Uncanny X-Men #145-147
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #145, Uncanny X-Men #146, Uncanny X-Men #147
Xavier summons some additional X-Men to help out, including Havok, Polaris, Iceman, and the powerless Banshee.
Havok and Polaris protest, saying that they have retired from the super-hero life, but Xavier says that he has no choice in summoning them. Which isn't true. Earlier, Xavier talked to the Beast at the Avengers information to get more info on Dr. Doom (Nightcrawler says he's in Magneto's class, at least)...
...and the Beast offered the Avengers' help if needed, but Xavier declined. So he must have ulterior motives in bringing the other X-Men back.
These extra X-Men are to be the B-team that goes after Locke's hostages while the main X-Men face Dr. Doom. In contacting the reserves, Professor X realizes that there's been a subtle shift in the Earth's magnetic fields that makes it harder for him to use his powers. He suspects it's the work of Magneto. We've already learned this in some inserted dialogue from X-Men Classic #20.
Apparently Kitty Pryde is sick in bed this arc. Maybe she's supposed to be recovering from her ordeal from issue #143? But she wasn't actually hurt that issue. We'll say she's shook up from handling ROM's Neutralizer gun in ROM #18.
Storm engages in parlay with Doom and she is depicted as being noble and able to speak as an equal with Doom.
That's pretty cool, but there's also an element of attraction between them that seems a little odd.
The other X-Men try to sneak in separately but are attacked by Doom's lackeys in battlesuits.
When Storm sees Arcade walking free...
...she decides she's being played and she tries attacking Doom, but Doom uses a device to convert her to chrome.
The other X-Men make it past the battle-suits but are subsequently defeated by Doom as well.
Doom puts the remainder of the X-Men in Arcade style deathtraps.
Trapped in a chrome form, Storm subconsciously begins generating a wild thunderstorm. Arcade is technically a prisoner of Doom, but for whatever reason, Doom allows him to roam free. He's obnoxious, and in one scene he lights a match on Doom's armor.
That's an action that will have consequences... in a later issue of John Byrne's Fantastic Four, he'll "reveal" that this Doom is actually a Doombot, because the real Dr. Doom would never allow Arcade to get away with that.
The X-Men fight their way out of their traps and force Doom to restore Storm. Doom agrees, partially because he's treating this whole incident as a test of the X-Men, and partially because it's clear the weather is getting out of control. When Storm is freed, it turns out she's gone crazy, and she's treated as a Dark Storm, complete with Phoenix-style dialogue bubbles.
The original cover even teases, "We did it before. Dare we do it again?" But the X-Men manage to talk her down, and luckily that's the end of that potential idea.
Afterwards, she arranges for Arcade to apologize to Dr. Doom. In return, he lets them all go, and makes some overtures towards Storm, which she doesn't exactly reject.
Meanwhile the B-team heads to the old location of Murderworld and fights through more deathtraps to rescue their friends.
Also meanwhile, Cyclops and Lee Forrester are shipwrecked at the Bermuda Triangle. Scott's glasses are lost in the storm, and Lee learns about his optic blast. She helps him wrap bandages around his head to prevent him from opening his eyes.
I've never understood how keeping Cyclops blindfolded would prevent his optic beams from going off. Unless they are bound so tight that they are literally sealing his eyes closed...
Storm's out of control weather reaches as far down as their island and when it clears, a strange island castle appears.
Doom certainly isn't treated very majestically in these issues (although it's better than most of his 70s appearances). I can see why Byrne wanted to retcon this appearance out, even if it is spiteful. Overall, this isn't one of the better arcs. Arcade and his deathtraps are a bit tiresome.
A General Fredericks and Colonel Hendershoot appear in these issues, reacting to the out of control weather. They've appeared in the background of various issues in the past going back to Uncanny X-Men #17.
I've never really made note of them; they're just generic army guys reacting to whatever's going on at the time. But this will be their last appearance.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: X-Men Classic #49, X-Men Classic #50, X-Men Classic #51
Inbound References (5): show
I never could figure out how Moira got snatched from under Banshee's and Madrox's noses.
