I vaguely remember reading this story years ago, and upon rereading it I thought Days of Future Past was an entire story arc. Instead, it’s just two i...moreI vaguely remember reading this story years ago, and upon rereading it I thought Days of Future Past was an entire story arc. Instead, it’s just two issues (Uncanny X-Men #141-142) and the rest of the trade consists of surrounding Uncanny issues. In a dystopian 2013 (ha), the world is overrun by the massive robotic Sentinels; they’ve carried out mutant genocide as well as those humans carrying mutant genes. One of the few survivors of the X-Men, Kitty (now Kate) Pryde sends her mind back in time (with the help of another surviving mutant) to 1980, when she first arrived on the team, to stop the Mutant Brotherhood’s assassination of Senator Kelly (does that name sound familiar?) that started it all.
First off, this is 80′s Chris Claremont, and for anyone who’s read his stuff before, you know what to expect: lots of exposition to the point that characters basically think out everything they do, speaking with cheesy and flowery dialogue. Many will knock the entire comic for this reason, but give him a break–it was the 80′s, nearly all comic book writers used this style, and Claremont is responsible for some of the greatest X-Men stories of all time, creating Kitty, and giving Magneto his Holocaust backstory. Even so, I found myself skimming over large paragraphs and rolling my eyes at many a sentence.
Unfortunately, this exposition is what really holds back the story. Had Claremont really stayed true to the adage “show, don’t tell,” he could have easily fleshed out the terror of the Sentinel future, the fate of both deceased and surviving X-Men, and Kate’s journey to the past, in which she perhaps encounters more obstacles than simply telling the X-Men of the future, who confirm it when Xavier reads her mind. It would have become a fuller, more gripping story that made more of an impact on Kitty and the team. Instead it feels more like a one shot that quickly returns to the status quo.
That being said, Days of Future Past takes a much darker turn from the campy nature of most other 80′s Claremont stories, which was a nice and appropriate change. Claremont blatantly reveals those who have died, and we graphically witness those who do die protecting an unconscious Kate in the future. Moreover, she and Peter have married (mirroring Kitty’s burgeoning crush on him in present day), but their children were killed. Also one of the characters mentions towards the end that if Kitty changes the past, she might only create an “alternate timeline” instead of changing the future–and the comic never reveals which happens. On the whole, we don’t spend enough time in this dark future to really become invested in changing the past. Moreover, Rachel, who can send others back in time, seems only a convenient add-on to get Kate to the past; the 80′s were filled with conveniences and easy outs that don’t hold up so well thirty years later.
Please see the rest of the review, which includes some comparison between the comic and the new film, at my blog, Reading Art!(less)