A tale of a fateful trip to the South China Sea

xmen25coverX-Men #25
Apr 2012

The X-Men team that we saw two issues ago in X-Men #23, consisting of Storm, Domino, Colossus, Psylocke and Warpath continue to search for Jubilee, their missing teammate who got lost in the scrum during the battle with the Sentinels. Just to brag, it should be noted that Madison Jeffries completely saved an entire country in that issue. Now finding themselves in Siberia, the trail runs cold on finding their vampire friend. Oh, Jubilee became a vampire back in X-Men #1, the first issue in this series at the beginning of the Curse of the Mutants arc. Madison Jeffries appears while remaining back at Utopia, the island headquarters of Cyclops’ X-Men, as a regular member of the Science Team, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #505.

First appearing as a speech bubble, he is shown sitting in the same high-tech operations command center where we saw him last, surrounded by glowing floating screens and gadgets. He explains to Storm, using some wandering technobabble, that he’s just discovered where Jubilee might be.

xmen25a

Unfortunately, the explanation loses both Storm and the reader, because it really doesn’t make any sense. However, Victor Gischler does correct himself nicely in this scene. Back in Gischler’s X-Men #4 at the height of the Curse of the Mutants arc, Jeffries used Cerebra to detect “vampire DNA,” which isn’t how it works. Vampires are creatures of the undead, not genetic variants. In this issue, Gischler got it right when he has Jeffries explain:

“Cerebra tracks mutants by DNA. But vampires aren’t vampires because of DNA. It’s more complicated than that. More nurture than nature, if that makes sense.”

Yes, it makes a lot more sense!

Jeffries then directs the team to the South China Sea, giving the map coordinates to find Jubilee. Of course, he’s right, because he’s awesome, and they find her.

I've reconfigured Cerebra to detect Psylocke's butt

I’ve reconfigured Cerebra to detect Psylocke’s butt

Inexplicably, the top panel shows Madison’s hands over a touchscreen map of… Kosovo? If you squint, you can see some of the town names on the map, indicating a region near the southern border with Macedonia. Kosovo is kind of far from Siberia and even further from the South China Sea, but maybe the computer was just scanning around at the time.

Victor Gischler’s version of Madison Jeffries is more of a super smart code jockey techno-expert than a transmutator of machinery. He feels just as comfortable sitting in a high-tech operations command center programming Cerebra as he is building a contraption in a machine shop. It’s hard to believe that this issue was released at the same time as the five-issue X-Club series (between issues 3 and 4), where Simon Spurrier’s version of Jeffries was a spaced-out, rough-talking bumbler. It also isn’t clear if Jeffries used his powers in this issue. It’s possible that he had an enhanced mental connection with Cerebra as a natural extension of his techno-powers, but he’s just so damn smart in this issue that it’s hard to tell.

One note on the technobabble: Jeffries inadvertently drops a reference to Gilligan’s Island when he says, “There aren’t groupings of Adenine and Thymine and the rest to trace.” Adenine and Thymine are two of the four building blocks of DNA. The other two are Guanine and Cytosine. It seems so odd to refer to them as “and the rest.” It’s highly reminiscent of the way the Professor and Mary Ann were referred to as “and the rest” in the first season theme song of Gilligan’s Island.

The Professor and Mary Ann approve!

The Professor and Mary Ann approve!

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