Uncanny X-Men #246-247
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #246, Uncanny X-Men #247
Intriguingly, we begin with what will turn out to be a false omen for Dazzler, similar to the idea from last issue that her powers were overheating. She is looking into the Siege Perilous (that part, at least, will remain relevant), and seeing the various possible incarnations of herself that we saw previously in Uncanny X-Men annual #11.
Except this time, they all die.
She then has a more visceral vision of death.
Fumbling in the dark, Dazzler cuts her hand on the Siege Perilous. She'll turn out ok and shows up at a training session with several other X-Men a little later.
Meanwhile, we switch over to Wolverine, who is back from the Meltdown series (although not directly, thanks to a profusion of other appearances that we will have to fit in) and re-evaluating the hairstyle he was using there.
He's also requesting another leave of absence.
Wolverine will actually have a different send-off in Wolverine #17. His comments about something having come up are deliberately vague (see the Considerations section for more) since Claremont is not writing Wolverine's solo series any more, but i like very much that Claremont is back to making space for Wolverine's solo adventures. We saw Claremont do that for the first two Wolverine minis but for a lot of his ongoing series (and MCP appearances) we've been having to just fit the stories between X-Men issues. Having a send-off here creates a greater sense of continuity and makes Wolverine's other adventures feel less generic, and his absence will also play very nicely into Claremont's Dissolution of the X-team.
(I should note that there's nothing wrong with not creating absences for characters that have solo series. We've been allowing for that since the earliest days of the Fantastic Four while the Human Torch had Strange Tales, and of course it's a regular occurrence for many of the Avengers. But i always like it better when the books do try to coordinate, even if it results in scheduling pinches like will happen this time with Acts of Vengeance.)
We're also reintroduced to Nimrod, who we haven't seen since the Mutant Massacre. He is back to being a quasi-superhero (albeit a violent one), which is something i've always found to be really cool about him.
In this issue Claremont takes it further by having Nimrod leaving a calling card behind.
This is another intriguing aspect of this story, since by the end of it we go in a direction where Nimrod as a champion of the people, leaving behind his palm imprint to build his legend like Zorro, turns out to be a totally irrelevant and false start. Nimrod's self-awareness, the evolution of his programming to something more human, is relevant, but the idea that he's waging a Punisher style war in defense of his community has to get dropped due to the way this ends. This story is really the last we'll see of (this) Nimrod.
We also check in on Senator Robert Kelly who is visiting with Sebastian Shaw, who is pushing for a renewal of the Sentinel program. We learn that Kelly's wife, Sharon, is a former Hellfire Club maid, and there's a kind of weird scene where she dresses up in her old outfit, giving Kelly a start.
Kelly is against the renewal. The old Sentinels were ineffective, and Shaw's idea to build them so that they can continually rebuild themselves sounds like a bad idea, since they would be impossible to contain.
With all that set-up out of the way, we can get on to the main story, which starts with Rogue, with her Carol Danvers personality dominant, visiting the Vietnam memorial in Washington DC and then going to New York to pick up some things from Arabella Jones at Danvers' old apartment.
After picking up her stuff, she finds that Psylocke has tracked her down.
Their conversation again brings up the "What about Binary?!" question. If the idea is that Binary remains so mind-wiped that she's really a separate entity from Carol Danvers, i'd like to have seen Claremont actually come out and say it. It's especially hard to accept knowing that Binary will eventually be, for all intents and purposes, Ms. Marvel again, so i "know" that the Carol Danvers personality in Rogue's head is an aberration that doesn't have any real rights. Obviously Psylocke doesn't "know" that since she's talking about Rogue and Carol being bound together forever.
Anyway, all of that is interrupted when Nimrod, in his day job as construction worker Nicholas Hunter, happens across the tiny piece of Master Mold that was left behind when Alex Power disintegrated him in Power Pack #36.
The result is a return of Master Mold...
