Sep 19, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 207: Gambit and the X-Ternals #4, June 1995

I have to admit, as we come closer and closer to the end of the Age of Apocalypse, I'm finding it harder and harder to read one comic each day. The stakes keep raising, and somehow, despite the foregone conclusion of the crossover, the outcome of all of Magneto's plans continues to seem shaky. It's been long enough since I've read AoA that I don't actually remember how it all comes out, so the fact that I've got a scant FOUR ISSUES LEFT is frustrating and intoxicating all at the same time. I could sit, right now, and read these four comics and satisfy my curiosity.

I won't, because that's not what the project is all about, and anticipation is such a delicious thing.

But I could.

There was a twist in this comic that I did not see coming, and answers to questions raised in some of the other series, and, more so than any of the other final issues so far, the possibility arises that all of Magneto's plans, which, to be fair, were pretty flimsy to begin with, might collapse like the proverbial house of cards. It's a fairly typical narrative device in bombastic story-telling like the AoA, but it's deployed very effectively in these intertwining comics. Often I'm not a fan of stories that have no real single focal character, and especially those that have 30 or 40 characters that one needs to keep track of. But the single, focussed vision, or mission, perhaps, that each of these characters is dedicated to does, in some ways, give the story(ies) a focal presence. I recall reading a piece of writing by an Arctic explorer in which he talks about a third presence that seemed to form between himself and his partner as they neared the pole, an amalgam of their personalities that also seemed to be a separate entity in and of itself. I see something similar happening in these series, this separate entity that is the focal viewpoint of all the action taking place in so many disparate locations throughout the AoA universe. An novel way of considering this is that perhaps the focal presence created by these varied individuals is, in fact, Charles Xavier. Not only does the action of each series attempt to return the universe to one in which Xavier lives, but the "third presence" that forms as a gestalt of these character is itself Xavier.

There's something to that. I'll have to think on it a bit more. Onward toward our conclusion tomorrow. See you then.

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