Brian C. Saunders:
Jonathan, son of Kevin:
Jonathan, son of Kevin:
Uncanny X-Men #97
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #97
He decides to take a break from the X-Men, and Cyclops, Jean, Nightcrawler (wearing an Errol Flynn - i think - illusion courtesy of his Tony Stark image inducer), Colossus, and Storm see him off at the airport. Unfortunately someone has possessed Lorna Dane and Havok, who show up to kill the professor. The villain turns out to be Eric the Red.
This must have been intriguing at the time, as the only previous appearance of an Eric the Red (or Erik the Red, but with a similar costume) turned out to be Cyclops in a disguise, but i don't think an actual explanation for why there is a real Eric the Red is ever given. Considering that, it's an odd choice to use this design, since it's not particularly striking (although at least this version is better than Cyclops' S&M original) and it's a stupid name.
The X-Men are able to protect Xavier long enough for his plane to take off, but they are unable to actually capture Eric or free Lorna and Havok. This is due at least in part to the fact that Cyclops is unable to bring himself to really fight his brother.
I had thought that Cyclops and Havok were unable to be hurt by each other's powers, and for most of the fight between the two this issue, they attack each other by hitting the surrounding areas, causing them to fall or get hit by rubble, but at least once Cyclops takes a direct hit from Havok and acts like it hurts.
The remainder of the X-team shows up at the end of the fight, and Wolverine criticizes Cyclops for not zapping the fleeing opponents. Cyclops responds with a backhand that knocks Wolverine to the ground.
Eric the Red gives Lorna an outfit that looks a lot like something Clea would wear.
It's also in this issue where she first uses the name Polaris.
Storm, fighting Polaris, switches into her costume by zapping herself with lightning. I did not know she could do that!
At the end of the issue we see that the X-Men are being observed by Steven Lang, and someone else is observing Lang.
Two extra pages are added to the Classic X-Men reprint, one showing Havok reflecting on his feelings for Polaris (he likes her a lot and he's really happy living with her alone in the desert) and one showing Havok trying unsuccessfully to resist Eric the Red's mind control. Neither are completely necessary but they add a little dimension to Havok so it's nice.
The Classic X-Men back-up story is a good character piece for Colossus that shows him helping a defecting Soviet ballerina not get kidnapped back into her country. She freaks out on him when she finds out that he is a mutant.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? P (Classic X-Men reprint adds new material)
My Reprint: Classic X-Men #5
Inbound References (8): show
Polaris' new costume sorta resembles the one Cockrum designed for Shrinking Violet in Legion of Super-Heroes.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 21, 2011 1:40 AM
Yessss about Polaris and Vi's Cockrum-designed costumes! I've always thought these were very similar, but have never seen it mentioned--until now, that is...:)
Posted by: Sharon | March 15, 2012 3:35 PM
It's been thirty-six years and we still don't have an answer for who was observing Lang.
Does anyone have any theories?
Then there's also the panel of Davan Shakari in Uncanny #107 where he is shown with a male human profile (albeit in shadow).
So was Eric the Red originally intended as a Shi'ar, or something else?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | March 16, 2012 5:31 AM
Erik the Red (this one) WAS Shiar, or at least a Shiar Agent. If that's what you're asking. He was sent by D'Ken to get/stop Lilandra, if I remember right. As for who's observing Lang - D'Ken?
Posted by: Paul | May 17, 2012 2:09 AM
However, the panel of Davan in Uncanny X-Men #107 has him with a human, not a Shi'ar, profile which would suggest he was originally a Shi'ar agent and not an Aerie.
It still needs proper resolution!
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 22, 2012 7:31 PM
Somehow the panel with Scott back-handing Wolverine here is epicly awesome and something that no one would get away with today. (similar to "laughing like a buffoon Wolverine")
Posted by: Ataru320 | January 30, 2013 8:12 PM
I've seen it said elsewhere--maybe in the X-Tinction Agenda issues of X-Factor--that Cyke's and Havok's beams feel like bee stings to one another. They hurt but don't do much damage, if any.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | April 6, 2013 8:10 PM
Which is of course preposterous.
