Uncanny X-Men annual #11
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men annual #11
...despite protests to the contrary.
He is apparently trying to drown his sorrows thinking about Lady Mariko's rejection of their marriage.
We are back at the X-Mansion, but Brian Braddock, aka Captain Britain is visiting his sister Elizabeth (Psylocke) and he's brought Meggan as well.
I'm curious what Brian thinks of Elizabeth's eyes. When she was introduced to the X-books with last year's New Mutants annual, she was blind thanks to events from the earlier Captain Britain series. She was able to navigate the world thanks to her telepathy. But that annual had her receiving bionic eyes from Mojo and Spiral, and while she knew at the end of the New Mutants annual that Brian sensed that something was amiss, she didn't tell him about the fact that she received eyes from interdimensional super-villains. She hasn't told the X-Men either, but they may not have known that she was ever blind. It's not likely that Brian thinks she is still blind and using telepathy. Her eyes were literally slashed out, and she now clearly has eyeballs. It's not discussed.
Instead, her theme for this issue continues to be whether or not she's tough enough to be part of the X-Men.
It seems to me she proved herself against Sabretooth in the issue she officially joined the team, and she's worked successfully with the group on a number of missions, including against Malice and the Juggernaut. But she's still not sure if she's a true warrior or not and it seems to be bothering her.
But this issue is designed to show us the inner workings of all the X-Men via a mystical macguffin. The X-Men are attacked by an unbeatable alien called Horde...
...and forced to enter the Citadel of Light and Shadow to acquire the Crystal of Ultimate Vision.
The Citadel is lined by statues of other alien races, including a Skrull and a Kree among others that aren't identified...
...and it defends itself by tempting invaders with visions of what they desire most.
Wolverine and Storm exchange a kiss (!)...
...and then the X-Men enter the citadel.
Rogue's dream is to be a southern belle.
Havok becomes a star. Literally.
Dazzler first sees a successful lawyer.
But then she sees a successful rock star, and then a homeless person. It seems she isn't sure what she wants. She winds up picking the third option so she'll "never have to worry about making a mistake. Failing. Being hurt." Yikes.
Longhot starts to just fade away, and first he worries that his desire is to not exist...
...but later it's said that he doesn't have any real desires and so the citadel eliminated him.
Captain Britain and Meggan are shown to be a happy couple.
Storm is tempted with a wild life with Yukio.
As for Psylocke, we learn that her deepest desire is to become Jocasta.
OK, it's actually to become the steel warrior that she says that "already existed" inside her. So hopefully that settles that.
Finally, Wolverine is tempted with a life with Markio...
...who transforms from her traditional self into a "wild woman".
Both Wolverine and Storm reject their temptations, but Wolverine pushes Storm back into hers so that he can protect her from Horde, who enters the Citadel after the X-Men have taken care of its defenses and located the Crystal. In the battle with Horde, Wolverine is killed, but a drop of his blood lands on the Crystal...
...and allows him to fully regenerate himself.
This scene is sometimes referenced to suggest that Wolverine has unlimited regeneration capabilities, but that is of course crazy. His ability to regenerate from a single drop of blood is clearly due to the Crystal.
Wolverine defeats Horde by removing a gem shard from his head, and then turns to use the Crystal himself, giving him power over all creation. He wonders if "it's how Jean Grey felt... when she became the Phoenix" (Wolvie obviously hasn't been reading X-Factor).
He rejects the power of thy Crystal, and that returns all the X-Men to their school.
Narration panels at the end tell us that the point of the Crystal is a test for all the races in the universe. Anyone that makes it to the Crystal and actually tries to use its power is transformed into a guardian statue and their race is genetically frozen in place, unable to evolve further. Species that reject the Crystal, as Wolverine did, are returned home and their race is allowed to resolve.
I'm not sure i accept that view on Marvel cosmology (surely, the Kree are a genetic dead end because the Eternal branch of their species won out after the Celestials performed their experiments on their planet!). But while the mystical metaphor stuff is always a little obvious, it's a nice device for an annual, allowing us to take a look at characters' core identities, or at least how Claremont sees them.
It's also nicely scripted and with great art from Alan Davis, so it's definitely a nice annual.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The X-Men are back at the School For Gifted Youngsters this issue, perhaps having returned to greet the New Mutants who recently returned in New Mutants #52 (although neither they nor Magneto are seen in this issue). Havok is a member of the team, placing this after Uncanny X-Men #219.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showCaptain Britain, Dazzler, Havok, Longshot, Meggan, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine
Some readers were confused by the whole Psylokce-turns-into-Jocasta thing.
Posted by: Michael | March 23, 2014 5:27 PM
Hey, Wolverine's naked again, forgot about this one.
Posted by: David Banes | March 23, 2014 5:52 PM
I give Claremont points for daring to try and for the effort, but he sometimes commits serious mistakes in characterization.
Psylocke here is almost a 180 from her fight with Sabretooth (maybe he wanted to hint at some kind of mental pathology?). Wolverine and Storm are force-fed qualities that do not really suit them. Dazzler seems to have actually regressed since her series' end (or even its beginning), for no clear reason. Longshot is Longshot.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | March 23, 2014 7:36 PM
A lot of fans of the Dazzler series got very angry at Claremont's usage of the character. They said Claremont turned Dazzler into a bimbo.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | March 23, 2014 9:01 PM
Claremont's characterization a may not fit with how a character like Dazzler was portrayed elsewhere, but he stays true to his own characterization so with this cast, as a comparison to earlier and later stories shows. Mariko and Yukio were transformational in their effect on Wolvie and Storm four years ago. Daz sees these same visions of herself in the Siege Perilous toward the end of the Australian period. Longshot's "disappearing act" here is also repeated around that time. Psylocke's desire to be more of a warrior than she is--and she's already proved herself several times, not only against Sabertooth but also in her brave but nearly fatal fight with Slaymaster--leads to her getting armored up by the time if the earth-Brood story and ultimately turns her into an Elektra clone. Havok's desire to cut loose with his power comes up during Inferno, though Claremont doesn't get very far with it. I thought this was a pretty insubstantial annual when it came out, but in retrospect it foreshadows a heckuva lot.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | March 23, 2014 9:59 PM
Yeah, I never liked Claremont's handling of Dazzler this time around...which, discounting her first appearance, when she was a blank slate and still said things like "Chuckles, you ruined my DY-NO-MITE DEBUT!" is the first time he has gotten his mitts on her to do anything significant. He obviously was familiar enough with her book to reference things like her feud with Rogue, her battle with Dr. Doom, her romantic past with Angel, her father's wish for her to be a law student, but he only got the Cliff notes. The tone was off. I just don't think the Dazzler of her own book would have been suffering these particular crises of confidence, nor would Longshot have been her type at all (judging by the many romantic interests we saw), and she didn't talk or think this way, even at her ditziest.
Beautiful art above, and -- one of those things that have to be very good or very bad for you to notice -- great lettering as well.
Posted by: Todd | March 24, 2014 2:15 AM
Shouldn't Wolverine be a mindless vegetable if he regenerated that way? Can he regenerate his brain with all its memories?
Posted by: kveto from prague | March 24, 2014 5:04 AM
That and why would he have his adamantium back? If it's a new body built from his cells, he shouldn't have any.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | March 24, 2014 3:22 PM
It's possible the adamantium bonded to his cells. Therefore, it would be part of any new cells being generated.
Posted by: clyde | March 24, 2014 4:13 PM
Isn't it magic? I just let it go with magic when I read this. Unlike One More Day I think its okay to explain it away 'IT'S MAGIC WE DON'T HAVE TO EXPLAIN IT!'
Posted by: David Banes | March 24, 2014 4:35 PM
What you're describing is a big problem with Claremont, one that would become more pronounced later, after he had left Marvel. He doesn't recognize other writers work with a character.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | March 24, 2014 7:04 PM
I don't know -- in her first appearance in 130, she came off very streetwise, a little cocky, and had some rough edges. She went after the Hellfire Club at her disco performance like anything. When she joined almost 100 issues later, she was neither that way nor the more refined and thoughtful character of her own title (or Nocenti's miniseries, etc.). She came off as younger, was a ditz who misunderstood words, and had confidence issues that were hard to connect with the Paul Chadwick run at the end of her book.
