Uncanny X-Men #238 (1988, November)
We open with a dream sequence, of sort. The Genegineer and Chief Magistrate are watching a psychic transcript from the mind of the telepath who’d tried to get into Maddie’s head. Maddie sees herself as a little girl, picking flowers and singing “Gone To America” by Steeleye Span, though we’re only told she’s singing it – we don’t see any lyrics. The Genegineer – rather, the telepath being seen by Maddie as the Genegineer – starts to question her, and she starts getting a little creepy. And she gives what is, arguably, one of her defining lines.
It does summarize her pretty effectively, and her rebelling against that is at the heart of her arc going forward. In the mindscape, she blows the absolute shit out of the Magistrate headquarters, sparing only telepath, though with a change of clothing.
A clever reader probably could have figured out, right there, what the big twist was going to be. Oh, and that’s not the only clothing change that’s foreshadowing things to come.
She also says to be careful when lighting a match, in case you ignite – an Inferno! Name-dropping the upcoming event. Nice. The whole thing took 13 seconds, and I have to say, Claremont probably should have read the pages out loud and timed how long it took, because there’s no way to say that much in 13 seconds. It took me just under a minute to say it all, and I was speaking very quickly. Realistically, it should be around two minutes, maybe a bit longer. Regardless, with the playback over, the Genegineer yells at Wipeout for not removing Maddie’s powers (he says there was nothing to erase), and at the Chief Magistrate for losing Logan and Carol. He says time is running out.
He goes to talk to Maddie, who has no memory of what happened. She tells him off for enslaving mutants. He defends it, and she says if the system’s so great, why not share it with the world. He’s got an answer to that, of course. The Chief Magistrate comes to say they’ve gotten word of the Genegineer’s son.
He, along with Logan and Carol, are in the Mutant Settlement Zone. A prison. Phillip’s shocked at what he’s seeing. His whole worldview is being flipped upside-down. Logan and Carol explain things to him, before they’re all caught. As they’re being flown back to the Magistrate building, they hit some turbulence, from the leading edge of a big storm coming in. Ooh, it’s ’bout to get good.
Below, Maddie is trying to comfort Jenny Ransome. Logan and Carol are taken to the Genegineer, giving their names as Ace and Patch. Logan, you can’t be Patch, you don’t have your eyepatch on. Silly Logan. There’s also a big argument between Phillip and his dad (and the Chief Magistrate). Then Logan and Carol make their move. And in the squad bay, the X-Men make theirs. The best part is Colossus almost getting squished by a massive closing door, and Dazzler saving him by blowing the door right off its hinges. Dazzler is a badass.
Maddie is down in the creche, where new mutants are created. She comments on it feeling familiar, as the Genegineer comes up behind her and threatens to kill her. She tells him to go ahead. She is creepy as hell in this scene.
But Phillip stops him. With the day saved, Carol forces Wipeout to return her and Wolverine’s powers. Wolverine says they should kill everyone and tear the country down, but Phillip convinces him to give the people a chance to change things on their own. Storm recommends the Genoshans listen to Phillip.
Psylocke makes everyone forget the X-Men were there, and then the X-Men leave, taking Phillip and Jenny away, too. And then Genosha never did anything horrible again.
This is great. Maddie, in particular, stands out a lot in this issue. She is really creepy, with most of the credit for that going to the art. Silvestri gives her a lot of sinister smiles, some nice close-ups on her eyes, a close-up on her mouth, and it’s really effective at making her unsettling. But Claremont gives her some really creepy lines, as well. She also gets some nice moral high ground in the debate with the Genegineer, and her brief moment with Jenny is a nice showcase of her sweet, nurturing side. She’s a complex character with a lot of layers, and we see that here.
Phillip is the other one who gets some great work in this issue. Everything he believed about his country is being proven to be built on a lie, and he’s much too good a person to support that lie. He’s a good guy. Actually, it occurs to me that he’s someone who should be brought back. He appeared a few times throughout the ’90s, in Genosha-oriented stories. But we don’t even know if he’s alive or dead right now. Same with Jenny. It’s possible – probably even likely – that they died when Genosha was massacred by Sentinels in Morrison’s run. But we haven’t seen the bodies! It might be nice for them to be brought back as general mutant rights activism leaders. Regardless, Phillip’s eyes being opened in this issue is really satisfying, probably the most emotionally satisfying part of the issue.
The X-Men don’t get a whole lot to do. They do get a bit, though, and it’s great. Exciting action. The art is great throughout the issue. It’s all good stuff.
This is a strong finish to a strong arc, one that does a lot to set up Inferno.