X-Men #127 (1979, November)
Part 2 of the Proteus Saga. It’s even better than Part 1. This one’s titled “The Quality of Hatred!”
We start with Proteus advancing on Storm. She tries to fly away, but he smacks the ground into her. Wolverine’s too scared to help. Luckily, a bullet hits the ground in front of Proteus. Proteus can’t see the sniper, who turns out to be Moira. Before she can fire the shot meant to kill him, though, Cyclops grabs her gun. Moira hits him in the gut with the butt of her gun. He hits his head on a rock on the way down. Proteus manages to get away in the jeep Wolverine and Nightcrawler were using. She chases in her own jeep.
Later, the X-Men are gathered together again, talking about what happened. Wolverine is badly shaken by the fight with Proteus. Cyclops realizes that if Wolverine isn’t snapped out of his funk, he’ll never recover. He accuses Wolverine of faking, intentionally goading him into a fight. Jean stops Colossus from breaking the fight up, since she read Scott’s mind and knows what he’s doing. Doesn’t stop Cyclops from making Colossus a part of the fight by bouncing an optic blast off him into Wolverine to set him up for a throw at Nightcrawler. Nightcrawler wonders if maybe Scott’s been possessed by Proteus, but teleporting above him only gets him a sore tummy. Storm uses her lightning to try to break up the fight, but Cyclops blasts the ground beneath her.
Finally, Cyclops calls an end to the fight. Storm demands to know what that was all about, and he says to consider it a session in the Danger Room. He wanted to make sure none of them suffered any psychological after-effects of the fight with Proteus. He also wanted to test himself, given how easily Moira took him out. Wolverine says he never used to think much of Scott, but he was wrong.
We cut to Proteus possessing a young woman, dumping the cop’s body, and then continuing on in the woman’s car towards Edinburgh. On a side note, I’ve been to Edinburgh. Lovely city. Edinburgh Castle is great. Moira’s already reached Edinburgh, to warn her estranged husband, Joe MacTaggert, that their son is after him. There seems to be no love lost between them, and after she leaves, Moira cries in her jeep. Proteus is right outside the building.
The X-Men are up on Edinburgh Crag, with Jean scanning the city for signs of Proteus. She finds him. Proteus confronts Moira in his father’s body, but it’s different. He has Joe’s voice and mannerisms. He also changes Moira’s gun to a snake before she can shoot him. The X-Men show up, and Proteus defends himself for a little while until he grabs Moira as a hostage. Cyclops says Proteus is too dangerous to be allowed to go free, even if it means Moira’s life.
This was a great issue. Cyclops shows what a badass he is, taking on half the X-Men single-handed, including throwing Wolverine around. That was a really fun fight. In fact:
Moira also gets some great characterization here, in regards to both her son and her husband. Plenty of good characterization in general, really. I’m also going to give Storm another Claremazon Moment for her part in Scott’s brawl. She looked pretty badass, at least. That puts her at 10 (Jean at 6). The art continues to be solid, naturally. Byrne was always a great artist.
There was a letter in this issue from a Canadian complaining about the Alpha Flight arc. She had several complaints. First, she felt the characters all had stereotypically Canadian identities. Chris replied that Byrne came up with them, and that they felt it made sense for them to have names highlighting their Canadianness. He also brought up Captain America as an example of the same sort of thing being done with US heroes, though that’s false equivalence, since Cap was, at the time, the only US hero with that sort of type-cast identity, with all the other dozens or hundreds of US heroes having identities that have nothing to do with where they’re from. It’s unfortunate, I think, that characters from outside the US always have those sorts of stereotypical identities. But I guess that’s just a part of how comic books work. She also complained about the cliche of Calgary getting an Arctic blizzard, given how relatively mild Alberta’s winters are. Chris pointed out that the blizzard was created by Shaman. She also criticized Cyclops calling Canada a “misbegotten country,” but Chris explained that he was just really angry at Northstar decking Storm right after she saved Calgary. Claremont’s responses are good, except for the bit of false equivalence.
I also want to mention that this month saw the release of Iron Man #128, the fantastic “Demon In A Bottle” issue, by David Michelinie, Bob Layton and John Romita, Jr.