Credits: Chris Claremont (script), Jim Lee (plot/pencils), Scott Williams (inks), Pat Brosseau (letters), Joe Rosas (colors)
Summary: Magneto, Rogue, and Ka-Zar defeat members of the Savage Land Mutates, who now serve Zaladane. Eventually, they meet Nick Fury and his SHIELD team, who have arrived to stop Zaladane from erecting more of her magnetic towers. Rogue convinces Magneto to stay with the SHIELD team, even though one member is the father of a sailor killed by Magneto years earlier. Meanwhile, Lila Cheney brings the X-Men to a mysterious location, where they’re quickly captured by a tentacle monster. Deathbird appears, announcing that she needs the team to kill Charles Xavier.
- Cyclops and Marvel Girl meet Guido for the first time, in a brief scene that has him recapping what happened at the end of the last issue.
- Rogue has lost her powers, following her trip through the Siege Perilous. Magneto has attempted to revive them by “(reintegrating) her bio-matrix,” but she remains powerless.
- Magneto sunk the Russian submarine Leningrad in Uncanny X-Men #150 after being fired upon in retaliation for his scheme to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
- This issue marks the first hint of a romance between Magneto and Rogue, as he feels an unusual “connection” to her after she wakes him up from a nightmare.
- Magneto is straining to use his powers, but keeping it a secret from his companions. I don’t recall Claremont stating a reason for Magneto’s weakness at the time, but years later he’ll address it in X-Men Forever.
“Huh?” Moment: Magneto suddenly carries around a hologram generator for the purposes of this story.
Miscellaneous Notes: The Statement of Ownership lists average sales for the year at 412,961 copies, with the most recent issue selling 404,300.
Review: I would be curious to know how Jim Lee received a plotting credit this issue, while Chris Claremont is relegated to merely “script.” The standard belief is that Jim Lee demanded more plot input as his run continued, and according to some sources, would often ignore Claremont’s plots in favor of whatever he felt like drawing that month. If this issue was plotted entirely by Lee with no input from Claremont, that would make it one of the very few issues of Uncanny X-Men during his run that had him scripting over someone else’s plot (and putting Jim Lee in the odd company of Bill Mantlo and Tom DeFalco).
Jim Lee as a plotter isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. He’s not overly ambitious at this point, which works in his favor. He’s assembled an engaging cast of characters and he’s giving them room to bounce off of each other, and he’s resolving a plot line that’s been dangling for several months. With the exception of Magneto spontaneously generating a hologram of himself, none of this feels as arbitrary or sloppy as those early Image comics. Structuring the story so that Magneto keeps running into victims of his past behavior, starting with the Savage Land Mutates and ending with the father of a young sailor he killed, is quite ingenious.
The highlight of the issue, however, has to be Claremont’s first-hand narration of Magneto. Perhaps if Claremont plotted the issue alone, he would’ve diverged from the simple setup and developed a more elaborate scheme for Zaladane, or jumped back and forth between five different subplots. When left to narrate a relatively simple story of Magneto and an ad hoc team of allies tracking down Zaladane, he’s free to get inside Magneto’s head and continue the rather remarkable exploration of the character he began a decade earlier. Magneto as the repentant villain, the Holocaust survivor, the father, the man whose life is stained by blood; this is fascinating material. Even when Lee draws a simple panel of Magneto electromagnetically bombing a group of Zaladane’s brainwashed followers, Claremont uses it to elucidate his guilt and reflect on the mercy Magneto wishes he could receive, the peace of forgetting the actions of his past. This was heavy material for a ten-year-old, but I wasn’t intimidated by it. Issues like this made the characters feel real to me, and I appreciated the fact that I wasn’t being spoken down to.