Uncanny X-Men #230 (1988, June)
We open with Storm, in her fancy new costume, flying free and loving it. And, yeah, it’s pretty great.
This is a really nice splash page. Her new costume is OK, but seeing Storm fly again, after so long without her powers, and seeing her joy in finally being able to fly again . . . yeah, it’s a pretty emotional moment. Anyway, while she’s flying, Maddie is monitoring her on the Reavers’ computer systems. Of course, Storm is still leader, so she’s set up a training exercise, with Rogue trying to beat the team. She loses, with Wolverine saying, “You dead.” Claremont really wanted to make that phrase happen. But it was never going to happen, Chris. Anyway, Maddie finally feels useful,, and she’s determined to get her son back and make the Marauders pay.
Longshot missed the test, as he’s spelunking. He keeps hearing someone calling out to him. He’s led to the Reavers’ treasure cave, which is filled with ghosts. He reads a bracelet, and it tells its story, of a man who fashioned it for the woman he loved. The voices of the objects end up overwhelming him.
Later on, Dazzler is grossed out by the Reavers’ base. She steps outside and screams about how much she hates it. Storm decides to help clean things up. And Rogue brings Gateway some lunch. Which is so nice! Rogue is a sweetheart. Dazzler gets out of a shower – via Storm’s rain – to find Longshot awake. He says he’s feeling better now that he’s seen her. Awwww. Those two! They’re cute together. They really care for each other and it’s sweet! Anyway, there’s a quick explanation of what happened, and Rogue grabs a necklace from the stash, so Longshot can read it and everyone else can see what he sees. And man.
I love the way Claremont writes it. It’s so poetic, which makes it really sad. The X-Men decide to do what they can to return as much of the loot as they can, much to Wolverine’s annoyance. He thinks they have better things to do, but the others all think doing good is important. I agree. So they get to work, making a pile for each continent. Dazzler wishes she could keep a bike they found in the pile. With everything sorted, they get Wolverine to start teleporting them around the world so they can return the stuff. This includes a couple kids spotting Dazzler, and her saying she’s one of Santa’s special helpers. Aw. Because it turns out it’s Christmas. Also, in Salem Centre, the New Mutants are feeling miserable while having to choir during a snowstorm. Storm eases the weather for them. And when it’s all done, Dazzler gets to keep the bike.
And then Rogue continues to be a sweetheart, bringing Gateway cake and a flute, which he starts playing for her. So nice!
This is such a good issue. So good. It’s the kind of thing I love seeing in superhero comics: The good guys being good guys. Not by beating up bad guys, but by doing what they can to help people. What’s at stake isn’t the world, it’s the worlds of individuals. Being a hero means more than just stopping bad guys. It has to mean more than violence-for-a-good-cause. Being a hero has to mean promoting humanity. And that’s what this issue does. It’s a group of people working their hardest to just make other people happy. And that’s just wonderful. I think this is one of my all-time favourite X-Men stories because of that. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this issue.
And even aside from the X-Men returning stolen goods, it’s a great issue! We get to see the X-Men adjusting to life in the Outback, especially Dazzler, who’s delightful all through. I love how much she hates it, because I would definitely be the same. I love the idea of Storm using wind and rain to clean the place out. It’s a weirdly cute idea. And then Rogue being a sweetheart to Gateway, bringing him lunch and cake and a present. I love nice Rogue. I mean, obviously, Sassy Rogue is Best Rogue. But Sweet Rogue is a very close second. And it’s another example of how much I love heroes who engage in acts of kindness.
The art is great, too. Silvestri’s excellent. His faces do sometimes get a bit vague and blobby, but whatever, I’m not even going to be bothered by that here. He does a good job with expressions, he does a great job with backgrounds, and he enhances the niceness of the issue. Oliver’s colours remain top-notch, and also enhance just how nice the issue is.
This is an amazing issue and one I would rank as a must-read.
There’s also Classic X-Men #22, a reprint of X-Men #116. There’s an added page by Claremont, Dwyer, Austin, Scotese and Orzechowski. As Storm, Wolverine and Nightcrawler approach Garokk’s fortress, Storm spots a pterodactyl patrol, and she tosses Nightcrawler into a shadow and tackles Wolverine into the ground. I suspect Claremont added this scene as a way of showing her future as a leader. But I actually just find it kinda funny.
And the back-up, by Claremont, Bolton, Oliver and Orzechowski. An oh, what a story this is. Storm leaves the Village of the Fall People, wanting some time to herself. She’s swimming in a lake, wondering if she could have done more to save Garokk, and whether being an X-Man will force her to give up her beliefs. Then she spots a giant prehistoric monster and almost gets eaten. There’s a harpoon sticking out of it, and a woman clinging to the harpoon. She frees the woman from the harpoon’s line as the monster breaks the surface, and she zaps it, but knocks herself out in the promise. She has bad dreams, and wakes up in a bed, being taken care of by a woman named M’rin. She explains that Storm apparently crossed over from one world to the next, through a place where the border between worlds is weak enough for passage. We also learn M’rin’s ship flies on the back of a giant wolf named C’jime. He thanks her for saving M’rin, and says she has his eternal gratitude.