Nightcrawler has confirmed to be ending in March and most likely Cyclops and Storm aren't far behind.
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Title-Dazzler (Volume 1) #21
Release Date- November 1982
Writer- Danny Fingeroth
Artist- Frank Springer
First appearance of Lois London. Features The Avengers, Fantastic Four, Daredevil and Spider-Man. Double sized issue
Alison Blaire, This Is Your Life!
Angel and Dazzler are flying through New York on the way towards the home of her father and grandmother. They remember the events that have transpired in the last few minutes and they even go past Spider-Man although they don’t notice him.
When they arrive at the house Dazzler is told by the psychiatrist looking after her father that by talking to him she could make his catatonic state even worse. She understands the risks and she still goes to him. He is sitting down in his study and begins to talk to him. He begins to respond but becomes angry and they begin to argue about her life choices and about her mother. Dazzler demands to know what happened to her and in his anger her father Carter begins to explain what happened.
He and Dazzler’s mother Katherine had fallen in love and she was a singer just like her daughter. While she sang Carter would continue on with his law studies. When he graduated and became a lawyer their world was happy and a year later Dazzler was born. But Katherine wanted to continue on with her career that was beginning to see her go into less respectable venues. Carter didn’t approve of this and the two began to argue and Katherine continued to do what she wished. Katherine eventually fell in love with a man named Nick Brown. After a while Katherine left Carter and Dazzler but claimed to be doing it for their sake rather than her own. Carter tried to communicate with her but she shut him out so he tried to raise Dazzler as best as he could by himself.
Dazzler refuses to believe that what Carter is saying is true and she runs out of the house where Angel comes to comfort her as much as he can. She tries not to believe what she has been told. Carter saw her career as being fool’s gold just like her mothers.
At the same time Dazzler’s mother now calling herself Barbara cries as she tells Vanessa that she is Dazzler’s mother. At first Vanessa wants to call Dazzler but Barbara refuses stating that she doesn’t want to cause her any more harm.
Barbara begins to explain how she fell in love with Nick Brown and how he got her hooked on drink and drugs. He began to see other women and she hoped that having a child would mend their relationship. They have a daughter named Lois but Nick beats Barbara in drunken rages. It was the lowest point of her life and she eventually left Nick but this time she wouldn’t be going to another man and she would be taking her daughter with her.
Barbara finishes off with saying that she got herself cleaned up and changed her name. She began a singing teacher to stay in her singing career but not as a singer. She doesn’t want to see Dazzler but Vanessa blackmails her to go to Dazzler’s next concert or else she will tell Dazzler. This is not to spite her but to allow her to see her daughter again.
The next morning Dazzler is deep in thought at her apartment when she is called by her manager Harry Osgood to come to his office right away. When she goes she sees Harry there with a sleazy man named Les Mitchell who wants her to sing in a big charity concert. He is planning to take a small percentage of the proceeds because it was his idea and the main reason he wants Dazzler to perform is because of her connections with numerous superheroes and he plans on them attending. At first Dazzler is unsure but Les tells her that it will take place at Carnegie Hall. As he leaves he pinches her on the bum.
With Les gone Dazzler turns to Harry and scolds him for allowing someone like Les to touch her like that. They have a minor argument and Harry tells her that the concert would be good for her career and is for a good cause. With some reluctance she agrees.
The next day Dazzler practices with her band but due to her thoughts about her mother she keeps making mistakes. She also practices her powers to get them to the right level. Les watches from the side lines and goes up to her and offers her a ‘magic pill’ to keep her focused. Dazzler angrily declines the offer and tells him to sit back down, she then continues on with the rehearsal although it doesn’t go too well.
The next day Dazzler goes clothes shopping with Vanessa and as she tries on the clothes she tells her friend about what she has heard about her mother. Vanessa wishes that she could tell Dazzler that she has found her mother but remembers the promise that she has made to Barbara.
That night she goes on a date with Ken Barrett and she tells him what has been happening with her life. When he asks about Angel she responds that they are just friends and that he is her true love.
Later that night Angel flies up to her window to wish her luck for her upcoming concert. They talk a little and he apologises about getting involved in her family business but she forgives him and they depart after a kiss.
A week passes and at the Blaire house Carter sits in his chair and sees a newspaper article advertising Dazzler’s concert. He sits there for several moments and he eventually makes his decision and gets out of his chair and drives away in his car into the night.
At Carnegie Hall the superheroes begin to arrive including the Fantastic Four, Avengers, Daredevil, Power-Man, Iron Fist, Quasar and even Spider-Man comes as Peter Parker. He notices that the X-Men haven’t arrived and when Ken arrives no one pays any attention to him since he is a normal person.
Vanessa and Barbara also arrive at Carnegie Hall, Barbara begins to get cold feet and admits that she will flee if Dazzler begins to suspect the truth. She is about to go into a cab but Vanessa convinces her to go.
Backstage Lance Steele reminds the hired workers that this is a big night for Dazzler and that nothing can go wrong. Dazzler herself is in her dressing room as Harry tries to talk to her but she is absent minded and barely takes in what he is saying. She is thinking too much about her mother. He angrily leaves the room and another man enters calling himself Lucky Louie. He sees that she is on edge and offers her some dope, she angrily rejects this and throws a bottle at him. When he is gone she thinks that Harry told him to do this and she angrily smashes a picture that she has of him and begins to cry.
There is another knock on the door and she tells the person to go away. She soon realises that it is her father and there is a few moments of silence before she gets up and gives him a hug. They sit down and talk, he tells her that he only had her best interests in mind and to not allow her to make the same mistakes as her mother. He sees now that she is a grown woman and he can’t stop her from doing what she wants and if he continues to push her away that he will lose her forever.
Dazzler is glad that she has her father back and she has started to see the darker side of the music industry. She puts her coat on and goes to leave, she doesn’t want to perform and she wants to go with Carter so that they can talk more. Just then Vanessa appears to wish Dazzler luck but when she sees that she is about to leave she has no choice but to tell her that her mother is in the crowd. At first neither Dazzler nor Carter can believe it but Vanessa assures them that it is the truth. A reminder goes off saying that it is one minute to show time and Dazzler decides to go out on stage in front of thousands.
Dazzler goes through her performance with great effect on the crowd and people notice that she is performing with more compassion. After two hours Dazzler takes the opportunity to tell the audience that someone she cares about and hasn’t seen in many years is in the crowd. She then begins to sing a melody that captivates the audience and she uses her powers to glow brightly, the song touches the hearts of both her mother and father and when she finishes Dazzler receives a standing ovation from the audience.
A short time later backstage the superheroes and Dazzler’s close friends and colleagues congratulate her for her performance. Even Harry apologises for the way that he has acted and Dazzler forgives him.
Soon after she is alone as she washes her face and she begins to hear footsteps. She goes outside of the room to try and find the person and she sees a woman in the shadows. As she steps up to her she sees that it is Barbara and they hug as mother and daughter are reunited. Barbara apologies for her mistakes and that not seeing her she thought that she was protecting her. Dazzler says that all that matters is that she loves her and at that moment Carter appears and sees his former wife. They reunite but Barbara says that she needs to leave to rethink many things. She promises to keep in touch and as she leaves Dazzler admits to Carter that she isn’t ready to give up her music career. Carter says that he will always be there for her and they hug.
