Classic X-Men #27

Issue Date: 
November 1988
Story Title: 
<BR>Shoot-Out at the Stampede! (1st story)<BR> Backlash! (2nd story)

Additional pages of First Story:
Chris Claremont (script), Kieron Dwyer (penciler), Terry Austin (inker), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Keiron Dwyer (front cover and frontispiece pencils), Terry Austin (front cover and frontispiece inks), John Bolton (back cover), Daryl Edelman (assistant editor), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Second Story:
Ann Nocenti (plot and script), John Bolton (pencils and inks), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Daryl Edelman (assistant editor), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

First Story:
The main story is a reprint of X-Men (1st series) #121.

Second Story:
For some reason, Scott, Jean and Logan have stopped at a burger joint, off route. Scott gets the order while Logan and Jean Chat. He is clearly intent on furthering their relationship but Jean tries to keep him at arms length. Before they can settle for their meal, Jean hears a psychic cry as a janitor in a nearby derelict factory screams. She telekinetically drags her fellow X-Men over to the plant and asks the janitor what happened. He explains that he was attacked by a strange creature and had warned the owners that the chemicals in there should have been cleaned up. Now, they’ve created some kind of monster. Jean and Wolverine suddenly fall through a hole in the ground and Jean calls for Scott to get evacuate the residents. Underground, Jean and Logan crawl through the maze of pipes underneath the factory. Logan is concentrating more on chatting Jean up than actually finding any creatures. She soon feels something on her arm and tells Logan to cut it out. Unfortunately, it turns out that a creature is wrapped around it. Logan slices it off but it begins to multiply. They continue further into the maze before coming to a junction where they are surrounded by numerous creatures. Jean erects a telekinetic bubble to protect them but it gets smaller as the creatures push on it. Logan uses this opportunity to get hot and sweaty with Jean. Eventually, Scott telepathically informs her that the building is clear and, as their lips almost touch, the creatures surround them completely. An explosion then rips the place apart, killing the creatures as it fries the factory. Scott rushes to their aid and asks Jean if she’s okay. Wolverine replies that it’s the best time he’s had in months.

Full Summary: 

First Story :
This is a reprint of X-Men (1st series) #121, however, there are three additional pages:
The first page takes place in Ottawa, Canada, the country’s federal capital. Jeryn Hogarth has arrived with his pilots, Annie and Jill, to complain about Alpha Flight’s destruction of his aircraft. Keats, the foreign minister’s secretary, says he is well aware of his credentials and his reputation as an attorney. The fact remains that he isn’t about to wake the prime-minister, no matter how much he threatens. He reminds Hogarth that Alpha Flight are duly authorized parahuman government agents who were in pursuit of a fugitive. If he wishes to make a complaint, then the appropriate offices will open for business at nine a.m. If that’s all, the hour is exceedingly late and he has a full schedule tomorrow.

Outside, a limousine arrives through the snow and its occupant, Japanese ambassador Serazawa, steps out and soon bursts into the room, wishing to speak with the foreign minister, now! Respectfully, he is shown into the minister’s office and informs him that he has just been telephoned by the emperor, personally. He is most perturbed. He and his government would like to know why the Canadian government is wantonly attacking the band of super heroes recently responsible for single-handedly saving Japan from total destruction at the hands of an international terrorist. The minister stands and replies that he is at a disadvantage. He asks what the devil he’s talking about. Keats whispers that he refers to the Weapon X situation. The cabinet was briefed earlier today. The minister, Henri, turns to Keats and angrily snaps at him. He had assured them that everything was under control.

In the second additional page, the American ambassador also arrives. Jeryn Hogarth asks the foreign minister just what the devil his people are playing at. He replies that this is a purely internal matter - the apprehension of a fugitive, nothing more. Ambassador Serazawa informs him that, in Japan, Wolverine and the X-Men are national heroes. Their fate is a matter of their strongest concern. The American ambassador asks if he’s looked outside his window. She points at the blizzard which has taken over the country and asks if he calls that a normal winter snowstorm. Even ‘exceptional’ doesn’t even cover it. She adds that its effects are not confined to Calgary, or Alberta, or Canada. It is making its presence felt across the entire Great Plains. According to their meterological experts, if its current growth curve continues, there’ll be snow in the Caribbean by morning. She says that she’s sorry, but if this is the cost of reclaiming his precious Weapon X, then it is too high, and may be too late already. Henri gets on the phone and makes a call to the prime-minister, apologizing for waking him, but he informs him that they have a serious situation here.

