Dark Avengers #8
The fifth chapter of six in Utopia, a crossover between the Dark Avengers and Uncanny X-Men set in the Dark Reign storyline, is filled with plot twists and surprises as Cyclops’ master plan unfolds before us. Northstar appears as a regular member of the X-Men, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #508 and Madison Jeffries appears as a regular member of the X-Men Science Team, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #505.
Part of Cyclops’ plan is to raise the submberged Asteroid M in Oakland Bay to become Utopia, a new floating island home for the X-Men. Madison Jeffries and Psylocke don wetsuits and S.C.U.B.A. gear to install engines onto the big rock as the X-sub and its awesome X-shaped front window hovers nearby. Jeffries isn’t visually identifiable because his face is covered by a mask and rebreather. They exchange a useful bit of dialogue where he corrects her use of the title “Doctor” to just “Mister” when she addresses him. Note that in X-Men Legacy Annual #1 (2009), he’s erroneously referred to as “Doctor Jeffries”, but does not correct Danger.
This small bit of dialogue really emphasizes Jeffries’ role on the team. Of all the members at the time: Dr. Hank McCoy, Dr. James Bradley (a.k.a. Dr. Nemesis), Dr. Yuriko Takiguchi, Dr. Kavita Rao and Mr. Madison Jeffries, he’s the only one without a “Dr.” in front of his name. Recall the first time we saw him in Alpha Flight v1 #16 – Roger Bochs calls him “Mister Jeffries” and that’s the only name he’s known by until issue #30 when we meet his brother Lionel, forcing Bill Mantlo to come up with a first name for the other brother. It raises the question if John Byrne, who left in issue #28, even had a first name in mind for the character. “Mister” was his identity, part of his name and definitely his character all at once, none of this “Doctor” nonsense for him. No, he’s the guy who builds things, the mechanic who does the physical work, the laborer who rolls up his sleeves and gets his hands dirty. So it’s perfectly appropriate for Jeffries to be the one member of the team to actually install the engines and I’m glad Matt Fraction went out of his way to make this point about the character.
|Back aboard the X-sub, Jeffries is shown changing out of his gear as Kavita loses her patience and Dr. Nemesis, resplendent in his bizarrely inappropriate underwater attire (fedora, white coat and tie) self-medicates with a wicked looking syringe. Dr. Nemesis opens a channel to Graymalkin Industries, the X-Men headquarters in Marin County, and by videolink, Cyclops gives the order to raise the asteroid.|
|There’s a minor continuity error as Jeffries is shown wearing a red collared shirt on the video monitor at Greymalkin and a tank top in the X-sub in the panel below it. He was shown wearing the same tank top in the X-sub when he was taking off his wetsuit. It’s possible that the video images are just still images of the person speaking in the videolink, not a live video feed.|
Meanwhile, Northstar is shown standing around back at the Graymalkin chapel, where the assembled X-Men and students receive word to begin the evacuation of the old headquarters. He is among the members of an advance team to get to Utopia first and is whisked away in a swarm of fuzzy purple teleport sparklies from Pixie and Nightcrawler while Magik stays behind to teleport the rest.
It’s nice to have included Northstar in the advance team, but why he couldn’t go outside and fly the 35-40 miles or so between Marin County and San Francisco Bay in about the same time as the teleport is not clear. Group teleportation must be the preferred method of travel when a writer can’t fit extra panels showing individual characters moving around by their own method of transport.
The X-Men arrive at their new home where Nightcrawler teleports in a news crew. Northstar can be seen tiny among the assembled X-men on deck as Cyclops begins a live televised news conference alongside Namor and Emma Frost, who have been revealed as sleeper agents in the Dark X-Men. Overall, it’s a bit of standing around from Northstar and a solid, respectable showing for “Mister” Madison Jeffries.
This issue has two variant covers and is sure to have a 2nd printing released shortly (this post will be edited upon its release).
|Dark Avengers #8 – Simone Bianchi variant|
|Dark Avengers #8 – 70th Anniversary Frame variant|