41: UXM 205 - 209 (Bye Rachel)

What’s Covered?

UXM # 205 - 209 (May - Sep. '86)


  • A Wolverine vs. Lady Deathstrike solo story.

  • Rachel attacked by Wolverine.

  • X-Men vs. Hellfire Club vs. Nimrod


Roster Watch



Synopsis

UXM 205: Wolverine vs. Lady Deathstrike

Writer - Chris Claremont and Barry Windsor-Smith

Pencils - Barry Windsor-Smith


Issue #205 is a Wolverine one-shot that was done in a way we hadn't seen yet. The story drops you right in the middle, to the point where I spent a good 20 minutes trying to figure out if I was supposed to have read a different story first. While this is a very iconic issue and a fun one to read, it doesn't have a lot of larger story elements so it won't get quite as much coverage here.

The story starts with Wolverine in a very beastal state, extremely disoriented and injured. This has some great juxtaposition by having him run into Katie Powers where the pure innocence of youth and Wolverine's desire to protect helps him to snap out of it.

It turns out that Lady Deathstrike and a group of her goons have been hunting Wolverine. This is her first appearance and the first of a few issues in a row (Sabretooth coming soon) where Wolverine faces off against someone else who has been augmented with adamantium blades. In this case, Lady Deathstrike is an antagonist from his past (we don't get the story here) who has been turned into a Cyborg (by Spiral) and whose hands have literally been turned into blades.

Wolverine eventually beats her and is able to protect Katie. He leaves her alive and I'm sure we'll see her many times in the future. Wolverine will remain injured for the next few issues after this scrap.


UXM 206: Rachel is annoying.

Writer - Chris Claremont

Pencils - John Romita Jr.

Lol @ "Rachel's throwing a tantrum." Someone mentions going to see Scott and Rachel starts freaking out, throwing Rogue against the wall and breaking all sorts of plate and dinnerware. Her emotional tantrums are officially old. By the time this blog is done, she will have permanently left the team and I can't say I will miss her.


BTW, the X-Men are staying in Jessica Drews's house (formerly Spider-Woman as covered in my ladies blog) since she is their closest friend in San Francisco (where they went to fight the Beyonder).

The X-Men have been branded criminals, so Freedom Force is sent in by the government to bring them in. I know I talked about this last blog, but I still have a hard time accepting Spider-Woman hanging out with these villains.

The X-Men and Freedom Force get in a brawl. The X-Men weren't getting spanked, but they certainly weren't winning either. Eventually the local police show up and force F.F. to disband.


This issue ends with a Jane Doe being brought in in bad shape. I think this is supposed to be Madelyn, but unless I'm going color blind I don't understand why her hair isn't red.


UXM 207: Rachel vs. Selene vs. Wolverine?

Writer - Chris Claremont

Pencils - John Romita Jr.

For some reason, Rachel and Wolverine are connected mentally and he comes interrupting her dreams to stalk and kill her.

In this issue, it all comes out that the X-Men are ticked off at Rachel. It was kind of weird that this took two issues to come up, but at least it's here now. I mean, she literally stole their life essence and attempted to destroy the entire universe. Yea, not cool. Rachel takes it hard and runs off. Probably crying because that's all she does (I hate her).

While Rachel is off crying, she remembers how Selene killed that guy who was nice to her when she first arrived in this time. She decides that she might as well blow off some steam by breaking into the Hellfire Club and killing her. More great decisions, Rachel!

She sneaks up on her while sleeping and plans to kill her in her sleep.

Wolverine, who was still connected mentally, follows her here. Even though he's all beat up and can barely walk, he feels as though he needs to stop Rachel.

Ok, I had NO idea this was coming and was completely shocked. You can't see it clearly in this issue, but he literally stabs her through the heart with his claws. What the hell? I mean, I know that you're not supposed to kill a helpless person, even a villain, but was this really the only way to stop her. It makes me wonder if he saw this as connected to her Beyonder stunt and determined that she was out of control. Regardless, even though I don't like Rachel, this seems excessive.


UXM 208 - 209: Hellfire Brawl

Writer - Chris Claremont

Pencils - John Romita Jr.

Since Kitty is my boo, of course she takes up the same arguments I was thinking. What are you thinking, dude!?

Kitty is pissed. You know how much I love the Kitty and Wolvie relationship and I know Kitty will leave and join Excalibur soon, so I hope the two of them are able to repair their relationship before she goes.

