Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #248

Issue Date: 
September 1989
Story Title: 
The Cradle Will Fall !

Chris Claremont (writer), Jim Lee (penciler), Dan Green (inker), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Donald Pierce and his new compatriots, the Reavers, practice their coming attack on the X-Men. Meanwhile, back in Australia, Longshot dreams. In the state of Dreamtime, brought on by Gateway, Longshot speaks with Storm and tells her that he must leave the group to search for his identity. Nanny and the Orphan Maker, knowing of the coming deadly conflict with the Reavers, finalize their plan to save the X-Men, quite against their will. They arrive at the X-Men camp and swiftly capture Psylocke, Havok and Dazzler. The three captured X-Men are placed in armor, designed by Nanny, which bend the X-Men against their will. The three are then forced to use their powers against the still free X-Men, Storm and Colossus. During the following conflict Havok is freed from his armor. Still groggy, he fires a plasma discharge at Nanny's fleeing sky ship, which crashes to the ground, exploding on impact. To his horror, Havok is informed that the ship carried not only the fleeing Nanny and Orphan Maker, but the captured Storm as well. She is found dead among the debris.

Full Summary: 

Wolverine, in full costume and with claws unsheathed, runs full speed towards his prey. Suddenly, a hail of bullets passes through his body and brings him to the ground. The fallen form of Wolverine reveals the mangled insides of a robot. As Bonebreaker and Skullbuster revel in their success, Pretty Boy points out that the real Wolverine will not be as easy to kill. Donald Pierce agrees but points out that the death of the X-Men and Wolverine in particular is why they have all banded together; the Reavers, Lady Deathstrike, her men Cole, Reese and Macon, and Pierce himself.
Meanwhile in Australia, Longshot dreams. The slumbering X-Man looks up at a floating Dazzler who descends to his arms. Longshot, previously in costume, finds himself in a tuxedo and dances with Dazzler while the X-Men play instruments in the background. As Longshot tries to understand what is happening, Rogue walks up, wanting to cut in. However, instead of taking Dazzler's place, Rogue places her arms through the back of Dazzler, and then merges with her body. Still confused, Longshot dances with Rogue, who continues to have Dazzler's two arms. From above falls Ricochet Rita, a woman with whom Longshot traveled with during his first weeks on Earth, but does not now consciously remember. Rita too merges with the Rogue/Dazzler hybrid. Rita, as Rogue before, retains the arms of those she merged with. Longshot attempts to remember this woman who obviously knows him and asks why she has six arms. Rita suddenly adopts the form and image of Spiral, whom Longshot does remember.
Longshot leaps away from Spiral. Swiftly, Spiral teleports behind the X-Man and, with a fluid motion, removes his spine. As Spiral gloats, Longshot begins to transform. He quickly takes a hybrid form of his former self and that of a Spineless One from his forgotten home dimension. Longshot begins to grin malevolently. Now, along with the body of a Spineless One, Longshot possesses the madness of one as well. From the back of his transport chair, Longshot fires a dozen of his darts, which strike Spiral, pinning her to the wall. Spiral, now dying, transforms from Spiral, to Rita, to Rogue and finally to Dazzler before breathing her last. Maniacally, Longshot laughs.
Storm sits atop Gateway's hill next its owner and his roaring fire. She hears the cold and cruel laughter of Longshot. Talking to herself as much as to the silent aborigine, she recalls her last memories, that of going to bed. Furthermore, Storm senses that her body is indeed still asleep. She asks Gateway if this is of his doing, recalling his people's ability summon spirits into dreams. When Gateway does not respond, she begins to grow angry, until she notices that Gateway's gaze has fallen on someone behind her. Storm turns to see a phantom image of Longshot. The X-Man's ghostly form resembles his normal one, save that it is translucent, lacking color, and for some reason lacks a left eye.
