Tuesday, June 6, 2023

We all speak the same in the X-Men's universe

I read a lot of X-Men comics when I was very young, but the first one that really hooked me on the whole X-saga was this one, an Australian reprint from the late eighties, which reproduced the last few issues of Dave Cockrum's original run on the book.

It's an excellent place to start a decade-long obsession with all things X, as the X-Men first go fully cosmic, and out into the universe, first bashing skulls with the Imperial Guard and rocking up with the Starjammers. But the thing I'll always remember best about it was the absolute delight I felt when I saw the exchange in these panels:

"Doesn't everybody?"

In hindsight, it was obviously a set-up for the fact that Corsair is a human with a very close familial tie to one of the core X-men, but I didn't know that at the time. All that I knew is that all the questions over why these aliens were understandable was explained with a simple two-word answer, and I thought that was absolutely bloody brilliant. Don't worry about why you're talking to aliens, just acknowledge that you are, and carry on. There's a M'kraan Crystal to sort out.

Of course I'm fully aware of the cultural privilege that comes with the English language being the one that makes it all the way out into space, but I would have been just as chuffed if it had been Spanish or Mandarin or anything else. The simplicity is the thing, not the actual linguistics.

I'm sure there are many, many Marvel comics that have tackled the issue of interstellar communications , and I didn't need to read any of them.  As a massive Dr Who nerd, I've read way too many theories about why the Doctor and his companions can understand each other, and I'm always most satisfied with the handwave of 'The TARDIS is magic'. 

But so much nerdy stuff has this issue now - the new Lord of the rings TV show thought we needed to know the secret origin of Mt Doom, for some godforsaken reason, and there's just way too many prequels filling in gaps that never needed to be filled, instead of making new things.

You could sweat all the small stuff, or you could just you could just ignore it all and get on with saving the universe. It's what the X-Men would do.

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