Posted by: Paul | April 8, 2013 9:45 AM
Claremont writes the introduction to the Marvel Masterworks reprinting this story - he mentions the mystery observer and says something like "presumably the Shi'ar Emperor"
Posted by: S | August 22, 2013 11:26 AM
Isn't this also Lilandra's first appearance?
Posted by: Jon Dubya | September 25, 2013 12:41 AM
Technically, but her first full appearance is UX #105 so the "historical significance" is kind of distributed.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 25, 2013 1:09 AM
On a re-read I figured it was the Shi'Ar emperor too.
Posted by: David Banes | December 8, 2013 4:28 AM
You say in the first sentence that Banshee is there to see Xavier off with the others, but he actually shows up with Wolverine at the end.
Posted by: Matt | June 27, 2014 11:50 PM
Thank you, Matt. I've updated that.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 28, 2014 12:44 AM
It's at the end of Inferno, I believe where they mention how it hurts for Alex and Scott to zap each other (when Alex is trying to goad Scott to blast Sinister) but it doesn't really harm them, the way it would a normal person.
Having now finally read the old X-Men issues, it's interesting to have seen the original Erik the Red appearances and to realize that until here Lorna wasn't called Polaris - nothing in Giant Size X-Men #1 made me realize that.
I got the impression from the way that the Hellfire Club was written into this back story in the backup stories in Classic X-Men that it's supposed to be one of them watching Lang, but it does look more like something a Shi'Ar would be wearing.
And, for those of us who are big Cyclops fans, it's nice to see him take down Wolverine a peg.
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 11, 2015 6:30 PM
@Erik: the following issue has a silhouette that appears to be Peter Corbeau so was he initially being set up as a Shi'ar agent?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | March 12, 2015 6:34 AM
one could argue that Jean Grey rejoined the team in this issue. She's there with Xavier at the airport promising to look after things while he's gone, whether that means active duty is one thing, but she did return here as an obvious set up for the Phoenix Saga.
Posted by: Darren | November 20, 2015 8:12 PM
Claremont really has a thing for just making Lorna evil over and over again rather than bother writing her, doesn't he?
Posted by: AF | January 14, 2016 4:42 PM
The question of Erik the Red's civilian identity has bothered me for years. I like Nathan Adler's theory that he was intended to be Michael Rossi. My reasons:
More to the point, it explains why Erik's civilian identity never got a big reveal. (And I think it's fair to say that one was intended; otherwise why hide his face in shadows?) Before long, Ms Marvel was cancelled and Byrne took the X-Men away from Shi'ar stories, so a reveal that an old minor character from the X-Men was secretly an old minor character from Ms Marvel wouldn't have had much of an impact.
Posted by: Andrew | March 13, 2016 2:39 PM
@Andrew: Being the first proliferator of this theory, we need to then explain how when Eric was unmasked he had the face of a Shi'ar, and then the silhouette profile of a human.
Was Davan a double to hide the truth as too Eric's true identity or was Eric/ Rossi a shapeshifter?
If Rossi and Davan were the one being, how did he return to Earth from The World after D'Ken's death and Jean's repair of the M'Kraan Crystal, and what was he doing in that eight year gap before reappearing in early New Mutants? Did he flee straight back to Earth or...
And if he was a shapeshifter from the Shi'ar empire, what were his motivations in beginning a relationship with Carol Danvers, a being possessed of Kree power? Did he begin this relationship at the command of the Kree Empire?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 1, 2016 10:51 PM
I meant did he begin his relationship with Carol Danvers at the behest of the Shi'ar empire (not the Kree;)
Also, following on from my previous comment post, was Shakari captured after the D'Ken affair and Lilandra had him sent straight back to Earth to serve the remainder of his exile (which she earlier claimed responsibility for) as the Shi'ar's "agent on Earth"?
