Posted - November 10, 2016

Previous: X-Men 274 & 275

276 to 278

X-Men 276 X-Men 277 X-Men 278

Professor X has evidently turned villainous, taking down members of the X-Men and the Shi'ar Imperial Guard in a bid to control the Shi'ar Empire through Lillandra. Two members of the X-Men remain hidden and safe.

Gambit and Jubilee

For now.

Deathbird in the clutches of Gladiator

In the panel above, Gladiator is compelled to serve Xavier because, well, he's being mind-controlled. The only barrier was Xavier's morality, which is now evidently lost. Deathbird is in great danger.

Gladiator doesn't kill Deathbird. Worst.

Gladiator tears Deathbird's wings off

He tears her wings off. Deathbird is heaving a horrendous time. She loses the throne. She loses a fight to Wolverine. Now this.

More is going to be done to Deathbird but thankfully we never get to see it because Gambit has had enough. He goes into action.

Gambit attacks

Gladiator runs interference against Gambit's attack and we learn something very interesting about Gambit.

Fake Professor X talks

He's not so easily controlled!

Deathbird strikes and for once I'm on her side.

Deathbird attacks

Deathbird and Gambit gang up on Gladiator.

Deathbird and Gambit fighting Gladiator

Deathbird is a true warrior, fighting on in spite of her recent mutilation.

Nonetheless, it looks bad for our two heroes.

Gambit and Jubilee assailed by Gladiator

The one hope is to free Lila Cheney and teleport out. Unfortunately, they won't stop shooting at Gambit and Jubilee.

Gambit and Jubilee under fire

In the end, only Deathbird is teleported out.

Lila Cheney teleports out with Deathbird

Fortunately, X-Men never give up

Jubilee and Gambit fight on

The counterattack begins.

Shi'ar forces under attack

Results are satisfactory.

An explosion

Very satisfactory. The explosion attracts the other X-Men.

I spoke too soon, the X-Men arrive to encounter the Professor's excellent deception.

Fake Professor X in action

What I like about this particular plotline is that it reveals how formidable and downright unstoppable Professor X can be without his moral compass. Still. What is going on here? Really!? The Professor a traitor? I am hoping this is a doppelganger.

Suddenly, Wolverine launches into action.

Wolverine attacks Professor X

His animal senses cannot be fooled!

Boom! and just like that the "formidable" Professor X goes down.

Wolverine kills Professor X

Everyone is shocked, of course, but it is Psylocke (bafflingly) who launches into action against Wolverine.

Psylocke hits Wolverine with a psychic knife

Everything is confusion now. Was Wolverine wrong? Was Wolverine right? What's up with Psylocke? Before things can settle down we have the return of Deathbird and Lila Cneney.

Deathbird and Lila Cheney comes back with guns

Looks like they've been rummaging around Nick Fury's armory.

After they shoot up the place, Cheney teleports the X-Men away sans Psylocke and Wolverine. What's going on?

Xavier didn't survive Wolverine's attack - I would be disappointed at Logan if Xavier did survive.

If things arent' confusing enough here's another panel that adds to the smoke.

Skrulls in disguise talking

'Kill the males and spare the females'. What the? And why is Corsair so bleh at following such an order? He's being ordered to hunt down and kill X-Men? What's going on?

Looks like Ororo is as confused as we are.

Ororo pushes Deathbird

Ok, so fact no. 1: Xavier slaughtered an entire planet.

X-Men in a strange planet

Not the only genocide, and all of them blamed on Deathbird. But then again, this information is from Deathbird.

Amidst all the confusion, Storm looks amazing.

Storm dressed to the nines

Deathbird attempts the near impossible: Enlisting the aid of the X-Men.

Deathbird appeals to the X-Men

The Starjammers are on the hunt. It's subtle but they're behaving strangely, as if they're not really the Starjammers.

Back with the X-Men, Forge has created some equipment for his team.

Forge and the X-Men in flight

Deathbird's mind is attacked and she orders Cheney to teleport her out. After they leave, Forge is stuck with one fork of a two-pronged attack. Man, this is crazy.

These panels show something really is up and Psylocke is not who she seems.

Skrulls capture a naked Jubilee

Villains reveal themselves.

The Skrulls revealed

Some kind of green alien - apparently with a whole 'host'- is at the heart of the deception. I can't place this alien race.

These aliens make, yes make, another Xavier who holds Lillandra (the real Lillandra) in thrall in this way.

Lilliana in thrall

The initial confusion is lifting but the situation is getting dire. Still, the comic ends on a high note as it focuses on the real Charles Xavier, imprisoned in some kind of alien web.

Charles Xavier in bonds

Thank God we don't have to wait a month before opening issue 277.

The Starjammers, hunting the X-Men, have two of them in sight.

Storm and Banshee in space

Banshee is in danger of being killed as Corsair gives the fire order. Fortunately, Gambit has infiltrated the Starjammer ship and has interfered with a timely 'card throw'.

A starship console exploding

We get a beautiful two-page spread of what the attack looks like from the outside.

Storm and Banshee being attacked by starships

As the Starjammer ship nears a planetary atmosphere Storm is able to summon her namesake. The power of the storm accidentally destroy's Forge's space sled. Forge does some fast acting and thinking and is forced to board the Starjammer ship.

Forge boards a starship

With Gambit on the inside and Forge on the outside it is the Starjammers' turn to be on the defensive.

Hepzibah, informs her teammates, that she can take on Gambit on her own.

Hepzibah takes on Gambit

Admittedly, I'm not familiar with Hepzibah's powerset. She can use weaponry but I think that's about it. I don't think the energy mutant Gambit will have a problem with her.

