“Days of Future Past”
Writer/Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
After enjoying Bryan Singer's take on this X-Men classic, I thought I'd have a read over of the original material. Days of Future Past kicks off in the far flung future of the 21st century known as 2013, which might have seen like the future in 1980, but oddly enough, it's now our past.
Kate Pryde travels through a post-apocalyptic New York City. The Sentinel robots have gone well beyond their mandate and have become tyrants over North America. She meets up with Colonel Logan of the Canadian Resistance Army and they set in motion a desperate plan as the world is prepared to nuke North America to prevent the Sentinels from expanding their grasp.
Society has crumbled and taken an almost medieval feel with horses pulling buses and people being divided into classes: M for Mutants, A for Anomalous who have the mutant gene potential, and H for clean humans. In this nightmarish future, the X-Men and other heroes, including the Avengers and Fantastic Four, have fallen before the might of the Sentinels.
This future sequence introduces Rachel (which would later be retconned to Rachel Summers, the daughter of Scott and Jean Grey). Using her telepathic gifts, Rachel sends Kate's consciousness into her past self. To contrast that terrifying future vision, we witness the newest X-Man, Kitty Pryde, as she's put to the test in the Danger Room. To the team’s delight, she phases through all its deadly threats and passes. The consciousness transfer then happens and the X-Men react as the youngest of their team seems hurt.
Kate's consciousness take over Kitty's body and after a brief reunion, she tells them of her future and that the assassination of presidential candidate Kelley will trigger the Mutant Control Act and make that nightmare future come true.
Meanwhile, Mystique has assembled a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (Avalanche, Blob, Destiny, and Pyro) to kill Kelly. The X-Men then set out to stop Mystique. After an awkward start without Cyclops’ leadership (who was still on his leave after Jean’s death), the team comes together to defeat Mystique.
But, just when you thought things were getting better, we flip back to the future where the Sentinels have caught up with our rag-tag group of mutants and despite a valiant effort, they are slain, adding more dramatic imperative to what’s occurring in the “present”. There’s a very touching set of panels depicting the surviving Rachel hidden in an alley with the unconscious Kate, and she feels her teammates die. The climax shifts to Kate Pryde who's the one who can stop Destiny from killing Senator Kelly. As she’s a temporal anomaly and beyond Destiny’ precognitive senses, she stops Destiny and rescues Kelly. In the aftermath of this attack, Senator Kelly along with Sebastian Shaw (the mutant Black King of the Hellfire Club) work with Henry Gyrich to establish the anti-mutant program called Project Wideawake.
This story’s really about friendships and loyalty and keeping Professor Xavier’s dream alive, it’s also about compassion. Kitty Pryde is the pivotal character in this story as she’s the newest X-Men, she’s a great character through which to approach this story, it’s also fun to see the contrast between Kitty and Kate and her sudden awareness of the future she will have with the X-Men.
I completely forgot that the Angel was still part of that team at that point, not that he plays a significant part, but it was interesting to see him. Another interesting tidbit is the interaction between Nightcrawler and Mystique that suggested they have an intertwined past.