Nightcrawler gets into the argument too. Basically saying that you are supposed to be the best fighter on the planet, did you really have no other recourse with a young girl?

Kitty is basically like "Selene's not even a good person. She's a fricken vampire." Storm is also not happy but doesn't rag on him any more. Meanwhile, Wolvie just keeps smoking.

Selene pushes the rest of the Inner Circle (now called the Lords Cardinal) to help her get revenge.

Hey, look at that. Rachel is still alive. Looks like she is using her telekinesis to hold herself together.

As the X-Men are out looking for her, Rachel attacks Wolverine. We'll never know how this eventually plays out because the Lords Cardinal attack.

There is a protracted fight between the two groups until things get even more complicated when Nimrod joins the skirmish.

He initially sets out to kill Rachel, but he has no problem killing all the mutants in his path.

He actually uses Shaw's power against him and sends him careening into the outer atmosphere.

The guy who worshipped Selene (don't care to look up his name) tried to attack Wolverine and Nimrod vaporized him.

Storm proposes that they have no choice but to fight together against Nimrod.

While Rachel is strolling through the park, she happens across Spiral and "The Body Shoppe." According to some research I've done, there was supposed to be a miniseries about Rachel's time in the Mojoverse, but it never came to print. She will essentially disappear until Excalibur begins. It seems as though Excalibur is right around the corner, but this takes place in 1986 and we need to make it all the way until 1988.


It's worth mentioning that the Body Shoppe is also where Lady Deathstrike went to be turned into a Cyborg.

Nightcrawler tries to use the same move that worked last time, which is to teleport part of Nimrod away. Unfortunately, Nimrod is a Sentinel who can adapt and uses this against him to paralyze him and make him unable to teleport. This made this seem like a huge deal, but he'll be hopping around teleporting next issue. However he gets hurt again in a few issues and that will stick around for a while.

Harry Leland (who I accidentally said died during the Dark Phoenix saga) has a heart attack and starts to die for real. Before he dies, Storm asks him to commit one last act. She asks him to focus on Shaw and to increase his mass to send him screaming back to the surface, right on top of Nimrod. It's effective at destroying Nimrod, at least temporarily. Leland dies and Shaw ends up being ok.


My Connections

If I didn't know we were about to get the Mutant Massacre (first ever X-Men crossover), Excalibur, a Wolverine spinoff, Apocalypse, Sabretooth, and Mr. Sinister I would be really concerned about the X-Men comic. It seems like it's in a bit of a rut at this point.


Character Beats


Rachel leaves the series for good in this arc so that could actually help things since I'm sick of her tantrums. I'm also ready for Storm to get her powers back. I can't believe they have been gone for this long. I also know that Kitty and Nightcrawler are going to leave the team soon which makes me sad. Based on peeking at future covers, it looks like Longshot, Dazzler, and Psylocke will be joining the team soon. That could be good to shake things up, or it could be the end of an awesome era. We shall see. Even if it sucks, I know things are going to be awesome in the 90's when the Jim Lee era begins so all hope is not lost. Let's get into it!


Creators

I was listening to editor Louise Simonson talk about Claremont's writing the other day in the documentary "Claremont's X-Men", and I felt like these stories line up pretty well. Simonson said

"Chris had loads of dangling plot threads that the readers of course always carried on about. So you would say ‘Well Chris you’ve got this plot thread and this one and this on, are there any of these you want to pick up? And he would say ‘oh, Okay!’ and he’d go home and write a story and it would be great. "

While I typically love Claremont's work, I could easily see this issues falling into this trap. I can just imagine something like "Hey Chris, what's going on with Freedom Force, want to make a story about them? Hey Chris, you've been having Nimrod hanging out in the background for a while, do you want to make a story about him?


Simonson also commented on Claremont's work by saying:


"It gives you something to have your big story about, other than explosions, which I personally happen to love. But it’s nice to have a human context and if you have characters who you come to love, then the event has meaning. And if you threaten these characters, it means a lot more than if there are explosions, this means something to these characters. "

This is mostly true, but I have to admit that I didn't get this feeling about Rachel. She was almost killed and left the comic and I only felt relief. If anything, I felt uncomfortable about Wolverine's actions and it made me wonder if Claremont is feeling ok? Does he have a fever? Why would he do this?


My Rating - 3/10


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