Uncanny X-Men #210
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #210
It should also be noted that Chris Claremont's original plans for the Mutant Massacre had to be modified due to legal issues; the original idea was a repeat of or callback to the work Alan Moore had been doing on Captain Britain. See Walter's comments on Uncanny X-Men #208-209 for more on that. This helps explain what feels like a missed opportunity with the Massacre, in that the fact that it's mutants killing other mutants reduces the opportunity to pursue the mutant persecution theme. The original idea was that the mutant hunting sentinel Nimrod, merged with The Fury from Alan Moore's Captain Britain run, would be perpetrating the Massacre.
This issue is really a prologue for the event. We start in Los Angeles with a mixed race (human/mutant) couple getting pursued by the mysterious Marauders.
The human, Richard Salmons, a Hellfire Club goon, is struck down by an energy spear, and his girlfriend, the rainbow mutant Tommy, flees instead of staying by his side.
She gets on a train and starts making her way back to her Morlock tunnel home in New York. But, as we find at the end of the issue, the Marauders were on her trail the whole time, and now that she's led them to the tunnels, they kill her as well, and prepare to start killing her brethren.
(The question of how the Marauders found the Morlock tunnels is later complicated thanks to revelations about Gambit and also some comments in the X-Men/Spider-Man mini-series. Ironically, i never really thought the location of the tunnels was all that hard to find. We'll see random kids wandering into them in the Daredevil issue, for example, and the Marauders have the expert tracker Sabretooth in their group. So i find it funny that we have multiple explanations for how the Marauders found it.)
Also, only tangentially related to the Massacre for now, we see Dazzler, still working for Lila Cheney, getting possessed by an entity called Malice, who is also a Marauder.
The rest of the issue isn't about the Massacre, but does deal directly with the issue of mutant persecution. After searching for and failing to find Rachel Summers, Rogue realizes that her costume is torn up, and somewhat oddly decides to do some shopping.
Her appearance in the store triggers protests from an anti-mutant bigot, but she's defended by a construction worker that she earlier saved from a fall.
Also, Kitty gets Cerebro boosted so that anyone, not just telepaths, can use it, and the X-Men use it to locate Nightcrawler, who disappeared while trying to teleport off Nimrod's arm last issue. They find him about to get attacked by an anti-mutant crowd, but they manage to stop the attack by talking (and not revealing that they themselves are mutants) instead of just fighting the crowd off with their powers.
The bad news is that Nightcrawler says that he seems to have lost his teleportation powers after the attempted Nimrod stunt, although see the Considerations regarding that.
Storm and Wolverine also have a talk after his actions regarding Rachel.
The other big news is Magneto is invited to become the White King of the Hellfire Club.
And before entering their building, Magneto notices X-Factor gathered amongst a crowd. He recognizes all of them, except he assumes that Jean Grey is really Madelyne. Weirdly, though, he assumes that X-Factor really are mutant hunters that have been "incarcerating, destroying their fellow mutants". You'd think he'd instead consider that maybe the rumors about them weren't true.
Let me just say that despite the complexities around placement (you'll notice extra long Chronological Placement Considerations sections for a lot of these issues), i love the interconnectedness of these issues even if things can't line up perfectly. I actually don't mind minor mistakes or inconsistencies; i just love seeing the Marvel universe interacting as a whole. So i find this set-up issue to be pretty exciting, knowing that it kicks off an event that brings in X-Factor, the New Mutants, Power Pack, Daredevil, and Thor.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: First, see the Considerations for X-Factor #9; Magneto's encounter with X-Factor here is parallel with the one in that issue, and lining up that event in the two books is not easy. This issue is also the formal start of the Mutant Massacre and there's a nice diagram in the entry for that issue that shows the sequence of events for this crossover. With a few exceptions, for placement of the individual issues of the Mutant Massacre, i'm following the order presented in Marvel's trade paperback, but it should be noted that a lot of the events are really happening in parallel and an exact sequencing wouldn't be possible without breaking the books down into individual panels.
