Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #249

Issue Date: 
October 1989
Story Title: 
The Dane Curse

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

Brief Description: 

As the remaining X-Men bury their recently deceased teammate Storm, a call is received by the base's computer. The call is from the missing Lorna Dane, a.k.a. Polaris, asking for help. The X-Men investigate the call, leading them to Punta Arenas, Chile. Upon arrival, the X-Men witness Polaris being kidnapped by warriors from the Savage Land, led by Zaladane and her Savage Land Mutates. Reaching a stalemate, the X-Men offer to allow Zaladane's forces to withdraw with their captive, if only the innocent people of Punta Arenas are left alone. Zala accepts and and she and her forces leave, failing to notice that one soldier in her army is none other than the disguised Havok.

Full Summary: 

Havok broods in the team's monitor room. Darkly, he paints Xs over the faces of the fallen or missing teammates, Storm, Rogue and Longshot. He wonders who among the five X-Men left will fall next. On one of the monitors Havok sees Colossus lying to rest the body of Storm in a grave. On the gravestone, Dazzler uses her laser to write Storm's name and a brief eulogy. Havok opens a beer can and takes a long draught. He remembers Roma, and asks where her cosmic powers are now. He remembers Madelyne and wonders how she could have returned the team's friendship with treachery. He thinks of Wolverine and asks where their teammate was when he was needed the most.
Lost in these thoughts and memories, Havok is startled when more recent memories are replayed on one of the monitors. Without prompting from Havok, the monitor begins replaying recorded events around the base camp. Filled with self-sorrow and a little alcohol, Havok does not seriously question why the images are being played. From a new vantage point he witnesses his own discovery of Nanny's ship. He sees himself in the armor, controlled by Nanny, attacking Colossus. Next he sees Colossus freeing him from the armor and then his hasty action of shooting down Nanny's craft. Finally, he sees the X-Men finding the broken body of Storm.
Havok can take no more. Filled with rage, the X-Man blasts the monitor with his powers. A backlash explosion from the computer knocks Havok off of his feet and into unconsciousness. Dead to the world around him, Havok is unable to see the monitor repair itself, hear the ringing of a telephone, or be aware that the base's computer is answering it.
Far away, on the other end of the phone line, Lorna Dane, Polaris, stands in a pay phone. Polaris pleads with the voice on the line, believing it to be Havok, her ex-boyfriend. Polaris explains that after the X-Men's last fight with Sinister, in which the villain was killed, Malice's control over Polaris was broken. Now free of Malice's control, Polaris says that she has mustered the courage to call him. The male voice apologizes to Polaris, explaining that he is not Alex, and asks if he can take a message. Crushed, Polaris replies no and hangs up.
Lost in pity, Polaris is startled when a voice mocks her. In the reflective glass of the phone booth, Polaris sees herself, or rather herself as she was possessed by Malice. Malice taunts Polaris and her actions of the past few weeks. Which actions were of the decision of Polaris', and which were of Malice's? In a rage, Polaris pushes away with her magnetic powers, tearing apart the phone booth from within. Two men witness the booth's destruction and run to investigate. Speaking Spanish and then in broken English, they ask Polaris if she is all right. After she collapses, the older man, Ramon, takes Polaris in his arms. He orders the youngster, Luis, to go fetch the ship's doctor and bring him to the cantina. Luis walks to the ship, ired that Ramon always gets the girl. Lost in thought he does not see in time a large form approach from behind. With the sound of a crunch, Luis' world goes dark.
In Australia, Colossus finds no peace in his sketchbooks. In a burst of wrath, he knocks his easel aside and storms down the hill. As he walks away, Lady Deathstrike and her men, Cole, Reese & Macon inspect the sketches of Colossus. The group tries to understand the actions of Colossus, the most stable and centered of the X-Men. After a few moments they agree to leave, not wishing to blow their recon by being spotted.
Later, back at the Reavers' base, Lady Deathstrike, Bonebreaker, and Donald Pierce discuss Colossus' sketches. Deathstrike views the tortured work and remarks on its violence of form and content. Detecting a sympathetic note, Pierce reminds Deathstrike that the X-Men are the enemies of the Reavers, who have sworn to the X-Men's destruction. Deathstrike replies that she cares only for Wolverine, not for the other X-Men. Bonebreaker chimes in, pointing out that in all of the Reavers' recons, Wolverine has not been sighted. Smiling, Pierce explains that Wolverine, in time, will return, only to find the corpses of his teammates as the Reavers' calling cards. Returning his attention to Lady Deathstrike, Pierce points out that the Reavers are humanity's defenders against the scourge of mutantkind. Further, he prophesizes that the Reavers will prevail, expunging mutants from the face of the Earth. All who stand in the way, Pierce adds, shall be ground into dust. As to seal his promise and intentions, Pierce kisses Deathstrike.
Later, Havok awakens in his room with a headache. Next to his bed, Havok finds a pot of flowers. Attached to the flowers, he finds a note. The note informs Havok that the computer has taken a message from a lady named Lorna, who had been crying and sounded like she needed help. Without knocking, Psylocke enters the room, startling Havok. Psylocke explains that she heard Havok's start of surprise when he awoke and came to investigate. After showing Psylocke the note that someone had left him, Havok takes Psylocke to the monitor room. Once there, Havok is dumbfounded when he discovers the monitor, which he had destroyed earlier, completely intact.
