Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #218

Issue Date: 
June 1987
Story Title: 
Charge of the Light Brigade

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

Brief Description: 

Dazzler, it turns out, wasn't dead, but just unconscious. After summoning enough strength to create a lightblast, she's rescued by her fellow X-Men. The team has a heart-to-heart and Dazz decides to stay with them. They hear a radio report that the Juggernaut is terrorizing Edinburgh and head over to check it out. Rogue's the first to reach Juggs and take him on. She's soon beaten and one by one the X-Men attack him and are nearly killed. After the group rescues Longshot beneath a pile of rubble, they decide they need to fight him as a team. Thanks to their newly developed teamwork, they're able to remove Juggy's helmet and crash-land him into some train tracks. Unfortunately a train is coming. Rogue and Longshot take to the train while Dazzler and Psylocke stick to Juggy. Both sides are successful and two tragedies are averted. However, upon getting back to the city they find it was just a clever ruse. Black Tom Cassidy was robbing the Scotland National Bank during Juggernaut's rampage. Psylocke puts a positive spin on things, though, and they see the brighter picture. In Northern Mexico, Polaris and Havok are driving home, enjoying themselves when a VW bus changes their future. They're knocked off a road and fall down a mountainside. After getting themselves back together, they search for the maniac. However, what they end up finding could spell disaster for the entire world; a Starshark - one of the living spaceships of the Brood

Full Summary: 

