Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #16

Issue Date: 
April 1989
Story Title: 
<BR>“American Pie Part VII: One Hand Washes” (First Story)<BR> “Dreamwalk” (Third Story)

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

Third Story: Ann Nocenti (writer), Larry Dixon (penciller), Alfredo Alcala (inker), Ken Lopez (Letterer), Gregory Wright (colorist), Terry Kavanagh (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

First Story:

Nina begs to be freed, but Bruce doesn’t want to comply, because he thinks she was brainwashed. Zackery walks in and throws down the clock he found earlier. He says they have no time and that there is no home, but a prison. Nina tells Bruce to listen to his son, but he still won’t trust her. She asks why he is fighting and he says that he doesn’t know; the enemy could be anyone just like back in Vietnam. At this point, Nina uses her bionic arms to free herself. Meanwhile, Colossus continues through the Cold Warrior base, mowing down soldiers in his path. He rips doors from their hinges and shrugs off bullets, all the while demanding the soldiers tell him why they are fighting. He believes people fight over ideology and that the US and Russia back different sides of wars all across the world. Colossus arrives at Alexander’s room at last and chokes his assistant, Gregory, into unconsciousness. Alexander, surprisingly, is dressed and prepared to go quietly. He explains to Colossus that America fights on foreign soil to protect corporate interests and that America joins wars to get drug connections to finance covert operations. He says all this is necessary to national security. Alexander tells Colossus that his superiors will keep all this out of the papers and keep him away from imprisonment. Alexander has been washing his hands the entire time and Colossus asks him if his hands are clean enough yet. Back at the house, the neighbors agree that there are no victims in these events because there is no such thing as a victim. They believe this is because anyone could always just walk away from a victimizing situation. Inside, Nina is free and Bruce points his gun at her. She argues that he needs her. There is no chance for this to continue, since the Cold Warriors open fire once again and everyone jumps on the floor for cover. Outside, Grampa is sitting in his memory car reminiscing over a picture of Ingrid from Casablanca. His car is getting shot up but he remains ever oblivious.

Third Story:

Longshot races kangaroos through the Australian Outback. He jumps a ridge and accidentally bumps into an Aborigine that is in the middle of dreamwalking. When the man explains what he was doing, Longshot asks how to dreamwalk. The man tells him to keep his mind awake while his body sleeps and begins to show Longshot how it is done. Back home, Longshot declines the other X-Men’s invitation to a night on the town, so he can dreamwalk. After Gateway teleports the other X-Men off, Longshot begins. He is lying down, getting into it, when he is suddenly slapped in the face by a grotesque, winged creature. The creature leads him on a chase throughout the house until it sneaks up behind him and conks him on the head with a piece of wood. Longshot decides there is no harm in the carnage since this is just a dream and the two continue to chase each other and trade blows via throwing random household objects. Eventually, the creature throws Longshot down the stairs, knocking him unconscious. The X-Men return at this point and note that Longshot is still asleep right where they left him. A potted plant upstairs falls over and the team decides to go check it out. They do not yet see how trashed the upstairs is. Was it all a dream after all? Most likely, Longshot just imagined the creature and did all the damage himself while sleepwalking.

Full Summary: 

First Story:

Nina begs Bruce to untie her, as the Cold Warriors could attack any second. Bruce, however, replies that he can’t trust her, because she was brainwashed. Zackery suddenly walks in carrying the clock from the bedside table. Seeing this, Bruce asks him what he’s doing and where his gun is. The boy needs to get ready to protect the family. Zackery ignores his father and throws the clock down, smashing it to bits! He yells that there is no family, no time, no home, and this is a prison!

Nina pleads with Bruce to listen to his son and untie her. However, Bruce yells that he can’t trust her as she might kill them all, and says he must fight alone. She asks whom he is fighting and what he’s fighting for, but Bruce can’t answer either question. Nina’s questions get Bruce very agitated and he screams that this is just like Vietnam. The enemy is unclear and could be anyone, even women and children. Anyone could tuck a bomb in with their baby!

It is now clear to Nina that she won’t be able to get Bruce to see reason. She begins to free herself with her bionic strength, declaring it’s every man for himself.

Elsewhere, at the Cold Warrior base, Colossus is also questioning why he is fighting these men. He knows the Cold Warriors fight because they strongly believe in their ideology. Bruce and Colossus himself are the same way. They are fighting because their ideologies are different and Colossus comes to wonder what the point is because the fighting seems to leave only broken bones and broken families for just ideas.

Colossus comes to a stairway and two soldiers are at the top. One asks what Colossus is babbling about and the other tells him no one cares and to just shoot. The X-Man charges up the stairs as bullets bounce harmlessly off him. A double uppercut takes out both men and Colossus rips the door in front of him off its hinges. He is now furious over the motivations of fighting.

He screams out loud questions about who he is fighting and why. He says Russia and the US back different sides of battles worldwide and that it is the people of those lands that really suffer. Colossus comes upon another group of soldiers and asks them what they believe in. The soldiers don’t know what to make of this and Colossus yells that he knows what he believes in.

One soldier orders the men to open fire, but the bullets have no more effect on Colossus than did bfore. He tornados through them, knocking them over like tenpins. The X-Man says he believes in muscle and that belief hardens into muscle. He’s going to keep on hitting until he figures everything out. Colossus rips another door free and finds Gregory and Alexander on the other side. Gregory cocks a gun but doesn’t get a chance to use it, because Colossus grabs him by the throat, rendering him unconscious.

