Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #224

Issue Date: 
December 1987
Story Title: 
Dark Before The Dawn

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

Brief Description: 

In Wyoming, Storm and Nazé part company as she heads off to Forge’s aerie. During her climb she’s met with some black lightning, an avalanche and a horde of demons. She eventually makes it to the top, only to be met by hundreds more demons. She spots Forge not too far off – a hole in the sky above him - and heads towards him. She eventually slaughters the whole crew of otherwordly creatures and gets to Forge. He’s surprised to see her, and is even more surprised when she shoves her knife into his chest. He confesses to her that he was trying to stop the Adversary not help him. She suddenly realizes that she’s been played for a fool. With death at hand they jump off the cliff side, only to be sucked up into the Adversary’s sky gate. In San Francisco, Val Cooper holds a press conference to talk about Freedom Force. She’s met by some resistance by the reporters, but handles them well. In Murphy’s Gym, Rogue is approached by Mystique who bears news of ill tidings for the X-Men. She wants Rogue to go with her to avoid her impending doom, but she decides to stay with them. At a nearby club, Dazzler puts on a light show of her own, much to the dismay of Wolverine. He wants the X-Men to keep low profiles. Downtown, Havok and Longshot, rescue a girl from a bunch of punks. Lt. Morrell shows up to arrest the would-be kidnappers and alerts Havok to the task-force that’s looking for them. A bit later, at Alcatraz, the X-Men discuss Destiny’s precognitive vision about their death. The key lies with Storm, so they all decide to go look for her.

Full Summary: 

Yellowstone, Wyoming:

It’s an hour before dawn and both Storm and Nazé are standing outside in the bitter cold. Storm’s wearing a new Indian outfit that Nazé had found in one of his ancestors’ hiding spots in the mountain. Storm asks Nazé if he can explain why it’s snowing in the middle of summer. He tells her that it’s the Adversary’s doing, by way of Forge. He further explains that the Adversary is seeking to destroy the "living energy" of everything on Earth. Total chaos, in other words. Storm asks why he would do such a thing. Nazé’s only guess is for amusement, after all, the Adversary is a god. Storm is perplexed, because by her reasoning the Adversary will be destroyed as well. Nazé tells her that he will survive, to help forge the world once more.

Storm still doesn’t comprehend his motives. Life is precious and he wants to wipe it all away? Nazé tells her that he only cares about setting the world to his design. If he has to kill the people of Earth over again and again, he will. Storm continues to argue, saying he has no right. Nazé tells her that the Trickster believes that if he has the power to do so, then the right is his.

They make their way to the edge of a peak. Nazé points to a mountain not too far away. He tells Storm that Forge is up there at the top of his aerie. Storm asks if he is going with her. He tells her he won’t because Forge is expecting him and has keyed his alarms and defenses to him. Storm, on the other hand, will be most unexpected and the fact that he loves her might make him hesitate. And at that moment Storm says she’ll kill him.

Nazé embraces her and commends her on everything she’s accomplished in the past several days. He tells her that she won’t fail. She heads off, but Nazé tells her to stop. He grabs her arms and brings her close to him. He kisses her and tells her it’s something to remember him by. Storm heads off towards the mountain. Nazé, watching her leave, starts talking to himself. He says that it doesn’t really matter if Storm accomplishes her mission. He only cares if he wins in the end.

San Francisco:

Val Cooper is holding a press conference proclaiming the benefits of having Freedom Force around. She cites the example of the last battle between the X-Men and the Marauders, which resulted in the destruction of a hospital. She claims that Freedom Force is needed to prevent those types of things from happening. She continues with her speech, mentioning the "Mutant Special Powers Registration Act." She states that with mutants registering their powers with the government, that maybe the vigilantism will end.

One of the reporters asks her about the civil rights of mutants. She responds rhetorically, asking him about the rights of the hospital patients and employees. She admits that the Act will hinder some people’s rights, but she believes it to be justified. Another reporter pipes up saying that democracy was designed to protect the „few from the many." He then asks her why Freedom Force is formed by a bunch of criminals. He believes they might be even more dangerous. She understands his point, but reminds him that the U.S. was founded by criminals and outcasts looking for a second chance. That’s all she’s giving Freedom Force.

Over at Murphy’s Gym a few musclebound guys are watching the newscast. They argue with each other over whether or not Freedom Force and the Registration Act are any good. In a separate room nearby, Rogue exercises using some equipment purchased from the Fantastic Four. She mutters that she saved Cooper’s life once – one of her bigger goofs. The Gym owner, Joe, watches in amazement as she lifts 47.05 tons into the air.

After twenty-five minutes of working out, Rogue is approached by a young woman. The girl asks Rogue if she can watch her exercise. Rogue rudely tells her she can’t. The girl is not at all put off by this. Instead she reverts to her true form; that of Mystique. Rogue is slightly embarrassed for not recognizing her foster mother in disguise. They hug. Mystique tells Rogue why she really came to see her. Destiny had a precognitive vision of all the X-Men dying in or around Dallas. Rogue tries to thank her, but Mystique won’t let her get a word in. She tells Rogue that she came to take her away from the X-Men, thereby saving her life. Rogue tells her that she cares too much for her teammates and won’t walk out on them. Mystique replies, "But you will on me." A tear streams down her face.

