Uncanny X-Men #261
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #261
But then i got to his issue, which fully introduces Hardcase and the Harriers, and, yeah, ok, stick to the X-Men.
We saw a little bit of these guys in Wolverine's solo series, but here we meet the whole group. I'm splitting this double page spread in half.
They are a diverse group of mercenaries very much in the style of, and as corny as, the likes of the Howling Furies or Captain Savage's Leatherneck Raiders. It's said that they were "bounced" from SHIELD when it was disbanded.
To give away the ending, Wolverine has hired these guys to give himself, Jubilee, and the new and improved Psylocke the equivalent of a Danger Room setting. Wolverine is "kidnapped" from a restaurant in Madripoor where Jubilee had been carrying on.
Psylocke and Jubilee track him down, refusing help from Rose Wu and Wolverine's Madripoor friends. And they stage their ridiculous rescue.
As the whole group is getting trounced by one teenage girl with fireworks powers, Hardcase repeats to himself his claim that the group was trained to take on the Avengers.
Note that Psylocke's Elektra-inspired costume marks her as a prospective Master Assassin.
Eventually Wolverine gets free and the whole thing is confirmed to be a test. Then Wolverine's Madripoor friends burst in.
I'm not a big fan of the split up period in general, but this stands out as the worst of it. If we were supposed to see these guys and go, "Aw cool, i hope they get their own series!", forget it.
Also in this issue, Forge and Banshee wind up going to the subbasement of the X-Mansion despite deciding that they were going to see Dazzler last issue. Banshee wants to use the facility's computer to figure out who might be after the X-Men (with Moira now being a possible suspect). But before they get far with that, they're alerted to the fact that Jean Grey has come to visit the site of the former mansion, and she's attacked by (what will turn out to be) Morlocks.
The one with a face for a tongue (later named Bliss) reminds me a bit of a Dire Wraith.
We also learn that Cylla Markham, the pilot of Banshee and Forge's plane from last issue, has survived, and she's now visited by Lady Deathstrike and Donald Pierce. She doesn't know quite what she's getting involved in, but she agrees to become one of his Reavers.
A response in the lettercol says that "Havok is off in Genosha, helping out with the rebellion there".
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 408,925. Single issue closest to filing date = 436,200.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: In the Characters Appearing section, i've only listed the Harriers that will appear again (or, in the case of Battleaxe and Shotgun, have appeared before). Not listed are Lifeline, Ranger, Timebomb, and Warhawk. Jean Grey appears here after X-Factor #54. The subplot with her, Forge, and Banshee becomes the main plot for issues #262-263 and that entry should take place soon after this.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBanshee, Battleaxe (Harrier), Blindside, Bliss, Forge, Hardcase, Jean Grey, Jubilee, Lady Deathstrike, Lindsay McCabe, Longbow, Psylocke, Rose Wu, Shotgun (Harrier), Skullbuster II, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), White Bishop (Donald Pierce), Wolverine
When I first read this issue, I remember thinking "Defeat the Avengers? These losers would be lucky to last a minute against ONE Avenger."
Posted by: Michael | May 4, 2015 2:33 PM
Timebomb was my favorite Harrier.
Posted by: S | May 4, 2015 8:14 PM
"Equipped and trained to take on the Avengers"? Yeeeeeaaah...are we thinking of the SAME Avengers??
Posted by: Bill | May 4, 2015 9:19 PM
Well, Hardcase is British. Maybe he meant the Steed and Peel Avengers. Not that this crew could handle them, either.
The nonsequitur that Pierce knows to recruit Cylla, someone he's never encountered before, to be a Reaver is another clue that there's another mastermind at work. Presumably the Shadow King guided Pierce to recruit her.
Even as Claremont builds a big saga between the panels, we're now at the point where Harras seems to be dictating a number of swerves: it's been said un interviews that he insisted Jean join the X-Men (hence her hasty sabbatical from X-Factor and appearance here), and I doubt Claremont liked having to divert Banshee and Forge from Dazzler's trail to encountering Jean in Westchester. His plans, perhaps already derailed, are getting overtaken completely by editorial.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 5, 2015 12:15 AM
There's a little in-joke/reference among the Harriers, Fnord. Read the names again.