Later Dazzler returns to her apartment and when she opens the door she sees that the superheroes are there to throw her a surprise party. She is overjoyed with all of this and as the party gets started she dances with Ken and she is happy that her life is getting straight.
Now we are once again back with Dazzler with what is definitely the best issue so far in the series. This issue takes note for a few different reasons besides content. The first is that this is the halfway point of the series, there has been twenty one issues and there is another twenty one to go. The second is that rather than having a hand drawn cover like in tradition this time round they have the model June MacDonald posing as Dazzler. The third is that this is also the last issue of Dazzler in Essential Dazzler Volume 1 so I can now move onto volume 2.
This story was building up for some time as Dazzler discovered her mother and also repaired her relationship with her father. To me there is nothing more touching than seeing a person reunited with a parent. That is something that many people can relate to and it shows that despite all the heartache that she has gone through at least there has been a happy ending for her. One thing to also note is that there was no villain in it so it wasn’t like she was fighting some bad guy. It certainly helped the issue in this instant.
One thing I did like with the issue as well is continuity. Like Spider-Man said the X-Men didn’t come to the concert since they are busy with the Brood at that point in time. Nowadays characters can appear in multiple series in several different locations. At least back then the continuity stayed consistent.
One definite part of the story that I did like was that Dazzler began to see the darker side of the music industry with the whole drugs and drink angle. Numerous talented artists have fallen victim to these substances and many of them have paid the ultimate price for it. Dazzler showed that she was strong enough to say no. It was what destroyed her mother’s life and it would likely have destroyed hers.
One small note is that this is the first appearance of Lois London who is Dazzler’s half-sister. We only saw her in a flashback but she herself is a mutant much like her sister. Her powers I can’t fully remember but I believe that they are much more of a curse than Dazzler’s and that she even eventually becomes a villain.
I think that this issue is also the peak of Dazzler’s singing career, I believe that her status as a singer will never get as high as it did in this issue but since this issue was so well done I think it would be hard to top. I can see her music career starting to falter because if she does reach super stardom and no longer face supervillains. It is a shame though but I can see it being necessary.
In conclusion I’m giving the issue a 9 out of 10. It was truly the best issue of Dazzler and I found myself enjoying it more the month’s issue of Uncanny X-Men although I prefer the other as a whole.
Wolverine (Volume 1) #3
Title- Uncanny X-Men (Volume 1) #163
Release Date- November 1982
Writer- Chris Claremont
Artist- Dave Cockrum & Bob Wiacek
The X-Men ally Carol Danvers is strapped to a Brood machine and she is being experimented on by the Brood themselves. Her genetic structure is neither human nor mutant. They use the machine to manipulate her body and transform her. One of the Brood present is commanded to go and get refreshments but they don’t realise that Wolverine has found his way into the city. He attacks the Brood before turning onto the others. His skin is still scaly and he is able to attack and kill all the Brood who have been experimented on Carol.
With the Brood dead Wolverine looks at Carol and sees that she doesn’t look human anymore. Taking a chance he destroys the controls to the controls to the device and she falls out and reverts to her human form. He looks into her eyes and sees that they are black and sparkling but they suddenly revert to normal. Her scent is also different but she is able to pick herself up and also pick up a nearby weapon. She expects to feel weak but she actually feels better than ever. She and Wolverine then leave the area to find the other X-Men.
On Earth the X-Mansion is being reconstructed as Corsair and Havok beam down. Polaris goes to Havok and he explains to her that the X-Men have been kidnapped and most likely killed by the Brood. In his anger he destroys a nearby pile of timber and this causes Corsair to react as he thinks that there is an attack. He relaxes but admits to Moira MacTaggart that he intends to go to the Brood and kill them all. He doesn’t want to take Havok with him and he also wishes to say goodbye to Professor Xavier before he leaves. Unfortunately Xavier is in a sorry state so instead Corsair beams away after saying his goodbye to Moira.
Cyclops is seemingly being attacked in an alien jungle by the Brood. He sees the X-Men and goes towards them as he blasts away more Brood. When he gets to the X-Men they have transformed into Brood themselves and attack him. He defends himself but he is soon confronted by a Brood of himself. It tells him that an egg has been implanted into him and that nothing can save him. Cyclops is soon overwhelmed by the Brood but then he is picked up by a pair of giant hands and when he looks up he sees the towering figure of Xavier. When he asks Xavier for his help he is told that he already has the power that can help and with all of his might Cyclops resists what is happening.
Cyclops suddenly wakes up and finds himself on a strange planet. He thinks that he is on the Shi’Ar homeworld but it is nothing like Xavier had described to him. He finds Storm kneeling down and in a trance not too far away from him. At first he doesn’t want to disturb her but when she subconsciously generates lightning he realises that she is dreaming and he wakes her up. She is weeping and they try to comfort each other as best as they can. But at that moment Wolverine and Carol arrive and when they discuss about getting off the planet Wolverine states that Lilandra’s yacht is trapped on the carcass of a Brood living ship but it is so big that the ship is above the breathable atmosphere on one of the ribs.
The team travel through the catacombs of the Brood city, they have met up with Colossus while Storm has gone with Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde to find the yacht. They are after Lilandra, Wolverine’s strong sense of smell is what leads them through the maze of tunnels and they eventually come up to a fork in the road. One way leads to Lilandra while the other leads to the Brood Queen herself. Wolverine wants to take out the Queen but Cyclops thinks that it isn’t right since they don’t kill.
Before a decision can be made the team are suddenly attacked by Brood and they begin to defend themselves. In the heat of the battle Wolverine follows the passage towards the Brood Queen despite Cyclops’s words and when he finds the Queen he goes to attack but numerous Brood soldiers are in the way.
Colossus’s senses come back to him and more Brood arrive but Carol has rescued Lilandra who helps to turn the tide of the battle. Carol suggests a retreat but Wolverine wishes to fight on since he thinks that the X-Men are dead already and he wants to have some manner of revenge.
Elsewhere Storm is flying Nightcrawler and Kitty towards Lilandra’s yacht but it is so high that they cannot get any closer. Nightcrawler teleports himself and Kitty the rest of the way but with Storm alone she is attacked by a Brood patrol craft. She flies down and uses her powers to confuse it so that Nightcrawler and Kitty have more time.
Nightcrawler has made it to the yacht with Kitty and she phases inside so that open the airlock to get him in. He cannot remain outside for too long or else he will either freeze or suffocate. As soon as Kitty is inside she is confronted by a Brood which corners her into an airlock. It has been told to bring her back alive and she can’t risk wasting time to fight it when Nightcrawler is still outside.
When Kitty is backed into the airlock she knows how it works and has to wait until the Brood is also inside before she can open it. She is reluctant to do so since it means killing the Brood but it suddenly goes to stab her with its spiked tail. She easily phases through it and lunges towards the button and opens the airlock sending the Brood flying outside of the yacht and allowing Nightcrawler to enter. Kitty notices that he is cold to the touch and she prays that he is still alive.
