Northstar and Jeffries in X-Men #12

X-Men #12
Aug 2011

This issue is part two of “First to Last”, a five-part arc that started in X-Men Giant Size #1 where a clan of the advanced mutant race Neo show up on Utopia, only to be destroyed by the Evolutionaries, powerful interventionist beings who claim to protect mutantkind. In this issue, Cyclops attempts to pull off a “behind the scenes” plan to defeat the Evolutionaries, all communicated telepathically, while the expository portion of the book plays out in regular speech. One of the telepathic messages goes out to Northstar, who appears in one panel as a regular member of the X-Men, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #508 and one goes to Mister Jeffries, who also appears in one panel, as a regular member of the X-Men Science Team, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #505.

Alpha Flight Collector has had serious problems with Chris Yost for killing off Diamond Lil in an inexplicable and unceremonious manner in X-Force #23, so his writing is particularly subject to extra scrutiny. He does Northstar’s bit just fine, placing him alongside Namor subsequent to the mighty stone giant Pillar’s disintegration last issue, and sounding as perfectly arrogant as he can make him with his one line when he mocks the order to stay still.

In the next panel, Jeffries receives a telepathic message from Cyclops to build a machine that does… something… , and immediately has an intense reaction, calling out for Dr. Nemesis, who in turn, races just as intensely to the lab to assist.

This is exactly how Madison Jeffries’ powers are supposed to work – he was supposed to be the guy who can build any machine with his mind, but not necessarily ready with the engineering knowledge how to design them. Both John Byrne and Bill Mantlo paired him up with Roger Bochs, the brilliant design engineer, and this is the general sense fans had of how Madison Jeffries’ powers were supposed to work.

Roger Bochs concentrates, Mr. Jeffries touches his forehead… …and machinery mentally designed by the one is transformed out of metal by the other.

This type of “design download” directly into his mind had been done in Alpha Flight #36 when Roger Bochs uploaded the design for a sonogram machine directly into Jeffries’ mind when Shaman (as Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen) required one to analyze Snowbird’s unusual pregnancy. Chris Yost got this nuance of Jeffries’ powers exactly right, so good job on that. Also, good job on the tease. I closed the cover, DYING to know what Jeffries’ next contraption would be, and thrilled that he might play a pivotal role in defeating the extremely powerful Evolutionaries, when the other X-Men were told to stay still.

Note: this issue has a variant cover by interior artist Paco Medina taken from a much larger promotional poster for the “First to Last” story arc.

X-Men #12 – Medina variant

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