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43: The Mutant Massacre

What's Covered?

UXM 210 - 214, X-Factor # 9 - 11, NM # 46, Thor # 373 - 374, Power Pack # 27, Daredevil # 238


Roster Watch




Mutant Massacre Synopsis


UXM210: Hear the drum beat?

Writer - Chris Claremont

Pencils - John Romita Jr.

This is another one of those issues where I immediately assume that I must have missed a tie in issue, but from what I understand, there is nothing I'm missing because these are two new characters we are thrown into here. Tommy is a young Morlock girl who had a relationship with a Hellfire goon. We see here that they are under attack and the Hellfire guy sacrifices himself so Tommy can get away.

She runs away and assumes that she made it away safe, but she was wrong.

It turns out that the Marauders let her get away so they could follow her to the Morlock tunnels. And so it begins...


X-Factor # 9: Wrapping up the Freedom Force story

Writer - Louise Simonson

Pencils - Terry Shoemaker

Issue #9 picks up where Issue #8 left off. Freedom Force is attempting to arrest Rusty Collins on behalf of the government and has cornered him and the Morlock Skids who was trying to help him.

A crowd of anti-mutant humans shows up and begins assaulting Freedom Force, giving Rusty and Skids a chance to escape. She decides to take him to the Morlock tunnels to protect him.

Artie knows that Rusty has gone to the sewers and recognizes the danger they are in, so he tries to warn Cameron Hodge. For some reason, he doesn't seem overly interested in helping.

Artie makes a drawing of the three of them in the sewers so X-Factor knows where to find them.

X-Factor, in their dumb X-terminator setting, race into the tunnels to help Rusty and Artie.

The first face-off of the day goes to X-Factor. Freedom Force put up a strong fight, but Destiny could see that they were going to lose so Mystique orders a full retreat.


Freedom Force Story

The Freedom Force storyline plays out over several issues, but I'll keep it all nice and tidy here for you to see.

Val is disappointed that Mystique and the gang were unable to capture Rusty.

Mystique lost the battle, but she plans on winning the war. She has fought the X-Men plenty of times, so she's not tricked by their identities. She lost with hard power, she decides to play some soft politics. She is going to leak that Warren is the benefactor of X-Factor, knowing that will draw them into some serious heat.

And here we see that Mystique's plan is executed.


Checking in on Angel

Angel really hits rock bottom during the Mutant Massacre. While his story plays out throughout this entire arc, let's focus in on him for a bit here:

Candy Southern, Angel's boo, is serving as VP of his companies and leaves an important meeting to go figure out with Warren what's going on.

With news going public of him being the benefactor of X-Factor, he starts really beating himself up. He realizes the X-Factor concept was ill conceived and he's almost relieved for it to all come crashing down.

As Angel is being sad boy, he pours one out to Jean and apologizes for everything.

He has a tender moment with Jean, right when Candy walks in. Did you not think this would catch up with you!?

Candy spits some venom at Jean and does a good job of kicking Angel when he's down (not saying he doesn't deserve it).

I'm skipping a bit ahead, but later he has to make a choice between going after Candy or sticking with Jean to help his team-mates. He chooses Jean.


Sprinkle in a little Apocalypse

There is another mini plot-line that's unfolding throughout these stories, involving Apocalypse. While this story doesn't feature Apocalypse, this is clearly setting up the next big story line (that I can't wait to read!).

Apocalypse swoops in and saves a Morlock named Plague (the one who poisoned Kitty in my favorite X-Men issue ever where Storm almost kills Callisto). He claims that Plague will become Pestilence, the first of his Four Horseman.

The second mutant, one I have never heard of, is taken and will become War, the second of the Four Horseman. I wonder who the last two will be!?


X-Factor # 10: The Massacre Begins

Writer - Louise Simonson

Pencils - Walter Simonson


This also kicks off Marvel's 25th anniversary, so you'll see a lot of Issue covers with this fancy getup. Alright, now it's time for...

Let's meet our combatants!


Arclight and Harpoon

Per the Marvel Database, Arclight (the girl on the left) can direct a wave of focused energy by striking a victim with her hands or feet. This typically creates a massive shockwave, damaging and/or disorientating all within her line-of-fire, shattering objects, and creating shock waves. Her hands give off a bright light upon impact.


Harpoon is a mutant with the superhuman power to transform longitudinal objects into various forms of bio-energy. He can imbue any such object with this energy, but the amount of energy varies with the size of the object. Harpoon must then throw the object in order to transform it into energy. He could also charge the object with energy without actually transforming it to energy. Depending on the form of energy with which he imbues them, Harpoon's weapons can stun, shock, paralyze, kill, explode, or disintegrate a living victim or inanimate target.