Meanwhile the other X-Men are still battling the Brood and they think that something has gone wrong since they haven’t been beamed up. By now Wolverine has reached the Brood Queen but just before he can land the killer blow he and the others are beamed up to the yacht and it flies away to get them out of danger.
A little later on the yacht everyone discusses their next move. For the moment they cannot jump into warp space and in their current form they are vulnerable. Wolverine isn’t happy since he was prevented from killing the Brood Queen, he blames Cyclops for not helping him and when Kitty asks why he’s so angry he doesn’t have the heart to tell them that they will all become Brood themselves.
The team don’t realise that they are being watched from another vessel that have them in their crosshairs and are ready to attack.
Now we are back with the Uncanny X-Men with the further adventures of the X-Men in space. It was great to see the entire team in this one rather than mainly Wolverine and although he was still who I felt to be the main character of this issue the others still had an important role.
One thing to take note of is that there is actually a lot of focus on Carol Danvers who is actually an ally of the team and not an actual member. What she went through in this issue will be picked up very soon, she is definitely a very unlucky character over her history but at least Chris Claremont is a writer that treats her well.
The part with Kitty and the Brood reminded me a lot of the original Alien film when Ripley was alone with the Xenomorph. She did show her bravery as she didn’t give into fear against such a terrifying opponent and although she was reluctant to kill it she did in the end. This doesn’t show that she was a murderer. No she did it because she had no other choice and also to save her good friend Nightcrawler. The scene itself is also the topic of the cover which I have to admit was really good and sets up the reader for what is about to happen in the issue.
The dream that Cyclops had was thought provoking and also something is revealed to him that Wolverine already knows. He was told that he was implanted with an egg but from the look of how he reacted when he woke up he took it more as just being a figment of his imagination rather than him seeing an actual fact. I fear that he and the others will know the truth soon after.
Wolverine also shows in this issue that he is willing to kill despite the orders from Cyclops. This isn’t because he doesn’t respect Cyclops but because he thinks that the X-Men are as good as dead so wants some manner of revenge. It could also be to try and make sure that no one else falls victim to the Brood. What also made his efforts seem more justified was that he wasn’t the only one who thought that the Brood Queen needed to be killed. Lilandra did agree with him and so this makes Wolverine not seem like some kind of homicidal maniac and seem that much more human.
One further thing to point out is that there is more evidence that the Marvel Graphic Novel #4 which came out the previous month is ahead of the Uncanny X-Men since in there the X-Mansion was all finished where in this one it is being reconstructed. That means at this point in the series there is no New Mutants.
In conclusion I’m giving this issue another 8 out of 10. It was thoroughly entertaining from start to finish.
Dazzler (Volume 1) #21
Title- Wolverine (Volume 1) #2
Release Date- October 1982
Writer- Chris Claremont
Artist- Frank Miller
First time that Wolverine has fought the Hand
Debts and Obligations
Wolverine wakes up next to the woman who has saved his life but now they are confronted by ninjas. He is able to throw them out of a window where numerous more ninjas with bow and arrows are on the nearby roofs. The woman comes up to him from behind as the ninjas fire their arrows. She tells him that her name is Yukio and the ninjas are part of a group called the Hand who are deadly assassins. She holds onto him as he leaps out of the window and lands on a nearby roof. He then begins to attack the ninjas while Yukio also holds her own. She is able to make it to the ground and she expected a few ninjas but not this many and she believes that Wolverine is as good as dead. She is surprised to see him take them all down. With the battle over they quickly leave as the police arrive since neither of them wants to be arrested.
They return to Wolverine’s hotel room and Yukio is surprised to see that Wolverine’s wounds have already begun to heal. She is surprised and she also would love to have his claws so that she can truly be a formidable warrior. She tells him that the Hand’s master is a crime lord who wants to expand his influence into politics so that he can eventually become Prime Minister of Japan. She admits that she is afraid of him and when Wolverine says that he will protect her she pulls a knife that he is able to take off of her and she begins to seduce him. At first it begins to work but when he begins to think about his lover Mariko Yashida he quickly breaks it off and walks away. Yukio begs him to come back but he continues on and she swears to herself that he will be hers.
The next day at one of the high rise buildings in Tokyo a disguised woman enters and sees Mariko and her husband trying to see Lord Shingen. The receptionist isn’t allowing anyone through but the woman attacks him and goes in anyway.
As the woman enters Shingen’s office and demands to speak to him. As a ninja comes up from behind her she reveals herself to be Yukio and is able to take him down to the ground and he is at her mercy. She chooses to spare him since the knowledge of his defeat is a worse fate than death. She is not happy with Shingen for sending all those ninjas after both her and Wolverine. They were not meant to try and kill her and only help convince Wolverine to side with her. Shingen reveals that if they had held back that Wolverine would have seen through the deception. Her neck target is Shingen’s rival Katsuyori who he has made a peace conference with. His reprehensive will be Mariko and her husband Noburu and there will be a false sense of security when Shingen’s assassin strikes. Shingen has grabbed Yukio around her neck and she is powerless to escape. Her task is to make sure that no harm comes to Mariko and when Katsuyori has been dealt with then she will assassinate Wolverine. She says that both men will be as good as dead.
That night Wolverine and Yukio are swimming in a lake around a theatre located in one of Tokyo’s parks. She has told him that the crime lord she fears is Katsuyori and that he must be killed. Wolverine wants to talk to him and give him an offer that he can’t refuse. As they approach the theatre there are numerous armed guards but Wolverine is able to deal with two right by the lake without having to kill them.
After the guards have been incapacitated the pair are able to sneak into the theatre and they see Katsuyori and his wife sit down right next to Mariko and her husband. Noburu accidentally insults Katsuyori which the man gives back in return. The play begins and Wolverine recognises it as Chushingura, The 47 Ronin. The lead actor is a Samurai and during the play’s infamous Lion Dance scene he sees the actor take out his sword and he realises that he will assassinate Mariko and Noburu. Wolverine leaps up as the actor comes down with his sword and is able to slice him thus killing him and saving Mariko. The other actors begin to attack and Wolverine takes them on as Mariko watches on.
Katsuyori strikes Noburu and congratulates him for surviving the assassination attempt but he thinks that nothing can stop them now and he tries to flee with his wife so that they can get to safety. But when they go through the door they discover that all their bodyguards are dead. In panic they go to their car and get inside but when they do it explodes thanks to Yukio who has a small device in her hand.
Inside Wolverine continues to attack the actors and they are cutting him deep and he goes into a berserker rage. He slices and dices them and within seconds he is the only one left standing but Mariko has seen everything. She is horrified with what she has seen and turns away and walks away. Wolverine does nothing to stop her as he believes that their connection has been severed. Yukio watches from the outside and she believes that he will now be hers.
We once again come to the second issue of Wolverine’s first and highly sort after Limited Series. This is definitely a breakaway from the Uncanny X-Men series where we do see Wolverine kill from time to time but nothing on this scale.
Full credit for artwork by Frank Miller and I am beginning to see why he is so popular. It is definitely different to anything I’ve seen in comics at that time. He brings a certain grit to the issues that definitely fits into Wolverine. I find it a shame that he didn’t draw too many more comics to do with the X-Men. I have noticed (through a bit of research) that he was writing Daredevil at the time but he wasn’t drawing it like he usually did. It can be extremely difficult for an artist to be drawing two full length comics a month so it is understandable why Daredevil has a different artist at the time.
