Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #15

Issue Date: 
March 1989
Story Title: 
<BR>“God’s Country Part VI: Bondage” (First Story)<BR>“The Maiden Phoenix” (Third Story)

First Story: Ann Nocenti (writer), Rick Leonardi (penciller), Al Milgrom (inker), Ken Lopez (letterer), Mike Rockwitz (colorist), Terry Kavanagh (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Third Story: Bobbie Chase (writer), Dwayne Turner (penciller), Mike Gustovich (inker), Ken Lopez (Letterer), Andy Yanchus (colorist), Terry Kavanagh (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

First Story:

Colossus easily defeats his Cold Warrior opponents with one punch apiece. Afterward, one of the Cold Warriors that Colossus defeated begs the X-Man to kill him. He says that, as long as he is even somewhat alive, his superiors will put whatever organs they have to in him to keep him alive, be they from human or animal. Colossus refuses and says he will hear no more about slavery and lies masquerading as freedom and truth. Meanwhile, at the house, Jocko has Roxanne by the head, though Nina pries his hands off, though not before he badly slashes Roxanne in the face. Jocko quickly turns his attention to Nina and grabs her, slamming her head into the wall. However, Nina then tells Bruce to shoot where Jocko’s head should be and he does so, ending the threat. Traumatized, Roxanne begins going on and on about hot chocolate, while Nina slumps to the floor and begins babbling about how her mission is to kill the family. Hearing this, Bruce thinks she is a traitor. By the time she regains her senses, Bruce has tied Nina up, even though she says she had hit her head before and was babbling incoherently. She says they’re trying to kill her too, but Bruce won’t have it. He cleans up his wife’s face and bandages her, eventually deciding to gag her as well, since he can’t take her crazy talk. The neighbors outside hear Roxanne’s muffled cry and suspect domestic violence. They decide not to call the police, as all of this isn’t their business. Zackery is upset at all this and goes around the house smashing things. He stops when he sees a clock on the bedside table, which ticks ominously.

Third Story:

Jean Grey is asleep in her room aboard X-Factor’s ship, when a specter of the Phoenix firebird comes to her and wakes her up. It transforms into Professor Xavier and puts her in a trance. Jean is led out of the ship and telekinetically walks on air down into the subway of New York City, startling people along the way, including a subway conductor, who brakes in order to avoid hitting her. However, Jean takes a sudden turn to the left into a cavern before there is a collision. At the end of the cavern, the Phoenix prepares to possess Jean when a sudden herd of rats running across her legs snaps her to her senses. She thinks the Phoenix has come for her again but the creature explains that it is not the true Phoenix, but a Morlock who has the ability to leave its body via astral projection. The Morlock tells how it was injured during the Mutant Massacre and needs a new body for its astral form, specifically wanting to possess Jean. She fights against the Morlock and it can’t get through her telekinetic force field. Jean spots a glowing ash heap that appears to be powering the Morlock and blows it away with her powers. Somehow, she creates a pink firebird of telekinetic energy that fights the Morlock’s firebird, until the ash heap explodes and both firebirds vanish. Jean sees the ash heap was hiding the Morlock’s skeletal remains and a necklace, showing that its name was Lightning Bug. Jean promises to return the next day with X-Factor to give Lightning Bug a proper burial.

Full Summary: 

First Story:

Colossus is engaged in a fierce battle with two Cold Warriors. The man with eyebeams blasts Colossus and demands he give up because he’s outnumbered. Colossus refuses and says they’re outclassed. He grabs the flamethrower man’s arm and delivers a knockout haymaker to his jaw. Colossus finishes the job by giving the eyebeam man a painful gut punch.

Back at the family’s house, Jocko has reached through the wall of the house from the outside and has Roxanne in the grip of his long claws. Young Zackery tries to pull his mom free as he screams for her. Nina joins in but, just as she gets Jocko’s claws off Roxanne, the Cold Warrior jams his other hand through the wall and grabs Nina’s head. He slams Nina’s head against the wall and she begins to slump to the floor. Barely conscious, Nina manages to tell Bruce to shoot through the wall at where Jocko’s head would be. Bruce draws his revolver and fires a little above where the two arms are. Jocko drops Nina and she falls over.

Nearby, Roxanne is bleeding from the cuts on her face and appears to be having a nervous breakdown. She begins to babble about getting Zackery him not worrying, and that they’ll have that hot chocolate now. Zackery is shocked about his mother’s injuries, and Bruce tells him not to look at her.

Meanwhile, the still stunned Nina suddenly begins some babbling herself about how her mission is to kill the family. Zackery is too scared to go to his mother, but Bruce doesn’t notice this because of what Nina’s saying. He declares her as a traitor!

Elsewhere, Colossus is talking to the defeated eyebeam man. He wants Colossus to kill him but the X-Man refuses. The Cold Warrior explains that, as long as he’s still alive, his bosses will rebuild him from organs and tissue from both humans and animals. He has a baboon heart, hyena blood and skin grafts from both strangers and countrymen. He feels his soul is just as replaceable as his body to his bosses.

Colossus tells the man that he is insane and that he will end the operation here, but points an accusing finger as he declares that he will not kill him! As Colossus walks away, the man screams that he is just a soldier like Colossus, following orders for his country of America because he is bound to her. Colossus tells him to shut up because he has heard enough about slavery and lies pretending to be freedom and truth. The man continues to beg, saying he and Colossus are the same, but Colossus completely ignores him this time.

At the house, Nina has been bound and tells Bruce to untie her. He says he doesn’t trust her. Nina explains that she hit her head and was rambling. How could she be on their side when they tried to kill her too? Bruce tells her to shut up and begins to bandage up his wife’s cut face. Roxanne starts babbling about the family going to the movies and Bruce is becoming more and more upset.

He decides to gag her with the same bandages he’s putting on her face to quiet her crazy talk and she screams as he does it. Zackery, eyes wide with terror, yells about how his mom can’t speak and Bruce tells him to shut up about it because he can’t think with her babbling. “So much for free speech,” Bruce quips as he tells Nina she’s next.

The gossipy neighbors are still going at it outside. One brings up how Roxanne gave out a shout and another follows up by saying it was cut off. They think they were justified in saying Bruce abused Roxanne, but still won’t call the police because this private affair is none of their business after all.

Back inside, Nina pleads with Bruce to ungag his wife but he refuses. Zackery tells his father to shut up and goes on a rampage through the house. He knocks over pots and dishes in the kitchen and moves on upstairs to tear up the bedroom. He yells about how he hates all these inanimate objects that he is destroying. He finally stops when an old clock on the bedside table catches his attention.

Third Story:
Jean Grey is asleep in her room aboard X-Factor’s massive sentient Ship. The familiar, fiery Phoenix raptor comes to Jean in her sleep and begs for help. As she slowly wakes up, it takes the form of Professor Xavier and claims to be him, saying it needs help. Jean is in a trance, neither really awake nor asleep. She leaves Ship unnoticed by either the vessel or her teammates and levitates above the streets of New York City.

The glowing apparition coaxes Jean to follow it down into the subway. She follows across the tracks and down into the tunnel, much to the shock of the people waiting for the train. A subway train suddenly approaches behind Jean and they notice the light of the entity leading her. The conductor sees Jean herself as the train gets closer and yells for everyone to break in a panic.

Fortunately, the entity leads Jean to the safety of a side tunnel, still begging for her help, just as the train barrels across where they were floating. One of the train operators is shocked at Jean’s sudden disappearance and says he hasn’t even had any booze all day long.

The entity leads Jean deeper into the side cave, promising safety. She comes into a room and the entity tells her that it is in the ash pile in the room. As she walks closer, the Xavier image transforms into the Phoenix raptor once more and shouts in triumph that Jean is its at last!

Luckily, a swarm of rats rush across Jean’s feet from out of nowhere and shocks her to full consciousness. Jean is disorientated but quickly erects a telekinetic shield, demanding to know where she is and who the entity is. The entity tells her not to shield herself, because it needs her. Jean tells Phoenix that she knew it would find for her one day and that she won’t go without a fight.

The raptor says that Jean doesn’t understand and that it doesn’t want to hurt her. It has been listening to her thoughts and knows that she is the one, the friend that can save it. Jean demands to know why Phoenix would call her friend. The raptor explains that it is not Phoenix, but a mutant Morlock injured during the Mutant Massacre. It needs a new body… hers!

Jean says it is a childish dream to believe she would surrender her life so easily and goes on the attack, threatening to bring the walls down around it. The raptor backs off and tells her to stop hurting it, because she is getting too close. Jean wonders what she is getting too close to when she notices the glowing ash pile on the floor and guesses that it must be some kind of energy source. The raptor tries to jump Jean and it yells for her to stay away from its home. It needs to get her before it is too late, but is unable, as Jean’s shield hurts it.

Protected for the moment, Jean figures she can force the raptor apart by destroying the ash pile and blows it away with her telekinesis. The raptor screams and another raptor made of Jean’s pink TK energies appears to battle the Morlock raptor. Jean is amazed at this and wonders what this manifestation of hers means. The Morlock raptor shrinks away from Jean’s raptor until the ash pile finally explodes! Jean shields herself from the explosion and, after all the smoke clears, sees that the ash pile was blocking a hiding place in the cave.

She sees that the Phoenix raptor that was after her came from the skeletal remains of the mutant child before her. Jean pities this creature and reads that its name was “Lightning Bug” from its necklace. She vows to return tomorrow with X-Factor to give Lightning Bug a proper burial, as one more day won’t matter much now to this poor dead soul.

Characters Involved: 

First Story:


Bruce, Roxanne, Zackery (the family)

Nina / Number Six

The family’s neighbors (unnamed)

The Cold Warriors (Jocko, unnamed others)

Third Story:

Marvel Girl (Jean Grey)


Lightning Bug (the Morlock)

New Yorkers

Story Notes: 

The other features in the issue are:

Second story: Black Panther, “Panther’s Quest (part 3 of 25)”

Fourth story: Red Wolf, “Desert Tears”

First story:

This issue takes place while the X-Men pretended to be dead and lived in an abandoned town in the Australian Outback, between Uncanny X-Men #227 and Uncanny X-Men #250.

Third story:

During this time, X-Factor used a flying ship they took from Apocalypse as a headquarters. The ship had a sentient Celestial computer inside, which the team referred to as “Ship.”

The Phoenix is a cosmic entity that has saved Jean Grey replaced her in her life and among the X-Men while she healed in a cocoon in Jamaica Bay. After the fake Jean’s death (see Dark Phoenix Saga), the Avengers found Jean’s cocoon and Mr. Fantastic revived her. She joined X-Factor shortly after this and held a grudge against the Phoenix entity for pretending to be her.

The manifestation of the Phoenix by Jean is possibly due to the bit of the Phoenix entity that Madelyne Pryor attached to Jean during Inferno.

The Mutant Massacre was an event where a group called the Marauders killed the majority of the Morlocks dwelling in the tunnels called the Alley beneath New York City. Jean Grey’s involvement occurred primarily in X-Factor #9-11.

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