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Uncanny X-Men #152 (1981, December)

June 24, 2013

This same month saw Firestar’s first ever appearance in print, in a comic based on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. I’ve always liked Firestar. She needs to show up somewhere. But for today, “The Hellfire Gambit!”

The Hellfire Gambit!


Emma-as-Storm is using her weather powers against a car driven by Storm-as-Emma. In the car, Kitty wakes up, and starts to freak out again, nearly falling out of the car as she phases through the door. Storm tries to grab her, and the car spins off the road. Kitty manages to keep from being hurt, but the car is wrecked, and Storm is knocked out. Emma catches fire, and panics, summoning a jetstream that blows her far away. Kitty’s confused at why Storm flew away like that. Then we get a synopsis of the previous issue.

Kitty wonders where “Emma” was taking her, and why she was doing it herself in a sports car. She sees “Emma” laying unconscious near the burning car, and wonders if she should save her or let her die. Meanwhile, Emma returns to the school, angry at her body being destroyed (or so she thinks). Emma comforts her by saying she’s got beauty, youth and power. It turns out her body wasn’t destroyed, as Kitty’s got her tied up in a storm drain. Storm’s trying to convince her of who she is, but Kitty doesn’t believe her. She manages to convince Kitty to untie her. But Storm’s already slipped the knot. That makes Kitty a little less sceptical.

Back at the Mansion, the X-Men are trussed up. They’re shocked to see Storm walk in dressed as the White Queen. Wolverine yells at her, and a couple of Hellfire guards he cut up during the Hellfire Saga a while ago beat him up. Outside, Kitty and Storm are hiding in Stevie Hunter’s car while she drives past the house. Kitty sticks her head out the door, and Storm yells at her. Kitty starts to believe it’s her. As they leave Stevie, Storm thinks about her jealousy towards her. Then Stevie’s found by Shaw and Emma.

Inside, Harry Leland kills Wolverine. The other X-Men are shocked. Amanda Sefton smiles.  Back outside, Storm creates a psychic rapport with Kitty to show Kitty how to disable the alarms on the hangar’s surface entrance. Kitty thinks about how she’s not happy with anyone being in her head, but how she’d trust Ororo with her soul – a very sweet moment. Storm’s found by Shaw and Emma. The hatch opens right that moment, allowing Storm to dive in. Kitty heads to the Mansion, and as she’s skulking around, she’s found by Wolverine. Less dead than it seems. Amanda’s doing – she made it seem like he was dead. His plan is simple: Kitty simply runs through the room, phasing through all the collars, disrupting their circuitry and freeing the team. Leland’s taken out quickly by Colossus and Nightcrawler. Wolverine busts in to attack one of the guards who beat on him earlier, and tells him off for his self-pity over being bionic.

Shaw and Emma break in. Cyclops uses an optic blast to knock him off-balance, and has Shaw throw him into the lake (he calls for a Fastball Special, but I’m not adding this one to the tracker). Emma uses a lightning bolt on Nightcrawler, and the weather goes nuts. Shaw’s hit by a lightning bolt that takes him down. Storm grabs Emma, and says their only hope is for Emma to let her in, to guide her in stopping the storm. They struggle, but Storm manages to force Emma to stop the storm. Then they struggle over the persona exchange module. Emma falls, but Storm saves her. They’re both in their proper bodies. Storm is furious, and is ready to kill Emma, but Wolverine talks her down.

This is a very good issue. Storm’s relationship with Kitty gets explored effectively. Her outrage over what Emma did is rather frightening. The pacing’s good, and the action exciting. It’s just an all-around solid issue. The fact that Amanda got to use her magic powers to help out was also a nice touch.

As good as this issue was, though, it’s nothing compared to the next one.

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