Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #223

Issue Date: 
November 1987
Story Title: 
Omens and Portents

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

Brief Description: 

The Crimson Commando and Stonewall are taken to Freedom Force's headquarters where they are to be made members. After a bit of hazing from the veterans, Spiral senses an intruder. She teleports out of there and snags him. It turns out to be Super Sabre, who joins the team. Inside, Destiny screams. She senses the end of the X-Men, and the world. In the Rocky Mountains, Nazé falls over and is terribly ill. Storm takes care of him and makes him some medicine. Nazé has her take it first and suddenly a huge bear busts through the wall and attacks her. Later on, a giant snake attacks her. Eventually, she runs smack dab into Forge, who tries to woo her to the side of chaos. She's left with only one choice. She unsheathes her knife and stabs him in the chest. Suddenly, the world changes around her. She's back in the cabin. It was only a test by Nazé. She passed. Over in San Francisco, the X-Men hone their battle skills. Dazzler gets a little careless and Wolverine comes down hard on her. However, he says he's pleased with Rogue's progress. The team discusses their desire to bring the Marauders to justice. Nearby, Maddie is thinking about her past. She's all upset about Scott and her baby. Alex sees her looking over the edge of a cliff and rushes to her aid. They discuss their problems and Alex manages to comfort his desolate sister-in-law.

Full Summary: 

Georgetown: Freedom Force Headquarters:

The Crimson Commando and Stonewall are being sentenced for their crimes. Val Cooper is there reading the sentencing ordered by the President. It turns out that C.C. and Stonewall are being forced to join the federal enhanced power strike teamFreedom Force, under Val and Mystique's supervision.

Mystique is none too pleased with the news. She doesn't think the old guys can cut it and reminds Val of what a mistake it was bringing Spider-Woman on board. Val agrees that Spider-Woman was a bad decision on her behalf, which is why the rest of the team wasn't penalized when she deserted the team. That kind of thing won't happen again.

Mystique approaches the World War II vets and explains the rules. If they commit a crime or desert the team while part of Freedom Force everyone else gets penalized. She warns them that she'll kill them if they try anything funny. Pyro and Blob speak up and start harassing the new members. Blob goes up to Stonewall, who allegedly can't be knocked down, and makes fun of him for being knocked down twice by Storm. Blob places his hand on Stoney's chest and pushes. The Blob falls backwards, crushing his chair and knocking his snacks and cans of beer everywhere.

The Commando explains that Storm caught Stonewall by surprise. He adds that Stoney won't be easily caught off guard again. He calmly reaches into a cigarette box and pulls one out. He flicks his lighter, explaining to everyone that people make mistakes and that the purpose of the team is to compensate for everyone's weaknesses. All of a sudden the flame from his lighter expands and moves over into Pyro's direction. Pyro alters the flame into the shape of the Commando and lights his own cigarette with it. He reminds Frank that they're the new guys, and they have to earn their place with Freedom Force. All of a sudden Spiral senses an intruder coming and warns the others. She teleports out of the house to intercept him.

Out in the backyard, Avalanche is doing some yard work. He feels a gust of wind and turns towards its direction. Only, it's not wind, but somebody moving at superspeed. Avalanche tries to maneuver an attack against the speedster, but is knocked down before he can move. The mystery assailant taunts him as he closes in on the building. Out of nowhere, Spiral appears and trips him. She teleports and reappears right where he lands and catches him. She places one of her knives to his throat. It's Super Sabre! The rest of Freedom Force finally makes it outside and Spiral asks Mystique if she should kill the intruder. The Crimson Commando yells out "NO!" and quickly explains who he is. Commando wants to know how he survived.

Sabre tells him that he had been lying low and recuperating, and that when he heard about them joining Freedom Force he thought he'd come to rescue them, or join up. Mystique starts to scold him, but a scream from Destiny stops her. Everyone rushes back into the Freedom Force headquarters. Irene is walking down the staircase holding her hand up to her head. Mystique asks her what's wrong. Irene rambles on about death and darkness. Mystique tries to comfort her, but it's no use. Destiny tells them that none of them are safe.

Irene explains herself, saying that she was checking on Rogue's future for any threats, as she does every so often, and found oblivion. She then checked the futures of the rest of the X-Men and she got the same results. Sometime in the near future, the X-Men are going to die.

The Rocky Mountains:

Storm and Nazé are wading through a stream attempting to catch a fish. Storm spots one and snags it with her hand. She lifts it into the air and proudly shows it to Nazé. She slips and falls backwards into the water. However, she manages to keep hold of the fish. Sitting there in the water she contemplates the beauty of nature and how if she wasn't fighting for good, she would stay there forever. Nazé reminds her that her life could be worse. He stops suddenly in his speech and falls forward into the stream. Storm cries out and rushes to his aid. She drags him to shore, where she realizes how feverish he is.

