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X-Men #106 (1977, August)

January 5, 2013

I’m back in my dorm, back at my own computer. I have to say, I’m glad. I like my computer. So, my update schedule will become a little more consistent again. Today’s story is “Dark Shroud of the Past!” It was written by Bill Mantlo and Chris Claremont, and drawn by Bob Brown and Dave Cockrum.

Dark Shroud of the Past!

Filler issue alert!

It starts with Xavier telling Firelord again that the X-Men have been transported by a Star-Gate to save the universe from destruction. Xavier’s nightmare returns, and he starts seeing Misty as Moira. We then cut back to shortly after Moira came to the school. The X-Men are working out in the Danger Room. Wolverine’s dodging lasers, but doesn’t see a steel beam falling from behind him. Colossus pushes him out of the way, and Wolverine threatens him. Cyclops tells Wolverine off. There’s some discussion of how hard Cyclops has been riding the team since Thunderbird’s death. Then things get weird.

Angel shows up in his old costume, even though he’s supposed to be out in LA with the Champions. Beast similarly shows up as he used to be, rather than as the furry blue ape he was at the time. Iceman and Marvel Girl also show up, telling the new X-Men off. Naturally, a fight breaks out, with the old X-Men out to kill the new ones. In the midst of the fight, we learn Storm apparently helped Jean and Misty decorate their apartment. Storm and Wolverine both also think about how the old X-Men don’t feel real. Angel eventually grabs Cyclops, and pulls off his visor, blasting at Colossus. Cyclops manages to break free and blast Angel, with his beam apparently going right through him. Colossus also pulls a bit of a Fastball Special with Nightcrawler, though it’s not given that name, sadly. So I won’t add it to the Fastball Special Tracker. Cyclops realizes they’re fighting images, and Xavier shows up to put a stop to the fight.

Xavier makes the old X-Men disappear, but then an Evil Xavier pops up. The X-Men try to fight him, but he’s not really there, so can’t be hurt. However, the illusions he creates in their minds are capable of hurting them. The real Xavier, however, brings back the old X-Men to pummel his evil self into submission. He then explains to the X-Men that it was the evil part of his own psyche, and that he normally has no trouble keeping it in check. He doesn’t say aloud that the dreams he’d been having were tearing away at his mental controls. Back in the present, having relived that experience, he’s back to normal. For some reason.

Shortly before this issue was released, Bob Brown died of leukemia. He and Mantlo had whipped together this issue a couple years earlier as a fill-in, should a fill-in prove necessary (and, obviously, it eventually was necessary). Makes for a rather nice tribute to Brown, as Claremont points out on the letters page. Brown had a notable run as the artist for Daredevil, and also did some other books.

For a fill-in, this isn’t a bad issue. Most notably, it introduces what’s known as The Entity, the suppressed evil in Xavier’s mind. This would make a major return, of course, in the Onslaught Saga in the ’90s. (It would also be the villain of the 4-part X-Men and the Micronauts mini in 1984, which is where it would actually get its name.) Still, this is a fill-in issue interrupting the final act of a major storyline, which makes it frustrating on its face. Also, the new X-Men seemed to be getting into a bit of a habit fighting old X-Men who aren’t actually the old X-Men.

I may as well also point out that this month saw the debut of Sabretooth in Iron Fist #14, by Claremont and Byrne. He’d later be brought over to become an X-Men foe, but not yet. So I won’t detail his appearance here.

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