As he sits down at the computer, Havok remarks that there is too much about the computer system that the team doesn't know and that one day soon he will have to take them apart. Havoks pulls up the record of the call from Polaris and traces it. After a short search, Havok discovers the origin point as being from the dockside district of a city in Chile called Punta Arenas. A quick test further reveals that the phone from which the call originated is out of service, indicating a malfunction at the source. Fearing the worst, Havok goes to get ready for a trip to Punta Arenas. Psylocke holds him back pointing out that if the X-Men are to survive, they have to be a team.
A short time later, the remaining X-Men, Havok, Colossus, Dazzler and Psylocke, gather near Gateway on his hill. Psylocke apologizes for her tardiness. She states that she has been psi-scanning the town for intruders. After learning that none of the X-Men had helped Havok she wanted to determine if there was anyone else around who might have done so. Leaving the mystery behind, the X-Men step through Gateway's portal.
In a cantina in Punta Arenas, Ramon, the man who had helped Polaris earlier, cleans her wounds with a damp cloth. Suddenly, through the door burst barbarians riding bipedal dinosaur mounts. They immediately recognize their prey, Polaris, and begin to slay anyone standing in the way. Polaris tries to run, but finds her ankles bound by a thrown bola. Caught in mid-step, Polaris falls forward and crashes through a window. Trying to recover her breath from the fall, Polaris looks up and sees the leader of the barbarians maneuver his dino-steed through the window and toward her.
Across the city the X-Men emerge from Gateway's portal. Immediately they hear a gigantic explosion from across town. Psylocke begins to struggle as she tries to shut out the screaming thoughts of panicked locals. From out of the fog a dino-rider emerges and knocks Psylocke to the ground. In defense, Colossus punches the dino-steed, bringing it down. A second dino-rider approaches as well, but finds his steed incinerated by Havok and his plasma powers. Colossus drags one of the riders to Psylocke, who, thanks to her armor, is not seriously hurt. Havok interrupts the idea, and picks up the rider. With one hand crackling with plasma energy Havok threatens the rider with torture if he will not reveal what the X-Men wish to know.
Before the worried X-Men are able to determine if Havok is bluffing, they are blinded by an intense white light. A voice taunts the X-Men, explaining that they have been blinded by Whiteout; a woman dressed in white, whose face is hidden beneath a pointed hood. Colossus recognizes the voice as that of Barbarus, a Savage Land Mutate. Still trying to recover, Colossus is unable to see the coming attack of Barbarus, who tosses the blinded X-Man through a nearby ship.
Amphibius next attacks, pouncing on Psylocke. He grabs the armored X-Man and hangs her by the cape from a mast high above. Dazzler attempts to turn the tables and uses her light powers to blind her foe. Unfortunately for her, Dazzler's foe is Gaza, a mutate blind since birth. Above, Amphibius approaches Psylocke, armed with a talon-like glove; he means to cut Psylocke apart. Now freed from the powers of Whiteout, Psylocke is able to survey the battlefield from above. Telepathically, Psylocke instructs Dazzler to fire two blasts and where to fire them. The first lays low Dazzler's foe, Gaza, and the second knocks out Amphibius.
Nearby, the four-armed Barbarus pounds Colossus. The pounding suddenly stops, and a telepathic message from Psylocke tells Colossus that he has but a second to react to her work. In that second, Colossus punches Barbarus across the dock, knocking him into Whiteout.
Elsewhere, the citizens of Punta Arenas have been gathered together by the Savage Land army. They are all brought before the barbarian leader, a woman dressed in blue with a white cape, calling herself Zaladane. Zaladane explains that the destruction of the locals' homes are fitting retribution for the wanton befouling of Antarctic waters by a vessel based in the city's port, which ran aground and contaminated the sea with its cargo of crude oil. As Zaladane continues to threaten the town's mayor, she holds a black lotus in front of the captive Polaris, whose fragrance binds her into submission.
Zaladane's revelry is cut short by the blinding appearance of Dazzler, Colossus and Psylocke. Holding the captured Mutates, Colossus calls on Zaladane to end the conflict. Zaladane responds by offering a prisoner exchange, the Mutates for the locals and with a safe withdrawal for her forces. Diminished in number and power, the X-Men accept the terms, not wanting their bluff to be called. Two large ships descend to the waiting Barbarian army, which Psylocke identifies from as belonging to the High Evolutionary. Further, Psylocke identifies from Havok's memories Zaladane as Zala, the High Evolutionary's assistant.
As her army enters the ships, Zaladane holds the unconscious Polaris by her hair. Speaking of victories to come, Zaladane addresses Polaris as sister. This recognition is overheard by the nearby Havok, who is disguised as a barbarian. As he follows the barbarian army into the ship, Havok makes a silent oath that he will do what he can to thwart Zaladane's plans.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Dazzler, Havok, Psylocke (all X-Men)

