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Uncanny X-Men #187 (1984, November)

October 26, 2014

Man, 1984 seems to just be taking forever to get through. I’ve still got 10 comics left, counting today’s. Speaking of which, today’s issue, by Claremont and JRJr, is “Wraithkill!”

Wraithkill!

Meh. This is a boring cover.

Storm’s walking away from Forge’s place, through heavy rains. She doesn’t notice a Dire Wraith appear in the lobby. It’s immediately destroyed by Forge’s automated defences. Some Dire Wraiths sneak in in human form. It deactivates the defences below Forge’s penthouse, so more Wraiths can head up in the elevator. Outside, Storm is attacked by a Wraith. She flees into the building, and grabs the gun off a dead guard. She shoots it, but it doesn’t die. Then its head is blown off by Naze. She tries to call Forge, but the Wraiths attack him before she can explain. She reloads the gun, and remembers Wolverine training her to fire a gun. Storm and Naze climb on top of the elevator, and a Hellhound attacks her, then gets blown apart by Naze. A cable wraps around her legs and starts dragging her towards the roof. She frees herself and laughs before letting go and grabbing a girder to haul herself up. Below, Naze wishes he was younger, so he could woo her. He uses his magic to help him sense Wraiths, so he can shoot them.

Above, Storm gets out of the elevator shaft, into a blizzard. A Wraiths snags her from behind with magic, but the cold weakens it, so it sends a Hellhound after her instead. She knocks it away, but the cold is killing her. She gets back inside. Then something weird happens, linking her to Forge, Naze, a Wraith, and something else.

In the penthouse, Forge is helpless, but hidden guns shoot the Wraiths moving towards him. Storm finds him, and there’s lots of tension, but then she senses some more Wraiths. During the fight, one of the Wraiths casts an illusion that makes it look like Storm while she looks like a Wraith. Forge uses his mystic senses to tell the difference.

Naze shows up, then Rogue and Colossus bust in. The five of them run up a flight of stairs, and into a whole assload more Wraiths. Naze heads to Forge’s Eagle’s Nest, and starts making use of the magic there. Down in the fight, Storm lets Rogue and Colossus know about her lost powers. Then Rom and Starshine show up. Holograms, meant to trick the Wraiths into dispelling their own illusions.

Then reality tears open and something else attacks.

This is OK. It’s an action issue, and those generally rise or fall based on the strength of the art, and I’ve never found JRJr’s art to be particularly strong. He doesn’t necessarily do a bad job, but neither does he blow me away, and for an issue like this, with so much action going on, I think there’s a real need for the art toe b blow-away good. And JRJr’s just not up to that. Claremont’s writing is pretty good, as usual, but even that isn’t as strong as usual.

There is one particularly serious problem with the issue, and that has to do with the weird moment where Storm merges minds with Forge, Naze, a Wraith and something else. It’s a subplot, so it doesn’t get explained here, of course, and that’s fine. But my problem is it doesn’t do a good enough job in terms of setting it up. Forge, when he sees Naze, wonders what caused the merge if it wasn’t Naze’s death. And at the risk of spoiling other issues that are nearly 30 years old, we do eventually find out that Naze did die. But we don’t really get any indication that it happened, beyond Forge’s idle thought. We see him bust into a room firing his shotgun, then he lets out a cry about prevailing against the odds. There should’ve been something in that scene, or in a later scene, to give readers a reason to expect his death. Something lurking behind him, or just him facing down several Wraiths at once. Something.

A few other notes: The blizzard is the result of events in Thor’s ongoing at the time. In Thor #349, the Casket of Ancient Winters is opened, which created blizzards around the world. A few books at the time had random blizzards as a result. Storm sensing the Wraiths in one panel was meant as a reference to her mystic potential. Apparently, the plan was to have her explore that, which would eventually lead to a crossover with Lady Daemon, an incredibly minor character who only appeared in a single story in Bizarre Adventures #25, which was a black-and-white anthology magazine. So, yeah, basically no one’s actually heard of her. Actually, at this point, I’m not sure Chris Claremont knows she exists, and he created her.

Song of the day: Wish In My Dish by Susy Blue.

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