Dave Cockrum's 2nd run on this title didn't last that long because he worked better on bimonthly schedule books(you can see his art needing help in X-Men #150).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 11, 2011 4:59 PM
In regards the Cyclops/blindfold question, I always assumed the same as you.
Posted by: Wanyas the Self-Proclaimed | June 20, 2012 6:40 PM
Cyclops's powers had gotten a lot stronger in Giant Size X-Men #1 after his encounter with Krakoa so I'm guessing it was simply harder for him to keep his eyes closed and the bandages helped him do that here. I seem to recall in a later comic the artist drawing him him wearing a "sleeping eye mask" at night.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | July 15, 2013 5:04 AM
And with this issue it becomes immediately evident that something had changed in Dave Cockrum's art style between his previous run on X-MEN the beginning of this one. The storytelling is basically there, but the characters are all taking on a more "juvenile" look. The whole thing is starting to look a lot like ELQUEST. I also think the basic line work is rougher, but that could easily be due to Josef Rubenstein's inks.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | July 21, 2013 9:38 PM
The other thing about this story, as you pointed out, is that it contains the scene that "famously" ignited a back-and-forth dialogue between John Byrne and Chris Claremont, using Marvel's characters as soapboxes (At least according to Byrne).
Posted by: Jay Patrick | July 24, 2013 3:05 PM
Claremont did use Doom again in X-Men vs. FF around '86 or '87. Doom's behavior in the last issue of that series has always struck me as a little strange, as if Claremont might have been deflating Byrne's signature character a bit.
This Arcade adventure gets a sequel of sorts in X-Men 198, but that only features Doom robots.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 28, 2013 1:36 PM
I think what Byrne meant was that Claremont wasn't allowed to use Doom again until after Byrne left the FF. (Byrne had already left the FF by the time the X-Men vs. FF came out.) What struck you as strange about Doom's behavior?
Posted by: Michael | July 28, 2013 1:53 PM
And of course Claremont used Doom when he wrote FF himself in the late nineties (and made him quite the badass), but yes, I think Byrne and/or his editor weren't eager to let Claremont use the character while He was in Byrne's care.
Posted by: Jay Von Patrick | July 28, 2013 4:31 PM
Doom was acting goofy at the end of the last issue of the mini, not outrageously so, but he was saying things like "Try the shrimp,it's marvelous" to an irate Invisible Woman. Not his usual manner of speaking, but what Claremont might've been getting at I can't say. Maybe he just wasn't good at writing Doom.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 28, 2013 4:35 PM
I'm guessing he made Doom act goofy just so Sue Storm could say usual Claremont Macho Female lines.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 28, 2013 4:38 PM
To wit: "A lioness is most dangerous when defending her mate and cub and den" and "Have you ever considered how much damage I could do to you, if I decided to play by your rules?"
That said, I remember that miniseries as a truly great FF story by Claremont, as good as the very best in Byrne's run, and I thought highly of Byrne's run. There was a lot going on on the X-Men's side too, and they had high stakes as well and were not bit players, but it is the emotion on the Fantastic Four side, and his sure hand with those characters, that I remember best. Claremont's very self-confident, steely version of Susan is very much in line with what Byrne had done with her in the FF title.
Dazzler makes reference in that miniseries to having fought Doom (in her own book) and knowing what he's capable of, and Wolverine replies, "Most of us have, darlin'. Most of us do." Of course, to that point, they'd just fought a robot, if you go along with the Byrne retcon, which I do feel was petty, and I prefer to ignore it. I'd rather live with Doom not killing Arcade for striking a match than accept that Storm was having a surprise mutual attraction with a Doombot, and that the robot was thinking about how it was "drawn to her." The Doom/Storm stuff was of the highlights of those X-MEN issues for moi.
Posted by: Todd | July 29, 2013 9:09 PM
Todd, they'd fought (and been almost killed by) the real Doom in Secret Wars.
Posted by: Michael | July 29, 2013 9:35 PM
Though I suppose it could be abused, I prefer Byrne's Doombot reveal to Clarmemont's use of Doctor Doom to further his own pet characters. Sure, Doom has the hots for Storm. Right. And the carny in the bowtie can talk smack and light matches on him. Byrne's solution may be a slippery slope, and later attempts by Byrne to invalidate the work of other writers has irritated me, but I gotta side with him in this case. Claremont (and/or Cockrum) intentionally misused the character.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | July 29, 2013 9:36 PM
Shouldn't Magik be listed as a character appearing?
