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Uncanny X-Men #193 (1985, May)

January 31, 2015

Today’s issue is very special, which is why it’s Double-Sized. By Claremont and JRJr, “Warhunt 2.”

Warhunt 2

It’s Firestar!

The story starts on Muir Isle, where Banshee gets attacked by Thunderbird. Back in New York, Xavier wakes up in the Morlock tunnels. He’s dressed in punk leathers, and Callisto tells him the Morlocks saved his life. He’d been badly beaten, and the Healer almost killed himself saving Xavier. Unfortunately, Xavier wasn’t healed completely, so while he may feel fine, he’s actually in bad shape, and any strain is going to make things worse. Xavier and Callisto talk about the Morlocks, and Sunder comes in to let her know that someone shot and killed Annalee’s kids. Callisto’s pissed, and threatens a race war between the Morlocks and humanity.

Out in the Rocky Mountains, Thunderbird is visiting the spot where his older brother – the first Thunderbird – died. Jimmy means to make Xavier pay for John’s death. Empath and Roulette show up offering to help, since they’re all teammates. Jimmy doesn’t want help, but Empath is determined. He’s going to let the X-Men fight humans, and then unleash Firestar on them.

Back at Xavier’s school, the X-Men are training Cannonball with a game of tag. He rockets at Colossus, who doesn’t even try to get out of the way. That means he’s now on Cannonball’s team. Wolverine and Kitty make him trip over himself and fall down. Cannonball launches himself again, and Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Kitty avoid him so he slams into Colossus again. Rachel and Doug are watching from the booth, and they decide to throw in an environment to play in. Wolverine is on a bridge that gets blasted out from under him, and Rogue catches him, but they both get tagged by Cannonball. Xavier and Callisto arrive, and they all laugh at Xavier’s outfit. There’s a callback to New Mutants #24, when Xavier chewed out Cannonball for wearing a Lila Cheney shirt.

Out in the middle of the Atlantic, Storm is on a cruise ship. She sees a vision of mountains, and of her mother. She feels it’s very important, and that she needs to find the mountains.

Back at the school, Xavier’s in a bath, thinking his condition’s as bad as Callisto said. He knows he can’t lead the X-Men, and figures he probably needs to take a vacation. Nightcrawler calls him to come to the situation room, where the X-Men all watch a video Thunderbird sent them, warning that he’ll kill Banshee in 24 hours if they don’t go to Cheyenne Mountain. Wolverine grudgingly admires Thunderbird’s plan – in order for the X-Men to rescue Banshee, they need to penetrate NORAD headquarters, destroying what little reputation they have left.

Later, Kitty sneaks in, keeping a psi-link with Xavier via Rachel. This allows Nightcrawler to teleport the others in. Nightcrawler doesn’t want to leave Xavier alone, but Xavier says he’ll be fine. Once Nightcrawler’s gone, he thinks about how he’s not fine. He puts on a portable Cerebro to find Banshee, but Roulette’s bad luck disc causes the system to overload. Empath gets in and makes Lockheed terrified enough to flee, then turns on Xavier. But Xavier’s will is strong enough to resist, until Roulette gases him. Rachel senses Xavier’s defeat, and Nightcrawler blames himself for it. Wolverine tells him to move past it.

Nightcrawler tells Rachel to look for Banshee, but she refuses. It’s what she did in her own time, and she can’t bear to do it. Her memories break her down, especially since she can’t tell the others what she did. Wolverine guesses she’s got survivor’s guilt, but also says they can’t worry about her until they find Banshee. He and Kitty run through the base to find him. Nightcrawler teleports Rogue to the Blackbird to keep watch on Xavier.

Elsewhere in the base, Empath, Roulette and Firestar have joined a tour of the base. Yes, a tour of one of the most important military facilities in the US. How the hell was that ever a thing? “We can start a war in this place. Hey, why don’t we invite the public to take a look around it every day!” The past is insane. Anyway. Roulette uses a bad luck disc to disrupt the devices the X-Men are using to hide from the base’s sensors. Empath amplifies the general’s concern into panic, and the general orders SecBots to attack the X-Men. The SecBots are actually just suits of armour with guys inside. I don’t know why they’re referred to as robots.

Wolverine and Kitty find Banshee, and also find Thunderbird. Wolverine fights Thunderbird while Kitty frees Banshee. A neuro-toxin starts filtering in, and Kitty falls unconscious when she heads back for Wolverine. Wolverine’s distracted, and Thunderbird decks him. Wolverine tries to drag Kitty to safety, but the gas takes him out. Thunderbird wants to leave them behind, but he can’t. He feels torn, and thinks he needs to kill Xavier.

