Uncanny X-Men #267
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #267
This issue opens with Dr. Lian Shen, who has had more costume and facial redesigns as there have been artists in the past few issues, having located the "hideout" that Storm and Gambit have been staying at.
The hideout is actually a dilapidated airplane that Storm has been sleeping in. When Shen and the Shadow King's hounds attack, the child Storm struggles to use her wind powers to get the plane in the air, and they escape.
While fighting off the hounds as they are fleeing, Gambit charges up a playing card for the first time.
Another favorite weapon of Gambit's is a staff. This time it's just a broomstick, though.
Storm and Gambit have barely gotten away from the hounds when they are attacked by Nanny and Orphan-Maker. With Nanny's arrival, Storm initially reverts to a more childish personality.
But at the same time, we see a flashback showing how it seemed that Storm had died when in fact she was kidnapped by Nanny. The answer is "SHIELD surplus" LMD.
(There's an asterisk next to the word SHIELD, but it doesn't go anywhere. Maybe a last minute decision to remove a footnote? The meaning of SHIELD's acronym changed about eight months prior to this issue, but this flashback would have taken place before that, while SHIELD was defunct, at least officially.)
Gambit is able to use another card to blow Orphan-Maker away...
...and that allows Storm and Gambit to flee, for now.
Gambit takes Storm to New Orleans, where first they get some sleep. Storm has nightmares about Nanny, and would have killed Gambit when she woke up and threw her knife if Gambit weren't just that awesome.
New Orleans is also a big part of Gambit's character.
While they are in town, they partner up as Robin Hood thieves, "stripping criminals of their ill-gotten gains and returning them to those who need it the most".
But eventually Nanny catches up with them again. Gambit is captured, and Nanny makes explicit what we saw last issue, that Gambit has a charming ability as a super-power.
Storm, meanwhile, has snuck onto Nanny's ship. She has another flashback, this time showing that her claustrophobia is what allowed her to escape Nanny's control.
Mental illness as a super-power!
Despite her earlier dream showing her going back under Nanny's control when she got into a suit of Nanny's armor, Storm wears the armor to save Gambit.
And Gambit takes care of Nanny.
His attack causes Nanny's plane to crash. Gambit and Storm resurface in the swamp where they crash, but they are unable to see to Nanny and Orphan-Maker's safety. The issue ends with confirmation that Storm's adult personality is fully in charge, with all of her memories back.
As with the past two issues, these issues benefit from a narrowly focused, action-oriented plot. Of course it's now been three issues of just Storm and this new Gambit character, so from a broader point of view we're still mired in a period where the X-Men are just sort of rambling about. But this issue resolves the Nanny and Storm related plot threads (except that she's still in a child's body) and does a nice job of building up Gambit. The art by "Homage Studios" (i still consider this the official start of Jim Lee's run as the regular penciler) is better than last issue at depicting Gambit's various aspects: throwing exploding cards, twirling a staff, plucking daggers out of the air, and chilling in New Orleans. The art does seem to be inked too heavily, which is probably related to the fact that it's credited to a studio instead of individuals.
I had kind of lost interest in the X-Men at this point in realtime, but it's worth realizing that a lot of new blood was being injected, even while the team is in disarray. We've had Jubilee (who had been introduced a little while back but has become increasingly prominent) and the changes to Psylocke, and now Gambit. At the same time, Cable was introduced in New Mutants. Even ignoring the feint of the Muir Island X-Men, it would have felt like big changes were happening in the X-books, and Jim Lee's art will be a big factor as well.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
What is the debt between Lian Shen and Gambit referred to by the doctor here?
While most think it was a result of his attempt to "charm" her in the previous issue, she refers to him as "The Boy" in this issue, suggesting she knows of Claremont's intent for him to be "young Nate" from the State Home for Foundlings.
Just how a Chinese National, who was suggested to have fled Tiananmen Square, came to know of the young Nate from the State Home for Foundlings when she was only a recent arrival to the US is beyond me!?
Is it that she perhaps acquired a job at "his" Orphanage upon defecting to the US?
If so, it's interesting that the "good doctor" is first introduced working at the hospital where Ororo first shows up as a child in Uncanny X-Men #253.
Did "young Nate" have doctors set up at hospitals across the US to identify young mutant children that came in which he would then organise for transfer to his "orphanage" in Nebraska?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 18, 2015 6:24 PM
Hmm, perhaps its no coincidence that Ultimate X-Men had Gambit protecting a young girl in his debut there as well. A somewhat less fantastical situation though, as per the original mission statement.
Posted by: Max_Spider | May 18, 2015 6:38 PM
Note that this issue shows how Storm killed a man that tried to rape her, something that was alluded to in previous issues but never shown.
