UXM 189 - 192 (, Kitty Pryde and Wolverine # 1 - 6 (Aug '84 - Jan ' 85), Uncanny X-Men Annual # 8
UXM # 189 tells the tale of Rachel and Magma taking on Selene.
UXM # 190 - 191 features the sorcerer Kulan Gath as he magically transforms Manhattan into a fantasy wonderland.
Kitty Pryde and Wolverine is a limited series focusing on Kitty and Wolverine in Japan where Kitty becomes a ninja and takes on the codename Shadowcat, which sticks.
UXM Annual # 8 is a fairy tale told by Illyana.
Kitty Pryde and Wolverine: The birth of Shadowcat (finally)
Writer - Chris Claremont
Pencils - Alan Milgrom
I'll start with a reminder to set the context. We are just coming off of Peter breaking up with Kitty, setting her to packing and deciding to stay with her dad for a while.
Kitty decides to visit her dad at work and finds that he seems to be in some sort of trouble with Japanese mobsters. I'm just going to note that it's established that Kitty is Jewish, so having her dad running a bank seems a little on the nose for the stereotype.
Kitty's dad was taken to Japan so she follows him and stows away on the plane.
She quickly realizes that she didn't think this through. She finds herself cold, hungry, broke, and without a plan.
She calls the mansion to ask for help but ends up thinking better of it and hanging up. However she had called collect from Japan and that was enough for Wolverine to jump on a plan to help out.
Kitty eventually finds her dad and sets out to help him, only to realize that he is a criminal himself.
As she's running away, some warrior in a spooky mask kidnaps her.
He chops off her hair.
I've read this twice now and I'm still not entirely sure if he induces a fever dream to make her think she was raised by him, training to be a samurai or if actually did bring her back in time. I think it's the former, however it is successful in training her to be a mind controlled warrior.
Wolverine shows up and of course spends some time with Yukio. Per the usual, she chides him about his love for Mariko.
A mysterious assassin ambushes Logan and beats him silly.
It turns out that the assassin was actually Kitty and in his shock, she is able to impale him with a sword!
Yukio is able to capture Kitty and drag Wolverine in a car with her and Kitty's dad.
There is an entire training montage where Wolverine trains Kitty herself. From what I understand (it's a big confusing), he is both trying to train her and free her mind from control of the other samurai. We learn that this samurai guy was also Wolverine's sensei.
Kitty's new name of SHADOWCAT is finally revealed. I was so over that Ariel and Sprite nonsense. Shadowcat is what I know her as.
Kitty and Wolverine corner their sensei and Wolverine gives her the chance to deal the killing blow. She can't do it and this is what finally frees her from his control. They decide to let him leave and walk away.
Pretty cool scene. Wolverine again gets ripped to shit, but it happens as he jams his claws through a phasing Kitty into her sensei. This marks the end of this arc. Kitty's dad decides to turn himself in to the authorities and Kitty is a much more serious person for the immediate aftermath.
UXM 189: Selene is too much
Writer - Chris Claremont
Pencils - John Romita Jr.
In a very odd pairing, Rachel and Amara go out shopping together. This is further proof that New Mutants and Uncanny X-Men are expected to be read together. It is quite poetic how significant this moment is for both of them, as neither of them are looking at this monument like any others around them could. Rachel is able to look at the Statue of Liberty and enjoy that she's living in a time free of a mutant holocaust. Magma only recently learning that there is a world outside of Nova Roma and is blown away by the marvel's of the modern world.
While walking in the street, the ladies see Selene from a distance. Selene is probably the real reason for these two being paired together as Selene was the first villain Rachel ran into when sent into the past and Magma's mother was killed by her. The ladies follow Selene to the Hellfire Club.
Here we learn that Selene is being initiated into the Hellfire Club's inner circle as a candidate to become the new Black Queen. If that outfit looks familiar, it's because this is what Jean wore when being manipulated by Jason Wyngard (Mastermind).
Rachel tries to ambush Selene in the corridor but is outsmarted and outmatched by Selene.
Selene brings the ladies under her control and presents them as two presents.
Rachel is able to momentarily overpower the psychic hold and sends out an SOS to the professor, who sends in the cavalry.
