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Uncanny X-Men #251 (1989, November)

October 29, 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So November and December of 1989 were ridiculous. It’ll take me forever to get through them. But let’s get started. By Claremont, Silvestri, Green, Oliver, and Orzechowski, “Fever Dream.”

Fever Dream

This is one of the all-time great covers.

Logan’s been in better shape.

Uncanny X-Men #251

Hell of a splash page.

He’s been chained to a big wooden X, left outside. Pearce and the Reavers torture him a bit, and leave him out in the sun. A few of the Reavers are searching the base, after Reese thought he saw something. They find nothing, and the sensors can’t find anyone. Apparently, for some reason, Jubilee is invisible to the base’s sensors. I’m just gonna go ahead and say “magic” for that. Back outside, Wolverine sees Gateway, and the X-Men. Including himself. Rogue, Longshot and himself fade away. Havok blasts Storm. Then Psylocke, Reaver-ified. She pulls off her ksin, and is revealed as Sabretooth, and we find out what happened.

Wolverine, coming back from Madripoor, wasn’t given a gateway by Gateway. Instead, he had to drive out. When he got back, he was ambushed by the Reavers. Sabretooth then changes to Ogun, asking Logan why he isn’t fighting, and Logan says he’s tired. Ogun cuts Logan down, and the mask comes off to reveal Kitty’s face. She takes him up Gateway’s hill to show what happened to the rest of the team. After they returned from the Savage Land, and Alex declares it’s time they quit. Psylocke pulls out the Siege Perilous, for a series of farewells. Including a kiss between Betsy and Alex, because sure, why not. The Reavers finally get up top and ask where the others went, and Betsy has a simple answer:

Uncanny X-Men #251

She made fleeing into something badass.

Then Kitty turns into the Brood Queen to chomp on Logan. Pearce and the Reavers are there when he wakes up, holding wooden spikes, with Jubilee watching. And, man.

Uncanny X-Men #251

Intense.

Logan still doesn’t scream, to Pearce’s anger. But then Pearce has to head inside for the night, thanks to a sandstorm coming in. Logan is visited by visions of some of the women in his life: Storm, Phoenix, Mariko, and Carol Danvers. They all urge him to keep fighting, he tells them to leave him alone. Storm turns into a kid before vanishing, with a sudden downpour. Hallucination or not, Storm always has a sense of drama. Inside, a TV reports intense storms around the world, the worst of it being in Cairo, Illinois. Hint! Outside, despite the weather, Jubilee can’t stop watching Logan, wondering if she should help him, if it’s worth the risk. He, meanwhile, has decided to keep fighting.

Uncanny X-Men #251

This issue is so intense.

He does get free. To Jubilee’s shock and horror.

Uncanny X-Men #251

Awesome.

This is one hell of an issue. Chilling, at times. The torture Logan’s put through is brutal, with Pearce being utterly irredeemable trash. Logan’s visions of what happened in his absence are neat. Psylocke telepathically sending everyone through the Siege Perilous is quite a decision. She was a hard, calculating woman. She was willing to cross moral lines for the sake of her friends, even if it meant losing them, and it’s kinda cool. I liked this version of Psylocke, more than I like the Asian martial artist, if I’m honest. But yeah, this is it, the X-Men are done. The team’s completely disbanded. And it’ll take a while before they get back together. It’s an interesting way for the story to go, I’ll give it that much. It’s been building for a while, with the team getting whittled down over the past few issues. Here, Claremont pulls a trigger and finishes the whole team, with Logan being the last one left. But we also get Jubilee finally pulled into things, at the very end there, with Logan speaking to her.

Silvestri, Green and Oliver deserve a ton of the praise for this issue. Oliver always deserves a lot of praise, of course. But Silvestri did a great job with framing scenes. He knows what to show, and what not to show, for maximum impact. Not showing the crucifixion was the smart choice, as Jubilee’s reactions sell the horror even better than the actual impalement could have. It’s similar with Logan pulling free, showing just enough to be effective. It’s phenomenal work.

Such a great issue.

A couple other comics worth mentioning. Amazing Spider-Man #324, part 5 of a storyline called “The Assassin Nation Plot,” feature Sabretooth. He was behind an assassination that’s brought Symkaria close to war. In #324, Silver Sable and Captain America find him in Mexico, helping some bandits steal some artifacts. Sable goes after Sabretooth, and he cuts her up a bit, but she gets him to dive into a wall so it collapses on him. And it kills him. So he never showed up again.

I guess I can mention Fantastic Four Annual #22, the conclusion of the Atlantis Attacks event. Beast is there. And Storm and Marvel, as two of the Seven Brides of Set. Thing thinks about how he heard Storm was dead, but other than that, no one really comments on it, I guess because they figure “hero back from the dead” just isn’t that big a deal any more. Oh, they’re also all in West Coast Avengers Annual #4, which actually came out before the FF Annual. But Atlantis Attacks sucks, so who cares? On the other hand, that Annual does have Wasp and She-Hulk rating the Avengers Hunks, which is one of the silliest but best things.

And What If #6. What If the X-Men Lost Inferno? By Danny Fingeroth, Ron Lim, Keith Williams, Tom Vincent, and Gary Fields. It picks up after N’astirh’s defeat. This time, S’ym was there to absorb his power, and he formed an alliance with Madelyne. And they killed the X-Men and X-Factor, aside from Wolverine, who got out of the way in time. S’ym suggests keeping him as a pet, then Maddie and S’ym sacrifice little Nathan, allowing Limbo in, with no way to close the portal. So the world is conquered by the demons. Maddie and S’ym have become a couple, Wolverine herds humans for them. The resistance comes down a handful of mystics: Dr. Strange, Shaman, Jennifer Kale, Hellstrom, Margali Sazardos, Dr. Druid, Dakimh, and Baron Mordo. And a handful of other heroes: Spider-Man, Thor, the Captain, Human Torch, She-Hulk, and Shadowcat. An attack on their base results in a bunch of them dying. Strange, Mordo, Torch and Kitty escape, then Strange finds Rachel, still a mannequin, and restores her, so she can summon the Phoenix Force to purge the planet of the demons. Logan ends up killing Kitty in all the fighting, which snaps him back to normal. In time to get killed himself. Rachel is distracted long enough for Madelyne to take control of the Phoenix Force. But S’ym uses Logan’s skeleton to kill her, and Rachel uses the Phoenix Force to purge the world. It’s not a bad story, but I always found What If’s focus on events over character to be boring. It’s all about BIG TWISTS, and it actually ends up being boring. There’s no real emotional context to any of it. They make for poor stories. This one is better than most, but still lame.

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