Northstar and Box in Uncanny X-Men #521

Uncanny X-Men #521
Apr 2010

The Nation X storyline continues in Uncanny X-Men as the Predator X arc comes to its conclusion and a new arc gradually starts. Well, the new arc is not so much an “arc” as it is an “event”, or whatever the highest ranking episodic descriptor might be: Kitty Pryde is coming back, if you didn’t already read it on a hundred other blogs. Northstar appears in a one panel cameo as a regular member of the X-Men, having joined up in issue #505 and Mister Jeffries appears as a member of the X-Club, having joined up in issue #508.

In the previous issue, Cyclops sent a squad to deal with the Predator X situation in New York City, where they encounter a team of bad guys who nave been around since issue #515. It turns out the 784 trillion nanobots Mister Jeffries discovered on Utopia Island in issue #519 have been gathering data for these villains to put into a super-duper mutant computer. Of course their leader, Lobe, made the classic movie mistake: don’t explain so much! He literally explains their entire nefarious plot on floating video screens generated from their super-duper mutant computer. On one of the screens, you can see part of Northstar.

Also in the previous issue: Magneto and Namor built a column to hold up Utopia Island, which had been sinking. This massive column also serves as a habitat for displaced Atlanteans. Dr. Nemesis and Mister Jeffries arrive in the X-sub and its awesome X-shaped front window to offer their assistance. Jeffries is shown in one panel with a hands-free headset playing the straight man to Nemesis’ usual nasty rudeness. It’s quite comical that the reader is left to figure out that the unattributed speech bubbles coming from the X-sub are spoken by Dr. Nemesis as Jeffries comes across so warm and folksy.

Meanwhile, Magneto is doing… something on a mountaintop, presumably concentrating really hard to bring back Kitty Pryde, who has been trapped inside a giant space bullet. Cyclops calls in the X-Club to figure it all out and Jeffries figures it out! He appears in front of a virtual orrery where he discovers what Magneto is doing. Although it’s great to have Jeffries portrayed as the super-smart guy, it’s a bit of a mischaracterization to have him studying orbital pathways and astrophysical dynamics. It would make more sense for him to use his powers to build a giant telescope or a sensitive detection instrument to measure gravitational effects, something like that.

Jeffries is shown again in one panel from behind talking with Angel, who calls him “Box”. It seems odd at first because he hasn’t been called this regularly, but in his previous appearance in this title (issue #519), Dr. Nemesis calls him Box. Also, when he was introduced to the reader in issue #512, his little X-caption box said, “Madison Jeffries-Box”, so it’s not really all that controversial.

Note: this issue has a Deadpool variant cover by Karl Moline, Rick Magyar and Christina Strain.

Uncanny X-Men #521 – Deadpool variant
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