In the end, Sebastian Shaw says that he had nothing to do with this and the girls are free to go.
UXM 190 - 191: Kulan Gath (More Weird Magic Storylines)
Writer - Chris Claremont
Pencils - John Romita Jr.
So here's the setting for this two episode arc. Manhattan has been transformed by the evil sorcerer Kulan Gath into a medieval playpen.
Good 'ole Val Cooper is running point for the government as they try to figure out what is happening here.
The Avengers, X-Men, and New Mutants have all been brainwashed and transformed. Fitting that the Scarlet Witch is in this arc as I think many of these plot points were borrowed in the new Marvel Show, Wandavision. Oh, and for some reason, Spider-Man is the only person who hasn't been impacted. He has kept his wits where everyone else accepts their new look and environment as if it's how things have always worked.
We are greeted within the illusion by a fight between a transformed Callisto and Storm on a pirate ship. Storm keeps trying to get on a plane to Africa, but crazy events keep her in New York.
Eventually the two of them jump off the ship as it burns and find themselves outside of the magic's influence.
In a messed up display, Kulan Gath combines Caliban and Professor X into a single being. Professor X was putting up the biggest defense to his powers, so he is able to keep him under control by doing this, as well as creating a creature that is quite efficient with tracking down everyone in the city.
Doctor Strange also lives in NY and could have the power to stop him, so Kulan Gath has manipulated him as well. With no mouth or control over his hands, he loses the ability to cast any spells.
The New Mutants are under his spell, but Warlock is free and while he tries to free his friends, he realizes that his best bet is to escape and wait for a chance to help in the future. Note that the Morlocks are all serving as the personal enforcers for Kulan Gath. In my opinion, this is all so dumb. I'm a sucker for character development and stories that move the mythology forward...and this does neither.
Selene seems to be the only person powerful enough (other than Warlock) to resist the spell, so we see her breaking people out of the spell. Here she is contacting Storm and Callisto to recruit them to her effort to undermine Kulan Gath. Worth mentioning here that Claremont is really pushing hard on Selene lately. I had never heard of her, but clearly she was a major villain for a bit point in the 80's. I wonder how long she will stick around for considering I was not familiar with her.
Speaking of Magic, Illyana is freed from the spell and can use her Soulsword to free others, like her brother, of the spell.
This was just a cool visual showing Spider-Man being captured and paraded in front of all the other characters still under Gath's power.
And here's the team of heroes who have been awakened.
Selene also gets captured and gets the Dr. Strange treatment.
Storm was leading a failed insurrection and while all hope looked lost, Warlock swoops in and saves her at the last minute.
As Spider-Man had been pinned up (like Jesus!?) in front of Gath for a long time, he realized that the Amulet he wears around his neck is the key to beating him. In very Spider-Man 2 fashion, he breaks free and tries to get the amulet himself.
While Spider-Man attacks Kulan Gath, Warlock envelops him while Storm snatches the amulet. Selene tries to take it for herself as well but is thwarted.
Doctor Strange essentially reverses everything that had happened. See, no impact on the large scale plot.
At the very conclusion of this issue, we see the introduction of Nimrod. Without giving too much away, he is an advanced Sentinel model from the future.
UXM 192: Warlock's Daddy!
Huge development! Nightcrawler is serving as team leader! Scott isn't even making appearances anymore as he's off on his honeymoon with Madelyn. Storm has officially flown off to Africa since she is still de-powered. This leaves Nightcrawler as the head honcho. Even though I came into my X-Men journey with Nightcrawler as my favorite (he has now been passed by Kitty, Storm, and Wolverine), it just feels odd to have him be team leader. I'm glad that these issues actually address that head on, which I'll talk more about further below.
While Rachel is waiting with the team to welcome Kitty and Wolverine back from Japan, she has a flashback (or flash forward?) to her past (our future). We see that after Kate Pryde had returned from the past (during the events of Days of Future Past) that their future wasn't immediately fixed. This was pretty disappointing to me as I had hoped there was some rosy conclusion with their life being fixed. It appears that this only resulted in creating a new timeline.
Logan and Kitty return from Japan where they are greeted by Ororo, Professor X, Illyana, Rachel, and Lockheed.