Yikes, not looking great for the Morlocks. Arclight and Harpoon are knocking them off left and right.

X-Factor catch up with Rusty and Skids. Jean and Angel decide to take an injured Rusty and his new friend Skids back to the X-Factor complex. Cyclops, Iceman, and Beast decide to press on and try to find Artie. This sets up their first run in with the Marauders. Who are our new combatants!?


Vertigo

Vertigo joins up with Arclight and Harpoon to take on the 3 remaining members of X-Factor. Vertigo is a mutant who has the ability to disorient her enemies and make them sick. She literally gives them Vertigo, it doesn't get more on the nose than this. She's like the character you would take in an RPG in a support role, but you better have a tank with you.

Harpoon gets in a nasty hit on Beast, breaking ribs and opening up a nasty cut.

Vertigo impacted Iceman by making him sick and practically taking him out of the picture. The Marauders got the upper hand in the battle, but the good guys did manage to keep a few Morlocks alive. This is the group of Morlocks that we saw in the X-Men/Power Pack crossover where Annalee kidnapped the kids. Tar Baby, Erg, Ape, etc.


Prism

Per the Marvel Database, Prism is able to refract most forms of energy directed at him, including ambient light. He is also capable of storing light within his body, using it to light-up dark rooms or project and amplify it at his enemies.


Scrambler

Scrambler is able to disrupt the powers of surrounding mutants.

Arclight rallies with Prism and Scrambler to take on X-Factor, who has now been re-joined by Jean and Warren for this battle.

Ouch! Prism is the first Marauder to bite the dust as Jean throws him into the wall and he explodes. Lol his weaknesses on the Marvel database says "His body can be shattered by heavy blows or collisions." Yea, I'd say!

The team decides to have Jean levitate an injured Scott and Hank back to the complex, along with a sick Iceman who creates a solid wall of ice. This leaves Angel alone to hold off the team and keep looking for Artie. Angel just had Candy leave him, he's in legal trouble thanks to Mystique, and he blew it with Jean. He is definitely not in the right mindset to be fighting the Marauders alone. It doesn't go well for him.

Will they finish him? Keep reading to find out.

Thor # 373 - 374: Oh snap, who butt dialed the God?

Harpoon, Vertigo, and Blockbuster were the three Marauders who pinned Angel up against the wall. Let's officially meet Blockbuster!


Blockbuster

He's basically a big, dumb animal.

Thor puts Angel at his back and decides to protect him.

Thor # 373 ends with the Marauders overpowering Thor.

As the Marauders are closing in on Thor, Angel uses the last of his energy to jump on Blockbuster and help Thor regain his composure. It works.

Oof, and Blockbuster bites the dust. We barely knew him. He shall not be missed.

Scott and Jean came back for Warren and they are able to find him (AND ARTIE) to bring them back to the surface.

Thor decides to give the Morlocks a clean burial by setting the entire sewer system on fire. He makes a passing comment about how he confirms that everyone else is out, however we see in almost every other issue that heroes just narrowly avoid being set on fire when he does this.

Also, I need to point out that this isn't the best event from a chronological perspective. Some events that took place with the X-Men take place at the same time (or a little before) this. Just go with it.


UXM # 211: X-Men vs. the Marauders

Writer - Chris Claremont

Pencils - John Romita Jr & Bret Blevins


X-Factor wasn't the only super team down in the sewers. In another part of the Subway system, the X-Men were having their own battles.

Here we learn that the Marauders appear to be led by a guy named Scalphunter. Let's meet him.


Scalphunter

Per the Marvel Database, Scalphunter has Technoformation: The mutant power to manipulate mechanical components, assembling them into a variety of different configurations by modifying their shape and construction. He typically wears a costume that gives him easy access to a wide variety of components to manipulate. He regularly assembles a wide variety of firearms and projectile weapons from his vest.


Riptide

Scalphunter is joined by another Marauder who messes up the X-Men. He basically spins really fast and chucks throwing stars at his enemies.

One of the Morlocks burrowed his way to the mansion to ask for help from the X-Men.

Now the X-Men know that the Marauders are under attack. With Storm being their leader as well, it's game on.

Nightcrawler, who was still recovering from his scary battle with Nimrod, picks up Vertigo and teleports her a bunch of times until she gets vertigo herself and passes out. Unfortunately, this exerted too much energy and it leaves him vulnerable to Riptide, which Wolverine sees too late.

This fells Kurt who will be out of commission for a LONG time (I think until he joins Excalibur in 1988).

