X-Men: The Hidden Years #7

Issue Date: 
June 2000
Story Title: 
Power Play

John Byrne (writer), Tom Palmer (pencils), Greg Wright (colors), Jason Liebig (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Deluge uses his powers to raise up the water, hoping to drown the X-Men and their new friend, Ororo, all of whom are tied to stakes. Jean uses her telepathic powers to fire Cyclops’ optic beam, as he himself is still unconscious and can’t help on his own. The beam hits the dam they are trapped in, releasing the rising water. No longer in danger of drowning, Beast gathers his strength and releases himself, and frees his teammates, as well as Ororo. Meanwhile, an amnesiac Iceman wakes up in the hut of Karl Lykos, who is unsure how to handle the situation, because he doesn’t want the X-Men to know that he is still alive. Elsewhere in the Savage Land, Havok, Lorna and Ka-Zar calm down the angry villagers, who turn out to be former slaves of the Nhu’ghari and a hundred years old! The X-Men hope to form a battle strategy against Deluge, who is distracted by his apparent victory and lost in his memories of how he became the man he is today and discovered his mutant powers. Ororo faces her opponent and uses her powers to push him off balance, while Jean uses her powers on Scott again. Without a pause, he keeps firing optic blasts upon Deluge, who becomes overloaded by the immeasurable power and explodes! Now that the X-Men have won, they take their leave from Ororo and decide to finally return home. Along the way, Hank starts to worry about Warren, whom they haven’t heard a word from since before the battle. Meanwhile, Angel and Avia find themselves prisoners on a ship, and its captain wants to earn some money from them. As Cyclops, Beast and Marvel Girl finally return home, they discover they aren’t alone, and have some famous guests: the Fantastic Four!

Full Summary: 

Beast, before the water began to consume them, realizes that they are in trouble. As the water starts to rise up and the X-Men and Ororo are threatened to drown, Jean realizes that she has to do something, as she is the only one who can.

Deluge triumphs, finding it ironic that the same waters Ororo created to help the villagers will now be responsible for her very own death! Jean doesn’t know how much longer she can hold her breath, but realizes that the quickest way out of this situation is to use the still-unconscious Scott the same way she used him against Magneto a while back, namely by using her telekinesis to lift his head, and open his visor so that his optic beams can help them.

Jean panics, not sure if she can do this because Scott is still unconscious, and his eyes are closed. She doesn’t dare use her telekinesis on his eyelids. Her control just isn’t fine enough, so she could tear the delicate flesh. But, there might be something else she can do. She decides to try it out, and it works. Cyclops releases an optic beam, which hits the dam and breaks it apart so the water can flow through it. Hank thanks Jean for the rescue, and uses his strength to break himself free from the ropes that had him tied up. Once free himself, Hank also frees Scott, Jean and Ororo.

Ororo doesn’t understand how Cyclops could have used his powers while unconscious. Jean explains that she couldn’t use her telekinesis to open his eyes, so she used her telepathy to go inside his mind and take over control of his motor functions. She doesn’t like using her powers this way, but Hank defends that he’s certain Scott will forgive her.

Elsewhere in the Savage Land…

Lykos has brought Iceman to his hut and notices that the boy is getting up. He tries to figure out what to do, remembering that Iceman saw him once in his human form, but only from a distance. He doesn’t want to be captured again. Bobby wakes up, but finds himself tied to the bed and wants to know the reason. Also, his head hurts. Karl defends that the ropes were needed in order that he might pick Bobby up and transport him to his hut. However, Karl also claims that he isn’t really sure where they are himself, except that the hut seems to be the remains of the former headquarters of a German exploratory team. And one that apparently failed.

When Bobby doesn’t know what he means, Lykos points Bobby to the skeletons sitting on a table. Bobby freaks out, and wonders why he is feeling so weak and can’t remember anything. He can’t even remember who he is!

On that moment…

Lorna, while tending to the fallen Ka-Zar, orders Havok to stop demonstrating his powers on the villagers, thinking they have the point now. Alex calms down, thinking that the villagers will probably think twice before they start throwing with stones again. When he then asks Ka-Zar how he feels, the jungle lord gets up, smiling that only his pride is injured. He hates the fact that these villagers would try to fight him, and he believes that his name as Lord of the Savage Land hasn’t reached this deep into the Land itself yet. Suddenly, a woman corrects Lord Pluder that isn’t entirely true.

Continuing, the woman claims that some of the villagers have heard of the mighty Ka-Zar, but she admits that most of them were enslaved in the city of the Nhu’ghari many years before Ka-Zar came to the Savage Land. Lorna finds that suspicious, as most of the villagers, including the woman, look really old. At least the ones who aren’t tossing with rocks. And she knows that Ka-Zar has been in the Savage Land for about twenty-five years by now. The woman confirms that’s true, but claims that most of the people Lorna and her friends see are about a hundred years old!


Jean asks if Deluge is some kind of energy vampire, and Ororo believes that’s one way to describe their adversary. She reveals that Deluge draws energy directly from his surroundings. But he’s also able to shape that energy and use it to create more. Hank realizes that’s how he could gain control over Ororo’s storm. He knows that she intended the storm to be no more than a few days rain, but that Deluge turned it into something that spawns almost a whole hemisphere. When Jean wants to know how they can stop the villain, Beast replies he already has some ideas on that matter, based in part on the manner which Jean engineered their rescue. But first, he suggests they go find Deluge again.

Deluge himself is still flying into the skies, proud of his work. He admits that the power of this storm is beyond measure, and that it is still growing! And, as the storm grows, so too does his own power. So, he is able to make the storm even greater. He wonders how he could have guessed, when he was born into “this miserable world” that he would have one day the power to destroy it. He remembers how his life was filled with loneliness, because his unique pigmentation made him an outcast in his own village. But it was also that status which shaped Deluge’s daily life and caused him to wander far beyond the boundaries of his village, to find a world of wonders.

He had no way of knowing the meaning of the strange things he found, only that they were utterly alien to his existence. But the greatest surprise was yet to come, when the people who had created that strange place came home and discovered him. Those people imprisoned Deluge, while they jabbered in their foreign tongue. It would take Deluge years before he understood what his captors said that day. He remembers that the woman who trapped him realized they couldn’t kept him against his will, but the male believed that, if Deluge went back to his village, months of their work, and years of potential research could all be destroyed. The man believed they had no choice but to keep Deluge as their… guest.

In the weeks that followed, as Deluge discovered his attitude for the learning of languages, he also learned that, when his absence was discovered, no one from his village attempted to search for him. His captors were making a study of his village, because its isolation had preserved it in a state such as humans knew thousands of years ago. So did Deluge’s hatred grow greater and greater. He grew hatred for his own kind who had abandoned him, and hatred of those “white skinned devils,” who saw in his people nothing more than subjects to be studied upon.

Until one day, some months in Deluge’s captivity, the pain that burned his gut turned out to be appendicitis. He now realizes that, if he had been at his village at the time, he surely would have died. But his captors shipped him back to their world. And there, Deluge learned that the man who had made the decision to leave his people in their isolation, so that they could be studied, had himself grown up in a village not so very different from Deluge’s!

Deluge remembers how angry he became when he learned that startling news, and asked the man how he could treat people like specimen the way he did. The man defended that he had already explained that those people aren’t harmed in any way. In fact, the potential for harm lay in their exposure to the man’s world. Deluge found that to be hypocrisy. He asked the man if he has been harmed by his escape from such primitive squalor. The man defended it was hardly squalor. He defends that Deluge’s people now live like they have for thousands of years, and are happy to do so.

Deluge angrily confirmed that, shouting that his people are happy because they are ignorant. They are happy because they don’t know there is another way they can live. Neither Deluge nor the man was prepared for what happened next. It was as if his rage became a living thing, exploding from his being as lightning explodes from the heart of the storm. It was on that moment that his powers manifested themselves, and Deluge killed his captor. Blind panic seized him. He ran until his lungs burned and his heart seemed fit to burst. Once Deluge’s mind was once again his to command, he hid himself, and set about learning the secrets of his new powers.

He came to realize that he was a mutant, and in his mutation lay the power to shape his environment to suit his needs. It was then only a matter of time before he found the perfect application of his power. He stole and harnessed to his own purpose the storm that was created by the weather-witch named Ororo. Now, at last, he stands upon the very threshold of the moment he can purge from the Earth all those that have wronged him.

Suddenly, Ororo comes flying in, defending that the only harmful things in Deluge’s life are his own rage and bitterness. Deluge doesn’t want to hear any of Ororo’s lectures. He knows that she has lived her whole life being worshipped as a goddess. How could she possibly know anything about suffering? Ororo defends that she suffered more than Deluge knows. They start fighting, but Deluge defends it’s no use, confident that Ororo can’t steal the storm away from him again.

Beneath the battle, Jean, Hank and Scott move to their side of the plan. Jean asks Hank if he’s certain about this. Hank defends that he’s now as certain as he’ll ever be, because he has no time to test his theory. Jean realizes that, but she feels bad about using Scott like he is nothing but a mere tool. Hank is certain that Scott would approve of what he has in mind. After all, it’s the best way to defeat their nemesis. Jean worries about the consequences, should they or Ororo fail. Hank does too, but they don’t have any choice. He realizes that, in another few minutes, Deluge’s storm will be beyond Ororo’s power to command. He asks Jean to get ready to link his mind with Ororo’s, so they can start doing this.

A mere moment later, Ororo can feel Jean’s mind within her own, and realizes it’s time. Deluge notices that Ororo hesitates, and he thinks she has started to doubt herself. Ororo defends it’s quite the opposite. She attacks him with a bright lightning bolt, causing Deluge’s eyes to hurt and he falls down. Ororo warns Hank to help her now, because they only have a few moments to complete their plan. Hank agrees and starts explaining to Ororo what she has to do. He wants her to shape the water droplets in the clouds as he instructed her earlier. Ororo can read the configuration in Hank’s mind, as Jean links them.

Ororo understands what she has to do. She only prays that she has the time for it. She uses her powers to broaden the storm, and a bright light starts surrounding everyone. Jean believes that the plan is working. Deluge becomes angry, not knowing what the X-Men’s plan is, but he is confident he won’t be defeated. Jean uses her powers again to open Scott’s eyes, and he unleashes a powerful optic blast, which hits Deluge! Deluge laughs, calling the X-Men insane because Cyclops’ power will only help increase the one he already had.

Hank states that Deluge is so drunk with power he isn’t thinking straight. He is now sucking up all the energy of Scott’s beam, and it will only take a few more moments before that gets out of control. Cyclops keeps firing upon Deluge, and he keeps absorbing. But suddenly, he feels strangely and realizes his mistake. A moment later, he explodes! Ororo flies up to the skies and confirms that nothing is left of their former adversary. And just in time, too. The storm was only seconds from being too great for her to control. After calming the weather down and a beautiful sun shines again, Ororo lands in front of Beast who explains his plan to her.

He concludes that it seemed obvious, once he realized it was still daylight above the cloud cover. And, with him also realizing that Ororo could shape the water droplets into a lens that would focus only the proper wavelength into Scott’s body, they were able to boost him back to full power, and use that power against Deluge. Ororo wonders if Deluge is really destroyed. That, Hank cannot say, as it wasn’t his plan to completely obliterate him. He couldn’t have possibly calculated Scott’s blast would result into such a gigantic conclusion. Ororo believes they better stay vigilant then. She takes off, wishing the X-Men farewell, hoping that, if they ever meet again, it will be under more pleasant circumstances.

Cyclops finally comes around again, and Hank thinks that’s probably with them messing around with his body like that must have jumpstarted his brain functions again. A confused Scott wants to know what happened and who it was that flew away. Hank calls Ororo a remarkable young woman, and he suspects that she was a mutant like they are. He also believes that they better inform the Professor about her once they get home.

Jean hesitantly admits that the Professor already knows about Ororo, as well as a whole lot of other mutants he hasn’t even told them about. Scott is surprised that the Professor has more secrets than they knew he had, and wonders if he knows Charles Xavier at all. Hank believes that, perhaps, they know as much as they need to know. He wants to go home now, as it’s a long trip, and also worries about Warren, as they haven’t heard from him at all!

Elsewhere, at the South Atlantic Ocean…

The sailors can’t believe that their captain is serious. He is, and walks to the lower decks, where he has Angel and Avia tied up! He is ready to make some money out of them.

Later that night, at Xavier’s…

Hank is glad to be home again, but still worries about Warren. Scott is confident Angel can take care of himself. Jean notices that the mansion is so dark inside, and that the power is off for some reason. Scott believes they are probably dealing with a blackout, or perhaps the Professor shut it down on purpose, for some reason. Hank doesn’t think that all is as it should be. To borrow a line from Mr. Skywalker “I’ve got a bad feeling about this…”

Suddenly, a mysterious woman comes out of a room. An intruder! The X-Men start fighting the woman, who dodges all of the attacks. Suddenly, her rocky partner hits Hank to the floor, telling the X-Men to stand down. Scott initiates maneuver 374, and tells Hank to act like they practiced in the Danger Room. Scott, Hank and Jean get into defense mode, as suddenly, flame appears and a rubbery body stops them! A voice orders the X-Men to stop fighting, as they’ve got better things to do. Cyclops, Beast and Marvel Girl stand down, and surprisingly recognize… the Fantastic Four!

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cyclops, Havok, Lorna Dane, Marvel Girl (all X-Men)

Iceman (former X-Man)

Ororo Munroe

Karl Lykos (aka Sauron)




Crystal, Human Torch II, Mr. Fantastic, the Thing (all Fantastic Four)

ship captain and sailors (all unnamed)

several villagers (all unnamed)

throughout Deluge’s flashback:

a young Deluge (as baby and child)

Ororo Munroe

several villagers (all unnamed)

Story Notes: 

Jean used Cyclops’ optic blasts against Magneto in X-Men (1st series) #63.

The X-Men believe Sauron to be dead after their earlier confrontation in X-Men (1st series) #61.

This issue marks Deluge final appearance to date, so he must have really died in this issue.

Crystal is currently replacing the Invisible Woman, as of Fantastic Four (1st series) #81. Sue herself is currently taking care of baby Franklin, who had just been born.

Beast’s line of “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” was indeed from the movie Star Wars (the original, episode IV). In fact, this phrase was a recurring gag in the Star Wars films, and was said by one character in every film.

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