X-Men #126 (1979, October)
Ah, the Proteus Saga. It’s a good one. Today’s story is titled “How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth . . . !”
The Blackboard flies above a trawler named the Audrey II – apparently, Clarmeont had just watched Little Shop of Horrors (the 1960 version, since the Rick Moranis one didn’t come out until 1986 – thanks, Wikipedia!). They reach Muir Island. Colossus goes down first, dropping out of the plane and through the roof of the research centre (spelled “centre” in the book, too – nice touch). Then Storm flies out with Wolverine. Finally, Cyclops lands the plane. Nightcrawler teleports to the residence.
Nightcrawler calls Cyclops and Banshee to the residence. He found Lorna, unconscious, with the dessicated corpse of Angus MacWhirter laying on her. Nightcrawler then teleports to the lab, and almost gets blasted by Havok, who’s carrying Madrox. Havok doesn’t believe it’s Nightcrawler, but getting grabbed from behind by Colossus convinces him. Cyclops and Storm find Moira. Cyclops goes scouting for Jean, and finds her curled up in a corner. She’s in shock, and calls him Jason before falling unconscious again.
Later, they’re all gathered in the house. Madrox says that Mutant X possessed one of his duplicates. Scott demands some answers from Moira. As she loads a rifle, she explains that Mutant X is her son. On the mainland, Mutant X hungers. He sees Jason Wyngarde, but Jason has psychic shields too strong for the weakened Mutant X to get through. Instead, he takes over a drunk. The next day, Cyclops splits everyone into four teams, with Storm and Jean as airborne scouts. Moira mentions that Mutant X can be hurt by metal – foreshadowing, I suspect.
Jean gets shunted back in time again, finding herself on a horse, on a hunt. She soon discovers the prey was a man. Then she snaps back to reality, and sees a dead guy. Wolverine tracks Mutant X’s trail, and finds a cop. Wolverine’s being possessed, but Mutant X withdraws at the last moment. We finally learn that Wolverine’s entire skeleton is made of adamantium. Wolverine gets ready to attack, but Mutant X – now declaring himself Proteus – starts twisting reality. This is especially hard on Wolverine.
Storm saves them with lightning, but can’t bring herself to kill Proteus. She destroys his car, and he uses his powers on her, smashing her to the ground. As he advances on her, she whips up a powerful wind to try to push him back. It doesn’t really work. He still advances on her, slowly.
This is cool. Proteus is an interesting villain. First, his possession is good. But then he turns out to be able to twist reality, which ends up being really cool. Byrne goes nuts with those panels, and it looks great. So does Storm’s winds against Proteus, actually. The confused feelings Scott and Jean both have is also a nice touch. And the continuing subplot of Jean shifting in time is intriguing. Claremont and Byrne were on a roll, and it showed no signs of abating at this point.