Uncanny X-Men #259-260
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #259, Uncanny X-Men #260
Colossus reappears in a loft in Soho, Manhattan. It happens to be where Genoshan magistrates have caught up with Phillip Moreau (son of David Moreau, the Genegineer, Genosha's chief scientist) and his mutate girlfriend, Jennifer Ransome.
Piotr Rasputin is not aware that he can turn into Colossus, but in his new guise as Naked Man he helps Phil and Jennifer fight off the Magistrates...
...who wind up getting arrested despite their claim that they're accredited law officers just doing their jobs.
Meanwhile, Dazzler washes up on an island owned by Lila Cheney. Lila isn't home, but she's found by Lila's butler/bouncer, Guido (always interesting to see his pre-Strong Guy appearances), and nursed back to health by him and Lila's house's AI (tagged as "House") in the Characters Appearing.
Note that House says that it can't see Dazzler, and then effectively does anyway.
Another thread on the Dazzler side is a guy named Freddie Stanachek unearthing the unreleased Dazzler movie.
Freddie tries to convince his superiors at the Baron-Fox Hollywood studio to run the movie. He makes the argument that Batman is popular, and Dazzler is a real life super-hero. The studio tells him that the movie is old news without a hook to promote it. At the moment they are more interested in the fall of Eric Beale, the original producer of the movie who was also obsessed with Dazzler. And we'll be seeing him again in this arc as well.
Luckily for Freddie, he runs into Dazzler at a club where she's gone to try to reconnect with herself after hearing about, but not remembering, her identity from Guido and House.
It's really funny how you can guarantee that random thugs will show up whenever there's a super-hero in need of a power demonstration scene.
After taking out the thugs, Dazzler leaves with Freddie, but doesn't yet agree to do promotional work for the release of the movie.
Watching a news report on the attack at the club is Eric Beale, even more obsessed than ever.
The next issue opens with Beale shooting a room full of mannequins dressed up like Dazzler and then going to try to assassinate the real thing while she lounges in a "bodyglove" bathing suit in the ocean, providing several pages of cheesecake. She avoids getting assassinated and then agrees to work with Freddy, thinking that it will help draw out the assassin. She winds up getting kidnapped by Beale. He dresses her up in her old outfit and puts a bag on her head.
Since she can generate lasers from her eyes, she's able to burn eyeholes for herself. But she wants to avoid hurting Beale, so she eventually uses the softer side of her powers to hypnotically subdue him. She had been wondering what the point of her memory-less existence was, since all she had been doing while promoting the Dazzler movie was what others expected of her, and she now thinks it is to bring joy to others.
There is also a scene of the Morlock Masque torturing Callisto, a thread that is relevant to the Colossus plot as well as a subplot that began when Moira MacTaggart sent Callisto to check on what's left of the X-Men's mansion and will continue through #264.
In furtherance of that longer plot, we see Moira hooking up Legion to her version of Cerebro in an attempt to locate Callisto and/or the X-Men (the Muir island mutants know that the X-Men are alive thanks to the earlier arrival of Polaris, and they are afraid that the Reavers are hunting them down). Legion, although mentally ill, is a telepath, which is why he's being used. But when the device is activated, something goes wrong and Forge gets a vision of Amahl Farouk (aka the Shadow King), and hears the words Storm and Cairo.
Phil gets his landlord to take on Colossus, using the name Peter Nicholas, as a superintendent. Colossus' room has a window directly across from a woman that Peter finds to be alluring.
Colossus winds up bumping into her on the street, but she won't stick around to talk to him, and looks like she's on the run from something. He bumps into her again in #260, this time as she's being attacked by a group of thugs in X-Men masks. She demonstrates an unusually good amount of fighting ability...
...but it takes Jenny to drive the thugs away...
...and the model disappears during the fight. More on that in a couple of issues.
In #260, we see Forge and Banshee on Kyrinos ("a remote island hideaway that, over the years, the X-Men have come to know well"). They are on their way to Cairo, following up on the info Forge got from the Cerebro short circuit. But they decide to change course and go to America instead when their pilot, Cylla, shows them a magazine with a cover story about Dazzler. They send Cylla on ahead, and a second later, the plane explodes.
We learn that it's the work of Fenris, the Strucker twins.
Forge and Banshee, aware that something weird has been going on with Moira, take a page from the main X-Men and decide to pretend that they were killed in the explosion so they can continue to operate without being watched.
Maybe it's really just because i'm not too interested in this Disassembled period, but i find that Claremont's writing is degrading. His characteristic verbosity is on full display here, just an exhausting amount of unnecessary and flowery dialogue, and yet if you haven't been following this series all along you're bound to be lost reading this. I suppose a lot of the problem is editorial; there are no footnotes at all and no one is forcing Claremont to introduce all the secondary characters the way Jim Shooter used to. So Jennifer Randsome is identified only by her Genoshian number until midway through #259 when she's called "Jenny", there's no background on the Strucker twins' brief appearance, no background on Legion, etc.. For longtime readers this is all rewarding, but those not already deeply involved in the continuity are going to be left out (and perhaps therefore gravitate to Rob Liefeld's New Mutants). Add to that the fact that you've got several mysteries going on (the Callisto thing, Shadow King's corruption of Moira and Legion, the reason behind the attack on Cylla's plane) and of course the fact that the main X-Men characters are scattered and amnesiac, and there isn't a lot of immediate interest to grab on to. Space is wasted doing a Pretty Woman style montage dressing up Dazzler in various outfits and other such nonsense. The Colossus plot is the more interesting, showing that without the X-Men he'd gravitate to a life as an artist and excel at that. It's also worth noting that when he first reappears he's able to jump heroically into action despite being naked, but Dazzler has to be rescued and nursed back to health so that she can be used in a plot about how pretty she is, with Freddie falling in love with her and Beale trying to kill her because of his obsession and eventually kidnapping her and putting her in a kind of gimp mask. Getting out of the situation by using her hypnotic abilities to pacify him... i guess the positive interpretation is that it's showing the blank slate Dazzler using her powers in a nonviolent way, but there's something creepy to me about her bringing joy to the guy that's been obsessing over her.
