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Uncanny X-Men #174 (1983, October)

July 12, 2014

I’ll be buying 9 comics on Wednesday. It’s going to be a painful week. But for today, by Claremont and Smith, “Romances.”

Romances

Nice colours.

Scott and Madelyne are on the Starjammer to watch an Earthrise. They’re interrupted by Corsair and Hepzibah. Corsair takes Maddie on a tour of the ship, while Hepzibah asks Scott if he really loves Maddie. We find out that Carol’s joining the Starjammers. Corsair asks Scott if he’s still interested, and Scott’s not sure.

Back on Earth, Lilandra runs some tests on Xavier, and finds that his inability to walk is physical in origin. But she also says the Shi’ar Empire’s on the verge of civil war, and she needs to leave, to lead the fight against Deathbird. Xavier mentions that Madelyne’s mind is closed to him, a rare but natural phenomenon. How convenient.

Back on the Starjammer, Scott’s thinking about Maddie. The resemblance to Jean, and the lack of records prior to the crash that occurred the same moment Jean died. Maddie tells him she sometimes talks to the ghosts of the people who died on her plane. She can’t forget them, but she also doesn’t let them rule her life.

In Japan, Wolverine demands to know why Mariko called off their wedding. She says he’s not worthy. He gives her back the Honour Sword of Clan Yashida, then leaves. Mariko tells Harada, the Silver Samurai, to return it to its place.

Back a the school, Kitty’s reading a Marvel Star Wars comic. Heh. Very cute, Claremont and Smith. She decides to go talk to Peter, and Lockheed gets jealous. She finds Peter painting, and having trouble with it. He can’t get it to look right. Kitty decides he needs a break. She takes him out to the hall, and tells him to close his eyes. Then she jumps in his arms and kisses him. A spur-of-the-moment impulse. She calms him down, then, still in his arms, she tells him to close his eyes again and walk forward. She manages to phase him so he walks on air, through the ceiling and into the attic. He opens his eyes, and they fall. He’s proud of her for getting so good with her phasing power. She just wants his body. This is when Storm returns to her attic. She’s amused, while Kitty and Peter are embarrassed. Then Kitty notices Storm’s plants are all gone. Her attic room looks very different.

Elsewhere, Kurt’s tending to Rogue’s injuries. She asks him about Jean Grey. He tells her, then starts wondering about Maddie. In his room, he finds a present – a little witch doll of Amanda, as a reference to the Bamf doll he gave her.

We cut back to Scott and Jean, on a plane. Scott’s still thinking about his decision, but he has apparently proposed to Maddie while he thinks. He goes to check on the passengers, and a priest gives him a photo of Jean on her Greek vacation. That night, Maddie gets home with some groceries, not noticing Mastermind. Scott asks her, point-blank, if she’s the reincarnation of Jean Grey. She decks him. He goes after her, then gets hit with a blast of flame. And then Maddie walks out as Dark Phoenix.

A few plots are touched on – Xavier’s inability to walk, Lilandra having to leave, Wolverine and Mariko, Rogue trying to gain acceptance, the changes Storm’s gone through – but this issue is primarily for Scott and Maddie, with several of the other sub-plots even touching on it. This issue has no action, but there’s plenty of excitement in the story. I do feel like the Maddie mystery was a bit too deep at this point; it’s not helped by the fact that this arc doesn’t actually resolve any of it. (That’ll happen in Inferno in 1988-9.) I feel like Claremont maybe went too far with it. And the relationship between Scott and Maddie feels very rushed, though in fairness, it’s treated as being incredibly rushed in-story. But it didn’t really wind up ringing true to me. I don’t feel an investment in the relationship, so this issue falls a little flat for me. Someone who liked the relationship, though, would probably love this issue. Meanwhile, the relationship between Kitty and Colossus  was just uncomfortable. She’s 14, he’s 19. It’s a big enough age difference, especially at that age, to be wrong. We’re a little ways off from Secret Wars bringing it to an end.

The art, as usual, was very good. The Scene between Kitty and Peter, despite the ickiness, was a particular highlight in terms of the artwork. His embarrassment and her amusement were well-done. Then, in the attic, her need was also presented effectively. The Earthrise looked really good. Smith worked well on this book. Sadly, he’s about to be replaced by JRJr. Next issue is Smith’s last on the book. Still, what a way to go. Next issue is something very special.

Song of the day: Purple Poppies by Super Water Sympathy.

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