Alexander is strangely compliant. He tells Colossus that he has been expecting the X-Man and that he’d like to wash his hands before they go. Alexander washes his hands and says he knows what Colossus must be feeling, that he knows everything about Colossus from what he thinks and eats to smell of his skin and the color of his soul. He is sure that Colossus will be frustrated when he finds out all his fighting has all been for nothing.

He explains everything. Colossus fights for a free society but the country is technically only based on those ideals. They use freedom for their own ends and only fight for it in foreign lands to protect corporate interests. Wars with drug connections are especially popular because these covert operations need gobs of money that taxpayers won’t shell out.

Alexander puts his hand under the faucet water for a second time, as he says taxpayers are deceived so that the government keeps its image clean. He tells Colossus about the CIA. It started out as an information gathering branch of the government but evolved into an active, militant organization that “changes the course of history on a daily basis.” He compares its nature to a shape shifting beast and a hall of mirrors.

He is now washing his hands for a third time. This is all in the name of national security according to Alexander. He tells Colossus that America hasn’t been free for a long time. No word of this will be published in the papers and he’ll be free in a day. Colossus says they’ll see about all that and asks if they can go, or aren’t Alexander’s hands clean yet?

Meanwhile, the gossipy neighbors are still watching the family. One pities Roxanne’s situation, but another says there’s no such thing as a victim. People whine about suppression and oppression but the neighbors point out that they could always walk away.

Inside, as Nina is shaking off the last of her chains, Bruce says he’ll have to shoot her if she doesn’t stop it. He points his rifle at her and she says he won’t shoot because he needs her. Their conversation is cut off when the Cold Warriors open fire once more and they have to take cover.

Outside, Grampa’s car is getting hit just as badly. He is looking at a shot-up picture of Ingrid from Casablanca and seems oblivious to the situation. He thinks back to how a woman could fill the screen with her spirit and inspire the best in men.

Third Story:

Longshot is chasing a kangaroo out in the Australian desert, thinking about how he couldn’t catch that dingo but he’ll catch this guy. He loves how there are more animals than people out here because animals know how to play! The X-Man jumps ahead of the kangaroo, declaring his triumph, and lands on top of an Aborigine, who was in some kind of trance. He apologizes and the Aborigine seems confused, asking if Longshot is a part of his dream.

Longshot himself is confused until the man explains that he was dreamwalking in the dreamstate, a world as strong as reality itself. The curious young super-hero asks if he can go there and the Aborigine begins to teach him. He explains that all you have to do is let your body sleep, while your mind stays awake and travels to a sacred, creative place. He stresses the “mind awake, body asleep” basics.

Later, the X-Men are planning to go out for an evening on the town and have just found out Longshot doesn’t want to go. Logan asks him to help him “wrestle some beers to the mat” and Rogue says he deserves a night out. He won’t change his mind, even when Allison asks him whom she’s going to dance with. Rogue says she’ll dance with Dazzler and Alex brings up how leaving Longshot home alone makes him nervous. Rogue agrees with that, though Ororo tells the X-Men that it is time to go. She tells Gateway to keep an eye on their mischievous teammate and the old mutant teleports them away.

Longshot lies down on the floor and begins to dream walk as he chants, “body asleep, mind awake.” Suddenly, he is slapped in the face by a freakish green creature with brown fur. It looks like a baboon with a crocodile’s face and tail. The creature speaks some gibberish and Longshot asks if it lives in his head. It runs and Longshot excitedly gives chase, believing it wants to play some hide ‘n’ seek. He chases it upstairs and the creature sneaks up behind him and whacks him on the head with a piece of wood.

The creature continues to make very strange sounds, ranging from a bird chirp to a laugh, and points its stick at Longshot. He asks what it’s going to do now and it throws the board at his head. Longshot is about to point out how mean that was when the creature starts throwing a TV and some potted plants at him! Longshot decides to respond in kind and chases the creature, which now has green wings, and throws a plant and a cassette player at it.

Longshot is relieved this is just a dream because they are wrecking the place. He doesn’t see the creature hiding behind a corner and it jumps out to attack with its new Wolverine-like claws. Longshot dodges and says he’s almost mad now. He asks the creature if it’s ready and resumes the attack. They throw stuff at each other, a mirror gets broken, and Longshot takes a punch to the jaw.

The creature eventually hurls him down the stairs into unconsciousness. The other X-Men walk in and find Longshot lying down right where they left him. One of them says they thought he’d get into trouble and another replies, “Not that sweet sleeping face!”

Upstairs, however, a potted plant turns over and the whole area is visibly trashed, from debris all over the floor, to a broken TV. The X-Men downstairs hear the crash but figure it must be some odd Australian wind. They decide to go upstairs for a look.

Characters Involved: 

First Story:


Bruce, Roxanne, Zackery, Grampa (the family)

Nina / Number Six



The Cold Warriors (unnamed soldiers)

Third Story:

Longshot, Wolverine, Rogue, Dazzler, Storm, Havok (all X-Men)


Story Notes: 

The other features in the issue are:

Second story: Black Panther, “Panther’s Quest (part 4 of 25)”

Fourth story: Ka-Zar the Savage, “This is a Savage Land”

First and Third story:

These stories take 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.

First Story:

The storyarc is mislabeled as “American Pie,” when previous issues have labeled it as “God’s Country.”

Issue Information: 

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