Also, if as Lilandra says, he was "our agent on Earth", it would seem to make sense the Shi'ar would not choose one of their pure avian subjects, but someone from a race in their empire that was able to undertake its duties on behalf of them without raising suspicion of alien conspiracy. Appearing in his true alien form would obviously result in this, so shapeshifter is the only conclusion that makes sense!
I'd therefore posit that Shakari/ Rossi was of the Chameleoid race under rule by the Shi'ar empire. Recall their specific ability was being able to assume the form of any other alien race, which would include pure avian Shi'ar and human.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 2, 2016 1:17 AM
@Nathan, props for the identity theory. The mystery of Erik's backstory has bugged me most of my adult life. But I think it's impossible to reconcile all the stories over the years without hiring Kurt Busiek to write some sort of Avengers Forever style super-saga. Working only from the original Steranko, Adams, and Cockrum stories, my version of the theory is that Rossi was intended to be a human double agent working for both for the Shi'ar and the Council of the Chosen (later and supposedly formerly the Hellfire Club), who had their own plans for planetary domination involving the Cavourite Crystal for interstellar travel and mutants, mutates, and robots as soldiers. The Council had learned of the Shi'ar either from Rossi or from Lilandra's renegade sister, Deathbird. Rossi was behind the Demi-Men and the Magneto proto-X-Sentinel, which would serve as the template for Lang's X-Sentinels. (If you want to get really crazy, consider the Demi-Men had both cyborgs, like Donald Pierce, and a mutant who could redirect kinetic energy, like Sebastian Shaw.) At the behest of the Council, he was working with Lang when he got word from the Shi'ar to kill the X-Men so he could prevent Lilandra from contacting Xavier. He then cut ties with Lang, saying it was because Lang was unstable, which was the truth, but also because he needed to be free to work on his own now that the Shi'ar had called him in from the cold. It's tough to say if he began his relationship with Carol at the behest of the Shi'ar, or the Council, or maybe even both, to learn about her Kree powers. Either way, I'm sure Claremont had a big reveal planned ("Yes, Carol, I'm alive! And I never loved you!"). But then, as I said, Ms Marvel got cancelled, storylines evolved in different directions, and the possible reveal lost its relevancy.
Posted by: Andrew | April 3, 2016 7:41 AM
@Andrew: Thanks for the props:). Like you, yes the mystery of Erik's backstory has similarly plagued me. Blasphemy bringing up Busiek's Avengers Forever and its bottled Space Phantom retconning.
The problem of Rossi as a human double agent working for both for the Shi'ar and the Council of the Chosen, is how then to account for Davan Shakari? In addition, why too would the Shi'ar go along with enabling the Council of the Chosen to move toward planetary domination? And how would the Cavorite Crystal serve the needs of the Council for this purpose? Recall too that the Cavorite Crystal was responsible for freeing the Shadow King from his astral plane imprisonment! How would you propose the Council learned Deathbird was Shi'ar?
As for the Demi-Men, Walter Lawson has a different theory for who was behind the Demi-Men;)
But if Rossi was behind the Demi-Men and the Magneto proto-X-Sentinel, how would you explain this?
We also need to know the circumstances of how Rossi began working for the Council. Was he a legitimate agent, or was he undercover and a double-agent before being recruited by the Shi'ar? And if so, who instructed him to spy on the Council? And given his working to support Xavier upon his return from "death" at the hands of Lang, why attempt to prevent Lilandra from contacting Xavier?
If the Shi'ar had called Rossi in from the cold, does this suggest he was their agent much earlier, and why did he agree to become their agent if already working for the Council? And just what was he up to later investigating what appeared to be a SHIELD/ Hellfire Club alliance? And what were the details of that alliance too?
Re: Carol, I'm reminded of Michelinie's original plot for Avengers #200, in which it was the Supreme Intelligence rather than Marcus Immortus who fathered her child. The SI has always been keen to kick-start his people's evolutionary dead-end using human DNA. There's an argument that he sent Mar-Vell to Earth (and possibly others since) specifically for that. He doesn't seem to want Inhuman genes, just the baseline human ones (who can Rick Jones out as per Avengers #'97). If the Supreme Intelligence, originally designed as a "predictive computer", foresaw Carol's metahuman transformation then he might have flagged her as "special interest" and sent Mar-Well to become Dr Whitman for that reason. Shi'ar intelligence services may have picked up on that interest but not the reason and therefore wanted someone close to her too.
