Classic X-Men #39

Issue Date: 
November 1989
Story Title: 
<BR>Wolverine: Alone! (1st story)<BR>Brigg’s Revenge (2nd story)

Second Story: Ann Nocenti (writer), Jim Lee (penciler), Joe Rubenstein (inker), Gregory Wright (colorist), Jim Novak (letterer), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

The first story is a reprint of X-Men (1st series) #133.

Second Story: Having some spare time, Storm flies to New York. Her strange way of arrival is witnessed by a mutant boy, Billy Briggs. Glad to have found a fellow mutant, he tries to ask her for help, but Ororo mistakes it as some Billy hitting on her and, rather annoyed, ignores him. When he gets angry, Ororo is saved by a rather handsome business man. Billy feels betrayed that a mutant like her is as prejudiced as baseline humans and acts nice towards the handsome stranger just because of his looks. He secretly follows her to take revenge, intending to take her carefree attitude and her enjoyment of life from her. Witnessing her, Wolverine and Colossus together, Briggs sees his chance. With his disintegrative blasts he enters the scene and announces to kill just one of the men, though Ororo needs to chose which one. She ponders her situation, thinking about who of them is the better X-Man and should continue to live, but then forsakes such thoughts. Instead, she reasons that Logan has a better chance of possibly dodging and surviving the blast and chooses him. Her gamble was straight on the money and, together, the three X-Men defeat Billy Briggs, though the damage is done. Though Logan knows Ororo’s decision was the right one, it still hurt him and, likewise, Storm is depressed over her friend’s bitterness towards her.

Full Summary: 

This first story reprints X-Men (1st series) #133.

Second Story:
It’s a beautiful day in New York City. Dressed in her civvies, Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, is soaring high above the city. Usually, she wouldn’t risk exposing the X-Men’s secret identities by such a public display of her powers, but today she could not help herself. She had to enjoy this day in her own special way; after all it’s the first time in months that she can spend some time alone. As she closes in on the city, she thinks it good that most New Yorkers look down rather than up, so probably nobody will spot her. She descends in a lonely alley and is convinced that her arrival has gone unnoticed.

However, Ororo is wrong. A figure hiding behind some trash bins has spotted her, his eyes crackling with energy. As he saw Ororo fly, he thinks that she is a mutant, just like him, and hopes that she can help him. Hoping that she will be nice to him, he follows Ororo, who has already left the alley and is walking down a more crowded street. All the men turns their heads, whether they are businessmen, punkers, average guys, all are attracted to the exotic beauty. The mutant from the alley catches up with her, his eyes now looking normal. He approaches Ororo that he would like to talk to her and, introducing himself as Billy Briggs, he takes a bow. Ororo is annoyed by him, wondering who he thinks he is, and, ignoring Billy’s clumsy attempt of a conversation, she simply walks on.

When Billy looks up again, only to see the beautiful woman having taken no interest in him, he gets quite angry and runs after her. Catching up with her again, he yells at her, but he doesn’t get to finish his threats when he is suddenly pushed to the ground. A rather handsome and elegant dressed gentleman has seen to save the beautiful lady and he tells Billy not to bother her again. Ororo thanks her gallant savior, who says he’d be happy to help such a woman as her anytime... anywhere. They smile at each other and say their good-byes, the man hoping that he will see her again soon.

Behind them, Billy gets up from the ground with a vicious look in his eyes. He is angry that Ororo smiles and flirts with the man, just because he seems to be rich and is looking handsome. He thinks that she considered him too messy and ugly for her and he comes to the realization that this woman wouldn’t help him at all – she is just as prejudiced as the rest. Billy hates Ororo for that. He could kill her now, but he won’t. He’ll do something far worse. Billy plans to steal away Ororo’s carefree ways and her enjoyment of life. He’ll make sure that this is the last day she enjoys.

