May 12, 2012

Ye Olde School Café: X-Men: EARTHFALL

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Written by: Billy
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Hey everybody, welcome back to another great week in Ye Olde School Café! In this week’s edition, we’ll be taking a look at a story featuring the X-Men! Back in 1982, Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum introduced us to a new alien race called the Brood! These insect-like creatures want to convert everyone to their species as their slaves! They accomplish this by implanting an embryo inside the victim, and when it grows to its fullest, it basically takes over the host, and the host is essentially dead. Yes, before you ask, this is very similar to the Aliens franchise, and no I don’t care, they’re still cool. Was the idea totally original? I’d say not, but they still did a good job of incorporating their idea into the comics. The X-Men defeated this strange new foe, but as we know, they always come back! Turn the page to 1988, and specifically Uncanny X-Men #232-234, and we see the return of this vicious race; but this time, the team of X-Men are vastly different, and that might just prove to be their undoing!

We see four different scenes. First, we see Wolverine and Storm fighting heroes from WWII that have been turned evil. Second, we see Dazzler, Rogue, Longshot, and Betsy in a clash with Juggernaut in Scotland. Then a peek inside a scene filled with love, as Havoc and Polaris dance together at a fiesta in New Mexico. Not far from there, a group of friends enjoy some down time in the desert. These friends, one of whom is Harry Palmer, a paramedic, are the first to investigate what they think is a meteor crash nearby. The meteor turns out to be a Brood Starshark (a living ship that the Brood use for mass transit through space). As the friends try to figure out what in the world is going on, one of them is suddenly eaten by the ship! Everyone else is then subsequently attacked by the Brood that appear from the ship. One by one, they all fall prey to the Brood and are transformed into Brood themselves! The leader, Harry Palmer, then decides to go out and start infecting mutants, starting with a mutant that can create fire, named Robert Delgado.

Next, we see the descent of one Madelyne Pryor. She’s returned to the X-Men’s base in the Australian Outback, but finds only Gateway there. She has been gone for a while, and doesn’t know that the team has abandoned that facility, but she soon finds something a lot more troubling than that. Madelyne turns on the television and sees her lover, Scott Summers, with Jean Grey by his side! Now, at this point, Jean was still thought to be dead, but she had returned, and Madelyn immediately gets furious, and smashes the view screen. Back in the western part of the world, Harry Palmer is walking home from work, and is thinking to himself. He’s totally thrown off guard by two people in his apartment. Betsy and Colossus have come to pay him a visit, and tell him he’s very sick. He tells them he feels great, then hoists Colossus over his head, and tosses him at Betsy. The two X-Men get knocked right through a brick wall, but then Havoc jumps into the fight, along with Dazzler, Longshot, Rogue, and Storm. Wolverine is also close behind, and after Palmer gives them the slip, it’s up to him to pick up the trail.

As Harry is now aboard a bus, he’s then approached by Rogue. She tries to reason with him, but he quickly jumps on her, and attempts to turn her. Wolverine grabs him, and throws him out of the bus, then the bus collides with another vehicle. Rogue notices that the driver gets out and is unharmed. Wolverine then corners Harry in an alleyway, and tells him to make peace with his maker. Suddenly, a police car pulls up and the cops draw their weapons. Harry recognizes them, and Wolverine notices their scent! He quickly slashes one of them, but before he can take out the other one, Rogue stops him because she doesn’t realize that they are Brood. As the rest of the team arrives, they realize that they are surrounded in tight quarters by a dozen Brood that are not only dangerous as they are, but they are also mutant hosts, making them ten times deadlier than before!

These Brood have superpowers just like the X-men do, so this is going to be the fight of their lives! One Brood possesses fire manipulation, another super strength, one flight, and so on. Colossus takes on the one with super strength, while Storm attempts to engage the one that can fly, but she’s then attacked by one with mental powers. Before the Brood can effectively take over her mind, however, Storm takes off using the wind to make her escape. The Brood with the mental powers then turns her attention to Rogue and Betsy. She takes over both of their minds and forces them to attack Wolverine. The two of them, along with four other Brood, manage to overtake Wolverine and infect him. Meanwhile, Storm is being chased by one of the Brood, but easily evades him. He then decides to turn his attack to a jet flying by. He tears off the wing and throws it towards the ground. Storm then uses her powers over the elements to create an updraft to slow the plane’s descent. As the plane lands, Storm gets knocked out by the Brood member.

Back in Australia, Madelyne is having a nervous breakdown after seeing Jean alive again, and by Scott’s side. She begins to hallucinate that Scott is betraying her with Jean, and that he’s going to take their baby away. Back in the United States, the team is battling for its life, and as Storm is about to be converted to Brood, Havoc blasts one of them and kills him. Nearby, a building comes crashing down, and Colossus appears dragging one of the Brood and throws him aside. The fire-breather and Dazzler crash through a diner window and she almost gets killed. Longshot then saves her from being cooked by it, and just as he appears to be in trouble, Colossus snaps the neck of the Brood attacking him. One by one, the X-Men figure out that killing them is the only way to stop them. Back in Australia, as the X-Men are starting to get a grip on things, Madelyne begins her descent into madness. She’s wandering the desert, and is then approached by S’ym. He tells her that she needs revenge for what Scott did to her, and he can help her get it. As the X-Men are mopping up, Wolverine almost kills a man because he’s been infected, too. Luckily for him, his healing factor expunges the Brood virus. After all the Brood have been dealt with except for Harry, Wolverine corners him. He tells him it’s time to rest in peace, and then Snikt!

There actually is one Brood that remains after all the killing. Harry’s partner on the ambulance isn’t caught, but that mystery is for another day. These are the events that lead directly into X-Men: Inferno, so check out that story, as well! See you next week!

Billy Dunleavy



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