Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #215

Issue Date: 
March 1987
Story Title: 
Old Soldiers

Chris Claremont (writer), Alan Davis (penciler), Dan Green (inker), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Ann Nocenti (editor), Jim Shooter (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

In her hospital bed, Madelyne Pryor has a nightmare about being the sole survivor of a plane crash. She is brought to an ambulance, but the paramedics seem familiar and Madelyne realizes she is in trouble. She breaks free, but is eventually gunned down by two of the Marauders. Madelyne finally wakes up from her coma, much to the surprise of two doctor, who have been treating the unconscious woman for weeks. At Xavier’s, the X-Men load up the wounded onto the Blackbird. They’re going to take them to Moira MacTaggert’s in Scotland. Only Storm and Wolverine are staying behind. During the flight Shadowcat, still stuck in phased state, walks up to the sleeping Longshot and gives him a kiss. He wakes up and feels death within Kitty. Meanwhile, Storm and Wolverine take a trip to Sara Grey’s house. They arrive and find the place on fire. Wolverine picks up a familiar scent and goes berserk. He knocks Storm out and runs away. Storm wakes up in a prison cell. She escapes and finds out she’s in a building filled with animal heads and war memorabilia. The owners of the building come back, they are three super-powered war veterans by the names of Crimson Commando, Super Sabre and Stonewall. After a big fight, Storm is subdued. Later, she finds out she and another girl are going to be hunted by these three men. They get a head start and take advantage of it. At sunset the men go hunting.

Full Summary: 

(mix of nightmare and flashbacks)

A plane is coming into the San Francisco International Airport. Its left wing is on fire. It turns out that two engines are blown and the hydraulics are gone. The plane hits the runway and the left wing flies right off. The cabin catches on fire, sending people screaming. The plane continues skidding down the runway. It suddenly explodes into a huge fireball. Only one person emerges from the flames… Madelyne Pryor. Behind her the flames form the shape of the Phoenix.

The paramedics rush over to her and take her into the ambulance. She’s barely hurt. Her mind fills up with images of the Phoenix. She tries to forget about the crash and concentrate on the here and now. She can sense something is wrong. She cries out, realizing her baby is missing. She yells at the medic and judo chops her across the face. Maddie runs to the back of the ambulance and busts the door open, spilling herself onto the street. She gets up and is puzzled that she is no longer wearing her airline uniform.

However, the medics from the ambulance are racing towards her. Madelyne realizes that they are more than mere paramedics and recognizes them as Scalphunter and Arclight of the Marauders. She ducks into an alley and hides behind some garbage cans. She wonders where her husband Cyclops is now that she needs him. As Arclight races by, Maddie hits her with a garbage can. Maddie turns to run, but is knocked down by Arclight’s shockwave power. Scalphunter assembles his gun and takes aim. He fires a shot and Maddie screams.


At Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, Rogue, with the help of Callisto, loads the injured X-Men into the Blackbird. Colossus is the last one in. Shadowcat, Nightcrawler and Colossus (along with some Morlocks) are being sent to Moira MacTaggert in hope they’ll be safe from the Marauders there. Moira and her team will do their best to nurse the mutants back to health. Storm tells Psylocke that she’s going to stay behind along with Wolverine. She wants everyone else to hop aboard the Blackbird in case anything should happen during transit. Longshot and Dazzler walk over to tell Storm of their slight displeasure in leaving. Storm assures them it’s for the best.
Onboard the Blackbird, Rogue takes the controls. Psylocke voices her worries about leaving Storm and Wolverine alone. Rogue tells her it’s what they need to do. After what happened with Malice, they need to work things out. They’re the core members of the team. If there’s any trouble, they’ll be able to take care of themselves. Rogue hits the thrusters and they shoot off into the night sky.

Outside near the Blackbird’s takeoff, Wolverine is crouching, smoking a cigarette. Storms walks over to talk to him. She wants to know why he’s been so quiet since they returned from Dallas. Wolverine tells her he’s upset with himself after almost killing her. She assures him it wasn’t his fault. Malice really messed with their minds that day. She goes on to tell him she has a job she needs to do and wants him there for backup. He stands up, flicks away his cigarette and tells her he’s ready.