This isn't going to be the last time this "year" that the leader of a group of c-listers talks about being able to "take on the Avengers." I think they were just the go-to team for bragging rights.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | May 5, 2015 1:36 AM
Did anyone else pick up at the time that Harrier member Piston had the same middle name as USSR Colonel Yuri from Uncanny X-Men #275 whose sailor son was killed by Magneto in #150?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 5, 2015 3:34 AM
@Jon - i noticed Bobbi Chase right away. Are there others? I guess Louis Joubert could be a bastardization of Louise Jones.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 5, 2015 7:37 AM
More likely it's based on Deni Loubert, publisher of Renegade Press and formerly Aardark-Vanaheim.
Posted by: ChrisW | May 5, 2015 1:38 PM
Not to mention Warhawk, who attacked the X-Mansion so many years ago.
Posted by: ChrisW | May 5, 2015 1:40 PM
Another problem with this issue- the Harriers have photos of Asian Betsy. How is that possible?
Posted by: Michael | May 7, 2015 1:30 PM
The Harriers were ahead of their time. Now that any well meaning civilian can be a "Mighty Avenger" post-Infinity, they can probably take down scores of Avengers! :D
Posted by: Max_Spider | May 14, 2015 12:41 PM
Is that The same warhawk that appeared in uncanny X-Men 110 and in iron fist? If so, Shouldn't he be tagged?
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | June 23, 2015 1:39 PM
Ok, i checked my iron fist issues. This is a different warhawk. The first was mitchell Tanner
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | June 23, 2015 1:45 PM
Wait, didn't you just have Wolverine in Canada in Alpha Flight? Now he's back in Madripoor? Can we just ret-con out his horrible AF appearance?
I think the Harriers might last a few minutes against the Great Lakes Avengers, provided Hawkeye isn't there as leader.
I also can't figure out the sales. They would seem to indicate that sales were going up at this time, and unless people were really into Wolverine or the hot scantily-clad ninja, why would sales be increasing? This book at this time makes no sense unless you were already a fan. I would think sales would be going down until Jim Lee comes along.
Posted by: Erik Beck | October 3, 2015 9:04 AM
Erik, you have to look at the sales year to year. Last year, the sales averaged 432,745, with the most recent issue 392, 750 and this year the sales averaged 408,925 with the most recent issue 436,200. So the sales are down from year to year. There IS a small increase in the most recent issue but that's probably because the most recent issue was one of the Acts of Vengeance issues- crossovers usually result in a small bump.
Posted by: Michael | October 3, 2015 10:08 AM
Michael - That makes sense. I was just looking at the most recent in relation to the year. And the crossover does make sense for a bump.
But aren't you the MCP guy? How do you reconcile the Wolverine appearance in AF?
Posted by: Erik Beck | October 3, 2015 12:22 PM
I don't see the problem, Eric- Wolvie goes to Canada for a cure, doesn't find it and goes back to Madripoor.
Posted by: Michael | October 3, 2015 2:58 PM
Given the Claremont Women we've seen throughout the series, and his love of flying, I would put Cylla's decision here as the point where he really lost control. It would take some time for it to be noticeable, but it's not like he's giving Marvel new characters the way Liefeld or Lee did. What's he bringing in, the Harriers?
This was supposed to be a downtime issue [which it was] but it was also supposed to bring in new characters like the artists are doing, and it was supposed to be a Danger Room sequence. Remember how awesome it was when Scott started attacking Wolvie, Nightcrawler and Storm during the Proteus storyline? Yeah, like that, but for the early 90s. And it obviously didn't work.
