X-Men (1st series) #140

Issue Date: 
December 1980
Story Title: 

Chris Claremont (writer), John Byrne (plot & pencils), Terry Austin (Inker),Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Glynis Wein (colorist), Louise Jones (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in chief)

Brief Description: 

Nightcrawler finds himself attacked by Wendigo. Their battle alerts the three Alphans and Wolverine, causing the X-Man and Snowbird to follow the fleeing monster to its lair. While Snowbird gets reinforcements, Wolverine witnesses how Wendigo intends to kill his prisoners. Having no choice, he attacks. He is soon joined by the others and snowbird changes to a real wolverine to attack the monster. She momentarily beats him but her animal persona becomes dominant, until Wolverine talks her out of it. Now, Shaman can use his spell to return Wendigo to his human form – Georges Baptiste, who is then arrested for Wendigo’s crimes. Vindicator promises Wolverine he won’t be hassled by Department H any longer. Later, Vindicator is told by the prime minister that Alpha flight is being disbanded.
In Salem Center, Storm gets rid of a stalker and meets Kitty after her first dance lesson. For some unfathomable reason, she strongly dislikes Kitty’s dance instructor, Stevie Hunter.
In the Super villain penitentiary in New Mexico, the Blob escapes, ready to join the New Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

Full Summary: 

Outside Xavier’s School, Colossus pulls out a tree trunk, clearing the ground. He clearly enjoys the physical activity. He is joined by Angel, who asks him whether he’s homesick. Occasionally, the young Russian admits. But he cannot go back to a simple life as a farmer. As an X-Man, he has seen and done too much. His parents and comrades would not understand. Then, what is this work about? Angel wonders. It relaxes him and reminds him that, for all his power, he is nothing compared to the power and majesty of nature. Peter apologizes for not being able to express his feelings better. Shakespeare couldn’t have said it better, Angel jokes and flies off as Xavier telepathically calls for him.

Angel admits to himself that he underestimated Peter. At first, he considered him the basic dumb country hick. But there’s more to him than that. In many ways, he is the most honest and honorable person he has ever met.

Xavier asks Angel about his impressions of his new teammates now that he’s had a chance to work with them. No problems except for Wolverine, Angel admits. Suppose he goes berserker on them in a fight and kills someone? Xavier explains that, for all his faults, Wolverine is a good man and his potential as leader and hero is extraordinary.

Nearby in Salem Center, Ororo again finds herself stalked by a guy who just won’t take no for an answer. He invites her to a disco and Ororo reminds him that she’s said ‘no’ before. Why won’t he accept that? He’s in love with her, he protests, when suddenly a miniature raincloud appears above him and soaks him. With a smile, Ororo walks away towards Stevie Hunter’s dance studio, where Stevie and Kitty are already waiting after Kitty first lesson. The two of them seem to be getting along famously and Ororo finds that it bothers her, especially when Stevie refers to Kitty as “our kitten.” Stevie invites them to lunch, but Ororo refuses.

Kitty phases into the car and Ororo reprimands her for her carelessness. Kitty notices something off about her mood and Ororo makes excuses, claiming she was thinking about Nightcrawler and Wolverine and wondering how they’ve been faring.

Not so well, it turns, out as Nightcrawler finds himself attacked by a hulking brute shouting “Wen-di-go”! Nighcrawler evades the creature’s blows and uses his acrobatic skills to stay ahead of the monster. But then the tree he’s on breaks off and the Wendigo catches him in a viselike grip. Trying to ignore the pain, Kurt Wagner focuses and he teleports blind up in the air. He realizes this was risky. Since he doesn’t know the lay of the land he might have materialized within a tree. He teleports down again to a clearing intending to return to the cabin, but Wendigo is already upon him again. Too dark and too many trees to try another ‘port, Kurt decides and tries to fight. Just as he thinks that speed and agility are his forte, the Wendigo’s blow catches him and hurls him towards the cabin, wherein Wolverine and the three Alphans are still engrossed in a council of war.

Vindicator shows Wolverine Wendigo’s territory on a map. They’ll probably find the missing Parnalls there if they are still alive. Wolverine points out that he researched “Wendy” after their last tussle. He prefers fresh-killed meat, which means he’ll keep his captives alive – for a while. He decides to start hunting at first light. Suddenly, they all hear a thumping noise from the roof. They rush outside to find an unconscious Nightcrawler outside the shack and Wendigo just hefting up their pick-up truck.

