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Uncanny X-Men #211 (1986, November)

September 29, 2015

It begins! By Claremont, JRJR and Blevins, “Massacre.”


Most of Marvel’s comics for the month had this cover. But with different characters in Wolverine’s place, obviously.

The Marauders introduce themselves. And start the killing. They’re very good at killing.

Then we cut to Xavier’s. Colossus and Rogue are doing some chores in the barn (Dani is washing Brightwind). Wolverine wants to help, but they tell him he needs more time to recover. He gets annoyed. Inside, Kitty’s grabbing some food from the fridge, to give her some energy to finish a term paper. Back outside, Nightcrawler tries to teleport to Wolverine, and nearly passes out from the effort. He hasn’t recovered, either. They decide to drown their sorrows in beer. Before they can, though, a big-ass furry mutant digs his way out of the ground asking for help. He dies, but Betsy says she saw a flash of a massacre in his memory. Storm says the X-Men will go, but has Magneto stay behind, to protect the New Mutants.

They teleport to the Morlock tunnels, and find a lot of dead Morlocks. Callisto’s injured, but still alive. They get attacked – Vertigo makes them dizzy, Riptide throws his stars at them. Nightcrawler takes out Vertigo with multiple teleports, but Riptide tears into him. Storm tells Illyana to take the wounded back to the Mansion, while the X-Men search for the Marauders.

Meanwhile, Scalphunter kills Annalee and some Morlock kids. He mentions that he killed her kids months ago. So that’s a mystery solved! Colossus and Kitty find Scalphunter and Arclight. Arclight punches Colossus away, while Scalphunter tries to blow Kitty’s brains out. She struggles with whether or not she can kill them.

Elsewhere, Storm, Wolverine and Rogue are leading the Morlocks to the tunnels leading to the Mansion, when Wolverine catches X-Factor’s scent, and they nearly get flattened by an optic blast. Colossus and Kitty rejoin the group, and Riptide, Scrambler and Harpoon attack. And here’s where the comic gets awesome. Scrambler tries to neutralize Storm’s power, which just gets him a punch in the jaw. Riptide starts hurling his stars. Rogue tries to throw Scrambler, but he touches her, and they neutralize each other. That leaves her open to Harpoon. Kitty tries to phase Rogue out of the way, but gets hit by the spear instead. Colossus moves for Harpoon, but Riptide gets in the way. Which gives us this moment:



That is such an amazing moment.

With that done, the fight’s temporarily over. Kitty can’t unphase, and Storm leads everyone back to the school. She does tell Wolverine to stay behind. Which leads to yet another awesome moment:



Storm, in this era, was an absolute stone-cold badass. “One prisoner is sufficient.” That is such a fantastic line, beautifully summarizing what she’s telling Wolverine. Honestly, the following line – while still pretty badass – probably wasn’t even necessary, and may have been better left off.

This issue’s fantastic. It’s intense stuff. It’s kinda cool that, after starting with some slaughter, it cuts away to a really peaceful scene at the school. Just the X-Men going about their daily routines. Then the Massacre intrudes, and from then on, it gets increasingly dark, as they see the dead bodies, and they fight the Marauders. Claremont shows how angry and disgusted the X-Men are. A nice touch was Kitty wanting to kill the Marauders, but not being able to. The fact that Colossus – the gentlest X-Man – is driven to kill is also a great moment. And seriously, how awesome is his line there? “Make peace with your gods, little man – you are next!” So awesome. I think that might be the single most badass moment Colossus has ever had. And there’s still more amazing moments ahead in this story.

The art is good. JRJR and Bret Blevins have very different styles, but they manage not to clash too much. It looks to me like JRJr mostly handled the scene at the school, while Blevins did the rest. The school scene looks more sharp and jagged, while the stuff in the sewers looks a little more cartoonish. Blevins does have a very cartoony style, but it’s actually toned down here. Compare it to his work on Power Pack or New Mutants, and it’s very different. Blevins probably isn’t the artist I would have chosen for this story – Sienkewicz would have been a good choice. Or someone else with a darker, grittier style. But Blevins actually did a pretty good job. So good work from him.

This is an awesome kick-off to the first big X-Men X-over.

There’s also Classic X-Men #3, a reprint of most of X-Men #95. I won’t go into details about that. There is an inserted scene where Nefaria tells his Ani-Men not to worry, and tells Dragonfly to hypnotize the base security to fight for them. There’s another added scene where Banshee uses his sonics to penetrate the mountain to find a safe space for Nightcrawler to teleport. Another added scene of Thunderbird arguing with Cyclops. Thunderbird wants to take the point, but Cyclops says no. He feels miserable that there’s nothing he can do that one of the others can’t do better. The back-up is by Claremont and Bolton. Xavier heads out to New Mexico to bury Thunderbird. Jean joins him, to help him through the grief.

John’s body gets stolen. His parents tell the X-Men to stay out of it, but Wolverine goes hunting anyway, and the others join him. Wolverine figures it was taken by John’s little brother, James. Banshee feels guilt over what happened to John. Nightcrawler has a flashback to him and Colossus having a talk with John, where he talked about not being sure why the X-Men exist. He says he’s staying because he has nowhere else to go. Storm also has a flashback to John visiting her in her attic. She asked about his family and friends. He says he lost his friends in the jungle, and he also says he’s never had a girl to love.

Wolverine is watching James give John a warrior’s funeral. After, James declares he’ll have vengeance on Xavier.

It’s a good story. It’s always nice to see a little more of the original Thunderbird. It’s a shame he was killed off so quickly – readers never got a chance to know him. So here, we see some of the things he struggled with. Bolton’s art is really nice. Very pleasant. He makes the New Mexico desert look very hot and inhospitable. It’s good work. It’s a good comic.

One Comment
  1. Such a good story. It’s dark for sure, but every now and then you need a dark story to balance a series out. Sometimes these days people forget that and go overboard with nothing but dark storytelling though.

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