Madison Jeffries in X-Club #1

xclub1coverX-Club #1
Feb 2012

It’s no surprise Simon Spurrier got behind the writer’s desk for this 5 issue mini-series, seeing as how he’s come to “own” the X-Club from the two one-shot spinoffs: X-Men: Blind Science #1 from the Second Coming event and X-Men: Curse of the Mutants – Smoke and Blood #1. Set just at the start of the Regenesis story arc, the X-Men Science team finally get a monthly series all to themselves. Madison Jeffries appears as a regular member of the X-Club, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #505.

Simon Spurrier properly includes science in the science fiction of this series, having the X-Club launch a space elevator platform. Wait, what? Guffaw! No, this is actually a real scientific effort dating back decades from its popularization and effective legitimization by Arthur C. Clarke in his 1978 novel Fountains of Paradise. Even NASA has a web page about space elevators and there’s an International Space Elevator Consortium who sponsor annual meetings to address the technology. So already, the premise of the series is just perfect – that kind of “hardcore yet wacky” science you’d expect for an X-Club series.

While X-Club members Drs. Nemesis and Kavita Rao stay behind at a goofball press conference at the equatorial base of the elevator, Madison Jeffries and Danger ride the space elevator platform straight up, manufacturing a carbon tether along the way. He’s shown wearing an environment suit, surrounded by hovering workbots similar to the Matilda coffeebot from the Age of X series.

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Unfortunately, Spurrier decided to pick up on a meme that I was hoping would drop forever: Jeffries’ attraction to Danger, which was bizarre and inappropriate when first mentioned in New Mutants #9, seeing as how Diamond Lil, his wife, had been killed just a few hours before. It was also bizarre and unnecessary when Fantomex brainwashed Jeffries into asking Danger out on a picnic lunch date (she doesn’t eat) in Uncanny X-Men #529. If this issue were the first instance of Jeffries’ attraction to Danger, it would be a lot easier to swallow. Enough time would have passed since Lil’s death and Spurrier’s distracted version of Madison Jeffries would fit well with the quirky nature of mechaphiliacs. It’s unfair to blame Spurrier for the other two issues, but still, I prefer the version of Madison engaged to Heather and married to Lil over this version.

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One thing this issue gets right with Madison Jeffries is his technomorph powers. In nearly every scene, artist Paul Davidson has Jeffries holding a gizmo or finagling with some floating bits of metal and gadget parts, drawing perfectly iconic imagery for the character panel after panel. Notice the magnetic anchor clipped to his suit that allows him to move freely about the deck while staying tethered, a clever and useful gadget for a zero gravity environment up on the platform.

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Then, Danger jumps off the platform (no parachute, of course), an Atlantean grows tentacles before exploding into a pile of eyeball brain goop and a seagull shoots laserblasts out of his beak at an adamantium-encased sea turtle. Did I mention Simon Spurrier wrote this issue?

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