X-Men Vignettes, Chapter Sixteen (1987)

X-Men Vignettes #16 (1987)
“Dearest Friend”
Writer – Chris Claremont
Art – John Bolton
Letters – Tom Orzechowski
Colors – Glynis Oliver
Edits – Kavanagh, Nocenti, DeFalco
From: Classic X-Men #16 (December, 1987)

Hey Gang — wanna hit up a little bit of housekeeping before we get into the discussion – in that, we’re about to enter some uncertain times for our Vignettes Project. If you’ve been following this site for awhile, you’ll know that I have certain “rules” for the blog-content I create — among them is, if I’m going to write about it, I gotta actually own it. I bend the rules for the Essentials show… though, I do own physical versions of most everything I cover there — just not always the original issue. With blog-posts, however, I dunno — I’m a little less flexible.

With that said, as of this writing, I’m missing Classic X-Men #19. Sure, I could just read it – and grab my images on Marvel Unlimited — but, well, that just ain’t the way I do things. I’m going to be hitting the town today in hopes that I can snag a copy — but, in the event that I cannot procure one, we might be heading to a bit of a forced break on the Vignette front.

Funny — I say all this assuming anybody actually gives a rat’s ass! Oh well… let’s get into today’s story!

We open in Ireland and it’s… probably the 1970s. Despite my own Irish heritage (77th most common Irish surname, boyo!), I have never really been able to wrap my head around the whole Irish Republic Split. Well — maybe it’s ore accurate to say that I just never put in the effort to finding out what it’s all about? All’s I know from world history is outta comics… so, I can only draw from my readings of the Nightwing and Speedy Action Comics Weekly feature for this. There was also that issue of Web of Spider-Man that got replaced by an inventory story when the IRA bits of its original tale were deemed too controversial. So, for the purposes of the telling, we’ll just assume that “tensions are high”? Apologies for only being a fake ass comics historian… and not a fake ass overall one! So, anyway — Sean Cassidy is attempting to hitch a ride home from a concert up “The Derry” (which sounds obscene). He’s stopped by a pair of officers, who give him the pat-down, and assume that he’s up to no good. Ya see, he’s from the wrong part of Ireland — or, at least our interrogating police sergeant, Damien McLanahan seems to think so. It’s assumed here that Sean is an IRA terrorist gun-runner. Are we allowed to refer to them as “terrorists” in “current year”? I can never tell anymore. I’m just repeating what the sergeant said!

Now, before the Sarge and his deputy (Charley Sandy), can haul Sean away — a motorcycle comes speedin’ down the way. The biker runs the coppers off the road into a ditch before picking our Sean up for a getaway. Sean does not know who this person is — but, I tell ya — it’s not really helping his case here, is it? Innocent folks don’t usually try to run over policemen with a motorcycle, do they?

Anyway, what follows here is… a pretty ridiculous chase scene, which goes on for way too long, considering this is a short-story. The police scramble into their car and chase the motorbike down a trail… through a field, and finally to a coastal cliffside. Both cop cars wreck during this… and, yet, McLanahan won’t give it up. When the motorbike does reach the coast, we (or at least I) learn that it’s out of the officers’ jurisdiction — they’re now in “The Republic”. That, however, doesn’t stop our Damien from pulling out his piece and firing. The bullet hits the back tire of the motorbike, throwing it out of control — moments later, our two chasees are sent right off the cliff!

Before they hit the drink, Sean lets out a whopper of a scream — which, isn’t the first time he’s used his mutant ability. He grabs the biker and flies with them across Donegal Bay back to Cassidy Keep. He sets the biker down and gets punched in the face for his trouble. Ya see, they’re ticked that they lost the best bike they’d ever had. The biker then pulls off their helmet, revealing the fact that this midnight rider is a… g-g-g-g-g-g-girl! Banshee is immediately smitten.

Once the dust of the situation settles and cooler heads are able to prevail, our mystery gal introduces herself as Maeve Rourke… a name that makes me relieved that this is a blog post and not a podcast, because, you could give me a half-dozen tries and I wouldn’t be able to say it right! Anyway, they head inside for something “stronger” than cocoa. While rifling through the fridge, Sean’s cousin Tom enters the scene. He too seems to be taken by this beautiful creature whose darkened their doorway this night. Banshee is immediately wary of Black Tom’s charm… and realizes that if he’s wanting to move forward with a relationship with the lovely Maeve, he’s going to be in for a fight.

