- Oh Beast, you've such marvelous silky fur. You are a joy to brush. I've an idea. Would you like bows for your hair? I'll see if I can find some.
- -- Nanny
Appearing in "Showdown!"
- Australian tanks and army equipment
Synopsis for "Showdown!"
Magneto attacks a research facility in Australia while a news camera team attempts to film it. He turns his wrath on them and brings the filming to an abrupt end. Six hours later, BBC news reporter John Cheever reports that the base has been utterly destroyed. Cheever laments that Magneto’s longtime enemies the X-Men seem to have vanished off the face of the Earth.
On the Greek isle of Kirinos, Lilandra muses that she’s enjoyed the “primitive” world called Earth, mainly because of Charles. However Professor Xavier is disturbed that he has lost his telepathic rapport with the X-Men for over a week. He is unable to contact or locate them. Lilandra tries to reassure him, but Xavier remains pensive.
In Magneto's Antarctic base, the X-Men are still locked in the restraint chairs that reduce their motor functions to be those of small children. Magneto's robot Nanny dotes over them in a patronizing manner, feeding them as they were infants. Storm, however, has been keeping track of Nanny’s movements and her scheduled routine and enacts an escape plan. Shaking off her headdress, she exposes a set of lockpicks she keeps within it. Grasping one with her teeth, she sets to work unlocking the chair.
As she works, she recalls how, after her parents were killed, a near-infant Ororo was brought before the master thief of Cairo, who trained her to be an expert thief even as a child (and hence, she is able to circumvent some of the inhibitions Magneto’s chair places on her.) But Storm gets so caught up in her reveries, she accidentally drops her pick. Nanny returns and Storm fears she’ll discover the lockpicks. She convinces the robot that she’s just upset that her headdress fell off and so Nanny puts it back in place. Although she’s successfully fooled Nanny, Storm is reduced to tears of frustration by the wasted exertion and the prospect of starting all over.
Time passes. Magneto is in his rebuilt Asteroid M base and busy at evil schemes when he receives an alert of a minor malfunction at his Antarctic base. He goes to investigate. When he arrives, he finds the lights out and Nanny malfunctioning. Of course he’s aware that it’s a trap, but steps into it anyway, supremely confident that will once again easily crush the X-Men.
This time, however, Phoenix has telepathically linked the X-Men which allows Cyclops to issue orders to them without speaking. They work as a team and are able to gain and keep the upper hand. Using hit and run tactics, they quickly have Magneto on the ropes, pummelling him relentlessly. Phoenix hurls him into a control console and Colossus brutally pounds away at him.
Nightcrawler is the first to realize that lava is leaking into the base. Magneto hurriedly explains that Phoenix hurled him into the controls for the protective dome, which has now begun to open and is allowing lava to flood in. The fight breaks up as the situation becomes more dire. Nightcrawler tells Magneto to take them out the same way he got them in -- in a magnetic force bubble. He refuses, though. Taking advantage of their momentary alarm, Magneto hurls Colossus away from him, snatch his helmet back and abandon the X-Men to their fate.
Lava spills in, threatening to bury the whole complex. The Beast pushes Phoenix out of the way of falling debris, but separates them from the rest of the team. The X-Men are cut off.
A gravely injured Magneto makes a supreme effort to escape just before the volcano erupts. The plans he’d been working on are now ruined, as the vital data he’d kept in that base is gone, and he has been so badly injured by Colossus, he will need months to recover. He does grudgingly admit to himself his admiration that, once Cyclops got the X-Men to fight as a team, they proved to be a formidable force. As he flies away, he consoles himself with the knowledge that there was no way they could have escaped; they must be dead.
After he’s gone, Phoenix bursts out of the ruins of the base with the Beast, but the strain causes her to faint. Trapped in the harsh Antarctic environment, the Beast attempts to carry Jean to safety but soon the elements begin taking their toll on him and he collapses as well.
- The story continues in the next issue.
- The story references the dissolution of the Champions (following Champions #17), the temporary disbanding of the Fantastic Four (Fantastic Four #s 191-200), the Avengers losing their security clearance (Avengers #172-181) and the original X-Men's battle with Magneto at Cape Canaveral (X-Men #1).
- This story introduces Ororo's lockpicking skills and the secret picks in her headdress as well as relates her past as a street urchin and thief.
- Magneto has rebuilt his outer space base Asteroid M, which was last seen (and destroyed) in #5.
- What exactly Magneto's big plans were or what he wanted from the Australian research base is a mystery. Whatever he planned to do, the scheme was apparently scrapped as he said that data held in his Antarctic base was vital to it.
- The X-Men will revisit the ruins this base, including discovering Nanny's inert head, in issue #149.
- Possible inconsistency: Professor Xavier says he has lost his telepathic rapport with the X-Men for over a week. The X-Men have been Magneto's prisoners for several days, perhaps a week. But they were also abducted by Mesmero prior to that and were apparently his performing freaks for an unspecified amount of time before they broke free (though both the Beast and Magneto separately remark that the X-Mansion seemed to have been abandoned for a long while.) It seems odd that Professor would only just recently notice he could not get in contact with the X-Men...or did he just not try to contact them before then?
- This is the first issue after X-Men became monthly.
- This is actually the first issue of the revived series that depicts the entire X-Men team on the cover. Before this, only about three or four X-Men appeared on any given cover. (The Beast is not officially an X-Man, even though he fights alongside them, so his absence from the cover doesn't count.) Oddly enough, the X-Men character least often depicted on a cover prior to this issue is Wolverine.
- The reporter from the beginning of this story is named John Cheever, which is also the name of a popular short story writer of the 1970s.
Links and References
- The Official Marvel Index to the X-Men #6 - See for further referencing
- The Official Marvel Index to the X-Men (Vol. 2) #2 - See for further referencing
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