Uncanny X-Men #221-222 (1987): 1st Mister Sinister

Part of the problem with writing a book with over a dozen major characters is that plotlines can get lost, and right about here is where I stopped reading X-Men in real time as a youth because of just that: Too much to keep track of.

The big Mutant Massacre event happened almost a year ago, and we’re just now seeing the villainous Marauders again.

We also get the first appearance of Mr. Sinister, the leader of The Marauders. 

He’s a mean boss.

It’s interesting that this major villain and Apocalypse are both being developed at the same time—it’s like the groundwork for two events is being laid simultaneously.  Which is part of the problem I led this post with: It’s a lot to keep track of!

I have to say: Sabretooth just keeps getting the crap kicked out of him, issue after issue–even by his own teammates.  In this issue he gets stabbed through the heart.

If he’s supposed to be the bad-guy equivalent of Wolverine, he’s doing a poor job.

But he does get a few good hits in on Wolverine, in this story–basically a two-issue fight.

Madelyn Pryor has a big role in the fights, as the team rescues her from the hospital where the Marauders arrive to attack her.

She is the one who led the team to the hospital, so they could launch a rescue mission.

But she’s not just a helpless captive. Claremont tends to write strong women.

Remember when we last saw the Marauders, Malice had hijacked Polaris’ brain and was going to use her to lead their next attack, which is what they do here.

Again, huge cast. But some good fights.

The issues essentially end without moving the ball forward: Nobody is captured, nobody dies, Polaris is still under Malice’s thrall.

But Madelyne is safe now.

Or safer at any rate. She still doesn’t know why Mister Sinister is after her.

In terms of the future, there is an increased attempt to make Dazzler matter. She’s got to be more than just a human discoball.

We get to see her fight “Rogue” (hologram) in the danger room. Remember that Rogue came after her in Dazzler #22.

So Allison is still trying to work through her feelings about that. I do like how exasperated Rogue is about it all. I mean, true, she’s risked her life alongside the X-Men a bunch of times now but…She mindwiped and nearly killed Carol Danvers and did a bunch of really bad stuff. It’s hard for those scales to rebalance.

Dazzler does have Rogue’s back during the big fight.

There’s also a brief check-in with Storm and Naze, who are on the way to save Forge from The Adversary, and because Claremont doesn’t have enough going on, they tie the Adversary threat to Claremont’s brief run as the writer of Dr. Strange. (Also note that Naze IS The Adversary–we readers don’t know that yet.)

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