X-Men Annual #10 (1987, January)
The story starts with a Danger Room session, as the X-Men go up against Magneto. Psylocke, Cypher and Sunspot are watching from the Control Booth. Sunspot bitches about not being an X-Man, and Psylocke wonders which team she belongs on. The fight is also being watched on Mojoworld, through Psylocke’s fake eyes. Mojo decides he’s going to abduct the X-Men, and sets his plan in motion. Step 1: Drop Longshot in on them. Psylocke notes how hot he is.
The next day, the X-Men wake up younger. None of them realize anything’s wrong, even with the New Mutants explaining it. Longshot wakes up in the infirmary, and Psylocke, Rogue and Kitty moon over him, while Cypher tries to figure out what’s going on. He merges with Warlock so they can scan the Danger Room for clues. They figure out who’s behind the de-aging. The Mutants try to stop the X-Men from rushing off, but Magneto knocks them out. The X-Men drive to Central Park, and find a portal. After some bickering, they follow Storm to it, after she picks a lock. She definitely behaves like the most mature of the bunch. They still get grabbed by Mojo.
Dani wakes up back at the school, and some cops at the door say Xavier’s Rolls-Royce was found in Central Park. The Mutants plan to go after the X-Men, but decide to do it in costumes designed for after they graduate. They’re not very good costumes. Here they are:
Magik’s is actually pretty cool. Karma’s isn’t too bad. Dani’s is kinda OK. The rest are all ugly. Look at Cypher. What even is that? he almost has enough pouches to qualify as a ’90s character. And Sunspot. What a horrible design. So boring.
Anyway. They teleport to Central Park, with Spiral bringing them specifically to the Delacorte Theatre. The X-Babies show up and it’s fight time. The Brat Pack happen to be in attendance. So are Weezie and Walter, and the frogs that Thor befriended. Which is . . . an odd choice, for a cameo. Claremont must have really liked that story. Anyway. Fight! Interrupted briefly by Mojo, who gets some cheers. (And we see what seems to be Clark Kent in the audience, too. With Lois Lane beside him.) Spiral is jealous, and blames Longshot for her no longer being a star. She kicks him, and Mojo gets angry at her, and throws her to the ground. Then he tells the X-Men to bring the hearts of everyone in the audience.
During the fight, Rogue kisses Bobby to absorb his power, and his memories. She sees memories of how she’s supposed to be. Karma tries to possess Wolverine, and he resists, but he manages to overcome Mojo’s control before he attacks her. He scares the crap out of her by scratching up the wall all around her. Not very nice, Wolverine. Psylocke goes after Cypher, and he lets her see how much he cares for her, which reminds her she cares for him. I just want to remind people that Psylocke was probably in her mid-20s at this point, while Cypher was probably only 14 or 15. This is actually even worse than Kitty/Colossus – at least they were both teenagers, even if Colossus was 18 when Kitty was 13.
Anyway. Speaking of Kitty, she snaps out of Mojo’s control when she sees Illyana being held by him. Interesting that that’s what shocks Kitty to sanity. I still think the Soulmate aspect of their friendship has never been explored enough. I don’t even mean it in a romantic sense. But clearly, under Claremont, the bond between them was deeper than simply being best friends. Oh well. She phases through Mojo to rescue Illyana, and disrupts his mechanical bits, which also disrupts his control of the X-Men. Storm manages to break free, which also helps free the other X-Men. So then it’s everyone against Mojo. He teleports away.
They wake up Spiral, and while a few of them want to kill her, Storm lets her go, after she uses her magic to reset things to the way they were.
The next day, the Mutants put away their costumes and reflect on what happened, and the X-Men enjoy a peaceful day. In Mojoworld, the audience cheers the performance, and Mojo plans his next story.
This was a lot of fun. Mojo stories usually are. He’s such a delightfully evil character. He’s at once hilarious and terrifying. Claremont was also smart enough to use him fairly sparingly in this story. Too much Mojo can easily get boring, to a lot of people. Longshot does not a damn thing in this comic, though. That’s a bit of a disappointment. He does join the cast of the book after this, though, and he’s a fun addition.
The X-Babies are the best part of the issue. They’re fun and adorable. A lot of panels are just a bunch of word balloons of them arguing and bickering. It’s a lot of fun. The concept, of course, ended up being too great for Claremont to let it lie, and he brought back the X-Babies, as separate from the normal X-Men. We’ve gotten a lot of X-Babies stories.
The story does feel maybe a little too New Mutants-heavy. I think the stuff about them being the X-Men of the future could’ve been dropped, along with their ugly “graduation” costumes. Because those are some seriously bad designs.
Art Adams’ work here is solid. It does still have that weird stylistic quirk where certain panels will be uncoloured. I’m not sure why he does that. It seems to happen regardless of who’s colouring his work, so it’s definitely something he does. And it just looks weird. He does have some fun with the X-Babies, and his work is expressive. Action is captured fairly well. I do like his ’80s work a lot more than his contemporary stuff – whenever I see one of his covers, I groan.
Anyway, all in all, a really good, fun story.