Characters Appearing: Adversary, Avalanche, Blob, Crimson Commando, Dazzler, Destiny, Havok, Longshot, Madelyne Pryor, Mystique, Psylocke, Pyro, Rogue, Spiral, Stonewall, Storm, Super Sabre, Valerie Cooper, Wolverine
Uncanny X-Men #223
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #223
One item of interest is that - after the Adversary tricks Storm into drinking a hallucinogenic potion - she sees a Demon Bear, or at least a bear that is a demon.
This seems to be a callback to the Demon Bear that appeared in New Mutants #18-20 (see especially the quote there from the lettercol in issue #24, attributing the Bear to the Adversary). However, there's no footnote and there's nothing that provides any clarity to the Bear's actions there (like, why the Adversary was interested in Dani and her parents, or why it turned Sharon Friedlander and Tom Corsi into Native Americans). And Storm also fights a Demon Snake...
...a Demon Cliff Wall, etc....
...during her dream, so there's not necessarily something special about the bear here.
The other news is that while Storm is definitely primed to kill Forge, she also seems to have settled on the fact that she loves him.
The other big development this issue is that the World War II era super-heroes that Storm forced to turn themselves in a few issues back have now been made part of Freedom Force. That includes Super Sabre, who was thought dead, but resurfaces here and joins his former teammates.
Having these guys join Freedom Force makes a certain sort of sense, at least from the point of view of the government, in that they were super-powered vigilantes that already had worked for the government in the past. Thematically, though, they are a very different sort of group than the former Brotherhood of Evil Mutants characters. That can actually make for some interesting conflicts. There's also some redundancy though. Despite their differences in... texture... both the Blob and Stonewall essentially have the same power (immovability). Stonewall is shown getting the better of the Blob here.
And Crimson Commando is clearly a leader type, potentially putting him in conflict with Mystique.
While we're with Freedom Force, we also learn that Destiny has a vision saying that the X-Men will die.
Destiny seems pretty upset about that (because of Rogue), but Claremont will later write a story published in Marvel Fanfare #40 that shows that Destiny already knew that this would happen.
We do check in on the rest of the X-Men, who are currently staying at Alcatraz while they search for signs of the Marauders after their encounter last issue. As with their last visit to San Francisco, the X-Men are considered heroes in the area, and it's also said that they've been performing "small scale 'good deeds'" around the city. As i've said before, if the X-Men spent more time on stuff like that, human/mutant relations would probably be a lot better, so it's nice to hear that they are doing it. We don't actually get to see any of that, though, and instead we see someone in a pink "Human and proud of it!" shirt complaining about mutants.
This build up of the anti-mutant hysteria is part of the lead-in to Fall of the Mutants (although in practice the actual story in Fall of the Mutants won't really have much to do with it). We'll see a very important development next issue, and in the meantime Marvel has been running this really cool ad. I'm including the full page so that you can see the way the ad was integrated with legitimate advertising.
There's also a training scene where Dazzler is once again shown to be a newbie.
And Havok reaches out to Madelyne, who seems to have been contemplating jumping off a cliff. Madelyne has completely given up on Cyclops, and even her baby...
...but there's no real explanation as to why one else on the team (especially Havok!) doesn't try to reach out to Cyclops and say "Hey, your wife was found in a hospital about to be killed by the Marauders. Don't you care about that?". Havok and Madelyne start to bond.
Fill-in art this issue is by Kerry Gammill, and one thing to note is that both Spiral and Storm seem to have lost their clothing.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I'm not sure Illyana's a good comparison. She wasn't given a choice in her "demon" training. Forge bargained for what he wanted.
Posted by: clyde | April 19, 2014 9:50 PM
My impression at the time was that the X-Men had come to consider X-Factor as enemies, or at least not friends and colleagues, since they set up as mutant hunters. X-Factor likewise thought the X-Men had gone bad because they were consorting with Magneto.
On a personal level, Maddie thinks Scott abandoned her--which, of course, he did--and has good enough reasons for not wanting to get in touch with him.
By the way, that dialogue from Maddie about never being vulnerable again seems kind of meaningful in retrospect.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | April 19, 2014 10:08 PM
You're right, though, that Alex's failure to sort things out with his brother is a nagging implausibility. Maybe Mr. Sinister or Cameron Hodge is re-routing all his phone calls to Cyclops.
Crimson Commando's return reminds me that leaders-with-no-obvious-powers is actually a bit of a Claremont trope: Callisto, Storm, crimson Commando, Hawkshaw of the Genoshan Press Gang, arguably even Scalphunter, if you believe letters pages assuring us he's not a mutant.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | April 19, 2014 10:16 PM
I think Walter's right-the most logical explanation is that the X-Men didn't want to contact X-Factor because they were afraid X-Factor would attack them. Keep in mind that in issue 215, Maddie recalls how the Marauders told her that they grabbed her "because of" Scott. They might think that Scott had something to do with the attack. Wolverine tells Alex that Scott took Maddie's baby in issue 221, although Logan might have just been trying to shut Havok up.
Posted by: Michael | April 19, 2014 11:32 PM
"Maybe nobody wanted to make it worse for Maddie by telling her that Scott drove a teenager (Larry Bodine) to suicide and showed no remorse"
Considering that X-Factor (at least the 5 former X-Men and their wards) probably never even heard of Larry Bodine, that's an interestingly loaded statement. Yes, the content of the advertisements created by Cameron Hodge (who has now been revealed to have been deliberately working to incite hatred of mutants) brought about the situation that lead to Larry's death but to say "Scott had no remorse" would assume he even knew about Larry's death. I don't own the issue with his story so if it was somehow indicated that X-Factor "knew" and responded to Larry's death, it was probably Hodge's people from "The Right" and Scott & co. never heard about it.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | April 20, 2014 12:27 AM
Jay- I'm not saying that the idea that Scott was a remorseless jerk that drove teenagers to suicide was a valid point of view from the reader's perspective- I'm saying that it's a valid point of view from the X-Men's perspective. (And Scott probably didn't know. )
Posted by: Michael | April 20, 2014 8:53 AM
At this point, I was thinking, "Okay, they're staying in San Francisco again. That's cool. But this stuff with Forge is taking wayyyyyy too long. Can we get Storm back with the team now?"
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 22, 2015 11:47 AM
The fact that San Francisco is more accepting of the X-Men more than the East Coast comes up again years later. Most of Matt Fraction's Uncanny run has the team move just off the coast of San Francisco and even become friendly with the mayor.
Posted by: Jeff | January 20, 2017 9:47 AM
There is one thing I have never understood about this issue. The X-Men have made Alcatraz their temporary base. But Alcatraz isn't some abandoned structure. It's a national park. Hundred of tourists tour it every day. Having the X-Men hide out there is a bit like having Magneto set up his secret base inside the base of the Statue of Liberty.
Was there ever an explanation given for this? Like maybe Psylocke mind-zapped everyone to not buy tickets for the ferry that takes you there? Or is this just Chris Claremont (and editor Ann Nocenti) displaying some significant ignorance of the West Coast?
Posted by: Peter Niemeyer | January 26, 2018 9:58 PM
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