Uncanny X-Men #199
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #199
We start with Cyclops in the Danger Room, confirming that he's still in top shape after having been in retirement for a while.
Moira comes in to break the news to him and Wolverine that Professor X is dying. Xavier has pushed himself too hard while he was supposed to be resting, and now he may not live to see the birth of Cyclops's child.
This news is upsetting to everyone, but it sends Rachel Summers (Cyclops's child from another timeline, although her mother was Jean Grey and not Madelyne Pryor), once again unable to bring herself to talk to her "father", to the graveyard where Jean is buried and, after Jean's parents leave their nearby house, Rachel enters. She finds the holempathic matrix crystal given to the Greys by the Shi'ar, and something about feeling her presence in the crystal causes her to inherit the power of the Phoneix.
In a flashback/memory prior to that, we see something from Rachel's timeline when she was used as a mutant-hunting hound. The MCP have the figure appearing in the flashback tagged as Ahab, a character from the 1990s Days of Future Present annual event.
Note how human he looks.
Promptly after receiving the Phoenix Force, Rachel is hunted down and killed by Wolverine and the Avengers in order to prevent her from turning the world into an unearned paradise. Actually she just passes out and we don't hear from her again this issue. Before passing out, she explicitly references the Beyonder as a threat she means to defend against, equal in weight to safeguarding mutant rights.
Meanwhile, Mystique has invaded Valerie Cooper's house. She has a proposal for Cooper: amnesty for past crimes in return for working directly for the government. It's a well thought out proposal: with anti-mutant sentiment on the rise, Mystique wants a safe haven for herself and her crew (and she probably has her own schemes that involve having greater access to the government). And with "Freedom Force", the government will have direct command over a group of super-beings. With the Avengers' security clearance currently under revision, Mystique couldn't have picked a better time.
Mystique also points to the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver (both former members of the Brotherhood), Mantis, and Swordsman as former criminals that were subsequently accepted by the government, as Avengers in their case.
Valerie accepts the proposal, with the condition that they prove themselves by arresting the founder of the original Brotherhood of Mutants, Magneto.
Actually, there's a second condition, which is that they accept Spiral, currently appearing in the Longshot mini-series, onto their team.
Spiral enjoys the sport of being on the team "...while i wait for the proper confluence of astral forces... to enable me to rejoin Mojo... and continue our hunt for the runaway."
Magneto is located at the Washington DC National Holocaust Memorial, where he and Kitty Pryde are attending an event where you announce your name and the name of family or friends whose fate is unknown after the Holocaust. It turns out that Kitty had a great aunt Chava that her grandfather lost track of, and a Ruth and David Shulman, knew that Chava was in the resistance but died in Auschwitz. Ruth Shulman knows Magneto as well.
Mystique, who had been posing as Lee Forrester (the real Lee is held prisoner elsewhere, but i'm counting her as appearing here), chooses this moment for the new Freedom Force to attack.
The rest of the X-Men scramble to resist the attack. Destiny is especially well-used in this fight...
...but there are a lot of cool moments.
In the end, Magneto allows himself to be arrested, shaken by the fact that the Shulmans were terrified of him when he revealed his powers.
Val Cooper and Henry Gyrich seem to show up on this last panel of this issue, but it may symbolic or it may not be them; the MCP don't list Gyrich as appearing in this issue. Cooper of course appears earlier in this issue so she's listed either way.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The X-Men next appear in Uncanny X-Men annual #9. Spiral's appearance here takes place between issues #1 and #3 of the Longshot miniseries, which i unfortunately have in a trade. Don't ever buy trade paperbacks, people. They can only screw you up.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAvalanche, Blob, Colossus, Cyclops, David Shulman, Destiny, Elaine Grey, John Grey, Lee Forrester, Magneto, Moira MacTaggert, Mystique, Nightcrawler, Phoenix Force, Pyro, Rachel Summers, Rogue, Ruth Shulman, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde), Spiral, Valerie Cooper, Wolverine
I wish Mystique had brought Oliver North as an example of the Government making deals with criminals. It would make the set-up more relatable to.
Then again, it was a whole year too soon... I did not realize Claremont was that aware of his times.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | November 13, 2012 7:12 AM
In Amazing Heroes#39, Claremont stated that the Cthulhu island "and 3 or 4 other nearby islands" were Magneto's own personal country and an absolute dictatorship, requiring his permision for extradition. It would supposedly join the UN and get diplomatic immunity for Magneto.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 8, 2013 6:10 PM
I just noticed that Mystique mentions Mantis (who AFAIK was never a criminal, at least in the USA) and fails to mention Hawkeye. I wonder if that was intentional?