Club DV8:

Alison’s doing her thing on stage. The crowd is really digging her. Then, a drunken patron falls over and knocks out the lights. Alison quickly takes care of the situation and creates her own lightshow. The crowd loves it even more. When she’s finished, everyone applauds. That is except for the man in the shadows who’s smoking a cigar. It’s Wolverine and he’s not happy that Dazzler used her powers in such a public place. He reminds her that they’re trying to keep a low profile. Alison starts to cry and apologizes to Wolverine. He puts his hand on her shoulder and tells her just to think harder next time. In walks Rogue who warns them that there might not be a next time.

Downtown, Union Square:

Havok and Longshot are walking out of a movie theater. They had just watched "Raiders of the Lost Temple." Longshot comments on how one of the stuntmen shared the same name as him. He also admired a stuntwoman by the name of Ricochet Rita. Longshot asks the morose Havok if he thinks they could ever meet them. Havok tells him not to get his hopes up.

Off in the distance Longshot spies a couple punks grabbing a lady. Two police officers walk over to break it up, but they are both shot by one of the men. The two thugs pick the girl up and take her to a nearby car, where two more men are waiting. They men call themselves The Bay City Badland Boppers. Longshot hops onto a nearby awning and throws a grappling hook onto a building across the street. He swings over the car, throwing his blades at the tires and snatching up the girl.

Joby, the driver, loses control of the car and crashes into a lamppost. Havok walks over to them and asks them if they’ve had enough. He tells them they’re going nowhere in life and that they need a change in attitude. The four thugs walk towards him, some with weapons in their hands. They threaten to bust his skull in. Havok quickly raises his arm and fires a plasma burst at their car, melting it. The four punks are shocked and frightened. Then Lt. Morrell shows up in a squad car and they arrest the kidnappers. She takes Havok aside and warns him that there’s a federal task force in San Fran looking for the X-Men. Havok thanks her for the info.

Later, at the X-Men’s camp in Alcatraz, Rogue explains to the team that the task force after them is Freedom Force, headed by Mystique and Destiny. She also tells them that Destiny foresaw the end of the X-Men. Wolverine reminds everyone that Destiny’s been wrong in the past, but she also said that Storm was the key. Unfortunately for them, Storm is away on a private mission. Wolverine says that he’s going to go after her, and asks if anyone else wants to go. Each member agrees to go, even Madelyne. Wolverine tells Madelyne that she can’t go. She responds, telling him that she’s saver with them than on her own. The Marauders will eventually find her, so she might as well go. Havok agrees with Maddie and tells Wolverine that he’ll watch out for her. She’s his brother’s wife, after all. Wolvie reluctantly agrees. Psylocke attempts to contact Storm telepathically.


Storm climbs the rocky surface to Forge’s aerie. She senses someone calling out to her, but dismisses it as the wind. Around her, black lightning strikes the mountainside. It causes a small avalanche and Storm hugs close to the rock wall. Once the debris clears she looks up and finds hundreds of red demons flying towards her. She thinks she’s dead meat, but the demons pass right through her as if they were illusions. She wonders if this was what Nazé meant when he said that Forge’s defenses wouldn’t react to her.

She climbs onward, nearing the peak. She makes it to the top and spots Forge up ahead. He’s glowing like the Sun, a giant hole in the sky above him. Suddenly, she’s attacked by a giant red demon. It grabs her leg and warns her about attacking their master. She maneuvers around and takes out her knife. She slices across the creature’s throat and kills it. Unfortunately, there’s more of those beasties coming towards her.

They surround her, but she’s not dismayed. She charges through them, whipping her knife all over the place. She tries to break through their ranks, but is tackled. A different demon comes barreling in intent on slicing her up. Storm flips backwards and the demons talons sink into her captor, killing it. She’s free once more.

She presses on towards Forge, the demons trailing her. Every so often she has to fight a couple of them off. She’s almost killed by one of them, but a black lightning bolt fries it. The demons gain the upper hand and clamor towards her, groping and clawing. Storm wields her knife as if there were no tomorrow. Blood splatters everywhere as she slaughters the horde. She manages to slay them all, leaving her with nothing between her and the man she loves despite everything.

She calls out to Forge. He turns around, pleasantly surprised to see her. She, however, is not happy and charges towards him. He asks her how she found him and why she’s there. She tells him that Nazé brought her. She takes the knife and thrusts it into his chest. He puts his arms around her in complete shock. She tells him that she couldn’t allow him to open the gate that would destroy the world. He weakly tells her that he was trying to close the gate, not open it. Storm realizes that what he says is the truth. She can’t believe what she’s done. She looks behind her and finds hundreds more demons coming towards them. Storm asks Forge for his forgiveness, and he grants it. Then he jumps backwards off the ledge, sending them both to their death. However, they are consumed by the gaping maw of the portal and disappear. Nearby, Nazé wields some black energy towards Forge’s aerie, completely obliterating the mountain. He smiles, knowing that the only people who could stop him, Forge and Storm, are gone forever.

Characters Involved: 

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

Madelyne Pryor (X-Men associate)


Val Cooper

Crimson Commando, Destiny, Mystique (all Freedom Force)

Lt. Morrell

Joe (Murphy’s Gym owner)

Lou (Murphy’s Gym patron)

Joby (driver, member of the BCBB)

The Adversary posing as Nazé

Story Notes: 

According to Val Cooper nobody was killed in the battle between the X-Men and the Marauders (Uncanny X-Men #221-222). Apparently she’s been poorly informed, since at the very least Madelyne’s nurse was murdered by Scalphunter.

Rogue saved Val Cooper’s life from a Dire Wraith in Uncanny X-Men #186.

The stuntman named Longshot that Longshot saw in the credits was actually him as revealed in the Longshot limited series.

This story leads into the Fall of the Mutants crossover.

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