Push that a step further, and the Shi'ar were after the Ms Marvel template too! It might be the key to cracking the now-locked Kree genetic code and offer a powerful weapon against them. Different Shi'ar royal factions might even race for the prize.
Why does this race suddenly stop and get forgotten? Because of the actual Avengers #200 interference of Marcus Immortus, who completely derails all of the intended outcomes with his own agenda! Carol's genetic destiny is squandered on his rebirth. This is further complicated by Rogue's attack on the returned Carol, spreading that genetic destiny between two incomplete bodies. It's almost as if Irene Adler knew what might otherwise happen.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 3, 2016 8:28 AM
Hah. This is fun. Caveat: I'm only interested in Claremont's original intent, and consider anything after X-Men #107 and Ms Marvel #23 to be an addition, revision, or retcon. I ignore any complications concerning the Shadow King, MachineSmith, and even the Hellfire Club.
I propose Michael Rossi and Davan Sharkari are the same person. Either Rossi was given an honorary Shi'ar name, or he was abducted at a young age and raised Shi'ar, or he was Shi'ar but surgically altered, or sure maybe he's a Chameleoid.
I propose that Deathbird approached the Council, or was approached by them during one of their experiments, and formed an alliance against D'Ken, who had exiled her. She needed their help to return home (Ms Marvel 22) and have her revenge. They in turn used her for her knowledge of things like the Cavourite Crystal to further their insidious plans for world domination (which would include being able to fight off an alien invasion). Possibly the emperor sent Shakari to infiltrate the Council specifically to keep an eye on her.
I do feel confident that Rossi/Shakari was a double agent, simultaneously helping the Shi'ar and helping the Council against them. Recall that he "refused" to tell Lilandra and D'Ken how he met Polaris, indicating that he was involved with the Demi-Men without Shi'ar knowledge and presumably against their interests. If he was a human abductee (which we know the Shi'ar liked to do, e.g. the Summers family), that would explain his divided loyalties.
I agree that Carol Danvers, with her fusion of human and Kree traits was a prize sought after by many parties. From Claremont's point of view, however, her usefulness may have ended with Ms Marvel 19, when she proved she could not be controlled by the Supreme Intelligence, or presumably anyone else. After Avengers 200 I'm sure he just threw up his hands in disgust.
Posted by: Andrew | April 3, 2016 11:43 AM
@Andrew: Yes, it is fun (you need to come to my blog and begin joining the comment thread).
And yes, like you I'm only interested in Claremont's original intent. But recall in addition to the flashback of D'Ken's agent/ Rossi in X-Men #107, wasn't Eric the Red unmasked as Davan Shakari in this same issue!?
And yes, that's what I've been proposing all along that Colonel Michael Rossi and Davan Shakari are the same person, most likely a Chameleoid agent loyal to the Shi'ar empire.
If Deathbird approached the Council (and what experiments of theirs are you suggesting given we hadn't seen any by that point), why didn't she use their assistance to break into A.I.M. to get hold of the Cavorite Crystal? Recall no one came to her aid during that caper!
>>and formed an alliance against D'Ken, who had exiled her.
You've perhaps read this elsewhere by me, but if not, in Comics Journal #50, Claremont revealed Dave Cockrum and he intended Raza to be D'Ken's brother who had been almost assassinated, and resurrected as a cyborg. It would seem to make sense for the assassination attempt to have occurred at the same time as the one that took out Lilandra's mother and older (unnamed) sister! And with Raza going over the edge toward D'Ken, picking him up and throwing him at the face of the M'Kraan Crystal in Uncanny X-Men #108, whereas he doesn't show anywhere near as much ferocity toward the supposed assassin, Deathbird, it would seem to be his brother was behind their deaths, and perhaps set Deathbird up for their murders!? Recall Deathbird had her true name stripped from her after it was prophesied that she was destined to commit great evil (later exiled from the Shi'ar Empire after the brutal murders). So what if D'Ken exploited the prophecy and set Deathbird up to ensure he would be next in line for the throne? Then there's the why of her exile being on Earth of all places, a planet her brother had previously visited and Lilandra had exiled a Shi'ar Imperial agent (i.e. Shakari)!? And if D'Ken was behind the murder of his mother and unnamed sister, it brings into question his motivations for sending one of his starships to Earth on an exploratory mission to collect zoological specimens. Being Claremont it's very doubtful he intended D'Ken faked their deaths and had them imprisoned on Earth since why would someone with no qualms of killing family leave such loose ends? But if they were alive, what if Deathbird became aware of her brother's plot to kill them and set her up, interfered by stopping their deaths but made it look like they had been carried out and let herself get blamed and exiled so she could hide them on Earth? This could explain why she has never denied the "matricide" accusation – protecting her mother and sister. And was Heather Cameron perhaps not her child, but that of her supposedly dead sister? But I digress…
And why had Deathbird sought out the assistance of the Council to get home, and not other groups with more background in intergalactic travel, such as the Fantastic Four? They certainly weren't aware of the accusations against her and the Shi'ar didn't step from behind the curtain when she made her initial break-in to A.I.M.
What evidence is there that the Council had any concern about alien invasion? Did they believe that the mutant genome was introduced into the human population by aliens, and this is why they were so anti-mutant? Is this what the Sentinels were all about, to create a force capable of challenging not just mutants but an alien invasion? But why fund the creation of X-Sentinels, robot duplicates of mutants?
I agree about his being a double agent, simultaneously helping the Shi'ar and helping the Council against them, and the primary evidence being his refusal to tell Lilandra and D'Ken how he met Polaris. But recall that the "Erik the Red" involved in the Demi-Men plot was Cyclops, not Rossi/ Shakari! The other thing is why would he suddenly choose to work against the Shi'ar, when he again helps D'Ken upon his return there? While human abductee is an attractive thought, it doesn't explain his being able to appear as the Shi'ar Shakari!
And yes, I believe the shapeshifting Rossi/ Shakari got close to Carol Danvers as part of his mission due to her fusion of human and Kree traits, but that this became moot when Marcus Immortus chimed in.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 3, 2016 5:10 PM
@Andrew: If Eric the Red only learned of the X-Men through Lorna, why did he target her in particular for his brainwashing? Given he also immediately gave her the codename Polaris, did it have something to do with Mister Sinister's later comments that she was "the unchanging pole star"? Given Polaris is a binary star (which consists of two stars orbiting around their common centre of mass), did he select her due to her being the twin of Malice? Recall 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 then it must apply even moreso to Malice's capacity to bond so innately with Lorna. Given young Nate/ Mister Sinister was the one to graft Malice onto Lorna, this means he knew of their twin status so did he learn this from Eric the Red? And recall Malice's power of negative energy? Well the leader of the Demi-Men that forcibly rebuffed Cyclops' power explained he had the mutant power of "negative energy".
At first glance this would seem to suggest both Rossi/ Shakari, and Nate/ Mister Sinister, had some involvement in that earlier Demi-Men plot. However, given XM #97 revealing Eric the Red only learned of the X-Men through Lorna, this statement would seem to contradict that. Or does it? Was the revelation in #97 meant to indicate Eric the Red had learned of the X-Men through Lorna when he brainwashed her and Havok, or that earlier Demi-Men plot? Mind you, the X-Men became quickly involved in that plot so was Eric the Red referring to his learning of them through Lorna telling him or was he there when Lorna was captured by the Demi-Men and taken to their "Mutopolis"? Was he in fact one of those Demi-Men? While later made out to be robots, Demi-Men literally meant "half human". So was Rossi/ Shakari in fact half human and half Shi'ar? Did the Shi'ar have some breeding program running on Earth? This damn well raises more questions than it answers! Where are you Chris?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 3, 2016 6:53 PM
And I'm not even getting to what Claremont intended Steven Lang's involvement to be in that earlier plot, given he created the X-Sentinels and the Magneto-robot from the Demi-Men plot was undoubtedly an earlier prototype.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 3, 2016 7:14 PM
Well, we're well into the weeds of conjecture at this point, but I assume Rossi was "behind the scenes" during the Demi-men affair, and had been keeping an eye on her ever since. He saw Cyclops dress up as Erik at that time, and later adopted that identity to mess with his head. I interpret the line that he learned of the X-Men from Lorna to mean he learned of Xavier's connection to the X-Men while spying on Lorna. And he chose Polaris as his first pawn because he was familiar with her powers and already had experience manipulating her.
Don't ask me about Deathbird. She's a one-note riddle wrapped in a boring enigma, IMHO.
Posted by: Andrew | April 5, 2016 4:08 PM
First time poster, but longtime reader here!
Michael Rossi turned up in MS. MARVEL II#31-36, having kept his "death" a secret from Carol. Rossi turned out to be a rat fink traitor, though, and his entire relationship with Carol had been orchestrated by him so he would have a mole in the Air Force. Carol discovered he was a traitor/enemy agent at the end of #35 in what I thought, and still think, was one of the most shocking cliffhangers I have ever read in a comic, especially since I am heavily invested in all things Ms. Marvel. I pretty much clapped my hands in #36 when Rick MAson, the Agent, tracked Rossi down and shot him to death for all of his nasty deeds.
I like the stuff you guys said about Rossi/Eric the Red!
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 13, 2016 12:44 PM
In fact, since Rossi turned out to be a scumbag all along pretty much fits in with the idea that he was Eric the Red.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 13, 2016 12:51 PM
Off by an issue, it was #32-37. Great series. Really happy to see it still getting some love, Marvel are reluctant to reprint it since it doesn't support their idea that Carol Danvers was a failing creation before Wacker selfishly remade her into Captain Boyscout.
Posted by: AF | May 13, 2016 2:26 PM
Ah, yes, thanks. #31 had her visiting her parents!
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 13, 2016 3:21 PM
I didn't see this mentioned here, but in the flashback where Erik the Red shows up to kidnap Polaris, she recognized him at the door. "Wha...you? It's impossible! It can't be!" I believe she likely recognized the Erik the Red identity, but maybe he had his helmet off and recognized him as someone she knew? Otherwise, I'd think she'd be wondering why Cyclops was standing there at her door wearing his abandoned Erik the Red disguise. "Wha...you? Scott? Why are you dressed in that thing again?"
Seems odd she'd shout "That's Impossible!", unless Scott destroyed his garb in front of them, which doesn't seem likely since Erik has it here.
Erik obviously knew Polaris, but maybe she knew him, too. And that's why he knew about the X-Men because she stories and such about them.
Just a thought.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 21, 2016 2:19 PM
In all the adulation of Claremont, nobody is suggesting the most likely answer: Claremont saw the cover of X-Men #52 and mistook Erik the Red for an X-Men villain.
I mean, there's plenty of proof, even from the man himself, that Claremont's familiarity with the X-Men before Giant-Size was minimal and limited to just the Neal Adams issues.
Even if an editor went "Actually, you know that's Cyclops, right?", he'd still probably soldier on thinking "Well, I thought it was a villain, and I had an idea with him as a villain, so I'll make it a villain..."
Posted by: AF | July 9, 2016 3:33 PM
AF, we don't need any reasonable suggestions around here. I recommend you confine yourself to wild speculations that likely have no basis in reality. Erik the Red was clearly an agent of the Kingpin who had discovered Havok's secret identity and was trying to ruin his life and drive him insane. I'd call that a win for the Kingpin.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 10, 2016 3:15 AM
Re reading Claremont X-men after some time, it strikes me how quickly is everything set up and that in just a few issues, all the stuff his X-Men writing is famous for is already there. In just a few issues we already got most of the characters with personalities that will stick with them for decades, we immediately jump into amazing Shi'Ar stories, we immediately got sucked in via hints. Compared to other 70s comics which was a dreck usually, I can see why these were so popular.
