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X-Men #128 (1979, December)

March 4, 2013

So, today, we finish the Proteus Saga. This also means saying goodbye to a couple of friends. This story’s titled “The Action of the Tiger!”

The Action of the Tiger!

The X-Men versus their greatest enemy – walls.

Proteus is making the city go insane. The X-Men fan out to save civilians before tackling Proteus. Storm shows her compassionate side when she tries to stop a swarm of bees Proteus created without hurting them – these are fake bees, and yet she still doesn’t want to hurt them. There’s compassionate, and there’s just crazy. Wolverine is coming unglued again, and gets rescued by Polaris.

We get some flashbacks of how Proteus got out of his cell on Muir Island and travelled to Edinburgh. At the end of our trip down memory lane, Moira tries to plead with him, but possessing his father’s body, and memories, has made him crazier than ever. He talks about owning Moira, “body and soul” – ew. He also turns her into an ant-eater. While he’s focused on her, the city snaps back to normal. Banshee wants to charge off against Proteus, to save Moira, but Cyclops holds him back, explaining that Proteus is dangerous enough that he’ll sacrifice whoever he has to to stop him. He has a plan: Step one is to burn out Proteus’s current body.

Storm leads the attack, surrounding him in a thick fog, but he encases her in amber. Wolverine saves her, despite his own fear of exposing himself to Proteus. Before Proteus can do anything to Wolverine, though, Banshee shoots him. Proteus opens up a bit beneath Banshee’s feet, and when Nightcrawler goes down to save him, the ground starts surrounding him. He teleports straight up, but he and Banshee are out of the fight.

Proteus has moved away, to the base of Castle Rock (which Edinburgh Castle sits on). Phoenix shows up to challenge him, and does pretty well. But Proteus fights back, and manages to hurt her. Wolverine was watching from a tree, and he dives out to attack him, slicing Proteus open. Cyclops orders him to get Moira away, and Wolverine accuses him of not caring about Jean being hurt. Alex thinks about how wrong Wolverine is. He and Cyclops blast Proteus together while Wolverine climbs the rock with Moira. Proteus changes shape, so Cyclops and Havok blast each other, though luckily, they’re each able to metabolize most of each other’s powers.

Proteus rushes past Wolverine, grabbing Moira and knocking him off the rock. Luckily, Cyclops saves him, albeit in a rather undignified manner.

X-Men #128

Because you can never have enough of Scott blasting Wolverine.

I’m not sure when Scott might’ve learned that Wolverine’s whole skeleton is infused with adamantium, but it’s not really important. Colossus climbs up while Proteus rants at Moira. Colossus, still in human form, grabs Proteus and tosses him, and Joe MacTaggert’s body crumbles into dust, leaving Proteus in his energy form. Proteus engulfs him in flames and laughs in his mind. Colossus gets a moment of badassery:

X-Men #128

Who didn’t see this coming?

Moira and Colossus survived, and the issue ends with Banshee and Moira reuniting.

More greatness. They all show a lot of determination, and a willingness to put themselves on the line for each other and for the world. Banshee’s terror at the danger Moira’s in is well-done. Wolverine gets to overcome his fear of Proteus. Scott’s refusal to let his concern over Jean distract him was a nice touch. Proteus is a good villain. He’s pure evil, and immensely powerful. And he’s defeated by his own hubris, when he plays with Colossus rather than killing him outright, and gets close enough for Colossus to grab him. Proteus’s death here isn’t quite permanent – he’s appeared a couple times since. His next appearance is in 1991, in a story that crosses through a few Annuals.

Speaking of Annuals, Sasquatch showed up in Incredible Hulk Annual #8. The Hulk landed unconscious in rural BC, and a woman living out in the woods takes him to her hut, after she hurts her ankle trying to run away from him. The Canadian military knows about the Hulk’s crash-landing, and Department H sends Walter Langowski out to investigate. We see a video of Sasquatch pulling ashore the HMS Diefenbacher, a fully equipped destroyer, lifting it unaided, and pushing it back to sea after Vindicator did a spot-weld. Langowski catches a helicopter ride to the woods, then turns into Sasquatch and drops out of the copter to look for the Hulk. He finds Banner, but he wants the Hulk. He wants to test his own strength against the Hulk’s. Banner doesn’t want to become the Hulk, but Sasquatch keeps tossing him in the air, and eventually, drops him off a cliff. Then the fighting starts. The Hulk easily overpowers Sasquatch, until the fight brings down the mountain. Sasquatch sees the girl about to be crushed, and dives to save her. The Hulk dives after him, and they’re all buried. Sasquatch eventually rises, with the girl, and is sickened by the destruction he sees, knowing it’s mostly his own fault. It’s a good story, well-written, even if the premise is pretty cliched – the whole “who’s the real monster” deal. That was done with the Hulk a lot back then – just about every month, it sometimes seemed. But this one did it well, by making Sasquatch curious rather than angry or malicious. He didn’t want to hurt or exploit the Hulk, as so many of the Hulk’s foes did, he just wanted to fight for a bit to see if he could beat the Hulk. Anyway, it was a fun story.

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