Posted by: Stephen | February 4, 2014 5:15 PM
Yes, thanks. Added her.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 4, 2014 6:41 PM
I would err on the side of "Claremont did it" when talking about Arcade striking the match. I don't remotely remember where I read the interview, but Cockrum once described his first run as being given plots so spare that, say, when the X-Men are approaching Muir Island and get attacked by Magneto, he had to figure out how to fill an extra two pages just to get them to the island before the rest of the story starts (and Marvel had cut down its pages at that point.) Then on his second run, Claremont is giving him plots that are as long as the stories themselves.
I can not specify where I read this interview, I don't have a dog in the fight of Claremont's Doom vs. Byrne's Doom, but I do recall reading Cockrum's interview at some point in my life, and I would blame/credit Claremont for the Arcade/Doom interaction.
Posted by: ChrisW | June 21, 2014 8:55 PM
In Loki: Agent of Asgard 6, Doom suggests to Loki that it might have been the real Doom that Arcade struck with a match.
Posted by: Michael | September 24, 2014 11:14 PM
One of the scans you have included here confirms that the blindfold is keeping Scott's eyes "sealed shut."
Posted by: Dan H. | November 8, 2014 3:22 PM
I agree with Todd that "FF vs. X-Men" was a great FF story, and the X-Men weren't there for much more than to fill problems in their continuity. [Who can save Kitty? Let's call Reed Richards! Reed's having a generic-Claremont personal crisis and Doom's offering help, add in a Kitty/Franklin connection, we got a story here!] It also helped give an actual 'Us vs. Them' approach to mutant prejudice not normally seen in comics, except as generic humans whining about filthy muties. The FF are fully capable of going up against the X-Men, who immediately turn violent when they're given 'no' for an answer. The FF are far more concerned with what's going on with Reed (and Sue) and will not take kindly to Wolverine being himself. "Mutie bozos" is a good way to describe these nutcases.
[I also wonder how much of Shulkie's part of the series was to plus up the FF, who wouldn't win in a straightforward match - Longshot and Dazzler beat the Torch, Havok beats the Thing, Wolvie's having his own drama against Reed, and Betsy/everybody else against Sue - and Claremont's own dig at Byrne's... "interest" in Shulkie.]
Anyway, regarding the end of that miniseries, it was obviously intended to give Sue her "Claremont Macho Female" lines from the perspective of Wife and Mother, but in Doom's case, he's behaving as an Eastern European monarch/aristocrat, with decorum and respect. Kitty was saved, which is all he was trying to do in the first place. He lost, but not in a way that threatens his plans to rule the world. He had the pleasure of toying with Richards and the rest, as well as studying/making claims upon the X-Men and Storm. From Sue's point of view, she's demonstrating the FF's victory over him [which has nothing to do with the problem the X-Men needed solved; that was just a happy bonus] and delivering a Claremont Macho Female monologue, but to him it's tedious dinner-party chatter like he has with any dictator/despot/world leader. He politely listens (or pretends to) and looks for further ways to enhance his schemes, like the forged diary that led to this story.
Posted by: ChrisW | December 23, 2014 7:43 PM
I don't see why it can't be both - Storm with the real Doom, later switched with a Doombot.
Posted by: Vincent Nunes | March 1, 2015 8:19 PM
I'm one of those who think that Doom isn't used to great effect here except for the brief conversations with Storm - it clearly presages how her interactions with Dracula will go. I like the idea that the lead writer on a big series should decide how their primary villain is used outside that book (FF - Doom, Avengers - Ultron, Thor - Loki, etc). Of course, given how often that writer changes, that can always go out the window as well. Still, I rather like Byrne's retcon.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 28, 2015 11:52 AM
I'm going to have to read these issues again just to see if it's mentioned that even though Banshee is "powerless," he's actually better equipped to take on MurderWorld this time since he had lost his sonic scream when the X-Men were taken there the first time. At least now he's got his gun and he's going in prepared.
It's funny that this was a very rare case of Banshee being called in to help out after he'd left the team and the threat happens to be one he didn't have his powers to help with the first time, either.
But why no Madrox? IIRC, Sean was already en route to the U.S. so that explains why Xavier didn't try to contact Jamie, but why did Sean decide not to bring him along? I guess he was really committed to the "former X-Men get-together" concept, to the point of risking Moira's safety by leaving a powerful ally behind.
Posted by: Dan H. | September 26, 2015 12:03 PM
Dan H. comment made me think about the fact that this is the first time we've seen Havok and Polaris since we left them on Muir Island at the start of the Dark Phoenix Saga. I can't remember if there's an in-story explanation for them being out in the desert now or if Cockrum just put them back out where he had last grabbed them from back when Erik the Red took them over.
Posted by: Erik Beck | September 26, 2015 12:26 PM
Doom and Arcade here feels weirdly like a Luthor-Joker team-up in terms of character dynamics. Also, isn't it a bit odd that the X-Men seem to have no idea who Doom is or how dangerous he is? It's not as if Doom's various exploits have been secret, and he is a publicly known head of state by this point.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 2, 2015 8:55 AM
The text says "the Beast says he's in Magneto's class, at least", but on panel it's Nightcrawler who says the line. Nice exposition/hype bit, by the way.
"DoomBot or no doombot" -question may be helped (or made more complicated) by the idea that the robots have remote control option. Thus, any line or thoughtbubble the reader sees as fitting for real Victor, can be him checking in, whereas passive-aggressive smoking hazards are failings of the autopilot AI.
Or maybe it was strategy...
Posted by: Catherine | April 27, 2017 3:05 PM
Fixed the Beast/Nightcrawler flub. Thanks Catherine.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 2, 2017 8:07 AM
Issue #146 should also be "Exhibit A" for why the "Iceman is gay" retcon doesn't work. Not only had he dated women throughout his history, but here we have him THINKING about how much he loved and still loves Lorna. And not as a friend, but as a romantic partner he'd lost to another man.
Posted by: Dan H. | June 11, 2018 4:00 PM
As Iceman has been developed in regards to his coming out, he explained that he was heavily suppressing his same-sex attraction. Part of that was probably convincing himself that he loved a girl he liked because maybe that could distract him from his unwanted gay feelings. The subtext of these old thought balloons now becomes something along the lines of: ‘I really liked her so maybe she was the one who could have made me straight.’
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | June 11, 2018 10:42 PM
They should have just made Iceman bisexual, possibly with a preference to men. That way you don't have to rewrite any old Iceman stories away from their original intent (I mean, when Moondragon was making Iceman fancy her in the Defenders, was he not a bit suspicious about why he was suddenly attracted to a woman who mind-controls people?) while also putting the "Iceman is gay" fan-theory into print.
Also rather than the strangeness of the older Iceman being in denial of himself all along while the younger Iceman doesn't have the same problems with denial, you could add in extra information about male lovers he'd kept secret from the rest of the team while still keeping his female relationships as "real" for anyone who is invested in them.
It's not like having one of the original X-Men come out as bisexual wouldn't have been just as beneficial as having one of them be gay. While Marvel have had a few bisexual female characters, I'm not sure I can think of any male heroes they've had be bisexual, with the exception of Hercules who is bisexual in the original legends. So it could have been good to have a major hero be bi without having to be from Ancient Greece.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | June 12, 2018 5:36 AM
I think Shatterstar is bi.
Posted by: Thanos6 | June 12, 2018 5:52 AM
Yes I think you're right - Rictor has dated both men & women, and I think they said Shatterstar is bi though I'm not sure they've had him involved with anyone other than Rictor?
Still, I kind of think they wanted a relatively "big name" like Iceman to come out, as otherwise their best-known gay hero would be Northstar, who like Rictor and Shatterstar may have been well-known to us 80s/90s comics readers but then spent some years in the comics graveyard before starting to appear again in the past 10 years or so. (I'm not sure the latter's brief appearance in Deadpool 2 will have helped his profile much either.)
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | June 12, 2018 8:56 AM
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