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Uncanny X-Men #246 (1989, July)

June 2, 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Oh look, a post. I still do these once in a while. Today, by Claremont, Silvestri, Green, Oliver and Rosen, “The Day of Other Lights.”

The Day of Other Lights

Dammit, Silvestri. Injured women don’t pose like that.

I really hate this sort of thing. Rogue is posing. That’s not her unconscious, that’s her posing for the audience. It’s cheap and exploitative and just stupid. Shame on Silvestri for that cover. Anyway. Dazzler’s in her underwear, for some reason, using her eye lasers to look into the Siege Perilous, seeing ways her life could have gone. Superhero, superstar, lawyer, mother, homeless lady. A bit of a throwback, it seems, to the 1987 X-Men Annual, when she also saw the ways her life could have gone. She also sees all the terrible deaths these Alisons suffer. Of course, we all know now that Dazzler’s immortal. Then a ghostly spectre pops out of the gem to tell her she’s gonna die. The spectre vanishes, but Dazzler’s hand is bleeding.

Now to New York. Nimrod busts up a drug operation. By killing them. He did give them a warning, though, to be fair. In fact, he gives them two warnings, one of them after they start shooting at him. And I mean, it’s hard to say Nimrod’s wrong, at that point. Their bullets were bouncing off him, and they kept shooting at him. At that point? Yeah, that’s lethal stupidity. Nimrod also takes the money, even though he’s supposed to destroy it. He hopes to use it to repair the community he’s adopted. I like Nimrod. The way he’d been growing away from his programming, becoming more capable of independent decision-making, and even expressing emotions.

Back to Australia. Logan’s trying to get his hair to look the way it did in the Meltdown mini. It doesn’t work. While Logan and Storm chat about his upcoming leave of absence, Storm rocks a leather jacket.

Uncanny X-Men #246

Daaaaaamn, girl.

Yep, I love Storm in leather. Also, I love her declaration. That’s some inspiring stuff. This is why Storm’s awesome. Also, I’m not sure if this scene is meant to imply Storm and Logan have been sleeping together, what with her being in her undies in his bedroom. But around this time, I could definitely see them having a thing. Regardless, in DC, Carol (in Rogue’s body) is at The Wall, honouring those who died in Vietnam. She lost her brother, Stevie, there. She misses him. Aw. Back in the Outback, Alex is sparring with Colossus, trying to avoid getting hit, while also blasting Longshot’s thrown knives. He’s really pushing himself. He’s such a Summers. He also almost blasts Longshot by accident. He’s such a second-rate Summers. Dazzler comes in wanting to play, and has Colossus throw Longshot’s knives. Alex had missed some. Dazzler doesn’t.

Uncanny X-Men #246

“Anything you can do, I can do better.”

I really enjoy the friendly rivalry between Ali and Alex. The way she keeps showing off and showing him up, and his determination to be better than her eventually. And it’s nice that he doesn’t seem to resent her being better. And it’s not some weird flirting thing. It’s just friendly.

New York again. The Hellfire Club. A former waitress is returning as a client, the wife of Senator Kelly. Kelly’s meeting with Shaw, so Sharon decides to surprise him. Shaw is proposing a new Sentinel program, which Kelly says won’t get support in the Senate. Sharon enters in a Hellfire waitress outfit, and teases him a little.

Uncanny X-Men #246

Kelly’s cute when he’s flustered.

I do enjoy a good spit-take. In the West Village, Carol gets some stuff from her old apartment, and meets with Psylocke. They get coffee and make fun of Carol’s old costume.

Uncanny X-Men #246

I’m with Betsy here, honestly.

I know the black leotard is considered an iconic costume for Carol. But honestly? I never particularly liked it. It’s not that it was revealing, though the tendency in later years to draw it as a damn thong was pretty shitty. No, I just think it’s kind of a boring design. It’s just . . . black. It’s just kinda there. It’s not inspiring or intimidating or badass or exciting. It’s just something to wear. The first outfit Carol’s had that I find truly well-designed is her McKelvie uniform. Which is one of the most perfect superhero designs I’ve ever seen. But! The real meat of the conversation is Betsy thinking Carol needs to better accept that she and Rogue are bound, and Carol hating that, for all the grief mutants get, they never get to enjoy their lives.