Elsewhere, Nightcrawler and Colossus (and Rachel) are attacked by the SecBots. Nightcrawler retrieves Rogue, then promptly gets taken out by a SecBot. Rogue and Colossus pull a Fastball Special, which puts the Fastball Special Tracker at 11 now. The guy who took out Nightcrawler remembers when the X-Men saved the base from Nefaria, and wants to know what’s going on, and hopes Nightcrawler can explain. Firestar shows up while Colossus fights the SecBots, and she goes after him, tackling him and carrying him out of the base. She melts through the rock to get out, and as she passes, she fries the electronics on the SecBots.

Nightcrawler’s taken to the general, who orders his death. Empath drives Nightcrawler berserk with anger. He starts threatening to bring the place down while teleporting around. Outside, Colossus asks Firestar why she’s attacking, and she says they want to hurt Thunderbird. He says they don’t, and she thinks Empath wouldn’t lie, but she also thinks about how wrong it all feels. She can’t bear to lose Empath’s affection, so she has to kill Colossus. Rogue flies out and takes her out by absorbing her power, and her memories. She thinks Firestar’s a really nice kid.

Inside, Thunderbird finds Empath, and yells at him for interfering. Empath is saved from Thunderbird’s anger . . . by Kitty yanking him through the floor into Wolverine’s clutches. Empath passes right out. With Empath out, Nightcrawler regains his senses. He knocks Roulette out with a teleport, then escapes into the ventilation ducts. Thunderbird feels terrible about how his path for vengeance has caused so much potential harm. Kitty fails to grab Thunderbird, and then she and Wolverine are found by SecBots. Rachel finally wakes up, and senses Kitty and Wolverine fighting for their lives. Rogue tells her to lead her and Colossus to them, but Rachel still refuses. Nightcrawler teleports in, and then gets Rachel to show him where they are so he can teleport them out.

Outside, Thunderbird wakes up Xavier. Xavier notices that Thunderbird’s conflicted, and plays on that. He talks about how brave John was, and says he would’ve died in John’s place if he could have. Thunderbird says Xavier forced John to join up, but Xavier says John’s will was too strong for that. Thunderbird finds he can’t kill Xavier, and feels he’s nothing but a coward. Xavier say it takes strength not to kill.

Later, back at the school a news report says the X-Men are wanted. Firestar feels guilty about it. Thunderbird says he’s going to take his teammates back to the Massachusetts Academy. Firestar’s invited to stay, but she says she’s never known anyone as kind as Emma Frost, and can’t leave her. Thunderbird offers to turn himself in to the authorities to explain what happened, to try to get the X-Men off the hook, but Xavier declines, saying he’s got enough to worry about without going to prison.

In the epilogue, in the Rodriguez household, Jaime’s friend is talking about mutants being a threat, and Jaime tells him off, saying only some mutants are a threat, but that a few crooks shouldn’t speak for a whole race. His son comes out, after getting homework help from Nimrod, and the friend says Nimrod makes him nervous, but Jaime says he judges a man by their actions, not their appearance, and Nimrod saved his life. Nimrod is using the computer to get information about the time period, and finds he’s definitely in a different past from his own world’s. He wonders what to do next, and even wonders if his mission of exterminating mutants still holds.

This is the 100th issue of the All-New All-Different X-Men. The story follows up on the very first Claremont/Cockrum story, Warhunt, which famously feature the death of the original Thunderbird. That first story was pretty meh, overall. This one’s great. James Proudstar is a great character. Very cool, and very well-written here. This issue also marks the 616 debut of Firestar! She’d been created, of course, for the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon. She’s a really neat character. This issue doesn’t really go too in-depth into her, but it is made clear that she’s a really nice person. She gets her own mini in 1986, which ends up being pretty good. She definitely shows some potential here. Empath and Roulette are fun, too, causing chaos for their own amusement. They always made a really fun pairing, because they were both really dickish, but also really charming.

The scene with the X-Men training Cannonball was cool. I always enjoy seeing a bit of crossover between the books. I still think it didn’t happen enough, but maybe it’s just me. Rachel’s freak-out at her memories felt a bit much. It came across as a way of removing her from the fight. It was just too dramatic to actually wind up working. Nightcrawler’s doubts about his own leadership was much better, and felt really authentic, the way he kept saying Scott or Storm wouldn’t have made the mistakes he did. Wolverine is in full philosopher mode, perhaps my least favourite version of the character. Kitty makes a rather stupid mistake in exposing herself to the gas to try to help Wolverine. So she winds up not coming off well in this issue.

JRJr’s art still doesn’t appeal to me. I still find it too angular. It’s actually not too bad here. He does a good job given what he does. The action is easy to follow, and generally pretty exciting. Interestingly, letterer Tom Orzechowski and colourist Glynis Wein had actually been with this book since #95. That’s pretty neat.

Song of the day: Think I’ll Call You Mine by the Parlours.

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  1. Firestar #3 (1986, May) | xmenxpert

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