Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #165

Issue Date: 
January 1983
Story Title: 

Chris Claremont (writer), Paul Smith (penciler), Bob Wiacek (inker), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Lynn Varley (colorist), Louise Jones (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in chief)

Brief Description: 

In the wake of Binary's exit, the explosive decompression in the hangar threatens to suck the X-Men into space, until they manage to seal the hole. In the meantime, Storm, alone in her shuttle, is suffering from an ethical crisis. Should she kill the Brood embryo within her, although that goes against her beliefs, or allow it to kill her when she transforms? The decision is taken out of her hands as the transformation starts but, before it is finished, the shuttle enters the galactic core and the sudden influx of energy allows Ororo to re-establish herself. She decides on a third option and channels so much energy through herself that she destroys the embryo and the shuttle as well. She floats dying in space until she is swallowed by something big. On the Z'reee Shar, Lilandra and Wolverine decide to return to Broodworld for revenge. Reluctantly, Cyclops agrees. Later, Wolverine catches Nightcrawler praying and, after a conversation about faith or lack thereof, the two friends decide to search the ship for some alcohol. Kitty, in the meantime, is suffering from a nightmare where she becomes one with the Brood. Awakening, she is comforted by Colossus and the two reveal their true feelings to each other. Suddenly, they are joined by an astral form of Storm that looks like a vampire. All the X-Men are visited astral forms of different versions of Storm until, finally, Storm, as she is supposed to look, appears before them at the same time as the ship is swallowed by something big. Ororo explains that the creature is an Acanti - a space whale - and that she and it are now one. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Mora informs Charles about a letter from Mr Fantastic, regarding a young mutant named Karma whose powers are threatening to go out of control. Xavier refuses to get involved until Moira threatens that she may take Karma to the Hellfire Club or Magneto. Better to be taught by a villain, than to be doomed from the start. She then reminds Xavier of her son Proteus and his fate. Finally, Xavier gives in and calls Reed Richards.

Full Summary: 

In the wake of Binary's violent exit, the explosive compression threatens to suck the X-Men out of the ship into space. While the internal hatches seals off the rest of the ship, the X-Men are trapped in the hangar and holding on for dear life.

Ordering the X-Men into action, Cyclops orders Colossus to shift into his armored form and block the hole, as well as he can, with his body. Peter complies, aware that the slightest miscalculation would send him hurling out into space. Then, Cyclops orders Nightcrawler to grab Lilandra and teleport onto the bridge, where they are to activate the damage control system. Kurt complies, causing Lilandra to complain that this stunt has not exactly improved with age. Kurt jokingly replies that he is not quite himself these days, but then who among them is?

Once at the controls, Lilandra realizes that the repair systems have failed and that they will have to key in each function manually. As a stopgap, she'll divert more air to the hangar to buy the others some time. Why bother, Kurt wonders morbidly. They are all doomed anyway. Lilandra suggests that Wolverine may wrong.

Inside the hangar, Cyclops has come to the conclusion that they need to plug the breach and asks Wolverine to cut loose a chunk of the deck. But as Lilandra tries to maintain pressure in the bay by pumping in more air, the wind intensifies - Wolverine is yanked free and flies towards the hole that's blocked by Colossus. Both men brace themselves for a rather painful impact, as Colossus' body catches Wolverine.

Cyclops orders them to move out of the way as his optic blasts finish the job Wolverine's claw have begun and cuts loose a piece of the deck, roughly the same size as the hole. Peter yanks himself and Wolverine aside and the piece of debris covers the hole. The decompression ends and the artificial gravity once more reasserts itself. A worried Kitty runs towards Peter. Wolverine, who's comfortably sitting on the Russian's chest, tells her he's fine, if you ignore the fact that they are all as good as dead anyway.

