The Small Lebowski:
Uncanny X-Men #177-179
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #177, Uncanny X-Men #178, Uncanny X-Men #179
It turns out that they're actually just robots built by Arcade.
I get that the scene is meant to establish that Mystique is a badass, but it seems a bit much to think that she could really defeat the entire team by herself. And also that Arcade could build robots that are such accurate replications of the X-Men's personalities and powers.
The real takeaway from the scene is that while Mystique is able to kill Rogue, she hesitates when facing Nightcrawler.
Claremont is teasing the idea that the two are related. This is furthered in a conversation between Nightcrawler and his girlfriend/step-sister (yuck!) Amanda Sefton while the X-Men are visiting Manhattan. But their conversation is interrupted when Mystique and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants attack.
I don't know why, but i find Colossus' toes amusing in this picture.
During the battle, Amanda Sefton helps out with her magic. I don't really love the idea of her being a full-blown Dr. Strange-like magic-user with attack spells. Seems to dilute the X-Men theme a bit.
In the course of the fight, Colossus is super-heated by Pyro's fire and then dumped by Avalanche into several trucks' worth of liquid nitrogen. The result isn't pretty.
Kitty heads to the Baxter Building to get help for Peter, and invades the building to grab a techy device when she learns that the Fantastic Four aren't home.
But she is seemingly killed by the FF's security equipment.
The attack in Manhattan is actually a distraction for Mystique to sneak into the Mansion to "rescue" Rogue. Mystique has been deluding herself that Rogue was held captive by Xavier's mind control (Note that Rogue uses Luke Cage's favorite expression as an exclamation. I guess it's more common in the Marvel Universe than we thought).
When Rogue convinces Mystique that she's there of her own free will to learn how to control her powers, Mystique calls off the attack.
After the fight, the X-Men find Kitty Pryde's dead body. But Wolverine determines that it's not actually Kitty.
In a prior scene, we saw the Morlock Masque morph a dead runaway's face to look like Kitty's. The Morlocks are helping Caliban claim Kitty as his bride, based on her promise to him in the original Morlock story.
Although Callisto's help is based more on the fact that she doesn't like Storm than any altruism towards poor Caliban.
The X-Men show up in time to stop the wedding, but it's Caliban who releases Kitty from her vow.
Colossus' predicament is solved by having Rogue absorb his powers and then the Morlock healer quickly fix his wounds. This is the first time we actually see the healer, although he was mentioned in the previous Morlock arc.
This story introduces the Morlock Leech, who cancels the powers of anyone in his vicinity.
Wolverine nearly kills him before Kitty stops him.
Professor Xavier receives a letter from Cyclops and Madeline on their honeymoon. I want to know who took a picture of a naked Scott Summers in his heart shaped bed.
Xavier also detects (to put it lightly) two extra-terrestrial scans. This is the Beyonder scanning the Earth in preparation for his Secret Wars.
Lilandra leaves for Shi'ar space in issue #177.
Issue #177 is an Assistant Editors' Month issue. The event doesn't affect the main title and just included a nearly incomprehensible 1 page comic strip back-up featuring Assistant Editor Eliot Brown at the end of the issue. The back-up isn't included in the X-Men Classic reprint. Uncanny X-Men annual #7 was also an Assistant Editors' Month book. I originally thought Claremont avoided the stunt by placing it all in the annual, but apparently he actually participated twice.
Overall, a lot of components to this story (The Brotherhood! Arcade! The Morlocks!) and neat tie-ins with the rest of the Marvel Universe (The Beyonder. The Fantastic Four), all with great plotting, nice characterization (including a few bits referencing Storm's new punk personality), and very nice art.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Crossover: Assistant Editors' Month
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: X-Men Classic #81, X-Men Classic #83 (issue #178 is an original)
Inbound References (8): show
The back-up refers to the fact that Eliot R. Brown did all the technical drawings in the Handbooks.
I'm aware this Wolverine was an Arcade robot, but it seems like Claremont changed his mind about Wolverine getting his throat slashed and dying--Sabretooth does to him in a Classic X-Men backup, and Wolverine heals right up.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 1, 2011 11:31 PM
Yeah, in Uncanny 214, the real Wolverine says cutting his throat will kill him- Claremont- definitely changed his mind.
Posted by: Michael | October 1, 2011 11:44 PM
In Amazing Heroes #39, Claremont announced two X-Men graphic novels that never appeared. In 1984, there would have been one called "True Friends" starring Kitty and Illyana teaming up with an elderly Lady Daemon and featuring "...two new young villains who are evil, nasty, decadent rotters"(Fenris?). For 1985, there would be another called "Dancing With Mr. D" featuring a villain of the same name who tries to join the Hellfire Club and is told by Sebastian Shaw to kill the X-Men to gain entry. His mutant power was to make victims fall asleep and dream whatever he wants them to, and the only way to stop him would be to kill him.
Claremont also announced a 2nd Nightcrawler mini alongside Cockrum's that would put him in a place called Ruritania and feature Mystique and Arcade.
There was also a possibility of the X-Men appearing in Epic Illustrated.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 8, 2013 6:04 PM
The Ruritania story was actually started in Uncanny 204, but for some reason it was cancelled and in issue 206, the loose ends were wrapped up.
Posted by: Michael | June 8, 2013 6:18 PM
Some of the "True Friends" material, including the title, was repurposed as a Kitty and Phoenix mini originally planned for 1990 and ultimately published (I suspect with many further alterations) circa 1999.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | June 9, 2013 8:26 PM
Hilarious that Scott would send Xavier that photo. Almost like he was bragging.
Posted by: Robert | May 17, 2014 12:37 PM
Another continuity change (or pre-change) here is that Wolverine loses his mutant healing power but doesn't get adamantium poisoning. Personally I never liked the idea of adamantium poisoning since the whole point of adamantium is how stable and non-reactive it is.
Posted by: Andrew | January 10, 2015 7:44 AM
These issues really seem to show the difference an inker can make. They are all pencilled by Romita Jr, but some of them really look like his early pseudo-Byrne look while others reflect more of his own distinctive look that had shown up in #176 and was showing up in Spider-Man around this time.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 15, 2015 5:44 AM
As of Classic X-Men back-up #102/10 Wolverine knows his torn (not merely slashed or pierced) throat heals quicker than he can drown. Of course makes sense he wouldn't tell anyone, hence Arcade having "downgraded" robot. In Uncanny 214 Wolverine either brazenly lies, or implies that while proper throat shot would not kill him, it's enough to incapacitate him long enough for TKO or finishing move.
And yeah, I like his healing factor potent but limited. Not the single cell bullshit like in Civil War, please.
Posted by: Catherine | May 8, 2017 5:26 AM
Yeah,I thought that was a tad much, as well...but then, I thought of UXM Annual #11, in which one drop of blood restores not only Logan's entire body, but the adamantium exactly as cast on his skeleton.
IMHO, this was a response to Lobo.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | May 9, 2017 12:01 PM
I write UXM Annual 11 off as mystical, cosmic bullshit anyway.
Posted by: J-Rod | May 9, 2017 12:48 PM
Just a nitpick, I don't think Wolvie in "X-Men" Annual #11 was a response to Lobo because Lobo had not yet become the Wolverine rip-off. Before L.E.G.I.O.N 89, Lobo was just a killer (and, arguably, a Wolverine rip-off.) Lobo went through a long multi-issue experience with L.E.G.I.O.N before he lost his Czarnian powers, and by that point, "X-Men" Annual 11 had been published.
I have never read Lobo's appearances before L.E.G.I.O.N 89, but "X-Men" Annual 11 had already come out by the time he appeared. Lobo didn't become the Wolverine rip-off we all know until well after "Invasion" which was parodied in "X-Men" #245, two or three annuals later.
