Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Uncanny X-Men #111
Chris Claremont (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Terry Austin (inks), Mary Titus (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letters), Archie Goodwin (editor)
In Texas, the Beast finds the missing X-Men, who are performing in a carnival with Banshee as the carnival barker, Cyclops as a guard, and the other X-Men as performers and "freaks." The Beast tries to talk to Jean Grey, who doesn't recognize him and calls herself "Miz Destiny", but he only succeeds in getting beaten up by Cyclops, Colossus, and the rest of the hired muscle. The Beast is dragged before the party responsible, Mesmero, who is out for revenge for the time the X-Men defeated him. However, the chaos briefly caused by the Beast is enough to bring Wolverine out of Mesmero's mind control, and he promptly breaks the others from their trances. Converging on Mesmero's trailer, they find that he's unconscious - and sitting at his desk is Magneto.
For some reason I always think about this issue or the "Dark Phoenix Saga" when the topic of the Claremont/Byrne run comes up. At the very least this issue does have a great set-up; we cut straight to the Beast discovering the X-Men in a carnival/freak show and having to find out who's behind it. Aside from bringing back and refining the character of Magneto, Claremont didn't really tap into the X-Men's Silver Age rogues' gallery for a reason, but the use of Mesmero here is quite a nice twist, as is the final reveal at the end. It's the sort of thing that makes superhero comics - or any good serial genre, really - so much fun.