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Uncanny X-Men #202 (1986, February)

May 28, 2015

Today, sadly, we have a Secret Wars II tie-in. By Claremont and JRJr, “X-Men . . . I’ve Gone To Kill . . . the Beyonder!”

X-Men . . . I've Gone To Kill . . . the Beyonder!

That banner is a warning.

It starts with Rogue finding a recording from Rachel about going off to kill the Beyonder. Rogue tells Storm, who assembles the team. They use Cerebro to track her. Magneto mentions that the farther away she is, the harder she is to track. Wolverine points out it’s his own fault, from his messing with the magnetic fields. Magneto finds her approaching San Francisco, but says he’s never seen such energy readings. The X-Men say they have, with Phoenix.

The Beyonder is on Alcatraz Island, and has decided that his purpose will be to heal. He muses that, unlike everything else, he has no end. Rachel finds him, and attacks him. And does no damage at all. He brings her back to her own time while lecturing on her survivor’s guilt.

He decides to give her a chance to kill him. He gives her a bit of his own power so she can do it, and she becomes immensely powerful. The Beyonder tells her she can kill him, or save the X-Men. The Blackbird is falling, brought from the East Coast by the Beyonder. Storm’s the only one on board, with the other X-Men scattered around San Francisco. Sentinels appear, the same Omega Series that killed the X-Men in the future. Rachel has the choice to save the X-Men or kill the Beyonder. She decides on the X-Men.

Storm deals with the Sentinel in the harbour, letting it latch onto the Blackbird while she goes up at full throttle. She achieves orbit, then does a quick flip that dislodges the Sentinel. But she’s not sure she’ll survive re-entry.

In the city, a non-ferrous Sentinel attacks Magneto. Rogue tries to help, but gets blasted. Her costume is torn and she falls into a crowd of people, absorbing a whole bunch of personalities at once. Wolverine attacks the Sentinel, but gets smacked down. It prepares to kill him, but Rachel saves him. She moves away with Wolverine and Magneto. Rachel tells the civilians to go away, then she distracts the Sentinel while Wolverine cuts its legs and Magneto creates a magnetic vortex that pulls down cold air that freezes the Sentinel. I’m not sure that actually makes sense. It does also help to control the Blackbird’s descent. Rogue breaks the Sentinel apart.

Elsewhere, Colossus is fighting another Sentinel. Kitty saves him from being crushed. Rachel knocks the Sentinel down, and Colossus swings a lamppost at it. It’s phased and goes through it, and then he lets go, and Kitty unphases from him. Rachel pours a ton of electricity through it and blows it up.

Rachel goes back to see the Beyonder. He’s proud of himself for giving her a chance to save the X-Men and restore balance, but she slaps him and tells him it doesn’t work that way, and all he did was harm.

This is an OK issue, but only OK. It’s nowhere near as good as usual. And that comes down entirely to being a forced Secret Wars II tie-in. Very, very few comics actually managed to do a good job with the forced tie-ins. The fact that so many writers struggled with it should give you an idea of just how bad the whole event was. This issue did have some good stuff. Wolverine pushing Magneto’s buttons was cool. Some of the strategies employed against the Sentinels were neat. I especially liked the idea of Kitty phasing inside Colossus to combine their powers. It’s a cool tactic, and it’s not the last time we’ll see something along those lines. Though it doesn’t happen very often, admittedly.

JRJr’s art is the same as usual. Not a style I enjoy.

The next issue is another Secret Wars II tie-in. Luckily, after that, Claremont gets to just continue with his own stuff and doesn’t have to give a damn about it any more. Then he gets back to more of the iconic stories that made up the bulk of this run.

The X-Men also show up in Secret Wars II #8. They briefly attack the Beyonder at the San Francisco hotel he’s staying in. He easily beats them, then leaves. Later on, he’s attacked by the New Mutants. He brushes them aside. The issue is stupid and bad and badly-written and badly-drawn and just sucks all around. Secret Wars II sucked even more than the original Secret Wars.

I should mention Power Pack #19, by Louise Simonson and Brent Anderson. It opens with Katie training with Erg. He tells her that Annalee and Leech accepted her invitation to a Thanksgiving Party. Later on, we see Annalee still hates Leech, and she shoves him in a box so he can’t go with her. Kitty calls Katie to let her know that she and Wolverine are still going to be there. Leech is let out of the box and chases after Annalee, and ends up starting a disaster that all Katie’s guests have to stop. In the end, Annalee decides to accept Leech, and then it’s time for a Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a sweet story about family and stuff.

I also want to mention that February started Frank Miller’s second run on Daredevil. The epic Born Again storyline. Which was a damn master course in comic writing. Insanely good.

Also, Thor #364 had Thor turn into a frog. It was weird, and it was awesome.


One Comment
  1. yes, Secret Wars II was horrible. But the X-Men tie-ins written by Claremont were fantastic and really got into that struggle between life and death and how to deal with facing down a being who could erase you from existence on a whim. The issue of NM where the Beyonder kills all of them is fantastic and this issue is top notch.

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