(later that day)
At the Xavier Estate, Storm, Wolverine and Colossus relax with a little yardwork. As Colossus is trying to rip out an old tree, Logan makes a bet with him over a six-pack, saying that he can’t do it. Inspired by the wager, Colossus gathers all his strength and rips it out with so much force that it hurls into the air. Storm creates a wind to catch the tree. Wolverine asks for a chance to win back the beer, saying that he can slice up the log into firewood and stack it in thirty seconds. Piotr accepts, and Logan starts cutting with his claws, with Storm and Colossus counting down the seconds.

Hidden in the bushes, Billy Briggs spies on them. Having witnessed the mutants’ friendly banter, he now knows that he has an edge on Storm. His hand charges up and he releases a deadly blast at the X-Men’s car, making his presence known. Almost knocked over, the three mutants look at their attacker, Wolverine saying that he thought he had smelled something and Ororo recognizing the guy from her visit to New York earlier on.

Billy steps up from behind the car’s wreckage, his eyes glow once more and his right hand is letting of some plasma like energy signature. He orders none of them to move, as he could disintegrate any of them in a heartbeat. He then says that he has come to kill only one. Pointing at Storm, he says that she has to choose. One of her friends lives, the other dies. He gives her five seconds to decide, and she will have to live with her choice for the rest of her life.

In her mind, Ororo ponders options. None of them is able to reach Billy fast enough and not even Peter’s armor could survive such a blast. Her winds might topple him, but he could still fire. She realizes that there is no way out. She really has to choose. She looks to her right, at Colossus, and thinks that Piotr is so sweet and innocent; she can’t name him. Then, looking to her left, she wonders what instinct to follow. Should she let the better fighter survive for the sake of the X-Men? Who of her two comrades would understand, who hurt less? Who is the better man? No, Ororo tells herself, calling these thoughts horrid. X-Men don’t make choices like this. Reasoning that Logan is lighter and more agile, giving him a possibly chance to dodge and survive a blast, she makes her choice. Ororo wonders if she is issuing Wolverine’s death, but then looking at him looking back at her, she thinks that he is aware of what her choice will be.

Getting impatient, Billy tells Ororo to make her choice. Ashamed, she looks to the ground and say “I choose Wolverine.” Next, Briggs releases his deadly energy at the feral X-Man, but Storm’s predictions were correct. He manages to avoid taking the full brunt of it by leaping away. While Briggs charges up a second blast, Colossus picks up the felled tree and uses it to knock over the strange villain. Storm commands her winds to keep Briggs aloft, but as he begins to fire his blasts at random, she calls to her friends that they need to pin his fists. Coming around, Logan tells her to drop him, right there in front of him. With a sudden move, Ororo does as told and, before Billy even has a chance to understand what happens, Colossus has grapped his hands holding them up against his head so that he can’t use his powers.

Wolverine pops his claws and holds them at Billy’s throat, telling him that it’s now his turn to make a choice – either he dies by his claws or he can fry his own brain. Ororo gently places a hand on Logan’s shoulder and calms him down. No matter what Billy has done, he still is a human being. They don’t know what has made him this way, and partially she is to blame, for he reached out to her for help today and she ignored him. She suggests to take him to the mansion instead, so that Jean can help them with Billy Briggs.

Logan sheathes his claws and agrees, though he tells Colossus to get the boy out of his face before he changes his mind. Ororo asks Wolverine if he understands why she had to choose him. He quickly tells her he did and that it was the right thing to do, but Ororo does not buy it. Logan tells her to forget it and turns away, as his face changes to a bitter expression. He announces he’s going to get a beer and leaves.

Still holding Billy, Colossus asks Ororo if she is all right, but she doesn’t answer. Billy smirks; he knows that he has achieved what he came for.

Characters Involved: 

Second Story:
Colossus, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)
Billy Briggs
Dozens of citizens in New York

Story Notes: 

Storm refers to Jean being in the mansion, though at the time it was actually the Phoenix Entity having taken her place.

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