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Uncanny X-Men Annual #5 (1981, October)

June 11, 2013

Ah, another X-Men Annual. This time with neat guest stars. Brent Anderson does the art for “Ou, La La – Badoon!”

Ou, la La - Badoon!

An OK cover.

It starts with Sue going into Reed’s lab to tell the men dinner’s ready, something she’d sent Ben to do before he got roped into helping with another project. She’s angry at the fact that she spent the whole day cooking dinner, and now it’s ruined because no one’s there to eat it. Franklin comes to tell her the FF’s emergency monitor is flashing, and Sue checks it to hear a police report about a woman with a laser gun, just a few blocks away from the Baxter Building. The woman turns out to be Shi’ar, being chased by invisible Badoon. The FF subdue the woman, and she lets out a warning about Arkon, Badoon, Lilandra and Xavier. The Badoon kill the woman, then fire on the FF. Sue’s protected by her force field, but she drops to the ground, and sees the Badoon through the Shi’ar’s scanner. The Badoon teleport away with the unconscious men, and Sue decides to visit Xavier.

Then we cut to the X-Men fighting the Badoon on Arkon’s world, a brutal fight. Then Storm wakes up. She’d been having similar nightmares for two weeks. She goes to the kitchen for some coffee, and hears a sound outside. She uses the wind to blow Sue inside. She relates her story to the X-Men, and then Storm tells them about her dreams. The team decides to go help Arkon first, with Kitty excited to show off her new costume. It lasts for all of one panel. That’s how ridiculous it is.

The X-Men, with Sue along, teleport to Arkon’s world, which is in ruins. They’re met by the Grand Vizier’s apprentice, Sashia. She explains she sent Storm the dreams, to get the X-Men to investigate, and that Arkon’s been taken prisoner by the Brotherhood of Badoon. The Badoon invaded, and are resupplied, through a Stargate. The Stargate’s out in the Wildlands, and the Brother Royal is living in Arkon’s palace. Males are forbidden entrance, but women are welcomed. This information allows Cyclops to develop a plan. Storm and Sue will infiltrate the palace to free the FF, if possible. Cyclops, Colossus and Kitty will serve as their back-up. Sashia, Nightcrawler and Wolverine will take out the Stargate.

Inside the palace, the Brother Royal is telling the FF that they’re going to be interrogated, to help the Badoon learn as much as possible about Earth’s super-beings, in order to make conquering the Earth easier. Storm and Sue enter the palace in slavegirl outfits. Out in the Wildlands, Sashia shows Wolverine and Nightcrawler the Stargate, given to the Badoon by traitors within the Shi’ar Empire, who plan to execute a coup d’etat against Lilandra once the Badoon have conquered Earth. Sashia can use a spell to disguise herself and Wolverine as Badoon, while Nightcrawler can teleport to the Gate. Before they go, Nightcrawler asks if Wolverine’s going to use his claws. Wolverine explains it’s war, and that Nightcrawler can’t stop him. Nightcrawler says that, as heroes, they have to represent more than themselves, and that he wants Wolverine to be aware of how serious killing is.

In the palace, Sue and Storm are being checked out by Brother Royal, and he shows them a screen displaying Reed’s torture. Sue can’t restrain herself, and she and Storm beat up the guards. Outside, Cyclops, Colossus and Kitty hear alarms, and decide it’s time to bust in. Way out, Nightcrawler takes down a security patrol, then meets back up with Sashia and Wolverine, already there. They’ve made it to the Stargate, but not they’ve got overwhelming odds against them. In the palace, Sue and Storm free the FF and Arkon. Sue goes to Reed, but he initially thinks it’s an hallucination. Arkon drops to his knees, unable to stand.

In the halls, the other three are kicking Badoon ass, when a Monster of Badoon shows up. It takes Colossus and Cyclops out of the fight, but its blasts can’t hurt Kitty. She manages to make it collapse a wall on itself, but it’s not damaged. Luckily, Colossus is back, getting in a blow. He and the Monster end up being blasted out a wall, a mile up in the air. Colossus emerges from the crater, in a rage. Back at the Stargate, the fight’s going nowhere. The Stargate is activated, and Nightcrawler blasts it with a blaster. Then it explodes.

In the palace, the X-Men and FF are kicking Badoon ass in the dungeons. Colossus, separated from the others, and his micro-tranceiver damaged in the fall, is checking out another area, guarded by a very large force of Badoon. Up above, Reed figures out that the guns don’t have an independent power source, and instead must be powered by an external generator. Arkon mentions a generator in the catacombs, but Cyclops doesn’t think they can get down there. The Thing proves him wrong by punching a wall and causing the whole floor to collapse, with Sue protecting everyone in a force field. Cyclops is impressed. o is the Thing. Kitty’s more blasĂ©. When they land, they find Colossus, perfectly OK and surrounded by unconscious Badoon. That’s when the Brother Royal tells them all that he’s activated the generator’s self-destruct. They’ve only got a few minutes before they die.

Never give Reed Richards a few minutes. He immediately goes into action, getting everyone working together to help him shut down the self-destruct. Later, Reed is telling the others that it was simple, using some tech-speak, which Thing is surprised to find Kitty understands, and she seems surprised he doesn’t. Nigthcrawler, Wolverine and Sashia are all still alive, though Nightcrawler nearly killed himself with the effort of teleporting the three of them away from the exploding Stargate. At the celebration, Arkon goes to talk to Storm, saying he wants to ask her to stay and be his queen, but that he can’t. She can’t leave the X-Men any more than he can leave his people.

It’s a good story. I’m not entirely satisfied with Claremont’s Invisible Girl. She seems a little too meek, too overwhelmed. This was done at the same time that John Byrne was writing a strong, confident Invisible Girl. So Claremont’s characterization of her felt wrong. But the action was exciting, and well-drawn by Brent Anderson. The story has a fairly nice mix of dramatic and comedic beats. Kitty’s second attempt at her own costume provides the best comedic relief moment of the issue. She really isn’t very good at costume design. Though, really, it’s only a terrible costume in terms of being a superhero. It’s exactly the sort of thing one would expect other-dimensional princesses to wear.

It should also be noted that this is the last time the X-Men meet Arkon. Storm’s attraction to him never gets brought up again. His next appearance is in West Coast Avengers in 1988, and has mostly popped up in the Avengers since then. He eventually hooks up with Thundra. But while we’re on the topic of Storm’s love life, it strikes me that she and Scott probably would’ve made a good couple. They had good chemistry. But I’m a big fan of the Scott/Emma relationship, so at this point, I’d rather see him get back together with Emma then hook up with Storm. Storm can continue being single for a while, I suppose.

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