The third additional page is an epilogue to the issue. The RCMP are on the scene of Wolverine’s escape. They free the guards who were bound by Wolverine and Garson explains that, when the transport didn’t arrive, they put out an all points. What with the blizzard an’ all, it was past sunrise before they could mount a proper search. Sasquatch is furious and wraps Garson up in some of the mangled metal that Wolverine tore up when he carved his way out of the truck. He tells Garson that it’s amazing how quickly a million years pass. He was right though; Wolverine was too dumb. He was too dumb to know escape was impossible, just like this truck’s designers were too dumb to realize that no matter how hard they try, no cage can hold him. Vindicator explains to Langowski that they had to try. They’ll just have to try again.

He tells Alpha Flight that he has checked with air traffic control. Hogarth’s plane is already out of their jurisdiction. To capture Wolverine this time will require a covert operation and the X-Men will be expecting them. A communications officer calls over to Vindicator, informing him that the prime-minister is on the line. He enters the comms truck and Pierre Trudeau’s face appears on a monitor. He says that the incident has been an unmitigated disaster; politically, diplomatically and economically. Mac replies that he warned him that it wouldn’t be easy. They’ve the X-Men to thank for it not being much worse. They’ll do better next time. Trudeau asks at what cost. The ‘capture’ order on Weapon X is rescinded. If Wolverine wants to go so badly, then let him. As far as Alpha Flight is concerned, he suggests Mac consider the ramifications of the incident very seriously. If having a national super-team means absorbing such potentially catastrophic fiscal liabilities, he and his compatriots may become a luxury Canada cannot afford.

Second Story:
An elderly janitor has been mopping the floor while singing an old blues song to himself. He pours some drain cleaner down a plughole and a strange sound emanates from it. Suddenly, the janitor screams as a strange creature with a long row of teeth shoots out from the darkness.

Nearby, Scott Summers is chatting to a guy flipping burgers at Big Burger. “Business is slow?” asks Scott. The guy explains that all they get now are wrong turns. His pa built the joint to feed the factory workers. His one big brilliant idea! Hard times hit and the factory closed down. All he’s flipping now is air. He warns Scott that if he ever gets one of those get-rich-quick ideas, then he should forget it. It just ain’t worth it.

He points to the factory and informs Scott that it used to be a big-time chemical plant. It’s been shut down since the fifties but a few of the upper warehouse floors now provide homes for some poor artist types. They live there, even though the place stinks of rotting chemicals. Unfortunately, artists won’t eat his burgers; won’t kill their fellow cows. His attention is then grabbed by a beautiful woman outside his window. “Hey wow, whatta looker,” he gasps. He asks if she’s his gal and Scott replies that she is.

Outside, Jean is talking to Logan. He insists that there’s a current running between them; a two-way current. He corners her and says that she may love Scott, but she wants him. Jean is adamant that this is not the case. Logan adds that she can’t just suppress things. She can’t shove her desires into the dark corners of her mind and expect them to just lie there and behave. She has to deal with it or there’ll be a backlash. Okay, she replies, she will deal with it. She offers Logan an ultimatum. One of them has got to leave the team; leave the X-Men.

Scott interrupts them, as their order is ready. They just stare at him and he prompts them to come eat. Jean, however, suddenly has more pressing concerns. She picks up a psychic lash of fear coming from the factory, a powerful one. Without hesitation, she takes to the air and uses her telekinesis to pull the two X-Men along behind her. As they approach the factory, the janitor is seen running out the door, screaming that he knew it, repeatedly. Jean lands everyone safely and Scott calms the man down, asking him what he knew. His eyes are wide open. He says he told ‘em they shoulda cleaned up the chemicals. There’s a maze of pipes and machines and old chemicals down there. They’ve been busting and brewing and belching for years and now it’s gone and grown some horrible monster.

Logan feels the whole place vibrating and asks Jean if she’s scanned for thoughts. Jean replies that there are some people upstairs but, below them, she senses a vague, primitive nervous system, but no consciousness. The shaking gets worse and the floor opens up, swallowing both Jean and Logan. As they fall, Jean orders Scott to evacuate the people upstairs while she deals with the creature. Scott has no choice but to comply with her request.

As he dashes upstairs, Logan and Jean trawl through the factory’s underbelly in semi-darkness. Passing a sign that reads Highly Flammable, Logan feels something soft. “That’s my leg,” replies Jean. He apologizes with a knowing grin. Although Jean tries to focus her thoughts on the task at hand, Logan has something else on his mind. It’s dark and Jean can’t see very well, but Logan can see just fine. He follows her as they crawl through the grime and comments that the view’s fine from where he is. She asks him not to do that. “Do what?” he asks, innocently. “Touch me,” adds Jean. Unfortunately, Logan isn’t, and he strikes a match to reveal a strange creature wrapping itself around Jean’s arm. Logan pops his claws and swiftly slices the creature into four parts.

To Jean’s surprise, the pieces themselves remain alive and form little heads. Wolverine slashes at them’ - he’ll rip the little buggers to shreds. Jean warns him not to, as they’ll only multiply. She turns to see scores of them emerging from the shadows. She erects a telekinetic force field to shove them back and, for now, they are safe.

They continue crawling and Wolverine remains happy at the view he’s got. Jean tells him they have to deal with this creature but Logan just makes jokes. He thinks maybe it’s the monster from the ID, from the old fifties flick. He tries to explain. “It’s about this guy who suppressed his anger and it created a…” Jean interrupts and tersely tells him to shut up. Unseen above them, another creature like the one that Jean held circles in on them. They come to a junction amongst the cables and Jean orders him to hold still, as she can sense them nearby. Logan moves in a little closer, saying he can smell them. They’re sneaky little snakes, moving in for the kill.

A few creatures emerge and Jean holds her hand up, stopping them from getting any closer. She creates a telekinetic bubble around them both and remarks that they’re horrid things. Logan adds that they’re tough, determined buggers, pushing on her TK shield. They’re gonna bust their way in. Logan knows that these creatures are no match for Jean and plays the situation for all it’s worth. “Looks like we’re gonna be smashed together here. Getting hot an’ close, inevitable…” Jean isn’t impressed and reminds him that this isn’t a game. They could suffocate or die. “Ah, what a way to go,” replies Logan.

Jean says he’s impossible. Logan puts his arms around her shoulder and asks her to relax. There’s nowhere to go, not that he minds her wiggling around. They begin to sweat, as the TK bubble becomes tighter and tighter and they become closer and closer. Jean points out that they have to find a way to kill it. Logan replies that he likes it; he likes the danger, so why don’t they go with it. Their faces are inches apart as she asks him to move his knee. He smiles as Jean continues trying to avoid the almost inevitable. She considers using a blanket TK force blast to shove them all away but, with all the chemicals down here, the whole building would blow. It could save them, but…

Wolverine is loving it. He suggests they just curl up together and let it happen. Why resist fate? Sweating, Jean says Scott’s name. Logan asks what this is. A little telepathic cry for help? “Don’t call on your conscience Jean. It’s no help.” She asks him to be quiet, as she is scanning for thoughts. Everyone has left the building and Scott is giving her the go ahead. “So let’s do it,” adds Logan. The creatures grow ever tighter, almost covering them completely. She asks if he’s ready. He is. Their lips almost brush against each other. “Come on Jean. Come here. Deal with me.” Jean can only let out a gasp, as they disappear from sight under a mountain of mutated creatures.

Suddenly, a massive explosion rips the place apart, taking the creatures with it, incinerating everything in sight. The fire appears to take on the shape of a phoenix as it settles. In the epicentre sit Jean and Logan. Scott leaves the students and runs over to Jean, asking if she’s okay. “Was it horrible?” Jean looks over at Logan and doesn’t reply. Wolverine stands and turns. “Best time I’ve had in months.”

Characters Involved: 

First story (additional characters that were not in X-Men #121):
Jeryn Hogarth
Annie and Jill
Canada’s foreign minister, Henri
Ambassador Serazawa and staff
American ambassador to Canada

Second Story:
Cyclops, Phoenix, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Factory janitor
Burger guy
Resident artists
Mutated creatures

Story Notes: 

first story
The X-Men saved Japan from Moses Magnum in Uncanny X-Men #119.

second story
The song that the janitor sings is ‘Blues in the Night,’ by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. Written in the early 1940’s, it has since been covered by a variety of singers, including Rosemary Clooney and Frank Sinatra. It was originally written for the movie, Hot Nocturne.

Logan’s mention of the Monster from the ID comes from the classic sci-fi movie, Forbidden Planet (1956).

Although it isn’t shown, the final scene appears to imply that Jean and Wolverine kissed. From their lips almost touching, to the explosion, there is no telling just how many seconds they were together. Their subsequent silence speaks volumes. Then again, Logan’s comments could simply mean he enjoyed the game.

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