Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #261

Issue Date: 
May 1990
Story Title: 
Harriers Hunt!

Chris Claremont (writer), Marc Silvestri. (Penciler), Dan Green (Inker), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in chief)

Brief Description: 

In a Madripoor restaurant, Wolverine, Psylocke and Jubilee are attacked by Harry Malone’s Harriers, who have taken on a commission to abduct Wolverine. With their friend gone, Psylocke and Jubilee, despite their mutual dislike, figure out a plan to find and rescue Wolverine. As the battle between the two groups comes to a standstill, Wolverine reveals that he had hired the Harriers in order to see how well Psylocke and Jubilee could work together.
In the meantime, Banshee and Forge have reached the X-Mansion, where they witness Jean Grey being kidnapped by a bunch of monstrous-looking creatures. In an Athens hospital, Donald Pierce makes the horribly injured Cylla Markham an offer she cannot refuse.

Full Summary: 

Colbert Chu’s waterfront warehouse, Madripoor lowtown:

Former SHIELD agents Harry Malone and his Harriers have got a job. Showing them files on their targets, Malone informs them about the nature of the job. They are to catch those three, alive and relatively unhurt. The youngster is called Jubilee, who is able to create her own fireworks. The looker is the X-Man Psylocke, a powerful telepath, but that may have changed along with her face. Wolverine needs no introduction.

The group is looking forward to some action. Shotgun, reading a comic book, mentions that it is a waste to call the entire team one three people. Malone reminds him that they need every dollar, in no small measure thanks to the botch Shotgun and Axe made of their Golden Triangle Caper. The job got done, Axe reminds him. General Coy’s opium crop was destroyed. But not by them, Malone reminds them, so the D.E.A. didn’t pay. Axe angrily announces that he can’t wait to get his hands on the runt who gave them all that grief. Harry angrily insist that they bring them in unhurt. That’s the deal. Blindside calms Axe, telling him it’ll hurt Wolverine a lot more if they humiliate him. Plus, they should never take anything for granted. The mission might prove more interesting than they believe right now.

Elsewhere in Lowtown, in a restaurant, Jubilee is making a spectacle of herself demanding something to eat and preferably yesterday. The waiter brings a soup and, before Jubilee’s critical eyes, some of the animals that went into it still seem to be very much alive. Jubilee almost goes hysterical until she catches a look at Psylocke at the neighboring table, who gives her a scathing glace. Chastized by her look, Jubilee asks Wolverine why she is looking at her. Maybe because she is making such a god-awful racket, Wolverine suggests. Why do they need her anyway, Jubilee sulks, She can take care of him alone. There’s more to this than her looking after his health, Wolverine replies, as Jubes insists that Psylocke tried to kill them.
A waiter nears with a covered dish. Jubilee is suspicious until she happily sees that it’s McBurgers fast food.

Psylocke’s astral form approaches Logan and she announces that, instead of hiding in Madripoor, they are being very obvious. She’s the telepath, he replies silently. If there’s any danger, she can warn them. Provided she is still trustworthy after the Hand’s brainwashing, she retorts He’s got faith, Wolverine, claims. So do they, the phantom version of Nick Fury and Carol Danvers Wolverine’s carrying around add. They are not real, Betsy protests, while Logan says out loud that that’s a matter of opinion. Jubilee thinks to herself exasperated that he is talking to himself again.

They are constructs of Wolverine’s imagination, Betsy reminds him. What’s more real that a body’s memory, he asks. Phantom Carol tells Betsy to think fast and kicks at her feet. Reflexively, Betsy evades the kick. Carol reminds her that the X-Men cannot be photographed or detected otherwise. It’s virtually impossible to prove they exist, but they do. And if the phantoms aren’t real, then why did Betsy react to what they do?

She’s tapped into his psychosis Wolverine adds. What’s real to his mind is just as real to her. He never finishes that sentence, as strong arms burst though the wall and grab him. Jubilee runs after him, cursing Psylocke for not warning them. Shotgun fires pointblank at her chest, stunning her. In the ensuing confusion, the Harriers escape, while Psylocke is left tending to Jubilee.

Salem Center, beneath the ruins of what was once Xavier’s School. Traipsing about in the dark and utterly unable to deal with the sight-helmets Forge created for them, Banshee asks Forge if he has found the lightswitch - right before running into something and landing on his face. Impatiently, he asks his colleague to switch them on already.