I might have overlooked all of that if these stories also featured a main contingent of X-Men punching Magneto in the face or something, but these issues feel like all subplot and are kind of a yawner.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Colossus appears in X-Factor #54 before he and X-Factor appear in Uncanny X-Men #262. There's a female figure shown in the scene with Legion's mental backlash. It could be either Amanda Sefton or Sharon Friedlander, and both are technically around on the island so i've tagged them both to hedge my bets. Polaris is also behind the scenes here; Legion locked her in a cell in the last arc.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAmanda Sefton, Andrea Strucker, Andreas Strucker, Banshee, Callisto, Chief Magistrate Anderson, Colossus, Dazzler, Eric Beale, Forge, Freddie Stanachek, Genegineer (David Moreau), House, Jennifer Ransome, Legion, Masque, Moira MacTaggert, Phillip Moreau, Pipeline, Roman Nekoboh, Shadow King, Sharon Friedlander, Skullbuster II, Strong Guy
Note that Alpha Flight 83-90 have to take place before this story, since Moira knows Sean is alive in Alpha Flight 87-90 and she doesn't find out he's alive after this issue until issue 273, and then Sean gets zapped by Lila into outer space in that issue before he can reunite with Moira.
Posted by: Michael | May 4, 2015 12:23 PM
I took it as she still has the moves but her frailer body doesn't provide the same impact or reflexes. I know i can't kick like she does in that panel.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 4, 2015 12:29 PM
@Michael: I'd suggest Masque changes her whole body, and the body of a model is not up to the level of "contact sport" that Callisto was.
Re: Masque, was he shown to change the faces of humans prior to this, or does he only do so to other mutants?
As for Colossus, what is this sketching ability of Piotr's that enables him to see behind the veil? While it could be argued that he's just working off his memory of Jenny during their first encounter in Genosha, he did it with Roma at the start of Fall of the Mutants!
By the way can anyone recall whether Callisto as billboard model was given a name/ pseudonym in these stories?
And does anyone recall when Cerebro managed to get transferred from the X-Mansion to Muir Island?
As for Fenris ehre, back in the 1980s Claremont revealed in interview he intended to reveal a classic Marvel villain as behind Weapon X (this was before Apocalypse was created). With the flashback scenes in Uncanny X-Men #268 with Baron Strucker's alliance with the Hand contrasted with the contemporary scenes with his children, Andrea & Andreas, and Matsuo Tsurayaba, one has to wonder if Claremont intended finally revealing Wolvie’s origin through flashback during his proposed Dark Wolverine Saga, with Wolfgang revealed as that CLASSIC Marvel villain he earlier hinted at!? Out of all Marvel's major villains the Baron seemed to be the one most significantly tied into mutant history what with not only his children as increasing threats against the X-Men (intended to take a more prominent role in the Wild Boys grouping that would take over the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club, a plot replaced with the dull Upstarts one directly after CC left), the flashback scenes in #268, and of course the historical Uncanny X-Men #161.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 4, 2015 4:08 PM
"And does anyone recall when Cerebro managed to get transferred from the X-Mansion to Muir Island?"
I always assumed this was a copy of Cerebro installed by Prof. X in the past.
Posted by: clyde | May 4, 2015 7:08 PM
Here's my theory about Masque and the X-masked gang that attacks Cal: they're both pawns of the Shadow King, who's playing cruel games with the X-Men and trying to pervert their identities.
Claremont seems to have planted clues that Pierce was influnced by SK. In the X-Treme X-Men 2001 annual, this is explained as SK being able to instrumentalize weak-willed guys with dark personalities. Pierce fits the bill. So does Masque.
Masque's use of his power to make Cal beutiful is more psychologicalky sophisticated in its cruelty than anything we've seen from him before. And his use of limos and getting Cal on billboards suggests and high-class, high-dollar operation. Not exactly in the league of a guy who lives in the sewer, but entirely in keeping with the MO of a guy like Farouk who runs various legit nightclubs and whatnot, as seen in the fat Karma saga.
Masque is eager to get the codes for the X-Men's basement. Why? It seems to me SK had an MO here as well: he's systematically laying claim to the X-Men's bases, first taking back the Outback base, then (in 254-255 and these issues) going after Muir Island with the Reavers and through Legion. Through Masque, he was trying to get the remains of the mansion.
Another common MO: the cultivation of twisted X-Men. We'll see that SK is developing his own X-Men on Muir Island. Masque also perverts the image of Xavier's dream by turning the Morlocks into parodies of the X-Men. (Including several he's never met.)
(The fact that Kyrinos proves not to be a safe haven for Forge and Banshee suggests another base has been compromised. Note Fenris thank an anonymous "he" for the tip about Banshee and Forge. Is "he" Legion? Or Reisz?)
Masque wouldn't have much reason to send human goons in X-Men masks after Cal, but it's the kind of thing SK might do just for his own amusement. Again, we get nasty parodies of the X-Men.
All of this is just circumstantial evidence, but it does look like there are some patterns here, and we know Claremont wanted the SK threat to be big.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 4, 2015 11:54 PM
This makes a lot of sense, Walter. If this was the case, i wish Claremont had been a little less cryptic about it, since what's on the printed page feels like a bunch of disparate and nonsensical stories. But it seems like the fights with Harras probably had a lot to do with that.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 5, 2015 7:43 AM
The title to #260 refers to "Star 80", the movie about Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 5, 2015 10:51 AM
The story was all sub-plots, and I think that was deliberate. Issues and arcs might have a particular focus [Dazzler, Hardcase and the Harriers, Masque and the Morlocks] but I think Claremont was intending this to be one long graphic novel.
When he first returned to Marvel, Claremont specified that the mutant titles were plotted years in advance and he would not be writing "X-Men," and it was indeed years before he actually returned to "X-Men." From this, I speculate that the 'plotting years in advance' had started from him. It's not *just* setting up interminably long unresolved storylines, even though that's a major part of it.
