Synopsis: Uncanny X-Men 141 was written by Chris Claremont and drawn by the John Byrne/Terry Austin team and opens with Marvel’s first look at this particular dark future. A woman carries a box of medical supplies through the ruins of what was the fancy part of New York City. She is saved from a local street gang, by an older Wolverine and it turns out, this is the older version of Kitty Pryde, who now goes by Kate. Kate returns to a concentration camp, under the watchful control of sentinels and takes the component that Wolverine gave her and passes it to what remains of the X-Men, now residing in this mutant concentration camp. All that remain are a wheelchair bound Magneto, an older Storm and Kate’s husband Colossus. Also there are a girl called Rachel and a young man called Franklin, both children of more modern day heroes, they will come into play later.
The plan goes into effect, Rachel sends the mind of Kate back through time to her body as it was in 1980. Back in 1980, Kitty walks into the Danger Room and causes no end of trouble, before going into her own danger room session, which she walks through, eyes closed and phasing, making her body intangible and preventing any danger room equipment harmless. As she moves to the exit, the older Kate merges with her and she collapses.
When she wakes, she is thrilled to see everyone there, hugging Nightcrawler, happy to see a younger Storm and Colossus and even a suprised Wolverine. No one really mentions Angel, but we can ignore that. After a quick medical exam, Kate (in Kitty’s body) tells them the future, how the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, will lead to a mutant control act and a genocide of superhumans, which would end with the Sentinels taking complete control of North America. Stating the death toll and the horrors ahead, move the team who decide to go to Washington DC to see Professor Xavier, who can verify Kate’s story and that’s where Robert Kelly is to be assassinated.
In the future, the Sentinels attack and Franklin is killed. The rest of the X-Men retaliate and the squad of Sentinels is destroyed and the team move on to the Baxter Building, homebase of the Sentinels and the former home of the Fantastic Four.
In 1980, a Defense Department supervisor called Raven Darkholme is giving orders in the Pentagon before walking into a private set of rooms, shifting her shape to Mystique leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Inside are the rest of her team, Destiny,Blob, Pyro and Avalanche, who bicker amongst themselves, before Mystique tells them to be ready to go.
At the hearings into the ‘mutant question’ Senator Robert Kelly lays it on thick, while Professor Xavier and Moira MacTaggart talk about how wrong this can go. Storm arrives in the back and informs the Professor telepathically of recent events, just as the Brotherhood attacks. Before they can get to Senator Kelly, Angel, Kate Pryde, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Wolverine step in front of him to face the Brotherhood, ready for Mystique to order them killed.
Notes: This is one of ‘those’ stories that have had such an impact on the X-Men that it’s hard to imagine that this was a two issue story. There’s been revisits to this story, cartoon versions and the last X-Men film was based on a lot of this story, it has history and earns it’s iconic status. The story is fast moving, but you do get all the information you need, the characters in the future are older, but quite recognisable and the dystopic environment is full of shadows and fear. The story when it moves to 1980 visually changes and it becomes a more recognisable X-Men story, but it’s not so much a shift that it pulls you from the story, rather it pulls you in further.
A few new characters make their X-title debut, Pryo, Avalanche, Destiny and Mystique all appear here. Many are not new to comics, but this is where they stake their X-Men character claim. Also here is Rachel (soon to be named Summers) and her husband Franklin Richards, admittedly Franklin is a long standing character at this point, this is one of the earliest uses of him as an adult character. The art is great, the writing is as Claremontian as ever and it’s a fantastic read.
Once again I will admit, this is better reviewed and examined by Jay Rachel Eddin and Miles Stokes from the always awesome Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men, the link for this episode is here.
Next Time: Nazi Vampires. Yup, you heard that right.