The Rio Diablo Mountains of Northern Mexico, where Havok and Polaris are enjoying a nice afternoon drive in their jeep. They seem pretty happy with where they are in their lives. Alex is currently a geologist, studying the desert land and Lorna's an archeologist studying the history of the people who lived there. They make a great team together, both at work and at home. Today though, their lives take a turn for the worse. A VW van turns the curve up ahead at a crazy speed. It doesn't even slow down as it nears their jeep. They collide and Alex and Lorna's jeep is pushed off the mountain road. P>
Havok and Polaris both have their seatbelts on and so are stuck in the jeep as it flips end over end down the rocky slope. It finally comes to a stop at the base of the mountain. Havok and Polaris are suspended upside down. They're both alive, but in pain. They hear a noise above them and look up. A boulder is falling quickly towards them. Havok uses his mutant power to disintegrate it. They are safe once more.
Later, the two lovebirds are camped out under a makeshift shelter. Luckily they had groceries in the jeep with them and most of it survived the crash. Polaris makes a joke asking Havok if he got the number of the truck that hit them. Surprisingly, he did. He asks her how she feels and she tells him pretty sore. He tells her he'll kiss it where it hurts. He proceeds to kiss her on the lips.
Much later, the duo have managed to gather all their supplies and move them back up to where they originally were knocked off the road. Polaris uses what energy she has left to magnetically lift the jeep up and land it right side up on the road. They load it back up and get in. Havok turns the key and the jeep manages to start. Before taking off they both agree to see Dr. MacKay when they hit town. Lorna wants to know why the bus hit them. Alex claims he doesn't care, but assures her that if he gets a hold of the guy before Sheriff Carson, that guy will be in big trouble.
Back in Scotland, Dazzler regains consciousness. It's pitch black all around her and she can't move. She realizes that there are rocks piled on top of her. She's been buried alive. She thinks back to what got her in this mess. She rationalizes that she must have passed out after her last full-blown attack against the Juggernaut. He probably thought she was dead and buried her beneath the rocks. Unfortunately, her powers are drained and she can't summon enough strength to free herself. Then she hears a bug crawling on the rocks. Her power starts to come back. Then she hears a field mouse, a few moments later the wind whipping through the trees, then an eagle calling out. Soon she can make out a stream babbling nearby. She's almost recharged when Psylocke's psionic butterfly appears before her. Psylocke tells her she can't sense her location. Dazzler uses her newly generated energy and sends up a light flare. Unfortunately, this drains her once more and she passes out.
Dazzler comes to with the sun shining bright in her face. She raises her hand to shield her eyes. Psylocke and Longshot are kneeling over her. Psylocke assures her that she'll be all right. Dazzler's upset at herself for getting into this mess. She apologizes for worrying them. Longshot and Psylocke embrace her. Longshot tells her not to be so upset. After all, they're teammates and friends. He calls for Rogue to join them in their hug. She tells him she would, but doesn't want to risk making skin-to-skin contact. She picks a stone from off the ground and hurls it into space.
They get up to leave. Betsy wants to make sure Alison's all right to walk. Ali says she's fine, but she has one question, "How'd you know I was in trouble?" Betsy tells her they received a phone call from a friend, who told them that she had gone after Cain Marko. Betsy mentions that the Juggernaut is one of the X-Men's most formidable foes. Alison agrees looking very sad. Longshot wants to know what's wrong. Alison says she doesn't feel like she belongs with the X-Men. She thinks of herself as a liability. Rogue gets in her face and tells her she's not acting like she used to. Back in the day, her and Rogue fought several times to a standstill. She tells her that nobody's perfect. She just has to learn from her mistakes. Rogue walks away, slightly miffed.
Psylocke tells Dazz that's why they're a team. They're there to help out when one of them makes a mistake. In order for them to be a team, they need to trust each other and ask for help when it's needed. Alison grabs Psylocke and hugs her. She's back on the team. They walk over to their car and hear a news bulletin over the radio. Rogue tells them that Juggernaut's been reported destroying the town of Edinburgh. She asks them if they think they should go after him.
Rogue is flying towards Edinburgh, capital of Scotland, carrying a yellow jeep occupied by her teammates. They land on a hilltop and look over the city. Psylocke can't sense Juggernaut's thoughts, but can sense those of the people in trouble. She points to where they are and Rogue goes after them. Rogue follows the trail of wreckage as she flies through the air. Psylocke monitors her movements as the other three make their way into the city.
Rogue rounds a corner and sees three cars flipping through the air. She knows she's close. Sure enough Juggy's in the middle of the street tossing another car behind him. Pedestrians are running every which way while the cops stand there dumbstruck. Rogue lands next to him and asks him what he's doing. Juggs tells her to mind her own business and get out of his way. Rogue doesn't listen and instead pulls back and belts him across the face. A shockwave rips through the city block shattering every window to pieces. Rogue stops to look at her hand, impressed with what she did. It's too bad it had no effect on the Juggernaut as he whips his hands forward and knocks her a half mile away. Rogue flies through a brick wall before crashing through a street, creating a huge pothole.
The Juggernaut goes back to his business, but notices a delivery truck coming towards him. The driver is Psylocke and she's ready to ram him. He has other ideas and swings his two fists across the front of the truck. Psylocke's all right, but a little dazed. She's amazed at Juggy's power. Suddenly, his hand rips through the windshield and grabs her around the neck. She, in turn, attacks with a psycho-blast that knocks him back. He's really upset now because she managed to hurt him. He's not supposed to be affected by mental powers through his helmet. He brings his other fist down ready to smash her face in. Longshot yells for him to let her go. A volley of blades strikes Juggs in the back of the helmet. Juggernaut turns around and asks who the new guy is. Longshot introduces himself while sitting calmly on the hood of a car.
Juggernaut runs over and slams his meat hooks on the hood of the car, crushing it. Luckily, Longshot somersaults out of the way. Longshot asks him why he's destroying everything. Juggernaut tells him because it's in his way. He keeps swinging at Longshot, but Longshot avoids his every attempt. Juggs gives up on trying to nail him. Instead, he walks over to a nearby building and rips a corner of the wall right off. The building collapses right on top of Longshot.
