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Uncanny X-Men #192 (1985, April)

January 11, 2015

Today’s story, by Claremont and JRJr, is “Fun ‘n’ Games.”

Fun 'n' Games

A very meh cover, I think.

We start with Colossus pulling a giant plug out of the ground, looking for Nightcrawler, who knocks him off the cliff and into the water. Nightcrawler gets grabbed from behind by Rogue, but he teleports onto her back and covers her eyes, causing her to fly right into the water. Colossus is distracted, since Kitty and Wolverine are due back from Japan that night, and he still feels guilty about driving her away in the first place. Rogue says she can’t offer much advice. Nightcrawler mentions Carol Danvers’ 7th sense, and wonders if Rogue has it. She doesn’t like being reminded of what she did, and Nightcrawler starts tickling her. Eventually, she lashes out, and smacks him hard in the gut. She saves him from being splattered against the wall, but when he jokes about thanking her with a kiss, she dumps him in the water. He wonders what he said, then realizes she’s probably never been kissed. He figures on leaving her alone, but the sky gets bright, and something falls towards them.

Cut to Kennedy International Airport. Xavier is making notes on the thoughts he hears about mutants. Xavier and Storm talk about the rising resentment of mutants. Meanwhile, Illyana is off in a corner, telling Lockheed to behave. He’s tucked in her bag, and Xavier doesn’t know he’s there. Rachel’s in another corner, eavesdropping on the thoughts around her, reflecting on her own time. Then she finds herself back in that time, dressed as a hound, next to Kate. They’re on a mission that Rachel doesn’t remember. They infiltrate Project Nimrod, and Kate sends Rachel away by saying the words “Dark Phoenix,” which sends her back in time. She wakes up to Kitty asking if she’s OK. Kitty and Wolverine are welcomed back by the others. And then Kitty recognizes Rachel. It’s funny to think this is the first time Kitty’s actually met Rachel. Rachel only joined up right after Kitty left – they just missed each other at that point.

Back to Nightcrawler and Colossus, picking their way through the wrecked forest. They reach the point of impact, and fall into the crater, which has walls as smooth as glass. They find trees and even animals made of circuitry. Colossus says it’s how Warlock feeds, and that Warlock was being chased by his father. Rogue wakes up, and initially thinks she’s talking to Warlock, but quickly learns it’s his father, Magus. He attacks her, but she fights back. She manages to hurt him a bit, then Nightcrawler and Colossus show up to help. Warlock grabs Colossus and starts to crush him, until Nightcrawler grabs a hold and teleports away a chunk of him. It hurts Magus bad, so Rogue goes after him again. She tries to absorb him with he own power, but gets transformed, though it’s only temporary. Magus says he’s amused at how well the X-Men fought, so he’s not going to destroy their sun.

Later, the other X-Men head to the scene of the fight. Nightcrawler feels like a poor leader, but Wolverine tells him he did a good job. They wonder why Magus threatened them, rather than destroy them. As they leave, Magus thinks about how impressed he is by the Earth. They’ve defeated Galactus, and the X-Men almost defeated him.

As an epilogue, a few months later, Xavier leaves Columbia University after a seminar that went late into the night. He’s accosted by some thugs, including a couple students from his seminar, who accuse him of being a “mutie-lover.” He locks them down, but misses one, and gets hit by that greatest of villains: A brick. They beat the crap out of him. They leave him unconscious and dying, and someone drags him into an alley.

This is a really interesting issue. There’s a whole lot going on. There’s the Magus plot, of course, which is kind of the big one of the issue, though oddly, it doesn’t really end up amounting to much. It’ll be the end of 1986 before he actually shows up again, in the pages of New Mutants. Something Claremont had a tendency to do: Set up plots that he doesn’t really follow through on. Oh well.

The issue touches on the Colossus/Kitty thing, and Colossus’ sense of guilt. Storm’s ongoing pain about the loss of her powers is touched on. There’s Rogue inheriting Carol Danvers’ 7th sense – this winds up being pretty much forgotten after this, and doesn’t really come into play again. The other big subplot here is Rachel, as she gets that memory of Kate forcing her into the past. It takes a long, long time for this to be followed up on. The obvious implication here is that Kate, on her way back to the future after Days of Future Past, made a deal with the Phoenix Force. This subplot also brings up Project Nimrod, with Nimrod, of course, becoming a pretty notable antagonist (and a really, really compelling one, to boot). Finally, this issue sets up a pretty neat ongoing plot in regards to Xavier’s injuries. It builds up to something major with issue #200. So, yeah, this issue is packed with great stuff, and it makes for a great read. Though I’m still not keen on JRJr’s art.

I should also finish up Secret Wars #12, by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck. The X-Men’s role: Zsaji revives Colossus, and dies in the proccess, which makes him sad, but he revives Mr. Fantastic, who revives everyone else. Then they all fight Doom, and win. Then they bury Zsaji, and Colossus mourns her. Storm and Xavier argue about leadership once they return to Earth – Storm wants to remain leader, but Xavier figures that now that he’s no longer crippled, he’ll be more active in field operations. Then Nightcrawler mentions wishing Lockheed would return, and he does, with his lady dragon friend. When they’re all ready to go home, Colossus doesn’t want to go, but Xavier tells him not to let Zsaji’s sacrifice go to waste. Meh. The X-Men really didn’t get to do a whole lot in this series. They were there because they had to be there, but I get the feeling Shooter didn’t particularly care about them.

And then there’s Rom #65, by Mantlo and Ditko. Rom’s stuck on Earth, about to be killed by an army of Wraiths, but pretty much all the superheroes show up, including the X-Men. This allows Rom a chance to head into space to use Forge’s giant Neutralizer to banish Wraithworld into Limbo. Meanwhile, Gyrich rants and raves like a complete and utter madman, because Bill Mantlo had all the subtlety of a brick most of the time. Also, Ditko was a crap artist by this point. This comic sucked.

There’s also New Defenders #142, which touches on the anti-mutant stuff of the time. A bunch of college kids watched a news report about the protests against Dazzler’s movie. The kids are all pissed about the report, thinking it’s just racist crap. They come up with a plan: Senator Robert Kelly will be speaking on the campus, and so will the Beast. They’re met by a kid who has a six-fingered hand. Later, they’re told the kid has an epilectic seizure, but Beast finds a crushed Walkman that makes him suspicious. Later on again, at the Beast’s lecture, the kid asks why Beast hasn’t done more to be an advocate of mutant rights. A very good question. One he can’t answer. Later again, the Beast talks to the kid, who’s a mutant himself, with six fingers on each hand, sees in the infrared spectrum, and has other problems. The next day, Senator Kelly makes his case for the Mutant Control Act, and he does sound reasonable. The mutant kid attacks him. In the fight, Cloud shorts out the kid’s exoskeleton, which he used because he had a degenerative nerve condition. It’s nice seeing a mutant who doesn’t have any dangerous powers. The X-titles seldom bothered with those types, which gave the idea that all mutants had dangerous powers, which made the fear about mutants a lot more reasonable. Showing that there are harmless mutants makes a huge difference. If it’s stated that, say, only one mutant in a hundred, or a thousand, has powers that can be useful in a combat situation, then that creates a very different perspective from all mutants being walking weapons.

I also want to mention Amazing Spider-Man #263, with . . . the Amazing Spider-Kid! It’s a cute, hilarious story, definitely worth checking out, if you can find it. There was also GI Joe #34, revolving around an awesome aerial dogfight.

Song of the day: Wet Dream by the Hot Toddies.

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