Classic X-Men #15

Issue Date: 
November 1987
Story Title: 
<BR>Armageddon Now! (1st story)<BR> Starjammers aloft (2nd story)

First story (additional pages) Chris Claremont (writer), Chuck Patton (penciler), Terry Austen (inker), Diana Albers & Tom Orzechowski (letterers), Glynis Oliver (colorist) Arthur Adams (front cover and frontispiece, John Bolton (back cover)
Second story: Chris Claremont (writer), John Bolton (artist), Petra Scotese (colors), Tom Orzechowski (lettering), Ann Nocenti (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

First story :
The first story is a reprint of X-Men (1st series) #108.

Second story :
Ever since Chris Summers was kidnapped by Shi’ar Emperor D’Ken and lost his family, he’s been a broken man. His life as a slave on a Shi’ar prison planet doesn’t help either. He becomes witness to two guards capturing another prisoner, a defiant cat-woman, and is questioned afterwards by the cat-woman’s friends. Regaining his own sense of honor, he tries to free the woman. Together, the four prisoners kill the guards, aware though that there is no way off the planet unless they had a pilot. Chris offers his skills as a pilot and asks the others to call him “Corsair.”

Full Summary: 

First story :
This story is a reprint of X-Men (1st series) #108. There are, however, three additional pages:
While Corsair still struggles with the realization that the unconscious Cyclops is his son, Phoenix enters the M’Kraan crystal, fearing what she is trying to do is mad and realizing she is holding the universe’s fate in her hand.

She finds that, in spite of all her power, she can not quite manage to fix the lattice holding back the neutron galaxy until she mind-links with all the X-Men, giving her the strength she needs to re-energize the energy matrix. As she calls out in triumph, she suddenly sees a vision of the other half of her being, the half that will one day become Dark Phoenix. Angrily, she denies this part and, as she leaves the crystal exhausted, she no longer remembers what she saw.

Second story :
Somewhere on a Shi’ar penal colony, Christopher Summers is one of the prisoners put to do hard work. His current fate a stark contrast to science fiction adventures he dreamt of as a boy. Suddenly, a Mephisitoid female runs out of one of the many caves, followed by two guards. The woman crashes into Chris and both fall. While one of the guard grabs the women, the other swats Chris aside, before cruelly hitting the woman threatening that they’ll devour her alive. Chris unexpectedly protests that they can’t do that.

Punishment follows immediately as the fatter guard hits him with a neuro-lash, a device that causes extreme agony without actually causing physical damage. He grabs the crouching human by the throat, asking if he’s learned his lesson. Chris utters a weak “yessir” and the guard throws him down, calling him “grub” and ordering him to clean up his mess. They leave with their prisoner having lost all interest in him, gloating that his spirit is broken. More shamed by their comment than physically hurt, Chris remembers a happier time.

Major Chris Summers, his wife Kate and their two sons, Scott and Alex, were flying out to his parents in Anchorage. Scott curiously asked if it was true that his father was going to become an astronaut. Chris told him he’d been selected for the program – a big first step, so maybe one day soon “Corsair” would be waving hello from the moon. “Corsair “ was his fighter call sign, an homage to the freebooting swashbucklers of old. He never dreamed that he’d fall victim to one, as their private plane was grabbed by a tractor beam. Since the plane only had a single parachute, Kate strapped Scott into it and told him to hold onto his brother.

A little later, prisoners aboard the Shi‘ar ship, the two parents saw in horror how their sons’ parachute caught fire, believing their sons to be doomed. They learned that the ship was collecting zoological specimen for the emperor’s collection. D’Ken took a fancy to Kate. Corsair tried to fight him and to punish him D’Ken murdered Kate and had Chris sent to the mineworld, Alsibar.

In the beginning, he fought, but eventually he realized that there was no escape from a prison that spanned an entire world and he resigned until he saw the courage of the catwoman, which recalled all the dreams and memories he was trying to forget.

Suddenly, Chris is broken out of his reverie as a giant reptile being crouches in front of him greeting him politely, at his side a cyborg warrior. Chris reacts panicked. The reptile introduces himself as Ch’od and his friend as Raza, telling him that they are looking for their friend, the catwoman. They’d followed her trail to this tunnel. Has he seen her? Chris stutters out in half sentences that he has seen nothing and has work to do.

The two men know that he lies, probably because of the Neuro-lash, Ch’od realizes, feeling sorry for him. Raza reasons they should put him out of his misery or he might betray them to the guards. Ch’od tells him that wouldn’t make them better than their foes. Occasionally, it is better to do the foolish thing and show mercy. They leave the tunnel while Raza tells his friend that they are not doing the man a kindness. Whatever he was, he is now no more than a grub. This insult hits a nerve with Chris, as he shouts out his denial.

Later, in the guards cavern, the female prisoner has been chained to the wall, while her friends are hiding above in the shadows. Raza points his friend’s attention to Chris, who is nearing the guards, no doubt to betray them. Ch’od, however, feels there is something unusual about the man’s aura.

Chris finds that the guards are ignoring him as he sneaks up to he woman, a “grub” being beneath their attention. Suddenly, he stabs one of the guards into the back with the crystal blade he carved, then grabs his neuro-whip and uses it against the others, knowing that he stands no chance. Another guard jumps at him, knife in hand but, before he reaches Chris, Ch’od and Raza interject, deciding the fight in their favor. Chris runs to free the woman. When she asks him why he helped, he tells her that he doesn’t know himself, but that something in him snapped and he remembered that he was a man, for what’s that worse. It’s worth the world to her, she states, there’s a blood bond between them now. They are comrades until death, which probably won’t be very long in coming though.

The other guards will never quit hunting them after they killed some of them, she predicts. Their only hope is to leave the world, but for that they’d need a pilot. He’s a pilot, Chris offers. He could learn how to fly a starship and he’d like to accompany them if they’ll have him. The others quickly agree and ask what his name his. Chris tells them to call him “Corsair.”

Characters Involved: 

First story (additional characters that were not in X-Men #108):
Dark Phoenix

Second story :
Christopher Summers/ Corsair
Hepzibah (still unnamed)


in Corsair’s memories:
Major Christopher Summers
Katherine Ann Summers
Scott Summers
Alex Summers

Emperor D’Ken

Story Notes: 

Second story :
Hepzibah’s actual name is unpronounceable for humans, hence Corsair took to nicknaming her after a character from Walt Kelly’s cartoon strip, “Pogo”.

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