Well, “Tales from the 50 Cent Bin” is back and kicking! I got three stories for this month, and I’ve decided to start with this one: Uncanny X-Men # 96. I decided to look in my X-Men collection and I saw that I didn't mention this story when I talked about Essential X-Men vol. 1 a long time ago. The creative team is Chris Claremont and David Cockrum. This certain issue takes place after the issue where Thunderbird aka “Apache Idiot” (and I apologize to all the Apache out there) dies.
Uncanny X-Men #96
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: David Cockrum
The story starts out as Cyclops walks in the woods and behind him is one freaky tree with Thunderbird’s face in it. By the way, the art during this era was AWESOME. Anyway, it’s been a while since John’s death and Scott is taking it hard since someone died on his watch. He gets so angry at himself (and the narrator) he lets loose those optic blasts of his. Eventually, he realizes that that was dumb losing control like that. He also realizes that he knew what he was getting into when he accepted leadership of the team, so he just has to accept what happened and get on with life. As Scott leaves, we notice that a strange statue Scott blasted starts to glow.
I guess this also happens when someone mentions "X-Men: the Last Stand" to Scott.
We then cut to the Mansion where everyone is beating on Wolverine in the Danger Room for some reason. Wolverine, who was and still is a bit NUTS, tries to get Nightcrawler and gets yelled at by Banshee. As Sean and Professor X talk, the Professor then remembers that they will be getting a house keeper. Sean goes to the door and we meet Moria McTaggert for the first time, and yes, she is Scottish. Sean is happy. We then cut to something completely different but important. We’re at a hidden base, where Stephen Lang aka “Anti-mutant bigot #7” is talking to Colonel Michael Rossi about a project called Armageddon. Lang, as shown here, is a bit crazy and calls for the extermination of all mutants.
Who would really give money to this nut? Darn humans...
Colonel Rossi, as well as the reader, sees that Lang is freakin’ nuts and wants to start a witch hunt that will mess up the country. He then leaves to head back to Washington to tell his superiors. Lang knows that Ross mustn't make it to Washington, and we see a familiar figure standing beside him. What is it? Read Uncanny X-Men #97.
We then cut back to the mansion where Xavier is introducing Moria to the team. Suddenly, Scott comes in beaten and bruised. Before he can get anything out of his mouth, Kierrok the Butch (yeah, I like Ghostbusters 2) busts in. Apparently, he is of the N’Garai, is from some other world, and he’s come to feast on some souls. The X-Men jump into action. Eventually, it’s Wolverine who gets the beast down with some Adamantium Rage!!!! Unfortunately, it’s not enough since the creature starts to reform and steal the X-Men’s life energy. Xavier then reads Kierrok’s mind (bad idea since something like this happens) and figures out that it came from the statue (called the Cairn). Moria even gets into the action by pulling out a machine gun. Now I have two things to say about this. First, Moria is awesome. Second, why does Xavier have an armory in the mansion?
This is awesome and weird at the same time. An armory in the mansion? Who knew Xavier also taught the history of Smith & Wesson to the team?
Anyway, Storm is the only one who’s fast enough to get to the statue and destroy, so she heads out. When she gets there, she is attacked by other demons and is almost pulled into the statue. Luckily, she able to muster enough strength and destroys the statue. As that happens, Kierrok disappears. After we get the speech about how dangerous the N’Garai is by Xavier, We get a chilling last panel for the issue. The plane that Colonel Rossi was on crashed, and he and everyone else was killed. Elsewhere, Anti-mutant bigot #7 laughs.
So what did I think? It’s a pretty decent story. In a way, you could call it filler especially if you’ve gone through the volume. The X-Men fight a demon…. Well, someone has to! Anyway, there is some interesting stuff happening in this issue. Cyclops’s scene was well done, the intros to Moria McTaggert and Stephen Lang were good, and that’s about it. I really have no gripes about the writing or the art here. It’s all good. I do think that Thunderbird could have gotten a proper send-off like a eulogy or something. We really only see mourning coming from Xavier and Scott, so maybe something more could have been done there. Now, I’m not talking about some one-shot or anything, just a few words about John Proudstar. In fact, I wonder what someone would say about Thunderbird. I’m outta here. I’ll be back this week with something different. Until then, may these words…do something for you:
John Proudstar was…a man. He was a man driven by something. He was a strong man and a somewhat stubborn, stupid one as well. I think that’s all I have to say about him…Oh yeah, he still makes comic book death relevant by not pulling a Lazarus unlike everyone else.
NEXT TIME: CLAREMONT, LEE, AND THE MOST SOLD COMIC BOOK OF ALL TIME!!!!