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Uncanny X-Men #185 (1984, September)

September 26, 2014

I got paid today. Almost $600! Woot! Those 8-hour shifts were worth it, it seems. I think I’ll reward myself by buying something nice. I’m leaning towards Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley. But for today, by Claremont and JRJr, “Public Enemy.”

Public Enemy

Aw, look how happy Rogue is. Good for her.

The issue starts with Henry Gyrich talking about Rogue. She’s going to be the target of an operation to arrest her. He talks about her assault on the Pentagon a little while ago, when Carol Danvers managed to delete the X-Men from the Pentagon’s computers. He also mentions her recent assault on the Helicarrier and murder of a SHIELD agent. And then he shows off Forge’s Neutralizer that will rob Rogue of her powers. Raven Darkholme charges in demanding the Neutralizer, saying Gyrich shouldn’t have it. Val Cooper tells her it’s an opportunity to test it.

At the school, Storm tells Xavier that Rogue is gone, and Storm’s deeply concerned. Rogue’s been suffering a relapse since her meeting with Rossi. Meanwhile, Rachel calls Scott in Alaska, but can’t bring herself to say anything. He’s her daddy!

In the Pentagon, Mystique meets with Destiny, and expresses some doubts about what she should do. Rogue’s powers make her miserable, so letting them be stripped might be the merciful thing to do, but Destiny asks if Mystique has the right to make that decision for Rogue.

On a military transport plane, Cooper and Gyrich are on their way to the mission. Cooper says SHIELD is busy with the war against the Dire Wraiths, which leaves it to Gyrich’s men, from the FBI and Secret Service. “Raven” lets Forge know about the Neutralizer being taken, and he’s furious. He leaves to stop it.

Caldecott County, on the Mississippi River. Rogue dives into the river. A passing tugboat is full of guys praising her dive. She lays down on the bank, relaxing in the sun. This is where Storm finds her. Rogue talks about how she used to spend a lot of time in that spot as a kid, hiding away when the world got too tough, and that it’s where she discovered her power. She was making out with a guy named Cody Robbins, and he passed out. Storm asks if there’s anything the X-Men, as her friends, can do to help her. Rogue laughs, remembering how Storm almost quit over Rogue joining. Storm says Rogue’s got a strong sense of decency, and Rogue snaps back that it’s not decency, but punishment. Storm asks if anyone’s ever given of themselves to Rogue freely, and Rogue mentions Wolverine lending her his healing factor. Then Storm offers her own power.

They grab hands, and Rogue sees the world through Storm’s eyes. She sees nature as patterns of energy, and starts playing around. She becomes tempted to steal more of Storm’s power, but stops herself. Then she gets blasted in the back. Rogue tries to lead the troops away from Storm, but can barely fly. She whips up a tornado to scatter the troops. The storm goes beyond Rogue’s control, and damages the boat that passed her earlier. Rogue tries to shift the storm to save it, but the power’s worn off.

Storm shows up to dispel the storm, and Rogue realizes her concern for the crew of the boat was he own, not Storm’s. She realizes she’s more decent than she thought. She and Storm start pulling the ship to shore, and Storm says Rogue’s being blamed for the death of a SHIELD agent, and also says she knows about the Neutralizer. Mystique told her about it, and where to find Rogue – a story that will be told in Marvel Fanfare in a couple years. Gyrich tries to shoot Rogue with the Neutralizer again, but Forge tackles him, so instead the beam hits Storm. Storm lets out a massive discharge, then falls into the river, unconscious. Forge carries her off and tells off Gyrich. He tells Gyrich the X-Men always fought for humanity, but Gyrich’s stupidity may turn them into enemies.

Meanwhile, Dire Wraiths are watching, and decide to kill Forge before he can improve his Neutralizer.

Then a letters page “answered” by Maddie Pryor.

This is a great issue. Little in the way of action, but a ton of character stuff. Rogue going swimming in the Mississippi was a great scene, and Storm lending her powers was really touching. Mystique’s concern over Rogue is also touching. It makes for a very sweet read, all of that stuff. And it’s really cool seeing just how fully Rogue’s been accepted – the reminder that Storm almost quit over Rogue joining shows how far their relationship has come. But then we’ve also got the tension from the government hunt for her, and the threat of the Neutralizer. The ending – with Storm being hit by the Neutralizer – is a massive development. I daresay it’s one of the biggest developments in the entire series. For the next couple years, Storm is powerless, and her character arc in the immediate future explores how she copes with being, effectively, disabled. The next issue is a huge one.

And on top of it all, we also got the little Rachel scene, and the reveal of who her parents are. Which also has a neat layout – there’s three panels on top, then an 8-panel grid, with Scott on one side and Rachel on the other, separated by a phone cord, and with the bottom Scott panel removed as he’d already hung up. It’s neat and effective.

Romita’s art is fine here. Nothing to complain about. The Rogue stuff looks great. It looks like a lovely young woman going for a swim and laying on the riverbank. It’s not that it looks sexy, though yeah, Rogue is very attractive. It’s that it looks pleasant. I’m a straight guy, so obviously I like looking at attractive girls wearing tiny swimsuits. But it’s more than that. It gets across a feeling. A sort of timelessness.

Uncanny X-Men #185

I’m sure JRJr spent a lot of time on that middle panel. Probably had to do a lot of reference work on it.

It is weird, however, how much and how quickly the expressions shift. One panel has Rogue laughing, the next has her pissed. A lot of that comes down to the writing, of course, but it does look odd.

Still. Great issue.

Song of the day: I Know What I Am by Band of Skulls.

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  1. Marvel Fanfare #40 (1988, October) | xmenxpert

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