ever experience this
    L. The last time in Marvel-616 that a non-mutant experienced something only a mutant should experienced, it turned out that they were actually also a mutant after all I.E. Moira Kinross and the Legacy Virus (meta-Jonathan Hickman admitted in an interview w/ AIPT that this was specifically & particularly why he decided to reveal that she was also an X-gene mutant too – “one of the biggest ‘Tells’ he ever read in comics)
    M. This also explains why W’s mutants-only chaos-magick spell creating the Waiting Room worked , even though it should have been cast only by genetic X-gene mutants (W ended up replacing Lorna in the trinity with David X. and Kevin M.)
    N. And in AoA/Marvel-295 , which should be mostly the same exact universe until the point of divergence in Legion Quest, W&P are Erik’s bio-kids

    2) Another No-Prize Theory: Vertigo is actually BOTH a Savage Land Mutate AND a genetic X-gene mutant , which is why she was eaten by the OG Predator X in the battle-royale-finale of the Messiah Complex crossover (and also why she is the only SLM who Gambit bothered to recruit for Sinister’s Marauders)

    3) It was confirmed by Peter David in his Scarlet Spider series following the Clone Conspiracy crossover that in Marvel-616 , when a dead person is cloned, their OG soul attaches to the new physical body, this was futher affirmed by Al Ewing in his Valkyrie series where Jane Foster saves 616-Lady Death from dying herself

    4) maybe Sunfire will finally get a girlfriend when he rescues Redroot, he’s Japanese after all, and their pop-culture has always fetishsized “monstergirls” , especially plantgirls

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