Up To New Tricks
Now that the X-Men have split up into smaller groups, we get to see the members having some adventures without any back up to bail them out. What kind of trouble will these teenagers get into now that school’s out? Hank and Bobby are still living on the east coast, hitting up their old haunts and girlfriends. They don’t suspect that they’re about to have an encounter with an old enemy. And why would they? What could possibly go wrong on date night?
School is out and the guys are kickin it old school. It’s just like old times, as Hank and Bobby are meeting up with Zelda and Vera to see a show. The show is some magician called the Maha Yogi, and it’s sold out. Instead they visit the Coffee-a-Go-Go, their old stomping grounds. This gets me excited because it’s always a lot of fun in this place. It’s been a while, and oh the good times we’ve had there.
The four of them are enjoying a nice cup of coffee in front of some live poetry, and of course Henry has to prove yet again that his mouth is as big as his feet. One offhand remark and the next thing a biker gang is threatening to kick his ass. The gang of course has no idea what they’re in for, as Beast and Iceman give them a thrashing they won’t soon forget. This isn’t the first time they’ve fought a biker gang at the Coffee-a-Go-Go, and I hope it won’t be the last. I’m surprised they’re still allowed in the door, although that could explain why we haven’t been back here for a while. The guys have to wait for the staff to change hands so the new people don’t know their faces. #ThugLife
Eventually the gang find themselves at the Mahi Yogi show, and what they find is a lot more threatening than a biker gang. They recognize this Mahi Yogi by his voice, as none other than Merlin. They fought him once before when he tried to sex Jean. It looks like he’s found a new persona and a new gig. It must be embarrassing for the magnificent Merlin the wizard, who once served the great King Arthur, to be turning out tricks for cash.
For whatever reason, in this issue he is using “hypo-power” to control his audience, turning them into mindless zombies at the drop of a hat. His audiences leave the theater unaware that they are ticking time bombs, agents of chaos controlled by a centuries old magician. Obviously, Hank and Bobby aren’t having this. They don their X-Men gear, lose their dates, and jump into action. There’s an excellent fight on the stage, with lights and sand bags toppling down, magic, ice, and acrobatics. I don’t know why, but Merlin never commands his audience to attack. It seems he certainly could. Instead the audience just stands there in a trance until the spell is eventually broken along with Merlin’s concentration. Even weirder, Bobby ends up defeating him with a “hi-fi tape console”, blasting some sort of music or noise at him. They never say what tape was in the console. Perhaps rock and roll? Perhaps just a series of loud sound effects? It probably wouldn’t sound all that different to a grandpa like Merlin. I like to imagine it was Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix. This issue came out in August of 1968, and that song was a huge hit just a year before.
The maddening guitar work of Jimi Hendrix soon does him in, as he is screaming and throwing his arms up like a little girl. The cops come in and they have his complete surrender. The day is saved.
Finally, the guys have to confront Zelda and Vera. This is now the second time in one night that they’ve abandoned them in the middle of trouble. This happens on every date and you’d think the girls would have moved on by now. Here it seems that they have, until Bobby mentions the Copa. All of a sudden the girls are famished and all smiles. Sluts.
Issue 47 is a great throwback to earlier issues, when the guys still acted more like teenagers than superheroes. I really enjoyed seeing Merlin, Zelda, Vera, and the Coffee-a-Go-Go again. Lets hope it’s not the last we see of them. I have this nagging suspicion that this our last trip to the old ‘a-Go-Go.