Posts Tagged ‘Regenesis’

Mister Jeffries “saves everyone” trifecta now complete!

September 9, 2013

xmen23coverX-Men #23
Mar 2012

The giant blob of X-Men from the early issues of this title pared itself down to a manageable team of six mutants for this story arc: Colossus, Storm, Psylocke, Jubilee, Warpath and Domino; with minor roles for the rest of the X-Men back on Utopia, the island headquarters of Cyclops’ team. Of course, that’s where Mister Jeffries has been, choosing to remain with the X-Club after the events of Schism. In the final issue of the “Machines of War” arc, Mister Jeffries appears in three panels as a regular member of the X-Men Science team, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #505.

The mythical Balkan country of Puternicstan had bought an army of Sentinels to attack their enemy neighbor Symkaria, a master plan doomed by the appearance of not only the X-Men but also the Avenger War Machine, who eventually team up to fight the giant robots. Figuring that Madison Jeffries, second to none when it comes to defeating Sentinels, could help from afar, Psylocke telepathically contacts him from halfway around the world, beaming an image into his mind of a Sentinel control contraption plucked from the mind of the evil Dr. Kamarofski.

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Victor Gischler’s focused and brilliant Jeffries is one of the best. Not surprisingly, Madison is expected to discern the nature of the Sentinel control contraption solely from the beamed schematics and whatever other thoughts Psylocke transmits, and he succeeds. He deduces that they need to send a coded shutdown command to the Sentinels to defeat them, as smashing the contraption would just cause their default mutant-killing programming to take over.

Locutis of Borg approves.

Locutis of Borg approves.

Sounds familiar? In the Star Trek: TNG episode “The Best of Both Worlds, Part II”, Data defeats the Borg collective by planting a sleep command as suggested by Picard’s re-emerging consciousness after being assimilated into Locutis.

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Unfortunately, the only guy who can enter the shutdown command, the evil Dr. Kamarofski, gets shot to death. As the Sentinels close in on the rest of the team and nearly kill Storm, Cyclops and War Machine, Psylocke allows her body to be taken over by Mister Jeffries, who then enters the shutdown command into the contraption, saving not only the team but also the entire country of Symkaria from being destroyed.

I can't believe all I touched when I was in control of Psylocke's body was a computer keyboard.

I can’t believe all I touched when I was in control of Psylocke’s body was a computer keyboard.

The Mister Jeffries “saves everyone” trifecta is now complete, including the time he saved everyone on Earth in X-Men #15, saved everyone on Utopia in X-Men: Schism #4 and now has saved everyone in Symkaria. What a nice job by Victor Gischler who used Jeffries in such an awesome way, far from the action of the rest of the story arc, but with brilliant simplicity.

Note: this issue, although released on the same day as X-Club #2 which did not carry the Regenesis banner, does carry the Regenesis banner.

Note: this issue has a Venom variant cover by John Tyler Christopher, part of a series of variant covers that appeared across the Marvel line in January 2012 to promote the Venom: Circle of Four event.

xmen23covervenomvariant X-Men #23 – Venom variant
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Northstar cameo in Astonishing X-Men #45

September 7, 2013

astonishingxmen45coverAstonishing X-Men #45
Feb 2012

Alpha Flight v4 writer Greg Pak had a short run on the Astonishing X-Men title (issues #44-47) before Marjorie Liu took over and got Northstar all married and whatnot. During that run, he set up what would eventually spin off into the very fun alternate universe-hopping series, the X-Treme X-Men, and ultimately conclude with the X-Termination crossover. In this, the second issue of the “Exalted” arc, readers learn the shocking backstory of the circumstances under which the X-Treme X-Men team formed. An alternate version of Northstar appears in one panel in an ambiguous role.

On an alternate world where 616 Cyclops suddenly found himself in issue #44, a mutant uprising led by Magneto had successfully taken over the world. A team of X-Men led by that alternate world’s version of Cyclops battled Magneto’s mutant team and won, cracking the planet as a result. This background info is beamed directly into 616 Cyclops’ mind by an alternate Charles Xavier known as Savior, providing a quick visual expository to the reader.

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In a mentally projected scene from that world-cracking battle, one of the combatants is Northstar, fighting X-23 and shown wearing a version of his classic black and white costume with a white belt and gloves with starburst cuffs. You can decide if that ear is pointy enough; Alpha Flight Collector thinks it’s on the border. Unfortunately, due to the limited amount of explanation, it isn’t clear what side Northstar is fighting for, because neither he nor X-23 is properly identified in any previous panels as belonging to one side or another. It’s as if Greg Pak’s script said “Ok here, just draw a bunch of random X-Men fighting each other in a big tangle of punches and stuff, whatever!”