I suspect the long-range plotting started small. He came in when Thunderbird was killed and the following issue was a fairly generic monster/demon story that you might find in the late 70s. Then he brought back Erik the Red to brainwash Alex and Lorna, established Stephen Lang and an upcoming Sentinels plot, and a mysterious (presumably Shi’ar) person watching over that, leading us to #107-108. He might have had the idea to amp up Jean’s powers with cosmic rays, but the three-parter with Black Tom and the Juggernaut were probably just following the characters to see what happened next. Need to bring back Magneto, better get on that. He did begin to set up future storylines, but I suspect that was just as a writer in a serial medium.
When Byrne came aboard, there clearly wasn’t a huge amount of planning in advance. Safe to say they had no idea what would eventually happen to Jean or Wolverine. They probably worked out the longer arcs [Mesmero, Magneto, Savage Land, Moses Magnum, Alpha Flight and then home again] but it’s highly doubtful they came up with details like Banshee losing his power or Wolverine meeting Mariko until they were actually nearing those points in the story. Warhawk may have been directed by a faceless master, but who knows when Claremont and Byrne actually came up with the Hellfire Club as villains. Also safe to say Claremont wasn’t full of long-range plans for those guys.
In fact, my thesis is that it wasn’t until Byrne left the title that Claremont really started the long-range planning. By this time, he’d settled in as writer, and I’d speculate that (without Byrne’s input) Claremont was just working on getting the title up to #150. The first post-Byrne issue was a Man-Thing appearance, just showing what Scott was doing with his new girlfriend. A Doom/Arcade 3-parter to bring back some of the minor characters and give Storm some attention. Caliban, Garokk and a build-up to the fight with Magneto.
I also think that it was Marvel paying royalties that cemented the deal for Claremont. Face it, true believer, royalties on “X-Men” were probably more than 99% of writers were making in any medium, so he’d be foolish not to stick with a good thing. I suspect that this was when he started trying to go for the miniseries and other events [Magik, Wolverine, God Loves, Man Kills, the never-done Storm or Rachel miniseries, etc.]
After #150, that’s when I think he started planning in the long-term. Magneto’s redemption had been foreshadowed in “Days of Future Past,” #150 showed him burning out on villainy, so Claremont started aiming at #200 when he’d take over as headmaster. In a Comics Journal interview to promote the new title “New Mutants,” he mentioned they were thinking of having Magneto be one of the teachers. Note, this is also when he started bringing back Sentinels and eventually building up to Nimrod and Rachel Summers.
After #150, the first thing he does is bring back the Hellfire Club and show what kind of place the Massachusetts Academy is, and Shaw’s new Sentinels. Then there’s Kitty’s Fairy Tale (which was Cockrum’s idea, but also introduced Lockheed.) Then he brought in Carol Danvers and Deathbird, and brought back Corsair for a long storyline which would culminate in the Brood, and the X-Men meeting the X-Babies. In the meantime, he set up Illyana’s arc, did some stuff with Dracula (which probably just didn’t work out for whatever reason) and gave us a flashback of Xavier and Magneto fighting Baron Strucker. Except for the Brood themselves, these all had ramifications leading up to #200 and beyond.
Scott meets Madelyne, Kitty and Peter are hot for each other, Carol Danvers (and Rogue) join the X-Men. Claremont immediately disregarded Caliban’s loneliness and gave him a huge group of mutants to belong to in the Morlock tunnels. Going through these pages, the Morlocks became increasingly prevalent over the next couple of years. By #176, he’s introduced Val Cooper to argue with Gyrich about the dangers mutants pose. Gyrich will continue with the Sentinel program, Val finds Forge and discovers another way to fight mutants.
We’ll never know how much Secret Wars I or II interfered with Claremont’s plans, but except for the Peter/Kitty relationship and maybe Rachel, probably not that much. Kitty and the New Mutants fight the Hellfire Club, Storm continues her transformation with Forge and “Lifedeath.” She and Cyclops were evenly matched in #154, and less than 50 issues later, she trounces him for leadership of the team. Like I say, I think #150-200 were intended to be an arc of their own.
And of course he was setting up future arcs as well. Selene appears and joins the Hellfire Club. There was whatever Claremont was planning with Michael Rossi. The Nimrod storyline simply petered out, but the X-Men fought Magus. The Morlocks showed up more and more in the build-up to #200 [the Power Pack issue, Xavier getting mugged] and “Secret Wars II” was the perfect opportunity to bring in Magneto, permanently.
It was after #200 that things went awry. Jean’s rebirth being the most obvious, but his plans for the Morlock Massacre being committed by Sir James Jaspers is included, changes to “Fall of the Mutants,” the decision to turn Maddy evil and end “Inferno” the way it did. [By the way, I do think that Illyana resetting everything and becoming a little girl again is exactly the way he’d intended it all along.] Increasing editorial interference, difficulties keeping an artist, or difficulties with the artist, everything started going off the rails. Claremont held on as long as possible, but we know how that worked out for him.
That said, if I’m right about any of this, I do question the wisdom in the first place. At no point did any of this stuff build to grand climaxes. Partially because of the interference, partially because of his own dangling plotlines, partially because things change over time and the original ideas went stale. I did enjoy the attempt though.
Posted by: ChrisW | May 5, 2015 12:50 PM
The scenes in Uncanny X-Men #191 and here may be meant to suggest Callisto was originally a beautiful model who was getting raped by a gang which caused her mutant powers to manifest, transforming her body into that of a hardened warrior able to defeat them.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 9, 2015 4:57 AM
Ironic, given that Callisto may have been intending to rape Angel.
Posted by: Thanos6 | May 9, 2015 7:06 AM
After all, Callisto, meaning "most beautiful", was the lovely nymph that was raped by Zeus and consequently transformed into a bestial form. So Claremont named her by drawing directly on the Greek myth.