Before getting to those exceptions, let me just repeat the timing problems concerning this issue and X-Factor #9. Again, see the X-Factor entry for the complexity around that. I do think that the opening sequence in this issue, which has the Marauders trailing the Morlock Tommy from LA back to the Morlock tunnels, and the scene with Dazzler and Malice, could have happened much earlier. Call it a flashback or a prologue. That doesn't solve the problem with X-Factor, though. The first X-Man we see this issue is Rogue, who is still in her torn costume and has been searching for Rachel Summers all morning. The rest of the X-Men have already returned to the Mansion. So a fair amount of time has passed between last issue and this one. But there's no similar space between X-Factor #8-9. Nonetheless, i've placed this issue between those X-Factor issues due to both the Magneto scene and the fact that the Mutant Massacre begins here with the Marauders finding the Morlock tunnels.
Now for the exceptions. Next issue we will see that Psylocke is staying at the X-Mansion, which means that New Mutants annual #2 and Uncanny X-Men annual #10 most likely occur between this issue and next (you can't really go back further because the New Mutants annual references New Mutants #44, and on the X-Men side the team is dealing with Secret Wars and then separated and then Wolverine is injured prior to the run-up to the Massacre, and then Nightcrawler is missing between last issue and this one). One problem with that is that Nightcrawler isn't displaying any problems with his powers in the X-Men annual, but we will see in issue #211 that he is able to teleport to a degree.
More exceptions: Kitty Pryde appears in New Mutants #45, and that has to occur before New Mutants #46 (obviously!), which is part of the Mutant Massacre. So that's thrown into the same gap as the annuals. And not included in the Mutant Massacre trade was Daredevil #238, which features Sabretooth in between his fight with Wolverine in X-Men #212-213. And since i'm following the MCP and placing the Avengers annuals during X-Factor #9, (again, see X-Factor #9's Considerations), that means those annuals and Daredevil #236-237, which occur after the Avengers annuals, also have to go in this gap. And Power Pack #23-26 need to go in this gap as well. The Fantastic Four have to be around for the West Coast Avengers annual, but they leave for space during those Power Pack issues and remain there during Power Pack #27, which is a Mutant Massacre tie-in. Also, issue #26 of Power Pack mentions the events of X-Factor #8 and Uncanny X-Men #209.
There's more complications to come, especially as we get to the Thor issues and the Siege on the Avengers Mansion, but this Considerations section is basically covering the space between this issue and X-Factor #9.
Crossover: Mutant Massacre
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
The strange thing is that Magneto sees Scott with a woman that he thinks he's Maddie. He must have told the X-Men, since in X-Men 212, Logan knows the "surviving" original four X-Men are X-Factor. Yet in Uncanny X-Men 221, the X-Men find out Maddie was in a coma during the Massacre and nobody wonders who Magneto saw Scott with.
Posted by: Michael | February 6, 2014 8:22 PM
There's another anomaly about the Morlock tunnels: Scaphunter, as we learn during the Massacre, was the guy who killed Annalee's children circa Uncanny 196 or 197. (Or was it even earlier? The Thunderbird issue is the one where we're told they're dead, iirc.) it certainly seems like Scalphunter would have killed the kids in the tunnels, but maybe he didn't, or it was in some less secret part of the underground system.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | February 6, 2014 9:14 PM
#193. In Power Pack #12, Caliban says it was done "by a surface dweller". I can't find any reference to where it was done. You're right that it's another reason why finding the tunnels shouldn't have been difficult. Even if they were on the surface or in a less secure part of the tunnel, it shouldn't have been hard to follow some children home.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 6, 2014 9:50 PM
The scene with Nightcrawler being hunted reminds me of the first time he was shown running from a mob.
Posted by: clyde | February 6, 2014 10:05 PM
Magneto's association with the Hellfire Club also gets him in trouble with the New Mutants later on.
Posted by: clyde | February 6, 2014 10:22 PM
There are other issues where Claremont has someone spot the original X-Men as X-Factor and believe they are hunting mutants. It doesn't make any sense for them to do so. "They're being mind controlled", "It must be a scam," or even "This makes no sense, I must investigate and learn the truth" are all more believable options.
Posted by: Chris | February 6, 2014 11:38 PM
Artie witnesses Tommy's murder here with his powers over in X-Factor #9 as Rusty & Skids are entering the Morlock tunnels. This suggests that the body Rusty trips over is actually Tommy's.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | February 11, 2014 3:28 PM
Dead link alert:
Posted by: clyde | February 11, 2014 3:41 PM
Hey Jay, looking at Artie's vision in X-Factor #9, i think you are probably right, and i also realized that i missed an explicit footnote to this issue there and i've added it as a Reference. But you've mentioned this twice now and i just want to make sure you aren't telling me something about placement; i think putting X-Factor #9 directly after this is the best option.
I fixed the link, Clyde. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 11, 2014 3:47 PM
Nah, just a crossover point. I also wasn't sure if you were tracking Tommy and if the appearance of her body might count as an appearance by her.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | February 11, 2014 4:12 PM
According to Louise Simonson in Comics Interview #39, Claremont was going to do the Mutant Massacre in one issue of X-men only. She was the one who convinced him to do a massive crossover(and she admitted some of the parts didn't fit). She also said the proposed Havok & Polaris miniseries by her and Walt had been dumped because they were both too busy, and Havok's presence in the X-Men made things impossible.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 26, 2014 9:17 PM
When I got this as a teen, I really, really liked Tommy. I thought she looked awesome with her rainbow colors. I was sad when she was killed by the end.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 3, 2016 1:03 PM
It's strange. Claremont's original plan for the Mutant Massacre was that Nimrod and Fury were going to be merged and set loose upon the Marauders. But the story starts in UNCANNY X-MEN #193 with the shooting murders of Annalee's children, which happened BEFORE Nimrod and Fury would have merged. So this means someone else is the murderer of those Morlock children. And since Scalphunter was the murderer, it seems to me, considering the original plans for Nimrod and Fury, that Claremont had plans for Scalphunter prior to the Mutant Massacre that likely didn't involve the Marauders. When the Nimrod/Fury thing didn't pan out due to legal reason, Claremont came up with his new plot involving Mr. Sinister and the Marauders and slipped Scalphunter in with them.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 4, 2016 9:56 AM
Considering "Classic X-Men" #1 was published at almost the exact same time as this issue, I have to think Nightcrawler running from a mob was a deliberate callback to his first appearance.
Posted by: ChrisW | June 4, 2016 5:48 PM
Andrew, the other possibility is that at that time, the murder if Annalee's children was done by some crazed human with anti-mutant history. That person might have become Scalphunter who joined Nimrod, but it could just as easily been some generic human goon never referenced again. Or maybe it was Nimrod himself (unlikely as he'd simply vaporize them instead of shooting them).
Not all of Claremont's story seeds had known causes, and sometimes he'd retroactively change them in order to accommodate his new ideas.
Posted by: Chris | June 4, 2016 9:01 PM
I've always been surprised just how far Claremont changed his plans after he heard he couldn't use Fury. Why not just still have Nimrod murder the Morlocks?
Posted by: Berend | June 5, 2016 3:21 PM
Tommy is such a cool character. Special power; Render herself to a 2D state AND appear randomly in any mutant crowd imaginable in '90s X-men TAS. I actually started reading X-men because of TAS as a kid (my uncle gave me many of his old 80s comics). Imagine how heartbroken I felt when I first read this issue.
Posted by: Spikey | November 14, 2016 4:53 AM
Just read this issue for the first time and loved it!
The way the Marauders are introduced is badass. Also, the scene where Colossus & Kitty stand up against the crowd to save Nightcrawler is very well done imo. The team sort of lacked that unity anda family feeling since maybe the return from Secret Wars, so it's very good to see it again in this issue.
Posted by: Bibs | October 7, 2017 7:33 AM
What with Scalphunter murdering Annalee's children & as Fnord points out the presence of Sabretooth as a tracker & the differing reasons given for how the tunnels were discovered, I think we have to assume that the claim about Tommy leading the Marauders to the tunnels was just something Scalphunter said to make her feel worse as he was killing her. (The line about her boyfriend being right about them having a chance if they stuck together is clearly for the same reason, there's no reason Scalphunter would have believed that.)
Not sure any of the explanations given makes "sense", exactly. Mr Sinister noticed that some of the Morlocks (which were created by Dark Beast) showed traces of theories he'd invented, so he ordered the Marauders to kill the entire group of Morlocks to cover this up, so he... sends them to Los Angeles and tells them to follow a mutant called Tommy across the country? Surely Sinister knows exactly where the Morlocks are in the first place?
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | October 7, 2017 1:36 PM
I wonder, what has Magneto been doing all this time? He was supposed to lead X-Men and New Mutants, but he barely showed up...
Posted by: Karel | May 13, 2018 10:27 AM
Claremont seems to have forgotten that Cerebro can, in fact, be used by people other than psychics. Beast did so in #111, as a matter of fact.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | May 13, 2018 11:14 AM
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