Psylocke goes rushing over to the debris. Juggernaut walks away and warns her that if she crosses him again, she's next. She pays him no attention as she frantically picks up pieces of rubble. Dazzler runs over wondering what's going on. Psylocke fills her in and they both start digging. Dazzler can't believe Psylocke tried to attack him by herself after what happened with herself earlier. Rogue comes back at this point and picks up a huge slab of the building. She tells Dazz to cool it with the comments. Dazz asks her if she's ok because she seems upset. Rogue tells her she?s fine. Then she admits to Dazzler that she was right, they should've learned from her previous encounter.
They finally find Longshot beneath the rubble. He wriggles his way out of the newly created hole. He comes out halfway and doesn't have a scratch on him. Dazzler proclaims that he's "too lucky for words". The three ladies grab him and pull him the rest of the way out.
Over on Bridge Street, Juggernaut continues his rampage. A nearby police officer shouts commands to one his subordinates. He wants Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart contacted to bring the army in. He also wants a call placed to Captain Britain and he wants the evacuation zone increased.
Juggernaut is suddenly bombarded by another slew of blades. This time some of them stay stuck in his helmet. He turns around, annoyed once more by Longshot. Except he's met by Rogue who leaps onto his chest and plants a wet one on him. Then she picks him up into the air. She manages to rip off his helmet thanks to Longshot's blades and her augmented strength. Once she's high enough she throws him back down to the ground. Unfortunately his trajectory sends him crashing through some railroad tracks. His impact creates an even bigger pothole than Rogue's did. On top of that, there's a train coming.
Rogue knows that Juggernaut will soon recover from her kiss. She dive-bombs him and barely succeeds in knocking him over. She's glad she landed Juggernaut here. There's no possible loss of human life (or so she thinks). Longshot spots the Inverness Flyer coming through the tunnel. He relays the information to Rogue. Not only is that a problem for her, but Juggernaut has just recovered and is really angry. He walks over to her and punches his fist through the ground wall. Rogue takes to the air right before she's hit. She grabs Longshot and takes him into the air with her. Their main priority is to protect the train.
They head straight through the tunnel hoping to be able to stop the train in time. Rogue realizes it's too big for her and she might not be able to stop it. She drops Longshot on top of it, hoping his "luck power" might help save the passengers. He slides in through a passenger window and makes his way inside. The conductor sees the huge hole up ahead and hits the brakes. Rogue knows it won't be enough and positions herself in front of the train. She pushes back with all her might hoping she will be able to stop it in time.
Dazzler and Psylocke are alone in the pit with Juggernaut. They wonder if they should try to get out of there before Juggs notices them. It's too late as he turns around. He sees Dazzler and is very excited to see she's alive. Dazzler takes advantage of his surprise and dazzle-blasts him. He reels back in pain. Dazzler climbs to the top of the pit and is almost out when she sees Psylocke still down in there. She asks her what she's doing and Psylocke tells her they need to deal with him now. Dazzler looks over the edge of the pit and sees the oncoming train. It looks like Rogue isn't having much luck with stopping it. She realizes that even though Juggernaut's invulnerable and they're not, they do need to stop him.
After a second thought, Dazzler jumps back into the pit and lands on top of Jugg's shoulders. She rips off his skullcap, making him highly susceptible to a psychic attack. Psylocke sees the new advantage and hits him with a powerful blast. Juggernaut goes unconscious. The two ladies are happy at their victory, but fear for the oncoming doom. The train should be on them within seconds. Nothing happens. They look up to see Rogue standing at the edge of the pit with the train's front engine inches from the edge. Rogue, obviously drained, tells them she's getting to old for this.
Later in the evening, Rogue puts the railroad back together while Dazzler keeps the workplace lit up. Some union workers nearby marvel at their abilities, but wonder if they'd lose their jobs to these mutants. Nearby, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart orders his men to keep Cain Marko sedated. Sergeant Major Benton acknowledges as he and his men load Juggernaut into a truck.
Dazzler mentions to Psylocke that she's using a special frequency on the light she's generating to scramble any TV picture or photograph taken of them. She worries about the people who are actually there being able to recognize them. Psylocke says she's telepathically "scrambling" their perceptions of them so she shouldn't worry. Rogue finishes her work and rejoins the group. They congratulate each other on a job well done. However, Brigadier L-S receives some bad news and relays it to the team.
It turns out that Black Tom Cassidy was robbing the bank of Scotland while all of this was going on. Juggernaut's rampage was merely a diversion while the real crime was being committed. Rogue turns sour, calling her and the X-Men a bunch of amateurs. Psylocke spins a positive side to the ordeal. She tells them they've made strides in becoming a team today and it will only be a matter of time before they're truly X-Men.
That night in Mexico, Lorna suddenly recalls a group of campers who stopped by their place the week before asking for directions. She thinks they were driving a VW bus. She convinces Alex to go check out their camp-site.
A bit later they reach the campsite, but find no campers. However, their tents and equipment are still there and torn to pieces. Alex suggests they contact the sheriff. Lorna notices a burn scar in the ground and draws Alex's attention to it. It appears as though something crashed there and slid beneath a nearby rock-fall. The two of them use their powers to decimate the boulders. When the dust settles the two are shocked by what they see. The campers' bodies are littered on the ground and near them is a Star-shark, a living attack craft used by the Brood. Alex wonders what to do now. He understands that the Brood are loose on Earth and if one of them is a Broodqueen and gets a chance to lay her eggs, the human race may well be doomed.

Characters Involved: 

Dazzler, Longshot, Psylocke, Rogue (all X-Men)

Havok, Polaris (both former X-Men)

Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart

Sgt. Major Benton

Geordie and Rupert, railroad workers


Story Notes: 

Juggernaut and Dazzler fought one on one in Uncanny X-Men #217. As a result Dazzler was defeated and almost killed.
The "friend" who called the X-Men was probably Conal, Dazzler's dance partner from last issue.
Juggernaut's nickname for Longshot is "jackrabbit".
Rogue kissed Juggernaut once before in Marvel Team-up #150.
The Brood were last seen in UXM #167.
The mystery of the Star-shark and it's missing inhabitant is continued in UXM #232.
Bridgadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Sergeant Major Benton seem to be an homage to the British TV series "Doctor Who." In the series a Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart was the commander of the British branch of UNIT (the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce), who often associated with the Doctor, while Sergeant Benton was one of the UNIT rank-and-file. Excalibur supporting character Alistair Stuart seems to be based on the same series, as the outfit he works for is called W.H.O. (Weird Happenings Organisation). The rank of his twin sister Alysande was Brigadier.

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