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X-Men Unlimited #4

“Theories of Relativity”

Writer: Scott Lobdell

Pencils: Richard Barnett

Inks: Steve Moncuse

Colours: Glynis Oliver

Letters: Dave Sharpe

Editors: Kelly Corvese & Bob Harras

Original publication date: March 1994

We’re relatively sure the team won’t fire Anna for making them talk about this outrageous and sometimes-funny but also eye-searing and fairly nonsensical comic book. In her defense—you wanted us to! In another victory for democracy, you voted, so here we are, discussing X-Men Unlimited #4, “Theories of Relativity,” aka the one where Mystique yeets baby Kurt over a waterfall and everyone is yelling always, constantly. It’s just us this week, which may have made us too comfortable because I think there’s more swearing than usual?

On context:

X-Men Unlimited is comparable to the Classic X-Men backup stories except with a commitment to extreme action alongside the slice-of-life moments.” -Andrew

It's still the 90s:

“Everything that people criticize about the nineties-ness of the nineties is on full display in this comic.” -Mav

On the rhetoric on shapeshifting:

“I like the characterization of Mystique as a chaotic force of nature who is inconsistent—who’s a shapeshifter in terms of character as well as powerset.” -Andrew

On comprehension:

“I can’t think objectively about this story because every time I read this comic I’m so angry about how hard it is to read. The lettering and finishes are exhausting in their muddiness.” -Anna

On what happened next:

“A huge problem with this story is the lack of follow-up. Kurt and Mystique wouldn’t have another meaningful story together for 10 years. And that story is ‘The Draco,’ one of the most hated X-Men stories of all time.” -Anna

On untapped potential:

“I think Kurt’s difference from Mystique—how she’s a shapeshifter and he experiences persecution because he *can’t* alter his appearance—has a lot of rhetorical potential. Which has never been actualized in a comic book to this day.” -Anna

On missing moments:

“Modern comics act like Kurt and Mystique have this interesting, complicated relationship, but they don’t. Those comics don’t exist.” -Mav

And as usual: 

You can find Anna on Twitter (@peppard_anna) and at Sequential Scholars (@seqscholars). 

You can find Andrew on Twitter (@ClaremontRun) and at Sequential Scholars.

You can find Mav on Twitter (@chrismaverick) and on his podcast, VoxPopcast (@VoxPopcast).


-GGW Team