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Uncanny X-Men #233 (1988, September)

July 28, 2016

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Today, by Claremont, Silvestri, Green, Oliver and Orzechowski, “Dawn of Blood.”

Dawn of Blood

Car baseball?

The X-Men are in an alley, surrounded by Brood. Oh no! And they’re mutants! Oh no! And they have terrible codenames. Yeesh. Brickbat, Tension, Temptress, Dive-Bomber, Blindside, Spitball, Lockup and Whiphand. Terrible names. Storm actually gets brainwashed by Temptress’ pheromones. Which feels like it might be a bit of subtext. But she does overcome it and flies off. Then Rogue attacks Temptress, but absorbs her psyche, which overwhelms her own, and then Rogue/Temptress uses her pheromones on Psylocke. Is there a reason Temptress keeps taking over the women? In fact, when she tries to use her pheromones on Wolverine, he’s able to resist them and punch Psylocke. I’m going to guess that Temptress was a lesbian before she became a Brood.

Uncanny X-Men #233

Sure, no subtext here.

We then cut to some foothills outside Denver, where an ampitheatre is being set up for Reverend William Conover’s Glory Day Crusade. Josey Thomas, Harry Palmer’s paramedic partner, is there. William’s wife brings him some coffee, and tells him the radio is reporting mutants fighting. And William speaks out in support of mutants!

Uncanny X-Men #233

Good speech. He’s a good guy.

He also adds that he wishes he was a mutant who could cure his wife’s arthritis, and wonders how special he can be when all his words and prayers can’t ease his wife’s suffering.

Uncanny X-Men #233

Aww. They love each other.

Denver! Where a camera isn’t picking up Colossus, because he’s invisible to electronics. Up in the sky, “Dive-bomb” sabotages a plane in order to force Storm to bring it down safely and leave herself open to attack. And then, an interlude to unsettle us all!

Maddie is flying with her own wings, and she lands outside a cabin, where Scott and the baby are waiting for her. Gateway shows up and dispels the house, then gets dispelled by Scott’s beams. But then a featureless mannequin rises up.

Uncanny X-Men #233

Oh, don’t worry, it’s about to get worse.

Scott then starts taking Maddie’s various features.

Uncanny X-Men #233

I told you it got worse.

And goddamn, this whole sequence is rough.

Uncanny X-Men #233

Well that’s lovely.

Back in Denver, Dive-bomb returns to the fight, carrying the unconscious Storm, and Havok finally joins the fight by blasting a hole through Dive-bomb. And then Colossus comes out of a collapsed building, with Brickbat’s corpse. The rest of the Brood leave, with the controlled Rogue, entranced Psylocke and unconscious Wolverine. Havok feels bad about killing the Brood, especially when it turns back to human, but Storm says they need to kill all the Brood in order to save the Earth.

This is a good issue. The battle against the Brood is intense. The William Conover subplot is interesting, and will have a big pay-off in the next issue. This issue is the first time we see Havok use his power to kill. This ends up taking a huge toll on him, and leads him down a very dark path. That’s going to be fun to watch. But the best part of the issue is definitely Maddie’s dream sequence. It’s really strange and unsettling, with dream logic used effectively. And it leaves the reader very concerned for Maddie’s mental state. This subplot – this is going to lead to Big Important Things. Oh yeah, this is going to lead to badness. It’ll be awesome.

The art’s excellent. Silvestri does an effective job with all the action going on in the battle. The scene of the Hanovers is really sweet and romantic. And then, once again, the dream. The art there is great, and does a great job conveying the sense of being a dream. Scott taking away Maddie’s features is really creepy, and it’s great.

So, yeah, this issue’s great. And sets up a lot more, even better stuff. And as the cover notes, the series went twice a month at this point, so I’ll be reviewing another issue of Uncanny X-Men tomorrow. This month also saw the release of another bi-weekly series, which I’ll be getting to in a few more posts.

There’s also Classic X-Men #25, a reprint of X-Men #119, with new material by Claremont, Dwyer, Austin and Costanza. The colour artist isn’t listed, but I would assume it’s still Oliver. We see how Moses Magnum survived a previous seeming-death. As he fell down a pit, he was nabbed by Apocalypse, who offered to give him power in return for servitude. So this also explains how he got the powers he shows here. This is a scene that could have been great, if there’d been more follow-up. But Moses being a servant of Apocalypse isn’t something that really comes up again, so the added scene doesn’t mean much. There’s also an added scene at a hospital as the X-Men wait to learn if Banshee will be OK, and where Misty expresses concern about Colleen moving in on Scott. Misty is probably right to be concerned, and the fact that she lets it go still bothers me. She knows Jean is alive, so why did she never ask any of the X-Men about her not being there? I guess she assumed Scott and Jean broke up. But why did none of the X-Men tell her Jean’s dead? That’s the thing that never made any sense. “Oh, Misty. I know you and Jean were friends, so this is hard to say. But she’s dead.” Ah well. This is still a good added scene.

And a back-up, by Nocenti, Bolton and Orzechowski. Wolverine is bitching about Central dragging him into a mission, and about the fuses on his TNT being too short. He blows up a shack in the wilderness, then starts his long walk to civilization. And he’s being hunted by someone who thinks he’s Bigfoot. The guy narrates poetically about the joys of the hunt. Logan finds the guy’s loud crunching through the snow to be annoying. He also mentions his fast-healing being barely able to keep up with the frostbite. Which is noteworthy, because it’s a reminder that his healing factor did have limits back under Claremont. Other writers would have him walk naked through blizzards and be totally fine. Then he comes across a bear. Which he kills. And feels bad about.

Classic X-Men #25

“The bear just wanted to eat me! There’s no crime in that!”

Then the hunter tries to shoot him with an arrow, with Wolverine catches and throws back. This story’s OK. I like the mockery of the Hunter’s mindset. The romanticizing of hunting from jackasses who are just trying to prove their manliness. That stuff was fun. But other than that, it was a pretty low-stakes story. It was Wolverine wandering through the snow and fighting a bear. He talks a bit about why he loves being out in the frozen wilderness, but not for very long, and it’s not really new insight. All in all, it’s a story that just kinda exists.

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