In a Nutshell
The X-Men help Arkon free his world from the Badoon.
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Brent Anderson
Inker: Bob McLeod
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
The Fantastic Four respond to a police call regarding a woman with a laser gun. They arrive on scene and discover the woman is a Shi'ar agent, battling a group of invisible Badoon troops on her way to seek Professor Xavier's help. The Badoon kill her and capture Mr. Fantastic, Thing and Human Torch, leaving Invisible Girl to seek out Professor X. At the X-Mansion, Storm awakens from her latest recurring dream of fighting alongside Arkon as Invisible Girl arrives with her son. She informs the X-Men of the situation, and her information combined with Storm's dreams is enough to convince the X-Men to return to Arkon's world and help free the Fantastic Four. When they arrive on Arkon's planet, they are greeted by Sashia, apprentice to Arkon's Grand Vizier, who explains that she sent the dreams to Storm in the hope they would bring the X-Men to help free their world of its conquest by the Badoon. Though heavily outnumbered, Cyclops devises a plan which sends Storm and Invisible Girl to infiltrate the citadel to rescue the FF while Nightcrawler, Wolverine and Sashia attempt to destroy the Badoon stargate to prevent reinforcements from arriving, with Cyclops, Colossus and Sprite hanging back as reinforcements.
Unfortunately, Invisible Girl breaks cover when she hears her husband being tortured, causing the reserve X-Men to spring into action. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler, recognizing the design of the stargate from the X-Men's time with the Shi'ar, manages to destroy it, signaling Arkon's warriors to attack the Badoon. At the Citadel, the X-Men manage to free the rest of the Fantastic Four, as well as Arkon, and the Badoon leader activates the base's self-destruct mechanism. As Colossus and Thing work to prevent the detonator from firing, Mr. Fantastic locates its power sources and uses the combined powers of Invisible Girl and Cyclops to destroy it. With Arkon freed and the Badoon defeated, a feast is held in the X-Men's honor. However, Storm and Arkon must once again deny their passion for one another, as neither is willing to give up their responsibilities for the other.
Firsts and Other Notables
The Fantastic Four guest star in this issue, appearing between issues #235 and #236 of their title, with the male members of the team captured by the Badoon in the early goings, allowing Invisible Girl to spend the bulk of the issue fighting alongside the X-Men. I'm not aware of any reaction from John Byrne to Claremont's use of the FF in this issue akin to the Doombot retcon sparked by the Arcade/Doom story in issues #145-147. So presumably Claremont either cleared their use through the proper editorial channels, was asked directly to include them, or Byrne was satisfied with Claremont's portrayal of the characters (of course, it's possible Byrne may have pitched a fit over this issue and I'm just unaware of it).
Arkon, whose world the X-Men helped save in their third annual, returns, and picks up where he left off with Storm.
The villains of the story are the Badoon, a reptilian race of alien warriors. They first appeared as Silver Surfer villains back in the 60s, but are primarily known as the antagonists of the futuristic Guardians of the Galaxy, a group of humans and aliens fighting against the Badoon in the 30th Century, after the Badoon have conquered Earth and most of the solar system.
The art in this issue comes from Brent Anderson (who filled in on issue #144) and Bob McLeod (who will guest pencil issues #151 and 152 and co-create the New Mutants), and it's actually quite nice (if not particularly flashy), with some fantastically-detailed panels throughout.
A Work in Progress
Moira MacTaggert is still hanging out at the mansion, sans Banshee.
Professor X has a nicely expository thought to remind readers of his relationship with Lilandra.
Both Storm and Cyclops are reluctant to bring Kitty along with them even though she's proven herself (and they do ultimately allow her to come along), a nice reminder that Kitty is still just a young teenager.
Kitty ditches her rainbow costume for a new one she's designed that's only slightly uglier; thankfully, this time Professor X tells her to put the damn school uniform back on.
The X-Men use Arkon's lightening bolts, leftover from Annual #3, to travel back to his world.
I Love the 80s
I'm not terribly familiar with the Invisible Girl's post-Lee/Kirby, pre-John Byrne "Invisible Woman" characterization, but her characterization here struck me as a touch old-fashioned. First, she gets mad at the rest of the FF for forgetting about the dinner she cooked for them.
Then, she loses her cool at the sound of Reed being tortured by the Badoon, wrecking the X-Men's plan.
Reed, meanwhile, is rocking a pipe as the issue opens, evoking Professor Impossible from The Venture Bros. even more than usual.
Colossus flies into a rage when one of the Badoon soldiers targets Kitty.
Later, after the battle, Kitty gets dolled up by Sashia, prompting a reaction from Colossus.
|Easy there, Piotr; she's only thirteen...|
Storm is still attracted to Arkon, and he even considers making her his queen, but the two ultimately decide to remain friends as neither is willing to give up their respective duties.
The Best There Is At What He Does
Nightcrawler asks Wolverine if he'll use his claws in battle against Badoon, and Wolverine says he will, saying it's war and he's a soldier in it, sparking a nice debate about morality between the two.
A Dungeons & Dragons ad for the nerdliest of comic readers:
Like the previous annuals, nothing here is terrible, but nothing here is terribly good, either. This is a big, overstuffed slugfest issue, the kind of thing that was often found in annuals at the time. A few character moments (such as the Colossus/Kitty interactions or the Nightcrawler/Wolverine debate) aside, and though Claremont works to tie the story in with the X-Men, first by connecting it back to the events of X-Men Annual #3 and then establishing an indirect threat to the Shi'ar, there's nothing about this story that makes it an inherently X-Men story. The presence of the Fantastic Four is largely superfluous, and seems to be born of no reason other than the fact that overstuffed annuals of the time meant random guest stars. This could have been a straight-up Fantastic Four annual, or an Avengers annual, with little revision to the plot. In the end, it's a perfectly average bit of superhero comics that does a workmanlike if unremarkable job of telling its story and thus, it fits in perfectly, issue #150 notwithstanding, alongside contemporaneous issues of the series.
Next Issue: Marvel Fanfare #1-4
Angel returns to help launch, along with Spider-Man and the X-Men, a new title, and we return to the Savage Land.