- The firing's stopped. I need a new host body -- I've almost burned this one out. But I daren't take one now. For the few seconds I'll need to possess any of these X-Men, I'll be too vulnerable. The risk is too great. Better to run, and survive.
Appearing in "The Quality of Hatred!"
- Dr. Moira MacTaggert
- Havok (Alex Summers)
- Polaris (Lorna Dane)
- Joe MacTaggert (First appearance) (Death)
- Jennie Banks (First appearance) (Possessed by Proteus)
- Unnamed constable (Possessed by Proteus)
- Wallis (First appearance) (Joseph MacTaggert's butler)
- Unnamed Scottish locals
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "The Quality of Hatred!"
Continued from last issue.
As Proteus closes in on her, intent on stealing her physical form, Storm risks flight once more, but Proteus warps space around her and brings her back to the ground again, this time knocking her unconscious. Just as Storm seems doomed, a sniper on a nearby ridge distracts Proteus. The metal of the bullets are a real threat to him and forces him away from Storm. The sniper is Moira, who is intent on finishing him off. Cyclops, who does not want to use lethal force tries to stop her. Moira knocks Cyclops out to get her shot but Proteus has already driven off in the X-Men's jeep, not wanting to be vulnerable while he switches bodies. Guessing (correctly as it turns out) where her son is ultimately heading, Moira takes off after him.
The X-Men regroup and patch up their wounds. Wolverine has been badly shaken by his encounter with Proteus and is in a fragile state. Cyclops provokes a fight in order to snap him out of it. Unaware of Cyclops’s intentions, Colossus tries to intervene but Phoenix (who has read Scott’s mind) stops him. As Cyclops planned, his taunting escalates into a brawl and he provokes responses from Nightcrawler and Storm as well. Finally, he sues for peace and explains his motivation: to test their psyches to see if there was any other damage that was not immediately apparent.
Meanwhile to the south of them, Proteus claims his next victim: a young woman named Jennie Banks whose car has a flat tire. Jennie/Proteus hides the used-up policeman's body and fixes the flat before continuing on his way, intent on killing "the one [he] hates".
In Edinburgh, Moira pays a visit to Joe MacTaggert, her estranged husband who has repeatedly refused to divorce her. She tells him he has a son and that he's trying to kill him, prompting an outraged response from him. Moira pulls a gun on him before leaving. Outside, she crumbles in tears at the situation, unaware that Proteus is near her. Proteus closes in for the kill in on his quarry: his father.
Phoenix detects Joe's psychic death scream and feels his pain physically. She also warns that with each new host body that Proteus consumes, his mutant ability to warp reality increases exponentially. Now knowing his location, she telekinetically flies the bulk of the team to him while Storm and Polaris fly on their own power. Scott secretly notes with some concern the new extent of Phoenix’s powers (As Marvel Girl, Jean’s telekinesis would never have been strong enough to transport so many people so far.)
Having possessed his father’s body, Proteus confronts Moira. She grabs for her gun, but he transforms it into a snake. Proteus displays a blatant Oedipal complex as, having killed his father, he seems to sexually accost his mother.
The X-Men arrive on the scene to find reality going wild. Proteus foils the team’s initial assaults on him and uses Moira as a hostage. Banshee, who is in love with Moira, begs Cyclops not to let her get hurt. Cyclops however says that their opponent has grown too powerful and they can no longer afford to pull any punches, even at the cost of Moira’s or their own lives.
This story is continued next issue.
- This storyline, especially this issue, fills in Moira's backstory. In X-Men Vol 1 117, it was revealed that Charles and Moira had a romantic relationship, but that while Prof. X was away in the Korean War (a reference subject to Marvel's sliding time scale), she sent him a dear john letter breaking it off with no explanation. This story reveals that she broke up with Charles in order to marry Joe MacTaggert, but that the marriage was a considerably unhappy one and Joe abandoned her, unaware that she was pregnant. The child Moira would give birth to would become the murderous Proteus.
- Whether by accident or design, the Proteus storyline neatly foreshadows the eventual Dark Phoenix storyline. Proteus and Dark Phoenix each exhibit godlike abilities and both callously murder numerous innocents in the pursuit of their goals. More importantly, each opponent has intimate ties to the X-Men "family" and must ultimately be dealt with by using lethal force, causing considerable anguish for their loved ones.
- Cyclops reveals that Wolverine is the one who is to replace him as leader. (This might actually refer to Wolverine's routine habit of questioning Cyclops' leadership directives, similar to how Hawkeye also questioned Captain America in early issues of the Avengers, rather than any actual intentions on either his or Prof. X's part.)
- There is a minor geographical error in this issue, as it labels the small mountain in Holyrood Park as the Edinburgh Crag. Although this is adjoined the the Salisbury Crags, the mountain is actually named Arthur's Seat.
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Links and References
- The Official Marvel Index to the X-Men #7 - See for further referencing
- The Official Marvel Index to the X-Men Vol 2 #3 - See for further referencing
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