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X-Men #99 (1976, June)

December 18, 2012

I told you my updating schedule might be weird while I’m at my mom’s. I don’t much like her computer. It’s not mine so it sucks. Anyway, “Deathstar, Rising!”

Deathstar, Rising!

Thanks for explaining the situation, Colossus.

It starts with a splash page of Banshee, Wolverine and Jean floating in space, with the colours on the page messed up. The Sentinels rescue them while Peter Corbeau uses Cerebro to confirm his hunch that the Sentinels aren’t on Earth. It turns out to be SHIELD’s orbital platform. We get a newscast of Roger Grimsby talking about a shuttle launch, then turning to Geraldo Rivera for an update on anti-mutant hysteria, before Roger cuts him off to talk some more about the shuttle launch.  The crew of the shuttle is Peter Corbeau and the X-Men. Colossus freaks out, and talks about his older brother, Mikhail, a Cosmonaut who died when the rocket he was in exploded. (Well, that’s what everyone believed, at any rate. We need to wait until 1992 to learn the truth, however.) After lift-off, we get a brief shot of Starcore One, where we learn the sun is acting really weird. Then we cut to Dal’Roon, ireland, where a solicitor goes into a Post Office with a letter for Sean Cassidy. Outside, the solicitor is confronted by, evidently, Sean’s cousin. Black Tom kills the solicitor, and threatens to kill Sean.

Back in space, the shuttle is attacked by Sentinels. The shuttle’s hit, and Storm is sucked out into space while Colossus suffocates. (Claremont himself seemed to have some trouble deciding whether Colossus should need to breathe in his armoured form, as some stories showed him walking along underwater without a breathing apparatus. However, here, he evidently needs to breathe.) Corbeau crashes the shuttle directly into the space station. Outside, a Sentinel is going after Storm, and she learns she’s mistress of the “cosmic storm” as well. She can fly on solar winds, and attacks the Sentinel with a force 12 gale backed by the power of the sun. Storm is disturbed by how human the Sentinel’s last scream sounded. She wonders if maybe she should give up being an X-Man, to avoid taking life. This issue’s giving all sorts of character insight.

The next page has the colours screwed up again, as the X-Men tear through Lang’s soldiers and Sentinels. Colossus is freaking out over Storm’s (apparent) death. Nightcrawler busts a Sentinel’s head open with a lead pipe, a very clear sign that these Sentinels just aren’t very well-made. Cyclops tells him not to be so flamboyant, and Nightcrawler says it’s in his blood. Then he jumps on a metal board to launch Colossus at another Sentinel. Which seems . . . doubtful, given the weight difference between Nightcrawler and Colossus. Oh, well, comic book physics. Colossus freaks out at Cyclops about Storm, who shows up, and he’s overjoyed. Jeancontacts Cyclops telepathically to tell him where the others are. Cyclops sends everyone else to get to Banshee and Wolverine, while he heads to beat up Steven Lang. Cockrum does a rather garist panel when Cyclops says Lang is his. Cyclops finds Lang and just beats him like a government mule. Cyclops gets knocked out from behind. When the other X-men show up, they’re confronted by . . . the original X-Men! Dun-dun-duuun!

It’s a very good action issue. Storm shows off her power for the third issue in a row – that becomes something of a theme for the character. In fact, I’m actually going to keep track of how often she does something to show off how powerful she is. Hell, I’ll do it with any female character. It’ll be a Claremazon Moment Tracker. There’s a pretty huge one coming in the next couple issues. Right now, the Claremazon Moment Tracker stands at 4 for Storm. (Flash-flood inside Valhalla, beating Polaris, creating an instant hurricane to destroy a Sentinel in the previous issue, and creating a force 12 gale here. I’m not counting destroying the cairn, because it didn’t really feel to me like a Claremazon Moment.)

One thing I noticed about this issue, though, is that it seems like Claremont somewhat exaggerated the characters. Possibly to make them feel more familiar to the audience. Now that readers know everyone’s personality, it allows for subtler characterization down the line.

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