Storm asks Magik to teleport Kurt and the other Morlocks they save (Callisto and those usually close to her) to the mansion. Storm makes it clear that the New Mutants should not come down here.

Scalphunter kills Annalee and the kids she is protecting. We also learn that he was the one who killed her real kids (prompting her to lose her mind and kidnap the Power Pack in X-Men #195).

While the X-Men are fighting, they see a random optic blast. Both Wolverine and Storm recognize that as belonging to Cyclops, but this isn't the issue where they become aware of each other. Wolverine also gets a whiff of Jean and gets thrown off, but assumes it must be a mistake.

In the battle, Colossus acts as a human shield and takes a number of throwing stars in the chest, in addition to at least one energy spear.

Kitty dives in front of a spear meant for Rogue and her phasing ability gets messed up.

Yup, he dead. Colossus takes out the third Marauder.

Storm reflects on how "Peter was made for gentler things," but here he got so angry he murdered Riptide in cold blood. As mentioned, Kitty is unable to unphase. This leaves the team down 3 fighters:



Power Pack # 27: Sabretooth!

Wait, whaaaaaaaat? Sabretooth!? First of all, there's more Marauders??? Second, Sabretooth is a Marauder!? Third, this is actually the first time we are seeing Sabretooth in the X-Men Universe. It feels immediately like he's been around forever, but this really is his grand entrance. How awesome that I was complaining not that long ago about how I can't wait to see Apocalypse, Sabretooth, and Mr. Sinister. Well, we haven't technically seen Mr. Sinister yet, but he was name dropped as the leader of the Marauders so he's gotta be coming soon.

The "Pack" fights Sabretooth and hold their own but quickly realize he's out of their league.

Well, well, well. What do you know. Wolverine shows up. The rest of the X-Men went back up to the surface to bring the injured back, but Storm left Wolverine below with one mission: bring one Marauder back for interrogation. I love how this is an incredibly violent and dangerous situation, but Wolverine can be sent out alone without a second thought and everyone knows he'll be fine.


New Mutants # 46: Triage

Writer - Chris Claremont

Pencils - Jackson Guice




Dani sees a badass vision of death over the mansion.

Illyana goes and plucks Moira right out of the shower to bring her to the mansion.

The X-Men arrive with Nightcrawler out cold, Kitty unable to unphase, and Colossus beat up. The Callisto group of Morlocks are with them as well.

Sunder finds out that he needs to lose his leg in order to save him and he begins freaking out. (I swear we see him in a later issue with two legs).

While all this is going on, Warlock is outside freaking out a bit conducting some intense sensor readings. He may be looking for the Marauders, but perhaps there is more afoot...

Shan and Illyana go to the apartment shared by Karma and her two siblings. The twins are missing and they trigger an explosion! The two of them end up being ok, but this starts an ongoing storyline where Shan continues to look for them. (I am a few issues ahead and still unsure where is heading). Let's keep reading to find out!

Ah, so that's what Warlock was looking for. He sensed his dad nearby and the New Mutants are ambushed by him. This starts a 4 issue arc which I'll be covering separately.


UXM # 212: Wolvie vs. Sabretooth Round 1 (Ding Ding Ding)

Writer - Chris Claremont

Pencils - Rick Leonardi

Betsy, who is new to the X-Men world and still hasn't found out which team she'll join, introduces her to Wolverine for a status update. (I'm pretty sure they've met a few times, so this introduction is probably more for readers than the characters).

Wolvie and Sabretooth meet for the first time in the Uncanny X-Men run. You would feel like this relationship has been showing up since the 60's, but it's really a new thing. You don't get a lot of backstory, except to figure out quickly that they know each other well. While Wolverine is itching for a fight, he recognizes that Sabretooth has Healer. He really wants to fight him, but he knows that saving Healer and getting him to the mansion could be crucial for his friends.

The fight a bit. The main fight will take place in the next issue.

Wolverine brings down some rocks to separate the two of them.

Wolverine carries Healer back to the mansion.


Checking in with Storm

Storm freaks out a bit. All of the death and senseless violence gets to her. All the responsibilities of being leader of both X-Men and the Morlocks becomes a bit too much. I actually love this. It's nice to slow down and think, how would these events impact different people. Oh wait, Storm is the leader of both of these groups, it would almost be harder to believe that she handles all this well.

Callisto runs after her and is actually the one to get her to calm down. I've never really had strong feelings about Callisto, but I like this relationship that the two of them have. Callisto wants nothing more than to be the leader of the Morlocks again (those who are left), but she has a deep respect for Storm.


