Today we're diving into all of Secret Wars (Secret Wars # 1 - 12) and Uncanny X-Men # 180 - 183.
Marvel launches "Secret Wars, it's first ever line-wide event in 1984. Secret Wars is a 12 issue limited series which brings in heroes from most of it's major titles to fight together on a mysterious planet against a similar amalgamation of villains.
UXM # 180 - 183 shows us how Secret Wars impacted the X-Men including dragons in Tokyo, forbidden love for Colossus, and a crisis of personality for Rogue.
The State of the X-Men Franchise
Right around this point, I feel myself starting to grow concerned that we are in the dredges of X-Men storytelling. While there is great character development going on, there doesn't seem to be any large connected events that I find myself excited about (Secret Wars isn't cutting it). The comics seem more isolated and low stakes. I'm confident that things will start to pick up sooner rather than later because I think we're only a year away (in publishing terms) from X-Factor (and the return of Jean Grey).
While I'm concerned from a top level perspective, I need to take a second to highlight Philosopher Logan at his absolute best.
After Peter breaks up with Kitty, Logan is like "Get in the fucking car."
Logan laying out, clear as day, that Colossus is playing with fire, not being very mature, and making a mistake with Kitty.
After instigating a fight between Juggernaut and Colossus (which is a real dick move, that I love), Wolverine (Claremont, really) lays it on thick. Kitty was prepared to marry Caliban for you and you never even said thank you. Now you are dropping her like nothing.
Logan's best friend, Kurt, is like "Ok dude, that was pretty low" and Logan is unapologetic. I don't know about you, but don't you wish you had a friend like that who was always in your corner!?
While I'm focusing on things being a bit slow, let's slow down for a minute and list out some of the characters and events I know a decent bit about that has yet to show up. So without further ado, here is some shit I can't wait for:
Cornerstone villains like Apocalypse, Sabertooth and Mr. Sinister!
It's crazy to me that we haven't encountered these villains, especially Apocalypse. He is probably the villain I am most interested to learn more about. I've always been tickled by over powered, ancient villains. Also, I'm eager to see if the whole Archangel thing makes me care more about Warren.
I also feel like I don't have a clue about Sabretooth and Mr. Sinister from the comics. Is Sabretooth Wolverine's father or not!? And then one of the X-Men classics had this arc about Mr. Sinister monitoring Scott from when he was a kid. I know there is some sort of weird obsession with Scott and Jean, but I don't really understand what's up with that.
Genosha, Asteroid M, House of M
These are locations and storylines that I hear about ALL THE TIME, but they have never been adapted so I don't really know what's up with them.
X-Men Centerpieces like Gambit, Psylocke, and Jubilee
I knew Jubilee wasn't introduced until the 90's, but I can't wait until Gambit and Psylocke are introduced. Gambit was one of my faves from the 90's lineup and I have no idea when or how we'll get introduced to him.
Cable gets a special mention. I've alluded to Cable a bunch in past posts because X-Force is one of the few comics that I read a lot of when I was younger and I fricken love Cable.
With some of this negativity, I do want to highlight that #183 has one of the best character exchanges I've ever seen, with Philosopher Logan chewing out Colossus about dumping Kitty. I go into it more in detail below, but OMG is it great. So good.
From the X-Men perspective, Chris Claremont continues on with John Romita Jr. on Pencils.
The more interesting conversation about creators comes from Secret Wars, which was written by Editor in Chief Jim Shooter. This marks the beginning of big brother (Marvel) interfering with the individual titles. There is a fun article in CBR.com titled: "Did a Writer Quit Mid-Issue Rather Than Write Black Costume Spider-Man?" In short, the answer was no, but the Spider-Man creative team was given this story where Spider-Man was now wearing this weird black costume and had to work with it. We know that story worked out as it led to the creation of Venom, Carnage, etc.
Some stories are ignored, like Magneto banging the Wasp!? Claremont liked what was done with Colossus, so that story was carried forward into the main X-Men comics.
Time is spent in Japan, so we get Sunfire, of course!
Rogue's internal battles with her Ms. Marvel personality start to impact her life more than they have in the past.
Colossus and Kitty break up.
Philosopher Logan stays strong, chewing out Colossus and putting him in his fucking place!
Wolverine and Kurt's bro-friendship stays strong.
Selene moves from a random New Mutants villain into the main X-Men comic.
Alright, so shit's getting real with the government. If you watched the cartoon or movies, then you should be very familiar with this bill. It's a bill created to clamp down on mutants, akin to Nazi Germany or even Japanese Internment camps in America after WW2.
More Val Cooper! They are clearly making her a mainstay of the government. Hanging out with her is Raven Darkholm, AKA Mystique. You may recall that Mystique has infiltrated the government and trying to stay close to the pulse of mutant decision makers.
Once again, philosopher Wolverine says it best. Storm spent years (or months) battling with Cyclops for the leadership of the X-Men, but now that Charles Xavier is walking around, he is starting to encroach on Storm as field leader of the team.
This is an upsetting scene. Charles gets buried in some rubble and starts FREAKING OUT worried that his legs were crushed once more. He ends up being fine, but it made me a feel a bit bad for him.
This also reminds me a bit of how my family will roll our eyes when my mom gets hurt. My dad, me, and sister all played sports and have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but when she gets hurt or is a bit discomforted she blows it out or proportion because she has never been very physical and much lower tolerance for pain. This is kind of what's happening here. Xavier is typically back home in the safety of the mansion while the rest of the team is on the front lines. No here he is getting into a little bit of trouble and freaks out, the rest of the team psychically, pulling them away from their tasks to come help him.
This makes me more nervous and eager to see how he eventually does lose the use of his legs again. I imagine it's going to put him into a state of depression when it happens again.
A quick check in here with Scott. This is pretty interesting because we are reminded that Scott has essentially left the X-Men altogether. The Beyonder pulled him away from the team (probably because Marvel's brass had decided he should be part of the event before Claremont determined he was out of the team).
While Wolverine is deposited back into earth in Japan, Mariko is called into a government surveillance center (because she's soooo important) and she sees Wolverine fighting for Japan. She clearly still cares about him but this is a reminder that they are separated. I legitimately don't know what's going to happen here. I thought he would move on and she would not be shown, but they keep checking in with her from time to time so it seems as though there may be more story here for the two of them.
Wolverine saves a young girl, Amiko, and promises her dying mother that he would make sure she is taken care of. This may seem like a throwaway scene, but he takes this vow seriously and it is not the last we will see of Amiko. Once again, Wolverine with a heart of gold.
The Secret Wars
Secret Wars was a 12 issue miniseries from 1984 that brought Marvel's most popular heroes and villains together in a cross over for the ages. I'm not going to outline every plot point, however I will give an overview of the comic and specifically focus on the elements that further the X-Men narrative.
A powerful cosmic being known as the Beyonder recently became aware of our universe and decided to have some fun. He brought the universe's heroes and villains together (mostly earth-based), promising them anything they might want if they destroy the other side (good vs. evil). He used his awesome power to pull pieces of many planets apart and create an entirely new planet called Battleworld.
For the villains we got the Enchantress, Ultron, the absorbing man, the wrecking crew, Kang the Conquerer, the Lizard, Molecule Man, Dr. Octopus, Galactus, and Dr. Doom.
For the heroes we got the Avengers (Wasp, She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, and Iron Man, the X-Men (Professor Xavier, Storm, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus, and Lockheed), Hulk, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four (Mr. Fantastic, The Human Torch, and the Thing).
There was one BIG shock. The Beyonder put Magneto on the side of the heroes. This put a lot of tension between the other heroes and the X-Men (who choose to defend Magneto) and continued the narrative that Magneto was a much more nuanced character than originally depicted.
There is one other big plot point worth covering. There was a healer named Zsaji who was an alien that happened to be living on a piece of her planet that the Beyonder used to create Battleworld. Colossus had sustained a mortal wound, but she was able to bring him back. Even though he struggled with his feelings for Kitty, he fell in love with Zsaji.
This becomes a major plot point for a while after Secret Wars because Colossus can't get over Zsaji and things aren't normal between him and Kitty for quite some time afterward. (Zsaji died by the end of the series).
There is one nefarious point that is not directly referenced but strongly implied. I think that Zsaji's healing puts a spell on the men she heals that makes them fall in love with her. She had also healed the Human Torch before Peter and they were hooking up for a while, but my guess is that since he's a typical sleezeball, it was easier for him to move on.
Ok, so this has nothing to do with the X-Men but Spider-Man finds his dark suit in one of these issues! Many of the heroes are using some alien machine to get a new wardrobe but he goes to the wrong machine and finds this suit. I'm sure we all know that this suit eventually leads to Venom, so it was super cool to stumble across this.
Secret Wars has a lot of battles between good guys and bad guys. At one point Galactus almost destroys the planet but they stop him. Eventually Dr. Doom steals the power of the Beyonder and becomes an omnipotent being for a period of time (a point revisited 30 years later in the more recent Secret Wars that caused the ending of the Ultimate Universe). Ultimately, no one dies, they escape the planet and all go home with only a week passing.
UXM # 181: Dragons and Super Heroes: Why Not?
So at the very end of Secret Wars, Lockheed was playing (mating?) with another dragon his size, however when they went through the portal to come home, the other dragon came with them and was gigantic. Of course, they decided that it's their responsibility to take care of the dragon. Oh, and they accidentally got sent to Japan.
The X-Men are immediately like "Shit, I think Kitty needed us before we left. Rogue, why don't you fly halway across the world and go check on her.
The dragon is doing his (her?) best Godzilla impression and wrecking shit. The X-Men are mostly just doing their best to save people from getting buried in the rubble.
Sunfire shows up but is barely worth mentioning.
The Japanese military show up and try to blow up the dragon, but in the end only Lockheed can intervene and save the day. The dragon pretty much just flies away. I wonder if we'll ever see that dragon again!? (I legitimately don't know).
UXM #182: Rogue is not herself.
Rogue eventually flies home and starts listening to the X-Men answering machine (lol, the 80's). She hears a message from a guy named Michael Rossi who is aboard a SHIELD hellicarrier and she runs off to save him. At this point, I have no idea who Michael Rossi so this means nothing to me.
She didn't listen to all of the messages on the machine and missed that Kitty and the New Mutants desperately needed help.
We learn that the Hellfire Club has infiltrated SHIELD and their mole is currently beating the crap out of this Rossi guy.
Rogue breaks in and saves him, however she also gets herself on the outs with the law in the process.
In a very sad exchange, Rogue is trying to connect with Rossi but he doesn't have any idea who she is. She gets really frustrated and can't figure out what's going on (and neither could I) until all of the sudden it clicks...
She never did meet Michael Rossi, but Carol Danvers did. Carol's powers weren't the only thing Rogue permanently absorbed. She also has all of her memories and maybe a bit more.
UXM 183: A low key bar fight
I'm going to let you soak in these next few panels of Colossus having a tough talk with Kitty after his experiences with Zsaji.
OUCH. Peter, you son of a bitch! You hurt one of my three daughters!!! Oh wait, this is a fictional character. Still, you cut me deep here you asshole. Kitty is my girl and you are just confused. Don't worry though because philosopher Logan will show up soon to say the things I was thinking.
Love this. Illyana is there for her best friend.
Meanwhile, Rogue is really flipping out. This multiple personality shit is a lot to take on.
Oh, yes yes yes! Logan's like "Here, i grabbed your coat. Get in the fucking car. We're going for a ride."
Another hilarious scene. Kurt is like "ahhhh Wolverine I promised to be here to referree. You're not having this chat without me."
Kitty decides that she is going to stay with her dad for a few weeks to clear her head.
Logan brings Peter and friends to his favorite watering hole.
Of course, I love all of this. Wolvie is just slapping him around and the big guy just sits there and takes it.
While this heart to heart is going on, Wolverine realizes that Cain Marko (the Juggernaut) is at the bar in street clothes. Because he (Logan) is a little bastard, he encourages Peter to get in a bar fight with him.
***P.S. The burnette with him is actually Selene! Remember her? She was the centuries old mutant witch from Nova Roma in the New Mutants arc. She becomes a mainstay of the core X-Men line starting here.
There two fight it out a while.
Dude - fucking mic drop! I had forgotten that Kitty agreed to marry Caliban and live with the fricken Morlocks to save Peter. He never even said thank you. Wow. Huge point. Well done, Claremont, well done. These X-Men comics are not fluff, this shit is deep. I can't get enough of it!
My Rating - 5/10
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