Classic X-Men #34

Issue Date: 
June 1989
Story Title: 
<BR>The Action of the Tiger! (1st story)<BR> Double negative (2nd story)

Second story:
Ann Nocenti (writer, John Bolton (artist), Joe Rosen (lettering)
Steve Lightle (front cover and frontispiece artist), Roger Stern (original editors), Daryl Edelman (assistant editor), Bob Harras (editor), Tom deFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

First story :
The first story is a reprint of X-Men (1st series) # 128.

Second story :
A servant girl at the Hellfire Club feels humiliated by the dress code and by the way Mastermind treats her. She complains to the White Queen about their outfits and Emma gives her in impromptu lesson about how it’s all about power and how these kinds of outfits can be humiliating or weapons – depending on who wears them. She invites the girl to watch her do battle. Emma and Mastermind play a game of chess, using their mental powers – a game that result in both of their avatars dying. The girl didn’t truly see the game but instinctively understands the danger inherent in this love of power games. To quit before the game has started is the only way to leave the Hellfire Club alive, she realizes.

Full Summary: 

First Story :
This is a reprint of X-Men (1st series) #128.

Second story :
A maid, dressed in the Hellfire Club’s typical black lingerie and nothing more, serves Jason Wyngarde some drinks. Quite decorative, the villain thinks. But on this brainless trollop the extravagancies of the Hellfire Club’s dress code are reduced to nothing. She is a mere trinket. An object in a cheap degrading package. He finds the way she openly allows him to stare at her embarrassing. The girl notices his glare and asks if there will be anything else. He just silently and derogatively stares at her.

The girl leaves the room, wondering what she’s doing here in this stupid outfit. Every instinct tells her this is wrong. And that man is so horrible.

She enters another room to find the White Queen dressing. The girl bursts out, asking whether Ms. Frost doesn’t just hate wearing those outfits. She hates being gaped at, she continues and Wyngarde is so rude. She hates the job. The money is obscene, but is it worth it? Isn’t it all so sexist? she continues. Shouldn’t they, as women, all stick together and protest?

Frost turns to her, asking what she is babbling about. Does she take her for another servant girl? She’s the White Queen!

Yes, when the girl wears that outfit and men look at her, it cheapens her. But when Emma wears it, it cheapens them. She continues, telling the girl a few things about sexism. It’s all in what you use it for. The Hellfire Club reeks of desire and ambition for success and world domination. But it’s all really about personal domination. Her clothes are her battle armor. She dresses for war. In fact, she’s going to do battle now. The girl may come and watch as she serves drinks, but she won’t see much. There is no such thing as sexism, she drives home, unless you give them that power.

The girl blurts out that she doesn’t understand about those power struggles and they are all horrible. Why does she think they call it the Hellfire Club? the White Queen adds offhandedly.

Arrogantly the White Queen enters the room, where Mastermind sits in front of a chessboard. A game? he suggests. Quite, she replies. The room is still, as both players play their game of chess on another level of reality, as the chess pieces come to life. The White Queens avatar is literally a White Queen chess piece, who like an innocent girl seems to be picking flowers from a checkered ground.

A cartoonish seeming black knight on an equally black horse attacks. The White Queen grabs his lance but nevertheless finds herself shattered, as she falls to the ground. The enthusiastic black king leaps for the checkmate, realizing too late that he falls into a trap, as the queen skewers him with his own lance. He dies at the end of his own weapon. She dies crushed by her own slain foe.

Through the ajar door the girl watches. She only sees the two foes staring at the chessboard before them. The girl thinks that the White Queen considers herself so superior. But she is a slave to games.

A good game, Mastermind tells Emma. A draw. For now, Emma coolly replies. The girl continues thinking that at least she knows one thing – to quit before the game has started is the only way to leave the Hellfire Club alive.

Characters Involved: 

Second story :
Jason Wyngarde / Mastermind
The White Queen

Unnamed servant girl

Story Notes: 

Second story :
Wyngarde is mistakenly referred to as Black King in this story. While Mastermind’s actual title wasn’t revealed, the Black King was, of course, Sebastian Shaw.

Written By: