Classic X-Men #16

Issue Date: 
December 1987
Story Title: 
<BR>Home are the Heroes! (1st story)<BR> Dearest Friend (2nd story)

First story (additional pages) Chris Claremont (writer), Kieron Dwyer (penciler), Terry Austen (inker), Ken Lopez (letterer), Petra Scotese (colorist) Arthur Adams (front cover and frontispiece, John Bolton (back cover)
Second story:
Chris Claremont (writer), John Bolton (artist), Glynis Oliver (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) # 109.

Second story :
After being accosted by the Northern Irish police, a young Sean Cassidy is saved by a mysterious biker and saves her, in turn, with his mutant powers, when the police run them off the road. He flies the woman, Maeve, to his home, where she also gets to meet his cousin, Tom. Over the weeks that follow, Maeve goes out with both Sean and Tom, honestly torn between both of them. Sean is supposed to accompany her to a spring dance, but is run off the road by the police sergeant they had previously escaped from. Injured, he asks Tom to take his place. Tom first keeps silent about Sean’s reason for not coming, certain that he can win Maeve that way, but eventually tells her the truth to spare her pain.

Full Summary: 

First story :
This story is a reprint of X-Men (1st series) #109.
Two hours before the attack on Wolverine and the X-Men, James MacDonald Hudson aka Weapon Alpha is having butterflies in his stomach. Going over the notes on Wolverine, aka "Weapon X," Mac wonders if his old friend ever felt scared before going on a mission. He remembers envying his vitality. Wolverine is the complete warrior; he thinks as he peruses once more the Adamantium bones and claws that make Wolverine so formidable. Mac wanted Wolverine as leader of Alpha Flight, because he is the best there is at what he does, because he cannot be beaten. Donning his suit’s helmet, Mac hopes his prior analysis was wrong. Everything hinges on this mission. He dare not fail.

Meanwhile, back at Xavier’s, Lilandra marvels at the primitive life on Earth, as she makes acquaintance with a shower. Xavier brings her some towels and both of them wonder where their rapport and their newly forged relationship will take them. Xavier offers Lilandra to take a look into his mind so she can get to know him, as he does her.

After Weapon Alpha failed at his mission, he disappeared before the X-Men’s eyes, thanks to a special stunt of his battle suit: Mac momentarily came to rest in relation to the Earth spinning on its axis, meaning in the blink of an eye he was hundreds of miles west of where he was before. Recalling the fight, Mac feels ashamed. Instead of acting rationally, he was as wild as Wolverine, not thinking of the consequences. He could have killed Moira. He considers turning himself in to the police, but that would mean revealing the entire Alpha project. He can’t do that. He realizes that "playing" the superhero is no game.

Much later, after the debriefing, he flies to his suburban home, already expected by his wife, Heather. While she tries to comfort Mac, he tells her what happened and how Wolverine always made it look so easy. Heather suggests finding someone else to wear the suit, but he refuses. It’s his responsibility and the same goes for Alpha Flight. He will have to prove himself worthy of leading the team.

Second story :
Northern Island, near the border to the Republic of Ireland, a September evening, the police follow a motorbiker. Somewhat up the road, another group of policemen question a young Sean Cassidy, who had been trying to hitch his way home after a concert in Londonderry. The Sergeant doesn’t buy his story and outright accuses him of terrorism. He orders the constable to cuff him. Once they work him over at the station, he’ll be telling them whatever they want to hear.

Even the constable is not happy with that suggestion and protests. However, at that moment, the biker comes right at them and forces the two policemen into the shrubbery. The biker tells Sean to hop aboard, unless he’d rather spend the night getting his brain beaten out in Sergeant McLanahan’s jail. Sean holds on for dear life as the bike speeds over roads and cross-country, always followed by the police cars. Two cars are totaled in the process and McLanahan has had enough. He points at the bike, telling the constable they’re taking the coast road. The colleague protests; if that’s the coast then they have crossed the border. They have no jurisdiction in the republic! The Sergeant couldn’t care less; he orders Sandy to keep the car steady and shoots hitting the bike’s tire. The bikes spins out of control falling down the cliff towards certain death.

But then, there is a piercing scream and Sean Cassidy, still holding onto the biker, rises into the air and flies away before the disbelieving eyes of the two police men.

A quick flight straight out across Donegal Bay brings them to a weathered ancient fortress, towering over the Atlantic – Cassidy Keep. The moment Sean lands, the biker shoves him away, angrily shouting at him. She just lost her best bike, just because she was trying to do Sean a favor. As she takes off her helmet, Sean sits on the ground, speechless – for a moment at least. She’s beautiful. Speech doesn’t desert him for long, however, as he shoots back that he just saved her life and the only thanks he gets is an earful of grief. The girl calms down, admitting he has a point. She wonders how it was possible that he flew. Who or what is he? Sean asks her to come inside, not answering her question.

They enter the kitchen, looking for some food. The blonde marvels at the castle. She hadn’t been aware places like these still existed. The land and the keep have been in his family farther back than there are records, Sean tells her. So they are "gentry" then, she states. They possess the title, the honors, the bills and debts, an amused voice replies. Proud and noble the lords of Cassidy may be, but also perpetually broke. The newcomer is a suave, black-haired, young man in a dressing gown. He tells Sean – his "dear idiot cousin" – that three past midnight is not exactly the right time to flaunt his gift. With a flourish, he kisses the young woman’s hand and introduces himself as Tom Cassidy. The blonde replies that she is Maeve Rourke.

Later, Sean flies Maeve back, silently cursing his cousin, with his Oxford manners and his charm. He always feels like a country lump compared to Tom. It would be easy to back off instead of fighting for Maeve, but there is something about her…

They land at Maeve’s university residence hall. Maeve is awed by his powers. Nothing special, he tells her. He doesn’t use the gift much as it scares the old folks. They think it’s a Banshee’s scream and he some demon come to life. He’s more likely to be some kind of evolutionary mutation, Maeve guesses, but science isn’t her field. History is. Sean once more apologizes for her bike. At least she met him in the process, Maeve replies. Sean asks if he can see her again and they kiss.

Over the following months, Maeve sees Sean again and again, but she also goes out with Tom. Both men court her and Maeve seems honestly torn between them. In Spring, though, it is Sean who is to escort her to the university ball. Getting ready, he hopes that means that she likes him best. He wonders whether he should ask her straight out and is afraid of the consequences. As he rides his bike towards the university, he thinks to himself that all he wants for her is to be happy, even if that means that she might choose Tom over him. So lost is he in thoughts that he doesn’t notice the police car closing in behind him until Sergeant MacLanahan drives him off the road.

Back at Cassidy Keep, Tom admits to himself the depth of the feeling he has for Maeve and wonders what she possibly sees in Sean. Speak of the devil, the injured Sean has managed to drag himself home. Tom quickly summons the housekeeper and the doctor and Sean urges him to go to Maeve in his stead. Her evening shouldn’t be ruined. Tom can explain what happened.

And so, a little later, Tom, in a very dapper white suit, knocks at Maeve’s door. Maeve is surprised and almost seems a little disappointed when she sees Tom who just states that Sean isn’t coming.

It’s a wonderful night as they dance and, yet, Tom senses that something is wrong. Finally, he gives in, asking whether it matters that much that it is him with her instead of Sean. Of course not, she tells him. She cares for him as much as for Sean. That’s a lie, he replies. He’s here, she points out. Sean is not. He realizes that if he keeps silent, she will be his. But he is also aware of her pain as she thinks that Sean has betrayed her. Finally, he breaks down and tells her truth; how Sean wanted to come but was run off the road. He wanted to keep this from her but found he can’t lie to her.

Maeve gives him a smile and heads for the door. Tom calls after her, asking whether she hates him now. Surprisingly, she asks how she could hate the man who has just proved himself her dearest friend.

Characters Involved: 

First story : Heather Hudson
Second story :
Sean Cassidy /Banshee
Black Tom Cassidy
Maeve Rourke

Sergeant McLanahan
Constable Sandy
Other policemen

Maeve’s fellow students

Story Notes: 

First story :

Second story :
Maeve would later marry Sean, but their romance was tragically short-lived. As an undercover Interpol agent, he spent a lot of time away from home. He was on such an extended trip, when his wife became the victim of a bomb shortly after giving birth to their daughter, Theresa. So long had Sean been away that he hadn’t even been aware that Maeve was pregnant. Black Tom raised the girl as his own, neither letting her nor Sean know of their true relationship.

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