Mister Jeffries is not Hank McCoy

X-Men #14
Sep 2011

The penultimate chapter in the five-part “First to Last” arc picks up not long after the previous issue, with the X-Men still under very serious attack on Utopia by the Evolutionaries, powerful interventionist beings who initially claimed to protect mutantkind. Mister Jeffries appears in three panels as a regular member of the X-Men Science Team, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #505.

Having been knocked out in X-Men #13, Mister Jeffries is soon roused awake by Prodigy in the X-Labs to find Rockslide, Anole and Match fighting Litterbug and Dragoness. As he wakes, he calls out, “Hnn… Lil…” – a semi-conscious reference to his dearly departed wife Diamond Lil who was killed off in X-Force #23. Prodigy asks him for, “The Device,” referring to a Cosmic Ray disruptor he had built in the previous issue based on Cyclops’ memory of a similar one built by Hank McCoy years ago. Jeffries says the machine’s done, but he can’t make it work and then humbly adds, “I’m not Hank McCoy.”

Well, yeah, Mister Jeffries isn’t Hank McCoy and he’s ordinary enough to admit it. One version of Jeffries over in X-Men Legacy is sort of a genius-level character, but that’s actually an ongoing error on Mike Carey’s part. The original Mister Jeffries was intended by John Byrne to be paired up with the technical genius Roger Bochs in order to be able to build his contraptions, not be a Reed Richards-level genius who can get a Cosmic Ray disruptor to work by himself based on Cyclops’ aged memories of a machine he didn’t even build. So even though Chris Yost is still in the Alpha Flight Collector doghouse for killing off Diamond Lil, at least he got this characterization right by not supersmartifying Madison in this situation.

After last issue’s do-nothing anti-climax, this issue is even more do-nothingy anti-climaxy for Jeffries, but still a marked improvement, as the number of panels where he’s conscious has increased by a whopping 50% from two to three. What started out as such an exciting role for Madison became stretched out by necessity. It wouldn’t have made sense to have Jeffries show up all of a sudden with a working machine right away, nor would it have made sense to have him mentioned once in Chapter Two and not again until Chapter Five. So, we have two single page appearances in issues #13 and #14 to get ready for the conclusion.

Note: this issue has two variants. One is an “I am Captain America” variant by Greg Horn, part of a series of variants released in the summer of 2011 to coincide with Captain America: The First Avenger movie released 7/22/11. These covers have the common theme of “inspiring images depict hardworking, everyday Americans whose service would make Steve Rogers proud.” The other is by interior artist Paco Medina taken from a much larger promotional poster for the “First to Last” story arc.

X-Men #14 – I am Captain America variant
X-Men #14 – Medina variant
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