Indicating that he is very busy, the phantom Longshot picks up a piece of a right arm, severed at the shoulder and the hand. With purpose, Longshot attaches the severed limb to himself. Longshot shows great relief and satisfaction when he realizes that it fits. Scattered on the ground around him are the rest of his body parts, which Longshot pleads with Storm not to step on as she approaches. When Storm asks what he is doing, Longshot simply replies that he is trying to find himself. He explains that everyone and everything that he encounters has a sense of history. He himself lacks this. All that he knows about himself began the moment that he teleported into the X-Men's Danger Room. Claiming that he needs to find where he comes from, and the purpose of his existence, Longshot tells Storm that as much as he does not want to leave, he must go. There must be more to what he is out there, and to be whole, he must find it.
Elsewhere, Nanny and the Orphan Maker complete their preparations. Having made a clandestine personal reconnaissance, Nanny states that the X-Men are ready to be saved, even though it will be done against their will.
In a cavern, Psylocke swims in an underground lagoon. Hearing a voice singing Rock-a-Bye Baby, Psylocke stands up and see the egg-like form of Nanny. The music becomes entrancing. Psylocke closes her eyes briefly and reopens them to see a different image. No longer does she see the armored form of Nanny with short arms and legs protruding from an egg-like torso, but that of an English nanny holding up a towel. Psylocke walks out of the lagoon and, with each step, grows younger. Nanny helps the five year-old Psylocke out of the water and asks if she would like the new clothes that have been prepared for her. With an excited smile across her child's face, Psylocke states that she would like that, ever so much.
Meanwhile, Havok and a very tanned Dazzler run for exercise outside the base camp. They converse about the status of the team. Havok points out that with Longshot gone, Rogue missing from her trip through the Siege Perilous and Wolverine on sabbatical the team isn't in the best of shape. Dazzler takes the situation in stride, feeling very confident in the team's leader, Storm. Distracted in thought Havok missteps and falls down an embankment. Dazzler laughs at her teammate until Havok calls to her, asking her to look at what he's found below. At the base of the ridge the two X-Men find a metallic craft. Oval in shape with protruding legs Havok and Dazzler do not recognize it as the sky craft of Nanny and the Orphan Maker. Seeing an open hatch, Havok sends a mental notice to Psylocke and enters with Dazzler following. Once inside, the walls close in, trapping the two teammates, knocking them out. The gleeful Orphan Maker jumps in delight as Nanny's plan has worked perfectly.
Back in camp, Colossus checks in the cabinets where the team keeps its food. As he takes note that there are fewer supplies than there should be, he does not notice that someone has snuck up behind. With a mighty force, Colossus is knocked out of the building and into the street outside. Looking up, Colossus sees an armored individual approaching. After the foe makes a mocking threat, Colossus recognizes the voice of his foe as Psylocke. Colossus is astonished when Psylocke's armored form, using a grip stronger than his, picks up the metallic X-Man and hurls him through another building.
Descending from the hills are Orphan Maker and his newly armored recruits, Havok and Dazzler. With a powerful photon burst Dazzler blasts the ground beneath Colossus, sending him flying into the air above. Luckily, Colossus is caught in mid-air by the airborne Storm, just returning to camp. Before Colossus is able to tell Storm about their situation, Psylocke attacks them both, by attempting to take control of their minds. Storm is able to brush off the attack, but Colossus, who is still in her arms, is not. The mind controlled Colossus grabs Storm by the neck and tells her to submit to Nanny. Storm promptly generates a lightening bolt that strikes Colossus, causing them to separate. Colossus falls back to the Earth below.
Deciding to take advantage of the commotion outside, Jubilee reveals herself in the kitchen cabin and proceeds to raid it once more. To her surprise, she is caught, not by one of the X-Men, but by Nanny. Surprised, Nanny attempts to capture this new young mutant. Jubilee manages to evade the telescopic arms of Nanny and grabs her bag of purloined food. Not daunted, Nanny spreads some of her mind controlling pixie dust. Jubilee, thinking fast, turns on a nearby desk fan and blows the dust away. Jubilee then presses the attack, using her mutant fireworks to daze Nanny, who loses balance and falls on her back.