(on Earth, at Xavier's mansion)

Moira MacTaggert, Stevie Hunter and Illyana Rasputin are lazing the afternoon away at the pool, while Moira is, at the same time, sorting through the mail. Stevie wants to know if there is any word on the X-Men and admits to feeling somewhat ghoulish, enjoying herself, while their friends might be dead. Moira agrees but it's been weeks since they were kidnapped. Life must go on. She thanks Stevie for keeping them company. The mansion was turning into a mausoleum, driving her and Illyana crazy.

Stevie asks how Charles is taking things. Not well, Moira admits. She reminisces about the kind of man he was when they first met and concludes that he has never really recovered from the loss of his legs. He was born to be a hero but, instead, he must stay behind while others fight in his stead. Stevie can empathize with Charles' loss. She feels the same whenever she attends a ballet and she desperately yearns for being a dancer again herself. Moira agrees and tells her that, in Charles' case, it is compounded by the fact that he believes he failed the X-Men the way he felt he failed Jean Grey and that they will now suffer the same fate.

She asks Stevie to keep an eye on Illyana while she's inside with Charles when Stevie falls back into her chair, overcome by a spasm. Stevie explains that it's a consequence of the accident she had years ago, which shattered her knee. While the doctors fixed it up well enough for her to walk and dance a little, the only thing she can no longer do is perform. To her, that's the same as losing her soul.

Moira finds Charles inside his study, brooding silently. She tells him she received a letter from Reed Richards, leader of the Fantastic Four, regarding a young Vietnamese girl named Xi'an Coy Manh, aka Karma, a self-taught mutant. Richards fears that Xi'an's powers may eventually get out of control and asks for Xavier's help. Not meeting Moira's eyes, Charles flat-out refuses. As he wishes, Mora replies calmly.

Xavier is surprised and turns towards Moira. He'd expected her to argue. She's had enough of fights these past few weeks Moira replies. It's his life. He may live it as he pleases. There are other options for the girl. Is she talking about herself, Xavier asks, curious despite himself. It's a possibility Moira muses. They've been associates in mutant research since before he created the X-Men after all. But she was more thinking along the lines of Magneto - if they can find him or Emma Frost's Massachusetts Academy.

Xavier is shocked. How can she consider turning the girl over to the X-Men's greatest enemies - evil mutants? Because, at least that way she'd have a chance, Moira snaps. She'd learn how to cope with her abilities and not be condemned before she's begun. Charles protests against Moira's emotional blackmail. He simply cannot risk the life of another child. He loved the X-Men as though they were his children. She cannot comprehend how much their loss hurts...

Embarassed he breaks off and apologizes to Moira, realizing what he just said.
Moira spells it out and reminds him of her dead son Proteus: an evil mutant who murdered half a dozen people. Eventually, the X-Men and Moira were forced to kill him. Had she swallowed her pride and asked for Charles' help earlier, perhaps this could have been avoided. She asks him not to sentence Karma to a similar fate. Before she leaves, she turns around again and tells him hat Proteus was her son but under different circumstances he could have been theirs. She leaves Xavier alone to think about the past and missed possibilities and finally he reaches for both Richards' letter and the phone.

In the deep space, a shuttle drifts aimlessly through a nebula. Inside, sits Storm, now dressed in an overall, as she left her uniform behind, and ponders what to do. She is aware that a Brood embryo is growing insider her and that it will eventually kill her. It is a sentient being and she is consecrated to life but the creature is pure evil. Should she preserve her beliefs, although it will mean her death and probably the death of countless others once the embryo hatches, or follow the route that will safe her but go against her beliefs? Struggling with herself, she calls for her goddess to help her.

Suddenly, her hands are changing before her eyes, transforming into tentacles. She screams in horror as the metamorphosis begins and continues. It is nearly complete when the shuttle emerges from the nebula into the galactic core. The sudden influx of energy, both material and spiritual, Ororo receives from the multitude of stars, catch the Brood off-guard and enable Ororo to reverse the transformation. But she will hardly be so lucky a second time, she realizes. She admits to herself that there is a third possibility. She wishes she could say good-bye to her friends as she summons the power of the entire galactic core into herself, destroying the Brood embryo and the shuttle, thus leaving her unprotected in space to die.

Inside the Z'reee Shar, Cyclops and Lilandra are still busy with the repairs. Another day or so and they should be finished. Question is what do they do then? Wolverine suggests that they return to the Brood's world, to finish what they started.

Six people in a yacht against an entire race, Cyclops states. That's suicide. They've got nothing to lose, Wolverine reminds him. Sooner or later they are going to transform into Brood. Do they calmly wait for that to happen or pay the Brood back? Lilandra grimly states that she is the queen of a warrior race. She will show the Brood the same mercy they showed the X-Men and her. From this moment on, she will slay every Brood she sees. Sounds good to him, Wolverine states. And... to him, Cyclops admits, then adding "God help us all".

Later, Logan walks through the yacht, thinking to himself that this admission took a lot from Scott. Killing goes against everything Xavier taught him. Passing Nightcrawler's room, he catches Kurt kneeling and reciting the Lord's Prayer in Latin. Surprised, he asks Kurt what he's doing. He never figured him to be the religious type. Why, Kurt asks, because he doesn't exactly look the part? He may be rarely seen in church but he draws comfort from his faith and from prayer. Logan should try it some time.

He did in the army, Logan admits. That was a mistake. He believes in nothing except the evidence of his senses. The rest is imagination. And has he no use for that? Kurt asks. He feels sorry for his friend. He never realized how utterly, inescapably alone Logan was with that attitude, more than he - Kurt - could ever be, despite his looks. Putting his arm across his friend's shoulder, Logan jokes that he isn't alone as long as he's got Kurt and suggests they go see if they can find any beer on the ship.

Later still, Kitty, who has missed her 14th birthday, while lost in space, is caught in a nightmare. In her dream Kitty finds herself home again. First, she's happy to see her parents, but, as they shush her, she realizes that everyone's dressed in mourning - they are attending funeral. Somewhat at the back, the X-Men are present as well. As their parents lead her to the coffin to pay her respects, Kitty wonders who the deceased is until she sees herself in the coffin. The corpse opens her eyes, smiles and suddenly turns into a Brood queen that grabs Kitty and drags her into the grave. While everybody else simply looks on, the two of them merge and become one.

Kitty wakes up, screaming, only to find Peter at her side, who comforts her and tells her it was only a dream. Peter adds that none of them have been sleeping well lately and asks if Kitty would like to talk about it. Kitty brusquely refuses and pushes him away, burying her head in the pillow. Peter takes her hand and states that it is no crimes to be afraid. She's not afraid, Kitty sullenly replies, before admitting that she doesn't want to die. "Who does?" he jokes.

Kitty angrily shouts at him, how dare he make a joke out of this? It's either laugh or cry, he explains seriously. He refuses to do those monsters the honor of tears. Kitty can't understand how blockheaded he's being. They are going to die! Yes, they are, he admits. But in a sense everyone's dying from the moment of conception. Death is the one fundamental reality they all have to face. It's unfair but it has to be accepted. After a full life perhaps, Kitty sobs, or in battle. But, to have this monster growing within her like a cancer is more than she can bear. What if some part of them survives after the transformation and remembers what they have been before?

Peter comforts her until she runs out of tears. Kitty tells him she wishes she were older. So does he, Peter agrees. Is he humoring her, Kitty asks? Peter replies that he is serious and kisses her. But, he states afterwards, she isn't older. "It doesn't matter," Kitty answers breathlessly. Why play by society's rules when they are doomed anyway? Peter insists that it does matter.

Their discussion is cut short, when Kitty notices they aren't alone. Peter automatically turns into his armoured form. Both are astonished by what they see: it's Storm, glowing, but not Storm as they remember her. Ororo dressed in an old-fashioned gown, with matching choker and hairstyle, showing clear signs of being a vampire! Ororo seems unaware of this and happily greets them. Colossus touches her but his hand goes right through her. Noticing that something is wrong with her appearance, Ororo disappears.

