Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #250

Issue Date: 
October 1989
Story Title: 
The Shattered Star

Chris Claremont (writer), Mark Silvestri (penciler), Steve Leialoha (finisher), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Joe Rosen (letterer), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Zaladane and her forces return to Antarctica and their towered fortress in the Savage Land. Havok reveals himself only to be captured. Bound and drugged to prevent him from using his powers, he is forced to watch as Zaladane steals the powers of Polaris. Dazzler, Colossus, and Psylocke arrive on the scene and are immediately ambushed by the Savage Land Mutates. After the X-Men are captured, they are brought before Zaladane. Polaris, to everyone's surprise, begins to manifest new powers of strength and invulnerability. Swiftly, she frees the rest of the X-Men and other prisoners who revolt against Zaladane. With the tower in flames, the X-Men flee the fortress in a skysled, only to realize that Zaladane is still alive and has activated the tower's defensive shields. Before the X-Men can decide their next move, they are teleported back to their base in Australia by Gateway, much to the concern of Psylocke who experienced the X-Men’s death in a precognitive vision.

Full Summary: 

In Antarctica, in the Soviet research facility Vostok 3, a year round station manned by the Soviet Academy of Sciences, the researchers celebrate the latest shipment of entertainment from the United States. Their revelry is silenced forever as a gleaming tower of chrome rises through the center of the facility, obliterating the lives of seventy-three men and women.
The ships of Zaladane, returning from their mission in Punta Arenas, Chile, land at the base of the tower. Out of the ships pour Zaladane, the Savage Land Mutates, the barbarian hordes and a disguised Havok. Havok is sickened by the carnage of the research facility and horrified as the barbarians pick up and shackle those who survived.
Zaladane leads her men into the tower and commands them to behold the trasmutator; a massive device left behind by the High Evolutionary, that according to Zaladane, is not only one of the greatest fruit from the genius of the High Evolutionary, but her key to ultimate power and victory. Zaladane commands Barbarus, the four-armed Mutate who has been carrying Polaris, to place the unconscious woman onto the device's center dais. As Barbarus does so, Brainchild, another Mutate, reminds Zaladane that while his brilliance is without earthly peer, the device he has constructed is based on the genius of the High Evolutionary and works on principles that he does not fully understand. Zaladane responds that even if the price is death, it is well worth the risk.
Having heard enough, Havok decides to make his move. After powering up with his plasma aura and yelling to the would-be conqueror, Havok is astonished at a lack of surprise from Zaladane. Striking the X-Man in the midsection with a staff, Gaza explains that Havok was a fool to believe that he could walk among them unrecognized. Lupo next attacks, leaping on the battered Havok. Lupo laughs that the blind Gaza had recognized the X-Man's aura and he himself had recognized the scent. Lupo begins to draw blood with his claws, but is pulled off by Barbarus at the command of Zaladane. She commands that the X-Man be kept alive. Obediently, Amphibius brings the Black Lotus, whose fragrance had neutralized Polaris earlier in body and spirit.
With Havok secure in bonds and under the power deliberating influence of the Black Lotus, Zaladane returns to the transmutator. Once on the dais, she places her hands on the shoulders of Polaris and commands the machine activated. The magnetic energy of the South Pole begins to flow through the body of Polaris. More raw energy than she has ever wielded flows, causing her to scream. The body of Polaris loses physical coherence, her flesh and bone melting into purest light, leaving only Polaris' terrible cry. With tears in his eyes, Havok cries for Polaris by her true name, Lorna. From the blinding radiance a form begins to be seen, the form of Zaldane.
Sometime later, Zaladane's skysled lands in the hangar of the former citadel of the High Evolutionary. After disembarking, she calls for Worm, another Savage Land Mutate. A creature more giant worm than man, Worm places his hands on one of the Soviet scientists. A powerful mucoid film quickly envelopes the man. After being encased, the man begins to follow the commands of Worm, that of forcing the other intruders toward Worm for the same treatment.
Outside of the citadel, Psylocke listens telepathically and informs her teammates, Colossus and Dazzler, of the events inside. Without a reason why, Psylocke strips off her armor and dives into the river before them. Colossus theorizes that Psylocke's actions are not those of her own, but quickly is moved to action when Psylocke begins to feel the undertow of the river's waterfall. As Colossus wades into the water, he finds that his body does not answer his own mind. His steel hand grabs Psylocke by the throat and submerges her into the river.
Dazzler, still on the riverbank, fires solid light photons at Colossus, trying to make him let go. Colossus, still in control of his mind if not his body, begs Dazzler to sever his arm with a laser thereby saving Psylocke. Dazzler's decision is haunted by a similar request by Rogue that led to her apparent destruction with the Siege Perilous. Torn by this choice, Dazzler does not notice Worm until he places his hands on her. Now trapped in Worm's envelope of mucus, Dazzler is unable to make either decision. Still held under water, Psylocke loses consciousness.
(precognitive vision / dreamtime)

