Comics Tuesday: The Uncanny X-Men #187: Wraithkill!

The Uncanny X-Men, Vol 1, #187, November 1984: Wraithkill!

This is the third week of my comics reviewing career, and I think this might be the worst comic I have read yet. What makes this comic terrible? Too much and too little. If I start at the beginning, it would be best.

We start with Ororo, aka Storm. She no longer has use of her powers, so we know that she’s going to use her head to solve some problems opposed to firing blizzards off in people’s faces. She’s sporting her punkified mohawk, which I think makes her look like something out of The Road Warrior. Anyways, she’s leaving Eagle Plaza, where her almost lover and current rival Forge is working.

All ready, we’re on shaky ground. There are a lot of things going on which a new reader might not catch. At about 5 or 6 years old, I got this comic via Cookie Crisp, and I’d expect a bit more exposition. Well, we forge on.

You see, Forge took away Storm’s powers, leaving her to deal with life like most everyday shmoes.  Why? I dunno. Maybe we’ll find out.

Now, there’s an alien creature that has invaded Eagle Plaza. They are pink and malevolent; they stick their tongues in your head and steal your body and memories, leaving you out of luck. The aliens, called Dire Wraiths, are smart and aggressive. They must have somekind of plan which we’ll see unfold…

When one of these guys materializes in Eagle Plaza, Storm hears the alarms and is tempted to see what’s happening. She fights off temptation, but a girl can only hold out for so long, right? Well, her adventure is induced when one of the aliens appear out of nowhere and attacks her. Where is Storm when this happens? Near Eagle Plaza (still), but how near we do not know. There’s very little visual information in the panel, which is filled with diagonal rain lines, portrait-style compositions, and a 3/4 page splash of the alien fighting Storm in a hail of diagonal rain. Can there be a hail of rain? I digress…

Storm battles with the alien, eventually crashing through a window and ending up in Eagle Plaza. Inside the building, she continues fighting the Dire Wraith, eventually pulling a gun on it and opening fire. She plugs the alien good, and it explains “Your weapon is empty, and though I am sorely wounded, your life essence will restore…” PHOOM!

It is shot in the head.

By Naze, a Native American shaman that seems to have a past with Forge. He explains that he’s had dreams that have foretold all of this nastiness. Ororo explains that the Dire Wraiths are shape shifters and Naze explains that Forge is the best hope for his people.

Ororo uses a phone in the building to call Forge, who finds himself assailed by “Flame-Breathing Deathwings”, which is a shadowy TERROR-dactyl (HA!) form that the Dire Wraiths can assume. The call is cut short as Ororo and Naze book it to an elevator shaft so they can go help Forge.

Naze compliments Oro on her shooting skills, and she explains that a friend (Wolverine, because it’s 1984) taught her to shoot, leading to an appearence by Wolverine in a flashback panel.

Oro starts ascending the elevator shaft when we discover that the elevators weren’t working because the Wraiths had used their sorcery to mutate dogs into HELLHOUNDS that could disrupt the function of machines and organisms by phasing through them. Oro is phased through and Naze saves her again. A Wraith shoots bubbles and lines into the shaft from an open door. Naze exclaims that it is WITCHFIRE! The witchfire causes a cable to snap, wrap around Oro’s ankle, and there she goes on a reverse bungee jump up the elevator shaft. The elevator itself seems unaffected by the events.

Oro is given a one-way ticket away from her Tom Bombadil, who is safe a few floors down, making lurid comments about how he lusts after Oro. Sure, he doesn’t say it in fine words, but he might as well say “Forge is a tosser and, if I were younger, I’d be bangin’ that chick under his nose.”

Meanwhile, up on the “no one knows what floor”, Ororo feels a cold door, and upon opening it: blizzard outside. In the blinding storm, she’s bubble-and-lined by a wraith, who cannot use its powers to the fullest extent because of the cold. The wraith sics a Hellhound on Oro, and she wails on it with a length of pipe she found nearby.

She exclaims how her hands are sooo cold, nearly frozen to the pipe. She laments that “Light summer frock no protection! Must get to shelter!”

Long and short, she escapes the wraith, locking it outside and causing it to freeze to death after seconds of exposure.

