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Beauty and the Beast #3 and Iceman #3 (1985, April)

January 23, 2015

I may or may not post tomorrow. I’ll be hanging out with my friend until 5 or so, so it’ll depend how I feel when I get home. But for today, two comics. First, by Nocenti and Perlin, “Showtime.”

Showtime

It really feels like Sienkewicz was half-assing these covers.

Beast and Alison are sitting on a beach, being melodramatic. Soon, some more people show up on the beach, and throw around some anti-mutant slurs and insults. Beast gets pissed, but Alison talks him down. She starts heading back to the theatre, and Beast thinks that her power not being under control is the only thing keeping them apart.

At the theatre, Alison’s told again that the murder last issue was an accident, and she joins the other gladiators for a workout. She impresses them. While this is all going on, Flynn is making it clear that Hugo, the guy who ostensibly runs the theatre, has no power over them. Later on, Alison is talking to Ivich, the green girl gladiator, about enjoying the gladiator pit. Max the Horsehead comes over to show off a new scar, and he and Ivich talk about scars being beautiful. Then they start dueling with maces. Meanwhile, Alison plays with her power a bit, creating images and words, most notably an image of the Beast. Then she gets maudlin.

Beast is back at Heartbreak, and the woman who runs it, Kate, talks him into going after Alison again. Mickey whines about his Poltergeist, and Kate tells him he is the Poltergeist, and he has to accept it.

Back at the theatre, the hornheaded guy who killed someone last issue is told not to kill any more, because killing is bad, m’kay. Mostly a show for Alison’s sake. Beast shows up before the games start, and they blah blah blah. He says how awful the place is, she talks about being accepted. He flips out on her dramatically, and she thinks again about leaving, but light leaking out convinces her yet again that she has to stay. Beast goes exploring the place, and finds a lab, which has a beaker labelled for Dazzler.

Back at Heartbreak, Poltergeist is still whiny, but then decides he should go rescue Alison. Link agrees to go along with him.

Back at the arena, Dazzler beats her opponent, and initially worries about whether she hurt him, but gets lost in the applause. Beast, in the lab, figures out that the problems Alison’s been having with her powers were caused by the gladiator group. He’s found, knocked over the back of the head, and injected with a drug to make him a mindless beast. He’s put into the arena against Dazzler in a “Beauty and the Beast” performance. She initially panics, but then fights back, using her lasers to scorch him, and to blast him into a wall. The audience cries for her to kill him, just as he starts to come back to his senses. She’s about to do it, but he talks her down, saying they’ve both been drugged. The crowd’s still shouting to kill him, and Hugo tries to get her to do it, but she refuses, so he says she’s through, and orders the gladiators to kill them both. Flynn ends it, and has the gladiators kill Hugo, instead.

And in Latveria, Doom is told that the spy broadcasts on Flynn have ceased, and that he may be in trouble. Doom decides it’s time he got involved.

Such a bad comic. The writing is melodramatic and cheesy, and the art is bland at best, with occasional moments of being outright garbage. The “romance” rings hollow, and Beast and Dazzler both come across as emotionally unstable idiots. They vacillate way too much, their moods changing way too quickly. This is just not good writing, at all. I think Nocenti was much, much better as an editor than as a writer.

Next up, by DeMatteis and Kupperberg, “Quicksand.”

Quicksand

Reminding readers of a dozen characters much more interesting than the one they’re reading about seems oddly cruel.

Iceman is falling through a void. He lands in a crib, as his parents admire him. His mother tells him all the things he’ll have, while he gets progressively younger. Then his mother freezes solid and shatters. His father yells at him and tells him to go to school. He runs and bumps into Xavier, who tells him he’s going to come to his school. Then he’s running around with the X-Men. His parents remind him that Jean’s dead, which is what happens when you’re a mutant, and that extinction’s a bad career goal. But he’s grabbed by the Champions. Darkstar rejects him, so then he’s an accountant, which makes his parents happy, but leaves him bored. He cries a river that starts to drown him, but he’s picked up by the Defenders. They tell him it’s time to grow up, and decide what he is: a kid hiding behind his mother’s apron, or a hero. He just wants to go back into the darkness where he doesn’t have to make decisions.

Now, he meets Oblivion, who recaps the previous two issues of the series. When his father died before Iceman could be conceived, Iceman ceased to exist. Oblivion explains himself as the embodiment of the void, and that he created his form and the realm Iceman sees by his hunger. He has no joys. He wants companionship. He shows Iceman what Marge did to Kali – reducing her to a mindless beast. Marge is Oblivion’s child, and is coming into her power. He created her out of a piece of himself, but she was strong-willed, and rebelled against him. He tells Iceman to bring her back to him, in exchange for his father – and thus himself – living again.

He finds himself back in the world, in an idyllic town where prejudice doesn’t exist. Marge’s brother, Walter, finds him, and brings him to their house. Just in time for dinner. After, Iceman and Marge sit on the porch and talk. She says they’re safe where they are, and she can fight off anyone Oblivion sends for her. She says she loves him. But he says he’s confused and terrified by his father’s death and his own possible non-existence, and the only way he can figure out what’s going on is if she goes back to Oblivion. Her family agrees with him, and says she has to go back. She freaks out, and destroys them. Then she destroys the town.

He realizes she created the town out of her own self, the way Oblivion created his kingdom, and she’s just like him. She doesn’t like that. She attacks him, now taking the name of Mirage. He resists her attack, and her own power starts hurting her. She talks about wanting independence. He feels their situations are pretty similar, with neither able to overcome the influence of their parents. She blasts him, and then freaks out at the thought of having killed him, and swears vengeance against Oblivion, and returns to face him.

Bleeeeh. Iceman is such an annoying character. He’s a whiny jackass. The first few pages are pretty fun in how weird and dream-like they are, but they also highlight just how lame Bobby is. He’s just such a boring character. Everything around him is interesting, but he can’t muster up enough personality to actually become interesting himself. The rest of the issue is similar. Everything that isn’t about Bobby is really interesting, but as soon as he opens his mouth, it sucks all the fun out. Kupperberg’s art is fine, but nothing special. It’s adequate. This isn’t as flat-out bad as Beauty and the Beast, but neither is it particularly good. It’s some of DeMatteis’ weaker work. It’s just so hard to care about this book.

Song of the day: Alfie by Lily Allen.

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From → 1980s, 1985

One Comment
  1. I remember the Beauty and the Beast episode in the 90’s X-Men TV series being good. By the sound of it, this miniseries has nothing to do with that episode (or I should probably say the reverse). Judging by what you said here, it sounds pretty bad. And Iceman, well … it seems like not many writers know how to handle him very well, which results in a character that’s often either annoying or bland.

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