Daredevil # 238: Sabretooth vs. a blind guy


Daredevil finds his way into the sewers and gets in a small fight with Sabretooth to protect a woman he was keeping hostage. Something really weird is being established here. They are making it sound as though he was very gentle with her, but that there was some other force driving him to do bad things. Is this supposed to be an external factor like Mr. Sinister or an internal beastial desire (like Wolverine struggles with)? I'm actually very surprised by this because I kind of thought Sabretooth was just a maniac. I'm interested to see if this is picked up by the X-Men or if it's just a weird aberration from the DD creator.


X-Factor # 11: The Other Morlocks

Writer - Louise Simonson

Pencils - Walter Simonson

Some of the best human and bird doctors have been brought in, but it looks like Angel's wings will have to be removed. Angel will live but his wings have been destroyed and will need to be amputated to save his life. Poor Warren.

There is a sub-group of Morlocks called "The Tunnelers" who X-Factor is able to help.

The tunnelers decide to split with the other Morlocks and get by on the surface on their own. Because they are angry and a bunch of hot heads to begin with, they end up getting in a battle with local law enforcement (which gets X-Factor called). Before the team can step in, all of them are killed except for Masque.



X-Men # 213: Sabretooth vs. Wolverine Round 2

Writer - Chris Claremont

Pencils - Alan Davis

Psylocke wants to help but Storm and Wolverine don't know if they can trust her yet. Who knows, maybe this issue will focus on that.

Rogue is keeping watch on the school's perimeter and she is ambushed by Sabretooth.

Sabretooth gets into the school and destroys Cerebro on his way to Betsy.


Psylocke vs. Sabretooth!

Betsy hits him with a Psi-bolt and books it out of there.

Betsy is clearly egging him on and while she's running away, she doesn't appear to be scared of him.

Moira and Sharon make note that she is purposely leading him away from the injured mutants. Smart girl.

Betsy is leading him on a wild goose chase, even up onto the roof!

Betsy even picks up a knife and tries to take him head on, but he gets the upper hand and it's not looking great for her.

Can't you just totally see this as a scene out of a movie!? Betsy is about to be killed and this is the perfect time for someone to show up and save her. And not just anyone, Wolverine. He put off the fight earlier to save Healer, building momentum for the audience. And now you know we're about to get our money's worth.

Wolverine and Sabretooth take turns throwing each other around and exchanging deep cuts. Even though Wolverine is such a bruiser, it's hard to imagine he can easily best Sabretooth since he also has the healing factor and claws, but has more size on him.

It turns out that Betsy is using this fight as a distraction to probe his mind while his mental defenses are down.

What an awesome image.

Eventually the plan is unveiled and Magneto shows up to put him down, but he dives into the ocean (or lake?) before he can be taken captive.

And with this, Betsy has officially proven her worth and has officially joined the X-Men.


What's been going on with Dazzler?

As we've seen in past issues, Dazzler dyed her hair blue to hide her personality and has been touring with Lila Cheney.

For quite some time, we've been getting little flashes of Dazzler as she's been seeing a face in the mirror.

The face in mirror even jumped out at her once, but she assumed it was all in her heard.

Dazzler ends up figuring out that the reflection actually belongs to the last Marauder we're going to meet in this arc, Malice!



UXM # 214 : Dazzles

Writer - Chris Claremont

Pencils - Barry Windsor - Smith

Let's meet our final Marauder!


Malice


According to the Marvel Database, Malice is a being of pure psionic energy that can merge with the mind of another sentient creature. While people are possessed by her, a black necklace/choker with a silver medallion appears on the victim.

As Malice possesses Dazzler, she starts trying to take control of Lila's performances.

Lila isn't thrilled about it and Dazzler/Malice twists the knife a bit. Also, wow this art sucks.

Lila give the X-Men a call and they show up, which turns into a battle.

Malice jumps from Dazzler to Wolverine. He eventually gets her out of his head, but this kicks off a long running theme with him not trusting his senses.

Malice eventually jumps to Rogue and she gives a TV interview, essentially telling the press that the X-Men are to blame for a bunch of bad stuff.

The person who stops Malice is actually Storm. Apparently her mind is so strong that she is the only one who can't be possessed by her for long. I like how Claremont constantly flirts with whether or not Storm is a sorceress. She's able to overcome Dracula, learns magic in Limbo, etc.

The start of Logan not being able to trust his senses. Thus marks the end of the Mutant Massacre. Before we sign off, let's check in on some individual characters to see what is going on with them as we finish off this event.


My Connections


The Mutant Massacre was the first ever X-Men centered crossover, taking place across Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, and New Mutants with a little Power Pack, Thor, and Daredevil thrown in. This formula was so successful (and profitable) that it pretty much mandated at least one of these per calendar year.


Creators


The Mutant Massacre is the grim tale of a vicious mutant group called the Marauders gruesomely massacring the Morlocks. As big and influential as this event is, Claremont has given interviews shedding light on a very small and surprising influence for this tale. Apparently he had always envisioned the Morlocks being a smaller group of mutants, but Paul Smith accidentally portrayed them as being a group with hundreds of members. Claremont was going to create a small plot where hundreds of them were killed, but Louise Simonson convinced him to make something more grand of it.


Also, with the Mutant Massacre essentially being a giant cage match, I am going to organize much of this blog as though it's a giant Mortal Kombat fight. Should be fun!


Character Beats


While this arc is focused on the Mutant Massacre, the X-Men are still reeling from the aftermath with Rachel (almost killing everyone, almost killing Selene, being stabbed by Wolverine, disappearing out of thin air).

While the last issue showed Kitty chewing out Wolverine for stabbing Rachel, we see here that she is still really pissed that Rachel acted selfishly. You all know how I feel...I love Kitty, I am annoyed by Rachel, so this is prime material for me.

Storm and Wolverine officially determine that her scent has grown cold and they won't be seeing her again.

I love this. Storm is being a compassionate leader and the brute Wolverine is showing his sensitive side by supporting Storm 100%. You know it's a sign of excellent writing when a male and female character can have a tender moment, show physical affection (holding hands), and no one is wondering if they are going to get romantic. These are just two excellently written characters who have developed a strong friendship and relationship. Everyone understands that.



Colossus

Poor Colossus. He was really hurt but had been pushing through it. Here he literally collapses on top of Betsy.


There a fun Comic Books Legends Revealed article talking about how Colossus was originally intended to be a member of Excalibur, explaining why he was hurt and taken out of commission like Nightcrawler and Kitty.

He goes into a coma and is stuck in his metal form.

Magneto uses his power to perform "metal surgery."

Colossus comes out of his coma, but he's paralyzed still and they aren't sure why. From what I have researched, they were originally planning on having Colossus join Kurt and Kitty in Excalibur but ended up changing their minds. Gosh, I can't wait to start Excalibur!


Kitty

Even though this seems small compared to all the mayhem and murder, I thought it was a nice moment before all this went down seeing Illyana and Peter brainstorming how to support Kitty.

The state of Kitty when we leave (and still in my current reading where I'm a few issues ahead) Kitty's molecules are shifting apart and she will eventually cease to exist.


Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler has been through a lot. If you recall, he was gravely injured in the fight with Nimrod and actually went missing for a while.

Kurt is still having trouble teleporting but he's feeling good enough to drink beers with his best bud. How are we going to separate these two when Kurt joins Excalibur!?

Nightcrawler is not looking at at all when this events draws to a close.


Magneto

A few little fun things went down with Magneto that I want to highlight.

He recognizes X-Factor as the original X-Men.

The original X-Men recognize him as well. I like that Magneto is actually one of the biggest drivers of Jean and Scott not reaching out to the X-Men. They don't understand how the team could be working with him. I like that not everyone could forgive him.

Magneto is officially invited to join the Hellfire Club as the White King.


Human/Mutant Relations

We see cops sympathizing with X-Factor and showing their anti-mutant feelings. This is obviously a representation of cops being perceived as being anti ethnic groups in the real world.

All the way back at the beginning, humans were throwing rocks at Freedom Force, which was what helped Rusty escape to the sewers in the first place.


Caliban, Artie, and Leach

The story of Caliban, Artie, and Leach has been taking place across every title covered above. These three seem to have formed a bond that will stick and I believe Caliban becomes even more important of a character as time goes on.

Leach and Artie seem to have created a super strong bond.

These three were the first to run into Sabretooth and Caliban was hurt by him.

Artie and Leach spend much of the Mutant Massacre hiding in a storm drain.

Thor had found Angel and Artie and this is where he was returned back to X-Factor.

Leach and Caliban were saved by Power Pack and returned to X-Factor.

Annalee had essentially served as the mom of all the kid Morlocks and Leach is devastated to learn that she has been killed. Poor little guy.

Leach is taken in by X-Factor for the time being. It's nice to see Scott acting like a caring parent here, I wish he would consider doing it with his own son.

We see here that Caliban is PISSED. It makes me wonder if this is setting the scene for him to work with Apocalypse. I know there is an episode from the 90's cartoon where he becomes one of the Four Horseman, but I'm not sure if there is a comics baseline for that. If there is, this would seem to be pushing us in that direction.






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