Uncanny X-Men #96
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #96
In this issue, Cyclops accidentally destroys an ancient cairn that is in the woods near Xavier's mansion while he is venting due to the death of Thunderbird. That releases a demon called Kierrok. It is a N'Garai, a child of the Elder Gods.
Back at the Mansion, the X-Men are training. Wolverine continues to prove dangerously violent. Xavier tells Banshee that he is leaving, and he brings Moira MacTaggert in as a replacement.
This is actually Moira's first published appearance, although she's appeared on this site in a number of continuity inserts prior to this.
Then Kierrok shows up.
The X-Men are unable to beat it until Wolverine goes into a rage.
Even then, only its physical form is destroyed and its spirit starts reforming its body. Xavier attempts a mind link to figure out how to beat it, and finds himself faced with a C'thulian vision.
But he does learn that the the way to beat the demon is to reseal the cairn that Cyclops destroyed. He sends Storm to do so. After a fight with demonic images and flashbacks to a tragedy in her childhood, she rallies and seals it with a lightning bolt. This is the first non-retconned clue that Storm suffers from claustrophobia.
In a subplot, a Dr. Lang rants about mutants and has a Colonel Michael Rossi killed when he refuses to authorize a reconstitution of the Sentinel program.
The Classic X-Men reprint adds a scene with Storm swimming in the nude and shocking the other members of the team...
...and Moira and Charles referring to their prior relationship. It also adds a cute line of dialogue about Moira having been in the Scots Guard.
The back-up story has Wolverine and Nightcrawler going to Harry's, a local tavern, and Wolverine convincing Nightcrawler to not use his Stark Industries image inducer to hide his true form.
The demon story is a little out of place for the X-Men, but this still was pretty good.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Classic X-Men back-up can take place directly after the main story.
Continuity Insert? P (Classic X-Men reprint contains continuity inserts)
My Reprint: Classic X-Men #4
Inbound References (9): show
The N'Garai/Elder Gods were actually first mentioned(but not seen)in a Satana story written by Claremont.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 11, 2011 1:31 AM
The removal of Mantlo's plot credit plus the non-reprinting of his X-men fill-in story in Classic X-Men make me wonder if Claremont or somebody else was trying to edit him out of X-Men formative history.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 21, 2011 12:51 AM
Not sure what Mantlo might have added--as Mark mentions, the N'Garai were a Claremont concept all the way--but Moira attacking the demon with a machine gun was Cockrum's addition, which Claremont liked.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | February 12, 2013 12:14 AM
In the letters column for FOOM#12(12/75), Wolverine was described as "...fast, extremely agile, a super-contortionist type and is virtually indestructible."
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 4, 2013 6:12 PM
Are any of the inscriptions on the cairn on Xavier's estate the same as those Forge used to banish the Adversary in Uncanny X-Men #227?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | March 31, 2013 2:40 AM
I'm going to say no. The runes in this issue are very busy. I'm not an expert in this sort of thing, but they look more like Aztec symbols seen at a distance. Lots of squiggly lines and shapes.
The ones in #227 are much plainer. Three simple rows that look like an actual alphabet (albeit generic and obscured).
All that said, if someone were looking for a connection, Cockrum and Silvestri obviously have very different art styles.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 31, 2013 10:15 AM
I love the bit where the caption boxes taunt Cyclops.
This issue also contains a rare "SNICKT" sound effect for Wolverine.
Posted by: S | August 25, 2013 10:39 AM
Wolverine spent ten years of praying? That's not the Wolvie I know. Easy to see why Byrne and others saw something to the character that Claremont didn't.
Posted by: ChrisW | December 23, 2014 10:02 PM
Fnord, I'm confused. Shouldn't this issue have a 7 or 8 for Historical Significance Rating because of the first appearance of Moira? She is the seminal X-Men supporting character and this was her first published appearance. Also, maybe even a little bit for the first reference to Storm's claustrophobia.
One advantage to reading these in Classic from here on out - it's much more obvious when panels are inserted because the art is so much different. But still, the reaction to Storm swimming is one of my favorite Classic inserts.
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 11, 2015 11:53 AM
7 or 8 is high for a supporting character, even one that will ave as many appearances as Moira, but you're right that i should have called out her first published appearance here. That's the problem with continuity inserts, especially the ones snuck into the Classic X-Men reprints; i occasionally lose track of what was new in realtime. Thanks for pointing it out.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 11, 2015 2:25 PM
Moira is introduced as a housekeeper. And later becomes a virtual super scientist and expert on mutations.
Very typical of Claremont. No one is just normal even if they are introduced as such.
Posted by: Chris | March 11, 2015 3:52 PM
To be fair to Claremont, that while he often does this, it seemed like, even from the start, that there was a lot more to Moira than met the eye. And it's less than 10 issues later where we see Muir Island and start to get a clue as to how much more there is to Moira.
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 11, 2015 5:57 PM
Harry Morrel appears in the backup- shouldn't he be listed as a Character Appearing?
Posted by: Michael | June 4, 2016 6:25 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | June 8, 2016 11:20 AM
If I recall, the backup story references Kurt's love for "Star Wars", having even seen it multiple times. (It would not come out for another two years) Obviously references to contemporary popular culture doesn't have a huge effect on the timescale, but it's interesting to note.
Posted by: rabartlett | September 18, 2017 12:44 AM
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