The overall story of the issue has a lot to do with honour and betrayals, much like Game Of Thrones when you stop to think about it but it has a Japanese style to it all. Yukio at the start seems to be purely helping Wolverine but it turns out she’s working for Shingen. The peace conference both parties planned to assassinate the other and where one succeeded the other one failed. It shows that in this story we don’t know who Wolverine should trust. Maybe he should have gone with the lone wolf angle.
Probably the most tragic part of the issue is that Wolverine thinks that he has lost Mariko forever. You do feel for him as we all know how much he loves her but she has seen the more animalistic side of him and it horrified her more than words could express. We would have suspected Wolverine to try and convince her to come back but his silence only brings more tragedy to the story. He knows that he has lost her and most likely will never get her back.
This is not the first appearance of the Hand but it is the first time they have had a run-in with Wolverine. They first appeared in the Daredevil series about a year prior but they have proven to be deadly foes over the years against numerous heroes such as the X-Men as a whole. They might have seemingly had their asses handed to them this issue but they are much like ants. You can kill a few of them but the colony remains to fight and train for another day.
This series also continues to be ahead of the current situation in the X-Men comics as the team are stuck in space and fighting the Brood. In that series we don’t know whether the team will live or die, we know that Wolverine will survive thanks to his healing powers. What I have noticed is that so far the other X-Men haven’t been seen in this series and are barely mentioned so we don’t know if they’re alive or dead. That is something quite clever and it also makes sure that we don’t guess what has happened to them.
In conclusion I’m giving this issue an 8 out of 10. It is a good issue and I can’t wait to finish this series.
Uncanny X-Men (Volume 1) #163
Title- Marvel Graphic Novel (Volume 1) #4
Release Date- October 1982
Writer- Chris Claremont
Artist- Bob McLeod
First appearance of Rahne Sinclair aka Wolfsbane, Roberto Da Costa aka Sunspot, Danielle Moonstar aka Mirage, Sam Guthrie aka Cannonball. First appearance of the New Mutants
The New Mutants – Renewal
In the Northwest of Scotland Moira MacTaggart sees what appears to be a wounded wolf jump over her head. She is confused since wolves are extinct in this part of the world and she watches it transform into a wolf/human hybrid. She goes to its aid and as she does it fully transforms into a girl who Moira recognises as Rahne Sinclair. She sees that Rahne has been shot but the wound is not fatal but suddenly an angry mob arrives led by Reverend Craig. This wish to kill Rahne since they see her as a hell spawn but Moira’s words are able to persuade them to back down and she takes Rahne away intending to take her to see Professor Xavier.
In Brazil a football match is taking place between two rival schools. One player named Roberto Da Costa is running rings around the other team, his rich businessman of a father is watching in the crowd along with Roberto’s girlfriend Juliana. But Roberto is maliciously fouled by another player who holds a grudge against him. No foul is given and in rage Roberto attacks the other player. The two begin to fight and as it continues Roberto suddenly transforms. This scares everyone both on the pitch and in the stands and as they run for their own safety Juliana runs to the pitch to try and comfort Roberto who reverts to normal. Both are unaware that they are being watched on a monitor.
In Kentucky Sam Guthrie is having to give up his dreams so that he can work down in the mines to provide for his family after the death of his father. He had a scholarship but has given it up so that his family can get by and he almost hates his deceased father for this. During his first shift however there is a cave-in which results in one of the miners being trapped under some heavy rock. As Sam goes to the miner’s aid the cave-in continues and as he grabs him he suddenly rockets right through the ground up to the surface saving both of their lives. Sam is greatly confused with what has just happened and he is also unaware that he is also being watched on a monitor by the same man as before.
In the mountains of Colorado, Native American Danielle Moonstar is sitting and enjoying the peacefulness of her home when her pet bobcat Ridge-Runner comes and licks her hand. She hugs the cat but then her grandfather Black Eagle comes up to speak with her. He wishes to send her to Xavier so that she can learn to use her mutant abilities. Danielle is angered since she believes that white people are evil after what they have done to her people. In anger she accidentally manifests an image of two armoured men beating Black Eagle to death. This upsets her and she apologies to him for what has happened and he tells her that Xavier is a friend of her father and that he is a man to be trusted. With a heavy heart she agrees to go.
Danielle doesn’t realise that she is also being watched on a monitor by the Hellfire Club member Donal Pierce. He intends to take over the club and expunge all mutants from there including Sebastian Shaw. He has Hellfire Club staff Tessa as a hostage.
That night Danielle wakes up shouting for her grandfather. Quickly she goes out on horseback to find him only to discover that he has been beaten to death. She knows that he has been murdered but she knows as well that the police will treat it as a simple hit and run incident. She cries and swears vengeance on those that killed him.
At the X-Mansion Xavier is performing a test on another young Vietnamese mutant named Shan Coy Manh. Moira and Rahne are there as well and the tests are to determine the power of Shan’s ability to possess people. He finds her abilities to be very powerful but she is reluctant to possess people since after a while she becomes like them. Moira does volunteer to be possessed and when Shan does this Moira’s mind for a moment ceases to exist while Shan has her mind. Angered Rahne transforms but Shan releases her hold on Moira as the demonstration is over.
They move up to the ground floor and Shan explains how she escaped her home country of Vietnam and was able to get to America with her younger brother and sister. She also explains that she had another brother with abilities like her but he is dead and an uncle who is not to be trusted. Rahne sees her mutant abilities as a curse but Xavier states that they are not a curse but a gift.
Later they are eating but Xavier is feeling low since he feels that he is leading more young mutants to their deaths, just like he believes has happened to his X-Men. He has a telepathic conversation with Moira who is able to convince him that the dream must go on of peaceful co-existence between humans and mutants. He is somewhat reluctant but to agree. The doorbell rings and Moira goes to see who it is. Shan explains that she can’t go to school, work and look after her brother and sister but Xavier tells her that she can work for him running the school. She is eager to accept this and Moira returns with a letter from Colorado. It is from Black Eagle and the four of them quickly leave.
The next day Xavier, Shan and Rahne find the elevated grave of Black Eagle. There seems to be no one around but suddenly Shan sees an huge image of the war in Vietnam which causes her to panic. Suddenly there is an explosion centred at the grave and when they look up they see the armoured men on hover jets attacking Danielle. She tries to run but is grabbed by one of the men. Her bobcat tries to save her but it is thrown over a cliff where it dies on impact with the ground. Shan possesses the mind of the man and uses him to fire on his comrads. A mental image of Xavier appears in front of Danielle as she wishes to kill the man but he tells her that it is wrong. He tries to convince her to come with him and at first she refuses. She is hurt however and Shan has to relocate Danielle’s arm back into its socket.
Xavier explains that through telepathy he has learned that these men were sent by Donal Pierce and that he also plans to murder two boys from Brazil and Kentucky. Danielle goes to kill the man but Xavier uses his telepathy to stop her. She agrees to help him until they reach Donald Pierce and then she will kill him herself.
The next day in Brazil Moira, Shan and Danielle are in a hotel room when police suddenly break in. They believe that Moira are behind the attempted kidnapping of Roberto and the kidnapping of Juliana. Shan is able to possess one of the top policemen but they are seemingly cuffed and taken away. As they go down the stairs of the hotel Shan makes the policeman attack his colleagues and they take the opportunity to escape. Moira remains behind since it was her that they wanted and she believes that she can clear her name.
That night Danielle and Shan go outside Roberto’s house and watch as he sneaks to a warehouse a few miles away. There Hellfire club soldiers have Juliana and he is knocked to the ground. The soldiers are cyborgs named Cole, Malcolm, Reese and Randall who were injured by Wolverine and remade. Roberto thinks that it is simply a ransom operation but when he realises that they intend to kill him he transforms again and attacks the men. He is doing well until he tires and reverts back to normal. They are about to kill him but Shan possesses one of the men and makes him try and shoot his friends. Danielle creates an image of Wolverine that terrifies the others and the women attack.
Shan tries to aid Roberto but he believes that she is part of the operation and attacks her. He soon realises that she is there to help him but it also means Shan loses her link with the soldier causing him to fire at them. Shan is hit but Juliana shields Roberto from the bullets sacrificing her own life to save his. Danielle uses her powers to create the Wolverine image that causes the murderer to go into a complete state of fear and he withdraws into himself. Danielle feels terrible that her powers can do this to a man but Roberto believes that he deserved it as he caresses Juliana’s dead body. The girls tell him about Xavier and he agrees to go with them only so that he can have his vengeance.
In Kentucky Xavier and Rahne are driving in a jeep when Sam rockets into the vehicle sending it off road. It crashes and Rahne transforms into a wolf and slips away. Sam is wearing a Hellfire outfit and gets Xavier out of the burning wreckage. A helicopter lands nearby with two more Hellfire club soldiers and they take Xavier away. Rahne watches them leave and is able to follow their scent to a heavily fortified building.
Rahne is able to use her powers to get over the fence and as she reaches the roof she sees Xavier strapped into a chair and fitted with a device that prevents him from using his telepathy. He plans to kill him but before that he wants to extract the information from Xavier’s mind so that he can kill more mutants. Rahne feels the others arrive as she links her mind with that of Danielle thanks to the Native American girl’s powers. But she is suddenly attacked by Sam who thinks that she’s an enemy. They fall to the ground but Danielle creates an image of the cave-in causing Sam to flee in terror.
Guards appear and the youngsters attack them. Roberto uses part of a wall to knock them out. Sam tries to attack but Roberto side-steps him causing him to crash into the ground. Shan tries to possess him but discovers that in all the excitement she can’t do it. She picks up a gun instead and begins to fire causing the remaining guards to flee.
Roberto begins to smash all the machines in the building while Rahne attacks Donald Pierce in her full wolf form. He is too strong for her and he throws her to one side as Danielle tries to use her powers to create an image of his fears. Due to his mechanical upgrades Donald is immune to this attack. Rahne transforms into her hybrid form but she is hurt and she tries to help Xavier and Tessa who are still captive.
Roberto bursts in but before he can do anything he is attacked from behind by Sam. However due to the momentum Sam keeps going forward and slams into some machinery. Shan tries to possess Donald but he uses an electric shock to put her down. He then commands Sam to get rid of Roberto and when discovers that he means to kill him Sam refuses. Donald goes to kill Sam and the mutant tries to rocket away like normal but he has reached his limit. At this point Rahne has got to the controls and disabled the device blocking Xavier’s powers. Xavier is able to use his telepathy to hijack Donald’s mind and stop his plan.
With the threat over everyone begins to regroup and Rahne is tended to for her wounds. Tessa says that she will deal with Donald and as everyone prepares to leave Sam apologises for his actions but Roberto throws it back in his face.
A fortnight later in the library of the X-Mansion Xavier is looking at two photos of the original X-Men and the latest team who are believed to be dead. He telepathically commands the new team to come downstairs after they have geared up in their new uniforms. When they arrive Danielle has put on a belt of her people rather than the standard X-Men belt. There is also a ringing on the door and when Rahne answers she discovers that it is Sam. He is here on invitation and at first the others are reluctant to accept him. Xavier explains that Sam was tricked into helping Donald and they are willing to give him a second chance. As they welcome the new member Xavier realises that his dream can still live on and that it can never truly die.
Ok we are going with Marvel Graphic Novel #4 which introduces one of the first fulltime spin-off series called the New Mutants. Imagine this team is like a younger generation of X-Men and the term New Mutants was actually coined by the fact that Stan Lee was originally going to call the X-Men, The Mutants but the editor thought that no one would know what a mutant was. It is a funny little story that got us this series name almost twenty years after the first appearance of the X-Men.
The first New Mutant introduced in this issue is a Scottish born girl named Rahne Sinclair who goes by the codename Wolfsbane. She is not as well known as many of the other X-Men characters but she is also one with deep religious views that see herself as a monster. Over the course of the series we see her go from being a scared little girl to being a confident young woman who sees her powers as being a gift rather than a curse. She also has a lot of history with Moira MacTaggart who she sees as being a mother figure. They remain very close for a number of years and it is nice to see Moira have someone that she views as a daughter after losing her son. Her mutant ability is to transform into a wolf or a hybrid, these might not sound too powerful but later on we see what happens when she pushes her powers.
The second one we see is Roberto Da Costa who will go by the name of Sunspot. Much like Angel, Sunspot comes from a very rich family but one difference is that his father is much shadier than Warren Worthington II. His mutant power is basically to absorb sunlight and make himself super strong. I think he might have some fire powers as well much like Sunfire but I can’t remember for sure and I think we’ll find out along the way. One thing to note about Roberto is that he is quick to get angered and this leads him to trouble on more than one occasion. We can only hope that losing his girlfriend will teach him to control his anger.
The third is Sam Guthrie who will go by the codename of Cannonball. His mutant powers are basically to turn himself into a human rocket and in this state he can fly at super speed and he is also invulnerable. Which is pretty good considering that when he hits a wall at one hundred miles an hour there is enough force to easily kill him. His family the Guthries are notorious in the Marvel Universe as many of them are mutants and often their genetics are used as mutant templates. Sam himself sacrificed his own dreams to support his family and there is almost no more nobler an act. He will go toe to toe with many foes over the years and he always seems to hold his head up high in the end.
The fourth is Danielle Moonstar who will go by the codename of Mirage. She is the second Native American member of the jolly mutant series and like Thunderbird before her she seems to be angry at the white man. Most likely this hatred will dissolve and she will become a much more down to Earth character because of it. Her mutant ability is a lot like Mastermind’s as she can create images, normally pulled out of the minds of others. This can be effective as we have seen in this issue although it does show that there is a price to all of this. She has been a popular amongst fans for some time and even though in recent years she has lost her powers she has shown herself to be a bad ass
The final mutant is Shan Coy Mahn who although wasn’t actually first introduced in this issue she did appear almost two years before in Marvel Team-Up #100. Her mutant ability is to possess people while she is still in control of her own body. Much like many Marvel characters she was deeply affected by the war in Vietnam. It is something that is deep rooted in the character and is deep within her history. One important thing to note about Shan is that she is one of the first openly gay characters in comic book history and it is great that she is still around.
