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Uncanny X-Men #203 (1986, March)

June 13, 2015

Another Secret Wars II tie-in. Hur-frigging-rah. By Claremont and JRJr, “Crossroads.”

Crossroads

Phoenix vs. Beyonder – And the reader is the loser!

Rogue is having memories of her battle against Ms. Marvel. She’s standing on the Golden Gate Bridge, where the fight happened, feeling sorry for herself, for not knowing where she ends and Carol begins. She also knows that no matter how much good she does, she’ll never make up for what she did. As she flies back to Jessica Drew’s house, where the X-Men are staying, she thinks of how nice the people of San Francisco have been to the X-Men. It’s a shame they didn’t stay there longer, really. Rogue sees Kitty, and Kitty has Illyana’s Soulsword. Rogue has no idea who she’s talking about. She also doesn’t remember the New Mutants. Kitty gets pissed off and guesses the Beyonder erased them from existence. She despairs of having no way of stopping him from doing it to them next.

Rachel says they do have a chance. She says the power the Beyonder gave her is still inside her. She knows she can’t beat him one-on-one. So she’s going to wipe the universe. But she needs help. She needs their spirits to give her strength. Kitty agrees. So does Rogue. Jessica Drew also gives her spirit. Rachel takes from Colossus, Wolverine and Magneto in their sleep. Storm refuses and says what Rachel plans is wrong, but Rachel takes her spirit anyway.

Then she leaves Earth. She finds the Starjammer, and takes all their spirits. She goes to the M’Kraan Crystal’s planet. Rachel is going to release the neutron galaxy within the crystal. She hopes it’ll kill the Beyonder. She explains that she wants to give a chance to the next universe to start without the threat of the Beyonder. Storm tries to talk her out of it, but Rachel refuses, and lets her power flare up. She connects to the universe, and every living thing in it. Storm asks if she can kill each and every one of those beings.

Back in San Francisco, Rachel cries that she failed. Storm says she didn’t fail. Wolverine agrees, and says Rachel didn’t have the right to make the choice for everything to die. Magneto recalls a discussion he had with Xavier, about who he would’ve been willing to kill to stop Hitler, and now he wonders at his answers.

The Beyonder shows up, saying he’s disappointed in the X-Men, and that he’s going to kill them. The X-Men all tell him off. He tells Rachel he’s taking back his power, and she throws it all at him. She hits him with what she experienced, and the totality of life. It hits him hard, and he wonders why it took him so long to learn. And now the X-Men lecture him on life.

This issue is heavy-handed, even by Claremont’s standards. Secret Wars II brought out the worst in everyone, and here it brought out Claremont’s love of long lectures. The entire issue is a “life is good and killing is bad” aesop. There’s some good character work in there, too, but it’s still hampered by the SWII crap. The Rogue stuff at the start is the best. We see a little more of the X-Men in San Francisco next issue, but that’s the end of it, which is sad, because the idea of the X-Men living among normal people is a good one.

JRJr’s art is the same as usual. If you normally like it, you’ll like it here. If you normally dislike it, you’ll dislike it here. I dislike it.

The X-Men also appear in Secret Wars II #9. Phoenix gathers all the superheroes in Colorado to stop the Beyonder from wiping out all existence. The Beyonder is thinking of turning himself mortal, and creates a machine to do it. He tests it out with the essences of the New Mutants, who he killed in new Mutants #37, which I’ll review either tomorrow or Monday. A little later in the issue, he sends the New Mutants against the gathered heroes as a distraction. The Beyonder erased the Mutants from existence, so no one recognizes them. After the Mutants are defeated, Rachel scans their minds and finds out who they are. This issue wraps up Secret Wars II, and good riddance. What a shitty, stupid story, with terrible writing and terrible art.

I guess I should also mention Vision and the Scarlet Witch #6, by Steve Englehart and Richard Howell. It has Magneto, who’s hilariously incapable of making normal entrances. “Men call me – Magneto!” That’s how he introduces himself at Thanksgiving Dinner at his daughter’s house. He, Quicksilver and Vision also fight the original Brotherhood – Magneto, Toad, Quicksilver and Mastermind. Android replicas. They’re actually under Toad’s control. It’s a weird issue, but kinda fun.

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