At the San Francisco General Hospital, two doctors are looking over an unidentified patient. She’s suffering from multiple gunshot wounds and is in a coma. After finishing their examination they make their way to leave. The patient mumbles something and they turn in shock to see their “Jane Doe” awaken. The patient wants to know if she’s alive. The doctors tell her she is and then they introduce themselves. The patient replies with her name. It’s Madelyne Pryor.

Upstate New York, Storm and Wolverine are in a car driving on a back road. Storm talks about their previous encounter with Malice and how it’s messed up the team. The X-Men feel as though they can no longer trust each other. Wolverine agrees with her. He’s upset about the whole thing because his senses were out of whack. He almost killed Storm because he couldn’t tell if she was friend or foe. He wonders how he can trust anyone without his senses working. Storm interrupts him; they’ve arrived.

Storm stops the car and they both get out. In front of them stands the fiery remains of Sara Grey’s house, Jean’s sister. They run over to the house and start searching for clues. Storm wonders if it was an attack by the Marauders or something else. Wolverine can smell dynamite and knows it was no accident. The bright side is, he doesn’t smell any dead bodies either. Storm’s mind fills with deep regret. The X-Men now pose a threat to their friends and families. Their enemies are sinking to new lows, not going after the X-Men, but the ones close to them. She realizes they should start warning everyone they know. Immediately she thinks of Forge. She wonders if she should swallow her pride and go back to him. He promised he would work on a device that would restore her powers.

Wolverine picks up the scent of two people. The first one is Cyclops and the second one he recognizes as Jean Grey. A look of shock crosses his face. He bolts upright. He had loved Jean when she was alive and the scent has brought back strong feelings. Storm grabs his shoulder in an attempt to find out what’s bothering him. Wolverine instinctively swings backwards with his fist, knocking Storm unconscious. In his current state he doesn’t realize what he’s done. He doesn’t even notice her lying on the ground as he runs off into the fog.

Over Muir Island, the Blackbird makes its descent. Most of the passengers on board are sleeping. A transparent Kitty Pryde walks through the cabin doors up to the front where the X-Men are seated. She looks at the sleeping Longshot lovingly. She hates the fact that she’s probably going to die. She wishes someone could help her. Rogue spots her and tells her to get back to her lifecell. Kitty, realizing this may be her last opportunity, plants a kiss on Longshot. He awakens much to Kitty’s surprise. He calls out to her, but she runs away, back to her lifecell. Longshot confesses to Rogue that when Kitty kissed him, he could “read” who she was. He could sense that death was near.

Elsewhere, Storm wakes up, but not where she last remembered being. Instead, she’s chained up in a prison-like cell. She reaches for a lockpick hidden in her shirt. She frees herself and opens the cell door. She doesn’t see anyone so she heads out into the hallway. She wonders if Wolverine is down there too. She has no idea what could have sent him off into a berserker rage. She peers into a nearby cell and sees a young woman chained up inside, sleeping. She continues her search hoping to find more out about the place and how she got there. She finds a set of stairs and follows them upwards. She opens another door and enters what looks like a hunting lodge. There are lots of animal heads and war memorabilia hanging up on the walls.
She looks out the window and sees three figures in the distance walking towards the lodge. She catapults herself onto the second floor and waits for them to enter. A minute later, two of them walk in muttering about how easy their hunt was. It seems they were hunting a man. She wonders where the third is. Her answer comes when he grabs her by the shirt and picks her up in the air.

He gets all cocky with her and tells her she’s going to be punished. Storm replies with a swift kick to the face. Then she grabs his head and flips him over the railing and onto the first floor. Storm makes a run for it, but is stopped after only a few feet by Super Sabre. She cuts back the other way, but once again he’s there to stop her. She realizes he must have super-speed. Finally, he introduces himself. He gives her the Mach-One Punch as he calls it and Storm goes flying backwards. She falls into the man called Stonewall. He tells her he can’t be knocked down. He reaches his arm out to help her up and receives a two-fingered eye poke for his troubles. She back flips out of his reach and grabs the rug he’s standing on. She yanks with all her might, sending him falling to the floor and toppling the Crimson Commando as well. Ororo runs towards the door, but to no avail. Super Sabre gets there first and blocks her off. She takes a swing at him, but he easily dodges it and moves behind her putting her in a half nelson. He snaps his fingers near her ear, generating a microsonic boom that knocks her out.

