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Uncanny X-Men #148 (1981, August)

May 25, 2013

Continuing along, and we’re building to the big 150th issue. Today’s issue features cameos from Dazzler and Spider-Woman, in “Cry, Mutant!”

Cry, Mutant!

I love how cheerful Dazzler is in her circle, while the rest of the cover is supposed to be tense.

We start with Scott and Lee exploring the weird city that popped out of nowhere during Storm’s mega-storm. They don’t find any food or water, but Lee kisses Scott. He pushes her away, saying it’s too soon after Jean’s death, and he doesn’t want to get involved yet. She says she’s scared and just needs some warmth as she runs off. He tries to follow her, and trips and falls. In frustration, he takes off his blindfold, smashing the ceiling. Lee comes back to him.

Then we cut to the school. Wolverine is tracking Nightcrawler through the trees, and catches him. Inside, Angel is arguing with Xavier, Moira and Storm about Wolverine. He’s not sure he wants to belong on the same team as Wolverine. Downstairs, Banshee’s fixing up the Blackbird, helped by Colossus, while Illyana watches. Nightcrawler tells Banshee that Xavier wants to see him upstairs. When he goes up, he meets Theresa. The reunion goes well. Moira steps outside, and Storm follows. Moira’s jealous of Theresa, and sees her as a rival for Sean’s affection. Storm says she understands, seeing Stevie Hunter the same way. Claremont does a good job making the characters human and flawed.

Cut to Saturday, and a figure calling himself Caliban slips out of a sewer. Yep, it’s the first appearance of Caliban! He senses his own kind in a skyscraper. At the top of the skyscraper, Kitty, Ororo, Jessica Drew and Stevie Hunter are in a fancy nightclub as guests of Dazzler. Caliban enters the lobby, and we learn his power. He can absorb emotions, and convert them to a physical force. He’s upset about it, because he didn’t mean to hurt the cops. Upstairs, Dazzler starts her set. After a little while, Jessica hears screams from the other side of the club. Kitty slips away to check it out. Dazzler provides a distraction for Storm and Spider-Woman to change into costume to investigate the commotion. Kitty finds Caliban, and he grabs her, and says she’s going to be his friend. She freaks out. He refuses to let her go. He stuns Storm with a table, then punches Spider-Woman out the window.

The crowd is freaking out, and rushing for the elevator. Dazzler creates lightshow designed to calm them down. Storm chases Caliban down the elevator shaft, getting a bad claustrophobic attack in the process. Spider-Woman gets to the ground the same time Caliban does, and knocks Kitty out of his grasp. He lashes back. Storm hits him with a lightning bolt, and he surrenders. Spider-Woman asks Caliban if he’s a mutant, but he doesn’t understand the word. He definitely looks the part. Storm offers him a place with them, but he retreats back into the sewer.

Back on the mystery isle, Scott and Lee are found by Magneto.

This is a good issue, with a few very important things happening. First, Banshee and Siryn meet. Siryn will eventually become a fairly popular character in her own right, first with X-Force in the ’90s, then with X-Factor under Peter David in the past decade. Interestingly, though, her next appearance after this issue is in the Fallen Angels mini in 1987. Yeah, it’s almost another 6 years before she pops up again. Which is a little disappointing, but once she does start showing up, she’s great.

The second important thing in this issue is the introduction of Caliban. He talks about living alone in the sewer, so the Morlocks don’t seem to have entered Claremont’s mind yet. But Caliban is how the Morlocks are introduced, so his first appearance is notable. Caliban himself would later join the original X-Factor (which was just the original X-Men with a new team name), then join Apocalypse, then join X-Force. According to this article on UncannyXMen.net, Caliban was originally intended to join the X-Men, along with Kitty Pryde and Willie Evans, Jr. They were going to be a team of X-Men trainees. The idea was shot down by Jim Shooter, who was concerned about the “Legion of Substitute X-Men.” The article’s an interesting read, and explains some of the early ideas for Kitty and Caliban.

The third big thing here, of course, is the return of Magneto. Aside from the important things, however, there’s a lot of really nice little touches. Moira’s jealousy of Theresa, Ororo’s frustration at Kitty’s recklessness, Scott and Lee’s fight and make-up. Other stuff. There’s also Illyana, still around after being rescued. She actually hangs around for a while. Which is good, because her presence leads, very soon, to one of the two best X-Men comics ever. I imagine most people know which one I mean.

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