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Uncanny X-Men #157 (1982, May)

July 29, 2013

So today marks a year of blogging on here. Why don’t you celebrate by taking a look back at my first post, and then continue with today’s story, “Hide ‘n’ Seek.”

Hide 'n' Seek

There’s something off about that Dark Phoenix.

The X-Men and Starjammers are repairing damage to the ship, and a small explosion knocks Wolverine off the hull. Hepzibah jumps after to throw Wolverine back, and Scott bounces optic blasts off some debris to bring back Hepzibah. Because he’s a fancy shooter. Colossus passes out, having pushed himself too hard in the repair, and Sikorsky has to fix him up again. He’s mostly irritated. Lilandra’s managed to contact Counselor Araki, but he’s not responding. Probably a result of the hole in his chest. It’s Admiral Samedar! That jerk! Xavier tries to contact Kitty and Nightcrawler telepathically, but senses an anomaly in himself, He probes it, and then freaks out and slips into a coma.

Out on the whaleship, Deathbird kills some Brood attacking her, and then demands to know why they’re attacking her ally. The Brood leader points out how badly the Brood were hurt as a result of that Alliance. She offers to bring them the X-Men.

On the Shi’ar ship above Earth, the call to battle stations goes out. Kitty and Nightcrawler realize time’s up. Kitty heads onto the hull and gets a pretty great view of New Guinea, then goes inside an airlock. She interrupts an assassination attempt against herself and Nightcrawler. Admiral Samedar orders the Earth attacked, though the Captain is reluctant to do it without Araki’s confirmation. Before the order can be given to fire, bursts of smoke pop up, and Dark Phoenix appears and threatens them. Then she disappears in another burst of smoke. And then Oracle disappears.

Nightcrawler grabbed her. She’s shaken up, and even more when Dark Phoenix walks in. Kitty explains the situation. It might’ve been wise for her to drop the disguise first, but I suppose it’s easy to second-guess when you’re not there. Later, once Gladiator and Starbolt have been confirmed, she’s switched to a Robin Hood outfit. Before they can do anything, the rest of the Imperial Guard finds them and attacks. Kitty’s sent to mess up the computers. Eventually, they’re all captured.

They wake up in chains, along with Captain K’rk. Yes, that’s his name. K’rk. I can only assume his full name is J’mes Tiberius K’rk. (Tiberius is a cool enough name that I like to imagine it’s the same in all languages. Everyone should have Tiberius as their middle name. Yes, even girls.) Anyway, Samedar destroys the Earth. The end. Not really. The Starjammers intercept the first salvo. Lilandra’s image appears on the bridge of the Shi’ar ship. So the Earth is saved. And Colossus is back on his feet. But Xavier’s a vegetable.

This is really cool. Kitty has some fun with her Dark Phoenix routine, but there’s still a lot of tension. There’s an easy characterization at this point; Claremont’s got a full handle on everyone, and their personalities come through clearly, with just a few lines of dialogue. Claremont’s usual purple prose is tones down a bit here. It still comes through here and there, but not too often. He’s still reluctant to let the art speak for itself, but he’s also moving back from explaining entire scenes that don’t appear in the art. Cockrum’s art remains solid. He’s no Byrne, but he’s good. He does good plotting.

The Brood plot goes on hold for the next few issues. It’ll be back in a big way. But in the meantime, Carol!

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