Issue(s): X-Factor #13
But perhaps Iceman could have been spared, in case there were more mutant bombers waiting at his old house. Or maybe a giant sentinel.
Before he leaves, Scott says his goodbyes, and Caliban recognizes a kindred hopeless lover in him.
He also swings by the hospital to say goodbye to Jean and Warren. He looks at this photograph in the taxi on the way over. It looks very familiar to me but i can't remember where it was originally used. Maybe in a lettercol? Update: Thanks to Clyde for noting it's the image from Uncanny X-Men #174.
Warren is busy in the hospital room dropping hints that he's going to commit suicide...
...but when Scott peeks in he decides that they "seemed happy up there" so he leaves without saying anything. But Jean sees him leaving the hospital and telekinetically holds his cab so she can give him a rather passionate goodbye kiss.
Later, Scott arrives in Alaska to find that his house has been completely emptied out and put up for sale, and according to the real estate office, he's the one who listed it. He also finds that he can't find any record of Madelyne Pryor ever having existed.
Scott also tries to contact his grandparents and others working at the airline Madeylne worked at. But Scott was supposedly making phone calls to friends and relatives in earlier issues, trying to find Maddie. As Michael said in the comments on X-Factor #7, who was he calling? Does Scott remember talking to his grandparents recently?
Like me, the police aren't sure whether to feel sorry for Scott or think that he's crazy.
But this turn of events is certainly driving him crazy. He starts to worry that if the Phoenix force hid Jean for so long, it might be hiding Madelyne now. So he runs back to his home and has some vivid hallucinations, with Madelyne noting how convenient it is for her to have disappeared now that Jean is back.
During his hallucination, he lets loose his optic blast, and that uncovers a rattle that fell behind a radiator, proving that his wife and child did really exist.
Meanwhile, that giant sentinel i mentioned, the Master Mold, which had fallen out of the sky some time ago and was rusting away in the ocean, detects Scott using his powers, and identifies him as one of "The Twelve". Who are the Twelve? Well here the Master Mold defines them as "One of the strong!" (Sounds like Apocalypse!) "A pivotal mutant around whom others will gather!". It's worth noting that Nimrod also counted twelve X-Men during his recent battle in Central Park. But the concept of The Twelve is one that will be teased for a number of years but not resolved until Chris Claremont and Alan Davis' X-Men run circa the year 2000.
For now, though, the Master Mold sets about repairing himself...
...and violently blasting away a group of human office workers so that he can connect to the internet (or its 1987 proto-equivalent of networked mainframes) and download the necessary knowledge.
Even after the Mutant Massacre, i am surprised to see that much violence directly on panel. Ordinary people disintegrated before our eyes!
Cyclops and Master Mold won't meet until next issue. This issue is just build-up. We also have the possible corpse of Madelyne discovered by the police (of course there was also the scene in Uncanny X-Men #206).
In isolation, this is a good build up. But considering it takes until Inferno for all of this to get resolved, it's hard to not look at this with dread. We're beginning a period where there's a lot of build up but it's not clear that the creators know where they are going (and/or there are editorial or inter-title concerns to deal with).
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This has to take place after Jean gets back from Mephisto's dimension in Mephisto vs... #3. Masque doesn't actually appear in this issue but the Beast tells Cyclops over the phone that he's "execrable".
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAngel, Ape (Morlock), Artie Maddicks, Beast, Boom Boom, Caliban, Cameron Hodge, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Leech, Masque, Master Mold, Rusty Collins, Skids
Mastermind showed it to Cyclops in Uncanny x-men 174-175 -
Posted by: clyde | March 4, 2014 7:58 PM
Scott doesn't find any evidence that his son was born in Alaska, which isn't surprising considering that his son was born in the mansion.
Posted by: Michael | March 4, 2014 9:35 PM
Thanks, Clyde! I know it's just a nod to the other image, but it is kind of weird that Scott's go-to picture of Jean is one that Mastermind gave him while he was manipulating him. Getting to Michael's points, it does show that Scott has been put through the emotional wringer for a long time.
Michael, at the end of last issue, in one of the scans i have up, Scott says that until the bomb at Sara Grey's, he really believed that Madelyne as just avoiding him. Maybe he thought she told her friends (whoever he tried to call) that she didn't want to talk to him. And i think the situation with the checks could be explained, too; for example he could have told Hodge to auto-deduct a percentage of his pay. So i agree that Scott's actions have been atrocious - leaving Maddie in the first place, wishing she never existed or dead, and doing a truly lackluster job of trying to reconnect - but i don't know that my opinion of him is quite as bad as yours. He's been utterly irresponsible in terms of his relationships and as a parent, but i don't know that he even subconsciously suspected that his child was actually missing or in any danger.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 4, 2014 10:32 PM
I think what makes it worse is why Scott left to join X-Factor. It wasn't so much to be with his old team again as it was to be with the one true love of his life. If Dazzler had joined instead of Jean, I don't think he would have left his family.
Posted by: clyde | March 4, 2014 10:47 PM
As far as the picture, I doubt he had any other pictures of her. I would think he got rid of them when he married Madelyne.
Posted by: clyde | March 4, 2014 10:49 PM
Fnord, I think the larger point is that Scott knew there was a chance Maddie was in danger. The dialogue makes it clear that Scott's letters were being returned unopened- that should have raised his suspicions. Scott knew that Mastermind and Loki knew about Maddie and that Maddie had been in two plane crashes since she met him. Scott might have assumed that Maddie's friends were lying to him but that was a highly convenient assumption. Besides which, if Scott called multiple friends of Maddie, it's highly unlikely that they'd all tell him they don't know where she was. (And from what little we see of his conversation in issue 7, he's not acting like someone who thinks he's being lied to about his wife's whereabouts.)
Posted by: Michael | March 5, 2014 12:13 AM
I'm still not getting the "Scott waiting so long to report Maddie & the baby missing" thing. Up until this issue, he had nothing to report to any kind of authority. She told him she'd leave him if he left so he believed she must have. He couldn't reach her by phone and his letters and cheques were being returned could just be her pissed off at him an not wanting anything to do with him. She's been shown to have a temper and in fact punched him in the face for asking if she was really Jean. Same with the people he managed to get a hold of. They could have just been stonewalling him at her request or some women genuinely cut ties with friends so they don't have anything to tell the ex. All reasonable explanations.
So yea, he could have tried harder but there is a lot of shame he's dealing with. I'm not surprised he started losing his mind here.
Also, we're dealing with Marvel Time here. We saw how shell shocked he was when he thought Jean (Phoenix) died vs Magneto in the Savage Land, then again when she killed herself in front of him on the Moon. We saw what kind of drunken wreck he became when he discovered she was alive after all in X-Factor #1. He's been barely holding things together this whole time as Artie discovers when he reads Scott's mind in X-Factor #4. It's not surprising Scott starts losing it completely here.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | March 5, 2014 2:06 PM
Also, she's a pilot, she could have gotten a new job elsewhere and decided to become completely independent which would have made her difficult to reach as well.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | March 5, 2014 2:16 PM
"She's been shown to have a temper and in fact punched him in the face for asking if she was really Jean". She's also been shown to incredibly forgiving- she forgive Lilandra for coming after her with a lightsaber and Storm for almost drowning her.
Posted by: Michael | March 6, 2014 12:20 AM
I want to say this is being over analyzed, but given the nature of my own posts...pot, kettle, black...
Two pieces of context, though. First, how long has it been for Scott since he left Maddie? My guess would be at most a month, in-story time. Keep in mind that by the time baby Natan is whisked off to the Apocalyptic future in real-life 1991, he's still not old enough to walk. Even apart from the "sliding timescale," there has to be some serious compression here.
Second, Scott's behavior is so unsocial because he's been badly socialized, as later arcs will emphasize somewhat. No parents after a pretty young age, an orphanage where Kid Sinister was his best for enemy, then his Oliver Twist time with Jack of Diamonds, followed by Xavier's school, where he had a total of four friends his own age and knew one girl. Caliban's right to see him as a kindered spirit.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | March 6, 2014 1:41 AM
Walter- in X-Men 223, Maddie says that she was in a coma for "months"- that's probably about how long it was between Scott leaving Maddie and him coming home.
Posted by: Michael | March 6, 2014 7:46 AM
If you look at the time that passes in the Marvel Universe, it was maybe about 2 months at the most.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | March 6, 2014 2:00 PM
I think the point is that Claremont's intentions per Michael's "months" quote and Simonson's intentions since multiple letters had been returned and multiple checks had not been cashed, the writers were treating this as if more time had passed. That's a typical problem even not taking into account the Marvel sliding timescale. Writers often slip into writing in "realtime" (it's been a year since issue #1) even though, for example, we know issues #8-11 all took place on a single day.
