X-Men #125 (1979, September)
We now start the Proteus Saga. Awesome. It begins with “There’s Something Awful On Muir Island!”
Moira’s running some tests on Jean, and is deeply concerned by her findings. As she and Jean walk off to have tea, the walking corpse of Angus MacWhirter spies from the shadows. Jean admits to Moira that there are times she wishes she’d died on the shuttle, and she flashes back over all that happened. Then we cut to the X-Mansion, and the Danger Room. Cyclops is frustrated at how poor their performance is, and Wolverine is annoyed at Cyclops’s treatment of them. We then cut to Asteroid M, where Magneto is healing from his injuries after his battle with the X-Men. He’s watching a video of his first battle with the X-Men, and his late wife, Magda, pops up on the screen. He deletes the image, but I think it’s worth pointing out how similar she looks to the Scarlet Witch.
This was well before Magneto was revealed as the father of Pietro and Wanda, but it does make me wonder if perhaps the seeds were being sown for that revelation. Maybe not. Anyway, we then cut to Jason Wyngarde, thinking about how he’s been manipulating Jean since she started her trip, and that she’ll soon belong entirely to him. Jean talks to Lorna about the life Lorna and Alex are building for themselves. She then does a pirouette across the room, changing her outfit with each spin. (I’m going to count that as a Claremazon Moment, putting Jean at 6 to Storm’s 9.) Then to Xavier, feeling a little out of place. He reviews a tape of Jean saving the galaxy as Phoenix. Xavier determines he needs to return to Earth, to help Jean deal with all that power.
Back on Muir, Moira is walking the halls, and steps on a gold tooth right in front of Mutant X’s room. She opens the door, and finds the room empty. Jean enters the lab and finds Moira’s thought patterns are terrified. She switches to Phoenix, and speeds through the halls. When she turns a corner, she finds herself in an 18th-century regency mansion, in an appropriately fancy dress. Her PSI powers confirm what her senses are telling her. Then she gets tackled from behind. When she sees her attacker, she freezes in panic, then screams.
We then cut back to Westchester. Beast sneaks into the Mansion, wondering about the alarms being deactivated. He’s attacked by Nightcrawler, and they wrestle until a lightning bolt lights the room. They’re both surprised. Nightcrawler teleports into the Danger Room, saying he’s seen a ghost. The X-Men go out, and Beast and Cyclops are pleased to see each other again. Beast says Jean is on Muir Island, and Cyclops calls Moira to let her know they’re coming. Lorna answers, and tells them to hurry. Then the line goes dead.
This is characteristically awesome. This issue’s mostly about Jean, and it’s good. Jean was never one of my favourite characters, and reading through all this again isn’t really changing my opinion of her. But she’s still a good character, and the concern she and the others have for her is done well. This issue also finally starts bringing everyone back together, after months apart. The X-Men learn Jean is still alive, and Xavier decides to return to Earth. There’s also the Wyngarde plot, and Magneto makes a cameo. There’s a lot going on here, but it’s well-paced. Claremont and Byrne had more than hit their stride, and everything they did was gold at this point.