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X-Men #103 (1977, February)

December 28, 2012

If I didn’t mention it already, Star Trek Fridays are on hiatus until I get back to college, and my own computer. So today will instead be “The Fall of the Tower.”

Fall of the Tower

Huh. Storm’s butt and breasts are both fairly visible, but she’s not in an unnatural pose. Too bad modern artists don’t know how to do that.

Nightcrawler is being carried by the – sigh – leprechauns. He suddenly wakes up and briefly throws them around before he realizes he’s not in a fight any more. He realizes that they’re leprechauns. And I’m going to take a moment to talk about them. Really, Claremont? Leprechauns? You just couldn’t resist, could you? Freaking leprechauns. I’m not even Irish, and I feel vaguely offended.

Anyway, Eamon O’Donnell, who was introduced last issue as the seneschal of Cassidy Keep, explains that Black Tom and Juggernaut captured most of the “Families” and held them hostage, and that they’re working for someone who’s clearly Erik the Red. We then get a full test of Nightcrawler’s invisibility. Eamon and Nightcrawler go to spy on the laboratory, where Black Tom has the X-Men secured, and is preparing to torture them. Nightcrawler overhears that they want Xavier, so he teleports down, using his image inducer to assume Xavier’s form. Juggernaut attacks him, and Xavier leaps around, avoiding him easily, until Tom and Juggernaut realize it’s not Xavier. Juggernaut punches the wall hard enough to break through to the sky. Which frees Storm from her claustrophobia, so she can use her powers. A hurricane whisks her, Colossus and Wolverine out of the castle. Claremazon Moment Tracker: 4 for Storm. She then easily picks the lock on the metal boots on Wolverine’s feet – not quite a Claremazon Moment, but still cool.

Black Tom and Juggernaut carry Banshee up to the battlements and call for the X-Men to come up and face them. Storm decides to fly up, Colossus tosses Wolverine after he calls Storm a “broad” (Colossus doesn’t appreciate that), and Colossus starts climbing. Storm’s attacked by blasters, while Colossus has to fend off rocks thrown down by Juggernaut. Storm also shifts weather patterns for miles, creating what the text box describes as “the worst Atlantic gale in living memory.” Wolverine, meanwhile, gets led back to the fight by a leprechaun he refuses to believe in (though the leprechaun also refuses to believe in talking wolverines in return – I think I mentioned this before, and it’s extremely common knowledge anyway, but Wolverine’s original origin was going to be as an actual wolverine evolved by the High Evolutionar; dropping that idea was a good idea).

Nightcrawler frees Banshee, and while the rest of the X-Men prepare to confront Juggernaut, Banshee chases Tom. Tom briefly gets the better of Banshee, until Banshee throws him off the castle to the water and rocks below. Juggernaut panics, saying Tom’s the only friend he’s ever had, and jumps off after him to save him. Storm immediately disperses the gale. Should that count as a Claremazon Moment? I’m going to say no for now, but I’m open to persuasion. Anyway, the final panel shows Erik the Red being told by someone (D’Ken) to make sure “Princess Neramani” doesn’t contact the X-Men. Erik indicates he’s recruited Magneto as an ally.

It’s a fun issue. A good action issue. The leprechauns are a silly idea, but I guess Claremont does a pretty good job with them nonetheless. Nightcrawler shows off more of his cunning – I actually forgot just how much he excelled at guile. He was a very clever guy. I’m hoping when he makes his return (and he’ll come back – they always do) whoever writes him will make use of that aspect of him. Storm also gets to show off a bit this chapter. And Colossus tossing Wolverine was pretty funny. Black Tom and Juggernaut make for an interesting pair of villains. You really do get a sense of friendship between the two of them, which is rare among villains.

Also in February, there was a bit of a cameo in Iron Fist #11, by the team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne – they worked together on quite a few titles even before they were paired on X-Men. Scott is wheeling Jean out of the hospital, and Misty says goodbye to her, and to take care of herself. And that’s the extent of the cameo. For what it’s worth, though, there is an eventual payoff to Jean and Misty being roommates. Misty shows up in X-Men in a bit, and the X-Men actually show up in Iron Fist, too. Come to think of it, I wish Iron Fist and the X-Men had remained friends. It would’ve been cool. Ah, well.

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