Red Raven, Red Raven
Thing weren’t looking too good for the X-Men once Magneto had them in his evil clutches. In this issue a member of the team will make a daring escape, and set out on a quest to find help. Starting two issues ago, each installment is focusing on a different character or two, and their names get top billing. First it was Charles, and then Magneto, but here it is Angel. Issue 44 is the first time the series ever spends a considerable amount of time focused on just his character.
The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants have taken no precaution this time when dealing with the X-Men. Once subdued, they are each placed into unique restraints designed to render them powerless. A lead visor, titanium cuffs, hypno-magnetic bands, a thermo-nuclear heating unit, and an electrified cage were specifically designed to detain them and apparently to keep Toad overjoyed. I’m beginning to think that Toad might actually be the most evil and most insane character we’ve seen yet. He would love to just kill the X-Men, but Quicksilver, still the moral compass that sinks their ship, suggests they keep them hostage. Magneto wishes these mutant heroes would join the Brotherhood and help him destroy humanity. For all their effort and all their gadgets, someone was thoughtless enough to let a disintegrator ray within their arm’s reach. Smooth. Soon Angel manages to free himself, and he leaves the others behind to get help. He could have easily just freed everyone, but Scott has to have a stupid plan.
Once Angel is free, he is soaring over the ocean, not a spot of dry land in sight. It isn’t long before his wings grow tired and he is adrift on a tiny island. Great plan Scott. All five of you could be kicking ass in Magneto’s lair right now and instead birdboy is bobbing in the ocean. It doesn’t even matter that the Brotherhood left a disintegrator right next to them; the team is pretty incompetent. Anyway, it all works out because the one tiny speck of rock that Angel found to perch on is, surprise surprise, some sort of space ship. It rises out of the ocean only to reveal, surprise surprose, another birdman. This one calls himself the Red Raven.
Just like Namor, he rises from the ocean. Just like Namor, he is a complete asshole. Immediately upon encountering Angel, he starts brawling with him. Then as soon as Angel has him disarmed, he’s suddenly just trying to tell him a story.
What follows is a harrowing tale of how, as a baby, his family crash landed into the 1980 film Flash Gordon. As the only survivor, he had to be raised by bird men, most likely on a steady diet of Queen and camp. On his 21st birthday, he suddenly realized that he doesn’t have wings, and therefore might not himself be a birdman. The horror! Also, the bird men are all evil and want to overthrow mankind as the dominant species, blah blah blah… Red Raven has to stop them.
All the Birdmen ended up in suspended animation, hidden beneath the ocean, to be automatically reawakened in twenty years. Why? I’m sure no one knows. They were all knocked out with gas and put into cryo-tubes, and he thought it was a good idea to set the timer for an arbitrary 20 years, which also happens to be the exact moment that an X-Man, who happens to be another bird man, perches on top of it. Before Angel has a moment to even try to wrap his head around this, Red Raven zaps him and sets him adrift on a raft. Red Raven has returned to destroy the instillation once and for all, before a nightmare of Flash Gordon Birdmen can bring their reign of terror to our planet.
He does this and Angel once again sets off for help. All of this happened because Scott Summers had some dumb plan. The series finally gives Angel the spotlight and absolutely nothing significant happens. The next issue teases Cyclops vs Quicksilver, and I’m hoping it can deliver.