Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #285

Issue Date: 
February 1992
Story Title: 
Down the Rabbit Hole

Whilce Portacio (Plot and Pencils), Jim Lee (Co-Plotter), John Byrne (Script), Art Thibert with Al Milgrom (Finishes), Tom Orzechowski (Lettering), Joe Rosas (Coloring), Bob Harras (Editing), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

After being sucked into the void, the X-Men are teleported to another world, which is torn by war, but are all separated. Unfortunately, the void continues to grow and threatens to suck in the entire Earth. Colossus and Jean are surrounded by rebel forces, who mistake Colossus for their ancient savior, who is the only one who can close the portal. While Jean and Colossus are taken back to the rebel camp, Archangel finds himself aiding some civil guards against the rebels. However, Archangel’s metal wings take control on him and he kills the rebels. Archangel snaps out of his trance and is horrified to learn what happened. He is taken back to the civil guard base and meets their leader, Sha-Har-A-Zath, leader of the Triumvirate. Before Archangel can object, Sha-Har-A-Zath makes him leader of her forces and prepares him for the final battle against the rebels. Storm is found by a mysterious man, who sneaks her into the rebel base upon hearing her story and the story of the savior’s return. Once there, the man confronts Colossus and reveals that he is his brother, the long-lost and thought dead Mikhail Rasputin! Meanwhile on Earth, Bishop and the others continue to kill the criminals from the future and they also swear to prevent their horrible future from ever occurring.

Full Summary: 

Her name is Jean Grey and, a moment ago, she was on Earth, but now she is on Earth no longer. After being sucked in by the void, Jean, Colossus and Primate are jettisoned out of another crater, but this time they are on a different world! In the air, Colossus calls out to Jean and tells her that he cannot see the other X-Men, not Sunfire. It seems that whatever sucked them into the void into the first place has separated them also. Jean hears Colossus and also hears the fear in is voice, which matches the fear in hers. She uses her telekinesis to land the three of them rather forcibly. Of the three, only Colossus is in full command of his senses.

Colossus looks around and observes that they are in a jungle. While Jean recollects herself, Colossus tries to shake Primate up, because she is the only one who can tell them where they are. Jean tells Colossus not to bother but, before she can say anything else, Jean senses that they are under attack. A large group of human men surround the two X-Men. One sees Primate and screams that she is dead, which prompts the others to shout death threats at the two X-Men.

Jean uses her telepathy to stop one of the men but, while she is busy battling him, another man punches her in the back of the head. Two other men rush over to Primate and realize that she is alive but needs to be taken back to their base for medical attention. A female warrior sees Colossus rushing over to Jean and blasts the X-Man. Jean’s attacker is about to kill Jean but a third man stops him, for he wants Jean alive. Jean’s attacker asks if they should spare Colossus too but the group decides that he is too dangerous to allow staying alive.

The group unleashes their weapons on Colossus, striking him hard. He falls to his knees and the attackers approach him cautiously, thinking that he may be bluffing. Colossus begins to change back to his flesh and blood form. Suddenly, the attackers look at Peter with awe, as they see his face. The men fall to their knees as they realize their savior has returned and the prophecy has been fulfilled. Colossus looks at the men confused.

Elsewhere, in the burning hot desert, Storm lies unconscious in a small crater. She wakes up to find herself burning hot. Weakly, she attempts to create a gust of wind but fails. Storm falls unconscious again, but not before seeing a dark figure approach her. Storm mutters if mother has come to take her home. The man, whose face is covered by his green cloak, tells Storm that, yes, he has come to take her home. However, it is not her home. The man picks up Storm and takes her back to his home.

Hours later, Storm sits in the man’s home, much more aware of her surroundings than earlier in the desert. Her savior places some food on the table for her and tells her that he knows it is not much, but she needs to eat and the food will replenish what the desert stole. Storm thanks him for the food but declines his offer. The man shows his face to Storm and tells her that he knows that she thinks the food is drugged or poisoned but assures her that, if he wanted her dead, he would have left her in the desert. Storm smiles and tells him that she is indeed hungry. Storm begins to eat and tells her host that the food is very delicious. The man smiles when he hears the compliment and then offers Storm some wine. He confesses that he must boast about the vintage of the fruit from which the wine is distilled. The fruit grows for less than a day and one must be quick to harvest it. He has managed to make a delicious drink from the fruit. The man then asks Storm how she arrived in the desert. He saw no caravan and it seems that she might as well as had dropped from the sky.

Storm tells the man that she did indeed fall from the sky. She explains that she is not from his world and that she was sucked through a portal. The man mutters the word ‘portal’ with bitterness in his voice. Storm notices the change in mood and asks the man if he is all right. The horrified man gets up and angrily asks Storm if she is mad for breaching the portal and then asks if she wishes to bring destruction on them all.

Elsewhere, battle rages, which is not uncommon on this world. On one side are civil forces, which are much larger in number, compared to the other side composed of rebel forces. Suddenly, a stoic Archangel arrives on the scene and one of the rebels screams that the angel of death is upon them. Another rebel tells his companion that they are being tricked. The rebels attack Archangel, who kills all the rebels with his wings and projectiles. Archangel lands on the ground, soaked in blood. However, there is no sign of awareness at all in Warren’s face. Suddenly, Archangel snaps out of his trance and asks what is going on, as he looks at the dead bodies before him. Suddenly, the civil troops surround Archangel and applaud him for his actions. The men tell Archangel that they would have lost if he had not entered the battle. Confused, Archangel wonders how it is possible that he battled when he doesn’t remember joining the battle. However, Archangel knows the truth, though he is unwilling to acknowledge it.

Elsewhere, Iceman and Sunfire wake up and see that they have crashed through the roof of a tavern. The two look to the side to see the owner and several clientele standing over them; the owner demands to know what they are planning on doing to fix the roof. A large man picks up Iceman by the collar and tells him that the owner, Tooker, waters his drinks enough without having to let the weather in. Maybe he should make another hole in Iceman’s face. Iceman tells him that he has already tanned half his face with his breath but it is going to take more than a threat to scare him. The man obliges Iceman by popping out a knife.

Back in the desert, Storm, who wears a white dress and blue cape, stands outside with her savior, while he loads up two large, green reptiles with supplies. Storm asks him if they should not wait until night, since she cannot manipulate the planet’s heat with her powers. If they had the luxury of that, says the man, they would but, given the distance she landed from the portal, it means that the portal is growing in power and size. It must be sealed as soon as possible. Storm tells him that they should find her companions then, for, if both their worlds are in danger, then the power of the X-Men is needed. The man continues to pack the reptiles and tells Storm that the portal will continue to grow until her entire planet is sucked in. Surely he doesn’t have to tell her what cataclysmic problems would occur with two planets so close. The gravitational attraction would destroy both worlds.

The two mount their reptiles and Storm tells the man that she and the X-Men have faced many grave menaces in the past and have survived. She promises that they will do the same here. The man tells her that he thinks they will, if pride alone was able to seal the portal. If so, then they would not need to find her companions. Storm agrees, but asks what of him. He has yet to reveal his role in all of this. Who is he? The man turns and tells her that some have called him a legend, others have called him a curse. It is up to her to decide which. Storm smiles and tells him that she shall bide her time, for in her lifetime she has also been called both.

Back in the jungle, Colossus and Jean are led via reptiles into a rebel complex in a mountain. One of the rebels tells Colossus that the portal continues to grow, which is shown by the pitch black sky, and that he is the only one who can seal it in time. Telepathically, Jean asks Colossus how he is doing. Physically, he is fine, responds Colossus, but this talk about him being a savior is troubling him. Why do these people place such high hopes upon him? Frankly, he is not comfortable receiving this much attention. Jean tells Colossus to hang in there since this “savior” card is the only thing they have against their “hosts.”

The two reach a platform in the complex and descend from their rides. A large group of rebels surround the two and one man calls out that the reports are true and the savior has indeed returned. Colossus turns around to see an army of people cheering for him and Peter is shocked to see that many people honoring him. Jean telepathically tells Colossus to keep his voice down, because these people are expecting him to do something, so they need to find out what. They are expecting certain words and actions. She is using her telepathy to pick bits and pieces of the information they need but she may not be able to tell him anything useful in time. With that said, Jean tells Peter to go with the flow; he may even like it. Colossus then admits that, on some level, he already does.

Back at the tavern, Sunfire and Iceman finish defeating their attackers, which has left the tavern in ruins. Sunfire tells Iceman that he fought well and it is good to fight with him instead of against him, like when they first met. Iceman tells Sunfire not to worry, for he is an ally of the X-Men and even was an X-Man; even it was only for a few moments. Suddenly, a bell rings and the two investigate. They find a gathering of townsfolk and decide to stay to hear what the town crier has to say. The town crier tells the people that the savior has returned and walks among them once more. However, instead of flesh, he is now forged of steel. Upon hearing this last part Sunfire and Iceman look at each other, both realizing that the crier is referring to Colossus.

Elsewhere, in the forest base of the civil guards, Archangel finds himself in a grand hall filled with many people. Standing at her throne is the Priestess-Queen of the land, who welcomes Archangel. The woman introduces herself as Sha-Har-A-Zath, worldly avatar of the triumvirate. Archangel thanks Sha-Har-A-Zath for the welcome and introduces himself as Archangel, but then apologizes for he is not the warrior that her men think he is. One of the warriors tells the Priestess-Queen that Archangel is being modest. He saw with his own eyes what the man did to the rebel forces. Sha-Har-A-Zath commends Archangel for his modestly but tells him that it is not necessary. She has a full report of his deed and she knows the ferocity of his battle.

Sha-Har-A-Zath tells all in attendance that she is now naming Archangel as the Protector General of the land and the people of this realm. He has come to them from a world beyond theirs, just like the cursed one who slew her father and mother. It is only fitting that Archangel should be the instrument by which the followers of the Great Betrayer are forever swept from the face of the world. Archangel begins to decline the position but a messenger runs in and tells the Priestess-Queen that message has been received from the southern provinces. Sha-Har-A-Zath reads the message and is horrified to discover that their enemy, the Great Betrayer, has reappeared in a rebel camp in the south quadrant. The Priestess-Queen tells her subjects that the time of war is upon them. They must fight or die. Sha-Har-A-Zath puts her hand on Archangel’s shoulder and tells her people that they shall fight as their fathers fought but, with the Lord Protector at their side, there is no force that can defeat them!

Back in the rebel base, Jean walks with Primate down the halls, while the two discuss the history of the war being waged. As far as Jean can gather, this is a long-standing war that their people have fought. Jean asks about their former champion and Primate tells her that the champion is the one that arrived with her. His reappearance is surely a sign that their cause is just and that the fates have chosen to bring him back when he is most needed. Jean tells Primate that she cannot fully accept that but, if her cause truly is just, she has friends who would be more than willing to lend a helping hand. The two reach the doors to Colossus’ chamber but two guards tell her that neither of them can enter. Jean wonders what Colossus is doing in there and uses her telepathy to see Colossus in his underwear, wearing a robe, while six women surround him.

Jean uses her powers to knock the guards away and to break open the door, telling Colossus that the Hugh Hefner bit was never his style. Colossus thanks Jean for coming, as they girls were all over him. Peter begins to babble but Jean tells him that it is okay and that he is kind of cute when he blushes. Jean tells him that there is something rotten in Denmark and that it is time to round up the rest of the X-Men. She knows that all of them were pulled in too but, if they landed as far from the crater as they did, then it may take a while to find them.

A voice from behind tells Jean that her search may be not as long as she thinks and asks if she is Jean Grey, for the description that his companion gave him can describe no one else. The two X-Men turn around to see a cloaked man and Storm. Colossus asks Storm who the man is but the man tells him that he is a familiar face; a face that has changed since Colossus saw him last. The man pulls down his hood and tells Colossus that there is enough under the scars left to let Colossus know that he is Mikhail Rasputin, his brother!

Back on Earth, Trish Tilby reports from a scene that can only be best described as a mutant massacre. The camera pans out to show three dying mutants, all wearing futuristic clothing and strange markings on their faces. Trish tells her viewers that paramedics are doing their best to save the three mutants, who seem to represent the nation’s worst fears about mutant kind. The facial tattoos seem to indicate a gang connection and, with a city that is already plagued by gang warfare, things can only get worse when the members have super powers. Trish speaks with Captain J. Walker Kyle, who tells Trish that the attackers were also mutants with tattoos but their tattoos were in the form of an ‘M’ on their faces.

Trish asks other witnesses for their accounts and the crowd screams that the X-Men have done this. Another man says that the attackers had the big belt buckles with the ‘X’ on them. Other people tell Trish that it is not safe for the X-Men to be terminating their own kind on the streets when anyone could get hurt.

On a nearby rooftop, Bishop, Malcolm and Randall watch the interviews. Malcolm tells Bishop that it is hard to believe that this anti-mutant sentiment is really this old. Bishop tells him that the problems are older than this. The irrational xenophobia has existed since the birth of mutant kind. Randall tells Bishop to listen to the people. The problems are starting all over again, except this time the humans think that the mutants are the problem.

Bishop tells Randall that this won’t happen again. They did not plan on coming back to this century but, now that they are here, they are going to seize the chance to change things. The future of these people is the past of the three of them. He swears on the very last breathe of his body that the past will never happen again!

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Colossus, Iceman, Jean Grey, Storm (X-Men)

Sunfire (X-Men ally)


Various rebels

Sha-Har-A-Zath (Leader of the Triumvirate)

Various civil guards of the Triumvirate

Mikhail Rasputin

Trish Tilby

Bishop, Malcolm, Randall

Story Notes: 

The X-Men were sucked into the void in Uncanny X-Men #284.

The story of Bishop, Malcolm and Randall is in Uncanny X-Men #282-283.

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” is a quote by Marcellus in the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet.

Sunfire first faced and fought in X-Men in X-Men (1st Series) #64. He later joined the X-Men in Giant-Sized X-Men #1 but subsequently left in X-Men (1st Series) #94.

Issue Information: 

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