Friday, February 5, 2016

Danger! Danger! Danger!

When the villain known as Warhawk infiltrated the Xavier school and attacked the X-Men through their Danger Room, our PPC review of that issue focused more on a general look at the story (and character) as a whole, but leaving out one tiny bit of excitement:

Namely:  How the HECK did the new X-Men survive the Danger Room's attack on them--at lethal force?

The situation began with the X-Men heading into the room for another of Cyclops' routine workouts--and just after a friendly softball game, at that, proving that Cyclops was likely a drill sergeant in another life. Unfortunately, the team doesn't know that Warhawk has sabotaged the room's controls, and programmed the chamber to attack the team no-holds-barred. The X-Men realize something is up when the room's entrance locks and seals itself--and Colossus is injured when attempting to break through it. From there, as we've seen, the room gets right to work--and the X-Men find themselves battling in earnest, with this "training session" offering no margin for error.

Guest-artist: Tony DeZuniga (with an assist from Dave Cockrum)

Although a fill-in issue which is published just before the X-Men are abducted by Mesmero and have operated together for about a year (our time), it was actually commissioned about a year in advance and scheduled to be released in sequence when the time came (give or take an issue). As such, the team's handling of this crisis offers a fun look back at character touches that were still in play at the time. For instance, Storm's claustrophobia, revealed when a contingent of X-Men battled Juggernaut, is a weakness that the Danger Room takes full advantage of, even though it appears not all of the other X-Men have been informed of the fact. (No, I don't know how the Danger Room could have been programmed with that information, unless Xavier picked up on it from a random thought he might have caught from Ororo.  If so, springing it on Ororo in a training session would have been in extremely poor taste.)

Also present in this story is Wolverine's rivalry with Cyclops over Jean Grey, though Wolverine isn't the type of hero who lets a room settle his differences with another man.

There was also Nightcrawler's vulnerability regarding his teleporting power, which in those early days left both himself and his passenger debilitated whenever he attempted to include another person in his jaunt to his destination.

Meanwhile, in Storm's case, the Danger Room's logic appears to be concluding, "If at first you don't succeed..."

Given how efficiently the Danger Room is stopping the X-Men at every turn, you have to wonder why a setting was ever installed to cancel the safeties and engage at full force--after all, accidents will happen, and certainly with electronic equipment. (Just watch the 1964 film, Fail-Safe.) Regardless, why rig the controls that way at all? In what scenario would you want your students to enter a training room without supervision, with its weapons and traps set to kill?

Fortunately, outside the room, Wolverine recovers enough to accomplish his mission and pull the plug on the Danger Room. (Though it bears mentioning that the control panel is so complicated that it would take someone who's specially trained to operate it to the point of shutting it down. How ridiculous is that?)

And so ends a very harrowing experience for these X-Men. There's nothing like having your baptism of fire in your own training facility. Hopefully Cyclops had the good sense not to schedule back-to-back sessions, or he might have had an X-mutiny on his hands. As for lessons learned, it doesn't appear that the X-Men have learned theirs in regard to adjusting the room's programming, if Kitty Pryde's first impression is any indication:

And Kitty was only an observer that day, folks.

1 comment:

George Chambers said...

I still don't understand why a training room needs a lethal setting anyway. It seems a little careless of Xavier, that is unless of course he used it to dispose of the less popular students?