March 23, 2013

Ye Olde School Café: X-Men: Proteus

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Written by: Billy
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Hello and welcome to another week of X-citement here in Ye Olde School Café! Yes, I spelled that wrong purposefully, to give a hint on the subject of the next story I’ll be covering! Yes, an X-Men story, and it’s one for the ages! X-Men: Proteus is the tale we’ll be re-living, and when you have names such as Chris Claremont and John Byrne attached to a story, you know you’re getting a Bronze Age beauty! This story was told in X-Men #’s 125-128, 1979.

At this point in the lives of the X-Men, they’ve gone through some dramatic times and changes. Jean Grey, or Phoenix as she’s now known, is on Muir Island getting put through tests by one Moira McTaggert. Moira isn’t really making very much headway, but before this, there’s a scene where the X-men had defeated Magneto (although the X-Men believe Jean and Beast died), and he digs himself out of the rubble on Muir Island. In doing so, he inadvertently releases Mutant X. This mutant was under lock and key for the simple reason that he could not be controlled. As Moira and Jean talk, this sinister figure inhabits the body of a sea captain who is disgruntled because the X-Men destroyed one of his boats. Moira talks with Jean about the recent run-in with Magneto and her days after.

Back in the Danger Room, Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus, Storm, and Nightcrawler are honing their skills for the next battle. Suddenly, Nightcrawler gets blasted by a sonic beam, and Cyclops isn’t impressed with the team’s skill level. Wolverine tells him off, and announces he needs to get a beer. Under the ice of Antarctica, Magneto is tending to his wounds and thinking about his battle with the X-Men, and also his long dead wife, Magda. In a nearby hotel, Jason Wyngarde is plotting to sway the mind of Jean Grey, as he knows of her current mental instability. Lorna Dane is sitting in a room with Jean, and startles Jean, who was a million miles away mentally. In another galaxy, Charles Xavier is with Lilandra, but senses something is terribly wrong with Jean. He then decides it’s time to get back to Earth, and his X-Men.

The next day, Moira wakes up from her sleep and makes her way down to the lab. As she walks down the corridor, she takes note of the room where Mutant X is held. She takes a look to see if he’s OK, and reels with terror to see he’s gone! Upstairs, Jean is whisking through the hallways and is startled when she sees herself in some kind of Victorian Era dress. Just as she’s trying to figure that out, she’s grabbed from behind by an unknown assailant. Back in the mansion, Beast is creeping around, and runs into Nightcrawler. Kurt is so startled, he teleports out of the room and tells the other X-men he’s seen a ghost! Cyclops investigates, and then realizes Beast is alive, and so is the love of his life, Jean. Just as they are celebrating each other’s good fortunes, the phone rings. It’s Lorna from Muir Island, and she’s in a panic as she tries to tell them that something is wrong. Before she can give them details, they hear her scream, then the line goes dead!

Immediately, the X-Men fire up the Blackbird and head for Muir Island. Reaching it in record time, they head right inside the complex to figure out what’s going on. Banshee lectures Cyclops on how hard he’s pushing the team, but he rebuffs his opinion. Nightcrawler then calls Cyclops and tells him to get inside at once. They find Lorna, and she’s alive, but very shaken up. Beside her is the old sea captain, and he’s just a dead husk now. Colossus finds Havoc and Multiple Man, and shortly after, Cyclops and Storm find Moira. Cyclops doesn’t stop there, though, and eventually finds Jean. As he approaches her, she calls him Jason, which befuddles the X-Man.

Afterwards, everyone is gathered in the kitchen. Madrox then explains that he came running when he heard Lorna scream, but when his dupe tackled the perpetrator, he felt as if his very soul was being torn from him. In truth, Mutant X possessed one of Jamie’s dupes, and is now scouring the  city looking for someone. Cyclops needs to stop Wolverine from going out on his own, and he looks to Moira for answers about this mysterious mutant. She explains to him that it’s personal, but he doesn’t like that explanation. She then tells him that the mutant is her son. Just as she reveals this bombshell, her son is a few miles away, attempting to posses Wyngarde, but cannot due to his mental defenses. He instead possesses a drunken passerby.

The next day, the X-Men set out with a plan to comb the area and find Moira’s son. As Jean is flying over the countryside, Mastermind (Wyngarde) sends Jean into another one of his illusions and she falls to the ground. His illusion has her shattered mind completely fooled, and the rest of the team is unaware. Back in the city, Wolverine and Nightcrawler are caught in a dense fog, but Wolverine bumps into a policeman who’s popped up out of nowhere. He instantly uses his keen senses to see through the illusion, and Mutant X is stunned. It doesn’t take him long to use his incredible mental powers to zap Wolverine, and he then tells him his name is Proteus. Nightcrawler does no better, and falls before this powerful new enemy. Storm is the next victim to show up, and she soon realizes that even she is outmatched against this foe.

Well, that’s it for now, but be back next week and we’ll see the exciting conclusion to this classic X-Men adventure! Will the X-Men be able to defeat this seemingly unbeatable mutant? Will Jean Grey escape the thrall of Mastermind? Be back next week to find out!

Billy Dunleavy



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