Kitty actually recognizes Rachel from the time Rachel sent Kate back into Kitty's body. This was pretty surprising, I wonder what that means? (I'm truly serious, not hinting at something I already know.)
Meanwhile, back near the mansion there is a crash and Nightcrawler, Colossues, and Rogue go to investigate. They find that a bunch of animals have been turned into the techno-organic material, similar to what Warlock can do.
Colossus, being the genius that he is (joking), deduces that this might be Warlock's father Magus who Warlock was hiding from!
A fight breaks out with Magus attacking Rogue and she barely breaks free.
She ends up defeating him by making physical contact. It makes her part robot for a while, but accomplishes her goal of short circuiting him and allowing her to escape.
Magus announces that he will let them live and that he is impressed by them.
Magus decides not to underestimate the X-Men in the future. He takes the form of a typical human and goes into hiding. I am about 10 issues in advance of this reading and he has yet to re-surface, but I'm sure it's a matter of time. This makes me wonder if I've actually seen him in future issues and just didn't make the connection. I'll be keeping my eye on this!
Uncanny X-Men Annual # 8: Illyana's Fairytale
I'm going to acknowledge that this Annual exists and that's about it. Illyana tells a fairy tale and like many other Annual's, it's not worth wasting any amount of energy covering it. .
I mentioned in my Secret Wars coverage that I was starting to get a bit concerned about the X-Men at the moment, and these stories haven't done much to stop that particular thought process. These stories all seem somewhat low stakes and makes me wonder if Claremont is running out of ideas. Or at least good ones.
With that being said, I'm thrilled that my BFF Kitty finally has the name Shadowcat. I can't believe it's taken this long for her to stop going by Sprite or Ariel, although let's be real she'll always primarily be "Kitty."
Chris Claremont is still in a funk and John Romita Jr. continues his first prolonged run on the series (he'll back in the 90's).
We learn that the Professor is now teaching a class at Columbia.
Speaking of teaching, some of his students don't like that he is a "mutie lover" and beat him up and leave him for dead. Some mysterious figure seems to collect him afterwards. Maybe a Morlock!?
We don't get much direct characterization from Peter himself, but his sister is thinking about him at the airport. She is accusing him of hiding from Kitty and thinks it's pretty shitty that she he didn't come with to greet her at the airport.
Claremont is REALLY trying to find a way to get us caring about Nightcrawler. They were making his religion a big point and while we haven't seen that in a number of issues, I do know that is a plot point that sticks with him until present times. We have also seen Kurt the doctor which popped up out of nowhere. Here he is filling in as leader. As I mentioned above, it doesn't seem to fit right and he can feel it too. He is constantly questioning himself in this role.
During an outside training exercise, Kurt teases Rogue by teleporting a bunch and tickling her (yea, that happened). She got fed up and punched him into a wall. When she picked him up to make sure he was ok, he made a joke about her kissing him.
She did NOT find that amusing.
Once again, Colossus is showing his more advanced side and connecting some dots for us. Rogue has never been able to touch anyone, so making a joke about a kiss is something she really struggles with.
As mentioned above, Storm is still without her powers and plans to travel home to Africa. She will eventually get there, but the furthest she's gotten so far has just been the airport before being pulled back.
Charles reminding us here that while she is very strong, the combination of losing her powers and being betrayed by the man she loves is tough for anyone to handle. For the record I want to say that calling Forge "the man she loves" seems like a bit much as I think they really only spent a few days together, however this is a comic book so we'll just go with it.
While the government leaders are being briefed by Val Cooper, one of them makes a pretty bold, racist comment.
Panels like this make these comics so much more realistic. Humans, and specifically the American Government, are not a monolithic body where they all hate mutants. Some of their ranks have become anti-mutant while there is still a great number of them who see that this is a slippery slope and speak up on their behalf whenever possible. One negative of this is that Claremont may not be trusting us enough to make the parallel between this type of language and the holocaust so he's spelling it out for us. Either way, I'm super fascinated by it.
As alluded to earlier, there are mobs of people out there who hate mutants. One such mob attacks Charles at the end of this arc.
My Rating - 4/10
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