Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #341

Issue Date: 
February 1997
Story Title: 
When Strikes a Gladiator !

Scott Lobdell (story), Joe Madureira (pencils), Tim Townsend (inks), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Steve Buccellato & Team Bucce! (colors), Bob Harras (editor & editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

The X-Men take part in the Christmas celebrations in New York. Joseph has a special present for Rogue, he has designed a device that allows her to touch without absorbing the person. Suddenly Gladiator appears in New York and battles Cannonball to get the X-Men’s attention. Without asking he teleports them ( and Trish Tilby) into the Shi’Ar galaxy, while Cannonball is left behind.

Full Summary: 

Bishop, Gambit, Joseph, Rogue, Cannonball, Beast and Trish Tilby are enjoying the Christmas celebrations on the streets of Manhattan. Beast asks the others to dinner with he and Trish, but most of the others have other plans and the group splits up. Gambit stalks off, jealous of the bond he senses between Rogue and Joseph. Joseph takes the opportunity to take Rogue on a romantic ride aboard a horse and carriage. Bishop decides to spend the evening alone, and Cannonball goes to a toy store, looking for presents for his numerous siblings. One of the poeple that Sam passes is the punisher, but he doesn’t notice. Dismayed by the Christmas rush at the store, Cannonball is uncertain what to do, when suddenly Gladiator, member of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, comes out of a teleportation portal in the middle of the store. He is searching for the X-Men.
Meanwhile, Joseph is using his magnetic powers to make the horse and carriage fly, and the driver admires the two mutants for being able to do something so wonderful. Even though it is late evening Bob Harras is still working in his office at 387 Park Avenue South (home of Marvel Comics). On the telephone his wife Anne accuses him of working to hard, and as he looks outside the window he sees the carriage passing by. Not quite believing his eyes Bob agrees with his wife and rushes home.
Cannonball assumes that Gladiator is out for a fight and attacks him, trying to move him away from the public, the battle continues in the air above New York.
Across town, Joseph takes Rogue to the top of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center so he can give her a present. He summons his modified Z’Noxx chamber from the mansion, and explains it’s purpose. Originally the chamber was designed to shield Xavier’s presence from the alien race Z’Noxx, so basically it is a big filter. Joseph modified the chamber’s components so that they shield a person’s memories and feelings allowing Rogue to touch anyone while standing below it. At first she doesn’t believe him but then he gives her a kiss to the forehead without any side-effects. Rogue is left speechless, Joseph wishes her merry christmas.
Back at the battle, Cannonball manages to use Gladiator’s overconfidence against him, and knocks him down to an abandoned construction site. Below the other X-men make their way to where Gladiator crashed, having heard and seen the fight. Gladiator reveals that the Shi’ar Empire is in danger, but he has been forbidden to assist (Lilandra sent the Imperial Guard to earth to replace the heroes that are believed dead since Onslaught), so he came to enlist the X-Men’s help. Before they can react, Gladiator throws some telportation fields on the X-Men and Trish Tilby. Only Cannonball is left behind. Gladiator says that the X-Men are transported to the Shi’Ar galaxy that currently faces a most dire conflict and sending a youth as Sam into battle would lack honor.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Bishop, Cannonball, Gambit, Joseph, Rogue (all X-Men)

Trish Tilby, Hank’s girlfriend

Gladiator (Shi’Ar Imperial Guard)

Punisher (cameo apperance)

Bob Harras

Story Notes: 

The issue is a homage to X-Men Vol.I #98.

Both first pages have a (completly different) set of X-Men appearing in civils in New York before the giant christmas tree and an ice-skating arena at fifth avenue. Both issues have other known Marvel characters making a cameo appearance and also prominent comic creators are shown inside the stories.

In X-Men Vol.I #98 the first page showed Nightcrawler, Colossus, Storm, Marvel Girl, Cyclops, Wolverine, Banshee, and Moira, during the issues Nick Fury, Contessa Valentina, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby made short appearances.

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