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Look for Northstar in the lower left corner of the scrum. It’s left to the reader to speculate whether Northstar or X-23 would sympathize with Magneto or Cyclops in this alternate world, which is a fairly interesting question to pose. But overall, I’m glad that out of all the mutants that could have been in that scene, an Alpha Flight member was included rather than overlooked, so thanks to Greg Pak and artist Mike McKone for this little cameo!

Note: the cover carries the Regenesis tag, identifying this as part of the loose crossover event that followed the Schism event. The next two issues of Astonishing X-Men in the “Exalted” arc do not carry the Regenesis tag on the cover.

Jeffries does nothing at all to help, fans thrilled anyway

January 3, 2013

xmenlegacy260coverX-Men Legacy #260
Feb 2012

Mike Carey’s long-term run as writer of X-Men Legacy comes to its conclusion with the second and last part of the “Half a Step” arc. As mentioned previously, this arc was published well after the X-Men split into two parts under the Schism and Regenesis storylines, so the big mysteries about who was going to go where had already been resolved. Mister Jeffries, who we knew would be staying on Utopia with Cyclops, appears in a few panels as regular member of the X-Men Science Team, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #508.

Picking up from last issue’s events where Rogue discovers that Ariel, a doorway teleporter, had been trapped in a fiery half-state of existence, the Science team is recruited to figure out how to get her back. While sitting around at a conference table, Mister Jeffries makes a suggestion that they use the same dimensional barrier technology used back in the four-part “Devil at the Crossroads” storyline (X-Men Legacy Annual #1 and issues #228, #229 and #230) to catch Emplate.

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When Rogue shoots down the idea and fellow Science Team member Dr. Kavita Rao agrees with her, Jeffries capitulates and jokes:

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That is a reference to the beast he fought with Rogue in X-Men Legacy #244, which is one of the most popular pages on Alpha Flight Collector. I wonder why. Oh yeah, boobs.

It was a nice touch for Mike Carey to insert these references, but also not unexpected in the last issue of such a run for a long-term writer to reminisce this way. Unfortunately, because Rogue decides not to pursue the technological route to rescue Ariel, that’s all we get out of Jeffries. Note that although Northstar was on hand last issue to help out, he’s not needed in the rescue and doesn’t appear.

So ends Mike Carey’s run, and since he was so good to Alpha Flight collectors, a small recap is deserved. He tended to write Jeffries as way smarter than the guy actually should be, but since it’s an error in the character’s favor, it’s easily overlooked. Carey also played a pivotal role with Northstar and Aurora’s storylines, effectively returning them to existence in his opening arc, the Supernova issues #188-#190 and 2007 Annual, and for that we are indebted to him. After a quick Northstar cameo during the Utopia arc in #227, he would end up including Jeffries in the aforementioned “Devil in the Crossroads” arc (4 issues), a cameo in issue #234, the Second Coming issue #236, the aforementioned “Rogue’s boobs” issue #244, the Age of X storyline (5 issues) and this final arc (2 issues) for a total of 20 issues. Not bad at all, and thanks, Mike Carey, for keeping the flame alive for Alpha Flight fans for so many years and so many issues!

Madison Jeffries in X-Club #1

December 10, 2012

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?

Jeffries and Northstar still refuse to speak to each other

November 23, 2012

X-Men Legacy #259
Jan 2012

The schedule of events among the X-titles fouled up a bit with the timing of this issue. Fans who were expecting a Regenesis story (the cover of this issue does have the Regenesis banner logo on the cover) were happily surprised to read yet one more pre-Regenesis story arc from Mike Carey, the long-term writer of X-Men Legacy since issue #188. The Schism event, in which the X-Men divided into two camps: one staying at Utopia with Cyclops and the other returning to Westchester with Wolverine, had ended in October 2011. Regenesis had begun four weeks previously in November 2011 with the release of Uncanny X-Men #1 on 11/2/2011. So by the time this issue was released on 11/30/2011, the hub-bub of who would stay on Utopia and who would leave for Westchester had settled down, already hashed over on countless websites, and even listed by Marvel with in-house ads in various X-books. Both Madison Jeffries and Northstar appear as regular members of the post-Schism, pre-Regenesis X-Men, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #505 and #508.

Ultimately, Mister Jeffries would stay on Utopia with Cyclops as a member of the X-Men Science Team, and Northstar would leave for New York, later taking a prominent role in the Astonishing X-Men title. In this issue, Jeffries and Northstar assist in a rescue attempt organized by Rogue of… someone… from another dimension. Jeffries can be seen standing around with the X-Men on Utopia while the rescue attempt is discussed and organized, during which the Science Team is tasked by Cyclops to build a barrier to contain the rescued entity.

