Deconstructed: Uncanny X-Men #161

If there is any time more fitting for a good X-Men story, let me know. With last weekends horrible events in Charlottesville, VA, and hate, bigotry, and racism playing a major part in political discussions currently, some comfort can be found in the pages of the Uncanny X-Men. The main underline theme of Xavier’s School for the Gifted has always been forgiveness and equality- despite a certain group having the ability to destroy the world at whim.

As such, it feels synchronistic that I would pull out Uncanny X-Men #161 of all the available stories. The story features a possible first meeting between Charles Xavier and Magnus Lehnsherr and focus’s on many of the same topics mentioned earlier. This particular issue also happens to mention the holocaust and how devastating of an impact it had. Which makes me think, none of this weekends neo-Nazis could possibly be X-Men fans- Xavier taught us better than that.

Synchronicity or not, it’s best to let the story speak for itself. So, with this much more ado, Uncanny X-Men #161-

The Cover-

In 1982, when this cover was released, it must have been a big “huh?” for readers. As this issue seems to have no connection what-so-ever of the larger story arc happening. In fact, Professor X, at this point, had been out of commission for a while, with a Brood embryo harbouring in his brain. The X-Men, as well as Xavier’s comatose body, have been off-world with the Shi’ar and the Starjammers. An issue with Xavier walking, Magneto, Hydra agents, Baron Von Strucker, and some mysterious woman in Xavier’s arms, all seems very out of place for the X-Men title right now. So, what the heck is going on? Is what you would say in 1982. Or, “gnarly”.

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Well, well, well, if it isn’t my old friend Cracker Jack, (to catch up with Cracker Jack read Deconstructed #3 comic fans – G.O.) and he’s brought ol’ Hank Aaron to slam a homerun, typical. This is actually pretty sweet, it’s a mail-in ballot for an all-time greatest baseball line-up, as of ’82. Interested? Me too, here’s what I found. Until next time Cracker.

The Credits-

Marvel Comics Group

Uncanny X-Men

#161 “Gold Rush”

September 1982

Cover price: $0.60

Today’s worth: $2-$30CAN

Written by Chris Claremont

Pencils by Dave Cockrum

Ink by Bob Wiacek

Colours by Glynis Wein

Letters by Tom Orzechowski

Edited by Louise Jones and Danny Fingeroth

The Story-

I told you, the guy is knocked out-

As they find out that if the Professor doesn’t wake up soon, he will die, he is surrounded by Corsair, Moira MacTaggert, and arguably one of the greatest X-Men line-ups with Cyclops, Storm, Colossus, Sprite (Kitty Pride), Wolverine, and Nightcrawler.

Of course, the news is terrible and everyone is upset, but who would throw a temper tantrum other than Cyclops? As the current team leader, Storm goes to chill him out.

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This old school advertisement for Dungeons & Dragons is pretty sweet. But, it makes me want a D&D comic book more than the game…

Lilandra gives Xavier a heartfelt plea to wake up, and slowly we seep into his dreams.

In a flashback Xavier arrives in Haifa, Isreal, where he meets with Daniel Shomron. As they meet Daneil mentions Xavier is just arriving from Cairo, which would be around the same time that he saved a young Ororo from the Shadow King. Dr. Shomron is a psychiatrist working with severe cases of holocaust survivors and has called the Professor because of his unique skill set. When they arrive at the hospital Daniel introduces Xavier to one of his volunteers, a man by the name of Magnus.

The men introduce Xavier to Gabrielle Haller (Haller, as in David Haller (Legion) her one day son), who has been so traumatized by the events of WWII that she is suffering from catatonic schizophrenia. They ask Xavier to help-

Inside young Gabrielle’s mind the Professor faces a wall, monsters, and- well-

And just like that, Xavier achieves the impossible-

In the following weeks, Xavier, Magnus, and Gabrielle become close friends. Not without some solid debates-

And soon, Xavier and Gaby get closer-

Which of course is the most convenient time for a squad of Hydra militias to attack! There goal: to seize Gabrielle Haller. And an innocent man is caught in the cross-fire-

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It’s every parent and teachers worst nightmare: a hundred kids screaming and hocked up on sugary gum! Aaaaahhh!

As the Hydra agents begin to flee with their prize, their ship mysteriously comes apart. Xavier’s first witness of Magnus’s powers.

As the two debate whether it was okay to murder their attackers, a second ship gets away with Gabrielle. Fortunately, the Israeli troops captured one of the Hydra agents. The agent can not talk all he wants-

A couple days later, Xavier and Magnus are undercover in the Hydra base as they discover who is behind the attack-

Turns out Gabrielle was the only one who knew the location of a lost stash of Nazi gold. Enough to fuel Hydra’s rise to dominance.

Xavier and Magnus make there move. They get Gabrielle, who has gone back into shock, and have neutralized most the Hydra troops. The Baron lashes out at Magnus, this must be before his reputation, because obviously it does not go well for Strucker.

Good ol’ Magnus steals all the Nazi gold for himself and leaves Strucker in thr collapsing cave. Magnus takes off, with a few final words for Xavier-

And with that, and Gabrielle returned to him, some how the Professor wakes up-

As the X-Men and Shi’ar celebrate- not the Starjammers, they peace out at this point- Logan smells trouble. Now it is Lilandra’s turn to lose her mind-

As the X-Men try to figure out what’s wrong they are attacked by Deathbird and the Brood.

Fan Mail-

The X-Mail is filled with commentary on Uncanny X-Men #153. This was a big issue because it was the first appearance of Bamf!

Most the comments are asking for more Bamf. One letter requesting a Bamf doll. And this elaborate piece-

Oh, and there’s this bonus little advert at the bottom of the fan page-

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Ok… a few things… What the heck is Megaforce? How do I get one of those sweet laser shooting bikes? And why is Megaforce and Commander Ace Hunter so sexist? Can’t women join this freedom fighting super group? Is this a terrorist group? What is happening? I need more information?!?

Thanks booknerds, catch you on the next Deconstructed, unless I’ve been recruited into Megaforce by Googling them?

Oh, it’s a movie. Thank goodness.

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