The Uncanny X-Men #160 – Chutes and Ladders!
Despite the fact that Illyana is in my top five favorite Marvel comic book characters (and possibly just top 5 favorite comic book characters ever) I’ve never actually read this issue before. I had always known the basics though Belasco abducts Illyana and corrupts her and steals her soul piece by piece to form bloodstones so he can rule Limbo and through all the various Magik and Limbo-centric issues I’ve read I’ve fleshed out most of the story on my own, but it was interesting to read it. We see for the first time in an x book (in publication order) Limbo, Belasco makes his first appearance here (but he’d been in other books) and we see S’ym for the first time. Kitty gets tortured by Belasco and in a sort of alternate timeline with in the dimension Storm learns magic to save Illyana, Piotr and Logan die and Kurt becomes corrupted by Belasco and becomes a creature of pure evil. All that being said though the X-Men with the older Ororo’s help manage to free Kitty and rescue Illyana but they lose track of the little girl and once Kitty finds her again and pulls her through the closing portal that the older Ororo created Illyana is no longer a young child but a 13 year old girl. The story is very good – don’t get me wrong but it does have two things going against it for me. First of all, I think I’ve built it up so much in my head that I thought it would be better than it was. Secondly, the book feels very disjointed, in general – I’ve spoken of this before but the plots hop around a lot recently and it can be a bit confusing because it feels like there are things that have been left out. But in the end, even if I didn’t love the character so much, this issue will always bring a smile to my heart because it’s the August 1982 issue, and that’s when I was born.
Marvel Team-Up #100 – Karma!/Cry - Vengeance!
Okay this next story doesn’t really fit here because in the backup feature with Ororo Charles is up and about (but currently he’s in a coma) but I couldn’t really think of where else to fit it in. Starting with the first story we have Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four we see Xi’an “Shan” Coy Manh (Karma) for the very first time and we meet her family: her uncle General Nguyen Ngoc Coy, Xi’an’s twin brother Tran and their younger siblings Leong and Nga. Xi’an uses her mutant ability to possess Spider-Man and uses him to attack her uncle and twin brother in an attempt to take her younger siblings back from them. After much confusion and a huge battle Xi’an ends up teaming up with Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four to battle her uncle the crime lord. Xi’an goes toe to toe with Tran and ends up absorbing his essence forever bonding the two (she then takes on the name Karma) and rescuing her younger siblings from being ‘tested’ for mutant abilities and then have to suffer either growing up like Tran or a fate much worse if they were normal. The backup feature has Ororo being attacked by a sniper who was hired by Andreas deRuyter who has harbored a grudge for years after he lost a battle between himself and Ororo and T’challa when they were only twelve years old. Honestly I don’t have much to say about this story because it was kind of a weak follow up to Karma. Plus it was a little too much of the same thing: both stories involved war torn countries, attempted stealing of children and in both stories the bad guy ends up dying. It almost would have been a better plot if they swapped out Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four with Black Panther and Storm and just made it one massive story.
The Uncanny X-Men #161 – Gold Rush!
More jumbled stories here. Scott, Corsair and Carol are all around – Carol just seems to come and go, she would have done well to be in the last issue since she has had previous ties with Limbo but they left her out, yet she’s around for this issue and just a background character. Scott and Corsair have returned from visiting Alex, but there’s no mention of why Alex didn’t come back with them to see their father off. Last issue there were only mentions of Charles and the focus was on the horrible things happening to Illyana, and now this issue it’s the other way around – a brief mention of Illyana and the focus is on Charles. The ‘flashbacks’ show us Gabrielle Haller for the first time and we see what Charles did directly after his battle with Amahl Farouk and meeting Ororo as a little girl. Now there is something that bugs me we learn that Charles does indeed known Magneto (going by Magnus) and that he was in a concentration camp yet during the previous issues Charles states that he doesn’t know Magneto’s origin and even then it fluctuates between that and not knowing Magneto exists and then founding the X-Men for the soul purpose of fighting Magneto. Another thing but this is just a pet peeve of mine, I’ve gone into it before with Scott’s mother; is the name changes: Magneto, Eric, Magnus… PICK ONE! It’s different with Kitty because they are all variations of the same name and only specific characters call her specific things… Anyway, that’s not really the point. I guess the issue was good I mean the whole point of the flashbacks were to tie in to how Charles wakes up from his coma and it’s all just justification to have a big party to get the bulk of the characters together so Deathbird and the Brood can crash the party and attack everyone.
The Uncanny X-Men #162 – Beyond the Farthest Star
Okay this issue itself is pretty trippy, but given what’s going on it’s supposed to be. This is the first time we see just how powerful Logan’s healing factor can be when his body starts fighting off an egg the Brood Queen implanted within him. The issue switches between what is currently going on and a sort of drug induced haze while the egg tries to take control of Logan’s mind. One thing I find odd is why in Logan’s mind he saw Kitty figure out that ‘Lilandra’ was really the Brood Queen – maybe his brain worked it out that since Kitty is the smartest member of the team that naturally she would figure it out on her own also. We see that Deathbird also gave the Brood (at least) one of her faction of the Imperial Guard that turned against Lilandra. Fang was also implanted with a Brood egg and when it hatches we see what happens. You know, I’ve always been freaked out by the Brood but I’ve never considering the fact that when an egg hatches the hosts’ body transforms into the Brood as part of the reason why they bug me. The issue was fine but with things switching from reality to fantasy would have been easy to follow if I hadn’t been taking cold medicine for the past week.