She carries his unconscious body to a shack Nazé had known about in the area. She puts him to bed and tells him that she?s taking him to a hospital. He emphatically tells her it won?t work. He caught some venom from when they fought the Eye Killers and no "white man's" medicine will help. He tells her that being so close to Forge's aerie is messing up his powers. He can sense the worst is coming, and Storm must face it alone.

Queens, New York:

Inside Jimmy's bar and diner, a group of people are arguing about the "mutant situation" with a reporter by the name of Mr. B. A man with a pink "Human, and proud of it" shirt explains that mutants aren't humans. He brings up a mutant he saw named Nightcrawler to argue his point. Another man chimes in, saying that some mutants can take their jobs just because they have special powers. He doesn't believe it's fair. The pink-shirted man starts talking again, explaining that he's not a racist, because mutants aren't human. And if any of his children were going to be born a mutant, well, he is a religious man, but he wouldn't let such an abomination be born.

San Francisco:

Rogue is flying around the San Francisco Bay area looking for any sign of the Marauders. She heads back to their new base, Alcatraz, after another unsuccessful search. She contacts Psylocke telepathically to let her know she's coming back.

At Alcatraz, Dazzler and Longshot are training together. Longshot tosses several blades in Alison's direction. She uses a photon blast to deflect them all... except for one. Right before it strikes her in the throat, Rogue comes flying in and knocks it away. Wolverine makes his entrance and scolds Dazzler for her grandstanding. He puts his cigar near Dazzler's face and she starts coughing. She tells Wolvie to move his cigar; after all, she's a singer. "Thought you were an X-Man," he replies. He tells her to decide what she wants to be.

Wolvie turns about, as if he's going to leave her alone to make her decision. Instead, he unsheathes his claws and whips around, diving at her. Rogue reacts quickly, grabbing Wolverine's free arm. Longshot moves out of the way and Dazzler flashes him in the eyes. Rogue flips the temporarily blinded Wolverine onto the ground. She then plops herself down on Wolverine's chest and boastfully tells him to say "Uncle." Wolverine smiles back at her and reminds her that she's forgetting one thing; the battle's not over just because she thinks it's over. Wolvie maneuvers his legs forward and wraps them around Rogue's midsection. He grabs one of her feet and uses her backwards momentum to flip her onto the ground with him on top. He quickly thrusts both fists up to her throat. He asks Rogue if she wants to see how well her invulnerability holds up to his claws. She promptly says, "Uncle."
Wolverine hops up off of her and helps her up. He reminds her not to act cocky, especially with someone with his experience. He reaches into a cooler and pulls out a can of beer. He tosses it to Rogue and takes one for himself. He tells her that he's happy with the progress she's making. Rogue is pleasantly surprised by the compliment.

Wolverine gets down to business and asks her if she saw anything during her search. She tells him no, and he tells her that eventually they will meet up with the Marauders again. Rogue tells him that she wants to find them now. She wants payback for what they've done. Changing the subject, Rogue asks how Havok and Maddie are holding up. Dazzler answers her, saying not so well.

Meanwhile, close by, Madelyne stands at the edge of a cliff overlooking the San Francisco Bay. She's pondering the choices she's made, and lamenting on how her connection to mutants has caused her so many problems. She had met Scott Summers and eventually they had married. Together, they had a son. After a year, he left her. Not too much later, the Marauders attacked her and stole her baby. When she awoke from her coma she found all evidence of her life erased. The police and doctors thought she was crazy. And she started having doubts about her sanity herself, that was, until, the Marauders attacked her again and she was rescued by the X-Men.

These thoughts of Scott and his betrayal frustrate her. She rips up the newspaper she was holding in a fit of anger. She calms down and realizes that any hope of getting Scott back is null. Her main problem is finding her son, which seems to be next to impossible. She stares down at the surf hitting the rocks, hundreds of feet below.
Not too far off, Alex Summers is out on his daily jog. He keeps thinking about his girlfriend-turned-villain Lorna Dane and wondering what's happened to her. He looks up and notices Maddie standing on the edge of the cliff. He thinks she's going to jump and yells out to her.

Elsewhere in the Rockies, Storm feeds Nazé some restorative brew, which he instructed her how to make. He tells her that she must drink it as well. She refuses, saying that she's not sick. He explains that it prevents sickness as well as cures it. He reminds her that she too was injured by the Eye Killers and will probably feel the effects soon. She agrees and swallows it down. Nazé smiles as he watches her.