Posted by: Michael | May 18, 2015 9:12 PM
I would argue that you're really seeing two separate Claremont tendencies being smashed together. On the plus side, Claremont has always taken care to introduce strong female characters and flesh out his minor supporting characters. On the negative side, and i definitely agree it's a big negative, Claremont tends to go into mind control and other forms of sexual domination, over and over again. We can - sadly! - find many more examples of that. So i think we are really seeing an overlap of those two things, rather than Claremont targeting professional women.
Some of your examples are also as much a problem with the changing art styles - again for the worse - as they are Claremont's. Madelyne Pryor, for example, is a deliberate redux of Dark Phoenix. Both outfits are based on S&M clothing, but with Silvestri's art it's much more risque. Moira - unless there's something i'm not remembering from issues i haven't re-read for review yet - falls into your category just because of her clothing. And the difference between Lian Shen's clothing between this issue and the last two is entirely due to Jim Lee being on art instead of the other guys (in her case the problem is less the clothes than the sexualized mind control anyway).
Posted by: fnord12 | May 18, 2015 9:32 PM
Good lord, what is wrong with Storm's face in those panels with Gambit grabbing the knife? Are children really that hard to draw?
Posted by: Berend | May 18, 2015 9:44 PM
Also, good lord, I had forgotten how long this Shadow King build up lasts. We still got two more issues before X-Tinction Agenda, then the Rogue in the Savage Land stuff and then all that nonsense in space before we reach the Muir Island Saga!
Posted by: Berend | May 18, 2015 9:52 PM
On the off chance you never stumbled upon this before:
Posted by: gfsdf gfbd | May 18, 2015 10:41 PM
Re:Moira- in issue 273, she acts unusually sexual with Sean, and in issue 278, Sean says he liked the more passionate Moira at first (ew)!
Posted by: Michael | May 18, 2015 11:11 PM
Pretty sure the art duties were as follows:
Which would explain why the art looks more like Portacio than Lee, and why the next issue is generally considered the true start of Jim Lee's run. Seems like the decision to have Lee start an issue early was at the last minute, so he asked Portacio to pitch in to meet the deadline.
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | May 18, 2015 11:28 PM
Regarding the "professional women to dominatrixes" thing - I'm not sure whether there's some sort of sexism of Claremont going on here. Everything I've read about the guy seems to suggest that he *wants* women to be strong. After all, one of the recurring themes in his comics are uber-competent heroines like Storm...
The guy just likes mind control and S&M. That's why he makes strong women into dominatrixes. Not-strong women get turned into slaves, hounds, whatever :)
Anyway, I must admit that I find the extremely overt S&M content in these issues a little worrisome. How did he get this stuff under his editors' radar?
Posted by: Piotr W | May 19, 2015 9:05 AM
Maybe the women are just being human?
Posted by: ChrisW | May 19, 2015 1:43 PM
Claremont has some male mind control, right? I'm not saying its more common than women (though I must point out that Claremont has a lot of women in his cast, the X-Men themselves had more female members than males as members at some significant points, something pointed out by children during Fall of the Mutants... So maybe there's more victimized women just by virtue of there being more women in general).
I'm not sure either of the Xavier school staff that Empath victimized could be considered dominatrices... Though slutty, yeah (obviously using these words due to lack of better ones, since they're brainwashed). Notable in that they also went through the same racial alterations as Psylocke though.
I know there were male hounds... Though I don't think we see the conversion aside from Scott Summers being turned into one during Days of Future Present. Probably not the most overt example though, was really focusing on other emotional issues in that story.
In terms of clothes there was that time the Muir Island team got dressed in that sort of gear. Though this was less to do with mind control and more of a mixup (and perhaps some naughty thoughts on Amanda's part? Okay, that might be more tongue in cheek. Maybe. ;P)
I don't know how soon the concepts were introduced, but I'm sure Claremont has dealt with Wolverine's psyche having been abused at some point. Rogue's powers do a number on her's also. Though Wolverine's case isn't really presented as sexually. We've had other types of mental conditioning, such as Scott's time at the orphanage or Naze with the Adversary? I can't quite remember the details on the last one, but I seem to recall some of it being voluntary.
But yeah, anyone know more male examples he might have done? I'm actually genuinely curious.
Posted by: Max_Spider | May 19, 2015 7:20 PM
Max_Spider, one male example I can think of is Captain Britain during "Inferno". He falls under the control of Meggan as the Goblin Princess, and becomes her sexual toy. By the end of the issue he is in nothing but a thong and a harness.
I can also think of two examples of male domination from him that didn't involve mind control. There was Angel being stripped to his underwear and held as a prisoner by Callisto (and was going to be turned into her love slave).
And in Claremont's Fantastic Four run there is a scene where Johnny Storm is naked and captured, and a villainess makes a comment about looking forward to turning him into her pet, or something like that...but the rest of the FF show up to save him a few panels later.