This book is just awesome.
Posted by: Karel | October 15, 2016 11:33 AM
This is also the issue where we learn that Ororo is a Sailor Warrior. Or maybe she used to borrow the Image Inducer to look like a civilian.
Posted by: jti88 | January 23, 2017 12:17 PM
@jt88- it's explained in issue 101 that Storm can change from her costume to civilian clothes by striking her costume's unstable molecules with lightning. We discussed this in the comment for this entry and the consensus was it didn't make much sense:
Posted by: Michael | January 23, 2017 11:21 PM
Thanks. I agree with the little credibility, but I guess there have been weirder explanations in MU :P
Posted by: JTI88 | March 29, 2017 4:33 PM
I believe the mysterious observer watching Steven Lang watch the X-Men is just the Uhura-like officer on the bridge of the Shi'ar ship seen in #105. If you look closely, you can see the design on both characters' arms is virtually identical. It would make sense for her to be monitoring Davan Shakari-related events on Earth while they're pursuing Lilandra.
Posted by: Tony Lewis | April 14, 2017 10:14 AM
Tony, I wonder if Chris Claremont originally intended to merge the Steven Lang story with his outer space opus with the Shi'ar. But then later they were both kept separate stories. But I have in fact, noticed that too. Or were the Shi'ar helping Lang destroy mutants, even then? Did they possibly, at that early date, realize that this Jean Grey woman was connected, even genetically connected, to unimaginable cosmic power? And wanted to get rid of her as a threat to the Empire? So they were keeping a close eye on events.
And did we ever get a name for the captain of that Shi'ar ship?
Posted by: Chris Cohen | April 15, 2017 5:17 PM
In 157 he's referred to as Captain (sigh...) K'rk. He's tagged as such in that issue's entry and the one for 105.
Posted by: Mortificator | April 15, 2017 6:22 PM
Chris's suggestion that the Shi'ar were behind Lang might explain the "puppets dancing on a string" panel. The idea could have been that Lang was running Eric, and the Shi'ar were running Lang.
The showdown the panel predicts never actually happens.
Eric is supposed to be a powerful foe here. He's strong and indestructible enough to trade blows with Colossus. He also shows he can fly at the end. Since he keeps attacking the X-Men through allies by the end of the story that gets lost sight of.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | March 15, 2018 11:44 PM
Is that purple thing right of Lang in the "puppets dancing" panel supposed to be Mesmero's leg?
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | March 15, 2018 11:53 PM
It's a Sentinel.
Posted by: Andrew | March 16, 2018 5:48 AM
Love the way all these mysterious old-school arch-criminals always seem to have their large-screen monitors for viewing world events from the safety of their lairs. They can see anywhere and no explanation is ever needed for how they work; whether it's by hidden cameras, tiny invisible surveillance drones, or some nefarious combination of x-ray vision, telescopic vision, and around-the-corner periscope vision, we don't know, and nobody seems to care. It's an old old story-telling gimmick that seems to go back at least as far as the old pulps and black and white serial movies.
Posted by: Holt | March 16, 2018 12:54 PM
I've often wondered about those all-seeing monitor screens too.
And yet they never use them to learn the heroes' secret identities.
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | March 16, 2018 3:00 PM
Thanks, Andrew. That makes sense.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | March 16, 2018 7:32 PM
I didn't see this mentioned here, but in the flashback where Erik the Red shows up to kidnap Polaris, she recognized him at the door. "Wha...you? It's impossible! It can't be!" I believe she likely recognized the Erik the Red identity, but maybe he had his helmet off and recognized him as someone she knew?
His silhouette in the next panel sure looks like he's wearing his helmet. It's possible there could be a passage of time between the two panels, but none is indicated.
Posted by: Dan H. | March 18, 2018 1:49 PM
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