X-Men #113 (1978, September)
I don’t think I’ve mentioned on here before that I’m a brony. Yesterday’s episode had a Mr. Beaverton Beaverteeth. That just makes me unreasonably happy. Anyway, today’s story is titled “Showdown!”
It starts with a report of Magneto attacking the Royal Australian Aerospace Research Facility at Woomera. Then we see Xavier and Lilandra vacationing in Greece. And then we catch up with the X-Men, being loved by Nanny. Scott thinks of her voice as being like a marshmallow soaked in honey. When Nanny leaves, Storm says she’s spent days building her control and observing Nanny’s routine, and that she’s ready. She starts snapping her head back and forth, while thinking that at 6 months old she had the coordination of a young girl. She manages to get her headdress off, and she pulls a lockpick out with her teeth. She starts picking the lock with while remembering Achmed El-Gibar’s training. She almost has it when she drops her pick. Nanny comes in, puts her headdress back on, and leaves to find some pins to keep it falling off again. Then, Storm starts to cry.
Magneto’s up on Asteroid M. This is the first time we see the new Asteroid M, after the first one was destroyed in X-Men #5. He detects a system malfunction in his Antarctic base, and goes to check it out. His resources are split between the Antarctic base and Asteroid M, leaving him vulnerable until he finishes his work, so he’s concerned. He finds the lights off in the base, and Nanny rolling around in a circle at full speed. He immediately realizes the X-Men are responsible, but chooses to let them make the first move. That first move is being struck at a distance from multiple attacks at once. Cyclops coordinates the team telepathically through Phoenix. Storm starts to draw the humidity out of the air around Magneto, while Banshee distracts him with an attack from behind. Which reminds me of a minor question: Can Banshee talk while using his powers? He’s been shown doing it before, but there are other times where he thinks something when most people would say it. It’s a minor inconsistency, though.
Anyway, after Banshee, then Wolverine attacks. He’s flung away, and then it’s Phoenix’s turn. Then Colossus runs in, despite Cyclops’s orders to stay on the sidelines, and hammers Magneto too quickly for Magneto to strike back. Beast throws Nightcrawler (not a Fastball Special, because he spins Kurt by his tail and then lets go) so Nightcrawler can teleport over to Magneto, grab his helmet, and keep going. Beast also thinks about how fighting beside the X-Men doesn’t feel like old times, the way he thought it would.
While Nightcrawler thinks about how Cyclops’s plan – keep Magneto distracted while Storm dehydrates him – is working, he notices molten lava. Apparently the roof is opening, a result of Phoenix’s blast destroying the main control console. Magneto flees, reflecting on how dangerous the X-Men were when Cyclops got them to fight as a team. The base collapses, and Phoenix escapes with Beast. She collapses, and he tries to carry her away from the blizzard, but falls after less than a hundred yards. The rest of the X-Men, of course, are missing.
Issues like this are part of why I love Cyclops. He used to have a reputation as being a Boy Scout, a bit of a loser. This issue showed that he’s a great tactician and leader. We didn’t get to see him unleash a badass optic blast this time around, but he showed how dangerous his mind is. I’d rank him at least equal to Captain America in terms of strategy. Maybe even better – it’s hard to think of any examples of Captain America coming up with a plan this clever. Magneto gets to show what a badass he is, too, though. He takes everything the X-Men throw at him, including standing up to blows from Colossus that should’ve taken his head off, and lives to fight another day, though he’ll need months to recover. We get another Claremazon Moment from Storm, managing to pick an advanced lock of a design she’s never seen, with her teeth, putting the score at 6 for her and 5 for Jean. We’d seen previously, back in X-Men #103, that she was an expert lockpicker. Now we see that she’s probably be one of the best in the world at it.
As a side note, even though Nanny’s destroyed her, Scott Lobdell still brought her back during his run on Uncanny X-Men. She also appeared in Secret Avengers #36.
Anyway, this was awesome.