However, the myth goes a step further, and Callisto becomes pregnant as a result of the sexual assault. So did Claremont intend to reveal that Callisto became pregnant as a result of the attack? If so, where is that child now?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 9, 2015 7:18 AM
I remember when I was reading these issues as a kid, it was very unclear what the Siege Perilous was supposed to do to the people who go through it, and I still don't quite get it... The way Roma describes the Siege when she gives it to the X-Men makes it sound that what it does is a literal reincarnation, in the Hindu tradition: the Siege will judge you and either make you reborn with a new, better life (if you're a good person), or a worse one (if you're evil). Even as a kid I realized that Claremont must have thought of some way of bringing the X-Men back after they enter the Siege, but I couldn't imagine how he would actually do that, since I though the heroes would literally be reincarnated as babies...
And then it turns out they come back the same way they used to be, except with amnesia! Okay, I guess having no memory could sorta help them build new lives, as seen in these issues, but they still have the same face and the same powers, their enemies and friends will still recognize them, so they'll inevitably be drawn back to their old lives, which is exactly what happens. So did the Siege really help the X-Men in any way? They didn't actually get new lives in any permanent sense of the word, especially since they soon regained the memories of their old lives anyway...
So what was the point of the whole Siege unplot? Undoing it like this just made the whole dramatic "all the X-Men except Wolverine are dead" ending of UXM #251 feel completely pointless. It was nonsensical plot twists like this that made me quit reading X-Men around this time, and I wouldn't return until Morisson started writing the title.
Posted by: Tuomas | June 11, 2015 6:11 AM
What on Earth was Andrea Strucker thinking? At least Andreas was wearing sensible sandals, but white six-inch heels with a black string bikini? Call the fashion police! Oh, the humanity!
Posted by: ChrisW | January 16, 2016 9:33 PM
Thinking about it, this may have actually been an attempt to give Ali some sort of closure, at least for the time being. Both in Annual #11 and shortly before going through the Seige, she'd been explicitly shown pondering the possible directions of her life.
One of the things I like most about Ali is that she really doesn't want to be a superhero. Certainly if the story calls for it, she can do kick-ass superhero stuff, but she wants to be a singer. Or, more generically, an entertainer. To bring joy to people's lives.
Considering her reappearance in the series was as a back-up singer for Lila Cheney (and a brunette!) this is actually a fairly-good conclusion for her 50-issue story arc. It leaves her some place Claremont can find her when he wants to bring her back, and it's a lot more positive than, say, "Dazzler: The Movie." This was also the point where Peter came back, and where did he wind up? Getting a (brief) happy ending with 'the most beautiful woman in the world' who caught his eye right here. No idea if Claremont intended to retire Peter (who was obviously much more central to the X-Men than Ali) but at the very least, he deserved a bit of happiness after the misery of the last several years.
Posted by: ChrisW | January 28, 2016 8:10 PM
I also have to admit that I always found it weird that Peter's eye is randomly caught by a beauty on a NYC billboard, and by the end of the storyline he's not only bagged her, but she turns out to be the hardcore sewer-dwelling killer mutant that he (and we) have known for so long.
Basically, how did Masque and co. get her on that billboard? It would be one thing if Callisto's disfigurement [?] had been shown ten or twenty issues ago, but it's literally happening at the same time her billboards are already up, and she's fully-recognizable to newly-immigrated Phillip Moreau. "The latest in a seemingly-endless succession..." This implies that the babe has worked her way up through the modelling industry to the point where people who actually make decisions noticed her and started promoting her. She also needs to show up for photo shoots.
Callisto's not really in a position to do any of this, being held prisoner by Masque, and decision-makers of the modelling, fashion and advertising worlds are probably the last people in the world to be fooled by a pretty face and sexy body. It's what they're selling, so they know the flaws. Who does a used-car dealer buy cars from?
It seems like there's a counter-point to Ali's story going on, and it's always felt wrong to me that the 'babe' in question turns out to be Callisto. Masque being involved makes a convenient excuse, but on a story-telling level, something feels out-of-kilter.
Posted by: ChrisW | January 28, 2016 8:33 PM
@Nathan Adler and Clyde, regarding Cerebro and Muir Island.
I don't know if this was the first mention of there being a Muir island Cerebro, but quite a bit later -- maybe after Bastion guts the X-Mansion during Operation Zero Tolerance? -- I seem to recall that the X-Men call in a favor to have Moira send her copy of the Cerebro unit over. Because the X-Men are out, Cecilia Reyes ends up having to sign for it at her hospital, in one of those great, "Why do super-heroes think stuff like this is a normal thing to do?" moments that pop up now and again.
Posted by: FF3 | January 29, 2016 1:12 PM
Cerebro is definitely a problem for any continuity-minded person. It was a big secret when Xavier told Scott about it. Over time, it grew in importance. The Hellfire Club tapped into it, Mastermind tampered with it, and Sabretooth flat-out destroyed it. Much time was spent showing us that Cerebro is gone. Even Magneto couldn't fix it.
The 'mini-Cerebros' create another problem. The technology exists, it can be duplicated, and it obviously has been. Moira would certainly have a Cerebro unit, so why can't Storm (Magneto, Betsy) call Muir Island and request another unit be delivered ASAP?
It does detract from Cerebro being a cool thing that only the X-Men have access to, but considering they've always been using the basic technology anyway, it's not intrinsically different from the early X-Men getting to watch a program on television and a later X-Man pulling out his cellphone.
And who is Cecilia Reyes? I recognize the name, but cannot think of who the character is. Not Archangel's girlfriend, not the dance instructor... I know the name, but who is she?
Posted by: ChrisW | January 29, 2016 8:13 PM
I think she was the...nurse? With forcefield powers? Introduced around Zero Tolerance?
Posted by: Thanos6 | January 29, 2016 8:30 PM
Yeah, that's her.
Posted by: Michael | January 29, 2016 8:54 PM
Hmmm. And she apparently first appeared long after I had stopped reading. So how the hell do I recognize her name? This is just weird.
Posted by: ChrisW | January 30, 2016 12:17 AM
@ ChrisW Good catch with the connection between the Shadow King and Masque. It makes perfect sense, using him to gain access to the ruins of the X-Mansion. The Shadow King would then have control of the Australian base, Muir Island, and the mansion AND would have pawns in all three places to keep that control. Respectively, Pierce and his Reavers, Moira MacTaggart/Legion and the corrupted mutant heroes there, and Masque and the Morlocks.
In addition, he may have been trying to gain control of the lighthouse in EXCALIBUR. Alysande Stuart may have been in his control, as she was frequently reporting to Moira on Muir Island, and Fenris showed up in England, perhaps influenced by the Shadow King, who had tipped them off in UNCANNY X-MEN #260 in regards to the whereabouts of Forge and Banshee (so he was already using them). Or, perhaps the Shadow King was influencing Mesmero? In any case, Claremont left EXCALIBUR before he could finish his plans.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 10, 2016 10:09 AM
@Andrew: Interesting re: Mesmero given he was allied with the Strucker Twins who we know were under the Shadow King's influence at that time. However, if Claremont intended Mesmero as Davan Shakari...
@fnord12: Roman Nebokoh is portrayed as Jim Shooter here, so I'm not sure how he was meant to connect to Namor?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | July 10, 2016 7:02 AM
If Masque changing Callisto's appearance to that of a "billboard model", and the group of thugs in X-Men masks then chasing her down a dark alley in Uncanny X-Men #260, was the Shadow King forcing her to relive the event that triggered her mutant powers to first manifest, reshaping her earlier model physique hinted at by Dani Moonstar in Uncanny X-Men #190 (not equipped for self-defence) to that of a streetfighter capable of overcoming a gang of costumed attackers, do you have a theory for who the original group of thugs that caused her mutant powers to manifest were? Were the group of thugs wearing X-Men masks in Uncanny X-Men #260 meant to suggest costumed characters we'd previously been introduced to in the MU had done it, particularly when you consider the parallel Callisto myth had her raped by a powerful being?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | July 10, 2016 8:00 AM
Given that Masque lived underground and had no money, I'd say he was able to set up Callisto as a model and paid for the billboard by funds provided to him by Reisz/Shadow King,and in turn Masque agreed to obtain the access codes to the mansion so Farouk would have access to it. And being Masque, he certainly got his kicks messing with Callisto, furthering his own twisted needs.
The thugs in the X-Men masks...I'm not sure about them yet. But it's possible that he sent them to attack Callisto wearing the masks perhaps as a way to continue stirring up mutant hysteria.
Another idea is that the Shadow King wanted to maneuver Callisto into linking up with Peter so she could eventually assassinate him while under his control.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | July 11, 2016 9:50 AM
@Andrew: However, the Shadow King used Colossus to breach the X-Mansion. So not sure about that angle.
The Callisto origin possibility has some narrative sense, but to parallel the myth properly it wouldn't be a street gang that or whatever but a powerful being which is what I'd suggest Claremont had the gang portrayed with masks for, to hint that it had been a masked Marvel character that had originally raped her (the event causing her mutant powers to first manifest).
There are two variants of the Callisto myth (Callisto = "most beautiful"), from Hesiod and Ovid. Both have Hesiod as one of Artemis'/Diana's virgin nymphs, deceived, seduced, and raped by Zeus/Jupiter. As with most Greco-Roman myths, the girl is blamed for being raped and being impregnated. Hesiod has Calliso hunted and destroyed by Artemis. Ovid has Callisto transformed-to-bear by Juno (Hera) version, which ends with Callisto being hunted down to death by her own son Arctor.
So, candidates for a powerful seducer who might have a powerful and vindictive female partner? Sebastian Shaw comes to mind, although later revisions would make Emma Frost too young to be the one who disfigures Callisto. Other possibilities!? In whatever instance, is the mutation is triggered not by the initial attack but by a second "revenge" attack from a party associated with the attacker.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | July 11, 2016 10:04 AM
The assassination angle with Callisto is an unlikely case, to be sure.
However, in regards to Colossus, Claremont wrote Peter out of the title in #264 and intended on leaving him out. He had no plans for Colossus to return so soon, not until close to #300, where he intended to have Colossus and Dark Wolverine battle. Good old Bob Harras made Claremont bring him back sooner, hence why Colossus was possessed into breaching the X-Mansion.
I don't know anything about the Callisto myth, so I can't comment about it, but having the Shadow King involved with Callisto's history would be just another way Farouk was controlling everything and everyone to his advantage.
I think I will mention here that I'm currently creating an entire website revolving around the Shadow King. It will feature such things as pages of each and every one of his appearances in chronological order...and this includes EVERY BTS appearance and EVERY intention that Claremont had in mind. Right now, I've gotten to the point of UNCANNY X-MEN #175 (when he was influencing Mastermind). It's been quite an undertaking, I have to say, and I still have many stories to chronicle. I'm also including pages of his pawns/hosts (including Farouk, Karma, and even Elias Bogan) and his enemies (we all know who they are). Out of all X-Men characters, I find the Shadow King to be the most interesting of all, and I have always been fascinated with him and his history and influences on such a wide variety of stories and characters.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | July 11, 2016 10:46 AM
@Andrew Burke: Will this be anything like the Cockroach Conspiracy over at the Marvel Appendix site?
Posted by: D09 | July 12, 2016 8:18 PM
@DO9 Ah, the Cockroach Conspiracy...I sort of know about that one. I read about it on that very site a few years ago.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | July 13, 2016 11:29 AM
Maybe the Shadow King is the secret mastermind behind the Cockroach Conspiracy :)
Posted by: Ben Herman | July 13, 2016 1:51 PM
"This was also the point where Peter came back, and where did he wind up? Getting a (brief) happy ending with 'the most beautiful woman in the world' who caught his eye right here. No idea if Claremont intended to retire Peter (who was obviously much more central to the X-Men than Ali) but at the very least, he deserved a bit of happiness after the misery of the last several years.
