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Quote1 I warned them, but those senile old fools in Tokyo wouldn't listen. Now they'll learn once and for all...that Moses Magnum is not to be trifled with! Quote2
-- Moses Magnum

Appearing in "'Twas the Night Before Christmas..."

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  • The "Flying Scotsman" express-train

Synopsis for "'Twas the Night Before Christmas..."

Continued from last issue...

The Kurii islands off the coast of Japan: with Nightcrawler in tow, Storm flies to an especially remote island. When they are in close enough proximity, Nightcrawler teleports to a secret base upon it. After subduing a guard, he enters the base. While penetrating within, he reflects back on the start of the mission.

In a flashback, he recalls how Moses Magnum issued an ultimatum to the government of Japan: Turn the country over to him, or he will use his magnum force to sink the entire country. With the 24-hour deadline quickly approaching, the Prime Minister of Japan has asked the visiting X-Men to help stop him from destroying the country. After getting a briefing on the likelihood of Moses Magnum’s ability to actually do it, the X-Men and Sunfire set out to oppose him. The whereabouts of his secret base having been rooted out by Misty Knight and Colleen Wing.

The group has split into two teams to try and stop Magnum's operation that is located within the Kuril Islands. While Storm and Banshee have approached from the air (with Nightcrawler teleporting into the base solo), Cyclops leads Colossus, Wolverine and Sunfire in burrowing their way underground to the island. Meanwhile, all parties remain in radio contact with Misty and Colleen.

Storm relates to Banshee a message from Misty that they are to begin the assault. Banshee uses his sonic scream to disrupt the base’s scanners. This prompts the island’s defense soldiers to rush outside where Storm attacks them, leaving the base free for Nightcrawler to move around in. Nightcrawler’s specific mission is to operate a homing beacon in order to guide Cyclops’ team to the correct point at which to tunnel their way in. Having found a decent spot, he activates his homing beacon but reacts to a noise he hears elsewhere in the chamber.

Cyclops and Sunfire punch a hole through the floor. But upon entering it, Colossus is ambushed by Magnum who surprises them with his newly acquired super-human strength. Magnum punches Colossus with enough force to send him rocketing out of the base. Colossus barely manages to anchor himself before plunging off the island. After saving himself, he laments just how ineffectual he feels he’s been in battles lately.

Back inside, Cyclops, Wolverine and Sunfire rush Moses Magnum. The villain takes out Wolverine with a single punch. Cyclops orders Sunfire to get backup from Storm and Banshee. While Cyclops is alone against him, Magnum introduces two new soup-up Mandroids and sets them on Cyclops. Just then, Colossus returns and easily pummels the two Mandroids by himself.

Furious, Magnum runs from the room, promising to carry out his threat after all. Banshee attempts to follow, but a door slams shut between them. Acting on a hunch, Banshee tells Cyclops to get everyone clear from the island and flies off.

While Moses concentrates his newfound energy abilities, Banshee creates a solid wall of sonic screams across the island, exerting his mutant ability to its fullest extent. The rest of the team are deafened by Banshee’s assault, but he is successful as the entire island explodes.

A day later, Misty and Colleen are aboard a small prop plane scanning the island’s surroundings for survivors. They spot Sunfire in the air, who leads them to a small rocky outpost where the X-Men are stranded, including a gravely injured Banshee.

Ten days later, a cab drops Banshee off at the Yashida estate. Banshee ponders to himself that for the days immediately following the mission, he apparently lay comatose in the hospital and his teammates remained vigilantly by his side. Yet now on the day of his release, none of them came to the hospital. He enters the estate to find that they’ve arranged a surprise party for him and he realizes that it is Christmas Day.

Storm notices Wolverine sneaking out of the party to spend some quiet time with Mariko. Ororo thinks to herself how much gentler Wolverine seems in the young woman’s presence, something she appreciates. Ororo gives kurt a peck on the cheek for Christmas and then commiserates with Peter, who laments being away from his family on Christmas.

In Scotland, Jean arrives in Edinburgh and meets up with Moira, Alex (Havok), Lorna (Polaris) and Jamie Madrox (Multiple Man). Their plan is to celebrate Christmas together before traveling to Muir Island.

At that same time, ON Muir Island, the disgruntled Angus MacWhirter (who rented the X-Men a boat which was destroyed back in issue #104) has broke into Moira’s facilities. He plans to rig charges and destroy the complex. As he skulks around, he passes by a door ID-ed as the holding cell for Mutant X. Alone in the corridors, Angus encounters a being that refers to him as “human” before attacking...and killing him.

Notes

  • Banshee's injuries in this issue cause him to lose his mutant sonic scream and eventually lead to him leaving the team. (He would eventually regain his sonic scream AND rejoin the team in the future, but not for over a decade in real time.)
  • Banshee mulls over calling Moira in Scotland. Evidently, Moira left her housekeeping position at Xavier's school sometime before Mesmero brainwashed the team before #111. He fails to follow up on this thought, making it yet one more instance where the X-Men could have revealed to a loved one that they survived the encounter with Magneto back in #113, yet inexplicably doesn't.
  • The last time Jean was depicted encountering Havok and Polaris, they were the mind-controlled pawns of the villain Erik the Red and opponents of the X-Men. While it's possible that there was some sort of reconciliation that took place between Havok, Polaris and the X-Men (including Jean) in between issues, it seems odd that such a big plotline would be simply ignored without comment.
  • Angus MacWhirter becomes the first host to Proteus, following up on a dangling plot thread from #104.

Trivia

  • This issue announces that the X-Men comic book has been awarded the Eagle Award (a British comic book fan award) two years in a row for both favorite dramatic comic book and favorite team in 1978 and 1979. Terry Austin was also awarded the favorite inker award.
  • Moses Magnum's base is remarkably similar to a base used by Blofeld in the James Bond movie "You Only Live Twice" (also set in Japan).
  • While writer Claremont and artist Byrne had a notoriously contentious working relationship, this issue became a particular sore point between the creators. The panel depicting the explosion of Magnum's island contains a sound blurb "Kra-KOOM"! Byrne wanted the panel to run with no sound caption, believing the art itself was strong enough to convey the destruction. When the finished product contained a sound effect, despite his asking for it not to, he was livid. A full three years later, Byrne was the writer/artist on [1] which showed a similarly large explosion, but the panel contained an editor's note stating how it would insult the intelligence of the reader to depict a sound effect. (Byrne certainly could hold a grudge!)

See Also

Recommended Reading

  • This concludes the Moses Magnum storyline started last issue.

Links and References

Footnotes



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