Characters Appearing: Ben Locklin, Callisto, Conal Duran, Dazzler, Lila Cheney, Malice (Marauder), Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine
Uncanny X-Men #214
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #214
It's really fine. His faces can look a little dead-fish, but his action and detail i'll take any day.
After a scene with Wolverine and Callisto practice-fighting...
...the X-Men get a call from Lila Cheney saying that Dazzler has been acting out. The X-Men go to an expensive nightclub in Dallas and find that Dazzler has been possessed by the Marauder called Malice. Malice possesses each of the X-Men (except Psylocke) in turn...
...but when she gets to Storm, realizes that Storm can't be controlled because she's already faced and embraced her dark side, so there's nothing left to entice her. That's an interesting idea; it's been a while since Storm revamped her personality and look but a nice reminder that the change wasn't just about getting a mohawk.
When Dazzler asks why Malice chose to possess her, all the X-Men can say is that she is powerful (another nice reminder considering most readers probably didn't think of her that way) and a friend of the X-Men. This would also seem to be a clue regarding the plans of the person who hired the Marauders, since their main assignment was killing off the Morlocks, not the X-Men. Whatever the plan was, it doesn't seem to have come to fruition, although Malice is shown continuing to observe the team after it (she? he?) has been chased away by Storm.
Since Dazzler is under attack by the Marauders, the X-Men suggest she might as well join the team, and she accepts.
During the fight with Malice, while Rogue was possessed she left the nightclub and gives a WWF style speech to the press, loudly proclaiming that she was an X-Man, thus ruining their reputation.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: It's worth noting that Cerebro is broken after Sabretooth's attack and none of the current team have the expertise to fix it, which may explain why the X-Men aren't looking for the missing New Mutants.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Note that Wolverine says during the file with Callisto that stabbing him in the throat would kill him but Sabretooth tearing out his throat didn't kill him in Classic X-Men 10.
Posted by: Michael | February 26, 2014 8:24 PM
I'm starting to remember how I saw a great strength emerging or re-emerging with these issues of Claremonte's. It was that he was he dusting off several characters that hadn't had too much use in X-Men nor had I read. With the next few issues he dusts off Dazzler and Havok and makes me suddenly care about them and like them a lot, along with Polaris ever so briefly before Malice gets to her.
Okay Dazzler had a series, which I know nothing about, but Havok seems to mostly be a guest appearance and that's it, oh and he's Cyclops brother...and that's it. Their personalities never really clashed nor did Havok ever have much of a character before. So I love it when a writer sort of re-invents/gives spotlight to someone and makes it work.
Posted by: David Banes | February 26, 2014 8:43 PM
I find this era of X-Men to be much better than anything between this and Byrne's departure. Things are progressing well, and I think this X-Men team is one of the classic line-ups. I agree with David's comments.
Storm's defeat of Malice is a cheat. Despite getting a Mohawk and wearing leather, there has been very little "darkness" exhibited in her.
The Rouge/Rogue comment is something that only makes sense in a comic book. In person, no one would ever say the one for the other!
Posted by: Chris | February 27, 2014 9:02 PM
Looking at this at the same time that fnord is posting reviews of early Jim Lee work on X-Men, there seems to be a basic rule.
If you want your female X-characters to look hot, call Jim Lee.
If you want your female X-characters to look bizarre and freaky (and, like fnord says, to have the face of a dead fish), call Barry Windsor-Smith.
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 8, 2015 11:49 AM
Malice is like Selene, another of these CXlaremotn concepts that seem to be sword-and-sorcery or demonic beings explained as "mutants' sot hey can fit into the X-Men universe. With Selene, it's halfway workable -- and she does use real magic to augment her mutant psychic vampire powers -- but Malice? Malice's mutant power seems to be that she can turn into an evil, mind-controlling necklace.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 20, 2015 11:48 AM
Is it ever made clear that Malice is a mutant? I mean I get that most of the Marauders are mutants, but some aren't (Vertigo). Is it possible that it's never been made clear what Malice is, and that she's simply a mystical entity under the control of Mr. Sinister?
Posted by: Mark Black | October 20, 2015 1:58 PM
"The supervillain Malice was created by Uncanny X-Men writer Chris Claremont. She is a member of Mister Sinister's Marauders. Being incorporeal, she has no physical body of her own and has to possess the body of others. Those she possesses manifest a cameo-like choker around their neck. It is unknown whether this is a physical artifact or an illusionary one."
Posted by: clyde | October 20, 2015 2:18 PM
Even as a kid, Malice never made sense to me- if she's a mutant, she should have parents, a physical body, etc. Did her physical body die?
Posted by: Michael | October 20, 2015 9:23 PM
Malice was just another unfinished storyline. But she actually does make sense. In this issue alone, she's tearing the X-Men apart as a team, accomplishing psychically what the Marauders did physically. Wolverine loses confidence in his own senses [inconsistently, but that's Claremont] and it makes perfect sense that Storm triumphs over the Dark Side, which she already possesses.
It won't be revealed for a few issues, but she's already planning to kill the X-Men, and fifty-some issues later, she will admit it wasn't her best idea. Look at where they are, considering where they were fifty-some issues ago. They hadn't even fought the Brood yet, officially. Considering where they're going and where they've been, I can accept that Ororo already owns her dark side.
So who does Malice go to next? Polaris. This goes back to Claremont's earliest stories. Erik the Red very explicitly brainwashed Havok, but Lorna just kinda joined him. Now he joins the X-Men (and sets up a 'my brother's wife' plot) and she turn evil (and sets up an unfulfilled ending to the Shadow King story.)
I don't have any answers, but I don't see Malice as pointless of a character as others might. In context, she makes no sense, but in the same context she works perfectly. Like Selene.
Someone should just pay Claremont to write "Bondage Comics" for the rest of his life as long as he explains this stuff finally.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 21, 2015 10:45 PM
@Omar, Mark, Michael and Chris: It’s pretty obvious that Chris Claremont drew his inspiration for this character from science fiction author Piers Anthony’s first published novel, Chthon, which was nominated for both the Nebula and Hugo Awards for Best Novel in 1968.
In this story the main protagonist commits the crime of falling in love with a strange and extremely beautiful woman in the forest named Malice and is therefore condemned to death in the subterranean prison of Chthon. The protagonist comes to discover that Malice is a legendary and dangerous siren called a minionette, which are females all identical to each other and semi-telepathic, their beauty and youth maintained eternally by negative emotions, whereas positive emotions cause them pain and sufficiently intense love kills them.
I’d therefore posit that Malice is Lorna’s twin sister and she became a being of pure psionic energy while a foetus in her mother’s womb, as a result of Viper’s possession by Chthon, his evil energy making it so that she was able to merge with the negative emotional instincts of others, overriding their personalities and taking control of their bodies. Her being Lorna’s twin would finally explain why Malice’s energy matrix was so compatible with Polaris’s powers and, if we go by Moira’s theory in Uncanny X-Men #254 about Zaladane, how the two became so easily grafted together, effectively inseparable. This would further explain why, when Malice attempted to leave Lorna, Mister Sinister informed her that he was aware of the connection and that was why he had suggested their union in the first place, telling her that she is “the unchanging pole star”.
We have never previously understood quite what Sinister meant by this phrase, but now it becomes so damned obvious. Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor, is a BINARY STAR, a system which consists of two stars orbiting around their common centre of mass. So when Davan Shakari (Eric the Red) gave Lorna the codename Polaris he obviously knew she was a twin and that she would come to be psionically bonded to her. Sinister obviously also knew Lorna and Malice were twins, but as to how he discovered this and what destiny his bringing them together pointed to…
Posted by: Nathan Adler | October 22, 2015 7:18 AM
Started reading the last comment without noticing who wrote it and got to "I’d therefore posit that Malice is Lorna’s twin sister" and I thought, man, Nathan Adler's ideas are fun to read.
Posted by: Erik Beck | October 22, 2015 8:41 AM
Erik the Red very explicitly brainwashed Havok, but Lorna just kinda joined him.
This isn't true. In the issue, Erik the Red brainwashes Lorna first and then she knocks out Havok and Erik brainwashes him.
Posted by: Red Comet | October 22, 2015 12:27 PM
No, it's not. Alex hears Lorna scream and runs back to the house where Lorna is already 'evil.' Then Erik says Alex will be useful. During the fight, Alex is the only one who even hesitates like he's fighting the brainwashing. Then in #107, Lilandra's exposition specifically states that Erik only learned of the X-Men through Lorna, "though he refused to say how he learned of her."
Yes, you can read the issue as though Lorna is brainwashed just like Alex, but they are treated very differently throughout, and Lorna never questioned the brainwashing. A different way to read it is that Lorna didn't need brainwashing. Never gets explained, but she was totally willing to turn evil.
And Nathan's explanation actually explains [I can't believe I'm writing this] how Lorna and the Scarlet Witch could legitimately be sisters. I don't get how Zaladane fits in [because I'm too lazy to look it up] but they come from the same 'father,' Magneto, and have the same 'birthplace,' Wundagore.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 22, 2015 10:16 PM
Your theory doesn't make sense. Lorna is acting like a normal woman and having normal thoughts about settling down with her boyfriend until Erik shows up at the door and blasts her. After that when Havok gets back she's a totally different character, raving like a villain out of Batman '66.
Lorna also thinks Erik the Red is Cyclops at first when he's at the door so they've clearly never met and/or colluded before. In the time it took Havok to run back to the house does it make more sense that a man she never met before talked her into a life of super-villainy or that Erik used his alien tech to do a quick mind job on her?
As for only Havok fighting the brainwashing: it was because the issue was about brother vs. brother and that added some more drama to the Cyclops/Havok fight which was the issue's focus. If Iceman was still on the team then we probably would have gotten some similar dialogue between him and Lorna.
And finally, why wouldn't the X-men throw Lorna in jail if she wasn't brainwashed?
Posted by: Red Comet | October 23, 2015 2:19 AM
While it was surely as far from Claremont's intention as possible, Nathan Adler's description of the "sirens" from the novel Chthon also explains Grant Morrison's character Cassandra Nova.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 23, 2015 7:35 AM
Because it's one of Claremont's first never-finished subplots. How did Erik the Red find out about Lorna and only learn about the X-Men through her? He was a Shi'ar agent studying Earth, and the Shi'ar already had a lot of information about Earth. Wouldn't he have learned something about the X-Men just doing his job? Wouldn't he be obligated to explain how he learned of Lorna to his boss?
I'm not saying it makes sense. It doesn't. But something happened between Erik and Lorna that was not like the basic 'superhero brainwashing' between Erik and Alex. A different type of brainwashing which Claremont intended to explain in 300 issues, fine, I'll buy that. But there was *something* going on which wasn't the Claremont brainwashing we would all come to love. It just never got explained. Maybe it was the Shadow King, who knows?
As for why the X-Men didn't throw her in jail, they weren't present for the actual scene, and couldn't tell the difference between her and Alex after it was all cleared up. And anyway, she's family. They didn't make Alex pay for destroying an airplane.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 23, 2015 7:13 PM
When Lorna opened the door, she said, "Wha...you! It's impossible! It can't be!"
If he did indeed know Lorna, Erik may have had his helmet off when he came to the door, and she recognized him. If she had thought it was Cyclops, her reaction probably would have been something like, "Wha? Scott? Is that you underneath that get up? Why are you wearing that thing?"
Not sure who he would be, but it must have been someone she thought was dead, or missing.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 4, 2016 9:35 AM
It's interesting how each reader sees different things whenever they read a comic. Take Malice, for instance. Nathan Adler sees Lorna's twin sister, while I see someone who could be related to the Shadow King. Claremont had already put Rogue in place as his sleeper agent. Now it was time to terrorize them again with Malice. There could still be a connection to Polaris, but the Shadow King could have known about this and factored it into his plans, especially since Lorna becomes important to him later in the Muir Island Saga.
Malice must have had a body before she became a telepathic entity, but she moved past it much the way the Shadow King did. They transcended the need for physical forms, other than when it suit their needs to possess people, something they got a sadistic kick out of regularly.
Like I said, everyone sees something different in what they read. It's a part of what makes reading so fun.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 4, 2016 9:42 AM
Or someone sees a hack writer who people idolize for stories he never ever told anything close to on an actual page.
Posted by: AF | June 4, 2016 11:31 AM
Man, why you gotta drag Steve Englehart into this? ;)
Posted by: ChrisW | June 4, 2016 5:43 PM
In case you were missing the horrible music of the 1980s but wanted new Dazzler product, here's what Lila Cheney's band sounded like when Dazzler was a back-up singer on the night the New Mutants showed up for a concert.
And yes, there is another song with Dazzler herself. The song is actually better, and the special effects are so good they'll make you ignore the Longshot cameo. Guido is in this one, and he's awesome.
Posted by: ChrisW | June 29, 2016 2:26 AM
Thanks for that link Chrisw. That was an awesome set of videos. That is really put together well for a non-professional production.
Posted by: clyde | June 30, 2016 1:45 PM
That Lila Cheney video was fantastic.
Posted by: J-Rod | February 24, 2017 2:37 PM
Comments are now closed.
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