Gateway (X-Men ally)

Polaris (former X-Man)

Malice, psychic entity within Polaris‘ head
Ramon, Luis (both Punta Arenas locals)

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


Amphibius, Barbarus, Gaza, Whiteout (all Savage Land Mutates)

Savage Land Barbarians

Dinosaur Riders

Story Notes: 

The star symbol on the X-Men's table was designed by Madelyne in Uncanny X-Men #232 as a mysterious calling card, similar to the Lone Ranger's silver bullet. The symbol was first put into use in Uncanny X-Men Annual #12 when it was left behind on an obelisk in the Savage Land.
The events the Havok witnesses on the monitors in the computer room took place in the previous issue, Uncanny X-Men #248.
Although it is never stated plainly, it is assumed that Jubilee helped Havok to his bed, and placed the note on the flowers.
Malice first possessed Polaris in Uncanny X-Men #219, while Havok at the same time re-joined the X-Men, unaware of what was happening to his lover.
Polaris / Malice believes Mr. Sinister dead after Cyclops seemingly obliterated his form in X-Factor #39. Mr. Sinister, without explanation, re-appears in X-Factor #75 with his new group of villains, the Nasty Boys. Years later in X-Men (2nd series) #23 Mr. Sinister demonstrates his shapeshifting power in front of Cyclops and reveals that his “death“ during Inferno was only a ruse, he knew he could not fight the assembled might of X-Men and X-Factor in his weakened condition.
Havok met Zaladane in Uncanny X-Men Annual #12 during the X-Men's last trip to the Savage Land. At the time Zaladane called herself Zala and was an assistant to the High Evolutionary, while plotting his betrayal. Zaladane seems to be made up of Zala and Dane, pointing towards some family relation between her and Lorna. The problem is that Uncanny X-Men #52 established that Lorna was adopted shortly after her birth.
Punta Arenas is a real city in Chile. It's the capital of the 12th region of the country.

Issue Information: 
Written By: