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Uncanny X-Men #99: Review

Jun 1976
Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum

Story Name:

Deathstar, Rising!

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Uncanny X-Men #99 Review by (June 5, 2024)

Review: After finding out the captured X-Men are not on earth last issue, the remaining X-Men head off into space to rescue them in this wordier-than-most issue. I do find it odd that the X-Men can so quickly and nonchalantly shoot off into space with no previous training or preparation. Maybe not completely nonchalantly as Colossus gets kind of anxious and queasy, but it’s still remarkable that that’s the worst that happens, at least physically. Storm does get sucked out into space where she discovers she can control the solar storm raging outside, just as she controls the normal weather. That feels iffy but it’s cool, so we’ll roll with it. We also get a bit of setup for the storyline that will follow this one, with Black Tom Cassidy promising danger coming for his cousin, Banshee, and the rest of the X-Men!

There’s also evidence of a couple of quickly abandoned ideas. The first is that there has been evidence, most prevalent in this issue, that Nightcrawler was originally supposed to have some measure of super strength, as he is able to bash in a Sentinel’s head and then easily flip Colossus in an acrobatic stunt, two feats that wouldn’t be possible later. The second is a possible brewing romance between Colossus and Storm, at least on Colossus’ end. Nightcrawler notes how he reacts when Storm is in danger and his reaction to her reappearance certainly feels romantic in nature. As mentioned, both of these ideas are quickly dropped. Finally, we’re treated to a heck of a cliffhanger as the new X-Men come face to face with the original X-Men! Tune in next time for some bombastic X-Men vs. X-Men action!

Comments: Cameos for Roger Grimsby and Geraldo Rivera, real newscasters at the time, reporting on the growing anti-mutant hysteria. First appearance of Black Tom Cassidy, though his face is obscured. First explicit mention of Storm’s oath not to kill. First mention of Colossus’ deceased brother, Mikhael. He will turn out to be alive much, MUCH later.





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Uncanny X-Men #99 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Last issue, the other X-Men found out that Steven Lang’s Sentinel base is not on earth at all, which left Banshee, Wolverine, and Jean Grey floating in space after trying to escape. Steven Lang dispatches some Sentinels to retrieve the heroes, warning them not to try escaping again. Simultaneously, Dr. Peter Corbeau accesses Norad’s Valhalla Base Data Bank to determine where the Sentinels are likely to be coming from, eventually learning that they are originating from an abandoned SHIELD orbital platform. We then cut later to a news broadcast with Roger Grimsby and Geraldo Rivera, reporting on the increase in anti-mutant paranoia following the Sentinels reappearance, as well as the mysterious midnight launch of the Starcore Shuttle, piloted by Peter Corbeau and his mystery crew. The crew is a mystery, of course, because this is the cover used to allow the X-Men to travel into space to rescue their teammates without drawing too much suspicion.

As the shuttle prepares to launch, Nightcrawler notices that Colossus looks to being feeling ill, before Colossus suddenly transforms into his armored form, bursting out of his spacesuit. The shocked Nightcrawler asks what’s wrong and Colossus shares that he had a cosmonaut brother that died when his ship exploded on the launch pad, making this whole situation very stressful for him. As the shuttle counts down for liftoff, each of the passengers reflects upon their situation. Cyclops determines that he can’t lose Jean after all they’ve been through, and Storm does her best to remain calm, reminding herself that her friends need her. Colossus feels helpless despite all his power, and finally Nightcrawler worries for Colossus while also wishing that his comrades from the circus could see him on such a grand adventure. The shuttle shoots off into space and the nearby Starcore One research station reports that they’re heading right for some of the worst solar storms in recent memory!

We then take a small detour to the village of Dal’Roon in Ireland. There, a solicitor named Flaherty sends out an urgent letter addressed to Sean Cassidy, Banshee, before he is killed by Banshee’s cousin, Black Tom Cassidy, who’s got mysterious plans of his own upcoming. Back with the X-Men, Corbeau radio’s the abandoned SHIELD station that Steven Lang is using as his base, requesting sanctuary from the solar storm. Lang’s sensors pick up all the mutants aboard the shuttle and he sends out Sentinels to attack the ship. Corbeau does his best to avoid them, but one manages to blow a hole in the side of the ship. Storm’s lifeline gets cut in the blast and she is sucked out of the shuttle and into the cold of space! Meanwhile, Colossus is also suffocating, no longer having any space suit, forcing Corbeau to ram the shuttle straight through the side of the base to safety! All alone, Storm finds a Sentinel chasing her but also discovers that she can manipulate the solar winds, just as she does the weather on earth. She destroys the attacking Sentinel and notes how human it sounds, wondering if this is the best way to honor her parents’ memory and her oath not to kill.

Meanwhile inside, the rest of the X-Men battle the Sentinels and workers that came to stop them. Nightcrawler saves Cyclops from a Sentinel then flips Colossus up to destroy another. Cyclops destroys the final Sentinel while noting how easy it was to defeat them. Storm makes her reappearance at that moment, delighting Colossus, who lifts her up, overjoyed that she isn’t dead. Cyclops then gets a mental call from Jean, telling him to hurry. Cyclops orders the other three to go rescue Banshee and Wolverine in B-Deck, while he heads to main mission with Corbeau to rescue Jean and Professor X. Cyclops reaches main mission and savagely attacks Steven Lang in a display of ferocity that would make Wolverine proud, before getting blasted from behind by an unseen force. Jean reacts with disbelief and Lang reveals that is what Project Armageddon has really all been about as the remaining X-Men come face to face with what seem to be the original X-Men and Professor X, as “Professor X” orders that his students kill the new, imposter X-Men! To be continued!



Dave Cockrum
Frank Chiaramonte
Michelle Wolfman
Dave Cockrum (Cover Penciler)
Dave Cockrum (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Irv Watanabe.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Banshee
Banshee

(Sean Cassidy)
Colossus
Colossus

(Piotr Rasputin)
Cyclops
Cyclops

(Scott Summers)
Nightcrawler
Nightcrawler

(Kurt Wagner)
Professor X
Professor X

(Charles Xavier)
Storm
Storm

(Ororo Munroe)
Wolverine
Wolverine

(James Howlett)

Plus: Black Tom Cassidy, Sentinels, Steven Lang.

> Uncanny X-Men: Book info and issue index

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