Uncanny X-Men #242 and X-Factor #38 (1989): N’astirh dies

The X-Men connect with X-Factor for the first time since the X-Men were “killed” on live T.V. and went into hiding, which means Wolverine has to sexually assault Jean Grey of X-Factor (because he’s never seen her alive).

Ugh. On top of that, Claremont has Jean secretly liking it and Wolverine saying as much out loud.

This would never have been written this way in a modern book.

And speaking of acting rape-y…

…Longshot just used his “luck” power to get lucky with Dazzler.

The members of X-Factor are all upset about the members of X-Men letting them believe they were dead, so there’s a bunch of personal conflicts that have to get resolved via a bunch of fights between the teams until Storm and Jean break it all up.

The two strongest women on each team seem to understand how to talk through their feelings.  Very nice sequence.

N’astirh shows up and reminds everyone that we’re in the middle of the Inferno Event.

Once the teams are united against N’astirh, it’s a solid, giant battle, complete with a Fastball Special.

We haven’t had one of these in a long, long time.

The major event-related developments are, first, Havok being corrupted by Madelyne, who is now the Goblin Queen, and becoming the Goblin Prince (note: Not King).

Second, baby Nate Summers is able to project a cry of distress to Jean.  Now, his real mom is Madelyne, but Maddie is (a) the Goblin Queen; and (b) a clone of Jean Grey.

And Storm kills N’Astirh with lightning blasts…But I’m pretty sure the demon dies in some other tie-in books as well?

This leaves the X-teams united to face Madelyne Pryor (with the enthralled Havok

Facing Madelyne, she reveals she has the power to bring out demons in people, which means that no sooner have X-Factor and X-Men united than they start fighting again.  Havok has already been seduced by her.

Maddie reveals that for many years she’s been using her manipulative powers to put the mutants against each other, including going as far back and forcing Cyclops to lose his battle with Storm when she challenged his leadership of the X-Men.

Big retcons like this are hard to pull off, and with any other writer I’d doubt it, but I can totally see Chris Claremont having had this idea for a very long time and patiently waiting until now to reveal it.  Especially after the X-Men “died” and allowed their friends to grieve the losses without making any effort to tell them they were alive.

Anyway, the X-Factor issue is full of hero-on-hero fights, and they’re fun to watch, until, ultimately, the Phoenix Force returns as a deus ex machina and basically picks Jean Grey over Madelyne, her clone.

And of course Jean rejects Phoenix.

I would much rather have had a clean death for Madelyne, but this is essentially a death as Jean Grey’s personality dominates and takes her over in the merge.

Scott and Nate are reunited, with “their” baby.

And the teams swear revenge against Mister Sinister.

Bonus: A brief Iceman vs Longshot snowball fight.

I haven’t gotten to use that snowball fight tag in a while.

This event had some good moments, but the sheer size of the cast and the fact that we’ve seen some of this several times already (especially the bit with Phoenix) makes it less memorable than it could have been.

X-Men: Chris Claremont, Marc Silvestri, Grade: C+
X-Factor: The Simonsons.  Grade: B-

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