As the night wraps up, Sean flies Maeve back to… somewhere without backgrounds? So, the end of a Silver Age Comic, I guess? There, he talks a bit about his Banshee Cry — which, she seems completely cool with. Like, almost scarily cool with. She assumes that it’s “some form of evolutionary mutation”. Wow, give that lady a cigar. They kiss, and make plans to see each other again. But, here’s the thing — Maeve’s going to be dating both Cassidys (Cassadies?) over the course of the next little bit!

We get a weird thrupple montage – showing the Cassidy Cousins and Ms. Rourke hanging out and getting along real well, before jumping ahead to an evening in the Spring, where Sean intends to escort Maeve to the University Ball and attempt to make their relationship exclusive. He gets himself all gussied up, and heads out on his motorbike. On the way, however, he happens to ride passed — Sergeant Damien McLanahan! The Sarge sees this as his opportunity to get even… and so, he runs our man right off the road!

Later, back at Cassidy Keep, Sean returns home — and he’s an absolute bloody mess! Black Tom (and a nursemaid) bring him to bed so he can rest. Here, Sean asks his cousin to meet up with Maeve to let her know what happened… and that, ya know, he didn’t stand her up. Tom clarified that Sean really wants him to do this before agreeing.

From here, we jump ahead to Tom’s tuxedoed arrival at the Rourke apartment. She giddily answers the knock, expecting it to be Sean — and is surprised to see his creepy chin-strapped cousin instead. Tom tells her… well, he doesn’t tell her anything really — just that Sean ain’t comin’. He then proceeds to take her out to the University Ball himself! What a dick.

Well — hold that thought, because as they dance the night away, Maeve draws in for a kiss. It’s here that Tom’s conscience gets the better of him, and he comes clean about what actually happened to Sean that night. He isn’t standing her up… he is resting and recovering after having been run off the road by a lunatic. This… somehow ingratiates Tom as Maeve’s “best friend”. So… did he just get “friend-zoned”? I dunno… in any event, this is where we exit.

Well — this is going to sound like a negative, but I assure you it’s not — but, this may as well have been a Wolverine story. That is to say, I enjoyed it — I just don’t have a whole heckuva lot to say about it.

We could talk a little bit about the Rourke-Cassidy relationship though… as, I doubt we’ll be doing a whole lot of that anytime soon? Now, if you’re even in the least bit X-Savvy… you’ll immediately realize that Maeve Rourke is Theresa’s (Siryn) mother. What you may not know is that this little Vignette is actually her first appearance. So, hey — if you have a copy, make sure you get it slabbed just in case there’s a low-effort, half-assed, retweet-bait Disney+ “Story of Siryn” series in the works!

The Sean/Maeve relationship wasn’t really x-plored all that much over the years (outside of their having a daughter) — in fact, if the Marvel Wiki is to be trusted (insert snarky comment about how only movie-related stuff gets updated over there here), Maeve’s only ever appeared on panel four times… well, three times, actually – the fourth and final appearance (in an unnecessary issue of the even more unnecessary Uncanny X-Men: First Class series) was as a g-g-g-g-g-ghost. Saddest (but unsurprising) part of this is, despite the fact that she’s only ever appeared four times… they still couldn’t keep her story (or even her damned hair color) straight!

Now, we know that she will ultimately choose Sean. Depending on which of these few issues you refer to, you’ll find out that they will wed, and shortly into their marriage, Sean will be accepted into Interpol. While he’s away, Maeve will give birth to their daughter (Sean didn’t even know they were expecting), and be killed in an IRA bombing. Black Tom would “adopt” Theresa — and keep her true parentage a secret from everybody until she grew into a young adult.

Boy… I’m really struggling to find something to say here, vamping for word count is never a good look — maybe that’s why nobody follows what I do anymore! I think we’ll just leave it here. This was a good story — a fun story — just not a story that inspires all that much in the way of discussion… not that they all have to, of course. Worth a look!

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One thought on “X-Men Vignettes, Chapter Sixteen (1987)

  • April 2, 2022 at 4:50 pm
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    This story just makes me want an entire young Banshee series. It is now in my top 5 vignettes so far.
    I’m surprised it took 16 issues to get a solo Banshee story. And I now realise that we have still not seen a solo Cyclops story. We got a story about his dad but still no love for an original X-Man.

    Good hunting for issue 19. I really don’t want to see these vignette reviews go on hiatus or even end all together.

    Reply

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