February 19, 2011

Ye Olde School Cafe’: X-Men/Alpha Flight: The Gift pt 2

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Written by: Billy
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Hello and welcome back to another great week here in Ye Olde School Café! In this week’s edition, we’ll see the exciting conclusion to the X-Men/Alpha Flight crossover – The Gift! Last week, we saw Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor, along with some scientists, crash land in a remote area of Canada. We also saw the X-Men and Alpha Flight clash over the incident as well. We’ll now rejoin the two teams as they are about to get a surprise visit….

As the X-Men and Alpha Flight are surveying the land, they stumble upon a grand city of sorts right in the middle of what should be a barren wasteland full of snow. It’s just the opposite though, as they find themselves surrounded by nothing but a perfect scene of sun and green grass. As they stand in amazement, a robed figure comes to meet them from inside the structure. As it draws closer, everyone gets apprehensive, but then the person is revealed to be Scott Summers himself. Professor Xavier is stunned to see him in good health, because the last flash he saw using his mental powers was of Scott and the other crash survivors being consumed by flames. Scott tells him that he simply “got better” and also that his uncontrollable optic blasts are now under his mental command. In the background, Rachel Summers hides timidly from her “father.” Kitty makes a comment on how tough this must be for her, considering she watched her father (from her time line) die.

As Scott leads his friends into the city, the Professor questions Scott further about his miraculous recovery. Scott tries to deflect the question, but Xavier persists. Scott tells him that he really doesn’t understand how it happened and that it’s all like a dream come true, and then proceeds to show him the other victims from the crash. Immediately, the Professor sees a change in Madelyne, and then she tells him about the great powers they been given. She tells them that she now has the power to heal people from any affliction, and then proceeds to show them by healing Puck of his dwarfism and the subsequent pain he feels in his legs on a daily basis. She takes him by the hand and does the impossible. Puck changes to the same size as everyone else, and seems delighted to look everyone in the eyes for a change. Sasquatch then asks to be “healed” from his restless spirit next. After Anodyne (Madelyne’s new name) touches him, he claims to feel great. At this point, Shaman realizes that nobody is in worse shape than Snowbird, and he goes to the ship to get her. He sees that she has gone, and then Wolverine and one of the other crash survivors agree to track her down.

As everyone is settling in, Kitty and Colossus remark about how great it would be if these new gifts could end problems like world hunger. Colossus says it would be worth dying for. Rogue then approaches Anodyne and asks if she could try and get her powers to work at he command instead of involuntarily. Rogue receives her healing touch, and then after she touches Northstar’s hand and nothing happens, she kisses him as well! The professor then talks to Scott and Madelyne about the basis of these new abilities. Scott tells him that they’ll show him after dinner where they got them from, but as to the origin, even they do not know. Scott tells him to do a mind scan, and he does and finds that they are totally in control of their own minds. He also tells that he found two minds when he scanned Madelyne. Yes, the cat is out of the bag, and a baby is on the way. Rachel gets apprehensive thinking that the baby might be a girl that grows up to be her in this time line. Madelyn then tells Scott that his son will be perfect, and then Rachel gets angry and storms away. Kitty and Talisman go after her, to make sure she’s OK.

The rest of the group then gets to see the “magic fountain” that is giving everyone these unimaginable powers. Heather Hudson then walks into it and gets transformed. Professor Xavier and Nightcrawler have a quick  moment about how this thing could change everybody on Earth into a super powered being, and there wouldn’t be any reason to hate or fear each other. Just as this is going on, Shaman is being attacked by the demons and goblins that reside in the dimension inside his medicine pouch. Anodyne quickly rips the pouch away from him, and tells Northstar and Aurora to get it as far away as possible. They comment on how he needs it to perform his duties,though. Anodyne then tells the group that Shaman is dying and she can’t heal him for some unknown reason.

We switch to Kitty and Talisman searching for Rachel. They stumble upon long buried Nordic ruins that are beneath the city. They also find the sketchbook of Paul Domenic (one of the passengers on Scott and Madelyne’s plane). Lockheed then informs the girls he’s found Rachel, and they quickly run to her side. As the girls are comforting Rachel, a cave-in starts to happen for some unknown reason. They can’t escape the way they came in, so Rachel blasts a hole through the wall and they escape to a cliff. As they ascend the mountain, Rachel carries Talisman and Kitty using her mutant powers. As they are going up, Talisman brushes against the magic fountain’s energy and a black flash engulfs them for a few seconds. They then theorize that this mountain and the fountain are magical in nature, and that the being that put them there didn’t want them looking around inside those ruins.

