Posted - November 14, 2016

Previous: Astonishing X-Men

Muir Isle Saga 1
Uncanny X-Men 278, Uncanny X-Men 279, X-Factor 69

Uncanny X-Men 278 Uncanny X-Men 279 X-Factor 69

We have this storyline's villain front and center: The Shadow King.

The Shadow King

His modus operandi dovetails perfectly with that of Psycho-Man.

The Shadow King points to human hate as his power source but he does have a thorn on his side.

The Shadow King talking about Professor X

I've never heard of W.H.O. before this comic.

W.H.O. owns these buildings

I like them immediately because 'Weird Happenings Organization' has a wacky twist to it. Evidently this organization is related to the X-Men offshoot group Excalibur. Anyway, there is an intruder on-base.

An intruder in an aircraft hangar

Whoever it is is wearing Shi'ar armor.

Intruder wearing Shi'ar armor

This intruder is attempting to "steal" the X-Men's Blackbird.

Blackbird stolen.

SR-71 Blackbird in flight

We find Rogue, after her Savage Land adventures, facing a "situation" in Muir Isle.

The arena in Muir Isle

Some kind of gladiatorial acceptance right against X-Factor's Strong Guy. Moira MacTaggert has sanctioned it and other mutants are enjoying the show.

Legion, Siren, and Madrox enjoying a gladiatorial fight

I'm a bit baffled.

The ending: Rogue takes out Strong Guy.

Rogue defeats Strong Guy

Oh, so this is the idea.

The concept behind the arena battles

The Muir Isle Arena is the country-cousin of the urbane Danger Room.

The intruder reveals himself.

The intruder is Professor X

Xavier mentions other branches of the X-Men family: X-Factor and X-Calibur. He's rallying all the troops for a showdown with the Shadow King. Here's who he has so far.

Professor X and the X-Men

While Rogue takes a bath, the Shadow King reveals why the mutants on Muir are getting a little bit more bloodthirsty than usual.

Rogue falls under the thrall of the Shadow King

It looks like the X-Men will be going against the Muir Isle mutants. Rogue is definitely a heavy-hitter for the latter group.

As the X-Men attempt to infiltrate Muir Isle we get this interesting dialogue.

Storm and Gambit talking

The eternal discussion between those who choose to see life as fun and those who take a more serious approach. I need more of Gambit's outlook myself.

On the ground, Banshee makes a nice discovery replete with references to Scottish culture.

Banshee looks at some Scottish designs

Psylocke informs everybody that someone or something very powerful is being held in Muir.

Forge talking

The confrontation begins as Legion lashes out at Storm.

Legion fighting Storm

Since Storm has a psylink with Psylocke, Elizabeth also gets a dose of Legion's power. Lucky Legion.

I think this hurts more though. Banshee getting taken out by his own daughter, Siren.

Siren attacks Banshee

It's Gambit vs Madrox with Madrox giving a nice capsule description of his power.

Gambing listens to Madrox

Wolverine vs. Rogue. Good match.

Wolverine fights Rogue

Amanda (a sorceress) confronts Jubilee in a beautifully done panel.

Amanda uses magic against Jubilee

In a short aside. Professor X reacts to the past destruction of the X-Mansion.

Professor X in the ruins of the X-Mansion

It's more of a nostalgic reaction though, I read somewhere (I forgot where) that the Prof has a net worth of around two billion dollars. Also, it isn't the first time the Mansion was destroyed and rebuilt. It's like moving house. It's a chore but it's not a new chore.

What follows next is a meeting between two main adversaries.

Professor X and the Shadow King

And a grisly report of the situation in Muir

Fallen X-Men

Well, things are off to a bad start.

The issue ends with Professor X being pitted against a mind-controlled Colossus.

Mind-controlled Colossus confronts Professor X

I'm not too worried, it should be a simple matter for the Professor to wrest Peter's mind from the Shadow King. Or is it? They're not called cliffhangers for nothing.