Then the freakyness happens. Oro’s mind is flooded with thoughts that are not her own. She, Naze, Forge, the wraiths, and one other (MYSTERIOUS!) are all linked together somehow. The moment of psychis trauma is hardest to bear for Forge, who is fighting an army of wraiths. He falls to his knees, holding his head, but his machines are sufficent to protect him from the onslaught. The Deathwings spray acid on Forge’s machines in an attempt to disable them; this is when Storm arrives, gun in hand, to have a heated discussion with Forge.

Yeah. In the middle of a fight, they stop and confront eachother about being liars, privledged so-and-sos, and what have you. Oro says the only reason why she’d save Forge was because she told Naze she would.

Wraiths bust up the fun, making Oro appear as though she was a Wraith and making a Wraith look like Ororo. Forge, blessed with mental powers, sees straight through the illusion and plugs the Wraith with a weapon that goes SHOOSH, which is either a flame-thrower or a library cannon 🙂

Naze shows his face, just as the X-men arrive. Well, not all the X-men: just Colossus and Rogue, who heard from Forge’s boss what was going on. They come crashing through the roof, start to kick ass, and I wonder why Rogue is wearing one of the ninja outfits from Mortal Kombat. Also, her hair is slicked back in a VERY butchy manner. Needless to say, she doesn’t seem like the type that would be falling in love with Gambit a decade later.

The battle continues, and Colossus is almost tongued by a Wraith, but he uses his strength to prevail. Then, ROM the Spaceknight and Starshine show up. They lay the hammer down and finish off the aliens. Then, there’s a tear in reality. Jaggedy shadow creatures cross into our dimension and grab hold of Ororo, Forge, Colossus, and Rogue. End of issue.

Okay, so let’s sort that mess out.

Alien shapeshifters who can such your brains and become you can also become pterodactyls that can spit fire AND acid. They have the ability to genetically manipulate dogs so that they can disrupt machines. 

Attack

Forge, who is in the midst of a troubled relationship with Storm, who was visiting.

They get help from:

Naze (who has visions of the trouble his foster son was in), Two X-men (who heard about the trouble from Forge’s boss), and ROM the Spaceknight (and his lady friend, both of whom don’t care for the Dire Wraiths).  

 When I say it like that, it seems so ludicrous. Why do the aliens need so many powers? Why can’t they just do one thing, and then have genetically altered slaves or something? Seriously, these guys are written with enough backstory to be the focus of a crossover event and all of it is crammed into this one issue.

Now, I can see having Colossus and Rogue show up: they’re X-Men and this is an X-Men book. Sure, the logic is crap, but I’ll buy it. However: ROM? and his best-girl? I know, I know, it all boils down to “How can we get them to buy copies of ROM?” but this was ridiculous. Basically, this story is a Dagwood, and it isn’t going to give you a knife to eat it with.

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About harrylthompsonjr

I'm a writer, a photographer, and a lover of role playing games. I've moved my blog to wordpress in hopes of actually getting some feedback. We'll see :)
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4 Responses to Comics Tuesday: The Uncanny X-Men #187: Wraithkill!

  1. Sarah says:

    Hearing you explain it was hilarious and then reading it just as funny. 🙂 I’m tellin’ ya, there was no editing going on with that issue. Just way too much going on!!

  2. Robyn says:

    I am laughing so hard I can barely breathe!

    Some of my favorite quotes:

    Oro is given a one-way ticket away from her Tom Bombadil, who is safe a few floors down, making lurid comments about how he lusts after Oro. Sure, he doesn’t say it in fine words, but he might as well say “Forge is a tosser and, if I were younger, I’d be bangin’ that chick under his nose.”

    and

    They come crashing through the roof, start to kick ass, and I wonder why Rogue is wearing one of the ninja outfits from Mortal Kombat. Also, her hair is slicked back in a VERY butchy manner. Needless to say, she doesn’t seem like the type that would be falling in love with Gambit a decade later.

    Harry, you are BRILLIANT! XD ❤

    • Sarah says:

      I loved those two, also! Can’t forget “she’s bubble-and-lined by a wraith”, “Then the freakyness happens.” and the maybe the best one “When I say it like that, it seems so ludicrous.” 😀

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