Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #208

Issue Date: 
August 1986
Story Title: 

Chris Claremont (writer), John Romita Jr. (penciler), Dan Green (inker), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Ann Nocenti (editor), Jim Shooter (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

The X-Men, especially Kitty Pryde, are shocked to hear that Logan used his claws on Rachel when she was about to kill Selene. He explains that he could not let her become a murderer and the X-Men follow his reasoning though are not happy with his decision. However they need to find Rachel before they can do anything else in the matter. Meanwhile the badly injured Rachel has made her way to Central Park. She barely survived being stabbed in the heart because her telekinesis closed the wounds and kept her heart beating. Rachel thinks that she might have been wrong, however when she discovers the remains of Selene’s latest victims, drained dry of every iota of life-force, Rachel gets mad. This could have been prevented if Logan had not stopped her. Angrily she lashes out at Logan from across the town, making him live through the same pain as the two deceased must have. At the Hellfire Club, Selene has called a meeting of the Inner Circle. After informing them of Rachel’s attack, it is decided that she needs to be hunted down and if possible been turned into a Hellfire Club operative. Both search parties reach Rachel at the same time and naturally a battle erupts. Soon the Hellfire Club gains the upper hand, but suddenly the fight is interrupted by Nimrod, who registered the multiple mutant signature. He states that all mutants are criminals and that their punishment is death. In the confusion, Rachel slips away, thinking that the X-Men are better off without her.

Full Summary: 

Deep within the Morlock tunnels, Kitty Pryde is shocked to hear from Logan that he used his claws on Rachel, their teammate. She demands to know why, and Logan retorts that even with his fast-healing power and his unbreakable bones he really had no other choice. Rachel was to obsessed and fanatic, and he is still weak from his recent battles. Wolverine goes on that she was about to kill the Black Queen and he could allow her to become a murderer. The X-Men are supposed to be heroes, not executioners. Kitty is still angry, she can’t understand how Logan can value Selene’s life above Rachel’s, so he repeats his argument. It was no fair fight – Rachel infiltrated the Hellfire Club with the single goal of executing Selene and this is not the way of the X-Men. They are supposed to stand for something. Kitty is still mad, but Storm puts an end to the discussion, by saying that she understands Logan‘s decision though does not sanction it. However top priority is now to find Rachel, before she causes any further harm. Storm asks the Morlocks to help, and Callisto replies that Storm is leader of both the X-Men and the Morlocks, so they will obey.

Meanwhile in Central park, a woman gets attacked by a mugger with a knife. He drags the woman into the bushes and after taking away her handbag, he tells her to shut up and do as told if she wants to survive the night and his idea if having “some fun“. Suddenly a hand grabs him from behind. An elderly looking woman lifts the mugger into the air and drains him of his life-force. It’s Selene, and once she is finished she is young and beautiful once more, while nothing but a pile of dust remains of the mugger. The woman wants to thank her savior, but Selene states that she has use for every life-force, no matter how foul or innocent ... nobody hears the woman scream for a last time.

Somewhat later, in the headquarters of the Hellfire Club, the Lords Cardinal have gathered on request from Selene. She informs the others of Rachel’s attack the night before, and that she was in for the kill. Shaw whispers to Tessa that it is a pity that she didn’t succeed, then speaks loudly that the personal feud between Selene and the redhead is well known and does not involve the other members. Yet Selene claims that Phoenix’s goal was to assassinate all Lords Cardinal. Shaw refuses to believe this, as the X-men are no killers and Selene angrily asks if he call her a liar.

Tessa interrupts the tense moment, stating that Wolverine’s intervention demonstrates that Phoenix is no longer with the X-Men and acting on her own. Harry Leland reminds the others that he was already on the receiving end of Logan‘s claws, and that Rachel is most likely dead, so they have nothing to worry. However Tessa’s analysis proves him wrong. Phoenix was powerful enough to sneak into the Club undetected and despite Wolverine injuring her, she was still able to leave the building – therefore it’s logical to assume that she still lives and may yet recover. Shaw warns that going after her might lead to a direct confrontation with the X-Men, but when Selene mocks him of being afraid, he agrees that the situation needs to be addressed. The girl’s insult and the danger she poses can not be ignored, however he orders that Rachel is to be captured alive, so that they can reshape her to the Hellfire Club’s purpose.

Across town, Nimrod is scanning for mutant activity. He registers superhuman activity at both Avengers Mansion and the Hellfire Club, but suddenly he becomes aware of a class Omega mutant in Central Park. Nimrod identifies the signal as Phoenix, and he decides to go hunting for her, taking the opportunity of her being in a weakened state, as her scan reveals. Suddenly Nimrod hears a voice coming up the stairs to the roof he is standing on. Quickly he transforms back into his human disguise. The voice belongs to Thomas Rodriguez, the son of the man who lets him stay in their house. Thomas asks Nimrod if he could check his homework. He replies that he has business in town, but will do so the next morning before school. Once Thomas is out of sight, Nimrod switches to robot mode again and takes off. However he thinks to himself that he enjoys educating the boy, despite teaching not being one of his functions.