My suspicion is that he was trying to find a unique tone and color for her that would distinguish her in a book with several women, not making her a "generic Claremont strong woman." It was just more bothersome to people who had been following her exploits for years.
Posted by: Todd | March 24, 2014 7:46 PM
Historical significance only a "1"!?!?!? The entire human race is allowed to evolve because of this annual!!!
Posted by: Chris | May 20, 2014 4:56 PM
Fnord, you have a couple of amusing typos that hearken back to part of why I disliked #205 so much - you call Yukio "Yuriko." Part of my irritation in #205 was that Yuriko had never appeared, or even been mentioned in the title before and her name was so similar to Yukio that I thought she was Yukio, especially as we hadn't seen her in some time. Amusing, in light of that, that you made this mistake.
I thought this was a fun annual with great art, but it seemed, tone-wise, out of place with what the team had been doing. Also, while it easily fits into the space between #219 and 220 (it's the only place it can it), it's part of the larger X-Men going back and forth between New York and Scotland, as they had to go back to Muir for vs FF in between those issues as well.
I also had the same thought as Jay Demetrick when I first read this issue - if Logan regenerates himself why would he still have the adamantium? David Banes is right, we just have to say "it's part of the magic of the crystal" and leave it at that.
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 18, 2015 9:51 AM
Fixed the Yuriko/Yukio typos. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 18, 2015 10:01 AM
I read it that the crystal is cosmic or magic or both, and Wolvie a bit unreliable narrator. Maybe it is enough to touch the crystal when "alive enough", and a drop of blood suffices when it is boosted with the healing factor. Horde seems to know he is about to lose the race, but does not understand how the resurrection / boosted healing works.
And the way Logan looks at his hands gave me the idea he actually makes himself new claws, then and there, with the borrowed power cosmic. Could also be the crystal working on its own of course.
Psylocke's eye situation is annoying indeed. I probably read a dozen issues about her before I even found out she had been blind and the eyes were bionic. Whereas many other info bits were repeated and mulled over ad nauseum.
Posted by: Catherine | May 2, 2017 4:37 AM
1. Everyone knows Betsy has artificial eyes (Mojo explicitly left them in her head at the end of New Mutants Annual #2) but IIRC no one, not even Betsy, knew Mojo was using them to spy on the team until X-Men V2 #31-32. Brian is probably not discussing the issue because of the implications (IE not wanting to guilt Betsy into removing them by force)
2. Claremont's treatment of Dazzler comes from a love-hate element: he liked the character on some level, but hated her because she was one of Jim Shooter's pet characters and even tried to kill her in UXM #246-247 because he wanted to get back at Shooter for past slights.
Posted by: Jesse Baker | January 18, 2018 4:55 PM
More broadly, this issue reflects Claremont's ongoing moves to turn the X-Men into more of a "dark fantasy" book, something that was already visible in earlier issues of Uncanny and in his New Mutants run, and which will also pop up relatively soon when "Fall of the Mutants" gives the team an explicitly magical advers....errr, opponent and then ties them to stuff like Roma and the Siege Perilous.
Here, the Citadel of Light and Shadow turns the central "evolution" element into something more like "mystical self-actualization" on a species level; in other words, a science fiction element fully becomes a fantasy element instead. Again, a lot of this seems like a trial run for the Fall of the Mutants thing -- invincible magical enemy, heroic sacrifice, and mystical resurrection -- and the Siege Perilous -- a magical crystal connected to both rebirth and a test of spirit.
I'd say that X-Factor under Louise and Walter Simonson does the opposite:. Both textually and subtextually, Apocalypse is a mythological "tempting devil" or "dark god" archetype reinterpreted through the soft sci-fi "mutant" metaphor.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | July 10, 2018 7:20 AM
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