The story itself was pretty good as it was about Xavier rounding up more teenage mutants to teach them of their power and help bring his dream come true. There is an ulterior motive for this as well that has yet to be revealed but will do soon in the Uncanny X-Men series. The art was pretty good in it and somewhat reminded me of the art in the Transformers UK comics from the 80’s.
Once again this comic is written by Chris Claremont who is in charge of practically everything X-Men at this part of history. I think it is a good thing that there is one guy behind it since it is easier for the history to keep on track rather than other writers contradicting themselves. This is something that makes the X-Men comics nowadays suffer but that is the problem when there are so many different series.
It was great seeing Donald Pierce again who has become a villain in his own right instead of just being another member of the Hellfire Club. He is shown for the first time to be extremely anti-mutant and this is somewhat odd since he worked with the Inner Circle who were all mutants. I guess he tolerated them for a time but he soon believed that mutants were all a threat. He will put the lives of many mutants in danger over the course of the years and he has been responsible for many murders as well.
In conclusion I’m giving this issue an 8 out of 10. A great start for the New Mutants as their series will become a suitable side series to the Uncanny X-Men.
Wolverine (Volume 1) #2
Title- Dazzler (Volume 1) #20
Release Date- October 1982
Writer- Danny Fingeroth
Artist- Frank Springer
Features Angel. First appearance of Doctor Sax and Johnny Guitar
Out Of The Past
Carter Blaire sees Dazzler walking towards him. She is angry over the fact that he robbed her of her mother and trying to force her into law school. There is a shadowed woman in the background and in Dazzler’s anger she uses her powers to destroy him and she gloats to the woman what she has done. Dazzler refers to the figure as her mother.
It turns out to be a dream as Carter is still in a catatonic state. A shrink is there seeing him and all his efforts have come to naught. Dazzler’s grandmother and Angel are in the room as well as the shrink recommends that Carter be hospitalised. Dazzler’s grandmother does not want him to go into hospital and asks if his daughter Dazzler can get through to him. The shrink thinks that it is a possibility but also she is the source of his state.
Dazzler herself is walking through Central Park when she is attacked from behind by a thief. He grabs her broach and tries to run but she uses a light blast to knock him out. When she goes over to his unconscious body and discovers that he is only a teenager. She feels guilty about using her powers on him but she also notices that the broach has opened up and she can see two photos of two different men. The first man is her father Carter and the second man she doesn’t recognise. She also swears not to use her powers again.
At the home of Barbara London, Vanessa Tooks looks in surprise as she stumbles into a room filled with posters and magazines about Dazzler. She begins to look at them but Barbara comes and she is not happy about Vanessa going into the room. She shouts at her and tells her to get out.
At the apartment of Dazzler’s bassist Phil Panasci her band are meeting there to have some lunch. Phil’s wife and young son are also there and everything seems to be going well. Dazzler herself arrives and finds Phil’s son to be very cute. She then quickly goes into another room so that she can give her manager Harry Osgood a call.
Everyone suddenly hears a loud noise and when they look towards the door they see the lock rattle off. Two men carrying a saxophone and a guitar barge in and the band recognise them as Doctor Sax and Johnny Guitar. The villains are glad that the band haven’t forgotten their names after so many years.
Years before the villains and the band had been performing together. After the show the band stumble to the manager’s office where they find Doctor Sax and Johnny Guitar trying to break into the safe and tying up the manager. Doctor Sax doesn’t want anyone to know what they’re doing so he lights up a torch and goes to kill Marx with it. In panic Phil kicks it back into Doctor Sax’s eyes blinding the villain. They are then able to corner Johnny who tries to flee but they are able to catch up with him and tackle him to the ground.
In the present the villains explain that their instruments were made by the Techmaster who had them do a few jobs for him. Dazzler watches on from another room and waits for her time to intervene. Johnny demonstrates the effectiveness of his guitar as a few strums shatter a nearby vase, camera and speakers. Doctor Sax then begins to play his saxophone which causes the group to begin to experience a nightmare. This only lasts for a short while but when it is over Johnny kisses Phil’s wife causing the man himself to go and attack him. Phil is grabbed by Doctor Sax and thrown to one side, he is blind but the glasses he wears gives him a kind of radar vision. Dazzler watches helpless as she is reluctant to use her powers.
At Barbara London’s place the woman herself apologises to Vanessa for her outburst and admits that the Dazzler memorabilia belongs to her daughter. She even shows Vanessa a picture of her daughter and Vanessa comments that she is very pretty. She also asks who the man is in the photo and Barbara responds that it is the woman’s father and her ex-husband
At that time Angel in costume flies through New York and reaches the office of Ken Barnett. He informs the lawyer that Dazzler’s father is in a bad way and that Dazzler needs to see him immediately. Ken tells Angel about a party that Dazzler was going to and he flies away to find the address.
Meanwhile at Phil’s apartment Doctor Sax uses his saxophone on Phil’s young son making him cry. Dazzler can’t stand it anymore and straps her skates on she then lights herself up and skates to pick up the baby. This surprises the villains but they chase her into the kitchen and Johnny uses his guitar to shatter her skates. He continues to play to try and kill her but Dazzler uses a light blast to knock him out.
Doctor Sax then uses his saxophone to try and make her go insane and she knows that her powers won’t work on him since he is technically blind. Instead she uses a powerful light blast which destroys his saxophone. Although he has been disarmed he isn’t out of the fight as he is much taller and stronger than her. She switches on a blender so that she can get some sound but she is too disorientated and fears that a light blast might kill him. He grabs her wrist and she is able to throw coffee in his face causing his visor to short circuit. He is now literally blind but he still tries to punch her. She is able to respond with her own kicks that knock him down.
A short time later the two villains have been arrested and Dazzler thinks that her band will push her away now that they know that she is a mutant. Instead they are happy that she saved them and treat her like she is a heroine. But at that moment Angel arrives and tells her about the situation with her father. Quickly the pair fly away so that they can get to Carter before it is too later.
At Barbara London’s place the lesson is continuing but Barbara begins to cry. When Vanessa asks what the matter is Barbara admits that the Dazzler items are hers and not her daughters. She also admits that she is Dazzler’s mother and when Vanessa asks about the photo she thinks that the woman is Dazzler. It is Barbara’s other daughter and her father but Barbara admits that he is nothing like Carter. The man in the picture is the same as the other man in Dazzler’s broach
And now we are back with Dazzler with an issue that introduces two new villains who are definitely ones that time forgot and we also get a really big reveal at the end of the issue. It was definitely surprising.
Now we know who Dazzler’s mother is but we also discover that she also has a half-sister. The man in the picture that we saw is still somewhat of a mystery but I can only assume that he is the man that Barbara left Carter for. Since he is now her ex-husband we definitely know that something must have happened, either he died or they simply had a divorce, I’m not too sure.
The two villains introduced in this issue is Doctor Sax who basically has the same vision as Daredevil thanks to his visor and has a saxophone that can mess with people’s minds. He is also very tall and strong and this makes him formidable. The second is a guy named Johnny Guitar whose guitar sends some kind of supersonic wave that can shatter things. These are definitely two guys who have the whole Jazz and rock angle much like Dazzler has the disco angle. From what I read in this issue it is not surprising that they have been in comic limbo for so long.
Dazzler’s whole swearing off using her powers was never going to last. What would be the point in having a heroine in her own book that didn’t use her powers? It would be a very boring series and I think that Dazzler would have thought that her vow would have lasted a little longer. It couldn’t have been more than an hour until she used her powers again but then she did use them for a good reason. When someone sees a child in danger like that they would do anything to make sure that they were safe. At least in the end she was greeted by appreciation by her friends rather than being treated like a freak.
The issue also went to the fact that Carter Blaire is in a bad way. With everything that has happened to him with two important women in his life it is easy to see why he withdrew. Some of it is his own doing but it is not entirely his fault and you have to feel some sympathy to the guy. His wife left him for reasons we don’t know yet and he has pushed his only daughter away. He saw Dazzler destroy him and this is something that is not easy to shake off.
Angel in this issue seems to care more about the people around him rather than trying to win the heart of Dazzler. This is a positive note to him because it still shows that he cares about others above his own welfare and this is something that being in the X-Men would cement in his mind.
In conclusion I’m giving this issue a 6 out of 10. It was alright but I didn’t really like the villains introduced in this issue.
Marvel Graphic Novel (Volume 1) #4
Title- Uncanny X-Men (Volume 1) #162
Release Date- October 1982
Writer- Chris Claremont
Artist- Dave Cockrum
Start of the Brood Arc
Beyond The Furthest Star
Wolverine is running through an alien jungle. Due to all the new sights, sounds and scents he is greatly confused. He feels a strong pain in his gut and as he reacts he is attacked by a carnivorous vine. He is able to use his claws to slice up the vine and get away but the pollen that has been blasted into his face causes him to hallucinate.
The next thing Wolverine knows he is in Japan and is on horseback with his lover Mariko Yashida. He sees them as an odd couple but he sees what seems to be eagles flying towards them. There is something about them that doesn’t sit right to him and he knocks her horse to make it run away. The hawks turn out to be brood who zap Mariko much to the distress of Wolverine.
In reality Wolverine realises that it is a dream but he has been found by three Brood hunters. Rather than fighting he begins to flee and one is able to catch up with him. Wolverine is able to kill this Brood but the others soon come after him so he attacks them as well. He is winning the fight but the ground beneath him crumbles away and he begins to fall through. His fall is broken when he finds himself stuck on a giant spider web. It is enough to knock him unconscious.
When he wakes up it is morning and he realises that the Brood have left him. In the dawn light he sees the carcass of a giant creature that the Brood use as a living spaceship. In death they are using it as a city and the carcass itself goes as far as the eye can see. The Brood have left him there thinking that the scavengers will finish him off. Wolverine feels vibrations on the web as the scavengers crawl in but he discovers that he is glued to the web and he feels another sharp pain in his gut.
His mind flashes back to when the X-Men were on Lilandra’s ship celebrating the recovery of Professor Xavier. They have other problems but it is mostly a happy affair until Deathbird appears and the team realise that they are in a trap.
Wolverine’s mind goes blank and the next thing he knows he sees Brood. He looks at the X-Men who seem to be placid and when he looks again he sees imperial Shi’Ar. They are on the throne world of the Shi’Ar and they are here as honoured guests. Wolverine’s senses are telling him that this is all fake. Carol Danvers is there as well but she is suddenly taken by a pair of Brood. He cries out but no one seems to notice and he begins to believe that he had simply imagined it.
Lilandra is standing next to a very tall woman and each X-Man goes to this woman who seems to bless them but Wolverine’s senses are telling him danger. When it is the turn of Kitty Pryde she realises that something is wrong and calls out for help. He wants to help her but some kind of power prevents him from doing so. When it is his turn he sees the tall woman transform into a brood and he cries out.
Wolverine’s mind snaps back to reality as he sees the scavengers coming closer to him. He uses his claws to free himself and goes berserk as he slashes at them. A couple of the scavengers are killed and rather than attack him the others feast on the bodies of those that he has killed and he is free to escape.
Wolverine is able to climb up a tree branch and lies down to rest for a moment but he feels like he is about to die and his mind flashes back once more as he woke up inside the Brood city. He knows that something is wrong and goes to warn Storm but she blows him off and he realises that this is extremely out of character for her. He nerve pinches her so that she can’t raise the alarm and before he leaves the city he goes to Kitty and promises to take her home safely. He fears that he cannot keep that promise. He sees an image of himself killing Kitty which brings much distress to him.
He finds in the city the Imperial Guard named Fang and much to his horror he sees him transform into a Brood thanks to an egg that had been implanted within him. It had reached maturity and transformed him, Fang has completely become a Brood and his memories have been erased. Wolverine realises that he and the other X-Men have been implanted and when he shouts in terror he is noticed by other Brood who chase after him.
On his tree branch Wolverine sits back up and realises that even if he and the X-Men were to escape there would be almost no hope for them unless there is some kind of cure. He hears a Brood flying past and he recognises it as being the one that had been Fang. He attacks him and is able to get into a position where he can easily kill the Brood unless he does as he says.
With reluctance the Brood flies Wolverine towards the direction of where he wants to go but he then feels another pain in his gut. It is the worse one yet and the Brood takes the opportunity to throw him off and call out to the others. Wolverine falls to the ground and is attacked by numerous Brood soldiers but he attacks and kills them all in a berserker rage.
When all of the Brood soldiers are dead he feels the pain again but this time his body begins to transform just like it did to Fang. His transformation is halted however by his healing abilities and his adamantium skeleton. His body continues to fight the transformation and by sunrise the next morning the egg within has been expunged. His skin is now scaly but that will recover in time and he imagines the other X-Men hypnotised and blissfully unaware of what is going to happen. He cannot save them like he did himself and he realises that his hallucination of killing Kitty might actually come true. He prefers to give the other X-Men a clean death rather than being turned into a Brood.
And now we’re back with the Uncanny X-Men in a surprising issue. As we saw Wolverine was the main focus and I did find this a little odd since he did have his own Limited Series happening at the time but I guess it was because it was vital to the story. It definitely had the commando feel to it.
The issue takes us into what many call the Brood arc as we learn exactly what happened to the X-Men after the ambush and we also learn that they are in a very dire situation. They seem to be infected with a Brood egg that will soon hatch and transform to make them Brood as well. Ok they might not be dying but everything about them will die, their personalities, their souls and what made them unique would go away. If anything their fate will be worse than death.
The comic was a little confusing at times when it switched from flashbacks to realities but I was able to keep my eye on exactly what was going on. The X-Men suffered mass hallucinations that allowed them to be infected and more or less imprisoned before they even knew that they were in danger. It was only Wolverine’s healing powers that allowed him to escape and see through the illusion. I can only hope that the other X-Men do at some time.
This is the start of one of my favourite arcs in the Uncanny X-Men series and it really cemented the title as being one of the all time greats. We do have some really great arcs like this and others like Dark Phoenix Saga but there are also one story issues that really glue the series together. It is definitely the best comic series that I have ever read and this period is what brought the X-Men to superstardom.