On to X-Men 279.

We start with Colossus under the complete control of the Shadow King

Mind-controlled Colossus confronts Professor X

Professor X comments on Colossus' mutant power.

Colossus on the attack

Invulnerable means "cannot be damaged". Colossus is immensely tough but he's hardly invulnerable as the events in World War Hulk will testify.

As I said, Professor X can take care of this situation very easily.

Professor X stops Colossus with a mental command

We are suddenly reminded that it is not Colossus who is the enemy here. It is the Shadow King. As Xavier tries to focus on the mind of Stevie Hunter the Shadow King is able to take advantage of Xavier's divided focus (Colossus and Stevie) and break Xavier's hold on Colossus.

Stevie and the Professor have no choice but to cut and run.

Stevie Hunter and Professor X running

Xavier and Stevie go to an underground bunker for shelter.

Stevie Hunter and Professor X heads for underground shelter as Colossus attacks

I'm not very hopeful about that door being able to withstand Colossus. I was right, that door might as well have been made of tissue paper.

Xavier activates the bunker's defenses.

Colossus goes through the Danger Room defenses

The game plan right now is to stop Colossus by luring him to the Danger Room. That could work.

Colossus restrained in the Danger Room

The Shadow King and the Professor are old foes. We get a flashback together with some sniping.

Flashback to the first encounter between Professor X and the Shadow King

Colossus manages to bust out of the Danger Room.

Colossus crashes into the Danger Room control room

The Professor decides to play his best card: to wrest Peter's mind away from the Shadow King's control.

Professor X frees Colossus from the Shadow King's influence

Heretofore, Colossus has been living his life as artist Peter Nicholas not Piotr Rasputin. In order to free him, the Professor "unlocks" the Rasputin identity giving Peter (or rather Piotr) all his memories. It is an act that the Professor regrets very much. I get it. If you or I had a tough past that we somehow managed to permanently forget will you press the 'reset' button? I won't.

Looking in at the Shadow King, he too has his - quite glaring - weakpoints.

The Shadow King's host

Some disturbing things as we look on the other X-Men.

Wolverine, Jubilee and Gambit in the jungle

Gambit hitting Jubilee? I did not know he was so crude.

Gambit hits Jubilee

I'm expecting Wolverine, Jubilee's protector, to break Gambit in half but Logan only does this.

Wolverine threatens Gambit with his claws

Then Jubilee storms of to join the other side.

Jubilee storms off


Then Wolvie and Gambit part ways in less than friendly terms.

Wolverine and Gambit part ways

Now, I'm even more confused - I expected a cohesive X-Men force what I get are three people who can't stand each other in quite a crucial time to boot. It's not like they're all relaxing in the X-Mansion.

Oh, here's the explanation for the weird behavior.

Wolverine in the jungle

They're all trying to fight off the influence of the Shadow King in their heads.

Forge stalks Wolverine and manages to place a Forge-style doohickey on Logan's skull - supposedly blocking off the Shadow King's influence. Turn of the tide?

Forge stands over an unconscious Wolverine

Rogue confronts Forge but Forge hasn't run out of toys.

Forge fires a gun at Rogue

A bit of a breather for the Professor, Stevie and Piotr.

Professor X, Stevie Hunter and Piotr Rasputin

I'm particularly touched by the Professor's 'I've been tired for a long time' statement. He jumped into this after such a hard ordeal in the previous adventure with the Shi-ar. Like you perhaps, I say that to myself too, specially when I'm forced to wake up in the morning for another necessary day of work.

The trio comes across a ghastly thing: a lynching.

a black kid being pursued by a lynch mob

Telling a black person in the U.S. to 'get back to Africa' is terrible enough. What makes it even worst is that the ancestors of some blacks were enslaved and forced to live in the U.S. - they were unwillingly taken out of Africa. Still worst is that those who are shouting 'get out' are immigrants themselves. You get out of America you sunofa-!

