X-Terminators #2 (1988, November)
N’astirh’s demons return to the mausoleum he’s using as a base, in time to catch the very end of his conversation with Hodge from X-Factor #34 – neat little crossover there! Of course, Weezie’s writing both books, so it’s easy. Anyway, I like this panel of N’astirh:
Then he yells at the demons for screwing up in their mission, since Leech and Artie are too big to be babies. He’s kinda mean to them, honestly, but he’s also awesome about it so it’s fine.
Artie sends off a psychic projection to get some attention, and it’s seen by the X-Terminators. Rusty says they need to find a phone so they can call X-Factor to take care of it. N’astirh sends the demons back out to find Infants of Power, while he prepares to contact the Goblin Queen, as seen in UXM #238, though we don’t see that conversation. He also complains about how long it takes to do magic on Earth, and mutters to himself that he’d feed both Artie and Leech to any demon who brought him a solution. The X-Terminators land outside a gas station to use the payphone. First, they need quarters, so Rusty gets Rictor to get some from the soda machine.
You get no points for guessing what happens next.
Boom-Boom really is the best. She has absolutely no impulse control and it’s fun. By the way, the reaction panel delights me to no end:
They yell at Boom-Boom for blowing up the soda machine, pointing out it was awful on so many levels, but luckily, Taki fixes it. Rusty tries calling New York, but can’t get through – he says it sounds like the phone lines are laughing at him. As they fly towards New York, we learn that Boom-Boom would make one hell of a food saleswoman.
Then we cut to Montebello, New York. A woman leaves her baby in his crib, and goes down for coffee with her husband, who talks about the heat wave in New York, and the weird stories he keeps hearing. They talk about the financial problems they’re having. It’s . . . really good drama, honestly. Like, I want to know more about this couple. Then the demons come and take their baby. And might kill the husband, too – one bites into his neck, and it looks gruesome. The domestic drama before the theft makes the whole thing even creepier. Also, the wife seems to have killed one of the demons. That’s pretty awesome. She should have gotten a comic. A woman whose life was torn apart by demons, on a quest for revenge against the supernatural. It could have been cool. But alas, Helen is never heard from again,s far as I know.
The X-Terminators land in a small village, to get some clothes. They actually stop Boom-Boom from blowing up the skylight. Hey, they’re learning. Boom-Boom insists they shop properly so they can look good. And they actually don’t look too bad.
Taki says he’ll pay for the clothes out of his trust fund. It turns out he’s rich. How rich? “Mitshbishi,” which I’m assuming is a reference to Mitsubishi, the famous group of Japanese companies. So, yeah, rich. Boom-Boom asks about his skill with computers, given he’s at a school for kids with reading problems, but he says his problem is with writing, and that his computer helps. It even has a spell checker! That gets the attention of the demon, Crotus, who’s outside. He heard N’astirh’s earlier complaints, and he gets an idea.
The X-Terminators get to new York, which has sweltering heat, screwed up traffic lights, ridiculous amounts of garbage, and the pay phone they find to try to call X-Factor is being a jerk. And it makes a face at Taki. Elsewhere in the city, a kid is watching his baby brother, but goes to join his friends in Laser Tag. The baby gets stolen by a demon. Crotus goes to talk to another group of demons, and gets their help grabbing Taki. The X-Terminators had spent the issue dismissing Taki’s claims of demons, but now they believe him. And one final awesome image of N’astirh.
So, this issue. This is great. This is probably my favourite issue of the mini. There’s some great humour, some great drama, and some effective tension. Simonson moves the story along at a smooth pace, and gives the characters good voices. Boom-Boom is, obviously, the best. But I actually like Responsible Rusty. It works well here. Skids slips into the background a bit, which is unfortunate, but not a big deal. We learn a little more about Taki, and he’s very likable here. He doesn’t have the chip on his shoulder. And it’s sad, the way the others don’t take him seriously. He wants to be accepted, to be part of the team, but he feels isolated, and it’s sad.
But I think the real star of this issue is Bogdanove (along with Milgrom and Wellington). You can probably tell by how many images I posted how much I enjoyed the look of the issue. The art team knocks it out of the park. A lot of it comes down to the body language and facial expressions. There’s a lot of depth to that stuff, and it makes the whole thing feel more real, even with the cartoony style. There’s also some really cute moments. And the cartoony style makes the darker stuff more effective. There’s nothing creepier than a bright style going suddenly dark. The contrast works beautifully, and this issue shows that really well. So the issue looks great, and does a lot to sell the writing, which is already good on its own.
So, yeah, this issue’s great. I love it.