Nation X #2
The anthology series Nation X continues in this issue with more “slice of life” stories about what it’s like to live on Utopia Island, the new headquarters for the X-Men. Consisting of 8pp stories by various writers and artists, we get to see a showcase for characters not usually put into the center of the stage, and for creators not usually associated with the X-Men. Northstar is featured in one of the stories and appears as a regular member of the X-Men, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #508. Aurora also briefly appears as Jeanne-Marie in three panels. Not a member of Alpha Flight but a notable new associate, Northstar’s boyfriend Kyle also appears extensively.
In the third of four stores, “LDR” is written and drawn by Tim Fish, who is gay, and whose cartoony style first suggests a parody piece more suitable for a FUNday post. However, he’s just having fun with a gay character while skirting the edge. When Matt Fraction first introduced Kyle in Uncanny X-Men #508, it was the first time Northstar had an actual boyfriend and Tim expanded on that idea, although at the expense of Northstar’s usual demeanor.
The story begins with a brutal but completely unexplained attack by the Warwolves, beasties from the Excalibur title put back into play seemingly randomly. Northstar is quickly taken out while Storm rescues him in a whirlwind, leading to a tongue-lashing from Cyclops. Note already two stark differences in character: Northstar ought to be able to handle the Warwolves, or at least escape handily with his super-speed. Second, there’s no way the Northstar we know would sit there and allow himself to be scolded by Cyclops with “I’m very disappointed” and then apologize immediately “I’m sorry, Scott.”
This is Northstar? Remember the scene from Alpha Flight #25 where he’s confronted by the team about his past and we get lines like, “I see no one here whom I acknowledge to have the authority to pass judgement over me.” and “Oh, so it’s truth you’re after, is it? Whose truth, I wonder? Yours? My sister’s?” That’s the arrogant jerk we love, not this simpering bag who offers an apology first crack!
Well, Tim Fish is just trying to set up the premise of the story, the LDR (Long Distance Relationship) problems Jean-Paul is having with Kyle, who is all the way over in Toronto, over two thousand miles away, causing him to be distracted and preoccupied. Then the fun starts: a few silly scenes around Utopia showing Northstar acting about as simple as the cartoon art of this piece. He’s shown handing a wrench to Pixie, who is repairing a burst water pipe and carrying a box of tissues while Warpath is hauling heavy crates around. Written by anyone else besides Tim Fish, these panels would be rather insulting, but here’s where he really shines. He caps it off by having Northstar absentmindedly fly smack into Dazzler, knocking her off her roller skates and onto all fours while he’s daydreaming about Kyle.
Awesome! He later decides to call him and suggests he asks his boss for some vacation time.
Well, his boss is none other than his boyfriend’s sister, Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, the Chief Operating Officer of Team Northstar Extreme Snowsports, who, up in her high-rise office, sends Kyle off gladly. We find out that Kyle’s been a “trusted friend for ages” and a bit of backstory – she hired him as an event manager for Northstar and later, they fell in love. It is unknown if she’s put on her bra since removing it in Dark X-Men: The Beginning #3.
Upon his arrival in San Francisco, Kyle is whisked to Utopia and three panels later is toweling off after what Tim Fish himself calls “implied gay sex”, which isn’t so shocking after similar scenes in Uncanny X-Men #508 with Karma and of course the scene recently in Nation X: X-Factor #1 with Longshot and Dazzler. They then visit around the island while Kyle keeps insisting they leave, as he’s generally unsettled by what’s otherwise an ordinary day on the island.
Just then, a Warwolf returns as inexplicably as the story began, and attacks! This time Northstar gets in a solid blow before handing off the battle to Colossus and Psylocke. He then heroically rescues Kyle by whisking him away again. Kyle then almost breaks up with him due to all the excitement that he just can’t handle… but they agree to stay away from Utopia and on the ground for a while.
Tim Fish also included an interesting image of Aurora in an X-Man costume on his blog, but she doesn’t appear in this costume in the story:
Here’s another Aurora sketch:
Note the rounded ear, covered up in the published version.
Note that in both the cover art by Dustin Weaver and Tim Fish’s version of Northstar’s costume, the white starburst on his leg has been replaced by a white belt, which we’ve also seen in Nation X: X-Factor #1.