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Uncanny X-Men #191 (1985, March)

December 31, 2014

I’ll review the first issue of SHIELD next week. Happy New Year’s, here’s a Claremont/JRJr story, “Raiders of the Lost Temple!”

Raiders of the Lost Temple!

What a lackluster cover. It doesn’t reflect what’s inside very well at all.

Kulan Gath is taunting Spider-Man. Then he goes to taunt the captive Selene, which includes removing her mouth and turning her arms into tentacles. He asks Sunder and Dani about the other mutants, and when Dani says they escaped, he tortures them both.

Elsewhere, the heroes check out a wrecked temple. All the priestesses have been slaughtered, except one, who attacks, thinking they’re working for Gath. Then Gath’s actual forces attack, including the Scarlet Witch and Vision. Colossus and Vision brawl, but it’s not like it’s a big deal. Certainly not deserving of being on the cover. Rogue’s crystal flesh is protecting her, but Cannonball knocks her down, and a guy touches her, and she absorbs his human flesh, leaving her open to a sword in the back. Storm freaks right the hell out. She gives the other heroes a chance to escape, but she doesn’t stand a chance, until Warlock grabs her and flies her out. Rahne holds onto him, but she falls off.

The heroes are safe, though Starfox and Wasp have been captured, Rogue’s dead, and Storm’s gone. Illyana’s angry at Amara for not helping in the fight. Back at the temple, Sam’s dead, and Rahne’s dying, and Dani’s pissed off. Gath restores Rahne, and also twists Starfox and Wasp.

Warlock is trying to communicate with Storm, and she senses her mother’s spirit, which helps her start to throw off the spell clouding her mind.

Captain America comes up with a plan to get into Gath’s palace and free Selene. He and Colossus pose as soldiers, bringing Selene and Amara in in chains, with Rachel using her telepathy to make the guards let them pass. The others try to enter from below, but are attacked by the Morlocks. Callisto slices Sunder’s throat before it even occurs to her that Illyana’s Soulsword could’ve freed his mind. Cap’s team reaches the throne room, and gets attacked, as well. The girls fall under Starfox’s control, while Vision’s attack on Colossus ends up blowing them both up, with the shrapnel taking out Cap. The rest of the heroes bust in, and get turned to stone.

Spider-Man’s distraught, and despite the agony he’s in, manages to free himself, saying the amulet is the key, but it’s not much good. Gath kills him. Luckily, Storm and Warlock were hiding in the rafters, and they fly down and grab the amulet, which is then telekinetically snatched from Storm’s grasp, and moves over to Amara, who turns out to be Selene, while the Selene that Gath captured was actually Amara. And now, Selene has Gath’s amulet, and his power. Warlock was nearly killed by Amara erputing, but he manages to infect Storm, and turn her into one of his kind. Then she absorbs Selene’s life energy.

With Gath and Selene dead, Illyana frees Dr. Strange. He works with Illyana’s own power to turn back time to before the spell was cast. So everything’s undone, with only a handful remembering what happened. Storm’s a little bitter that, once again, the X-Men have helped save the world and no one’s going to know about it. But Cap says he knows, and thanks her. Xavier also asks Strange about Illyana, but he says there’s not much he can teach her about magic, and the help she needs can come best from her friends and family. I wonder if this was just Claremont trying to justify Illyana not getting some training from Strange. I actually like that Bendis has had Illyana training under him lately.

Anyway, we go back to the end of #189, where Jaime Rodriguez is about to get stabbed in the subway. Nimrod the Sentinel materializes and kills the mugger, and Jaime drops the necklace so it gets lost.

This is a pretty fun conclusion to the arc. Lots and lots of death! That seems to be a trend when it comes to alternate realities with the X-Men. Still, some of those deaths are pretty cool. Vision and Colossus blowing up was neat. Spider-Man’s last stand was a nice showing of his determination. I loved Storm going berserk after Rogue’s death. Also, the scene of her seeing her mother’s spirit was cool, and it makes me wish it was followed up on a little more. I’d like to see her mystical heritage explored a bit more. I’m never going to like JRJr’s art, so it’s probably not worth saying again that I dislike it. It’s not hideous – he’s done way, way, way worse over the years – but it’s still an unpleasant style.

As an oddity, this issue has Rachel say she knew Selene and Amara had switched. But last issue had her talking with Amara about being Selene’s slaves. The two scenes are kind of at odds. I guess Claremont forgot about the previous scene when scripting this issue. Oh well. This issue does introduce Nimrod. Nimrod winds up actually being a really cool, compelling character. Until he “dies,” and then he starts getting routinely brought back as being just a small but powerful Sentinel. A shame, that. Oh, well.

All in all, this was a very, very odd two-parter, but still a fun one. It was a big change of pace from the more sci-fi-oriented usual X-Men stories, and while I’m glad the stories didn’t go this direction often, it was still pretty cool.

And, I should also talk about Secret Wars #11, by Shooter and Zeck. As usual, limiting it to the X-Men’s involvement in the issue. There isn’t much. Colossus tells Zsaji he loves her. Wolverine thinks his love for her is just a side effect of her healing power. That’s pretty much it.

Song of the day: A Hundred Sinners (Come and Get It) by the Feeling.

  1. Oh, getting close to issue 200. This sounds like a pretty crazy 2-parter, but in a fun way. Also, I always wondered when they introduced Nimrod in the comics. Now I know.

  2. Oh, and Happy New Year.

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