Uncanny X-Men #205
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #205
It also introduces the concept of the Body Shop, a service offered by Spiral that provides cybernetic enhancements to her clientele.
This issue begins with Spiral upgrading Lady Deathstrike.
It's interesting to see Claremont embracing Spiral (who he used once previously in issue #199) and Lady Deathstrike, characters that he didn't create. Claremont's x-mythos is so large now that it could really stand alone and ignore the rest of the Marvel universe and even things done to his characters outside his own books, but that's not the case.
Lady Deathstrike is paired with the three former Hellfire operatives that became cyborgs after Wolverine chopped them up: Wade Cole, Angelo Macon, and Murray Reese.
The future Reavers' vendetta against Wolverine is easy to understand, but Lady Deathstrike's is a little more complicated. She only stumbled upon Wolverine by accident in her last appearance; she was really looking for Bullseye (even if he's meant to be dead, she doesn't know that, but she does know that his adamantium came from her father, which hasn't been confirmed about Wolverine's. And if just any adamantium will do, i know a factory in South Jersey where they produce it around the clock.). And it was Heather Hudson that defeated her. So she has other targets to choose from, but she seems solely focused on Wolverine. In their battle this issue, Deathstrike tells Wolverine that it's about honoring her father, even if her father is dead and he was crazy.
(The Reavers' take on this is similar to mine; they conclude that she's just a psycho.)
After the prologue in the Body Shop, we begin mid-story, with Wolverine already having been hunted down and badly injured. There's a major snowstorm, and Katie Power, aka Energizer of Power Pack, gets separated from her class and stumbles across Wolverine, who is so injured he's unable to speak.
She helps him get escape through Central Park, and Wolverine slowly regains his awareness. He first starts talking in Japanese.
Katie never actually uses her powers against Lady Deathstrike or the cyborgs, and eventually Wolverine recovers enough to make her hide, and he starts fighting back.
To fight Deathstrike, Wolverine has to give in to his bestial side, but he does defeat her and is then shocked to see what she's become.
She begs him to kill her, but he refuses.
And then he takes Katie home.
Claremont does a good job showing how different Katie's worldview is than Wolverine's. His instinct is to run from the police while hers is to go to them for help. And generally Wolverine scares her and it's a battle for her just to continue to help him. But she does so, making her a hero without ever blasting a Reaver with an energy bolt.
Barry Windsor-Smith's art is obviously not for everyone. Jim Shooter has a letter on his blog from the Robert E. Howard license holders complaining about him, and their sentiment is echoed by Jim Galton. But he's generally loved within the comics community, and his style is perfect for this story. In their previous appearance the Hellfire cyborgs were still just regular looking guys, but Windsor-Smith does a great job updating their appearance and also making Lady Deathstrike look iconically creepy and weird. It's a great action issue with the added nuance of seeing Wolverine struggle to regain his humanity while Deathstrike has given up hers.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 449,870. Single issue closest to filing date = 474,412.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Alright, i said that i was going to be ignoring Christmas references, and while so far i've been managing to keep them together anyway, in this case i'm going to really ignore it. Katie Power is out to see Christmas carols with her class at the start of this story; a sidewalk Santa can be seen. But Power Pack #20 took place the day before Christmas, and that story had a tie in with New Mutants #35, which was a tie in to Secret Wars II #7, as was Uncanny X-Men #202. Wolverine is still injured at the beginning of issue #207, which is definitely after Secret Wars II, so this can't be placed out of publication sequence, and can't otherwise take place circa UX #202. So we just have to assume that New York was having an extended Christmas celebration this year. As i've said before, thanks to the sliding timescale, people in the Marvel universe celebrate holidays way more than once a year anyway. Also due to Wolverine's injuries, this needs to take place after his appearance in Captain America annual #8. This has to take place before Power Pack are taken into space in Power Pack #22.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
I'm reading x-men(and the essential side books) from issue 94 up for the first time and I gotta say this was a great issue, really shows wolverines bestial side up close for the first time. What bothers me is after reading the issue I had to do research to find out who the heck lady deathstrike is and what the whole vendetta is all about. At first I thought she was Yukio from Japan. Not once in the issue are the daredevil issues footnoted and that story is 3 years old. Loved the issue but they should have spent at least one page in retrospect. Hoping after this issue that the X-men books start to grow in maturity. Besides a few great standalone issues 1985 was a poor year in my opinion.