Forge asks him why they have decided to go to the X-Mansion now, instead of heading for Hollywood and look up Dazzler. Banshee explains that, now that they know some of the X-Men are alive, he wants to determine who intends to keep them from finding them. Nobody was supposed to know they were on Kyrinos. Yet they were ambushed and almost killed.

On the screen, a picture of Moira MacTaggert appears and Forge wonders why Sean believes that his lover set them up. Another picture of Moira is shown, how she looks now, as opposed how she looked in the past. Sean once more points out how much Moira has changed in dress and manner these past few weeks. He has no idea what’s going on with her, he continues, while Forge tinkers around. Sean states that that’s why he asked Forge to design a back door into Muir’s defense system, so they could slip back in.

What are they waiting for then, Forge asks. If something happens to them, there’s nobody left to find the X-Men. Forge reminds Sean that according to Moira the X-Men are invisible to all forms of remote detection. Forge can consider it a challenge, Sean tells him. Forge is not overly enthusiastic at the idea. He points out that he got the scanners online and they are picking somebody up. There’s a visitor above ground.

It’s Jean Grey who’s visited what once was the school to clear her head. Surveying the ruins, she finds a photo of Scott’s wedding to Madelyne Pryor. She tosses it away. Scott has recently proposed to her. Not too long ago, nothing would have made her happier, but now? Suddenly, she is attacked by strange creatures who grab her. The bodies are hideous but their faces are those of the X-Men. With a telekinetic burst, Jean shoves them away. Wondering if those are the real X-Men, she finds behind her is another one. Jean gasps as she sees her likeness. Another twin like Madelyne? she wonders. But that one’s wearing her X-Factor uniform. Jean addresses her. That moment, an impossibly long tongue with a face and sharp teeth at its end jumps out of the fake Jean’s mouth and bites the real one in the throat. She passes out and both of them disappear.

A hospital in Athens, where Lady Deathstrike’s tranquilizer darts have taken out the personnel and Donald Pierce is having a chat with Cylla Markham. He rattles down the list of her injuries: multiple fractures, an amputated leg, burns over 40 percent of her body… She’s lucky to be alive. If lucky is really the word for it. She’ll never walk again, much less fly. Cylla tells him to get stuffed. Pierce offers to change that and give her a new, more powerful body. What’s the catch, Cylla asks. He needs an operative; she fits the bill. If he fixes her, she’ll serve him. Can he heal her, she asks. Why bother, he replies. He can make her better, a cybernetic synthesis. It’s a one-time offer. She smiles. If he can get her back into the sky, she is his.

Madripoor. Jubilee wakes with a scream. Her chest hurts and she recalls what happens. She takes a look at her shirt, which is ruined by a blotchy stain. Psylocke makes a dramatic entrance, as she swings the doors wide, telling Jubilee she should consider herself fortunate the shell that struck her was designed to incapacitate and not to kill. Jubilee instinctively dives under the bed, furious about Psylocke not respecting her privacy. She’s “fortunate” Jubilee didn’t blast her all the way to England, the way she came busting in, she snaps.

Rose Wu joins them, asking why Betsy is frightening the child. She is not a child, Jubilee protests, as she grabs her jacket, let alone scared. Betsy explains that she’s located Wolverine. Far too easily, though. It’s clearly a trap. What are her intentions, Rose asks. To spring it and him, of course, Betsy replies. Jubilee insists on accompanying Psylocke, over Rose’s protests. She’s Logan’s friend. Besides those creeps thrashed her best outfit. Logan has other friends in Madripoor, Rose ventures and Betsy suggests she gather them. But, in the meantime, the two of them will act.

Later, on the rooftop, Jubilee disguises herself as a pizza-boy and wonders whether she can trust Betsy. Psylocke reacts to her unspoken thought, stating that there is no way to prove she won’t sell Jubes out. Jubilee angrily tells her to stay out of her mind and Betsy snarkily replies that some thoughts, like some people, are too loud to be ignored. Well, if she is so good, why didn’t she notice those goons before they nailed them, Jubilee asks. Even she is not infallible, Betsy coolly replies. So, are they ready? Jubilee asks. With a smile, Betsy replies that it’s Jubilee’s plan. So she should take it away.

A little later, there’s loud knock at the door to the warehouse the Harriers are staying in.
The Harriers are expecting nobody and are surprised to see a delivery boy (Jubilee, actually) packed with a stack full of Pizzas. Jubilee begins her spiel, rattling down all the pizzas she got and claiming that the Harriers ordered them, so where’s her money? While she argues with them, Psylocke enters undetected via the roof window.

A delighted Piston – the Russian member - grabs a slice of pizza, until Longbow slugs it away with an arrow. What kind of amateur stunt is this to let anyone violate a secure area, Malone demands and orders the others to get the kid out. Jubilee dives through the Russian’s legs, spins around and starts her fireworks, which blow up at her cue, one of them busting loose the cage Wolverine is in.

The Harriers finally get the idea that the kid is actually Wolverine’s new sidekick. Taking cover behind a bunch of crates, Jubilee calls them sexist pigs. Who’s to say he isn’t her sidekick? After all she does all the work. Three of the men follow, trying to find her in the maze of crates. Seeing them search, Jubilee, from her hideout, throws a plasmoid to disintegrate Axe’s pants, not to mention cause him some really bad pain in a sensitive area. Malone is getting pissed. His team’s been trained to take on the Avengers and they are being made fools of by a little girl.

In the meantime, Psylocke has sneaked in, climbing across the beams beneath the roof. She understands Malone’s dilemma. As the Harriers are decent people, they have scruples to hurt a child. They have no such inhibitions when it comes to her, a voice announces, as a boot knocks Betsy in the face. Blindside has found her. Wondering why her telepathy hasn’t spotted the woman, Betsy begins to fight her, finding the former SHIELD agent can match her fighting skills.

Suddenly Blindside finds that her hand passes through Psylocke’s skull. A telepathic illusion, while the real thing grabs her from behind. Timebomb comes to the help, by detonating the girder and Warhawk catches Blindside. Even as they wonder what’s going to happen to Psylocke, they see that she lands on her feet like a cat. Before Betsy can get up, though, Ranger holds a gun to her face and suggests she behave.

Jubilee, in the meantime, has been caught by Axe. And Shotgun angrily demands she pay for ruining her traveling stash of comics. Suddenly, they hear a ‘snikt’ and Wolverine informs Shotgun he better think twice about his next move.

Malone and Logan begin to talk quite amiably to the surprise of all combatants. A little later over pizza, Wolverine explains that he wanted to evaluate how well Jubilee and Betsy could work together, while Malone also wanted to run his Harriers through their paces. In effect, this was the equivalent to a session in the Danger Room. Jubilee and Shotgun bury the hatchet about ruining each other’s comic books, respectively the jacket, and offer to make amends.

Suddenly, Rose Wu, along with Jessica Drew, Lindsay McCabe and more of Wolverine’s pals bust in. Logan jokes about their being the Wolverine rescue squad and tells them to join the party. Somberly, he hopes they’ll enjoy the fun, because next time it’ll be for real and for keeps.

Characters Involved: 

Banshee, Forge, Jubilee, Psylocke, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Marvel Girl (member of X-Factor)

Sgt. Harry Malone / Hardcase

Axe, Blindside, Lifeline, Longbow, Piston, Ranger, Shotgun, Timebomb (the Harriers)
Rose Wu, Jessica Drew, Lindsey McCabe and more of Wolverine’s Madripoor-based friends

Donald Pierce, Lady Deathstrike (Reavers)

Cylla Markham

Transformed Morlocks

Wolverine’s delusions

Nick Fury

Carol Danvers

On the computer screen

Moira MacTaggert

In Cyclops’ wedding picture

Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Havok, Rogue

Madelyne Pryor

Story Notes: 

The X-Mansion was destroyed by Mr. Sinister during Inferno.

The Harriers ran into Wolverine in Wolverine (2nd series) #5.

Psylocke attacked Wolverine and Jubilee (while she was still brainwashed by the Hand) in issues #257-258.

Cyclops proposed Jean in X-Factor (1st series)# 53. As a result of still having to incorporate the memories of the Phoenix and of Madelyne Pryor, she wasn’t sure about her feelings and decided to take a leave of absence from the team.

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