Posted by: ChrisW | May 9, 2017 9:53 PM
In #177, Mystique while arguing with Destiny refers to Rogue as "my daughter" (& later "my child") who would "never abandon me". When Destiny mentions Nightcrawler, Mystique responds "Be SILENT, woman! Mention him again, Destiny, at your peril." All of which suggests that either Mystique is very self-centred, or that the idea of Mystique & Destiny being in a truly loving relationship where they both adopted Rogue was not yet in Claremont's mind, and while there is some relationship between Mystique & Nightcrawler that Destiny suggests would prevent Mystique from hurting him, there is no indication that Nightcrawler is also Mystique's child, in contrast to her obsession with her adopted child. (In #170, Mystique had been described as 30 years old, which is too old to be Nightcrawler's parent, not sure about Rogue.)
According to Brian Cronin (http://www.cbr.com/x-men-rogue-mystique-mother-chris-claremont/), Claremont has since claimed that he intended to make Mystique Rogue's actual birth mother (not just adopted), not sure who the father would have been but Claremont had also indicated that Mysique & Destiny had been dating for decades, so this was presumably Mystique dating a man while also being with Destiny. Confusingly, it seems Claremont intended Mystique to be both Nightcrawler's father (with Destiny) and Rogue's mother (with ?), though I suspect the Rogue's actual mother idea came later after it was clear the Nightcrawler father idea would not see print.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | May 17, 2017 1:11 PM
I think Claremont was confusing Mystique as a parent with Nightcrawler and Rogue. As you point out, she was very specific about her relationship to Rogue, who her friends and colleagues knew about, and then ditched her like the horrible mother that she is. And a killer like Mystique would not be inclined to hear polite criticism of how she failed Rogue.
Parentage should be considered thoughts that Claremont never finished. From what I understand, other people finished them later, and I wish they hadn't.
Posted by: ChrisW | May 17, 2017 11:32 PM
Sadly, in that Brian Cronin article Claremont specifically says he intended for Nightcrawler & Rogue to be siblings, but I think that's an awful idea, & since I've not heard that before & he only seems to have mentioned it while writing X-Men Forever, I'm assuming it was not on his mind at the time, and can be filed under fanfic like much of Claremont's X-stories this side of the millennium.
Actually, this storyline does also feature Amanda telling Nightcrawler that baby Kurt was discovered barely alive next to a dead man who she presumes was Kurt's father. Kurt jokes that the person probably took one look at him & dropped dead from fright. Don't think the dead man was ever mentioned again? While there's no proof the man was Kurt's father, it again does suggest that Mystique was not at this point intended to be Nightcrawler's father.
Yes I think Rogue's parents have been introduced though I've never read the story, either way I'm glad Mystique is just her adopted rather than actual mother. And while the Nightcrawler-parented-by-a-demon storyline that is now canon is one of the worst X-Men storylines ever, I do think Nightcrawler & Rogue turning out to be siblings & Mystique turning out to be Rogue's birth mother would have been terrible too.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | May 18, 2017 7:31 AM
Claremont gave some fairly contradictory remarks on Mystique: “Regarding Mystique, I always considered her default form to be blue-skinned and female. However, being a full-spectrum metamorph, gender for her is a matter of choice, convenience and necessity. Her assumption of the male gender during this particular period of her life relates more to the prejudices of the time. A male consulting detective is likely to be taken a tad more seriously in official circles than a woman.”
Claremont also told why Mystique had left the infant Nightcrawler: “Mystique abandoned him because she was totally freaked by this indigo-furred creature with “deformed” appendages and a forked tail! At that point, Mystique had no idea (s)he was a mutant, or a metamorph; (s)he simply reacted as many normal folks would in similar circumstances. And in the process had something of a nervous breakdown, mental collapse. Which of course was a whole other story that will never see print. (I do seem to have a lot of them.)”
First we have Claremont saying that decades ago Mystique used to live as a man full-time and that gender doesn't mean much to her & her default form was blue-skinned, but then he says that Kurt was born she didn't at the time realise she was a mutant & was horrified by what Kurt looked like, which means she was the mother as she couldn't change into a man for Kurt's conception if she didn't know she was a mutant. I suspect the quotes came from different points in Claremont's thinking.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | May 18, 2017 7:38 AM
I just find it an interesting example of Claremont's thinking changing over time (not to mention that he at one point wanted Nightmare to be Kurt's father, and also started to write Kurt's origin in Uncanny #204 before realising it was a dud).
On a bit of a segue, it's crazy comparing JRJr being inked by Romita Sr here (#177) to being inked by Dan Green (#179). The art is about as different as can be, especially in the scans here where most of the #177 panels have no backgrounds, very light & 1960s style a la Romita Sr, and most of the #179 panels are dark-shaded & gritty. (Similarly compare the bushy-eyebrowed smiling Xavier in the 177 panels above to the thin-eyebrowed, sweating Xavier in the 179 panels... I know it's different situations but it's interesting how the same penciller's Xavier looks so different under different inks.)
The Romita/Silvestri years are the years where I started collecting so Dan Green coming aboard feels like the start of "my" era of X-Men, he definitely contributed a hell of a lot to both Romita & Silvestri.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | May 18, 2017 7:48 AM
And of course, the idea that Mystique can change gender is a bit iffy since if you read most of Claremont's pre-1991 stories, it's a plot point that when she duplicates someone, she doesn't take on their powers.
Posted by: Michael | May 18, 2017 8:02 AM
I guess that part is fixable if Claremont had said Mystique's default form was male and so could be Nightcrawler's father, though that then becomes a problem again if (s)he was also meant to be Rogue's birth mother.
I do actually prefer the idea of Mystique being Nightcrawler's father as a "secret" bit of canon that was not allowed to see print, it's just more interesting than the other options. But it definitely doesn't seem to have been on Claremont's mind at this point. I would prefer if it had never been explained otherwise, especially not by Chuck Austen, but Claremont did set up the relationship-with-Nightcrawler mystery in Mystique's first storyline and does return to it here, so I guess it did need some sort of resolution, even if no-one probably was still wondering about it two decades later when it was finally "explained".
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | May 18, 2017 8:42 AM
Sadly (depending on how you look at it) mysterious parentage or siblings are a literary trope going back a lot farther than Darth Vader. I guess I can't totally fault Claremont for using the tropes, although I think he deserves some blame, both for failing as a writer and for failing the superhero genre.
To a large extent, the superhero fantasy is an individual one. Yes, anybody could have been the sole survivor of Krypton, or bitten by a radioactive spider, but Clark Kent and Peter Parker were those individuals. Lots of people have had their parents murdered, but only one trains day and night to terrify criminals. Their parents or extended family *might* take on greater weight in their overall career - I'm not a Punisher scholar, but I've never heard of his parents being considered important in his life - but their individual life as a superhero is what matters.
I'm guilty of trying to explain everything by sibling relations or parentage too, but I think it does a lot to damage some of the best parts of the genre. This random guy in the middle of nowhere had a healing factor and got adamantium implants. This other random guy had a positive reaction to drinking chemicals and put on a flag and a shield. Dr. Doom's life would have been much simpler if his father was some Latverian shoemaker.
Posted by: ChrisW | May 18, 2017 8:36 PM
IIRC, the first mention of Doug Ramsey ever was made in these issues, in the conversation between Kitty and Colossus just prior to the fight with the Brotherhood.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | May 21, 2017 4:17 AM
I was going to say you were wrong, because I would have sworn Doug was hanging out with Kitty for a least a few issues over in "New Mutants," but looking it up, his first appearance is cover-dated March 1984, the same cover-date as "X-Men" #180 which sent him off to Massachusetts with Kitty.
So never mind. :)
Posted by: ChrisW | May 21, 2017 7:15 PM
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