Kitty then sees Anodyne go into Wolverine’s room and “heal” him while he’s sleeping. After she leaves, Kitty confronts Logan about it. He tells her that Anodyne took the berserker rage away from him and that he’s human now, not insane. Kitty reminds him that they’d both be dead if it wasn’t for that rage (a recent confrontation with Ogun). Wolverine snaps at her, but then they reconcile. Kitty then asks if they found Snowbird, and Logan says that he can’t remember. The two then think that one of the others, Beastmaster, may have been controlling Logan (because of Logan’s animal-like side). Wolverine then has Aurora fly him around to look for Snowbird, and the two first find Shaman’s pouch. It’s still releasing all sorts of wild beasts into the area, and then Logan picks up Snowbird’s scent and finds her in a cave. Just as he is about to bring her out, Beastmaster is at the cave entrance, and tells him to leave her there because there is no place for magical creatures such as her and Shaman in the new world. Wolverine tells Beastmaster that he has to go through him and Lockheed if he wants to kill her.

Back inside the city, Sasquatch and Aurora, and Rogue and Northstar, are having a moment together, but others are also contemplating their new powers. Puck tells Xavier that he can’t seem to get used to being as tall as everyone else because of being the size he was for so many years. Heather admits that she feels guilty about her new powers because her teammates are dying. We next see Talsiman visiting Mr. Ross (a guy that has the power of basically being a human library), and she shows him the ruin that she found in the cave. He tells her that usually they are dedicated to Odin and Thor, but that this one is dedicated to Loki. As they speak, Loki sits on his mock throne and gets angry that his scheme seems to be unraveling. In mere moments, Wolverine busts down the door with Beastmaster slumped over his shoulder. Wolverine tosses him on the table and tells Xavier that they’ve been conned. Anodyne asks where Pathfinder is, and Wolverine tells her that he’s dead.

Next, Wolverine tells everyone there that the only way this great new world will be able to exist, is for all the people that have magic based powers to die. The fountain is made of pure magic and is slowly killing them. Colossus speaks up and says that he believes the sacrifice of a few could save millions of others, and he stands with the others. Professor Xavier tells him to stand aside, but he will not. On one side you see Wolverine, Kitty, Cyclops, Xavier, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Talisman, Northstar, and Lockheed. On the other side, everyone else. A huge brawl then breaks out with the friends fighting amongst themselves for control over the fountain. Eventually, Talisman talks with Master Builder (the guy with the sketchbook from the airplane), and she realizes that although the fountain grants powers, it takes away imagination, and the ability to dream. Once this revelation is told to the others, the fighting ceases. A voice from above asks if that is too high a price to become like a god. Loki then reveals himself as the antagonist of this adventure.

Loki tells the mutants and humans that he gave them these gifts and they should weigh the pros and cons. Cyclops has some back and forth banter with Loki, but eventually unleashes an optic blast right to his face. Loki then calls some Frost Giants as back up, and the fight is on. Rogue immediately tries to use her powers to siphon off Loki’s, but it doesn’t work. As the giants and mutants fight, one by one, the people deny Loki’s gifts, and it infuriates him. One of the Frost Giants is about to smash Madelyne, but Sam Ross (the human library guy) pushes her away and takes the brunt of the blow. Madelyne tries to heal him, but her powers have been revoked after telling Loki she didn’t want them anymore. She begs Loki to help her, but he won’t listen. She tells him that she’ll do anything to save Sam, so Loki then gives her back her powers to save Sam, but become his slave. She saves Sam, but then Those Who Sit Above in Shadow appear and tell Loki that the bargain made was to be of free will, and he then forced them to his will. Loki then takes away all that was given from the fountain. He tries to tempt them one last time, but is rebuked by Puck and the others. Loki is then spirited away by TWSAIS, and then Snowbird and Shaman are healed.

As everyone is saying their goodbyes, Xavier realizes Rachel isn’t on the plane. Cyclops goes to look for her, and the two have a talk about the future and what it will hold for both of them. He tells her that she reminds him of Jean, and that they’ll face the future together.

Well, that’s it for this week, I hope you enjoyed this book. It’s a really good read and one of Claremont’s best in my opinion. He really did his best work when he wrote about the struggle within than some mutant menace the X-Men could face.

Billy Dunleavy



  1. I definitely agree with you about him writing some great internal conflict stories when it came to the X-Men. This is why I always loved his portrayal of Magneto in so many issues because it just wasn’t always a good vs evil fight but a deeper struggle for the character.

  2. Billy

    @Speech- I know he (Claremont) gets a lot of crap these days but his work in the 80’s with the X-Men is undeniably fantastic. Between this story and God Loves, Man Kills, he was just great!

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