Psylocke finds herself back in the X-Men's camp in Australia, trying to make sense of her situation. She sees none of the other X-Men and takes stock of the fact that she is back in her armor, which she had shed minutes before. Psylocke's theory of being transported back to camp by Gateway, gives way to the theory that she is experiencing the final moment before death. After hearing laughter, Psylocke enters the town's hotel. Inside, Psylocke finds a half human, half machine version of herself, crucified on the wall. Her face buried in her hands, Psylocke runs outside.
Outside the situation seems worse. Chained to a post she finds a dead Colossus. Also chained, but hanging upside down Psylocke finds Dazzler, likewise dead. Next, on a pike, Psylocke finds the decapitated head of Havok. Psylocke runs out of town toward Gateway's hill. She no longer believes that she is dead, but remains unsure as to whether she is mad or merely hallucinating. On top of the hill she finds Gateway, bound and gagged in chains. After seeing the aborigine, Psylocke begins to believe that she is in Gateway's Dreamtime, foretelling the future. She pleads with the elder mute to give her better signs, asking if her vision is showing that certain death awaits the X-Men if they return. Inside his hand, Psylocke finds the Siege Perilious, in its amulet form. A realization dawns on the telepath; that the team's only hope may be to run away.

Back at Zaladane's citadel, Havok and Polaris are in a dungeon, chained to a wall with their hands bound over their head. Brainchild proposes to Polaris that if she but consented, she could be a queen. Havok yells to the Mutate to leave her alone and is prompty silence by a punch from Amphibius. Lupo warns the reptilian Mutate that if blood is to be drawn, it is the right of Lupo. Lupo then slyly asks Brainchild why he needs the woman's permission, as Zaladane has removed her powers. Scratching his chin, Brainchild points out that while Polaris is still their captive, she is still the sister of Zaladane. Polaris is perplexed but does possess a sense of gratefulness. While she is captive in body she can no longer feel the presence of the Marauder Malice in her mind at all.
Upstairs in the throne room, Barbarus brings a group of chained prisoners before Zaladane. Zaladane mocks her prisoners: Ka-Zar, proclaimed Lord of the Savage Land, his wife Shanna and their baby son Matthew; Nereel, chief of the United Tribes and her son Peter; and finally a Worm controlled Dazzler and Psylocke and a magnetically controlled Colossus. Ka-Zar proclaims his defiance and promises to find a way to beat Zaladane. Cooly Zaladane uses her new magnetic powers to move Colossus, like a puppet, toward Ka-Zar's baby and Nereel's son, voicing her intention to slay them.
Back below, Brainchild, Lupo, and Amphibius discuss their wishes for blood and pain on Polaris and Havok. Polaris, beginning to panic, flexes her arms in frustration and pulls her chains from the wall. All are surprised, but Polaris recovers first and swings her chains, knocking out Amphibius and Lupo. Brainchild draws a gun, but it is rendered useless when it's ammunition bounces off of Polaris' apparently invulnerable skin. With a flick of a finger, Polaris sends Brainchild flying across the room and into the stone wall, knocking him out as well. Lost in an ache for her ex-lover, Polaris kisses the still-chained Havok deeply, noticing that along with her new strength and invulnerability she has a height taller than that of Havok.
Above, Shanna pleads with Zaladane to have pity on the children. Zaladane bitterly replies that she has no pity and that she wishes to see the pain of the parents' losing their children and watch the noble Colossus do the slaying. Still trapped in Worm's mucus, Psylocke is able to reach out telepathically to the now freed Havok and Polaris. She informs the two that the situation is grave and asks Iifthey can help. Polaris tells Psylocke that Havok is still zoned-out from drugs. Psylocke replies that this is not a problem and promptly takes mental control of him, apologizing while she does it.
Back in Zaladane's throne room the tormented Colossus reaches the children and stretches out his arms. Suddenly, the floor erupts as Havok's blast fires from below. Just as suddenly, the massive door to the throne room is punched off of its hinges by the powerhouse of Polaris. Zaladane recovers from the impossibility of the situation by magnetically controlling Colossus to attack Polaris. To everyone's surprise, including Polaris herself, Polaris holds her own, blow for blow against the armored X-Man.