Later, the three captors, Storm and the girl that was sleeping in the other cell stand outside the lodge. The girl wants to know where Tommie is. They tell her he’s dead. Then they tell the two females that they will soon be joining him. They’re going to hunt them down in the woods and kill them. The rules are simple. They’re allowed a head start. The Commando and gang won’t start looking for them until sunset. If Storm and/or the girl make it out of the forest before being caught, they are free to go.

Storm becomes angry. She wants to know where they get off treating them like sport. The Crimson Commando introduces himself and his men as heroes from World War II. They’re retired now and they’re sick of all the problems in the world… drugs, disease, sex, etc. They’re ashamed of the world they fought to protect. This is their way of making a stand. They go on to tell Storm the other girl’s history. Her name is Priscilla and she was a drug dealer along with her boyfriend Tommie. They were both from rich and powerful families and were able to avoid punishment due to their families’ connections. So they snatched the two of them and brought back. They tell Storm the reason they grabbed her. They found her unconscious at the house that caught on fire. She had possessions on her from inside.

Ororo explains that it was her friend’s house and the possessions were evidence. She tells them she’s no criminal. However, she also knows that even if they believe her they won’t let her go, as she already knows too much. So Storm takes Priscilla by the hand and runs off into the woods. Around sunset, Storm and Priscilla stop atop a hill. Storm stops to look around for any nearby roads. There aren’t any in sight so she heads over to where Priscilla is sitting. Priscilla’s feet hurt and she wants to know if they can take a quick rest. Storm tells her it would be ok, but they must get going soon. She wonders to herself if she can really trust this girl. She puts her arm around her and they continue moving. Storm realizes at this point that Wolverine probably isn’t coming for her. She also knows even though Priscilla is a bad person, she will watch out for her for the fates demand it.

From far off, the trio of war heroes gives chase to Storm and Priscilla.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Dazzler, Longshot, Nightcrawler, Psylocke, Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Madelyne Pryor


Dr. Duane and Dr. Schwartz, hospital doctors

Priscilla Morrison

Crimson Commando


Super Sabre

In nightmare / flashbacks :

Madelyne Pryor

Arclight, Scalphunter (both Marauders)

Story Notes: 

Madelyne Pryor was brought to the hospital as “Jane Doe“ in Uncanny X-Men #206. The nightmare is a mix of what she believes to be her past (sole plane crash survivor) and the events that led to her current condition. X-Factor #38 explains that with Jean Grey being found alive, Mr. Sinister wanted to eliminate all evidence of Madelyne Pryor being her clone. He had ordered the Marauders to kidnap the baby and kill Maddie, but fighting back with powers she did not even know she possessed, she survived.

Colossus, Nightcrawler and Shadowcat were seriously injured during the Mutant Massacre. Kitty was stuck in a phased state, whereas Piotr and Kurt received terrible wounds.

Longshot arrived at the mansion in Uncanny X-Men Annual #10. In that issue Kurt, Kitty and Nightcrawler are all unharmed, so the story has to be set before the Mutant Massacre. It’s unknown where Longshot was from Uncanny X-Men #210-214.

Sara Grey’s house exploded in X-Factor #12. Much later the X-Men found out that Sara was absorbed by the Phalanx [X-Men (2nd series) #36], while her two kids were abducted by Nanny. [X-Factor #35] How this came to be was never explained.

The X-Men don’t know that Jean Grey is alive at this point, which is why Wolverine went crazy. Jean was revealed alive in X-Factor #1, but her teammates among X-Factor thought it was best to keep it a secret since they were posing as mutant exterminators.

Storm lost her powers in Uncanny X-Men #185 from being shot with the neutralizer gun Forge built for the government.

Tommie was most likely the person Stonewall and Super Sabre were referring to when they talked about their hunt.

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