Posted by: matthew | December 24, 2013 10:22 PM
See, Matthew, re: the Lady Deathstrike background, that's why you should only read all Marvel comics in chronological order. Reading just a particular series in order isn't good enough! ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | December 25, 2013 12:26 AM
Great issue, the artist really helps show how grotesue Lady Moriko has become, inside and out. Very scary with Wolverine being in a feral mode at the start.
Posted by: David Banes | February 7, 2014 5:57 PM
I've been looking at this time frame today because of issue with Alpha Flight and Secret Wars II. I think by doing a little reordering there could be a better flow. Let me know if I missed something, But I was thinking
Posted by: Jason Doty | February 15, 2014 9:50 PM
Jason, i think i see what you're doing with that, and i agree that X-Men #205 could be pushed out of sequence if it would help. But i'm not sure that this helps with the Alpha Flight problem. The lower bound on Alpha Flight is issue #28, which is a tie-in with SWII #4. And it's with that issue that Talisman leaves and Shaman loses his faith/powers. So pushing Alpha #33-34 after SWII #9 doesn't work any better; there's still no point between Alpha #28 and #33 that the team that appears in SWII #9 makes sense. To be fair, it doesn't work any worse. Either way we have to assume the Beyonder-powered Phoenix brings the group back together in SWII #9. But i'd rather not push the X-Men issues out of sequence unless it really helped with something.
Maybe you can explain a little more if there's an additional benefit that i'm missing?
Posted by: fnord12 | February 16, 2014 11:30 AM
He was responding to a thread on the MCP where it was suggested that it might make more sense to move Secret Wars II 9 between Alpha Flight 28 and 29:
Posted by: Michael | February 16, 2014 11:46 AM
Actually the suggestion was to move Secret War II #9 between Alpha Flight #29 and 30 which would make Alpha Flight no. 33-34 take place after Secret Wars II, but in Uncanny X-Men the majority of the team is on the West Coast rather in New York, where there guest appearance takes place. Also Alpha Flight 33 and 34 need to take place before UX 205, By reversing the order of 205 and 206, we can place the Alpha Flight issues were they should take place, get the X-Men back from San Francisco to New York.
I was looking for some independent thought on this matter, and you seem to be working on this year currently. Try looking at these issues in the order I suggested and let me know your thoughts. I'm not sure if I missed anything, but this flow for the books makes sense and fixes the continuity hicups for this era.
Posted by: Jason Doty | February 16, 2014 7:13 PM
I just don't see how it solves the Alpha Flight problem, and therefore it doesn't seem worth putting the X-Men issues out of sequence. Talisman is off the team and Shaman is powerless with Alpha #28. I see Col_Fury raises the fact that Snowbird is sick circa #33-34, which is probably the most valid concern, but she only appears in a couple of panels and doesn't do anything or say anything, so she could be "sick" in Secret Wars II #9. We're already attributing so much to Rachel. I mean, Valkyrie appears in Secret Wars II #9. So why go into contortions over this?
I think your order could work as well as the current one, Jason, but as i've said i'm uncomfortable flipping the issue sequence and don't see the value in having to re-examine placement for Captain America, Power Pack, the New Mutants, and possibly others by moving these issues around.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 16, 2014 10:35 PM
Unlike Matthew I read this in real time. And I hated it. I didn't like the art at all (I know a lot of people like Windsor-Smith, especially because of Lifedeath, but, well, I didn't like the art on those either). But aside from the art (although that was a big part of it), unlike fnord, I never much cared for Power Pack, so I found Katie a distraction and I really didn't like the whole Mojoverse thing, so the whole Spiral aspect of the story I didn't like at all. The story works well enough, especially in the context of the growth of Logan's humanity, but in a story where I hated the art and didn't much care for key characters, it still isn't enough for me.
But today, I don't just hate it; it makes me livid. Because, like Matthew, I was confused as all hell. I had been collecting X-Men for only a few months but I had been reading it for years - was collecting New Mutants and X-Factor, had the Wolverine and KP&W mini-series. Not once in any of those issues had any Yuriko or Lady Deathstrike been mentioned. I was able to figure out who the Reavers were, but since I had never read the Daredevil or the Alpha Flight, I just couldn't figure out who this was. I also thought it was Yukio at first, though she hadn't appeared since KP&W and there was no explanation for why she would now hate Logan.