...who reaches the standard Sentinel conclusion that, in order to stop mutants (in this case specifically The Twelve), he should just wipe out all human life.
Carol/Rogue responds, wearing the Ms. Marvel costume.
Despite the fact that she's supposed to be invisible to electronics, the giant robot swats at her, knocking her into Robert and Sharon Kelly's limo.
It turns out that Master Mold is having trouble seeing Rogue, but he still blasts the area, fatally injuring Sharon.
Rogue is also in trouble, but luckily by this point the rest of the X-Men have responded to Psylocke's telepathic call for help. The X-Men also find that the robot is just standing there over the stunned Rogue, not attacking. That's in part because it's still having difficulty detecting her, but also because in rebuilding itself, the Master Mold has incorporated Nimrod, who is resisting the integration.
The X-Men obviously don't want to give it a chance to get itself together. The cool thing about the X-Men fighting a giant robot that rebuilds itself from the surrounding construction material is that the team really get to cut loose, resulting in a lot of cool battle sequences.
After that initial battery, the Master Mold is seemingly defeated. The X-Men wonder about its reference to "The Twelve" (Dazzler: "Give you a big guess who that refers to.") and the fact that Psylocke detected a "living awareness" inside the robot. Longshot is also feeling gloomy since he wasn't useful in the fight.
With her dying breath, Sharon Kelly tries to get Robert to warn the X-Men that the Master Mold is rebuilding itself, but he's too busy blaming them for her death. When it wakes up, it is more effective at fighting the X-Men.
Even Rogue (who is now the dominant personality) absorbing Colossus' powers...
..and then flying into space to divebomb the Sentinel isn't enough to stop him, so Dazzler gets the idea to open the Siege Perilous portal.
What's interesting is that it almost seems like Nimrod had managed to convince Master Mold to destroy itself, and Rogue's upcoming sacrifice might have been unnecessary.
But she does insist that Dazzler blast the robot through the portal while it's holding her.
Another irony is that Senator Kelly takes exactly the wrong lesson from this, and so, in response to a self-repairing out of control Sentinel killing his wife, he agrees to build more of them.
We then have two degrees of "people watching on viewscreens". The first is Donald Pierce, Bonebreaker, and Lady Deathstrike looking in on the aftermath of the Master Mold battle, followed by Nanny and Orphan-Maker looking in on them.
While the X-Men are dealing with the Master Mold, Jubilee has free roam of the X-Men's headquarters (aside from Gateway's inscrutable eyes). She uses the opportunity mainly to disparage Dazzler's music and steal clothes from her.
There doesn't seem to be any connection between this sequence and the one in Uncanny X-Men annual #13. In fact they don't fit together very well, with Jubilee seemingly not recognizing the male X-Men in that picture even though she watched them play a baseball game in the annual (and that story seemed to take place soon after Jubilee first arrived in Australia).
Really a fun and dramatic set of issues, and it feels like a strong comeback after a long period that felt kind of directionless followed by Inferno and then the downtime issues. I'd credit Inferno for clearing out a lot of deadwood so that this feels like a fresh adventure instead of yet one more thing that the team is having to deal with; it does make a difference to for once not worry about why the X-Men aren't looking for the Marauders, etc.. And thanks to the fact that it's a Sentinel and the appearance of Robert Kelly, this is very directly in the mutant theme even if it's not specifically about the X-Men fighting the Registration Act or anything. And Silvestri's art is just great at depicting the battle against the giant robot. Cool stuff.
