Northstar and Jeffries in Heroic Age: X-Men #1

Heroic Age: X-Men #1
Feb 2011

The third and final installment of the Heroic Age handbook trilogy is completely dedicated to X-Men, their allies, enemies and other X-stuff. Like previous issues (Heroes and Villians) in this series, entries are three to a page and written from the point of view of Captain America, who has recently taken over as the big boss of all super-heroes. The X-Men had such a marginal involvement with the overall Heroic Age meta-arc, keeping to themselves while busy with Necrosha, Second Coming, etc., that an entire book about them with “Heroic Age” on the cover does seem odd, especially when so many X-Men were covered in the Heroic Age: Heroes issue.

Remember that both Aurora and Northstar had entries in that book while Jeffries was omitted. At the time, I found this quite odd until OHOTMU writer Michael Hoskin dropped by to leave a comment on the post indicating that Jeffries would be included in this issue.

The entries consist of a fairly large illustration, most of which are taken from recent cover art, followed by Cap’s assessment of the character, and closed with a quote by the character. There are no power grids nor rankings.

The 64-page book is nicely organized into several sections, with Northstar’s entry in the main “X-Men” portion. The entry is brand new, with a different illustration and different text from the other entry in the Heroes issue. I was expecting a word-for-word reprint, so this was a real surprise. The illustration in this entry is taken from Dustin Weaver’s cover art from Nation X #2, and, like the entry from the Heroes issue, Cap openly identifies Northstar’s sexual orientation as gay. The quote used is “Kiss my Quebecois butt” which I believe ought to be Québécois, a throw-away line from Uncanny X-Men #508 uttered jokingly to Kyle during the Team Northstar Extreme Snowsports event.

Jeffries’ entry is in the section, “Mutant Community” which also includes fellow X-Club members Drs. Rao and Nemesis. The illustration is taken from interior art from Uncanny X-Men #529 (art by Whilce Portacio), with some an unfortunately unflattering words. Cap calls Jeffries, “mentally damaged” with a “(somewhat) tenuous grasp on sanity”, a grossly inaccurate description. A small number of writers, in a few scenes, made him out to be distracted, and all of a sudden he’s mentally damaged? Like when he destroyed a Sentinel in one blast with a lightning cannon made from a Model T? Like when he raised Utopia with machines made from his mind? Like when he constructed a liminal dimension barrier to protect Utopia from Emplate? Like when he singlehandedly defeated a gigantic vampire creature by crushing him to death from within? Like when he re-calibrated Cerebra to detect vampires? These are incredible feats of brilliance, courage, creativity and all around awesomeness performed by a heroic character who is mentally healthy and has a damn good grip on reality, and this assessment is just completely wrong. What a shame. At least the quote for his entry is cleanly appropriate,

I can create. That’s my gift. I can make anything I can imagine. Out of metal. Glass. You name it.

This is taken from a longer monologue in Nation X #3 where he guiltily comes to terms with Diamond Lil’s death.

Some other curious Alpha Flight related points come up in other entries:

  • In the main, full page entry for X-Men, Cap mentions,

    At the present, the X-Men are organized into a number of loosely-identified squads, with Dazzler and Northstar overseeing most of the group’s activities in San Francisco….

    This is likely not a reference to the de facto team formed during the Quarantine story arc, which consists of Angel, Storm, Northstar, Dazzler and Pixie, with Angel as the team leader. More likely it’s an observation from a few scenes with Dazzler and Northstar doing typical superhero stuff in recent issues, likely Uncanny X-Men #’s 522 and #528.

  • In Teon Savko’s entry (who? – he’s the feral Russian beastlike mutant from the Five Lights), Cap mentions Wild Child. He mentions the possibility of helping the kid out, and specifically recalls,

    I know Valerie Cooper had some luck deprogramming Wild Child.

    This likely refers to the events in flashback (Kyle’s origin as told by Val Cooper) in X-Factor #142 when she connected with him as a troubled youth before he got all Wild-Childy. This is a nicely detailed reference to an obscure origin story from a long time ago, and I’m glad it was suggested this way in Teon’s entry, as the similarity between Teon and Wild Child ought not go unmentioned.

  • In Laurie Tromette’s entry (who? – she’s the naked Canadian blue girl from the Five Lights), Captain America makes an absolutely charming reference to the events of Uncanny X-Men #’s 109 and #120-1, the very debut of Alpha Flight, who were originally written as X-Men adversaries. He says,

    CSIS has sent polite inquiries to me regarding her status; no doubt they’re still smarting over the depleted ranks of Alpha Flight. I’ll send a reminder to Scott to see that the X-Men stay on friendly terms with the Canadian government – there’s no need to repeat their unfortunate altercations after Wolverine joined the team.

    He is of course referring to Weapon Alpha’s failed attempt to capture Logan and the full Alpha Flight team’s battle with the X-Men to do the same in Calgary. Remember that Captain America was one of the world’s most famous super heroes (in both the nascent Marvel Universe and in popular culture) for some thirty plus years before Alpha Flight even came into existence, so for him to appear worried about events from 1978 (and over four hundred issues of Uncanny ago) isn’t all that strange – in fact, it’s a timeless in-character thing for him to say and I congratulate the authors for the sublime mapping of Captain America’s persona.

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    3 Responses to “Northstar and Jeffries in Heroic Age: X-Men #1”

    1. Flightpath07 Says:

      “and written from the point of view of Captain America, who has recently taken over as the big boss of all super-heroes.”

      Technically, that is Steve Rogers, not Captain America.

      • rplass Says:

        I know. I’m intentionally using his real name which is Captain America. I bet you also fell for the “Pluto isn’t a planet anymore” hoax, too? Not buying it.

    2. Flightpath07 Says:

      I thought Pluto was a dog…

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