She's about to refill the ladle for Nazé when the cabin wall is torn through. It's a huge bear and it's filled with rage. A huge gust of snowy wind enters the cabin and Storm's field of visibility is lessened. Nazé yells out, telling her that the bear isn't what it seems. The bear takes a swipe at her and connects. Storm screams and is knocked backwards and out of the cabin. She falls onto a frozen lake and breaks through the ice. She clings to the slippery surface, barely staying above water. Suddenly, a giant snake surfaces and wraps her up in its coils. It drags her underwater, hoping to drown her. She thinks quickly, grabbing a sinking chunk of ice and shoving it in the snake's mouth. She whips out her knife and stabs it in the eye. The snake heads back to the surface in pain and Storm jumps away onto the mountainside.

She starts climbing and hears the cry of an eagle. She realizes that it's the sign of Forge. Nazé was right when he said they were getting closer to him. She wonders if this craziness is Forge's doing. She's so deep in thought that she doesn't realize that the snake is back and ready to chomp her. Out of nowhere, explosions fill the area. The snake is destroyed. She looks back down at the ground and finds the area turned into a Vietnam War battleground. There are a bunch of demons slaughtering Vietnamese soldiers. Storm recognizes the scene from the holographic displays in Forge's penthouse. She comes to the realization that Forge must have summoned these demons when he was in the war to slaughter his enemies. Now she fears his soul is tainted.

She reaches the top of the mountain and finds Forge standing before her. She cries out to him, asking him what he's doing. He tells her that he's enjoying himself, reshaping creation. The fingers on his bionic hand turn into knives. He reaches to her with it and tells her that he needs her by his side. She defies him and he calls her a "stupid cow." As if she had a choice. He reaches for her nonetheless and grabs her arm. Suddenly, as if in response, her fingers turn to knives as well. Forge pulls her towards him and kisses her. She slowly reaches for her knife. With a tear in her eye she stabs him in the chest. He falls backwards, dead. Storm stands above him with the bloody knife and a broken heart.

Then, the world changes and Storm finds herself back in the cabin with Nazé. It was merely a trial setup by Nazé. Storm collapses at the shaman's side. He tells her to relax. Storm tells him her disbelief that Forge could be doing such things. She tells him of the chaos he's bringing into the world. Nazé is saddened by the news, but hardly surprised. He tries to comfort her. Storm explains to Nazé that even though she loves Forge, she will kill him to stop him. Nazé sports his evil grin again. And outside the cabin, snow starts to fall as reality begins to take on the warped aspects of her dream.

Back at Alcatraz, Havok rushes up to Maddie's side. He asks her what's wrong. She scoffs at his question and reminds him of the pains she's endured since aligning herself with the X-Men. She doesn't want to deal with it anymore. Alex asks her if she's going to quit. She reminds him that she's human and has no place with them. Alex explains to her that she's not the only one with problems. His girlfriend up and left him and joined the Marauders. Then he found out it was the Marauder, Malice, who possessed her. Clearly frustrated, he blasts the ground nearby.

Alex asks her about her baby, wanting to know if she's ready to give him up as well. She responds that Scott let her down and she'll never forgive him for that. Alex holds out his hand to her and tells her she doesn't have to be alone. He tells her that the X-Men are a family and that together they can survive anything. They hug. She asks him how sure he is about that. He tells her he'd bet his life on it. She says then so will she.

Characters Involved: 

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

Madelyne Pryor

Dr. Valerie Cooper (presidential assistant on superhuman affairs)

Avalanche, Blob, Crimson Commando, Destiny, Mystique, Pyro, Spiral, Stonewall, Super Sabre (all Freedom Force)

Mr. B (a reporter)

Mutant-hating patron, Harry and other bar patrons

The Adversary posing as Nazé

In flashbacks:



In a dream sequence:


Viet Cong


Story Notes: 

The Crimson Commando and Stonewall turned themselves in to the authorities in Uncanny X-Men #216 at the behest of Storm and Wolverine.
Super Sabre was presumed dead in Uncanny X-Men #216 when a rock avalanche overtook him.

Spider-Woman II left Freedom Force to help the Avengers after the government sent Freedom Force to arrest those superheroes in Avengers Annual #15.

Avalanche's name is here given as Domenic Szilard. Actually, it's Domenic Petros.

The flashbacks from Madelyne Pryor's life show scenes from Uncanny X-Men #175 (her wedding to Cyclops), X-Factor #1 (Scott walking out on her) and Uncanny X-Men #215 (Scalphunter shooting Madelyne and Maddie awakening from her coma) respectively.
The bear Storm faces in her dream might be a reminder of Danielle Moonstar's Demon Bear as, according to a New Mutants letter column, the Adversary was the driving force behind the Demon Bear as well.

Storm saw the demons killing the Viet Cong soldiers twice before as parts of a holographic display in Forge's penthouse in Uncanny X-Men #186 and #220 respectively.

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