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December 5, 2009

Ye Olde School Cafe’: Days of Future Past

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Welcome back everyone to another edition of Ye Olde School Cafe’. This week, I’ll be talking about another X-book and keeping things in chronological order too (reading chronology that is). This week I’ve got The Uncanny X-Men in – Days of Future Past. This is another good story that was written by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, with artwork by Terry Austin. This arc was first published in Uncanny X-Men #141 & 142, in 1981.

The story was really cool for a couple of reasons. The prime reason being, it was the first appearance of one of my favorite characters, Rachel Summers. I think she is one of the coolest people with a great origin, and all of the story lines she’s been involved in have been awesome; well, except dino-summers, but let’s forget about that. This story also has great significance  for anybody that has seen the television episodes of the X-Men that show the future that this story basically created. All right, let’s get down to business with “Days of Future Past.”

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Our tale begins with a futuristic scene that involves an aged Kitty Pryde, and Wolverine fighting some thugs in a city that barely resembles New York. We next see “Kate,” as she is now called, returning to the underground resistance where she and several other mutants are fighting against their oppressors – The Sentinels. Magneto is basically running the show along with Storm, Colossus, Kitty, and Franklin Richards. They have devised a plan to use a device that will jam the inhibitor collars they wear to nullify their powers, giving them access to their abilities. Their hope is that Rachel Summers will be able to send Kate’s  consciousness back in time to inhabit her body and help the X-Men stop this future from happening.

DoFP1Back in the present day, we see the X-Men in the Danger Room doing an exercise, but Kitty walks into the room unexpectedly and nearly gets killed! After a brief talk amongst themselves, the X-Men are stunned to see Kitty faint, so they take her to another room to lie down. The mind transfer process actually worked, and Kate’s mind is now occupying the body of her younger self. At first, she tries to convince the X-Men but they don’t believe her, and it takes Wolverine’s keen senses to actually convince the rest of the team otherwise. She tells them about how the Brotherhood is going to kill Senator Kelly, Xavier, and Moira Mctaggart and start a chain reaction of events that will lead to the downfall of mankind.

After much persuasion, the team agrees to head to Washington to check out “Kate’s” wild story. At this point, we switch back to the future and see the resistance being attacked by Sentinels. Franklin Richards gets incinerated, and the rest of the team avenge his death immediately by destroying the Sentinels who killed him. The future X-Men are left wondering how their friend is doing in the past…

Next, we get a look for the first time at Mystique and her band of assassins. This new Brotherhood consists of Blob, Avalanche, Pyro, Destiny, and Mystique. They are in Washington, plotting their little deed, and basically it takes everything Mystique has just to keep them from beating the crap out of each other. Just as the Professor, Moira, and Senator Kelly start to debate about the future of mutant-kind, a wall comes crashing down and the Brotherhood appears and tells them that they’re gonna put everyone six feet under.

Let the brawl begin! Issue #142 starts out with a big fight between the X-Men and the Brotherhood. We see the Blob pimp-slap a cop, Pyro use his flames to engulf Colossus and later manhandle Wolverine too! The fight goes on for a while, but the X-Men, who are part of a team that practices working together everyday, eventually gain the advantage. In the shadows, Mystique has changed form to that of a policewoman, and manages to subdue Xavier and Moira. Mystique and Destiny then have a conversation about how things are going. Destiny tells Mystique that there is an anomaly in the time-stream that she can’t pinpoint, but it’s something that is causing her to not be able to see what’s happening in the future.

DoFP2Meanwhile, the future is getting even more bleak, as the resistance tries to take the fight to the Sentinels’ headquarters. They make their way to the Baxter Building, and force their way in and onto the elevator to find out where the rest of the Sentinels are at. Back in the present day, after the X-Men start to cleanup the Brotherhood, Storm and Wolverine get into an argument, and then Mystique tries to throw the X-Men off their game by appearing as Nightcrawler. Kurt gets the edge on her and sends her packing, but the X-Men are left wondering where Kitty is.

In the final flash forward sequence, we witness the X-Men from the future fighting valiantly against impossible odds. One by one, they try to stop the Sentinels, but are just overpowered and then callously murdered right in front of the others. Wolverine is the first as he tells Colossus to hurl him, “fastball special style,” right at the giant armored robot. The Sentinel turns around and zap!, he turns Wolverine into a steaming pile of bones. Storm next tries to stop the Sentinels, but gets a spear thrown through her midsection, so that leaves Colossus to fight alone. We don’t actually get to “see” Colossus die, but I think it’s a pretty good assumption he gets killed too. Storm’s lifeless body is being held by Rachel Summers, as she weeps for the loss of her friends.

As we’re left kind of dangling about whether or not Colossus dies, we  see Destiny with a crossbow of some sort try and kill Senator Kelly; but luckily for him the X-Men have someone with firsthand knowledge about these events. Kitty, who has been intangible and making her way to Kelly, arrives just in the nick of time to push Destiny a little and save Kelly’s life. At that very moment, we see “Kate’s” consciousness travel back in time to her future. The X-Men are left to ponder on the significance of the battle and wonder…did they change the future on this day?

I personally think this is a good story. It seems to lack some length, but other than that it was cool. My one problem is with continuity. For some reason Cyclops wasn’t in this book, but the reading chronology says my book for next time, God Loves, Man Kills, is next yet Cyclops is in that one. Weird huh? Well that’s it for this week, and I’ll be right back here next time with more X-Men! See you then!

Billy Dunleavy
billy@comicattack.net

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8 Comments


  1. Eli

    Days of Future Past is a really cool story, makes me like Kitty all the more. The “Wolverine” fastball is always cool. I like this even though it isn’t the longest story in the world. And myself, I didn’t miss Cyclops one bit.



  2. How the F do you do it, Billy? It’s like you have a direct link to my brain and everything I’ve been meaning to read. I had always had Days of Future Past on my ‘read soon’ list, but now ima have to go pick it up now.



  3. Cyclops wasn’t in this story because he was mourning the “death” of Jean Grey. As Phoenix, she had just died on the moon. Understandably, his head wasn’t in the game. He eventually left altogether and the Angel took his place.

    This was a great read and it goes to show you that a cool alternate reality/possible future storyline doesn’t have to be 14 parts long. I heard that Claremont and Byrne had a falling out over how events were played out in this story, culminating in Byrne leaving and taking over the FF title. Claremont and Byrne really worked some magic together, but I guess all good things must come to an end.

    If you haven’t read this, I definitely recommend it! It lays the ground work for PLENTY of storylines that came along later; so it’s a must read for that, if nothing else.


  4. billy

    @everybody-this is a good story no doubt. I just think it could have been even better if it was a little more drawn out. Maybe four issues? They didn’t mention Cyke at all though in the story so I just thought it was strange for him to be absent from this adventure but not the next one.


  5. InfiniteSpeech

    I think that fact that it was short is part of it’s strength. It’s kinda like what I mentioned in your Dark Phoenix Saga article. Not a lot of hype back then just great stories. This one, like Bill said, set up a lot of future storylines and this one in particular set the foundation for the whole FF, X-Men, Avengers dynamic which I thought was great

    It’s funny that back then we all thought Wolverine would have been killed but knowing what we know now about his powers he’d just grow back several hours later lol!


  6. Billy

    @Speech-yeah, Wolvie is a lttle too powered up and down for my liking. Marvel kind of “jumped the shark” in my opinion with telling his origin too. lol



  7. Definitely a great story line, one that continues to shape the X-Men today. It’s surprising to me that the entire thing was only 2 issues, yet it became an instant hit!

    The impact of this story line may not be as great to a younger audience, as they have a plethora of time travel stories to compare it to today, but it will always remain an X-classic!

    (and you should totally cover God Loves, Man Kills!)


  8. Billy

    @Andy-See you Saturday morning! (ask and you shall receive w/ GL,MK)



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