The whole lone wolf thing with Wolverine in this issue was very much like the character and he did have an opportunity to take fellow X-Man Kitty Pryde with him but he decided to leave her behind. Not because he thinks that it’ll hinder him but because he doesn’t think that he can properly protect her and for the time being he wants her to be safe. He even imagines killing her and for Wolverine to think this you know that there is something very bad happening in the story.
In conclusion I’m giving this issue a 9 out of 10. It was a great set up for the Brood arc and was a great read to further see the character that is Wolverine and all the thoughts and fears that he went through. Also the X-Men’s survival is greatly thrown into question and we wonder if they will ever be the same again.
Dazzler (Volume 1) #20
Title- Wolverine (Volume 1) #1
Release Date- September 1982
Writer- Chris Claremont
Artist- Frank Miller
First Wolverine solo comic. First appearance of Shingen and Yukio
Wolverine is climbing up a cliff in the Canadian Rockies. He is tracking down a bear that has been killing people and he has been using his superhuman keen senses to track the creature. He is able to track it down to a cave and as he enters he is ambushed by the creature itself which has gone completely berserk. Wolverine extends his claws and attacks the bear slicing its arm off in the process. The bear is still going however and tries to lunge and Wolverine but the mutant is able to kill it. When he looks over the dead bear he discovers an arrow that has been dipped with a poison that sent the bear berserk. The poison is illegal and he leaves to track down the hunter responsible for the arrow.
Miles away at a bar Wolverine is able to track down the hunter. He tells the hunter that he knows about the bear and that he is going to the Mounties about it. The hunter attacks Wolverine but he is able to put him down without killing him.
Later when Wolverine arrives back at the X-Mansion he discovers that his letters to his Japanese lover Mariko Yashida have been returned to him unopened. He calls the Japanese Embassy but discovers that she returned home weeks ago. He calls her home but is turned down the opportunity to speak to her. He is then on the next flight to Tokyo.
Wolverine is stopped at immigration by a friend of his named Asano Kimura. Wolverine is taken to Asano’s high class apartment in Tokyo and he tells him that his presence in Japan is turning heads. Wolverine tries to call Mariko again but comes up at a dead end. Asano reveals to Wolverine that her father has returned and taken over the family business so to speak. She has been married off to another man and Mariko is now honour bound to him. Wolverine is not pleased to hear this news and suits up to find her. Asano warns him that if he breaks the law that he cannot help him in anyway. Wolverine doesn’t care and leaves.
A short time later Wolverine arrives at the ancestral home of the Yashida family and discovers guard dogs blocking his way. The dogs are able to sense how dangerous he is and allow him to pass, he then begins to climb up to wall and sneak inside the building.
He discovers Mariko sitting down near a statue of Buddha. She wishes him to leave but he demands to have an explanation first but when he sees her face he sees that she is battered and bruised. This infuriates Wolverine who wants her to get a divorce but she refuses stating that she is honour bound to the marriage. She states that she is bound to her father and when he gives a solemn word she must oblige. Wolverine then hears footsteps and when he turns he sees Mariko’s husband enter the scene. In anger he grabs the man and goes to stab him but Mariko stops him. Wolverine drops him and walks away but is then struck by poisoned shuriken which knock him out.
When he wakes up he discovers that he is sitting before Mariko’s father Lord Shingen. He is not happy with the fact that Wolverine has come here and wishes to be with Mariko. He throws Wolverine a sword and the two prepare to face each other in combat much to the distress of Mariko who is watching on.
As the two men size each other up the poison makes Wolverine slower and he also hasn’t picked up a sword in years. Shingen however is graceful with his sword as they come together. Shingen strikes Wolverine’s nerve points which more annoys him than really hurt him. Wolverine then throws his sword to one side and tries to attack Shingen with his claws but the man is able to dodge out of the way and strike Wolverine in the back. He then strikes Wolverine in the neck causing him to cough blood before striking him to the ground. He then leaps lands on top of the mutant and as Wolverine’s world goes black he hears Shingen’s voice telling his daughter that Wolverine is nothing more than an animal and not worthy of him.
When Wolverine wakes up he is in a back alley of Tokyo. He feels like he has lost his soul and as he tries to recover he is confronted by three hoodlums who intend to rob him. They produce knives but suddenly all three men drop dead. He thinks that his friend Asano is responsible but he is suddenly confronted by another woman who helps him up to his feet who claims that he belongs to her now and forever. He is at her mercy as his body is completely limp and he cannot move.
Now we get to a very interesting comic and definitely one of the most valuable X-Men comics from this decade. Nowadays there are hundreds and hundreds of Wolverine solo comics but this one however was the first. It is also one of the most memorable and definitely the most recognisable cover.
The issue is written by Uncanny X-Men writer Chris Claremont but it is drawn by Frank Miller who is very well known for Sin City, 300 and his run on Daredevil which was happening around this time. He is definitely one of the most well known figures in the comic book industry. His art in this issue was definitely gripping and much care and detail was placed into each and every panel. When we think of X-Men comics we don’t really think Frank Miller but there is a definite quality over quantity to his work.
The story itself takes a lot of route not just in Japan but also Japanese culture itself which is still situated in honour and family much like the time of the Samurai. Wolverine more or less gets his heart broken and his ass handed to him in a single issue, that is something that we have never seen in a comic and also it builds more of a character to him. Of course there was much focus on him in the Uncanny X-Men series but having his own solo series for a short time did really work.
This series also marks the first X-Men related limited series and thus the first (and certainly not the last) limited series to be covered on this blog. Sure we all know that Wolverine has had ongoing series over the last twenty five or so years (only up to recently) but this was the one where it all started.
Two characters are introduced in this issue who are of some interest. The first is Lord Shingen who as you all know from reading this is the father of Mariko. He seems a deeply honour based individual but there is something about him that you pick up from the start that doesn’t seem right. He seems to care more about his own interests rather than the happiness of his daughter. He has used Mariko more as an object rather than a person and that it something that is looked down upon by many. The second character who isn’t named but appears at the end of this issue is Yukio. She will become a good friend of Wolverine and a short time later to Storm, she seems to like to have fun more than anything else but when push comes to shove she is someone that can be relied on and she also has ninja like skills that can get her out of almost any situation.
The opening of the issue was definitely something that I didn’t expect as we saw another side of Wolverine. Sure he was tracking a bear down to kill it but it wasn’t for fun or for food. He was doing it to save people and in a way putting the bear out of its misery. It was not the bear’s fault for what happened and I only wish that we saw the hunter get what was coming to him rather than it happening off-panel.
We get to see Mariko Yashida for the first time in a good long while. At this point it was almost like she had been forgotten but it seems that she was being saved for this Limited Series. I believe before this issue we hadn’t seen her since Uncanny X-Men #143 which came over 18 months before this issue.
One thing to also mention is that this series takes place ahead of the current Uncanny X-Men series. This takes place not too long after the X-Men’s business in their next arc but it doesn’t seem to give us much in the way of spoilers so that is at least a good thing in that respect.
In conclusion I’m giving the issue an 8 out of 10. A really good issue that is definitely a gem in anyone’s collection.
Uncanny X-Men (Volume 1) #162