Meawhile, others take advantage of the situation. Nereel's son, Peter, reaches for a dropped firearm. Ka-Zar, using mighty strength, breaks his bonds. While Colossus continues his unwilling fistfight with Polaris, and Ka-Zar beats on Barbarus from above, Psylocke contacts the young Peter. She instructs the boy to aim his gun at the hidden Worm, who continues to control his enslaved prey. The young Peter misses, but destroys Zaladane's throne, which explodes, knocking out Worm.
While they are now free of Worm's direct control, Psylocke and Dazzler are still imprisoned inside of Worm's control membranes. Dazzler manages to find a way to burn the membrane off with her powers. Psylocke tells Dazzler to join the fight, as her membrane is beneath the armor, making it difficult to be removed. Knowing that Psylocke will be protected while in the armor, Dazzler accepts.
Havok staggers into the throne room and tries to make sense of the melee. Floating above it is the pompous Zaladane. Wishing he had done it before, and saved innocent lives and grief, Havok fires a plasma discharge toward Zaladane. In an instant Zaladane erects a counter-energy-shield. However, not anchored, Zaladane is pushed full force through the wall. The throne room begins to rumble and columns begin to collapse. Now freed from Zaladane, Colossus, back in control of his body, makes short work of Gaza and Barbarus.
The X-Men and Ka-Zar's group make haste toward a skysled, which they fly out of the flaming citadel. Dazzler informs the group that she and Psylocke managed to free the barbarian warriors from the Worm generated membranes that had enslaved them. Havok asks if that means that only bad guys are left in the citadel. Confused, Dazzler replies yes. She immediately cries out loud as Havok releases a full plasma blast toward the citadel. To the team's dismay, the blast ricochets off of an energy shield, narrowly avoiding the skysled. Dazzler screams at Havok, accusing him of trying to kill Zaladane and her men. Darkly, Havok answers that Zaladane had worse in mind for the X-Men. Colossus, lost in thought about what is now right and wrong, does not see the pain that his anguish brings to a love struck Nereel. Finally taking stock of the obvious, Ka-Zar asks Dazzler if the X-Men haven't been reported dead. Shanna, holding tight her baby boy, points out that Zaladane is not finished and will not stop until she has won.
Psylocke contemplates this and thinks that if the team stays to finish Zaladane, they could avoid the fate that she saw in Gateway's Dreamtime. Before she can voice her opinions, or the dream that influence them, Psylocke finds herself and her fellow X-Men outside of their town in Australia. Without instruction, Gateway has teleported them home.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Dazzler, Havok, Psylocke (all X-Men)

Polaris (former X-Man)



Mathew Plunder; Ka-Zar and Shanna's son


Peter, Nereel's son

crew of Vostok 3, Soviet Antarctic research station

Amphibius, Barbarus, Brainchild, Gaza, Lupo, Worm (all Savage Land Mutates)

Savage Land Barbarians
In dreamtime / a precognitive vision


Story Notes: 

In the credits Marc Silvestri's first name is misspelled as Mark.
This issue is the first appearance of the Savage Land Mutate Worm.
The High Evolutionary disappeared at the end of the 1988 Marvel Annuals crossover The Evolutionary War in Avengers Annual #17. He would reappear in Thor #407 where he would once again take corporeal form.
Polaris is indeed freed of the influence of Malice. Malice turns up again X-Factor #102-105 possessing Havok in an attempt to kill Polaris, to prevent that Sinister can permanently bond the two women once more.
Nereel's son, Peter, is unnamed in the text of the story. It is his second appearance after first appearing in Uncanny X-Men Annual #12, where it was heavily suggested that he is the son of Colossus.
Zaladane resurfaces in Uncanny X-Men #274 using her newly acquired magnetic powers to conquer the entire Savage Land and trying to steal Magneto’s energies.
Back in her appearances in various Captain Britain titles of Marvel UK, Betsy Braddock was more a precog than a telepath. This is the first time since joining the X-Men that this part of her powers is adressed again.

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