Claremont DID intend for this to be the "retirement" of Colossus. Indeed in was TPTB bringing Peter back into the fold that proved to be the "final straw" for Claremont and why he quits right in the middle of The Muir Island Saga.
Oh and also Claremont clearly never read Dazzler: The Movie because Eric Beale never loved Dazzler, even then. The graphic novel made it clear that he has just using her for you-know-what (and because he was suppose to represent the generic "evil yuppie" archetype that was the rage around the time.)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | July 13, 2016 7:29 PM
I know Beale says here that he loved Dazzler, but I never took that literally. He's gone so far around the bend that he's likely gone from desiring her to wanting to control her to hating her to plotting revenge on her to convincing himself that he loved her to hating her for rejecting his love, etc. Dazz is a helluva drug, and this is a Claremont superhero comic.
With Peter, it never remotely felt (to me) like a real retirement. Ok, he gets a happy ending and the guy's earned it, but he's lost his memories, his parents and sister have no idea what's happened, and the fact that his new girlfriend is the ex-leader of the underground Morlocks doesn't help. He might have been brought back a little early, but I never thought he'd stay gone for very long.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 13, 2016 9:50 PM
It looks like Claremont did with Peter what he tried to do with Scott: Write him outwith a happy ending, and then bring him back every so often for the big battles? But he certainly didn't want him back for a while, not until #300, where he had planned to have Colossus fight Dark Wolverine and ultimately pull his claws out of him to stop him, all amidst the Shadow King storyline.
Little did he realize that the writers who came after him would take Colossus and thrown him onto the Acolytes.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | July 14, 2016 9:27 AM
Cyclops at least got a big happy ending. I mean, big. After Jean died, he left the X-Men and spent almost 40 issues moping, meeting Lee and then Madelyne before getting married, and then it was another 25 issues when Madelyne gave birth and he intended to (mostly) retire.
You can say Scott had earned the happy ending more than Peter did, but Peter had obviously earned something too, and the comparison of coming back from the dead naked in a NYC loft and being immediately adopted by foreign agents who hook him up with the ex-Morlock leader (who's now a hot babe supermodel even surpassing Mary Jane Watson-Parker, who had to *work* for her career) with Scott's six years - in publishing time - of suffering and growth... Words fail me.
Andrew, I'm not disagreeing with you, just speculating freely on my own. Scott gets to go away for a while and who knows when he'll be back. Peter, it was a question of 'when,' not 'if.'
[This also makes one wonder what would have happened if Claremont/Byrne had been allowed to go through with their original "Dark Phoenix" story. I think Byrne's statement on the matter was that she'd have become a recurring villain, but Claremont had already been working on Scott's growth as a person, like dating Colleen Wing when he previously thought Jean was dead. At least Jean-Colleen-Jean-Lee-Maddie-Jean makes sense, but what would he have done with Dark Phoenix as a regular character? Turn to Emma Frost? Uhhh, don't answer that.]
Posted by: ChrisW | July 14, 2016 8:46 PM
About that happy ending thing for Scott, shouldn't he look a little more, I don't know, happy? I mean the guy looks perpetually sad during this marriage (and possibly the courtship too, but I can't remember at the moment).
Posted by: D09 | July 14, 2016 10:22 PM
He was VERY happy during X-Men 175-176, X-Men 181 and X-Men/ Alpha Flight 1-2. He only looks scared starting in X-Men Annual 9, which is the marriage started to fall apart.
Posted by: Michael | July 14, 2016 11:05 PM
Sad, I mean, not scared.
Posted by: Michael | July 14, 2016 11:06 PM
He didn't look that happy in #181, although under the circumstances, that's understandable. And only at the end of #175, for that matter, but still understandable.
Still, if your life can be reduced to a few hundred comic books and you only look happy in five of them, that's a bad sign. No wonder Scott went insane and his marriages fell apart.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 14, 2016 11:46 PM
Okay, I'm hopefully laying things out a lot clearer this time around:)
The scenes in these issues showing Callisto transformed into a "billboard model" by Masque are perhaps intended to hint what the founder of the Morlocks had looked like before manifesting her mutant abilities, and the cryptic scene with the gang of thugs pursuing her down a dark alley was hinting at the circumstances.
The only further detail Claremont provided for Lila Cheney's origins during his run was that someone on Earth had sold her to an alien who had forced her into fighting in intergalactic gladiator tournaments.
The most logical villain from Claremont's run to have orchestrated the abduction of Lila as a baby would seem to be Mister Sinister, what with his modus operandi of kidnapping mutant children (and Nanny not being created at this point). As to the alien he sold her to, with Lila's powers working on the basis that she must have previously been to a particular location in order to teleport there later, and given that we find her teleporting across the Imperium in Uncanny X-Men #269 and 273-277 without explanation, I'd suggest the Shi'ar Emperor, D'Ken.
As to why Mister Sinister would sell Lila to D'Ken, I'd suggest he did so in order to gain Shi'ar technology, specifically an incubation-accelerator (similar to the one Davan Shakari/ Eric the Red had used to age Magneto in X-Men #104) which he could use to accelerate his clones to adulthood.
Or did Mister Sinister order Callisto's kidnapping, one of his Marauders sexually assaulted her – triggering her mutant powers to manifest – and she managed to escape, later being admitted to hospital to deliver Lila, at which time they returned and stole the baby (similar to how they kidnapped baby Nathan from Madelyne), and Callisto fled beneath the streets and helped form the community of Morlocks? The Morlock tunnels were known for blocking psionic scanning, so Mister Sinister would not have found out about their existence until much later, but when he comes to, does he order his Marauders to finish her properly this time, and everything she established? Might this also finally explain the reason as to WHY Mister Sinister wanted the Morlocks slaughtered?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | July 17, 2016 2:52 AM
My main objection is with a pre-transformation Callisto being incapable of physical combat. [Also with her being a totally hot babe, but this is comic books, so you expect such things there.]