Outside, the Orphan Maker hears the cries of Nanny and runs to help. Storm sees this and uses her wind to maneuver the falling Colossus through the door of the kitchen cabin. By the time he reaches the door of the cabin, the Orphan Maker has only the time for a glance back before Colossus impacts, knocking the Orphan Maker to the floor.
Back in the street, Storm generates a torrential downpour, followed by a deafening thunder, which knocks the armored Havok and Dazzler off of their feet. Storm is then pulled to the ground forcefully by the telescopic reach of the armored Psylocke. Held fast to the ground, Storm is then subjected to another psionic assault. Refusing to give in, Storm turns the downpour into a blizzard, and transforms the muddy ground into a sheet of ice. The armored Dazzler and Havok, still attempting to rise to their feet, find themselves off balance from the ice. The two lose their footing and, pushed by wind, crash into the armored Psylocke. Now freed, Storm seeks cover from a new assault, this time from the blasts of the now recovered Orphan Maker.
The Orphan Maker's assault is called short by the cries of Nanny. Still on her back, Nanny is unable to move and sees the approaching Colossus. She orders the Orphan Maker to rescue her and fly the two of them to safety. The Orphan Maker, carrying Nanny, flies into the sky intercepting their approaching sky ship. Refusing to let the situation end without explanation, Storm flies back into the sky. Nanny struggles at the controls, bucking the powerful wind the Storm is generating in her attempt to force to sky craft to the ground. Nanny activates a viewer and sees her foe. Nanny tells the Orphan Maker that Storm is now no longer invisible to their ship's sensors as they have been upgraded with video components from the X-Men's camp. Nanny activates two grappling claws, which descend to grab Storm. Storm manages to obliterate one with a bolt of lightening, but becomes ensnared by the other.
Below, Colossus runs to his teammates still trapped in their armor. He frees Havok who emerges dazed. He sees the situation with Nanny's craft and Storm. He understands the situation, but feels conflicted. The desire to obey Nanny still fills his mind, but the instinct of an X-Man commands action. Not fully aware of his actions, Havok fires a plasma discharge at Nanny's craft. Colossus, still attempting to free Dazzler from her armor, looks on in horror. The plasma blast impacts squarely on Nanny's ship, which plummets to the ground in flame. Upon impact, the craft explodes violently.
The X-Men investigate the crash site. Psylocke, back in her adult form, psi-scans the wreckage, but is unable to detect the thoughts of Nanny, the Orphan Maker, or Storm. Havok curses himself for his mistake and recoils in anger when Colossus attempts to consol him and share part of the blame. Dazzler pleads for the group to continue looking, but there is no need. Psylocke has found Storm among the wreckage, already dead.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Dazzler, Havok, Longshot, Psylocke, Storm (all X-Men)
Gateway, X-Men ally

Bonebreaker, Wade Cole, Lady Deathstrike, Angelo Macon, Donald Pierce, Pretty Boy, Murray Reese, Skullbuster (all Reavers)

Robot of Wolverine


Orphan Maker
In Longshot's Dreamstate :

Colossus, Havok, Psylocke, Ricochet Rita, Rogue, Spiral, Storm, Wolverine

Story Notes: 

Storm turns out to be alive in Uncanny X-Men #253, but lacking a memory and regressed in age to a pre-teen. The full explanation is revealed in Uncanny X-Men #267 : The body discovered by the X-Men in the crashed sky ship is a S.H.I.E.L.D. Life Model Decoy (LMD), placed there by Nanny to ensure that the X-Men would not search for their teammate.
Ricochet Rita was a stuntwoman whom Longshot worked with during his first weeks on Earth. After awhile, she traveled back with Longshot to the Mojoverse to aid in his rebellion. [Longshot limited series]
Spiral is a six-armed sorceress, also from the Mojoverse. She was sent to recover Longshot during his first trip to Earth and later sent again to become a member of Mystique's Freedom Force. It was revealed at one point that Spiral is Ricochet Rita from an alternate universe. [X-Factor Annual #7]

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: