Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #293

Issue Date: 
October 1992
Story Title: 
The Last Morlock Story!

Scott Lobdell (Writer), Rurik Tyler (Layouts), Tom Raney (Pencils) Josef Rubinstein (Inks), Lois Buhalis (Letters), Kevin Tinsley (Colors), Bob Harras (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

In the tunnels, Jean Grey helps Archangel realize that his recent problems with his wings are no one’s fault but his own and that Apocalypse took one night away from him, so it is up to Archangel to decide what to do with the rest of this life. Callisto finds Xavier and challenges him to a fight to the death. Surprisingly, Xavier is able to best Callisto without his powers and knocks her unconscious. Mikhail teleports Xavier and Callisto to him and then opens the flood gates that held back the East River, claiming that it is his duty to put himself, Callisto and the Morlocks out of their misery. Iceman finds the team and together they try to reason with Mikhail, who they discover is not as mad as they all thought, but has given up all hope for life. Colossus tries one last time to talk some sense into his brother but, fails as Mikhail uses his powers to send the X-Men out of the tunnels and to the surface to safety. Mikhail gathers his Morlocks and Callisto, as the East River crashes upon them and seemingly drowns them all.

Full Summary: 

Beneath the streets of Manhattan, Bishop, Colossus and Storm use their powers to break down a wall. Tired, Colossus complains that the tunnels go on forever. Storm agrees and explains that, even in her brief tenure as leader of the Morlocks, there was little she learned about the tunnels that the mutants called home. Arrogantly, Bishop tells his comrades to calm down. He has spent his life tracking renegades. This is child’s play. The three X-Men emerge into a large chamber, where all the pipes and tunnels in the sewer seem to connect. As X-Men, these three heroes are trained to be prepared for any eventuality. However, an unexpected family reunion twenty stories beneath the streets of Manhattan is not one of them.

In the center of the room is Mikhail Rasputin, who sits atop three Morlocks, who use their bodies as a chair for Colossus’ brother. The rest of the Morlocks gather around Mikhail protectively. Bishop asks Colossus if that is his brother, though the question need not be raised. Astounded, Colossus asks Mikhail about why he is here. Bluntly, Mikhail tells Colossus that it is obvious, even to the altruistic X-Men. Since the death of their former leader, Masque, and the rejection by Callisto and Storm, the Morlocks are leaderless. Mikhail is without a people, so he has decided to rule the Morlocks.

Several stories above, yet still in the tunnels, Jean Grey telekinetically flies through the tunnels. Telepathically, she tells Professor Xavier that she does not like this even a little. Xavier explains to her again that while the others are dealing with the Morlocks, her powers are best suited to finding Archangel. Who is going to help him, asks Jean. Elsewhere in the sewer, Xavier tells Jean that his encounter with Brain Cell has left him weak, but there is not need to worry. He’ll be fine, assures Xavier, as he looks at his blood splattered all over the side of his hover chair.

“Not true, Xavier!” screams Callisto, as she kicks him in the face. He cannot be fine, or else his telepathic powers would have alerted him to her presence. Xavier gains his composure and explains to Callisto that he knows the pain that she is going through. He recently had a physical loss as well, but she cannot let that change or defeat her. She needs the help of the people that care for her. Callisto pulls out a dagger and points it at Xavier. She refuses to listen to him and explains that he needs help, not her. It is time for the true leader of the Morlocks to battle the founder of the X-Men…to the death!

Back in the other chamber, Colossus reverts to his flesh form and removes the tattered remains of his chest piece. Worried, Bishop asks Colossus if he is out of his mind. Colossus explains that he and Mikhail are brothers and that he would not do anything to hurt him. Though he hates to be the bringer of harsh reality, but Mikhail is whacked. Storm interrupts Bishop and orders him to stop talking. Bishop interjects, but Storm explains that Piotr must do what he must. To herself, Storm prays that it is enough.

Colossus approaches Mikhail cautiously, keeping an eye on the Morlocks. He tells his brother that he is not well. Since his return from the void, he has been plagued with headaches. Mikhail assures Colossus that the pain has passed now that he has once again assumed the leadership position. He gets up and hugs his brother, explaining that the pain is gone now that he and his brother are having their final, loving embrace. “Final…?” echoes Colossus.

Tell me, whispers Mikhail to Colossus, is he prepared to join them in their travels? Where, asks Colossus, confused. Mikhail lights the chamber with light and matter-of-factly tells Colossus that they are going to the hereafter. Isn’t it obvious? His ability to channel all manner of energy has only been useful in taking lives. Suddenly, the whole chamber begins to shake and Bishop asks Storm what that crashing sound is. Storm explains that Mikhail used his powers to shut down the tunnels defenses. He has opened the floodgates, which were the only things protecting them from the East River!

Elsewhere, Archangel is still cowering at the platform at which he lost the use of his wings. He is an idiot, says Warren. That is the only explanation. Why else would he have been here that night? He ended up battling the Reavers all by himself. They literally nailed him to the wall. He lost the use of his original feather wings. What for, shouts Archangel. To protect a race of sewer living mutants who don’t care if they live or die? He sacrificed everything and he has no idea why. From behind, Jean Grey tells Warren that that is the type of guy he is. Archangel notices Jean and tells her to leave him alone. Someday, replies Jean. Until then, he will get up immediately.

Further elsewhere, Callisto tries to stab Xavier, who falls back on his elbow to evade his attacker. Xavier tries to calm Callisto down and explains that the Morlocks are appreciative. However, Callisto screams that some of them did not even have names before they met her. She found them all, bathed them all, and fed them all. All she wanted was her own life and to be beautiful. She had everything and they took it all away from her. Xavier finds himself trapped against a wall. He reasons that Callisto has always been motivated by love and compassion. She may have lost her physical beauty to the Morlocks, but she still has her inside beauty. Callisto calls Xavier and idiot, grabs him by the throat and thrusts his face under the water. She does not care about her hear. She cares about her face and body. All she wants back is her life. Under water, a panicked Xavier realizes that he had no time to catch his breath. He hates to do this to Callisto, but he must. Xavier then punches Callisto, who drops her dagger in the water. Callisto is out cold and Xavier crawls back to his hover chair. He empathizes with the woman, for both of them were given a second chance to live without a physical handicap. Another time and place he would have shared her anger and pain but, then again, who is to say that he does not?

At that moment, Xavier and Callisto are teleported to the main chamber by Mikhail. Mikhail dumps Xavier and his hover chair in the water and levitates Callisto to him. Mikhail, who is apparently using his powers to tap into another Morlocks power to levitate, asks the X-Men if they thought that he would leave without his newfound kindred spirit. He had hoped that Xavier would have supported his bid for salvation. He seeks redemption for the lives he took in the void by putting the pitiful Morlocks out of their misery. There is no place in the world for monsters, such as the Morlocks and himself.

Suddenly, Mikhail finds himself caught in a massive lasso made out of ice. Mikhail easily shatters the construct and asks Iceman if they have not already enacted this scenario. Iceman comes to Xavier’s side and explains that earlier he was alone, but now he has friends. Storm, Bishop and Colossus break free from the Morlocks that restrained them and get ready for battle.

Back where the Marauders broke Warren’s wings, Archangel tells Jean that, if she doesn’t leave him, he cannot be responsible for what he will do to her. You’d like to believe that wouldn’t you, asks Jean, as she lifts Archangel into the air telekinetically. It would be so easy to let his wings take the blame for all his dirty work. Enraged, Archangel shoots out his flechettes and Jean and tells her not to patronize him. She has no idea what it is like to have her whole life pulled from underneath her. Please, says Jean, he is talking to a woman who has been killed, cloned and kidnapped more times than she can remember. “Let’s keep it in perspective,” continues Jean as Warren’s flechettes bounce off her telekinetic shield.

Archangel apologizes for what he did. He has no clue what came over him. Nothing came over him, says Jean as she rises into the air. She didn’t say anything earlier, because she wasn’t sure if he was emotionally ready, but now that he is suffering from depression and rage, as well as abandoning the team in the middle of combat, it is time for her to reveal that his acts of fury and destruction he claims are caused by his wings are actually his own doing. Apocalypse only gave him the tools with which to destroy his life. Archangel begins to cry as Jean explains that only he is responsible for wielding his new power. She knows that she isn’t telling him anything he hasn’t already suspected. Apocalypse took one evening away; whatever Warren does with the rest of his life is up to him. Jean returns her and Warren to the ground and walks away.

As Storm and Colossus battle Morlocks, Storm shouts out that the water level is rising fast and they can no longer afford to be gentle. Bishop comes to Mikhail’s side and reasons that if he cares about these people, then he should let the X-Men take them out of there. Mikhail scoffs at this and explains that the Morlocks are here, because they want to be. He is offering them freedom from their burden. The X-Men fight for a better tomorrow, but the Morlocks know that the better tomorrow will never come. Bishop begins to absorb Mikhail’s energy, hoping to drain the man before he can do more harm. Iceman punches a Morlock and tells Mikhail that there will be no better tomorrow with the way he is acting, but then again, what does Iceman know about leadership skills. Iceman creates a giant ice wall to contain the raging river that shatters his wall faster than he can rebuild it.

Storm realizes that her winds are useless to stop the water. If the Professor has any suggestions, she will be happy to hear them. As water begins to pour from the ceiling, Xavier tells the X-Men that he wishes he could say that they have done all that they could, but that isn’t true. While they live, they must protect the Morlocks from themselves.

It will not come to that, says Colossus, who plucks Bishop away from Mikhail. Bishop demands the Colossus lets him go, but Piotr reminds Bishop that he will be incinerated if he continues to absorb Mikhail’s energy. Colossus goes after Mikhail, who picks up Callisto’s unconscious body. While other Morlocks try to get to high ground, Colossus tells Mikhail that it does not have to end this way. He is wrong, says Mikhail. It ended the day that he killed his followers. Their only sin was that they believed in him. Mikhail plucks Colossus out of the water with his powers and brings him to land. Mikhail explains that death is the only thing that he does well. Colossus reverts back to flesh and reasons decides that he will die by his side. No, says Mikhail, there is still Piotr’s world and he can still accomplish much.

Colossus calls his brother a coward. Can he go to the grave, knowing Colossus would never forgive him or himself? Suddenly, Archangel arrives and shoots paralysis flechettes into Colossus’ back. Archangel scoops him up and apologizes for the darts, but he is taking him out of the line of fire. There is no telling what Mikhail could do. Mikhail tells the X-Men that they should all go. With his powers, he encases all the X-Men, including Archangel, Colossus and Jean, into a bubble. Jean tells the Professor that Mikhail has overridden her telekinesis. Storm, in a final plea, tells Mikhail not to shut them out. There is an alternative. Mikhail explains that he does not want an alternative. He just wants the voices, the guilt and the pain to end. With a small gesture, the bubble containing the X-Men is flung into a tunnel.

Mikhail holds Callisto close to him, as the Morlocks surround him, their leader. Mikhail tells his people to pray that there is a father who watches over them all and that he can forgive them for what they are about to do. Even if the Morlocks did join Mikhail in prayer, though, their last sounds are swallowed as the ceiling collapses and the water rushes into the room to drown every last Morlock. The Morlocks, who were against a world that never welcomed them, leave that world forever.

Outside, the X-Men are jettisoned out of the sewers and into a forest. The X-Men, uncertain of what to say, leave as Colossus watches the water and cries. Xavier watches him.

Later on, Colossus calls his sister, Illyana, and tells her that he is afraid that he won’t be coming home tomorrow as planned. Something has happened…yes…something like saving the world. What was the surprise? They…they will talk about it when he gets home. He loves her. Colossus says goodbye to Illyana and hangs up the phone. He sits at the kitchen table and cries, as Jean Grey consoles her friend.

Upstairs, Storm looks at her destroyed bedroom. Callisto had destroyed everything, including her plants. Bishop enters in the doorway. Without looking at him, Storm confides in him that, before she even heard of Xavier, these plants were the closest thing she had to a family. She nurtured and loved them. At times, she lived for them. When she came to the States from Kenya, her plants were all that she brought. Now they are gone. Storm begins to brush the dirt and remains of one plant back into a pot and cries that she has lost them as she has lost Forge. Tell her, pleads Storm to Bishop, how is she to go on without love?

Bishop puts his hand on Storm’s shoulder and tells her that they haven’t known each other for long, but he can tell that they are both survivors. She will get her life back together, because there are people who need her. She will go on with the love and support of her friends, once piece at a time.

Characters Involved: 

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

Callisto, Mikhail Rasputin, various unnamed mutants (Morlocks)

Story Notes: 

Storm became leader of the Morlocks in Uncanny X-Men #171 after defeating Callisto in a duel. After the Mutant Massacre crossover, Masque claimed the role of the leader of the Morlocks when he resettled the group back in the sewers.

Bishop’s XSE training can be seen in XSE #1-4.

Masque was thought to have died in X-Force (1st Series) #9, but was revealed to be alive, now as a woman, probably due to his/her power, in X-Treme X-Men #36-39.

Callisto rejected the Morlocks in Uncanny X-Men #291, where they scarred her face again, leaving the woman bitter and out for vengeance.

Xavier cut his leg in Uncanny X-Men #292.

Mikhail returned from the void in Uncanny X-Men #286.

Warren’s wings were broken in X-Factor (1st Series) #10, during the Mutant Massacre crossover.

Masque altered Callisto’s body into that of a beauty in Uncanny X-Men #259-260.

Jean was “killed” in Uncanny X-Men #137, or at least that is what everyone thought at the time. In truth, it turned out to be the Phoenix II, which was impersonating Jean at the time. Jean’s most recent “death” was in Uncanny X-Men #281, where she was shot by the Sentinels, but at the last minute she sent her mind into the mistakenly deceased body of the White Queen. Jean was cloned by Sinister, resulting in Madelyne Pryor.

It will later be retconned that, at the last minute, Mikhail teleported the Morlocks into another dimension, where he trained them to be the strongest they could, as was revealed in Cable (2nd Series) #15. These Morlocks would later become Gene Nation, as seen in Uncanny X-Men #325. Further details are in Uncanny X-Men #373-374.

Forge left Storm in Uncanny X-Men #290.

Issue Information: