Collects Uncanny X-Men #199-213; New Mutants Special Edition #1; Uncanny X-Men Annual #9; X-Factor #9-10; New Mutants #46; Thor #373-374; Power Pack #27

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: John Romita Jr., Barry Windsor-Smith, Arthur Adams, Rick Leonardi

This another collection full of classic issues; people and events which still affect story lines. The collection starts with Mystique meeting with Val Cooper, the president’s adviser, and so the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants becomes Freedom Force, who works only for the president. Rachel Summers visits her mother’s parents’ house (in this universe), she touches Jean’s memory crystal and apparently gets a power boost. In later issues, the Beyonder gives her even more power and the X-Men wonder if Rachel will be the new Dark Phoenix.

Next up is Magneto’s trial in Paris. During the story, Xavier has a heart attack and is teleported away by the Star Jammers. Xavier makes Magneto promise that he will take over and teach the kids in his absence. Unsurprisingly, some X-Men are skeptical about that. The trial ends without a clear sentence. Instead the judge says that Magneto and all mutants will be judged by public opinion instead of any judges. Also, Madelyne and Scott’s son is born, making it clear that this isn’t Rachel’s universe.

Then, perhaps my favorite issue in this collection: Cyclops and the powerless Storm duel over the leadership of the X-Men. Cyclops loses and Storm is now the acknowledged leader. Cyclops disappears for a while from the comic, presumably to live with his wife and son. I remember when I read this comic for the first time and how amazed I was that Storm was such a badass without her powers. Also, I think Rick Leonardi’s art was perfect for this issue.

Then we have two issues which focus on one X-Man: first Wolverine and then Nightcrawler. Wolverine’s issue introduced lady Deathstroke but otherwise these issues, and the next one, where the X-Men fight Freedom Force in San Francisco, are pretty average.

Then comes issues focusing on Rachel’s mental problems which are only heightened by her great supernatural powers. Rachel is a tortured character who comes from a tortured future, and she wants to do anything to keep it from happening. The problem is that she’s also just one person and she can’t know what to do. She sees that some things are the same, like the way humans hate and fear mutants more and more, and wants to change that. This time her hatred for the evil mutants boils over and she infiltrates Hellfire’s Club and attacks their Black Queen, Selene. However, Wolverine confronts Rachel and begs her to leave instead of becoming a murderer. Rachel refuses and Wolverine wounds her grievously. However, Rachel’s powers keep her wound closed, just barely, and she escapes. Both the X-Men and Hellfire’s Club search for her and fight in the Central Park. In the end, the two groups have to join forces against Nimrod, and Rachel is lured by Spiral into the Body Shoppe where all her memories would go away. I believe she isn’t seen again until in the first issue of Excalibur.

Poor Rachel. She has suffered so much and feels out of place in the past. She doesn’t even tell Scott that he’s her father but just keeps an awkward distance. This time her actions also case friction among the X-Men. I feel that this is classic Claremont where he mixes super powered fights with tortured characters and heroes arguing amongst themselves about pretty big issues (this time what gives anyone a right to kill someone else) and teams up villains and heroes against a bigger threat (one of my favorite troupes!).

Next up is an aftermaths issue with foreshadowing. Kitty gets to tell off a bunch of racists who are attacking Kurt because of his appearance. Mutants are compared to the Jewish people and other oppressed minorities.

Then the Marauders attack! That kicks off the Mutant Massacre storyline which continues for the rest of the collection. Storm loses (briefly) confidence in her ability to lead, a lot of Morloks are killed, and gentle Colossus becomes a killer, as well. The collection ends with three X-Men out of commission: Colossus is paralyzed, Shadowcat is stuck in an intangible state, and Nightcrawler is seriously injured. On the plus side, Psylocke is introduced, in her original body as a young British girl, and she goes toe to toe with Sabertooth and survives.

In New Mutants Special Edition, the New Mutants and Storm are kidnapped to Asgard by a vengeful Loki. In X-Men Annual 9, the X-Men follow in order to rescue the kids and Storm. I remember enjoying this story quite a lot when I first read it. Many of the kids get more confidence in themselves and each other as a team. Also, Dani Moonstar becomes a Valkyrie and get her winged steed. Illyana’s evil side is also established pretty firmly.

Overall, this is a great collection and I really enjoyed myself rereading these stories.

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