Classic X-Men #17

Issue Date: 
January 1988
Story Title: 
<BR>Mindgames! (1st story)<BR> A Taste for Vengeance! (2nd story)

First story (additional pages): Chris Claremont (writer), Kieron Dwyer (penciler), Terry Austen (inker), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Petra Scotese (colorist) Jon Bogdanove and Terry Austin (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), Archie Goodwin (original editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief), Terry Kavanagh (assistant editor)

Brief Description: 

First story :
The first story is a reprint of X-Men (1st series) # 111.

Second story :

Mesmero hypnotizes Phoenix during a moment when she is being careless. He finds that he cannot force himself on her but he can still use her to get revenge on the X-Men. With her help, he manages to ensnare all the X-Men, save for Wolverine, who is too animalistic to control. However, his hypnotized fellow X-Men beat him into unconsciousness. Mesmero then decides to have the X-Men work as circus artists for him, both to humiliate them and to make some profit from it.

Full Summary: 

First story :
This story is a reprint of X-Men (1st series) #111. There are, however, two additional pages.

When Hank McCoy was born, he looked as human as everybody. But, in his case, appearances were deceiving, as he was a mutant, born with parahuman agility. Moreover, he possessed a first-class intellect and could have had a scholarship to any university. Instead, he chose Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and became an X-Man. Eventually, though, Hank sought new challenges and left the X-Men for a job at the Brand Corporation. Circumstances led to an experiment going awry and he became the Beast in more than just in name, as he transformed into a furry, more powerful version of his former self. He adapted to his affliction, even began to enjoy it and, in time, was invited to join the famous Avengers.

Over the months, his contacts with his old schoolmates had become rare but that doesn’t make the ties any less strong. Without informing his teammates, he has taken a Quinjet, recalibrated its sensors to function like Cerebro and now flies towards Sullivan County, Texas, where he detects the missing X-Men.

Hank lands the Qunijet and attempts to join the crowd of people, disguised with a trenchcoat and a hat. He is in for a surprise.

Second story :
Jean Grey takes a stroll through a Manhattan street fair on a hot summer's day. This was meant to be a treat. But she finds that, along with her newly developed power, there comes a higher sensitivity to much. To protect herself, she dampens her telepathic talent, which enables the mutant hypnotist Mesmero to take her utterly by surprise. Your will is mine, he announces, as he steps in front of her and with that Jean follows him.

Mesmero has made his home in the grandest suite of Manhattan’s most expensive hotel, where his every whim is catered to by entranced scantily clad young women. He intends a similar fate for Jean, as she joins him dressed only in a flimsy negligee. Does she love him, the villain demands. Jean assures him that she does and he tells her to prove it. Suddenly, impossibly, Jean hesitates, sensing that something is wrong. Mesmero is confused and tries strengthen his mental control over her. As he grabs her, Jean weakly protests and a Phoenix raptor begins to manifest around her. Mesmero knows to leave well enough alone and, once he stops trying to force himself on her, Jean reverts to her docile state. The villain swears in frustration but, suddenly, has an idea. He may not be able to touch his pretty new toy, but he can sure use her…

And so, the following morning at Xavier’s, after Jean has told Mesmero everything he asked.…

Everyone at school is relaxed, as there hasn’t been any trouble for weeks. Nightcrawler enters the dining room, only to find Mesmero and Jean waiting for him. One more X-Man hypnotized. Banshee enters as well, lost in thoughts. He too is down for the count and Mesmero gleefully rubs his hands. With Jean’s power super-charging his hypnotic talent, this is easier than he expected. Jean telepathically reaches out and ensnares Colossus, Cyclops and Storm. As Ororo’s mind is captured, she cries out in reflex and a lightning bolt of hers goes wild, so much in fact that it can be seen from outside by Wolverine, who is jogging. Storm’s too careful for that, he decides. Something must be going on.

He runs towards the house but he is expected, as a telekinetic Phoenix claw grabs him and stops him in his tracks. Mesmero grins at him, all the docile X-Men standing behind him. He tries to break Wolverine’s will as well, but finds that the X-Man is fighting like an animal. Suddenly, Wolverine goes slack in Jean’s telekinetic grip and Mesmero rejoices that he has beaten him as well. Far from it, as Wolverine just faked his trance and now tries to attack Mesmero. The villain orders the X-Men to stop him and Wolverine finds himself thrown out of the room, courtesy of an optic blast and Storm’s lightning.

He has barely any time to get his bearings before Colossus is upon him, who throws him at a tree. Storm follows suit with a monsoon rain and Banshee attacks with his sonic scream. On and on the battle goes, with Wolverine unable to beat his teammates but refusing to give up. As the morning wears on, Mesmero gets bored and orders the X-Men to fall asleep, as he has to think. Wolverine tries to takes some steps to stop the villain, but he falls and passes out from exhaustion.

Inside the mansion, Mesmero throws a tantrum. He has beaten the X-Men and has no clue what to do with them, he complains. He sees a picture of Nighcrawler as a trapeze artist and finally has an idea: a way to get even and to turn in a tidy profit.
Later at his carnival, he informs his toys, now dressed in their circus costumes, that they’ll love every moment of their humiliation, because it’s a variation of their own hopes and dreams. He laughs and his new playthings laugh with him.

Characters Involved: 

First story :
Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Professor Xavier (all original X-Men)
Second story :
Banshee, Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Phoenix II, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)
Mesmero’s hypnotized servants

Story Notes: 

First story : -

Second story :
The back-up story serves as a prologue to the reprinted story, explaining in detail how Mesmero ensnared the X-Men.

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: