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Uncanny X-Men #180 (1984, April)

August 25, 2014

Another week until Jeopardy is back. So now, by Claremont and JRJr, “Whose Life Is It, Anyway?”

Whose Life Is It, Anyway?

What’s the purple supposed to be?

We start with Xavier in the gym, playing a little basketball. He’s having a nice, fun fantasy, until he misses a shot. Then he’s hit with another scanning wave that takes him down. Storm finds him. She tells him to take it easy with his legs, and he talks about his college athletics, and having to give it up because his telepathy gave him an unfair advantage. Then he turns the discussion around to ask Storm if she’s OK. He thinks about how he never thought of Storm as a woman before, but is now well aware of it. It’s a weird, weird bit. Anyway, she talks about how the changes she’s going through frighten her. Xavier mentally probes her, but finds no sign of mental illness.

Elsewhere, Kitty’s playing an arcade game with Doug. She winds up breaking it by getting too high a score, and they get kicked out. The owner says he’s sick of them playing for hours on one quarter. Even in the ’80s, “good at computers” and “good at video games” were things that were grouped together. “Oh, she knows how to program a computer, so of course she’s a master at video games!” You know, it’s possible to be a computer genius while also sucking at playing video games! They’re different skills, Claremont! One is a matter of pure knowledge, the other is about hand-eye coordination and reflexes. Of course, Kitty should have excellent coordination and reflexes, so she would be good at video games. But still. It always feels a bit lazy when writers just have computer nerds be expert gamers.

Anyway, they go get lunch. He asks if she’s down because of him, and she says she likes him a lot, and it’s Ororo that bothers her. She talks abut how much Storm’s changed, and how she’s not the person Kitty loved any more. Doug changes the subject to his upcoming trip to the Massachusetts Academy, headed by Emma Frost. (New Mutants #14 is set before this comic, chronologically.) He wants Kitty to go with her, since she was a student there. She’s torn, since she doesn’t really want to go back there, but also doesn’t want Doug to go alone.

Back at the school, Colossus is chopping a tree, one-handed. Wolverine talks to him about Kitty. Colossus worries about her friendship with Doug, and worries that Doug might be a better match for her. Wolverine points out that she gave herself to the Morlocks to save him. Colossus still thinks that maybe Kitty was a dream, and that it’s time to face reality. Wolverine seems disappointed. Of course, those of us who don’t think that a 19-year-old and a 14-year-old shouldn’t be dating think that, yes, Colossus and Kitty probably should break up, because their relationship is totally inappropriate.

Storm goes for a walk in the Bronx Botanical Gardens. She’s visiting the flowers that used to be in her attic. She overhears someone crying out, and finds a couple elderly people being harassed by four punks. She tells them to go away. They decide to attack. She kicks their asses with her bare hands, then whips up a quick storm to scare the hell out of them. Then she notices that the people she saved are just as scared as the punks. Xavier calls her back to the Mansion.

Kitty tells everyone that she wants to accompany Doug to the Academy. She figures that the risk is fairly minimal, and that the X-Men can bail her out if need be. Xavier mentions off-hand that Doug’s a mutant with a mastery of language. He and Storm both approve of Kitty’s plan, despite their discomfort. Later, Kitty gets whipped out into the sky for a talk. Storm explains her feelings, the clash she felt between X-Man and goddess. When she became team leader, she realized she’d need to be willing to sacrifice for a greater good, and found herself able to match Wolverine for ruthlessness when she has to. She also tells Kitty that life is about change, and Kitty needs to be willing to accept it. Kitty refuses, and says some things shouldn’t change, and how she thought she could always count on Storm. Storm says that Kitty has to let Storm live her own life. Kitty eventually accepts it.

A week later, Kitty’s at LaGuardia, ready to fly out to Massachusetts. She notices Colossus acting a bit strangely. Once the plane’s in the air, Emma Frost walks out. Kitty calls Xavier, but gets no response. Unfortunately, she’s a few minutes late, as Xavier and the X-Men have gone to Central Park. He senses something there, and they find a giant gate. They walk in, and disappear. Where have they gone? Well, you’ll have to wait and see.

. . . Hell with it, they went off to the original Secret Wars.

This is a great issue. It’s very much a downtime issue, lots of talking, and it’s all very interesting stuff. We get plenty of focus on Storm’s continuing character development. We also see some cracks in the Kitty/Colossus relationship, and a nice scene between Kitty and Doug. The Massachusetts Academy plot will actually end up being continued in New Mutants #15. The other major plot here, the continuing subplot with the scanning wave, comes to an end, and aside from a couple bits of aftermath, Secret Wars won’t be followed up on much in UXM. So this issue winds up being more straightforward and self-contained than was usual during Claremont’s run. It’s an interesting change.

JRJr’s art is the same as usual. I’m not terribly impressed by the greenhouse fight. It wasn’t all that well-done. I’m also not that keen on how the St. Elmo’s Fire was done. Ah, well. Even the Emma Frost reveal could’ve been a lot better. One panel, in particular, just looked bizarre. Almost like she was a hologram or something.

Song of the day: Honey In the Sun by Camera Obscura (a nice Scottish band).

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