Also, Mantis only officially became an Avengers moments before leaving the team back in the 1970s. The government never ok'yed her anyway.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | July 29, 2013 2:16 AM
Claremont also had Captain America mention Mantis as an example of a reformed criminal in New Mutants 40, and compare her to Magneto.
Posted by: Michael | July 29, 2013 7:53 AM
Phenomenal issue. Everything I love about Claremont's X-men right here. Not to mention one of the more essential Magneto stories.
Posted by: gfsdf gfbd | August 31, 2014 12:12 AM
I remember thinking at the time "Why are they forcing that villain from that ridiculous mini-series on the X-Men series?" not knowing that the hero himself would soon be a member of the X-Men. I never did take too much to Longshot or Mojo or Spiral.
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 2, 2015 3:04 PM
I've never liked anything related to Mojo, but I will admit that I enjoyed the use of Spiral in the second UNCANNY X-FORCE run. Seeing her and Psylocke as reluctant teammates was a treat.
As for Ahab, perhaps his more human appearance here occurred prior to whatever happened to him that made him look the way he does later? This, of course, is if you ignore the Rory Campbell business.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 2, 2016 9:59 AM
To me,the introduction of spiral in this issue (or should I say lack of) feels very forced and unnatural...
She just pops out of nowhere without explanation
Posted by: Bibs | September 11, 2017 3:29 AM
Just speculation, but could Englehart and Mantis have been the flip side of the coin for Claremont and his endless subplots? Englehart thought Mantis was worth using in whatever book he was writing and carried her everywhere he went. As bad as Claremont got, he generally confined his stories to the books he was writing. "Ms. Marvel" and "Spider-Woman" got sorta folded into the X-titles, but he didn't make Dark Phoenix the villain in "Marvel Team-Up." Even the New Mutants didn't get drawn into the Jean/Maddie/Phoenix storyline, and they lived in the same building.
Posted by: ChrisW | December 10, 2017 10:54 PM
>As bad as Claremont got, he generally confined his stories to the books he was writing. "Ms. Marvel" and "Spider-Woman" got sorta folded into the X-titles, but he didn't make Dark Phoenix the villain in "Marvel Team-Up." Even the New Mutants didn't get drawn into the Jean/Maddie/Phoenix storyline, and they lived in the same building.
The only other books he really had were Marvel Team-Up, which didn't really have the opportunity to do long-running, continuing plots, and Iron Fist, which he certainly did fold in to other books when he could, ending its main subplot in MTU after it was cancelled. And indeed, early in his X-Men run, Claremont brought in Warhawk and Colleen Wing at various points. For that matter, the N'Garai became X-Men villains because Claremont had created them for the horror books of the 1970s, particularly his work on Satana. And then there's the enormous amount of Captain Britain stuff he brought in over the years: it's how Psylocke and Arcade became mainstays in the X-titles.
The fairest point of comparison is probably Claremont's work on the X-Men after he "returned" to the books in the late 1990s and early 2000s. That was a bit like Engelhart coming back a decade after his first run ended. And like Engelhart, Claremont pulled back in many of his beloved minor characters and lost subplots. He did much the same when he took over Fantastic Four for a while, using a bunch of stuff like the Stuarts and the Captain Britain Corps.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | December 11, 2017 7:06 AM
See also: Jessica Drew and Lindsey McCabe becoming part of Wolverine's supporting cast, the viper and Silver Samurai turning up in New Mutants early on and then turning into X-Villains in general after he'd used them in Spider-Woman and MTU.
It'a 1970s Marvel writer thing: Engelhart, Gerber, Mantlo, Starlin, and, yes, Claremont tend to take "their" co-creations and adopted characters everywhere they go. Some of them are just less obtrusive about it than others, and most of then characters are less obnoxious than Mantis.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | December 11, 2017 7:13 AM
Those are all good points. It was just a top-of-my-head idea, primarily based on the fact that nobody likes Mantis. It's not like Carol, Betsy, Jessica or even Arcade, nobody likes Mantis. Rachel and Rogue and Mojo are such loveable characters with enjoyable subplots by comparison, and it's not at all forced.
I only learned of Mantis while reading "Silver Surfer." I pity you long-timers.
Posted by: ChrisW | December 11, 2017 11:30 PM
When you've read more of the site, you'll find Ben Herman. He likes Mantis. He loves Mantis.
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 12, 2017 7:37 AM
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