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Uncanny X-Men #250 (1989, October)

September 10, 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Len Wein, co-creator of the All-New All-Different X-Men, died today. While Wein only wrote the Giant-Size X-Men where the ANAD team first appeared, it was the success of that book that took the X-Men out of reprints and made it an ongoing again. And, of course, he was a legendary writer beyond just that book. He was an icon in the industry, and the world is a bit brighter for him having been in it. But anyway. By Claremont, Silvestri, Leialoha, Oliver, and Rosen, “The Shattered Star.”

The Shattered Star

Can’t say the cover much impresses me.

It opens at a Russian research station in Antarctica, and it’s a pretty cool scene, actually. I like these people. They’re very much Claremont-ian background characters. Of course, the station is immediately destroyed and the researchers almost all die, a result of a tower bursting through the ice beneath them. Zaladane is responsible, and Alex is disgusted, but keeps his cover. But then he sees Lorna in danger, being placed on a platform beneath some fancy device, so he blows his cover, and is immediately subdued by the Mutates, who knew all along that he was there. With that done, Zaladane gets up on the platform, the machine is activated, and magnetic energy flows through Lorna, until she turns into energy and is absorbed by Zaladane. (Lorna does survive, she’s seen being carried, unconscious, on the next page.) The surviving Russians are given to Worm, who covers them in a mucus that lets him control them. He’s creepy. I don’t like Worm.

Psylocke overhears all this telepathically, and is so disgusted that she strips off her armour and dives into some water. She gets caught in an undertow, and Colossus tries to save her, but his body falls under someone’s control and he starts drowning her instead. Alison’s distracted trying to figure out what to do, and gets caught by Worm. As Psylocke slips unconscious, she has a weird dream. She’s back at the Outback base, and finds herself, strung up, partially turned into a cyborg. She finds her friends likewise dead. Gateway is chained and shackled, and she guesses there’s danger back home, and he shows her the Siege Perilous, so she guesses that’s their only chance of escape.

Back in reality, Brainchild’s a perverted little prick.

Uncanny X-Men #250

Ew. Gross, Brainchild.

Lupo suggests just taking her, and dude, no, no. Claremont, no, that’s not cool. Don’t turn rape threats into cheap drama like that. Ka-Zar, Shanna, and Nereel have all been captured by the enslaved X-Men, and threatens to kill their kids. Back in the dungeon, Lorna breaks free of her chains, and takes a laser-blast point blank. So now she’s super-strong and invulnerable. And also bigger. And Alex acts a lot wilder now. He’s still too weak to fight, so Psylocke takes over his mind and makes him. Whatever works. And that’s the tides of battle turning. Worm’s blasted unconscious, Dazzler blasts the membrane off herself, the fight is finished, everyone escapes, hurrah. And I find this funny:

Uncanny X-Men #250

Comics!

Psylocke figures that staying the Savage Land to defeat Zaladane will keep the X-Men from their fate, but then Gateway teleports them home anyway.

So, this issue. It’s, um, an odd one. It’s a perfectly serviceable issue of UXM, but . . . I don’t know, it feels like a bit of a let-down. It’s coming in the middle of issue after issue where things are falling apart, and then this two-parter is just a fairly normal story. It sets up next issue’s complete disbanding of the X-Men. But this is the 250th issue of Uncanny X-Men, and the story doesn’t live up to that. This is not a Special Anniversary story. I’m probably judging it unfairly, but just the same, the story is pretty bland. Zaladane and Lorna Dane being sisters feels random and out of nowhere. Also, it’s not explained here, but apparently, the similarity of their names is what made Zaladane believe they’re related. Even though Lorna’s adopted so “Dane” wouldn’t be her original family name. But oh well. The rape-y elements are weird and bad. Zaladane is a boring villain, which is probably why she’s a rare villain to stay dead. There’s not much really exciting going on. The characterization mostly falls a bit flat.

The art is actually a bit of a let-down, too. There’s some distinctly wonky images here and there. Like that one panel I posted where Alex is missing most of his hair. This really isn’t the best work of any of the artists. I mean, middling for Silvestri is still pretty damn great, but I expect better of him. Oliver, too. She was the best colourist in the industry, and obviously, there’s still some fantastic colours, but there are also bits where the colours aren’t as good as they should be.

All in all, this is just a really weak issue of UXM.

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