Thursday, January 20, 2011

Diana Reads X-Men, A Novelization of the First Movie

While doing research for a certain character in an X-Game that I run over on Insanejournal, I stumbled upon information that was drawn from a novelization of the second X-Men movie, X2 X-Men United. My first though was that these books would be fairly helpful, especially since the game has a movie!verse background. The further I read, however, the more I learned that these books tended to differ from the movies and their continuity somewhat. Thus sparked my interest in these books and my desire to read and share my thoughts on them.

Ordering the first book close to a month ago, I really thought it would have been in my hot little hands by now. Amazon kinda dropped the ball on this one. More accurately, the seller I bought from did and will not have my return business. The book itself is in fair condition, though it does have that old book smell I can remember eminating from boxes of my parents’ old novels. It’s kinda nostalgic in a way.

Yesterday I decided to read the prologue. Or as it says in the book, “Prolog.” No, really. Already I am annoyed. Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith, I am looking at you. If this turns out to be bad fan-fiction, heads will roll.

We start off in Poland, 1944. It is the familiar scene everyone remembers from the movie. A young Eric Lehnsherr (Yes, they spelled it with a C) is standing in the rain with his parents and countless others as they are being separated into different camps during World War II. It was interesting to me how they dive into his attraction to metal right from the start.

“The mass of people scared him, making him want to run away. The guards made him want to cry. But he did neither. Instead he focused on the twisting spirals of barbed wire that covered the tops of the fences in front of and around them. Through the rain the points of wire seemed to sparkle, calling to him.”

As the boy is separated from his parents and shut behind the gate with all the other children, Eric tries to get to his mother and father but the guards hold him back. Again he focuses on the metal, telling himself he has to be sturdy and heavy like the metal. So he plants his feet and starts having a fit. The metal starts to shake, twist and come apart. As his anger and fear get stronger, they turn to the gate itself. Eric will rip that gate down if it’s the last thing he does. Eventually the gate comes down and he gets it in the face with the butt of a gun.

Pretty movie canon. Let’s move onto what happened in Southern California, 1986.

It’s prom night and the theme is “Rhapsody in Blue” for a seventeen-year-old Scott Summers. Everything is blue. The tablecloths, the napkins, the dresses, the eyeshadow, even a lot of the tuxes. It’s blue. In case you missed that.

Scott is a popular guy and is there with, of course, the best looking girl in the whole school. If she’s a witch, it doesn’t matter. She’s really pretty. Apparently this girl, Selena, gets jealous if another girl even breathes around Scott and she’s not happy with him because some little trollop named Bonnie said hello to him and hugged him right in front of her.



She decides to go cry in the bathroom and, to Scott’s credit, he’s had enough of her brand of crazy and wants to talk to her about it badly enough that he’s going to follow her in there. Watch out, ladies! Except Mr. Daniels advises him to go to the men’s room instead. Then suddenly, ZOMG! Scott has a headache straight from Hades. And he’s crying about it.

Oh, Cyke. It only gets worse from here. Better man up quick or you’ll never make it in this crazy world.

His pals are in there smoking, doing drugs, drinking. They get all concerned about his womanly weeping until they realize his eyes are on fire. Scott proceeds to blow a hole through the wall of the bathroom and into the ladies’ room, then through another wall before he realizes, “Hmm, maybe it’s not the thick cloud of pot smoke making my eyes burn.”

Jump to Kenya, 1988. I see where this is going, and…wait. Storm is…twelve? In 1988? And Scott was 17 in 1986. I’m no math major, but wouldn’t that make Scott seven years older than she is? Is that canon in any version? Clue me in here, readers. I make no illusions to the fact that I have never read any of the comics. I always thought Storm was older than Scott. But anyway, whatever. Moving on.

Ororo’s story is actually pretty sad. She’s just a slow little girl with a white streak in a head of black hair. She’s smaller than the other kids her age and can’t keep up when they all play tag with sticks. She’s pretty good at avoiding being marked as “it” but once she does get that branding, it’s all over. Everyone’s makes fun of her and laughs at her tiny, miserable attempts at hitting someone else with a stick. Eventually they surround her and start wailing on her with these tag sticks. Little African children, where are your parents?

Poor widdle Ro just kind of huddles there, crying and getting angry. So angry that she wishes the sky would fall on all of the kids beating her. Oddly enough, it begins to snow. In the middle of the hottest month of the year. But snow isn’t enough. These children need to feel the same pain they were inflicting upon her. So snow turns to sleet, and awed laughter turns to quiet wonder. Sleet turns to hail and quiet wonder turns into screaming. All the while Ororo has remained on the ground in tears and completely untouched by the weather. When she looks up, her hair is snow white and she can feel the earth and all the life forces it contains below her.

Now we arrive to the cryptic “Mississippi - Not Too Distant Future.”

It’s sweet little Southern Marie. She’s got a boy in her room for the first time evar. Her parents are home and the door is open, but it’s still AWESOME because she never even has girls in her room. This makes it super special.

She’s tracing a line down a dusty old map tacked to her wall, telling David…wait. You’ve lost me for the second time. Her boyfriend is supposed to be named Cody. Even I know that. In the movie, unless I am much mistaken, he doesn’t even get a name. He’s listed in the cast as “Rogue’s Boyfriend.” Why would you rename him in the book? Why would you do something…I don’t…we’re not even to chapter one and I want to headdesk.

Moving on.

So Marie tells David she wants to go to all these places and he steps closer. Then she moves closer. Then he moves closer. After an hour of this, they finally kiss and it’s the best thing Marie has ever experienced. But then it all changes. Suddenly she knows what he’s thinking. Worst of all, what he wants to do besides kiss her. And then this paragraph made me stop and reread because…well…look at it for yourselves.

“She knew what he was thinking, knew what he liked, what he hated, what he liked to do with the guys, what he wanted them to do.”

…clarification is a wonderful thing, writers. Who is “them” and why would you not write something like “what he wanted to do with her”?

She tries to pull away from him but finds that he’s literally locked around her. He couldn’t move even if he wanted to, and at that point, I’m pretty sure he really wanted to. She eventually gets him off of her, starts screaming, her parents come in and the paramedics are called.

And that, my friends, is just the beginning.

First impressions: I feel like this is fanfiction, and not even at its finest. Having done X-Men roleplay for as many years as I have, I’ve had players who would have written this better. Scott and Ororo’s parts seemed contrived and forced, maybe because they were original and not from the movie? I don’t know. It just felt like I was reading a narrative written by a mediocre player.

Tomorrow comes chapter one. Here’s hoping it gets much better from here.


  1. Storm is actually younger than Scott, Jean, Beast, Angel, and I'm pretty sure Bobby in *comic* canon. But not by much, I don't think. She's like a big sister to Rogue, and like a mother to Kitty. But Kitty was the youngest (tm) in the comic, and this was back when the characters...y'know, aged.

    What's really pathetic about this is that there are TWO writers. You'd think one of them would be able to edit the other's work. But no.

  2. You don't sound happy baby, but I hated the movies so I cannot imagine trying to read a book based off of them. That just sounds like the beginning of an all too appropriate book burning and you know I'm not the kind to burn books unnecessarily.

    This is Lee, by the way.

  3. Mippa, this is a thing I did not know. They should have picked different actors, then, because the age thing just does not line up visually.

    I wonder if they even had an editor, reading some of this stuff.

    Lee, I was not thrilled. The next chapter has made it a little better.



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