The Uncanny X-Men #163 – Rescue Mission
Logan continues his search for his friends and stumbles on Carol who is being ‘examined’ by the Brood. I’ve always known that wasn’t entirely human but she’s not a character I’ve ever been invested in so finding out the full extent of it – but it would have been nice for a little more of a build up to why she can’t be implanted with a Brood egg. The bulk of the issue is devoted to the X-Men waking up one by one on their own with Storm clearly taking the recent events the hardest. That is until Kitty wakes up and is forced into a life or death standoff and is put in a situation where one of the Brood dies. I find it kind of interesting that now essentially every member of the current team has taken a life; it’s not surprising because the tone of the book has changed quite a bit since the series first began but it will be interesting to see if this knowledge bothers Warren as much as it did when he found out Logan ‘killed’ a robot.
The Uncanny X-Men #164 – Binary Star
The ‘testing’ that Carol underwent by the Brood activates a latent aspect of the results of her genetic code being combined with that of the member of the Kree race. Kitty almost dies in the middle of a space shootout but is saved by the Brood egg she’s carrying and Storm begins to lose control of her powers. At first she thinks it’s because she’s in space and away from the Earth but she quickly discoverers that she is carrying a Brood egg and that pretty much cases her to go crazy and in a panic Storm takes off in one of the ship’s rescue pods. Back on Earth Charles and Illyana have dinner together and it’s… odd. Charles tries to read Illyana’s mind buy he can’t – he even goes as far to question why he can’t but then decides that he just doesn’t have the time or energy to care about finding out why he can’t read her mind. There’s one scene where she asks Charles if she could be a mutant and Illyana hints that she ‘can do neat things too.’ One thing that I didn’t really care for with this issue was the fact that suddenly Carol’s new powers (and new codename ‘Binary’) just appear exactly when the team needs more firepower.
The Uncanny X-Men #165 – Transfigurations!
Well a lot happens this issue, and at the same time nothing happens too. Storm decides to commit suicide in space and technically she ‘dies’ for the first time in this issue so that’s important. But the Acanti find her and ‘join’ the two of them together. I wouldn’t really mind this and the sudden (temporary) shift in a character in space if only it hadn’t been done the issue before this with Carol and then many issues ago with Jean. It seems all the X-Men do is go into space and die, be brought back from the dead and get their powers magnified beyond their control. Back on Earth be see that Mr. Fantastic has reached out to Charles about Karma and at first Charles wants nothing to do with her until Moira suggests that they allow Magneto to train her or enroll her in Emma’s Massachusetts Academy. It turns out I must have been right in figuring out Moira’s timeline – she was indeed pregnant with her son when she and Charles were dating and when she found out she was carrying the child she left him. Kitty makes her move on Piotr, which I knew was coming. It’s not as creepy as it was a few issues ago because now they state that she’s fifteen; so 15 and 18 aren’t that far apart but it is funny how Piotr is getting younger each year and Kitty is getting older. They never should have made such a big deal about Kitty being thirteen and a half and Piotr being ‘older than the original team’ as much as they did.
The Uncanny X-Men #166 – Live Free or Die!
Yet another giant sized issue brings us yet another giant sized space battle. There are a few contradictions here that I don’t really understand. Lilandra was all ‘Phoenix must die!’ when she fed off of a star and destroyed people to live yet now that it personally effects Lilandra she’s all for killing an entire planet. This time it’s Kitty’s turn to be ‘altered’ by a space being – this time by the soul of the Acanti Prophet-Singer, although her change is the most temporary change of all (only like 2 pages maximum) by this point 4 ‘X-Men’ over the course of roughly 60 issues have experienced similar circumstances. It’s averaging out to be one every fifteen issues…. They really need to give this particular plot point a rest for a while. Broodworld is destroyed and along with it the Brood Queen, but we are far from over with this story.. she states that her death will not be ‘her true death’ and that there is someone else implanted with a Brood Queen Egg and that will hatch soon. Of course it turns out to be none other than Charles Xavier, and now It’s up to the X-Men to return to Earth in time to save him. Oh yeah, and we see Kitty's pet dragon Lockheed for the first time - although at this point he has no name and isn't Kitty's 'pet' but he does save her life.
Dazzler #17 – The Angel and the Octopus!
Doctor Octopus and the Absorbing man make their first appearances in an X-book which is okay – I guess. There are a few things here that just don’t really make any sense. First Warren just randomly shows up and wants to date Alison because her being a mutant can give him a better sense of adventure that he hasn’t gotten from dating Candy. This is weird mostly because I didn’t know that Candy and Warren had broken up to begin with, but for Warren to show up and act the way that he acted in this issue seems very out of character for him. He comes off very smarmy and forceful. The other odd thing is that Alison doesn’t recognize Warren at first, but she should know who he is. Not only is his identity public, he’s a public figure and on top of that he was an X-Man and Alison knows their real identities.There really isn't much to say about this issue, the whole plot of it involved Alison in a love triangle and I really don't want to read a 'romantic' comic but it was a decent break from the Brood saga (this story takes place while the X-Men are in space) and Warren finding the note from Jessica Drew and his desire to win Alison over by finding her mother will move that plot along so I'm thankful for that.
The Uncanny X-Men #160 – Chutes and Ladders!: A
Marvel Team-Up #100 – Karma!/Cry - Vengeance!: B
The Uncanny X-Men #161 – Gold Rush!: C
The Uncanny X-Men #166 – Beyond the Farthest Star: B
The Uncanny X-Men #163 – Rescue Mission: B
The Uncanny X-Men #164 – Binary Star: B
The Uncanny X-Men #166 – Live Free or Die!: B
Dazzler #17 – The Angel and the Octopus!: D