Classic X-Men #20

Issue Date: 
April 1988
Story Title: 
<BR>Desolation (1st story)<BR> Mother of the Bride (2nd story)

First story (additional pages) Chris Claremont (writer), Kieron Dwyer (penciler), Terry Austen (inker), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Petra Scotese (colorist) Arthur Adams and Terry Austin (front cover and frontispiece), John Bolton (back cover)
Second story:
Jo Duffy (writer), John Bolton (artist), Petra Scotese (colors), Tom Orzechowski (lettering), Ann Nocenti (editor), Roger Stern (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) # 114.

Second story :
On a tropical vacation, Storm meets the recently widowed Alice Norton and learns that her husband died in an industrial accident on the island and his widow isn’t even allowed to view the corpse. Feeling pity for the woman, Storm pays a visit to the company that employed him. The boss, Twelvetree, seems nice enough, until Storm inadvertently learns that their newest product has a habit of killing the workers – and returning tem in a zombielike state, a fate that Jack Norton shares. Twelvetree orders his creatures to kill Storm and she is injured. After a chase, Storm finds herself in a quandary, having vowed to never kill. She prays to her goddess and an answer comes as lightning strikes down both the zombies and Twelvetree.

Full Summary: 

First story :
This story is a reprint of X-Men (1st series) #114. There are, however, four additional pages:

When the tunnels of Magneto’s subterranean basis are flooded with lava, the X-Men act in tandem to create an escape route. Cyclops orders Wolverine to point them south-by-southeast, then Cyclops and Banshee take turns at using their powers to dig a tunnel towards the Savage Land, while Storm, who is suffering from Claustrophobia, keeps on cooling down the lava rushing in behind them. Together they succeed.

In the meantime, Beast and Phoenix, who were split off from the rest of the team, have been brought to the American Antarctic research base nearby. Beast makes a call to Captain America and explains why he took off in a quinjet without any word. Phoenix, in the meantime, has tried to scan for the X-Men. Magneto’s messing with the Earth’s magneto field to inhibit longrange telepathic scans made things harder, but Jean managed to reach Magneto’s basis – and found nothing. She believes the X-Men are dead.

Later, in the Savage Land, after Cyclops and Storm had an argument about his inability to mourn for Jean, Cyclops wonders about the changes in Jean and, even more importantly, if he loved Jean more as a symbol of a normal life than as a person. He agonizes over his inability to mourn for her.

Second story :
(Storm’s dream)
Dressed in white, Storm stands before an altar, at her side a handsome, moustached man. She is about to be married. In the aisles sit her friends, the X-Men, an unknown elderly lady and Professor Xavier, in lieu of a father.

The marriage is performed but, when the groom reaches for Ororo, he seems little more than a leering, walking corpse. It is not only him, all the wedding guests, including the X-Men, have transformed into horrible walking corpses. Ororo is backed into a corner. Finally, she uses her powers and flies to safety.

A moment later, she snaps out of her nightmare but things are not alright. She is dressed in her costume, hunching in the corner of an unfamiliar, rundown building. She is exhausted, feverish, her arm is injured and she has no idea how she got here.

Suddenly, the door is kicked in. A walking corpse like the ones from her dream enters, in his hands a knife. But it was only a dream, Storm protests and screams a moment later, when something smashes through the wall behind her. More undead hands, wielding knives, hammers, all kinds of weapons. Cornered, Ororo gazes at the zombies and at the sneering man behind them, the “groom” from her dream. And suddenly she begins to remember.

Ororo had gone on a tropical vacation after one of the X-Men’s adventures. She was relaxing at the swimming pool, when she noted the sad elderly lady in the deckchair next to her, who seemed lost, gazing at a photo. Noticing how depressed the woman was, Ororo asked if she could help. Alice Norton told her that she was depressed to be in such a beautiful place without her Jack. They’d been married for twenty years and the last three he’d been gone, working here on the island as a foreman for Twelvetree chemicals. He never allowed her to visit and, suddenly, he died, probably poisoned by the things they make here. Twelvetree paid for Alice’s trip here but they wouldn’t let her have the body or even see it.

Alarmed Ororo paid a visit to the Twelvetree factory and met Richard Twelvetree. The suave businessman explained that he felt sorry for Mrs. Norton but they had invited her here to relax, not to spread rumors. Why wouldn’t they let her see her husband, Ororo inquires and Twelvetree tells her that they were only thinking of Mrs. Norton as the results of industrial accidents are not pretty. He goes on to rave about his company’s newest product, YK-23, light as plastic, strong as steel, cheaper than either. At that moment, the door opens and a zombielike looking man enters, carrying a tray. Twelvetree shouts at him that isn’t supposed to bring the samples here. Even while he tells Ororo that he is employing handicapped people, Ororo sees the name Jack on the man’s overall and, despite his changes, recognizes him as what’s left of Alice’s husband.

Twelvetree realizes this and orders Jack to attack her. Storm whips up a wind to keep them away but not before Jack bites her. Storm flies away but the injury does its part and she collapses in the shack in the jungle.

(the present:)
Storm’s cornered in the shack, with several zombies waiting to attack. Twelvetree calls her a fool. Did she believe he had only one of those unfortunate creatures? Jack wasn’t the first to die from it. Or even the fifth. While he keeps on raving, Storm produces a thunderstorm. She is too weak to fly, yet she hesitates to call down lightning on those creatures, as she has vowed to never take another’s life. She calls out to her goddess for help and her cry is answered as lightning strikes them all down, including Twelvetree.

Characters Involved: 

First story :
Antarctic base personnel

Captain America

Second story :

Alice Norton

Richard Twelvetree
Jack Norton and other zombies

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