Uncanny X-Men #193
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #193
It's a pretty terrible debut for the character as well. This issue is also the 100 issue anniversary of the New X-Men (counting Giant-Sized #1), and the plot is really about Thunderbird II's misguided attempt at vengeance against Professor X and the X-Men for killing his brother. Fellow Hellions Empath and Roulette help Thunderbird more or less against his will, and Empath uses his emotional-warping powers to make Firestar hopelessly in love with him and therefore willing to help as well.
So she's basically a pawn the entire issue and when it's all over and Thunderbird realizes that his vendetta against the X-Men is misguided and Firestar realizes she's been, essentially, mind-raped by Empath, they inexplicably decide to go back to the Massachusetts Academy anyway. You'd think that the X-Men would object, at least regarding Firestar.
Thunderbird's vengeance scheme involves kidnapping Banshee from Muir Island (Claremont's Native American characters often say "Hokahey!", which i've learned is a rallying call of the Sioux (although the Proudstars were supposed to be Apaches). I originally thought they were just saying "OK!" very dramatically.)...
...and using him as bait to get the X-Men to invade NORAD, which pretty much restores or confirms their outlaw status.
In addition to Thunderbird's issues, and the introduction of Firestar, there's also a lot of time devoted to Rachel Summers' issues. She kind of freaks out when they ask her to use her powers to locate anyone (and it's worth noting that Rogue is getting a lot more relaxed about using her absorption powers).
Frankly, even at double-size, this issue is overly crowded and yet not paced very dramatically. Four pages are devoted to an extended Danger Room training session. The invasion of NORAD is equally leisurely. We also have the recovery of Professor X from his beating last issue. He wakes up in the Morlock tunnels.
As Callisto is leading Xavier home, a bunch of Morlocks come running in to announce that one of their members' children were murdered.
The response to this from Xavier was presumably "That's nice, please take me home", because the next we see of him and Callisto we're making a big joke of the outfit Callisto dressed him in.
There's no discussion of the murders, or the fact that Xavier was beaten to an inch of his life. We do learn that Xavier "ache[s]... in the very core of my bones" and his ability to use his psi-powers have been limited.
There's also an epilogue with Nimrod, who's moved in with Jaime Rodriguez and using his computer to download information about the era he's landed in. Intriguingly, he's debating whether or not his primary programming to protect humans still means killing mutants.
Claremont's wordiness is also especially grating in this issue.
Despite his tics, he's still a good writer, so the issue is a net positive, but a stronger editor might have helped.
The art is nice, in any event.
If you can get past Colossus' giant knee-pads, anyway.
Empath is a very powerful character.
One wonders why he feels the need to participate as a student in the Massachusetts Academy / Hellions. I guess it's part of a bid to join the Hellfire Club, but he doesn't seem to have the temperament for long term goals.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: In this issue, Storm is on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Events from this issue are referenced in Firestar #3, placing this in the middle of that mini-series.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showBanshee, Callisto, Cannonball, Colossus, Cypher, Empath, Firestar, Jamie Rodriguez, Lockheed, Mirage (Dani Moonstar), Nightcrawler, Nimrod, Professor X, Rachel Summers, Rogue, Roulette, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde), Sunder, Tomas Rodriguez, Warpath, Wolverine
Strange, Nimrod looked more normal in the uncolored Essential X-Men book, then again my memory could be wrong.
Posted by: David Banes | November 11, 2013 10:18 PM
This issue with the murder of Morlock children was the foreshadowing of the Mutant Massacre Saga.
Empath...he's one of those characters, like the Purple Man, who really needed to be killed in order to end their threat. They are just way too powerful. I realized this while watching JESSICA JONES and the Killgrave storyline. Mind control is a serious power to fight against, and usually most characters who have this power are horrendous people, which, I suppose, is the purpose of them.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 2, 2016 10:08 AM
Er...Andrew, you are aware that a significant amount of X-Men have that power as well? (There are some right in this issue alone.)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | June 4, 2016 10:58 PM
By the way, concerning Xavier's outfit, I heard that Claremont originally wanted to have Xavier wake up in women's clothes (!!!)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | June 4, 2016 11:06 PM
I rather liked Firestar's appearance here. That's no small feat, considering this was the first - and to this day, virtually the only - appearance I've ever seen from her outside "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends," of which I was a die-hard fan in the days of my youth. I've also read the "Firestar" miniseries, but that's about it.
She's almost the inverse of Kitty Pryde. She's a girly-girl [crumpled in a chair in the final scene, so embarrassed she wants to die] enormously powerful, she's really not cut out for the super-life at her chosen school, a blatantly-manipulated pawn in the scheme of things, but she's given enough integrity as a character that her decision to return to the Academy is believable, even if it lets people like Empath run rampant. Her belief in the school's headmistress parallels the Xavier students, giving Emma Frost more dignity and respect than she'd ever had (or earned) before. Even if you think Angelica is making the wrong decision - and we all do - we can respect her choice and at worst, shrug and say everybody makes bad decisions in their lives.
Not saying it was Firestar's greatest moment, but I thought she worked very well here.
Posted by: ChrisW | June 4, 2016 11:53 PM
Always found it interesting that in the Spider-Man cartoon Anjelica is a college student but Claremont and DeFalco aged her down to 15ish in-continuity.
Posted by: Jeff | January 18, 2017 1:40 PM
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