Title- Uncanny X-Men (Volume 1) #187
Release Date- November 1984
Writer- Chris Claremont
Artist- John Romita Jr. and Dan Green
Storm is walking away heartbroken from the Eagle Plaza in Dallas. It is raining heavily and she is completely soaked. She doesn’t notice a bright light in the lobby behind her as a Dire Wraith appears. Its mission is to test Forge’s defences and it is soon obliterated. This sets off an alarm and Storm turns to see some FBI agents approach the main doors. She carries on walking and soon a security guard answers the door. He welcomes the FBI agent in but soon she reveals herself to be a Dire Wraith and kills the guard and steals his appearance. All that is left of him is his clothing and he soon moves to the control console. He informs Forge that all is well before turning off the internal defences and surveillance. The other Dire Wraiths in disguise soon enter the building and make their way up to Forge’s penthouse with the intention of murdering him.
Outside Storm has noticed something odd but at first she doesn’t care too much after what Forge has done to her. She hears something and when she turns around she sees a Dire Wraith behind her. It grabs her and she can sense its evil, before it can absorb her she kicks it and then runs. She uses a nearby metal rubbish bin to smash her way into the building and when she enters she finds what remains of the guard. The Dire Wraith follows her and with little choice she picks up the guard’s gun and fires at it. Her bullets seem to have no effect but suddenly a shotgun shoots it in the head causing it to disintegrate. The man behind the trigger is a Native American named Naze.
Naze quickly checks to see if Storm is fine, she is indeed and she tells him that the alien was a Dire Wraith. She knows that Forge is in trouble and Naze explains that he saw all of this in his dreams. He is a shaman and also explains how Forge is the last hope for his people. Storm tries to call Forge the Dire Wraiths have already gotten to Forge’s penthouse but the pair quickly move to try and save him. Naze admits that it has been a while since he has had a scrap like this and it causes Storm to mention Wolverine. She remembers a firearms lesson he gave her some time before.
The pair enter the elevator and they go through the panel so that the reach the roof of the elevator. Storm doesn’t notice another creature known as a hellhound in the shadows and it soon attacks her. She falls but when it moves in for the kill Naze is able to kill it. Before they can go any further a Dire Wraith on an upper floor casts a spell that causes a cable to wrap around Storm’s ankle. She is suddenly pulled up and with the counterweight coming down she knows that she only has seconds to act before she is crushed. She throws her gun away and is quickly able to unwrap the cable. She begins to think of Yukio and she even uses the cable to go onto a higher ledge. She takes her heels off since they are a hindrance and she hopes that Naze will be fine.
Naze himself has gotten to one of the upper floors and he carefully makes his way through the corridor. He thinks about Storm and how Forge has made her his enemy. He is mainly in darkness but he can still sense the Dire Wraiths. He shoots at them and demands that they show themselves.
Meanwhile Storm has made her way to the roof but when she opens the doors she is confronted by a terrible blizzard. She finds it very odd since it is out of place for this time of year and location. She steps outside but is attacked by a Dire Wraith. Since the cold effects its strength the Dire Wraith allows a Hellhound to finish her off but she attacks it with a metal pole. It is so cold that it briefly freezes to her hand but she is attacked once again. She is almost thrown off the building and she instinctively tries to use her powers to no avail. A freak gust of wind keeps her from falling and she tries to make her way back inside. The Dire Wraith attacks once again but she is able get inside quickly and bolt the door. The Dire Wraith knocks repeatedly but eventually the knocking fades away. She realises that she has killed it but suddenly she feels a strong presence in her mind and she sees an amalgam of herself Forge, a Dire Wraith, Naze and a being of enormous power but absolute evil.
Forge is also feeling this and he is seemingly helpless as Dire Wraiths move. In they think they have him cornered but suddenly cannons appear from the floor and walls and fire on the Dire Wraiths. It sends them back and moments later Storm approaches him, at first he thinks that she is one of them but his scanner shows that she is human. She knows that he is human and he tells her that the remaining power has been rerouted to the defences. Storm also talks about the vision that they have both felt.
