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X-Men #141 (1981, January)

April 14, 2013

I’ve got so much homework I need to do over the next couple weeks. Ugh. If I end up skipping posts, that’ll be why. But for today, oh, it’s a big one: “Days of Future Past.”

Days of Future Past

A wonderfully effective cover, and one of the most homaged.

We’re in Manhattan in 2013, as Kate Pryde makes her way through the rubble. She drops through a trap door, and is confronted by Rogues. Wolverine shows up to deal with them. He gives her the final piece of a jammer, and tells her that the rest of the world is prepared to nuke North America as soon as the Sentinels make a move to leave it. We get some backstory, and it’s not pretty. A 1988 Mutant Control Act caused mutants to be rounded up and either killed or thrown into internment centres. Kate lives in one of the internment centres. She walks past a cemetery when she enters. Scott, Kurt, Bobby, Warren, Reed Sue, Ben, Johnny, Lorna – plenty of familiar names. She rejoins Ororo, Peter, Franklin Richards, Rachel (last name not yet given) and Magneto (now in a wheelchair). We also learn that Kate and Peter are married, and had kids, who didn’t survive. Franklin activates the jammer, and Rachel sends Kate’s mind back.

Back to 1980. Kitty walks in on an X-Men training session. And almost gets killed. Luckily, Kurt teleports in to hit the panic button to turn it off. He’d been distracted by an interview Xavier was giving on TV. Kitty’s own Danger Room session begins. All she has to do is walk across the room. So she shuts her eyes and starts walking. The X-Men find it hilarious that she beat the Danger Room with her eyes closed, but then she collapses at the door.

She’s taken to the Medilab, and when she wakes up, she’s glad to see Kurt’s alive. She explains that she’s Kate Pryde, the future version of Kitty, and that the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants is planning on assassinating presidential candidate Robert Kelly, along with Xavier and Moira. As they fly to Washington, she gives more details. Kelly’s assassination leads to a new Sentinel program, programmed to deal with the mutant threat. The Sentinels chose to accomplish that goal by taking over the US.

We cut back to 2013. Peter refers to Magneto as “Magnus,” the first time that name appears. Magneto stayed behind to cover their escape. The Sentinels find them, and kill Franklin. The X-Men fight back (Fastball Special Tracker: 6).

Back to 1980, and the Pentagon. Raven Darkholme, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Research and Development, makes her way to her office. There, she turns into Mystique, in her first appearance in X-Men. She meets with Pyro, Avalanche, Blob, and Destiny. Blob argues with them a bit, particularly Pyro (who’s English). Blob also calls himself Fred Dukes. If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time we learn his real name.

Then it’s over to the Senate, where Robert Kelly is leading a hearing on mutants, with Xavier and Moira present as witnesses. Moira mutters to Xavier that Kelly’s already decided on registration today and gas chambers tomorrow. Godwin’s Law! The Brotherhood attacks the hearing. The X-Men stand against them.

This is a big issue. It introduces the Days of Future Past timeline. It introduces Rachel, who will later join the team. It introduces the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, including bringing Mystique into the X-Men’s realm. She’ll become one of their most notable antagonists, and is still causing them problems. It gives Magneto a more personal name, though not his real name. It even introduces the inhibitor collars that have been used so often since then.

More than that, it’s just a great, well-written and well-drawn issue. The hopelessness of the future is conveyed very effectively. Kate’s joy when she sees Kurt alive, and her heartbreak when she thinks back on all the people who died, are really good. Just a fantastic issue.

  1. This issue is my most prized possession in all the world, and that includes a Stanley Cup ring… and a pair Michelangelo Ninja Turtle socks.

    I’ve woken up every morning this year wondering, is this the day Sentinels walk the block? Makes me feel old when a the future year in fiction finally happens in real life. (I remember when 2005 in Transformers: The Movie seemed like an eternity away… 8 years after the real thing, still no Galvatron, Matrix or Autobot City. Bummer.)

    • Yeah. It’s always weird when you reach a year a fictional story takes place in. Kinda neat, though.

  2. dang this is awesome, i just started ‘days of future past’ a couple days ago and your thoughts are a great companion! so glad i found you, also @foogos, you’re stuff is sweet too! both of y’all just got a new fan.

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