There are about twelve different storylines in these issues, so I’m just going to focus on the big ones.
First, Rachel Summers becomes Phoenix–or at least manifests the power.
Uatu has a bit to say about that.
But the major story is that Mystique lets Spiral, one of the Longshot hunters from that character’s ongoing miniseries (which I haven’t covered here yet), join the Brotherhood as part of a deal with a shadowy Government anti-mutant group that is hunting Longshot and Magneto.
Mystique also agrees to rebrand her team as The Freedom Force and hunt down her former mentor. Love her negotiating tool: turning into Ronald Reagan.
They track him down to Washington DC and have a huge battle at the Washington Monument, with the X-Men fighting on the side of Magneto.
Rather than continue the war, mutant vs. mutant, the big guy turns himself in.
And goes on trial.
He is brought before a World Court in Paris. Lots of cool courtroom drama and wrestling with the ethics of ethnic cleansing and violent revolution, but…While he is held prisoner, a boy-girl twins duo named Fenris and their army of armored men start committing acts of terrorism and spraypainting “Free Magneto” at the sites, setting up the X-Men as fall guys. This leads to a big battle that interrupts the trial.
We get a fastball special during the fight.
The Fenris are Baron von Strucker’s kids, and want revenge on Magneto who, as a Jewish Freedom Fighter, had a history with their daddy.
After the fight, Professor X seems to be dying and with his last words, asks Magneto to stand in his place as headmaster of the School for Gifted Youngsters. Magneto agrees, and then the Starjammers show up and whisk X away before he dies.
They promise to cure the Professor within an hour. Of course, that won’t happen—they’ll be gone for several issues–and Magneto will have to be true to his promise to Xavier. Issue #200 is double-sized, and it does a nice job of breaking this book off in a new direction, with Magneto leading the team and the mutants truly being on the run.
The next issue begins with Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor’s baby being introduced to the X-Men. That’s Cable, of course, when he grows up.
A new baby is cute but Scott’s unhappy because, hey, he’s Scott. He’s preoccupied with Professor X having been taken into space by the Starjammers to heal from near-fatal wounds, leaving the school in the hands of Magneto.
It’s a downtime issue where all the major characters get at least a few “check-in” panels, and the whole team plays a game of baseball. Sports appears often in Claremont’s X-books, and it’s always fun. Colossus uses his powers to hit a baseball into the atmosphere and Rogue catches it, bumping into Air Force One.
Ronald Reagan’s policies were never very pro-minority—not sure why Rogue is kissing him through the window of Air Force One, other than to be a wiseass. Interesting how first Mystique pretends to be him and then he actually appears.
Next, Storm and Cyclops literally fight for control over the school–neither wanting to cede to Magneto. Storm wins, which is weird because she doesn’t win on power, she wins on skill, and Scott is supposed to be a master tactician. But it’s guest-illustrated by Rick Leonardi, which is cool…
Storm wins, even without her powers.
Rick Leonardi penciled #201 only.