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Quote1 That little stunt is all she wrote, pal! And if you're wondering which X-Man has the pleasure of blasting you from here to Hades, all you have to do is -- cry Havok! Quote2
-- Havok (X-Sentinel)

Appearing in "Greater Love Hath No X-Man..."

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Vehicles:

  • Starcore space shuttle
  • Stephen Lang's flying gunship, a one-man weapons-laden hovercraft

Synopsis for "Greater Love Hath No X-Man..."

Aboard a space station in Earth orbit, the “all-new” X-Men (Banshee, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm and Colossus) are confronted by what appears to be the original X-Men team (Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast and Marvel Girl) who are being directed by Professor X to kill the new team. Havok and Polaris also appear and take sides with the original team. A battle ensues, but the members of the new team note some curious inconsistencies with those whom they are fighting: the original team have no memory of their replacements; the Beast isn't covered in blue fur; Cyclops is wearing his old visor; and Havok and Polaris don’t seem to recall Erik the Red.

Most of the new team fight on the defensive, concerned about injuring their friends and comrades whom they believe are being mind-controlled. Wolverine, however, attacks Professor X and is caught off-guard when the Professor stands on two legs and knocks him down with one punch. Marvel Girl then attacks Wolverine, who now suspects something fishy. Using his feral senses, he deduces the truth and stops pulling punches, savagely slicing Marvel Girl open with his claws. At first, his comrades are shocked that he would use lethal force on Jean, until they see that “Marvel Girl” was really a robot, a Sentinel masquerading as Jean Grey… as are all the others. Now knowing the truth, the new (real) X-Men quickly destroy the “X-Sentinels”.

Observing the battle from a secure location, Lang is enraged that his ruse has been exposed. To his captives (the real Jean Grey, Cyclops and Prof. X as well as Peter Corbeau), Lang rants that he created the X-Sentinels to be unbeatable duplicates of the original X-Men. He intended to have them seek out and exterminate all other mutants, which would advance his genocidal agenda while laying the blame for mass murder on the X-Men themselves. A flashback montage recounts how Lang discovered the late Larry Trask’s former base and used his notes to build a new line of Sentinels. His plans were funded by a shadowy organization called the Council of the Chosen, and he used the government-sanctioned Project: Armaggeddon as a front for his true goals.

While Lang rants, Cyclops uses the opportunity to optic-blast through his confinement and free Jean, the Professor and Corbeau. Cyclops attempts to knock out Lang, but he manages to flee to a gunship. Jean uses her telekinesis to prevent Lang’s escape and forces Lang's gunship to crash into a viewscreen and explode, seemingly killing Lang in the process.

The whole team is reunited, but find themselves stranded on the space station now that Lang's minions have used all the escape pods to flee, but the approaching solar flares will very likely kill everyone still aboard the station. Upon examining the shuttle, Corbeau determines they can use it to escape but that the autopilot has been damaged. Although the shuttle has a containment room that will shield its passengers from the solar flares, somebody will have to remain on the bridge and manually pilot the ship back to Earth… and whoever that pilot is will be incinerated by the solar flare’s radiation!

Jean volunteers for the suicide mission, reasoning that her telekinetic abilities will enable her to work all the controls that a full flight crew would normally have to operate. She telepathically “downloads” all of Corbeau's knowledge on how to pilot the shuttle and confidently states her telekinetic shielding will shield her from the radiation. Scott balks, but she knocks him out and orders the other X-Men and Corbeau into the radiation shielded room. Wolverine and Storm fail to talk Jean out of sacrificing herself for them, but to no avail.

Sealing the hole in the ship with a telekinetic shield, Jean begins the dangerous task of piloting the ship back through Earth. In the shielded room, Cyclops revives and tries to break free, forcing the other X-Men to restrain him. As Jean flies the ship through the solar storm, her powers are pushed to the limits and the radiation pushes through causing her extreme pain. As she is overcome, she screams out Scott's name.

Notes

  • The story continues into the next issue.
  • This is the "Spectacular 100th Issue".
  • The cliffhanger for the previous issue depicted the real X-Men facing off with doppelgangers of Professor X and the five original X-Men. In this issue, X-Sentinel versions of Havok and Polaris also appear, apparently having joined in the faceoff “offscreen”.
  • Peter Corbeau is one of Lang’s captives this issue, although he was not shown having been captured in the last issue (like the above note, this was apparently an “offscreen” event.)
  • This is the first time the "Fastball Special" maneuver is carried out by Wolverine and Colossus.
  • This issue contains one of several instances of Banshee screaming (and flying, via his sonic scream) while talking at the same time, which he should not be able to do.
  • In Lang's flashback montage, a visual reveals that the old X-Men foe the Vanisher was one of Lang’s early captives whom he experimented on. That information is not related in dialogue, so it is likely that Prof. X, Cyclops and Jean were unaware that the Vanisher may have been aboard the station. (They certainly wouldn’t have abandoned anyone, even an adversary, to such a dangerous fate had they known he was still onboard.) In Champions #17, the Vanisher confirms that he was still aboard the station after everyone else had fled at the end of this issue. The Vanisher even managed to effect repairs on several damaged Sentinels which ultimately aided him in returning to Earth, and he uses them against the Champions in the final issue of their series. Unfortunately this opens up a rather glaring plot hole: In this issue, the X-Men HAVE to escape the space station IMMEDIATELY as there is no chance they will be able to survive the radiation from the solar flares given the station’s damaged state. This leads to Jean piloting the ship and her first encounter with the Phoenix Force. But….the Vanisher remains onboard the station and survives the solar flares unscathed! So why didn’t the X-Men just remain onboard until after the flares had passed (as the Vanisher apparently did)?
  • In Incredible Hulk Annual #7, the Master Mold Sentinel that abducts the Angel, Iceman and (inadvertently) the Hulk claims that it contains the sentience of Stephen Lang. However Angel will contradict him and relate that the real Stephen Lang survived his apparent death in this issue and managed to return to Earth alive but brain dead due to head trauma. Lang will remain comatose until Uncanny X-Men #291, when his consciousness is absorbed into the Phalanx.
  • The "Council of the Chosen" whom Lang identifies as having funded his project are actually the Hellfire Club. This fact is not mentioned in-universe but revealed in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe entry on the Hellfire Club. This makes sense as Sebastian Shaw later proposes to Senator Robert Kelly (and later finances) the creation of a new line of Sentinels in #135.
  • This issue is reprinted in many other comics and books, see references for more info.[2]
  • references: X-Men #97 and X-Men #99

Trivia

See Also

Recommended Reading

  • This is the final part of the battle vs. Lang's sentinels, started in X-Men #98 and continued through last issue. The storyline finishes next issue.

Links and References

Footnotes

  1. Stephen Lang is a tough guy to kill. His mind would live on in the body of Master Mold check out Incredible Hulk Annual #7
  2. This story is reprinted in the following comics/TPB's:



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