They talk briefly but as Storm is given a gun she senses more Dire Wraiths approaching and she fires at them. They use their spells to try and defend themselves and Forge realises that they had been cloaking themselves so he didn’t realise that they were there until it was too late. One is able to corner Storm and uses a spell to switch their appearance as an illusion. Forge sees the pair and Storm seemingly commands him to destroy the Dire Wraith. Forge uses a long lost ability see that Storm is in fact the Dire Wraith and destroy it. As soon as it is dead the illusion fades revealing Storm’s true appearance.
By then Naze has reached them and they are both surprised to see him alive. They suddenly feel the building shake and moments later Rogue and Colossus burst down through the ceiling. They are happy to see Storm but quickly they move up to the penthouse and see what seems to be an army of Dire Wraiths. Rogue and Colossus attack them but Forge knows that they are an illusion and that there are only two Dire Wraiths remaining. He once again uses his spirit sight to see through them.
Meanwhile in a domed room Naze stands there and is impressed with what he is seeing. He begins to use his magic powers to activate something on the ground while downstairs the battle is still raging. A Dire Wraith attempts to absorb Colossus but it is knocked away. Storm fires at the Dire Wraiths and she
reveals to her teammates that she has lost her powers. This makes Rogue feel guilty.
Suddenly the figures of Rom Spaceknight and his paramour Starshine suddenly appear causing the two real Dire Wraiths to panic. Forge then destroys them and the group come together to regroup. They are seemingly victorious and Forge reveals that Rom and Starshine were merely holograms. They also notice that Naze is missing and suddenly a fabric or reality tears behind them and some monsters suddenly appear and grab the group.
Back with the Uncanny X-Men in an issue that mainly features Storm much like the last issue and we still see her dealing with the fact that she no longer has her powers. This time however we have her pitted against the Dire Wraiths in a way that sorta reminds me of Ripley in the Alien franchise.
One quick thing to point out before I dive into the story is that the freak blizzard that Storm encountered was due to the events that were taking place in the Thor series at the time. For the next couple of months because of this practically every Marvel comic at the time was effected by this freak blizzard that had encircled the globe. I could go more into detail about it but for now I won’t. At least back in the mid 80’s continuity was still very important, not so much today however.
The story at hand I enjoyed it more than the previous issue. This one had a lot more action in it where the other was mainly romance. That is not a bad thing since it is a good way to build character but I definitely didn’t want to see it too often. We saw Storm taking down Dire Wraiths without the use of her powers and she actually has Wolverine to thank for that because as shown he taught her how to use a gun.
We also got to see Naze in action who we only saw briefly in Uncanny X-Men #185 but this time we saw him in action. He reminds me a lot of the old style gun slingers that you sometimes see in films. He showed no fear and he was a great ally for Storm but at the end of the issue we see that he isn’t entirely right either. Not sure what he is doing but I can suspect what has happened to him since he was in a bad situation and seemed to come out of it unscathed.
The whole rapport between Storm and Forge I think is supposed to indicate that Storm has some magical abilities herself. I think there was going to be a crossover story with another magic based character but it never materialised. I could see the whole magic business leading Storm to becoming like the version we saw of her in the Magik LS from the previous year. It would have been a different direction for the character and one other thing to pick up is that this mysterious being that she felt during her vision is that of a being called the Entity. He will be the main villain in the X-Men side of the Fall Of The Mutants arc which will take place in three year’s time.
The Dire Wraiths seemed to be very capable villains in this issue and it is a small wonder why they are still not haunting the pages of Marvel. They could have been close to (but not on the same level) as the Skrulls or Kree. Unlike them the Dire Wraiths rely on magic but they are somewhat similar to the Skrulls in the fact that they can shapeshift. The only difference is that a Skrull can do it willingly where a Dire Wraith needs to absorb their victim to do this.
One thing that we did learn was that Forge has other powers rather than just his ability with technology. He showed that he had mystic powers and I can see why Naze had bothered him in Uncanny X-Men #185. This will be an important part of his character and his heritage.
The ending was definitely a great cliff hanger and really makes the reader want to buy the next issue. A good writer is really great at doing this since it draws the readers in and annoys them enough to buy the next issue. Ultimately if issues don’t sell than a series gets cancelled (some deservingly, some not so much).
In conclusion I’m giving this issue an 8 out of 10. It was a great issue to read and it didn’t matter to me that some of my favourite X-Men weren’t featured.
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