One thing to note is that the idea here is basically leftover from Claremont's original plans from the Mutant Massacre, where he was going to have the perpetrator of the Massacre be Nimrod merged with The Fury, a character from the Captain Britain book. That storyline had to be changed when Alan Moore objected to the use of characters he created. So Claremont repurposes the basic idea here, merging Nimrod with Master Mold instead of the Fury. In a sense, this is a sign that Claremont has given up on long term plotting and is just salvaging old ideas. The original idea with Fury was part of a grand plan, leading up to the original idea for the Fall of the Mutants, which would have had Mad Jim Jaspers instead of the Adversary as the villain. Instead, the part of the idea that got set aside is just used as as a one-off fight. As long as Claremont remains on the title, there's no further use of the Nimrod/Master Mold hybrid. Much later, under different creators, they will return as Bastion, but that wasn't Claremont's plan. All that said, i still think it's important that Inferno cleared away a lot of the long term angst to make it possible to tell a good one-off story like this, even if the villain had its origins in an abandoned idea.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 432,745. Single issue closest to filing date = 392,750.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: I have pushed this forward in publication time due to Wolverine's chronology and how everything plays in to Acts of Vengeance. The events of Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown are (jokingly) mentioned here, so this takes place after that (and we saw them talking about leaving for that series last issue). But Wolverine's return is brief, and he departs again this issue. In Wolverine #17 we'll see that he may not have gotten further than the Australian Outback to hunt some pigs, but in that series he leaves Australia for at least as long as Wolverine #17-18, and most likely through #23 (there is a gap where he is recovering from injuries and doing research between #18-19). The pig scene includes Storm, but it's a flashback so it may take place prior to her and the other X-Men leaving to fight Master Mold in this issue. Or it may not; Wolverine may have been in the Outback the whole time and the Wolverine #17 flashback could take place after these issues. Either way, i'm placing the Wolverine #17-18 entry after these issues. (I should note it's also possible to place Wolverine #17-18 before this arc, which might make Wolverine's comments about something having come up more meaningful, but that would make Wolverine kind of callously abandoning the X-Men after the loss of Rogue. The send-offs in both this and Wolverine #17 are vague enough that it's arbitrary, so i'm assuming that the something that's coming up is the need for Wolverine to release his feral side, as we see in the Wolverine #17 flashback.) Wolverine doesn't return to Australia until Wolverine #23 / Uncanny X-Men #251, but Wolverine #19-23 take place during Acts of Vengeance, even though the X-Men's Acts of Vengeance issues aren't until #256-258. Rogue enters the Siege Perilous at the end of this arc and shouldn't have any generic appearances elsewhere until her return (at least until Uncanny X-Men #269 and probably later). All of this has implications for an X-Men story in Marvel Super-Heroes #6-8 as well as Wolverine's Marvel Comics Presents appearances, and this also has to take place after Atlantis Attacks.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showArabella Jones, Black King (Sebastian Shaw), Bonebreaker, Colossus, Dazzler, Gateway, Havok, Jubilee, Lady Deathstrike, Longshot, Master Mold, Nanny II, Nimrod, Orphan-Maker, Psylocke, Rogue, Senator Kelly, Storm, Tessa, White Bishop (Donald Pierce), Wolverine
This Carol in Rogue's head is no aberration, just an accidental duplicate - a psychic clone of sorts.
That Binary is also running around makes her not a bit less real.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | November 7, 2014 7:34 PM
Claremont originally intended for Dazzler to die in this story but he changed his mind after the first few pages of issue 246 were already drawn, so the death vision makes no sense.
Posted by: Michael | November 7, 2014 8:52 PM
I really liked this 'disassembling' arc real-time. But it would lead to my walking away from the X books for awhile about a year or so from now because the lack of a solid team in a team book became frustrating to teenage me.
Posted by: Robert | November 7, 2014 9:33 PM
FNORD - in regards to Master Mold being able to see Rogue, could it be that the Carol Danvers personality is somewhat negating the spell? It was intended for "Rogue", not an amalgam of Rogue and Carol.
Robert - I have to disagree with your assessment of the non-team. I thought it was a cool idea to create a team because there was a need for the X-Men. They were the heroes who were willing to go where they were needed and didn't worry about public sentiment.
Posted by: clyde | November 8, 2014 6:24 PM
@Clyde- The Master Mold was able to see the entire team at the end, not just Rogue.
Posted by: Michael | November 8, 2014 6:40 PM
This was a good return to form after "Inferno," but marred by basic idea that Senator Kelly, having pushed for further development of the Sentinel program, sees his wife killed by exactly the sort of Sentinel he's approving, and ends the story mourning his wife and vowing support for exactly what killed his wife. He might as well support the creation of more mutants, if that's all he cares about.
Posted by: ChrisW | November 8, 2014 9:59 PM
fnord, Arabella Jones was seen before this--she was a supporting character in the later issues of Claremont's MS. MARVEL run. She only made a couple of appearances, but she was there.
Posted by: Dermie | November 8, 2014 11:52 PM
The two-degrees-of-viewscreens thing at the end is an echo of Uncanny 97 or whatever, where D'Ken is watching Stephen Lang watching a monitor.
It's possible that Danvers is semi-visible to Master Mold even before the living Nimrod consciousness has been assimilated to the point where he can hazily see all the X-Men. One of Claremont's tics in this period is a lot f subtle overlapping plotting. You kind of see that in the semi-ironic twist here where Nimrod destroys Master Mold just as Dazzler is blasting them through the Siege--Rogue's sacrifice is unnecessary--and we'll see it again soon in the triple mind-control Claremont arranges with Lorna, Legion, and Farouk. So there may have been a Danvers point blended in with the Master Mold/living Nimrod point.
Although the Danvers plot line goes nowhere as Harras and Lee redirect the book after Silvestri's departure, I suspect from all this setup that Claremont had something more in mind than what we eventually get in #269. Note that when we see the Starjammers in #275-277, Binary makes only the most fleeting of appearances. If Claremont had wanted to bring her into the Rogue/Danvers problem, he might have tied in the Starhammers story. Again, I think Lee and Harras redirected things considerably.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 9, 2014 2:30 AM
Yeah, Dermie is right- she appears in Ms.Marvel 15-17 and 22.
Posted by: Michael | November 9, 2014 8:52 AM
Thanks Dermie (and Michael). I didn't track Arabella originally and when i googled her i got a country singer. I've added her tags and a scan of her at her first appearance.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 9, 2014 11:39 AM
The fact that Pierce knows the X-Men were fighting Master Mold, even though Lady D notes that the cameras couldn't see them, may be another non-clue clue that Pierce was a pawn of the Shadow King. I always assumed Pierce was just confident about deducing who was involved in the fight, since he knew from Bonebreaker's crew that the X-Men were alive. But these instances of Pierce exhibiting secret knowledge--here and his understanding of the Siege Perilous in upcoming issues--would fit with idea of a guy like the Shadow King feeding him info.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 20, 2014 3:06 AM
Walter we really have to talk re: the Shadow King!!!
Posted by: Nathan Adler | November 20, 2014 3:30 AM
Good to see you back, Nathan. You can reach me at wallylawson at outlook dot com. I'm kinda slow with email, tho.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 22, 2014 10:03 PM
Walter, message emailed already. Thanks so much:)
Posted by: Nathan Adler | November 23, 2014 12:53 AM
Despite appearances in Uncanny X-Men #247, Chris Claremont revealed on the old racmx site that he had never intended for the Master Mold configuration to get sucked through the Siege Perilous with Rogue after it had merged with Nimrod.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | November 27, 2014 1:36 PM
Nathan- the problem is that Ali says she must have blown both Rogue and Master Mold through the Siege.
Posted by: Michael | November 27, 2014 7:37 PM
Dazzler obviously wouldn't have heard Master Mold's internal dialogue about suiciding and assumed it had gone through and not realised it had set it's own self-destruct!
Posted by: Nathan Adler | November 28, 2014 12:39 AM
Does anybody else notice the implications of Storm hanging around in Wolverine's room while he goes to the bathroom [to do his hair] and she's just wearing a nightgown? Then she plays dress-up with his leather jacket and sunglasses?
I get that the X-Men are bored in Australia at this point, but really?
Posted by: ChrisW | September 1, 2015 12:39 AM
Robert - I totally was with you on this. This arc was what finally drove me to give up X-Men, my last remaining X title, and I dropped it after #255 and only picked it up again after the teams were reunited at Muir Island.
ChrisW - Even reading this in real time at age 15, I took that to mean that Ororo and Logan slept together. It just seemed like they had moved to a different kind of relationship.
Fnord - you say that Claremont is making room for Wolverine's solo adventures. But I always just looked at as Claremont's way of getting him out of the way while he destroyed the team.
Michael - You were confused about Master Mold? Hell, the last I knew he had been destroyed in Alaska by Scott because I didn't read MCP or Power Pack. But I blame the editors for that - they should be doing the footnotes, not needing Claremont to recap things. By this time it seems they really were going farther and father away from keepings the readers fully informed.
So nice to have Rogue drawn well here after the hideous job on her in the Annual.
Posted by: Erik Beck | September 11, 2015 10:39 AM
Well, I was slightly younger, but you were obviously well ahead of me on that. It's just even now I don't see anything in Storm or Wolverine to suggest a 'friends with benefits' relationship with each other at any point.
In #248, Ali commented to Alex about increasing "star-crossed moments" with each other, even though she's already with Longshot and is pretty determined to see it as exclusive. What the hell are the X-Men doing in Australia? No wonder they took so long to find the Marauders, much less follow up on any other business.
Posted by: ChrisW | September 13, 2015 2:19 PM
Betsy still has the haircut she got at the mall in #244. I always liked that little detail.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 26, 2016 3:08 AM
@ChrisW: When Alison mentions to Havok that they are both having their share of "star-crossed moments, lately" she is meaning bad luck in love with Longshot leaving the team for her and Madelyne for Alex. Not that she and Alex are an item!!! Star-crossed means thwarted by bad luck.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 26, 2016 4:10 AM
Um, ok. By the way, I do still intend to email you back.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 27, 2016 1:53 AM
@ChrisW: No worries:)
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 27, 2016 4:28 AM
This issue started the rather long ongoing subplot involving the Dazzler. It continued in NEW EXCALBUR and X-MEN: DIE BY THE SWORD, as we saw her dying at least four times and then resurrected mysteriously. This was caused by her journey through the Siege Perilous. However, the storyline was dropped once those books ended and Claremont started writing NEW EXILES.
I must mention, though, that this plot point has now been picked up by Kelly Thompson in the current A-FORCE series, as the Dazzler was killed in A-FORCE #3, only to mysteriously return from the dead in #4. I have to give her props for this! I'm looking forward to seeing where she takes the storyline.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 6, 2016 1:10 PM
@Andrew Burke: "My mutant power is that I never die." The mind-blowing resolution we'll never get: a link between Xorn and Dazzler involving the Mojoverse.
Posted by: FF3 | June 10, 2016 12:43 PM
@ChrisW, you're right about the Storm-Wolverine hookup, I think. The previous issue ended with a drunk Wolverine kissing Storm--maybe returning her kiss from Annual 11? In any event, she seemed amused/impressed last issue, and maybe that cued up the sexual relationship implied here.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | December 10, 2016 7:22 PM
Or giving them 'one last night of fun' together after the respective 'girls night out' and 'boys night out' issues, right before the team falls apart?
Posted by: ChrisW | December 12, 2016 8:31 PM
Also notice for the first time ever that Storm is standing in front of a picture of Mariko when she's wearing Wolvie's jacket and sunglasses. Hey, I was 13 when these comics came out and never thought about the subtext until recently, gimme a break! Just another interesting juxtaposition in a story that's full of them.