What self-defense moves would she have and where would she have learned them? I agree she wouldn't be capable of the down-and-dirty fighting that Callisto the Morlock Leader can do, but (a) it's not like girls don't get into fights between themselves [which is kinda hot :D ] (b) if she had any moves, she would have learned them at her basic skill level, which is that of a hot babe who's very conscious of how she looks. Judo and Akido would be very understandable techniques, being mostly defensive and not likely to leave bruises on her arms, legs or face. I've taken classes in combatives and believe me, even the winners come out with a lot of bruises, and that wasn't even fighting dirty.
I could see Callisto (or Dazzler, or Janet Van Dyne) being masters at those techniques, at least because it's comic books and the heroes have to win sooner or later. But not being built for combat is different from being strong and healthy and training in self-protection. [Carrying a gun would be a good option too.]
The rest of your point certainly makes sense. Thinking about it, could Sinister be the one who attacked Callisto? It was still early in his career, he had learned about his power over people at the orphanage, but hadn't reached maturity yet. He would be the "Zeus" in the Callisto mythology. She fought him off because her mutant powers manifested and escaped into the tunnels.
It's an open question if Sinister was Lila's father, or if Callisto gave in (peacefully or otherwise) to the next guy she met. If Sinister was Lila's father, it would have taught him a lesson in human biology and opened up his plans for, say, trade with the Shi'ar. He has to rethink his ideas for humanity, and Scott Summers, to include breeding and cloning.
If Sinister isn't Lila's father, then he still learns a lesson in breeding, still reconfigures his plans for Scott Summers, and giving him the urge to teach Callisto a lesson, and the people she's found sanctuary with, leading to the Mutant Massacre. Face it, Sinister is an ultrapowerful villain with no real motivation, we can write him according to our purposes [which, oddly enough, is just what he does.] He becomes an expanded form of Eric Beale, who has a natural attraction to a hot babe [Dazzler] and then goes far overboard to do whatever it takes to get her, according to whatever his latest definition of "get her" is. Worth noting that Dazzler and Callisto really didn't like each other.
Which ties back into the billboards, that Callisto has what Dazzler wants, without even trying, and Callisto has been kidnapped, attacked, warped, and become famous, all without leaving Masque's prison. Street gangs wearing X-Men masks are just the lower-class equivalent of the billboards.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 17, 2016 7:43 PM
@ChrisW: Only problem with Sinister being the attacker himself is that Claremont intended him to still be in the body of a child at that point. So it was either one of his Marauders, or he just took advantage of Callisto after the attack due to her being pregnant.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | July 17, 2016 8:02 PM
The problem with Sinister being anyone's father is that he's still prepubescent. That a big part of his motivation as conceived by Claremont. He's a master of cloning because he can't be sexual and he's been waiting for a few hundred years or so. He has an adult's knowledge, but can't experience adulthood directly. Also, Sinister's only known base of operations is Nebraska making it far to connect him personally breeding with Callisto, since she was able to end up in NYC. It's possible she became an orphan in the Nebraska orphanage, her powers manifested after an attack of rapists(funny thing that she can't use those powers in her "Beautiful" form) and she was only able to escape after giving birth, leaving the child behind for Sinister to barter with. She'd still have to get all the way to New York City and find her way underground. Possible, but there's a gap there.
Also, Masque controlling her appearance(and thus her powers) seems to be a big weak spot for someone who had to lead by force.
Was there a lead rapist who was rich and blonde? That might explain why Calisto had Sunder kidnap Angel.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | July 17, 2016 8:17 PM
How old of a child? And how... [looking for a word] immature of a child? There are children who can procreate biologically. Freakish muties, but they still exist. Unless someone does somethin' about it. Grrrrr.
Think about it, if mutants are a symbol of future consequences and alienation, particularly sexual alienation, then what could be a better way to set up a villain than as someone whose mutant powers appear - and becomes a father - when he's still trying to understand that not all girls have cooties?
And if he did take advantage of Callisto after she was pregnant, than the results would surprise him, and impel him to work on this breeding and cloning stuff.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 17, 2016 8:21 PM
Brian, I'm sure Nathan will get back to you on the rich blond guy who might have led Callisto to the Angel. Nathan has definitely been thinking about that. Trust me. :)
I don't see the Nebraska orphanage as being that important. Early on, yes, but by the time Sinister is really working out cloning and his plans for Scott, he obviously has control over other places. Callisto might have been the first time he really tried to exert his power elsewhere, and it blew up on him, so he reacted like an immature teenage boy getting shot down.
The best argument I can see for Nathan's point is that Sinister is doing to Callisto what Eric Beale did to Dazzler (and most of the other males in Dazzler's life as well.) It's not love, it's not desire, unless force was used, it's not even rape [Dazzler and the Beyonder] but it's still not right. In Beale's case, he had nowhere to go until Dazzler re-appeared. In Sinister's case, he was starting to go out, see the sights, learning how to meet the chicks, and Callisto shot him down.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 17, 2016 8:31 PM
Could D'ken be Lila's father? It would be harder to explain than Sinister, but it makes the connections between Sinister and the Shi'ar very understandable, setting up Lila as a tormented intergalactic thief, connecting her to Cyclops who has a similar relationship to D'ken, and explaining why Lilandra is so interested in Xavier, Scott's real 'father.'
Posted by: ChrisW | July 17, 2016 8:39 PM
@ChrisW I don't know how old Sinister is biologically, but he looked younger than Scott in the Classic X-Men back-up. If he could be sexual, that'd be one less reason for him to be upset at being stuck at the age he appears as. If we are talking on a meta level, then you have a point, but it's not what I see as Claremont expecting me to infer. But I've been wrong before.
As for D'Ken being Lila's father, she doesn't show any of the avian characteristics of being a Shi'ar. If Sinister altered her DNA, that might account for it though. But if she were half-alien, she wouldn't just be sold by Earth, but she'd have some sort of rights under Shi'ar law I assume, unless Sinister was very good at hiding all the Shi'ar DNA. It's barely possible.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | July 17, 2016 8:57 PM
Sinister's appearance in "Classic X-Men" was an illusion. We don't know how old he is, we only know how old he appears to Scott. And my point is that even approaching sexual maturity could mess him up a lot worse than he already is. He doesn't know how to talk to girls, he doesn't know how to talk to anybody as an equal, he has only the vaguest notion of biological reproduction. Many girls - not a large percentage obviously, but they do exist - experience the same basic thing, having periods and developing breasts long before they reach their teen years. At least they're normal human girls, Sinister is an evil mutant who's spent a few hundred years trying to understand this stuff before he even gets close to attempting a normal sexual relationship.
The nurse at Scott's orphanage was trying to reach out, complimenting him, saying nice things and taking him on fascinating trips. [I'd swear there was a reference to her changing her outfits for him in true Claremont manner, but can't find it.] Nate didn't get it. So he wiped her out. This would be before he found Callisto, and saw 'oh, that's what the guys were talking about!'
D'ken is just speculation on my part because nobody else fits the bill as well, except Mr. Sinister. It would explain Lila's history, Callisto's rejection, and the future plotlines. If you come up with a good explanation why it's been Norman Osborne all along, I'll shrug and go with it.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 17, 2016 9:15 PM
I would also add that this interpretation of Sinister is not all that different from what almost everybody in the world thought of comics fans at the time.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 17, 2016 9:28 PM
@ChrisW: I'd tend to agree with BCS that young Nate had not set foot out of the orphanage since arriving there purely on the basis of Claremont's reveal in his 1995 interview for Seriejournalen.dk that he was 8 years old and had entrenched himself as master of the place. And Claremont further revealed that he had never gone down the path of any intimate efforts and that his first interest would be Rogue, through Gambit.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | July 17, 2016 9:49 PM
In #259 Genegineer Moreau refers to Genosha's president being male. At what point did he go from being Mister Reneau to Madame as shown in X-Factor #60?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | July 17, 2016 10:38 PM
@ChrisW: Actually just remembered a Claremont interview from around the same period where he mentioned that Gambit (with the mind of young Nate) would start a relationship with Kitty Pryde, his first.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | July 18, 2016 6:39 AM
@ChrisW & Brian: As for the rich, blonde guy, only one I can think of is Donald Pierce. That's it! We know Pierce had a mad-on for mutants, most likely because he ended up as an amputee because of one. Recall too his claim to have created the original Reavers, a commando-style team of thieves that included Pretty Boy, Skullbuster and Bonebreaker. So were these three part of his original gang that came off second-best when they attacked a particular "billboard model", Callisto ending up pregnant with Lila? We know Pretty Boy had a penchant for making victims more "pliable" for his suggestions (think Jessan Hoan/ Tyger Tiger), and this was likely the case before Pierce subjected him to the cybernetic enhancements (i.e. perhaps Pierce's modifications just enhanced what was already there). Also, Pierce seemed to be "grooming" Lady Deathstrike, coming across as pretty creepy around her. It's worth noting that his first name, Donald, means "ruler of the world" and his surname Pierce is derived from the Greek Petros, the ammonite shila form by which Zeus was worshipped. So there we have it, Donald Pierce and his gang of thugs attacked Callisto, her mutant powers manifested and she cut through them like a knife through butter, becoming responsible for the original Reavers:) As to the attack, was she the spoils of one of their scores, the rich daughter of one of their targets?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | July 18, 2016 9:03 AM
@Nathan Adler, you might be reading just a bit too much into the significance of Donald Pierce's name. He was based on the visual appearance of actor Donald Sutherland in the early 1970s, during which time he played Hawkeye Pierce in the movie version of M.A.S.H. That's where his name, Donald Pierce, comes from.
Years later it would be revealed that Pierce first became a cyborg after being injured in an encounter with Cable and Iron Man in Albania, which is what led to his hatred of mutants.
Posted by: Ben Herman | July 18, 2016 12:09 PM
@Ben: Doesn't mean Claremont didn't go on to make the decision to use Pierce in Callisto's origin later after Byrne had left. He was certainly portrayed a lot creepier in the late 1980s.
And Cable was obviously not Claremont's intended character to have caused Pierce's need for enhancements.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | July 18, 2016 3:10 PM
Rogue, Gambit and Kitty Pryde??? When you put it like that, I just flat-out *LIKE* my idea better. Ew.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 18, 2016 6:39 PM
@Nathan Adler Claremont's interview in Comics Journal #152 didn't refer specifically to X-Tinction Agenda, but he mentioned that even though he and Louise and Walt Simonson knew what they were doing, mistakes got made on Days of Future Present Annuals. I'm inclined to think that Louise innocently co-opted the Genoshan President and made her female. Since she wasn't Claremont's character at that point, he didn't use her in his issues. As for how she became President, maybe after her husband died, she ran for his office? It's happened before.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | July 18, 2016 6:59 PM
@Brian: Do you have a scan of that journal issue you can email through, as my old copy seems to have gone astray.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | July 18, 2016 9:53 PM
The Comics Journal interview isn't that good. It was obviously conducted in the heat of the moment after Claremont was fired, and Kim Thompson flat-out admitted he had no idea what the X-titles had been doing for years. My copy isn't available either, but from memory, I can confirm Brian citing Claremont about "Days of Future Present," 'the sad part is that those were done by people who actually knew what they were doing, Walt, Weezie and me.'
Posted by: ChrisW | July 18, 2016 11:53 PM
The merits of Claremont's interview aside, it was over a year later that it took place. Jim Shooter had just made news by leaving Valiant, so it wasn't conducted in "the heat of the moment," it was late 1992, at least a year later. Claremont was still just that passionate.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | July 19, 2016 1:28 AM
It was the issue with the McFarlane interview, right? I haven't even seen that issue for over a decade. I'll stand by my interpretation, but obviously have no way of checking the facts.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 19, 2016 2:17 AM
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