X-Men Vignettes, Chapter Twenty-Two (1988)

X-Men Vignettes #22 (1988)
“Solace”
Writer – Chris Claremont
Art – John Bolton
Letters – Tom Orzechowski
Colors – Glynis Oliver
Edits – Kavanagh, Nocenti, DeFalco
From: Classic X-Men #22 (June, 1988)

Hey Gang — I’m sitting here right now quite annoyed that I wasn’t able to sleep in… and really, really wanting a cup of coffee. Got some bloodwork set up for today — and the earliest appointment I was able to get was 9:45 am. I was hoping to somehow be able to sleep in until… I dunno, 9:35 or so, because it’s gonna be hard not to eat anything for the next… jeez, four hours.

Well, at least we have the next Vignette to distract us, eh? Here’s hoping it’ll be a good one*!

*It’s not gonna be…

We open, and we’re still in the Savage Land. Our heroes appear to be getting quite comfortable with their prehistoric surroundings… Banshee’s even lettin’ it all hang out. Speaking of Sean, he lets out a bellow calling all of the X-Men (and Ka-Zar) to Storm’s hut. Once they arrive, they find a note that she’d left — she’s gone off to be on her own for a bit — but will be back before the X-Men return to actual civilization. Ka-Zar worries that she’ll be in danger, but Claremont-via-Wolverine reminds the caveman that Storm ain’t no ordinary woman… she’s Storm. Okay, calm down. Where’d she get off to, you might be asking? Well, she’s about to go swimming… while surrounded by some horrendously Claremontian captions.

She dives in, while reminding herself that she’s got this personal vow about not killing… and finds herself attacked by a giant crocodile-lookin’ Saurian. The beastie takes her unawares, and gets a bite in before she even realizes it. So, this is the second Storm-centric Vignette in a row, where something takes a bite out of her! Anyway, the croc zips past… at which point, Ororo realizes that it’s got a passenger! A not-yet-dead woman in a strange scuba-ish suit has become tangled and bound to the thing via her harpoon line. Storm struggles to free her.

It all appears futile… until Storm remember that, even without her powers she’s very dangerousTM, and also how she somehow manages to keep dozens of knives on her person at once, it isn’t long before she frees the woman. Storm then guides the croc to the surface, where she zaps it with a bolt of lightning. S’funny… I’d almost imagine Claremont wouldn’t punish dinosaurs for… ya know, acting like dinosaurs. Last chapter, Colossus beat up the T-Rex and here, Storm is zapping the Croc. There’s always that moral argument about whether or not Galactus is actually evil… or, ya know, just being Galactus. Figure a dino’s gonna dino…

Anyway, from here the story becomes a lot less straightforward… and, if I’m being honest, a lot less readable. Storm passes out, dreams of her mother, a fire, a skeletal beast… and a rescue. At least this page is nice to look at — because it isn’t much fun to actually read. I think Chris Claremont was bitten by a radioactive Chris Claremont before writing this bit.

Storm wakes up… aboard an airship… in another world. Ya see, that lake in the Savage Land is some sort of dimensional gateway. She’s greeted by M’Rin… and, ya know — what’s with all these apostrophized names for aliens? Can we stop that? Anyway, M’Rin is the scuba woman Storm had saved… and here, M’Rin has returned the favor.

On deck, Storm decides to take flight and, I guess take in the inky blackness that is this strange world? What she (and we) learn is that the airship isn’t exactly an airship… just a regular one that just so happens to be strapped to the back of… Falcor from the Neverending Story? It’s actually C’Jime… and it’s quite pleased to be able to welcome the Wind-Rider to their world.

Storm learns that M’Rin is a “Warlord of the Skyways”… and so, she decides to… stay in this realm to play sky-pirate? Ya know, it’s hard to believe this never came up during the time Storm was on the Marauders — then again, it wasn’t very often that (Marauders writer) Gerry Duggan remembered that Storm was even part of his cast. Anyway, Storm’s here… doin’ pirate stuff with M’Rin and Company.

All’s well and good, until Storm feels as though she’s beginning to change. There’s something about this world that brings out a wildness in her that frightens her. She enters M’Rin’s “apartment” to chat her up, and discovers a small statue on the table. The statue is of M’Rin and (assumedly) her daughter. Storm realizes that M’Rin is using her as something of a surrogate daughter — and gently confronts her. I say gently, because Storm also realizes that she herself has been using M’Rni as a surrogate mother.

They talk — we learn that M’Rin’s daughter became the leader of some evil sky pirates… the very ones they’d been fighting against. Storm realizes that this cannot go on… and she must return home. It’s a tearful goodbye. M’Rin gives storm a Cameo Crystal, which is bonded to her… and could, at any point, reunite them, should Storm wish it. We’ll only see this thing (and M’Rin herself) one more time, during X-Men Annual #12 (1988), which is part of the Evolutionary Bore… err, War crossovent. And… that’s that!

My God, but this was endless… and I didn’t care for it one bit.

If you’ve listened to any X-Lapsed, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that I’m not the biggest fan of the X-Men in “fantasy worlds”… nine times out of ten places like Otherworld make me wanna toss a book. This had a very similar effect on me. I don’t know if it’s just not something I can “relate” to — or, if it’s just not my genre. All’s I know is, I don’t like it — and I didn’t like this. This is what I refer to as “Chris Problems” on the show — I can only hope the rest of you got more out of this than I did.

The only thing about this that I did appreciate, was how Claremont used this Vignette to introduce M’Rin and her World… which will be (briefly) revisited during this year’s Evolutionary War Annual. I’m a fan of lore and “breadcrumb” storytelling — so, I’m down with that. If only the story itself wasn’t such a bore!

Don’t really have all that much more to say — I’m getting tired of the Storm-centric Vignettes… I think this is the third one so far, and none of them have been all that great. Hopefully we go a few days without another.

LETTERS PAGES:

Hey – we’ve got a letters page! Not sure if this is the first one to appear in Classix — but, it’s the first one I’ve noticed.

Please follow and like us:

One thought on “X-Men Vignettes, Chapter Twenty-Two (1988)

  • April 8, 2022 at 5:25 pm
    Permalink

    I think this is my favorite solo Storm vignette so far. And I think that it only rises to the top because it is linked to another X-Men story from another time in X-Men history. (Even if both stories really came out the same year.)
    The whole concept of another magical realm accessed through a lake in the Savage Land reminds me of DC’s Warlord. But not in a good way.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.