Professor X's anger is my anger.

Professor X defends a child

Behind it all is the Shadow King.

As the issue ends we get an exciting look at things to come.

We rejoin the story in the pages of X-Factor 69.

We begin with mobs of people motivated by hate. X-Factor is called in to lend a hand.

X-Factor launches into action

Bobby's power makes for effective crowd control.

Iceman uses his powers for crowd control

We get a sort of montage of the kind of hate language the crowd is using.

Crowd comments

"Mutie scum". Check. "Gorilla lover". Okay. What the heck is "Taco boy"? 'Haters gonna eat' that's what it is.

Professor X makes his entrance.

Professor X and Peter Rasputin

Obviously as a 1920s mobster.

Back in Muir Isle, Forge has wrested both Rogue and Wolverine from the Shadow King's influence.

Forge, Wolverine, and Rogue

This is a good turn. Rogue and Wolverine are definitely X-Men heavy hitters.

Wolverine's analysis of the Shadow King is dead on.

Wolverine talking

In the previous storyline, Wolverine was able to detect the hidden Skrulls, now this. His heightened senses make him a walking lie detector and radar all in one.

The trio is attacked by Banshee.

Banshee attacks Forge, Wolverine, and Rogue

But soon Mr. Cassidy is brought back to the land of the unenslaved.

Banshee with the X-Men

Banshee has a revelation about the Shadow King and the X-Man Polaris.

Banshee talking

Meanwhile, let's take a peek at Xavier, X-Factor and the government.

Xavier, X-Factor and the government

Uh-oh. Bad news. Reisz is right there with them and Reisz is the Shadow King. Xavier is not able to detect the Shadow King because they are using psychic dampeners to disrupt the Shadow King and these dampeners are also disrupting Xavier's power.

Professor X talking

Now he knows Professor. Now he knows.

Add what Banshee said a while back to what the Professor is saying here and we pretty much have a complete picture.

Professor X talking

Take out the Nexus, Polaris. Then take out the host, Reisz.

Valerie Cooper is in league with the Shadow King.

Valerie Cooper and the Shadow King

Before the action begins the original X-Men get to properly greet their mentor

The original X-Men

Nice to see the classic X-Men, even though Hank is back in his blue (Avengers) form and Angel is much changed from his encounter with Apocalypse.

X-Factor starts it's infiltration of Muir Isle.

The original X-Men in Muir Isle

I'm starting to notice that artist Portacio does the faces of the feral X-Men such as Beast and Wolverine really fierce.

Angel is sent on ahead by Cyclops to reconnoiter. Warren very soon encounters the opposition.

Angel confronts mutants under the control of the Shadow King

I'm proud to announce that the original X-Men manage to take down the new X-Men in record time.

X-Factor takes down the mind-controlled X-Men

It is only a fleeting victory, as with two moves, one by Legion, the other by the Shadow King himself, the X-Men find themselves in a bad situation.

Mind-controlled Colossus confronts Professor X

This Muir Island Saga really is a war of the psychics.

And as the Shadow King announces his victory yet another move changes the lay of the land. This time by the unlooked for Mystique!

Mystique destroys the Shadow King's host

The host is down. And with that Legion is free.

Legion is freed from the Shadow King's control

Next the nexus, and here she is.

Lorna Dane trapped as the nexus

At once the X-Men are in a moral standstill. How can they disrupt the nexus without hurting Lorna Dane? Forge's team arrives just in time to give advice on the matter.

Wolverine gives some advice

While the X-Men are in tenterhooks about what to do, the Shadow King take over the worst possible X-Men he can take over - Legion.

The Shadow King takes over Legion

The last thing we see from this issue is a sort of 'end of the world' page.

Explosion in Muir Isle

Nice, in a panicky sort of way.

Next: Uncanny X-Men 274 and 275