Posted by: Dermie | May 20, 2015 12:43 AM
Claremont's work was getting particular fetish-y at this point. Dr Shen's look being particularly gratuitous (To be fair to Jim Lee, though, while Lian Shen is molded to "Image babe" proportions, Storm at least looks reasonably like a young teen. Something to mention since fellow Image founder, Rob Liefeld struggles to get it right.) Actually I was always confused about WHY would the Shadow King even bother using Dr Shen this way instead of someone super powered. Despite all the dominatrix cosplay, she's not particularly formidable. Nor does she have any special knowledge or insight about Storm that the Shadow King could exploit. I don't get her use as a right-hand woman. Was it as Michael suggested and Claremont simply ran out of female characters to transform into "bad girls" that he had to resort to utilizing barely-concieved extras (and I have heard rumblings that around this period Claremont was growing rather bored and restless, so maybe he just resigned to indulging himself?)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | May 21, 2015 12:59 AM
Claremont tried to justify it in issue 279- when he possessed Riesz, Riesz had a heart attack and died, so he needed a physician to keep Riesz's body alive.
Posted by: Michael | May 23, 2015 1:51 PM
You could arguably add Havok in Inferno to Dermie's list, similar to the Meggan-Cap Britain thing. Also maybe Selene + Van Roehm, and Nightcrawler in Belasco's Limbo. I haven't read whichever Claremont tale showed Wolverine as having been abused, but in Genosha Logan did say he'd once been a slave. Claremont's most famous story was of Phoenix mind controlled into being a dominatrix, which she seemed to enjoy, and yes CC returned to that well too often. Though I doubt he'd have been allowed to put too much sexualised males in- he did want to crossdress Xavier but wasn't allowed to, so settled for putting him in s+m morlock gear. As far as CC portraying the women as "really wanting it" goes, yes the Clarmindcontrol blog shows exhaustively that every time anyone is coerced, they will on some level enjoy giving into their darkside. (though as far as i can recall, Storm and Kitty are always too strong and resist this.) Jean's darkside destroys a sun, and she heroically sacrifices herself. On the other hand, Xavier's darkside committed even worse atrocities in the Micronauts series, and has made several other appearances so far, but at this stage Xavier is still portrayed as a moral paragon overall. I think Claremont's thinking was along the lines of the old saw that everyone had dark desires within them that had to be kept constrained by religion. I don't think he's saying women want it, he's saying everyone has a dark subconscious under the good, rational conscious.
Posted by: Jonathan | May 23, 2015 3:56 PM
Also, if we were to leave the Marvelverse, then Claremont repeated his mind control themes in his "Wild C.A.T.S" arc (the one that introduced Zealot's witchy nemesis, Tapestry). And, in this story, some of the male characters are brainwashed and put into S&M-styled costumes...
Posted by: Piotr W | May 23, 2015 4:45 PM
Jonathan--good catch with Havok's "Inferno" outfit (or lack of same). I can't believe I forgot the Goblin Prince! lol
Posted by: Dermie | May 23, 2015 11:59 PM
I'm personally kind of inclined to believe he has a habit of not pulling his punches in general regarding psychic experiences or the psychological ramifications of bodily alterations. In the non-sexual sense, Havok got a bit screwy after Psylocke attempted to suppress his memory. The battle against Horde kind of gave a lot of temptations in a non-sexual sense with Wolverine pretty much the last man standing out of the entire group. Heck, some of the childhood regressions he did from time to time could fall under this category. I think he did the childhood regression thing about 2 or 3 times, and in Magneto's case it wasn't exactly swept under the rug after, being brought up in his court case. Mojo himself is responsible for all manner of alterations, some of which to this day have not necessarily been undone (Spiral and such).
Temptations have been brought up in cases other than psychic ones. Psylocke always was conflicted about her cyborg eyes, Wolverine lusting over the spoken for Jean (although I'm not sure he came up with this himself). Lady Deathstrike is shown to be willing to trade off parts of her body for the sake of revenge. All of these points have been examined in-story at one point or another. This isn't even getting into characters who already came with some manner of mental illness or other such hangups.
For better or worse, he was more than willing to explore psychological aspects to a superhero's life.
Posted by: Max_Spider | May 24, 2015 11:05 AM
The Summer 1990 Amazing Heroes Preview Special confirmed that this was to be the last appearance of Nanny and Orphan Maker.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 8, 2015 11:00 AM
Is there a reason for Storm's hair growing super long by the end of the story? Or does the montage between pages 14 and 16 take place over something like five years?
Posted by: KombatGod | December 15, 2017 5:38 PM
Sroem's hair grows long quickly. The caption says "days pass." I assume it was weeks by the end of the story. But the fact is, Storm's hair gets shaved off in X-Tinction Agenda and it's full length by X-Men #1. She's a mutant, so fast growing hair is not impossible to imagine for someone who can throw lightning bolts.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | December 15, 2017 7:17 PM
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