One interesting scene shows a wide-angle of the containment chamber assembly. Jeffries can be seen off to the left, apparently levitating or otherwise guiding a very large piece of equipment into place. What’s interesting about it is the tremendous size of the thingamabob that he’s levitating. We know he can manipulate fine machinery and small pieces of equipment but it’s rare to see him handling something so large. It calls into question a bit of overlap between his powers and Magneto’s powers. We know Magneto would easily be able to lift such a large metallic object, but can Jeffries do this?

Northstar appears in two panels, one without a face, and one holding a failsafe switch. Dr. Nemesis has quite a high opinion of Northstar’s fast reflexes

His super-speed gives him the quickest reaction time of us, and pico-seconds may count.

There have been many scenes over the years where Northstar has been shown with phenomenal reflexes, and some scenes where he’s easily taken out by a clearly slower opponent. Even the record is muddled on this point because Byrne’s footnote from Alpha Flight #12 indicates he doesn’t have proportionately fast reflexes but the OHOTMU Master Edition #13 entry disagrees, saying he has superhuman reflexes. Mike Carey, like he did with Jeffries’ intelligence level, errs on the side of awesome when it comes to Northstar’s power set and and chooses to show them at their finest.

This book is yet another X-book that has both Jeffries and Northstar yet doesn’t show them interacting in the way we’d expect. They were, after all, teammates in Alpha Flight and presumably knew each other even from Jeffries’ time in Gamma Flight. Although Northstar did show up at Diamond Lil’s funeral (we think), the two haven’t made any reference to serving in Alpha Flight together. With the two mutants on opposite coasts now and the X-editors sequestering Jeffries even from Fred van Lente and Greg Pak, it’s unlikely there will be any future issues of this type where we’ll get the chance to see it happen at all.

Note: this issue has a Marvel 50th Anniversary cover by David Yardin and a Regenesis Gold variant by Nick Bradshaw and Morry Jay Hollowell

X-Men Legacy #259 – 50th Anniversary variant
X-Men Legacy #259 – Regenesis Gold variant

Madison “Jefferies” in Uncanny X-Men #1

May 30, 2012

Uncanny X-Men #1
Jan 2012

No, not THAT Uncanny X-Men #1; the Uncanny title restarted its numbering scheme after running five hundred and forty-four issues, ending with the X-Men: Schism event and splitting in two. One of the schismees became Wolverine & the X-Men and the other schismee retained its pre-Schism title, but when it came down to assigning an issue number, the comics industry’s recent obsession with #1 issues prevailed. Mister Jeffries appears in a single panel cameo as a regular member of the X-Men Science team, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #505.

Along with the title splitting in two, the X-Men split up as well, with half the dogpile shipping out to Westchester to restart Xavier’s old school and the other half remaining with Cyclops on Utopia, the island headquarters of the X-Men. Most of the X-Men had chosen a side just prior to this issue in the X-Men: Regenesis #1 one-shot (not an Alpha Flight appearance), which concluded with full-page in-house ads for the two new series listing the members on each team. At some point off-panel, Jeffries had picked Cyclops’ side on Utopia, along with the rest of the X-Men Science Team, and his name was included in the roster in the in-house ad for this series, so we knew he’d be popping up at some point.

After Mr. Sinister stabs some tourists to death and the Extinction Team is introduced, a full-page montage shows a typical week on Utopia, introducing the rest of the teams and a few individuals. Mister Jeffries can be seen with Dr. Nemesis, tinkering with their X-Men Science Team teammate Danger’s detached head. Oddly, Jeffries is shown using some kind of sonic screwdriver implement thingy to do this tinkering, which is entirely unnecessary. We’ve seen him use tools before to perform electromechanical tasks, such as the bizarre soldering iron in New Mutants #5 and the comically oversized wrench in Uncanny X-Men Annual #3, but in this case, it would have looked even more odd for him to be just waving his hands around in that panel, so I’ll give penciler Carlos Pacheco a pass on this one.

Unfortunately, Mister Jeffries isn’t identified by name in that panel, which he ought to have been. A number of characters on that same page go unidentified, and I really think writer Kieron Gillen missed an opportunity here to inform the readers, especially because it’s a #1 issue – a natural starting point for new readers. Why go out of the way to kill a five-decade long five hundred and forty-four issue run, restart the title as a #1 issue as a jumping-in point for new readers and not properly introduce the characters?

Well, at the end of the book, a silly character map tries to accomplish this introduction by naming the various sub-divisions of Cyclops’ side along with a rest-room sign icon version of each X-Man. Once again, Jeffries is shown with a wrench, the completely wrong accessory for a technomorph, but it’s close enough. What’s not close enough is the shameful misspelling of his name. Oh well, it’s still cute.

Note: There is a variant cover by Dale Keown and Jason Keith, a variant cover by Frank Cho, a blank variant and a second printing variant.

Uncanny X-Men #1 – Keown variant
Uncanny X-Men #1 – Cho variant
Uncanny X-Men #1 – Blank variant
Uncanny X-Men #1 – Second Printing variant