Praying that his battle-suit will hold up, Vindicator meets Wendigo’s attack with his suit’s inbuilt energy blasters. But, with surprising speed and cunning, Wendigo grabs for a nearby fir tree and decides to indulge in some impromptu batting practice, as he bats Vindicator away.

Snowbird shifts into a great, arctic owl and rushes to his aid. Wolverine tells Shaman that they can finish the job right now. Shaman tells him to go ahead, he’ll follows once he’s taken care of the fire started by the explosion of the truck’s fuel. Wendigo realizes it’s time he’s made his exit and disappears in the woods.

Vindicator tells Snowbird he’s fine and orders her to take Wolverine and follow Wendigo. He and Shaman will be along once they’ve taken care of the fire.

Wolverine makes his way through the woods, admitting that Wendigo isn’t as dumb as he used to be in the old days. Back then, he’d leave a Hulk-sized trail behind him. Now, he’s moving through the forest like he was a part of it. Snowbird joins him from above, stating that she saw nothing. Not surprising Wolverine agrees; the woods here are about as thick as they can get. And there’re lots of gullies and ravines for Wendy to hide in. They’re going to have to do it the hard way. Snowbird bluntly tells Wolverine that she doesn’t like him much, but she cannot deny that he s a good leader. Why did he resign from Department H? He got a better offer, he replies curtly.


He remembers how, years ago, James and Heather found him near their home in the Canadian Rockies – sick, frozen,, starving, near death. They nursed him back to health, accepted him, loved him. And he loved them back in return. But still there were strains, as Wolverine snarled at Mac that he’s never understood. He’s a dangerous man – scrapping’s second nature to him. But those claws and the Adamantium skeleton change everything. As far as he’s concerned, there’s no such thing as a fair fight anymore. He’s virtually invulnerable. He’s been turned into a killing machine and he doesn’t like it.

To the Canadian Secret Service, he was a gift from heaven and they turned him loose on the brutal, dirty assignments no one else would touch. He never forgave them for what they did to him and made him do and Charles Xavier offered him a way out. He took it without a second thought or regrets.

(The present)

Snowbird and Wolverine find Wendigo feasting on some bones. Wolverine informs Snowbird that the Parnalls are still alive, though. He orders her to bring the others as quick as she can, while he maintains surveillance.

Suddenly, he notices that Wendigo still seems hungry. Probably for something more substantial than old bones. The creature moves aside a boulder blocking a small cave, revealing his prisoners. The reinforcements aren’t going to arrive in time, Wolverine realizes grimly. He has to act by himself.

Wolverine jumps at Wendigo, who lets go of the frightened woman. He feels the berserker rage build inside him and, this time, doesn’t try to deny it, as he wildly claws at his monstrous foe. Wendigo’s even momentarily reeling from Wolverine’s blows, though Wolverine knows that he can hurt this foe only temporarily. Nevertheless, Wendigo is momentarily out and Wolverine feels exhausted, as his adrenaline level drops again. He turns to Mrs. Parnell, assuring her that he’s one of the good guys. They need to get away quick.

He holds her upright, as they walk away as fast as possible. Wolverine informs her that her son, Tommy, is still alive, though he doesn’t know how to tell her that the boy’s in a catatonic shock. Suddenly, Wolverine notices a shadow – but too late, as Wendigo grabs him and holds him up in the air, giving the mutant no chance to reach him. Wendigo brutally smashes him into the ground and then into the trees.

Thankfully, the next moment the cavalry arrives, as Nightcrawler teleports on top of Wendigo and hits him with a stick. Wendigo shakes him off but Vindicator both catches the X-Man and fires an energy blast at the monster.

Shaman and Snowbird watch the battle. Shaman utters that he was afraid of his. While they are staggering Wendigo, the enchantment that created him protects from the full force of their powers. Even Shaman’s magic can’t bind him, much less cure him, as long as he’s conscious. Physical force can overwhelm him, Snowbird argues. The Hulk and Wolverine proved that. Wolverine’s out cold and the Hulk isn’t available, Shaman points but. True, Snowbird admits, but maybe she can shapechange into the next best thing. She realizes the danger of her undertaking for she assumes the persona of whatever creature she becomes. Should she become consumed by bloodlust, she could become as terrible a threat as Wendigo, but she sees no alternative. After a short prayer to her grandfather, Hodiak, she changes into a white Wolverine.

It is said that no animal on earth matches the Wolverine’s ferocity or indomitable will. Logan is the closest avatar of the small deadly woodbeast. But Snowbird, who now ferociously attacks the Wendigo, has become the real thing. Between them, there’s no comparison. Horrified, the others stare at the ugly duel. When it’s over, Wendigo lies unconscious.

Shaman steps forward, only to freeze in his tracks, as the Snowbird-Wolverine bares its fangs and warns him away from its prey. The animal persona has taken over, he realizes. The changeling spell should work on her as well as the Wendigo - Wolverine holds him back. He could be left too wasted - he wouldn’t have enough strength to handle Wendigo. He’ll handle Annie. Wolverine reaches out to the animal fighting his own instincts to attack. He urges her to remember who and what she is. He isn’t aware of how long he talks but, eventually, the wolverine responds and changes back into Snowbird, who weakly thanks him.

Now, it’s Shaman’s turn. He spends the rest of the night preparing himself for the ordeal that’s to come. Finally, he casts his spell and, before their eyes, the Wendigo reverts back into Georges Baptiste. Weakly, the man asks if his nightmare is finally ended. He’s afraid not, Vindicator tells him and places him under arrest.

Later, Vindicator explains that this may seem cruel but he had no choice. Baptiste became Wendigo of his own free will. Under Canadian law, that makes him culpable for any crimes committed as Wendigo. The courts shouldn’t be too hard on him, though. His acts were those of an insane man. He thanks Logan and promises to talk to the minister about his resignation. There’ll be no more hassles. And now that he’s a free man, he should come and visit him and Heather more often. They miss him. Wolverine promises he will. Snowbird secretly watches Logan, silently admitting to herself that she wants to see him again.

As the Alphans leave with Baptiste, Nightcrawler tells Logan that, looking at Baptiste, he thinks, “there but for the grace of God goes you.” Baptiste killed and must now pay the price. Shouldn’t Wolverine pay for his deeds as well? Logan explains that, in his life, he’s been two things: a wartime soldier and a secret agent. As one, his government paid him to kill; as the other, they licensed him to kill. He was very good at both jobs. Nightcrawler interrupts and Wolverine asks him to let him finish. If a man comes at him with fists, he’ll meet him with fists. But if he pulls a gun or threatens people he’s protecting, then all bets are off. He’ll have to live or die with that choice. He’s never used his claws on someone who didn’t try to kill him first. He calls that self-defense. Nightcrawler understands. That’s logical. But does that make it right? It leaves Wolverine with a lot to think about.

Meanwhile, in the parliament building in Ottawa, Vindicator has a meeting wit the prime minister. First, the minister commends Vindicator on the way they handled the Wendigo business. Somberly, he wishes they had a better reward - Department H and Alpha Flight are being disbanded. Money is in short supply and there is an anti-superhuman sentiment. The prime minister regrets this and assures Hudson that the Alphans can kept heir security clearances and status as R.C.M.P. auxiliaries. He wishes he could do more. Hudson thanks him and assures him that somehow they’ll manage. They fought too hard give up now.

The United States Federal Maximum X Security penitentiary, New Mexico - where some of the deadliest supervillains are incarcerated. It’s supposedly escape-proof. Two guards check one of their prisoners, the Blob. One guard comments that he hasn’t budged in days, not since his lady lawyer visited him. Suddenly, the entire cellblock collapses on itself. The Blob triumphantly emerges, exclaiming that that implosion stunt his lady “lawyer” taught him is pretty nifty. Looks like she’s worth trusting after all. She said transportation would be waiting outside the prison. All he had to do was make it outside on his own as an entrance exam to see if he was good enough to join the New Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Well, he exclaims, he is and she and the rest of the world are gonna find out!

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Sprite, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Shaman, Snowbird, Vindicator (all Alpha Flight)

Storm’s wannabe stalker

Stevie Hunter (Kitty’s dance instructor)

Eileen Parnall

Her baby

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau

Jail guards

Wendigo II / Georges Baptiste

The Blob



James MacDonald Hudson

Heather McNeil Hudson

Story Notes: 

Alpha Flight comes together again and decides to stay together, even without government backing, in the pages of Alpha Flight (1st series) #1, which takes place a few weeks after the end of this story.

Issue Information: 
Written By: