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 (the Beast 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 Forester 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 Implant? N
Reprinted In: X-Men Classic #49, X-Men Classic #50, X-Men Classic #51
Inbound References (4): show
Amanda Sefton, Angel, Arcade, Banshee, Beast, Candy Southern, Colonel Hendershoot, Colossus, Cyclops, Doombot A76, Elaine Grey, General Fredericks, Havok, Iceman, John Grey, Lee Forrester, Miss Locke, Moira MacTaggert, Mr. Chambers, Nightcrawler, Polaris, Professor X, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde), Stevie Hunter, Storm, Wolverine
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).
In regards the Cyclops/blindfold question, I always assumed the same as you.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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?
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.
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.
I'm guessing he made Doom act goofy just so Sue Storm could say usual Claremont Macho Female lines.
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.
Todd, they'd fought (and been almost killed by) the real Doom in Secret Wars.
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.
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