I blame Nocenti for this - the references are part of the editor's job. But, even though Wolverine had never faced Deathstrike in X-Men, the comic he was the face of, she couldn't be bothered to make a single reference. Nothing to point towards Daredevil, nothing to point towards Alpha Flight. I spent almost 30 years wondering where the hell the backstory of this was until finally coming across it in the proper order on this site. So, kudos to fnord for making sense of a comic that editorial totally fucking botched at the time. Bringing in a character who had never been in the series, trying to throw in a backstory that it seems like we should know and making it an important story (Logan's injuries will play out over the next several issues) is just sloppy, sloppy work and a disservice to the fans who had been reading this book.
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 19, 2015 2:58 AM
This isn't the last time we'll see something like this from Claremont- he also brought in the Crazy Gang and Sat-yr-9 to Excalibur, without explaining who these characters were. (It took me a year to realize that Saturnyne and Sat-yr-9 were alternate-reality counterparts, not the same person with variant spellings of their name.)
Posted by: Michael | June 19, 2015 7:57 AM
Michael, that's absolutely true, and I'll mention that when I get up to Excalibur. But at least they were Captain Britain characters who had appeared (albeit, in Marvel UK) in his own adventures. Wolverine primarily appeared in X-Men, but if you only read X-Men, you had no idea who Deathstrike was.
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 19, 2015 8:50 AM
Erik, you're a fountain of hate - and I like that because you're hatin' on what I do.
However - I'll defend the Katie Power thing and not because I ever understood for a second what anyone saw in little children's book for little children. But a LOT of Wolverine's best moments were being teamed up with young girls too innocent to be soiled by his company. They bring out his best. Somebody, I daresay, had a little sister they've yet to reveal in his mess of a history, or he secretly longs for a daughter - or something. He's good with little girls, and I say that not otherwise liking the guy. It's enough of a Wolverine troupe for Joss Whedon to have noticed and consciously aped in his run many years later, with Wolverine's (charming) bond with Armor.
Without loving the rest, I do give them a pass on bringing in the Katie Power for another Beauty and the Beast pairing for Wolvie...
Posted by: BU | June 19, 2015 9:28 PM
BU, I accept your defense, partially because you're totally right, just looking at Kitty and Jubilee and Armor ("I'm thinking of renaming myself Claws"), and partially because Katie Power's appearance was the least of my problems with that issue.
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 19, 2015 10:25 PM
I don't remember reading this when I was buying X-Men Classic as a kid, even though I had it. Maybe it was that it was the next-to-last issue and I never really read it, maybe it was just forgettable. I read (or reread) it a couple of months ago, and I thought it was okay, but not really worthy of any further thought either way. I'm not a fan of BWS's art, but I can forgive a one-off issue with art I don't like (or the third in a sporadic string of such issues, though I'm OK with his work in Lifedeath I, which seems to work better with his style). I don't care much for Power Pack and definitely think Katie is out of place here, though others are right to comment about the charm of her pairing with Wolverine. As for the Lady Deathstrike thing, I guess it's just the benefit of years of external context, because, of course, I know who she is now, and I guess I wasn't really thinking about how I "shouldn't" if I were reading only this title without the outside knowledge.
Still an unremarkable issue. I think most of 202-205 is unremarkable (I guess the battle in 202 is fun, but 203 destroys it for me).
Posted by: J-Rod | February 20, 2017 3:33 PM
This issue is almost a foreshadowing of things to come. You could have read this in '91 and you wouldn't know it was made 5 years earlier.
Posted by: will | September 22, 2017 9:29 AM
In my opinion, this is the best drawn UXM issue up to this point, it's so intense and artistic. I love it!
Posted by: Bibs | October 3, 2017 3:26 AM
I am reading X-Men and New Mutants simultaneously in the chronological order, and by now Claremont style of storytelling is starting to wear on me.
It's great when it works, but at this point, he has several plotpoints going on, none of which is going really anywhere, and instead of continuing any of those, he is throwing more and more.
Some of this is possibly connected to Secret Wars II - I really hate each of those issues, I never know what to make of Beyonder, even when the writers try to make it work - but some of it is related to his writing style.
Anyway. In this issue I have no idea what is happening really. I forgot all about Spiral, and I forgot all about Lady Deathstrike, and the book does nothing to refresh it. I have indeed though the lady is Yukio from the Wolverine books.
However the Katie Power thing was a great touch, humanizing Wolverine and the whole issue. I liked that.
Posted by: Karel | May 6, 2018 3:45 AM
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