In a nearby construction site, Nimrod, in his human disguise, finds a little circuitry box, which affects him. Master Mold is back. Carol and Betsy are making plans to go skiing – worth remembering that Betsy’s a very good skier, something that doesn’t come up often, and you know, I think it should come up a little more – when they hear the commotion. Master Mold has decided that, since mutants come from humanity, he should just wipe out humanity. Can’t argue with that logic. Carol, in her old Ms. Marvel costume, attacks Master Mold, figuring on her invisibility to sensors to keep her safe. She gets whacked away, and smashes right into Kelly’s limo, where he and Sharon are sharing a sweet moment. Carol’s knocked unconscious, leaving Rogue in charge, still hurting. She busts open the door so Sharon can get Kelly out, but when she goes back for Rogue, she gets blasted.

Good issue. Lots of small character moments. Dazzler’s ongoing question of who she is and who she wants to be, along with a hint that she’ll be dying soon. She doesn’t, of course. Instead, she goes through the Siege Perilous, in a little while. And later turns out to be immortal. Which is bizarre but pretty cool. The Storm/Logan scene is a bit odd. It’s mostly there to let readers know that Logan’s doing stuff in his solo book, and to pretty much write him out of this series for the time being. We get a bit of Alex’s fear of his power, and his determination to control it. And we get a lot of Carol’s woes about losing her life to Rogue. So, a lot of little stuff, a distinct calm-before-the-storm issue. Because the next issue, things start to fall apart for the X-Men in a big way.

Silvestri’s art is characteristically on point. It is maybe a bit exploitative with the female characters. Dazzler in her undies for no apparent reason, though at least it’s dark for most of the scene. Storm in her undies, but on the flip side of that, it’s Storm, and she owns her sexuality 100%. Sharon in her Hellfire outfit is similar. And other than those examples, female characters look normal. And the art does look great. Silvestri, Green and Oliver worked so well together. Really good at setting mood and tone.

So, this isn’t a great issue. But it is a good one, and it’s a good breather before everything goes wrong for the team. We’re getting close to one of the weirder periods of Claremont’s run.

There’s also Classic X-Men #35, a reprint of X-Men #129, which kicked off the Dark Phoenix Saga and introduced Kitty Pryde. There’s also, of course, a back-up story, by Daryl Edelman, John Bolton, Glynis Oliver and Joe Rosen. Kitty wakes in an alley, with a headache, her hand in a trash can, and her legs in the ground. She’s confused and starts dreaming. She has no idea what she is, and she’s trying to find it in a book that’s as big as she is. She’s visited by a metal woman in a wheelchair, then we get perhaps the single greatest Emma Frost moment of all time.

Classic X-Men #35

Emma Frost: Doctor of Razzmatazz.

Also, this:

Classic X-Men #35

Physics are the opposite of relative.

Emma then starts throwing the books around, and they turn into mush, and Kitty wonders how she’ll learn what she is now. The metal woman turns into Storm, offering comfort.

Classic X-Men #35

That’s a really nice thought.

I actually really like that. The more we learn about ourselves, the more we have to find out about ourselves. A lifelong quest. It’s comforting, in a way. Anyway, she and Storm get on a wheelchair and zoom through things, passing through objects, and Kitty realizes it’s her power, and she knows who she is. And she sees the X-Men – Storm Colossus and Wolverine – being loaded onto Frost’s plane, so she follows.

I like this story. It’s weird and trippy, with a lot of dream-logic. It’s fun. Bolton gets to have a lot of fun with the art, since it’s all a dream. Bolton’s style was always pretty and soft, and worked especially well for bits like that Storm panel. But it also works well for dream sequences. There’s already an ephemeral quality to his work, and when he’s able to really let loose, it’s stunning. I’m unfamiliar with Edelson. I have no idea what else he’s done. But he did a good job here, with the writing. It actually reminds me of Ann Nocenti. The same sort of weirdness that her writing often had, at its best. Nonsensical dialogue and all that.

I should notice that this month also featured the debut of one of the all-time great superhero teams. In West Coast Avengers #46, we meet . . . the Great Lakes Avengers!

  1. Ricochet Rita permalink

    Among “small character moments”, don’t forget those in which a picture is worth a thousand words. E.g., Longshot’s sole appearance isolated, quiet and silent, hugging his knees and watching his teammates training from up above a crag. This is right after Inferno, we know why he’s feeling this way –and what’s about to happen.

  2. Adam Steed permalink

    I didn’t care much for the “Peril” Rogue was shown to be in. But Psylocke looks ABSOLUTELY terrified, as she should be. That’s frikkin Mastermold, it’s the boss fights of boss fights and the party hasn’ t arrived to help the Squishy.

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