This is the end of the Rogue/Carol dynamic, so both of them get plenty of time on-screen, and Rogue goes out wearing a Ms. Marvel costume. Dazzler is instrumental in taking Rogue out in almost the same way that she saved Rogue and got over their long feud in #222. The first sentinel, Master Mold, merges with the last sentinel, Nimrod, and the result is that Senator Kelly fully supports the implementation of a new Sentinel program which will lead to Nimrod, all because Nimrod/Master Mold just killed his wife. He met his wife when she worked for the Hellfire Club, which the X-Men/Magneto have recently joined.
You can criticize the execution or the failure to execute, but I think one of the main things that made Claremont's "X-Men" so popular was how well he could describe or imply 'wheels within wheels' as a natural part of life.
Posted by: ChrisW | December 14, 2016 9:41 PM
Regarding the issue of Dazzler dying in this story.
The only reason Dazzler didn't die was Silvestri. He liked Dazzler but Claremont didn't (she was a Jim Shooter pet project) and wanted her dead/replaced with Jubilee.
Silvestri went over Claremont's head to Bob Harras to save Dazzler (which he agreed to) and then pitched the idea of revisiting the Dazzler Movie graphic novel to convince Claremont of a plotline to keep Dazzler around.
Dazzler was going to rejoin the X-Men during the aborted Mutant Wars storyline but once Silvestri was off the book and editorial nixing Mutant Wars, Claremont shoved Dazzler into limbo.
Posted by: Jesse Baker | June 6, 2017 1:16 AM
Whoa, I just read a Secrets Behind the X-Men on Mutant Wars. That sounds like it would have been a good storyline! (At least, if you generally like crossovers, and I do.) It's too bad it got derailed.
I wonder why editorial nixed Mutant Wars, if they were so concerned about keeping the focus on mutant stuff? I guess it was just a result of getting Claremont and Simonson off of the books?
Posted by: J-Rod | June 6, 2017 3:30 PM
By all accounts Mutant Wars (plus the original, as of yet still unleaked plot for Days of Future Present) was spiked/replaced with Xtinction Agenda due to the arrival of Jim Lee and Bob Harras wanting a full-on reset of the status quo ASAP.
Mutant Wars would have brought together the X-Men again, but they would still be operating underground and on the fringes, until #300 (which is when Claremont wanted to have everything climax).
Bob Harras wanted the book restored to the classic status quo by the end of 1991, especially after the decision was made to greenlight the launch a second X-Men book following the huge success of Spider-Man #1. Lee was on Harras's side, as Lee wanted to draw more or less "traditional" X-Men stories with Magneto, Sentinels, Mojo, etc.
Claremont went along with the spiking of Mutant Wars and did Xtinction Agenda instead (plus rewrote Days of Future Present) but did so under a tacit understanding that he would be allowed to keep the Shadow King story going until #300. Then that got reneged on and orders came to wrap everything up in time for the launch of X-Men #1 and the final straw being Claremont, almost on a dare, tried to get Harras to greenlight his Wolverine dies/becomes a pawn of the Hand storyline that got rejected several years earlier, with the intend of using it as the big storyline leading into #300.
Posted by: Jesse Baker | June 6, 2017 5:35 PM
Wait, what? I like Jubilee [pause for all the tomatoes thrown at me] but a replacement for Dazzler? I'm going to need a source, because Claremont went out of his way to include Dazzler in some of the early Brood stories, the Karma/Farouk story, and she was clearly a first choice to join the post-Massacre X-Men.
I just don't see someone on Claremont's level spending so much time on characters that he doesn't have complete control over. The Beyonder can show up at any moment and make Boom-Boom an interesting character. Claremont has no control over that.
Posted by: ChrisW | June 7, 2017 1:31 AM
I hope that in the intervening years Jubilee's gotten over her weird transphobia-- I almost did a spit-take reading that incredibly jarring panel just now.
Posted by: Josie Homework | November 20, 2017 8:05 AM
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