Uncanny X-Men #118-119
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #118, Uncanny X-Men #119
Misty Knight is there as well (we saw her traveling to Japan in the last story arc for this assignment), along with Colleen Wing, who thinks Cyclops is a "hunk". Wolverine meets Sunfire's cousin Mariko, and they start developing a thing as well.
Then another unnatural earthquake hits and a group of soldiers wearing Mandroid suits attack.
Seeing the Mandroids, especially with that panel layout, reminds me of how much Byrne - even though he definitely has a distinct style - is influenced by Neal Adams.
This all turns out to be the work of Moses Magnum, a minor crimelord character who has gotten a major power-up.
In the added scenes from Classic X-Men, we learn that his power-up came from Apocalypse...
...seemingly in the interest of creating overall chaotic opportunities to weed the weak from the strong, but possibly more specifically as a way of forcing Sunfire out of his self-imposed retirement (and on a meta level, just to provide some justification to the idea that Apocalypse is this ancient mutant and yet we'd never seen or heard of him before his first appearance in X-Factor). On the other hand, Hulk #241 hints that Magnum's new powers may have come from the group known as 'They'.
Magnum threatens to sink Japan. The X-Men sneak into his lair but eventually get into a fight with Magnum. Colossus gets knocked out of the fight and declares he's sick of being the punching bag.
The X-Men eventually have Magnum on the ropes but it is Banshee who stops Magnum's earthquake from destroying Japan. Unfortunately he sacrifices his vocal chords to do it.
There's a nice wrap up scene where Banshee comes home from the hospital to find that the X-Men have a surprise welcome home party (doubling as a "Christmas" party, but Christmases can't be taken seriously with Marvel's compressed/sliding timescale), and where Storm, Nightcrawler and Colossus start talking about how the X-Men are transforming from a team of loners to a family (with Colossus having doubts because unlike the other X-Men he has a real family).
One problem i have with this arc is that while Scott tries to call home to Professor X and tell him that Jean and Hank are dead (and finds that all the numbers have been disconnected because Xavier has left for space), he never thinks to mention anything to Jean's roommate Misty. I think more than just neglect or lack of space this is done deliberately to prolong the 'each thinks the other is dead' plot and develop the Scott/Colleen relationship. And it's never good to have characters act stupid just to advance a plot. Overall, though, a great super-hero story with good character moments and great art.
And now, the Classic X-Men back-ups. The first shows an encounter between Jean and Mastermind while she's on vacation in Greece. Not a lot happens, but it helps establish that Mastermind has been trailing her for some time, so it adds a little depth to the eventual Hellfire Club plot, and provides some character moments for Jean.
The second back-up, on the other hand, by Ann Nocenti, is pointless. There's one about Wolverine's encounter with a hunter in a snowstorm prior to joining the X-Men that adds nothing to anything. Unfortunately, more and more of the back-ups are going to be like this.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Iron Fist makes a brief phone cameo just to tell Misty that he can't help out because he and Power Man are buried in cases of their own. X-Men #120-121 has to take place before Hulk annual #8. Hulk is tied up in a lot of stories in his own book, Captain America, Defenders, and Daredevil, so the X-Men need to get pushed back in publishing time to accommodate him.
Continuity Insert? P - (Classic X-Men Reprints add new scenes)
My Reprint: Classic X-Men #24, Classic X-Men #25
Inbound References (10): show
Claremont later stated that the "X-Men go around the world" sequence was a mistake and it took way too long to get them back to the X-Mansion.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 8, 2012 7:05 PM
This arc would never have worked with the sliding time scale because Scott would surely have been able to reach someone with a cell phone who'd have told him Hank and Jean were alive.
Posted by: Chaim Shraga | June 10, 2012 10:48 AM
Even without the sliding timescale, the arc doesn't work. As soon as Scott told Colleen that Jean was dead, Colleen should have told Misty and Misty would have told Colleen that she saw Jean alive right before she got on the plane to Japan.
Posted by: Michael | June 10, 2012 11:14 AM
Around this time there was an announcement of a Marvel Premiere with a solo Phoenix story by Claremont and Austin. A few months later, this was changed to a solo Iceman story by Jo Duffy and George Perez. I'm guessing this later became the Iceman story in Marvel Preview/Bizarre Adventures.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 1, 2012 11:13 PM
It was originally announced that the X-Men would meet Misty & Colleen in full Daughters of the Dragon mode, but I'm guessing that got cut way down for space considerations.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 8, 2012 8:37 PM
The Wolverine backup is most interesting because it's not from before he joins the X-Men: he refers to his black-op bombing run as a side mission for "central" (CIA?) that he's sneaked away from the team to perform. This is the only story I know of that indicates Wolverine was doing intelligence work---albeit not for the Canadians, presumably---while he was a member of the X-Men. And wetwork at that.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | March 11, 2013 12:18 AM
At least Banshee's exit from the combat team went out with a big bang. Also: Moses Magnum is an amazingly awesome name.
Posted by: David Banes | December 8, 2013 4:45 AM
Sunfire and Firelord always seem to fight everybody. But, while I find it annoying in Firelord (he just seems to annoy everybody), I find Sunfire's overwhelming belligerence towards everyone rather refreshing. And I just love the way Byrne draws him. I really wish he got used more.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 11, 2015 9:25 AM
Given the number of connections between Ms Marvel and the X-Men at this point (Mystique, Michael Rossi/Erik the Red, Deathbird/the Shi'Ar), I wonder if Claremont originally intended for there to be some sort of connection between the new powers of Moses Magnum and the Earth Elemental Magnum, last seen in Ms Marvel 13?
Posted by: Andrew Murphy | May 14, 2015 6:53 AM
If we're talking about characters acting stupid just for the sake of the plot, Cyclops is ranting about how they have no money, no passports or connections so if they can't get help from Sunfire, they don't go home, and literally the next page has Wolverine reading the newspaper to them.
"You never asked" would not be sufficient explanation. The X-Men have just spent six weeks on that Japanese ship and at no point did Wolverine mention he can speak Japanese or get caught to any of the crew in Japanese. And even if they accepted "You never asked," the next sensible response would be to demand Wolverine start telling them everything about himself that might come in useful, like his name, for instance.
Posted by: ChrisW | May 14, 2015 2:42 PM
SUBMERSION OF JAPAN is one of the English-language titles of the 1973 film NIPPON CHINBOTSU, "Japan Sinks". This was based on a novel of the same name by Sakyo Komatsu. In the novel Japan is destroyed by tectonic movements.
The novel has appeared in English as JAPAN SINKS and THE DEATH OF THE DRAGON.
A TV version appeared after the movie, and a remake appeared in 2006. There's even a parody movie called THE WORLD SINKS EXCEPT JAPAN.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | October 21, 2015 3:44 AM
I always found the “X-Men think Phoenix and Beast are dead and vice versa” ridiculous, unbelievable, and contrived, at least from after the X-men returned from the Savage Land. Beast was an Avenger for god’s sake! Did the X-men never see or hear a news broadcast during this time? Or read a newspaper? Or contact the Avengers about hank as Chaim Shraga points out? And conversely, as seen in these issues, the X-Men tend to make some news as well. I just roll my eyes every time I read those sequences.
Posted by: hasan | February 21, 2016 8:00 PM
You're quite right. As pointed out above, there were many ways for the X-Men to figure out Jean and Hank were alive and vice-versa. One of Claremont's worst tendencies is to have people think the main characters are dead, whether over a few pages or for several years of publishing time.
But, especially by the time this issue of "Classic X-Men" was reprinted, it's even worse how willingly his characters sell their souls. Moses Magnum joins Cylla and Lady Deathstrike as people who will drop everything to deal with the devil in exchange for a short-term 'power-up' to achieve their short-term goals. Even if it works out well for the heroes. Rachel with Spiral, Storm with Dr. Doom to save Kitty, Kitty with Callisto and Caliban to save the X-Men, much of Illyana's time in Limbo [depending on your perspective] Wolverine with Yukio, Havoc with Magneto joining the X-Men, Storm and Magneto joining the Hellfire Club, Doug and Warlock merging constantly, Wolverine going berserk, Mojo, fer cryin'...
It's always a regular theme, join the Dark Side to win in the short-term. Whether it's analagous to an addictive drug or a deal with the devil, don't hesitate to say 'yes.'
Posted by: ChrisW | February 22, 2016 1:02 AM
Not to be a nitpick. But in this review you write Magnus instead of Magnum in some spots.
Posted by: a.lloyd | June 19, 2018 2:01 AM
Posted by: fnord12 | June 26, 2018 9:18 AM
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