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Uncanny X-Men #177 (1984, January)

July 31, 2014

Hey, so remember I mentioned yesterday that I’d won a book through a Goodreads Giveaway? I did it again today. Success: Stories by David Taylor. It’s a collection of short stories. So it seems I’ll be doing quite a bit of reading in a few weeks. Whichever arrives first will be read first. Anyway. Today’s story, by Claremont and JRJr, is “Sanction.”

Sanction

Wolverine’s trying to think of a good place to hide the body.

We start at a circus, with Mystique narrating. She thinks about how she used to love the circus. Wolverine attacks her, and she manages to slit his throat and kill him. Kitty finds his body, and as she examines him, he stabs her and kills her, then shapeshifts back to Mystique. Colossus attacks next, and she throws a flare into his face. She gets hit in the back by an optic blast, and runs into a funhouse, chased by Colossus and Cyclops. She tricks Cyclops into firing his blast into an amplifier module that makes his beam powerful enough to punch through Colossus. Then she garrottes Cyclops. She switches into a specially-designed suit, and is attacked by Storm next. Worth noting: Storm’s in her old costume, with her long hair. Storm blasts Mystique with lightning, but the suit absorbs it, and lets her fire back. She blows up a fuel truck, killing Storm. Mystique manages to fall into the Big Top, and grab a trapeze bar.  Flipping around makes her feel good. It doesn’t last, as Rogue is next. Rogue wants revenge for the deaths of her friends. Mystique has no choice but to kill her. Nightcrawler is last. He does his multiple teleportation bit with her, but she’s unaffected. Before she can stab him with her knife and claim the wind, she hesitates. He punches her, and she’s down.

Mystique wakes up with Destiny. She says she couldn’t kill Nightcrawler, and Destiny says she warned her about that. Arcade comes in to congratulate Mystique on a great fight. She congratulates him on his excellent work with the X-Men robots, and asks him to train her Brotherhood the same way. Destiny is concerned with Mystique’s grudge against the X-Men. Mystique wants her daughter back, and is convinced Xavier forced Rogue to join.

Cut to Stevie’s dance studio. Kitty talks to her about Storm’s recent change. Storm drops in as Kitty talks about it. Then to space, where Xavier is saying farewell to Lilandra. Scott and Alex say goodbye to Corsair. Xavier, Scott and Alex beam back to Earth, and the Starjammer leaves orbit, to fight Lilandra’s sister.

That night, Kitty, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Amanda all go to a ballet. Kurt talks to Amanda about wanting to know where he comes from. Amanda tells him what Margali told her – that Margali found him abandoned as an infant, and raised him as her own son – and Kurt remembers Mystique. Kitty and Peter parked the car, and are walking to the ballet, and Kitty starts talking about some experiments she’s working on with Doug Ramsey. There’s an explosion in a nearby building, and Peter rushes in to help any survivors. He also wonders who Doug Ramsey is. Aww, the big lug is jealous! When he gets to the top floor, there’s no fire, only the Blob. Blob punches him outside, and Pyro grabs him in a flame bird. Pyro starts superheating him, then drops him. He’s in agony, and surrounded by trucks of liquid nitrogen, which Avalanche bursts open.

When Kitty finds Colossus, he’s basically a statue.

And then, as part of Assistant Editor’s Month – by the way, I’ll dedicate a full post to all the non-X-Men Assistant Editor’s Month comics, because a lot were awesome – is a one-page strip of Elliot Brown, editor of the Marvel Universe guides Marvel was putting out, measuring the Blackbird. He’s behind schedule, but he’s done the measurements, so Xavier boots him out. It’s a pretty weak gag strip.

The issue as a whole is great. We see how dangerous a foe Mystique is, which is cool. The idea of her getting Arcade to train her team is pretty neat. We also get plenty of hints about there being a link between her and Nightcrawler. It’s really funny to think that it doesn’t end up actually being fully laid-out until the ’90s. I suppose because Claremont got caught up with all sorts of other stories, and maybe he felt that, since he couldn’t reveal Mystique as his father, he didn’t really want to do the story revealing her as his mother. I don’t know.

Kitty’s concern about Storm’s changes is nice. Also a nice touch is Storm sharing those concerns. Colossus’ jealousy for Doug Ramsey – not yet introduced to the reader – was kind of amusing. And Colossus vs. the Brotherhood was cool, for how quick and brutal the fight was. The Brotherhood took him down easily and lethally.

The art’s good. The fight scenes flow well. As I said about the previous issue, JRJr hadn’t gotten into his phase of making everything really sharp. His father was doing inks, and Romita, Sr. was always a great talent, so I’m sure he was guiding his son a bit.

Song of the day: Feel Lucky by Lucy & the Cloud Parade.

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