Elsewhere on the ship, Logan and Kurt are sampling the not overly tasty result of Kurt's first attempts as a brewmaster (with some help of the alien food-synthesizer). Kurt hopes it'll improve with practice. They too are joined by Ororo, this time dressed in the skimpy outfit she wore among the Fall People in the Savage Land. She disappears and the two men wonder what just happened. Is Kurt's concoction more potent than they realized or is something else going on?

Ororo returns but this time in the shape of a little beggar girl. Ororo sighs. This isn't right either. Kurt offers help and tries to touch her, only to learn, as Colossus did, that she isn't solid. As she disappears, Logan notes that she seemed as surprised as Kurt did when his hand passed through her. They decide to alert the others on the bridge, where they are also joined by Kitty and Peter.

Lilandra tells them that they have a large contact nearby but the nebula is scrambling their sensors. She wonders what to do when they see another Storm, this time as a knife-wielding teenager, dressed in rags. Wolverine tries to calm her and tells her she is among friends. The others tell him she's only a projection. Wrong, he replies, his senses tell him this is really Storm. The girl changes into the alternate elderly sorceress they met in Limbo. Storm apologizes. She still hasn't quite control of this yet. Lilandra, in the meantime, manages to make visual contact with the huge object: it is one of the Brood's living starships and, before they can do anything to prevent it, it swallows them whole.

Scott gives orders to activate the ship's combat systems. Too late, Lilandra states. The creature is broadcasting a dampening field and the weaponry is inoperative as well. Storm, who has finally taken on her usual form, tells Lilandra that this was for their protection and hers. She could not risk them hurting the Acanti. Kitty runs towards her and hugs the still glowing, but now solid, Storm. Scott demands an explanation. What happened to her? A whole lot, not all of it pleasant, she alludes. How can she be so certain, this "Acanti" won't harm them, Scott asks. Because, Storm replies, she and the Acanti are one.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Professor Xavier, Sprite, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Lilandra Neramani

Moira MacTaggart

Stevie Hunter

Illyana Rasputin

in Kitty's nightmare

Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Professor Xavier, Sprite, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Terri and Carmen Pryde (Kitty's parents)

A Brood queen

Story Notes: 

Kurt first teleported Lilandra in X-Men (1st series) #107.

Xavier blames himself for awakening Jean's powers in the first place and his absence during a critical time for Phoenix's eventual madness and death. [X-Men (1st series) #135-137]

The Fantastic Four, along with Spider-Man, met Karma in Marvel Team-Up (1st series) #100. Mr. Fantastic's fears regarding Karma's powers are understandable, as she used them to kill and absorb the lifeforce of her evil twin, Tranh.

Karma's fate, as well as that of several other young mutants, will be resolved in Marvel Graphic Novel #4: The New Mutants - Renewal.

More of Xavier's and Moira's past relationship is shown in X-Men (1st series) #117.

Moira's immensely powerful son, Proteus, went mad and had to be killed in X-Men (1st series) #125-128.

Kitty's missed her 14th birthday during the Brood Saga, though she gets a belated surprise party - courtesy of Illyana - in the back-story of Special Edition X-Men #1.

Ororo appears in the following astral forms: little urchin, as seen in X-Men (1st series) #117, knife-wielding teenager from her trip through Africa [X-Men (1st series) #102], in the costume she wore among the Fall People in X-Men (1st series) #114, dressed as Dracula's consort [Uncanny X-Men #159 / Annual #6] (although she never actually wore such an outfit), and elderly sorceress (her alternate self from Belasco's Limbo as seen in Uncanny X-Men #160).

When the Xavier picks up Reed Richard's letter, deciding to call him, the narration box declares that a Rubicon has been crossed. This is a reference to the Rubicon River in northern Italy. As a general, Julius Caesar crossed this river with his army, against the prohibition of the civil government in Rome, and marched on the city. This led to a civil war and the overthrow of the Senate. Since then, "crossing the Rubicon" has been used to describe an action or decisive step taken, from which there is no retreat.

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