X-Men #124 (1979, August)
Today, part two of the Murderworld arc, titled “He Only Laughs When I Hurt!”
Arcade gloats to the ladies, then gives a quick rundown of his life story: He was a spoiled rich kid in Beverly Hills, until his father cut off his allowance. He killed his father, then became an assassin. After a year, he was bored of it, and built Murderworld., to kill with style. Colossus continues to fight Cyclops and Wolverine, accusing them of tricking him into betraying everything he believed in. He throws Wolverine through a revolving wall, then tosses Cyclops through another. Arcade decides to check on Storm next. A powerful downdraft forces her into the water, and the water level is rising. She only has a few inches before she drowns.
Cyclops lands in the car room with Nightcrawler. He blasts one car, but Nightcrawler tells him there’s more. Wolverine is in the weird hologram room with banshee, which has become Battlestarwars: 1999, full of spaceships firing lasers. Wolverine cuts open a wall, and he and Banshee head into the maintenance tunnel, where they run into Magneto and the Hulk. Back in the water, Storm’s taken off her boots and cape. She takes a bunch of slow deep breaths of air, then dives under the water, then follows a faint current to a vent piping in the water. Back to the cars, Cyclops shows off.
Nightcrawler is naturally amazed at the fact that Cyclops took out 8 cars with one shot. Cyclops seems more relieved than proud, even though he really should be doing a little dance. Cyclops finds Wolverine and Banshee fighting the robots, while Nightcrawler finds Arcade’s control centre. He teleports in, startling Arcade. He grabs Miss Locke’s shotgun and starts shooting up the computers. Mr. Chambers gasses Nightcralwer, and Arcade tells Locke to do with him what she did with the girls. Back at the robot fight, Cyclops takes down robo-Magneto. Then a whole lot of water floods in. Storm is unconscious, and Cyclops gives her mouth-to-mouth to get her breathing. Colossus picks that moment to walk in. He quickly knocks out Banshee and Wolverine, then grabs Cyclops and Storm by the throat. They ultimately manage to talk him out of the brainwashing. Arcade finally pushes a button, and the X-Men are trapped in a ball that’s sent careening around, finally coming out of a Tunnel of Love in an abandoned Bronx amusement park. Nightcrawler and the ladies come parachuting down, with a note from Arcade saying round one goes to them.
I love it. Arcade’s delightful. Some of the solutions the various X-Men use are neat. Banshee realizes how useless he now is to the team, and Wolverine and Cyclops both notice how he’s feeling. He won’t be around much longer, which is probably for the best. He’s a great character, but after his powers burned out, he became largely superfluous. Nightcrawler startling Arcade was hilarious. Cyclops got to show how badass he is. It’s just great all around. I also liked Arcade referencing Spider-Man tearing open a wall to escape into maintenance tunnels. As an aside, Cyclops mentions Wolverine having “unbreakable” bones. It still hasn’t been revealed, at this point, that Wolverine’s whole skeleton is covered in adamantium.
One more thing I should mention. One of the letters talks about Jean Grey, and mentions the years she and Scott have been together. The response points out that the rule of thumb at Marvel, at the time, was that Xavier founded the X-Men 5 or 6 years ago, so Scott and Jean only would’ve been together for 3 or 4 years at that point. Just thought that was interesting to bring up. Marvel’s sliding timeline means it can be tough to remember just how little time sometimes passes between stories.