Lost in Central Park, Rachel has troubles filtering out the thoughts of thousands of New Yorkers. She is bleeding from her mouth and her gut, but forces herself to screen out the other minds, fearing that she would go mad. Rachel reminisces Wolverine's assault and knows that by right she should be dead, as he stabbed her through the heart and her lungs. It’s only because of her telekinetic powers instinctively closing the wounds that she is still alive, and losing concentration now would mean instant death. Rachel thinks that maybe she would be better off dead, and feels betrayed by the X-Men who completely let her down. Rachel forces herself to get up, and moves onwards. Right hen she sees the remains of Selene’s recent victims, and gets quite mad. Rachel goes into full energy mode and she contacts the X-Men in the Morlock Alley. She accuses Logan that these two deaths are his fault, as they would be still alive if he let her kill the witch. Wolverine gets engulfed by a bird of fire, and Rachel’s telepathic voice tells him that this pain is only a fraction of what those two souls had to endure.

Logan is dropped onto the rails, right as a subway training is approaching. Still weakened from previous battles, he is unable to move, so Kitty jumps in front of the train and phases both Logan and herself into the ground. However the engineer saw them and stops the train. Before they all have to answers uneasy questions, Nightcrawler teleports them away to the John Lennon Memorial Garden, Strawberry Fields, where the rest of the team are waiting. Logan thanks Kitty for the rescue, especially after their earlier argument, but she answers that X-men always look after their own. Storm and Rogue discuss Rachel. They blame themselves for giving her the cold shoulder instead of listening to her problems. They hope it’s not too late to find her and make up. Storm orders Nightcrawler to stay at Logan’s side, while the rest of the team will continue their search. Needing someone to track Rachel, Storm asks Caliban to accompany them.
Meanwhile while the Lords Cardinal and a team of Hellfire Club soldiers do exactly the same thing with in another section of the park. Selene tends to the Black Rook, Friedrich von Roehm, and activates some sort of genetic switch that transforms him into some kind of werewolf. In this form, von Roehm can easily pick up Rachel’s scent. Tessa, Leland and Shaw are surprised, they were not aware that Selene had such a transmutation power.

Elsewhere, Nimrod registers multiple signatures in Central Park. He identifies the Morlocks, the Hellfire Club, the X-Men and Rachel. His scans tell him that all the other parties are closing in on her.

Rachel is walking slowly, step by step, thinking that she will make it on her own. Suddenly she is assaulted by von Roehm, but before he can reach her, Rogue rushes to help. The two battle, but when von Roehm slices Rogue’s costume open, they make skin contact. Immediately Rogue absorbs the Black Rook‘s psyche and powers, knocking him out. Overwhelmed by von Roehm’s psyche, Rogue proceeds to attack Rachel, who defends herself with a psi-bolt.

The Lords Cardinal arrive, and Selene wraps the ground around Rogue, announcing that Rachel is theirs for the taking. Yet the X-Men have made their way to the battleside too. Colossus throws Kitty towards Rogue, and she is phased free. Storm tries the diplomatic way and tells Shaw that they have no quarrel with the Hellfire Club – they only want Rachel and leave. Yet the Black King orders his Inner Circle into battle. Leland increases Colossus mass, and he starts sinking into the ground. Rogue rushes to him and tries to pull him out, but Selene disintegrates her gloves. Rogue now absorbs Colossus strength and steel skin and has no choice but to let go, or else she would risk pulling Piotr’s arm out of it’s socket. Colossus gets buried, and Rogue starts to dig after him.

Only Shadowcat and Storm remain. Ororo radios Nightcrawler that they need help, and then orders Rogue to stop digging and take out Leland, the cause for the problem. Rogue objects, as Colossus might suffocate, but Storm insists on her plan. Shaw laughs at the X-Men’s leader’s efforts. He says that it would be wiser for the team to surrender, and at the same time more and more Hellfire guards are surrounding Storm.

Nearby, Rachel has telepathically followed these events. She thinks that she could warn Storm, but she doesn’t dare, as Selene might overhear any telepathic conversation. Rachel decides that she is the reason for this fight, so she should leave, besides the X-Men are better off without her.

Right as the Hellfire soldiers try to attack Storm, a robotic voice is heard from above. It’s Nimrod. Speaking to the X-men and the Hellfire Club, he claims that their mutant heritage makes them criminals with only one punishment - death.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Nightcrawler, Phoenix III, Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Caliban, Callisto (both Morlocks)

Various Morlocks

Thomas Rodriguez
Harry Leland, Selene, Sebastian Shaw, Tessa, Friedrich von Roehm (all Hellfire Club)


Story Notes: 

In an interview for the Comics Interview Summer Special (1991), Chris Claremont stated that Wolverine maimed Rachel because he was afraid she would turn into another Dark Phoenix.

Harry Leland barely survived after being injured by Wolverine in Uncanny X-Men #134.

Issue Information: 

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