Betsy is the only thing about this issue which stands out in a positive way, and that's only because she... um, stands out. Kudos to Marc Silvestri.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 3, 2015 5:37 PM
I remember the first time I saw Battleaxe (even referred to as 'Axe here), I assumed he was the same character from the early issues of the New Mutants. That's definitely not the case though, or is it? He's lacking Axe's mohawk in both this appearance and Wolverine (although in Wolverine he's totally bald). And he's carrying a two-headed axe here while I think "Axe" only used a one-sided version. I don't think either character got much backstory, but what little they did have might not mesh (would SHIELD have ever had any use for a guy like Axe?)
Posted by: Dan H. | October 6, 2015 11:42 AM
I always assumed that was the same Axe from New Mutants because it sort of makes me feel sad to assume there are two corny axe-wielding clowns running around who independently decided that "Axe" would be a terrific name. When I was a kid, I used to make little lists and databases like this, and I always had to wrestle with my impulse to just disregard this entire issue. Same with the New Mutants "Axe" issue. Jeez Louise, did I ever hate that comic.
Posted by: Adam Dale | April 3, 2016 11:52 AM
I've not read this issue. The Harriers might be a G.I. Joe homage.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | April 3, 2016 2:43 PM
Bobbie Chase sure seems to get a lot of attention in various comics.
What the hell is Psylocke wearing in the restaurant? I mean, it looks good, that just isn't her style. It's the kind of mystic-looking dress Umar or Morgan would wear.
I find the Harriers funny but they really make this issue look like filler. We don't need downtime issues in a period that already feels like downtime and subplots (no matter how good) as a whole.
Posted by: Nate Wolf | June 20, 2017 2:57 PM
I have absolutely no evidence for this, but Betsy's outfit reminds me of Milt Caniff's "Dragon Lady" (and "Miss Lace," who I'm more familiar with) who was very much used for cheesecake, as well as other story purposes.
Honestly, the two-page spread introducing the Harriers reminds me more of Rob Liefeld. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Liefeld hadn't even taken over "New Mutants" yet. McFarlane had maybe taken over "Amazing Spider-Man." In some ways, the issue just screams opposition to company ownership of new characters. This is something I'm making up out of my own head so don't take it as true, but did Bob Harras tell Claremont and Silvestri to write and draw an issue with new characters and mixed-up art styles so he could instruct Liefeld on doing comics the Marvel way?
I forget which Harriers were in those issues of "Wolverine," but from what I know of SHIELD's collapse - wasn't that written by Harras? - I could easily see Claremont using the event to spin out whatever baddies needed for, say, a solo Wolverine adventure, and then being told to make them a team and put them in X-Men.
Again, I'm making this up. I have no evidence at all.
Posted by: ChrisW | June 21, 2017 9:26 PM
This issue was published AFTER Liefeld's early issues of New Mutants, where he introduced the New Mutants.
Posted by: Michael | June 21, 2017 11:33 PM
@ChrisW: The Harriers who appeared in Wolverine were Hardcase, Battleaxe and Shotgun. Speaking of which, Fnord said he'd tag him here but I can't find him in the characters appearing.
Posted by: Nate Wolf | June 22, 2017 3:38 AM
Michael, I think you made a typo about who Liefeld introduced. I'm guessing Cable and the MLF, but this is me being too lazy to look it up, which is why I was just guessing earlier. Ok, could the Harriers be a reaction to Liefeld's obvious lack of characterization or naming?
Making the characters in the issue of "Wolverine" part of a team is a Claremontean thing to do, especially if they're newly-released from SHIELD duties. Nick Fury was playing a larger role in "X-Men" towards the end, whether fighting in the Savage Land or as one of Wolvie's hallucinations.
I'm still just speculating with no evidence. Carry on.
Posted by: ChrisW | June 22, 2017 8:39 PM
Longbow is standing on her toes like a Liefeld chick, Hardcase has a shovel down his pants. I definitely think the two-page spread was a shot at Liefeld.
Posted by: ChrisW | June 22, 2017 8:42 PM
I meant the MLF, yeah.
Posted by: Michael | June 22, 2017 9:44 PM
Added Shotgun, thanks Nate.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 28, 2017 9:28 PM
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