I'm not weighing in on the larger topic here; just wanted to address the time issue so we're not talking past each other. I agree that with Marvel Time, Scott was away from Maddie for barely an hour. ;-)
We'll see more about Scott's unsocial behavior / unusual upbringing re: Professor X and how Simonson may see that as a mitigating factor next issue...
Posted by: fnord12 | March 6, 2014 2:21 PM
Every time I think of this point in Scott's life I can't help but see the men behind the curtains.
It is just so obvious that writers and editorial need Scott to be away from Maddie and from the X-Men, characterization be darned. There is really no other way to explain the incredibly convoluted situation of early X-Factor issues. The contradictory and unexplained scenes involving Madelyne's supposed cadaver are just further evidence.
This is, after all, a point in time where a lot of the focus of the X-Books was directed towards creating crossovers that somehow involved the then-three books while symultaneously teasing yet failing to deliver some very needed meetings. All three books showed a remarkable lack of plot resolution at this time.
Scott's character was just a casualty among so many others.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | March 8, 2014 8:17 AM
Come to think of it, the only reason for the whole "all records of Maddie's existence are erased" plot was to prevent Scott from finding out Maddie was alive. Under ordinary circumstances, if Scott filed a missing persons report or declared Maddie dead, he would have been contacted about Maddie five minutes after she woke up from her coma. The only reason for erasing the records was to prevent that from happening.
Posted by: Michael | March 8, 2014 11:46 AM
The 12 wasn't made clear until the 2000s? Thank God I gave up reading in the early 90's.
There are a couple of things, continuity wise, that bother me about this issue. The first is the picture - Mastermind gave it to him, which seemed to indicate that it was a use of Mastermind's power and otherwise wasn't a real picture of Jean. Why would he still have it and why would it still show Jean? That always bothered me.
The corpse at the end also bothered me. We've already seen Maddie wheeled into a hospital in San Francisco. Why have this corpse in Alaska? Sinister wouldn't have planted it there - he wanted her existence erased, not some corpse to make it seem like she was dead. And we know it's not really Maddie. So where the hell does it come from? That was never really explained very well.
As a big Cyclops fan, I was very disappointed with how he was written during this stretch. I don't fully agree with clyde's comments, but it does indicate some severe problems. Granted, this is nothing compared to his affair with Emma or, god help me, Avengers vs X-Men. After all that I am surprised there are any Scott fans like myself left.
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 10, 2015 11:42 AM
Erik, I always assumed that the picture of Jean in X-Men 174 was a real picture of Jean that Mastermind took while he was spying on Jean during her vacation in Kirinos. But it is weird for Scott to keep the picture- who keeps a picture of your former girlfriend in a bikini taken by a man who was stalking her and kidnapped your wife and kissed her against her will?
Posted by: Michael | July 10, 2015 7:06 PM
Is it possible that the computer virus the X-Men used in the Pentagon erased all of Maddie's files? It included the legendary soldier Cable without his knowledge or consent, it could probably handle some female airline pilot. Sure, Genosha had those records, but they were still erased anyway. And a naked redhead corpse was pulled out of the water, so that obviously solves everything.
Seriously, everything has been explained. Why are you still asking questions? Do you need an inferno to burn everything down?
Posted by: ChrisW | July 12, 2015 2:11 AM
The problem is (a) Sinister claimed to have erased all records of Maddie's existence, and (b) Logan was surprised that all records of Maddie's existence were erased, which is kind of odd if they were erased due to a virus the X-Men planted.
Posted by: Michael | July 12, 2015 9:12 AM
Re:Erik The picture was taken by Mastermind in his disguise as Jean's Greek guide, see Classic X-Men back story circa Uncanny X-Men #118. The picture was real, although he didn't take it secretly, since Scott recognized it, probably from Jean's print. Sadly, the picture implies Jean was a smoker, which has always been my problem with it(My personal bias only. Being the 70's, it was probably an in character beat.)
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | May 24, 2016 2:49 AM
The cigarettes probably belonged to Wyngarde.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 24, 2016 9:17 AM
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