As this panel confirms . . .

Forge in a starship

. . . Forge in the bowels of a ship (any ship really) can prove to be a formidable foe.

It is just too bad that the Starjammer giant, Ch'od discovers Forge. Forge shoots Ch'od point blank on the head but Ch'od just smiles it away (impressive). Forge is not in a good place./p>

Forge attacking Ch'od

Lucky for him that his imminent demise is interrupted by the one X-Man who's scream is more then just an expression of emotion.

Banshee attacking

Banshee or Black Bolt Lite.

This is very interesting.

Banshee attacked

The Starjammers are referring to themselves as "the host"; an inkling that they are not in control of themselves.

We're getting a pattern here. Just as Banshee is about to die, Storm comes in.

Storm to the rescue

Finally, the true enemy reveals itself.

The Skrulls revealed

We switch our attention to the Maul.

Lila Cheney and Deathbird in the Maul

Not the mall, the Maul. There is another place called the 'Maul' in the pages of Conan, referring to a dangerous place in one of those Hyborian cities. Anyway, trapped behind Deathbird and Lila Cheney are the real X-Men. They are very soon confronted by the fake X-Men.

Skrulls disguised as X-Men

Deathbird can now boast that she has been attacked by both the real Wolverine and a fake one.

A fake Wolvering attacks Deathbird

Just as Gladiator attacks, Professor X (the real one) orders Lila out of there.

Lila Cheney teleports out

If Professor X has a plan then i'm expectant that things are going to turn.

Oh! Skrulls!

Skrulls revealed

As all of this is happening, the X-Men in the Starjammer ship manage to take control and we are witness to a timely arrival.

The X-Men arrive

The dangerous thing about these Skrulls is that as they 'imprint' the X-Men they also copy their powers.

It's Gambit vs. Gladiator and Gladiator gets the 'full deck'.

Gambit hits Gladiator with a full deck

Fake Psylocke goes against Forge. As Forge gets hit with the Psychic Knife in the head, I wince - Forge needs that brain.

Forge gets hit by the psychic knife

It's not so bad though, that Forge can't counterattack.

Fake Wolverine gets stabbed by Gambit.

Wolverine stabbed by Gambit

He's up.

Wolverine recovers

Then he gets hit by a Banshee attack.

Banshee attacks Wolverine

Is it enough to keep him down?

The ace-in-the-hole for the Skrulls seems to be the fake Professor X.

Professor X attacks Banshee

The fake Professor X's gloating is interrupted by a 'problem'.

The real Professor X returns

And just like that it's over. Except for some Imperial matters.

Lillandra and Deathbird talking

The stolen kiss is an adolescent move but I like the complicated layer this puts on to Deathbird. She's getting more real; not a 'cut-out' villain.

Look at this.

Professor X receives bad news

Ever head one of those? Just as you think you can get some rest after the resolution of one problem another one presents itself tagged 'Urgent'. Ughh! You're already drained but more is expected of you. Given that, the Professor shows both maturity and stamina by how he reacts.

Professor X decides

I think, to react like this, you have to enjoy the problems a little. And with that, the X-Men jump to another adventure. The prologue will be in this very same issue just one panel really as Stevie Hunter faces a confrontation.

Mind-controlled Colossus confronts Stevie Hunter

This seems to be the season for taking over the X-Men. Patterns. Claremont patterns.

Let's open issue 278. Jim Lee takes a break and Paul Smith gets the art chores.

In a refreshing contrast to the mysterioso treatment of the Skrulls in the previous storyline, we have this storyline's villain front and center: The Shadow King.

The Shadow King

His modus operandi dovetails perfectly with that of Psycho-Man.

The Shadow King points to human hate as his power source but he does have a thorn on his side.

The Shadow King talking about Professor X

I've never heard of W.H.O. before this comic.

W.H.O. owns these buildings

I like them immediately because 'Weird Happenings Organization' has a wacky twist to it and also because it's easier to type W.H.O. than S.H.I.E.L.D. Evidently this organization is related to the X-Men offshoot group Excalibur. Anyway, there is an intruder on-base.

An intruder in an aircraft hangar

Whoever it is is wearing Shi'ar armor.

Intruder wearing Shi'ar armor

This intruder is attempting to "steal" the X-Men's Blackbird.

Blackbird stolen.

SR-71 Blackbird in flight

We find Rogue, after her Savage Land adventures , facing a "situation" in Muir Isle.

The arena in Muir Isle

Some kind of gladiatorial acceptance right against X-Factor's Strong Guy. Moira MacTaggert has sanctioned it and other mutants are enjoying the show.

Legion, Siren, and Madrox enjoying a gladiatorial fight

I'm a bit baffled.

The ending: Rogue takes out Strong Guy.

Rogue defeats Strong Guy

Oh, so this is the idea.

The concept behind the arena battles

The Muir Isle Arena is the country-cousin of the urbane Danger Room.

The intruder reveals himself.

The intruder is Professor X

Xavier mentions other branches of the X-Men family: X-Factor and X-Calibur. He's rallying all the troops for a showdown with the Shadow King. Here's who he has so far.

Professor X and the X-Men

While Rogue takes a bath, the Shadow King reveals why the mutants on Muir are getting a little bit more bloodthirsty than usual.

Rogue falls under the thrall of the Shadow King

It looks like the X-Men will be going against the Muir Isle mutants. Rogue is definitely a heavy-hitter for the latter group.

As the X-Men attempt to infiltrate Muir Isle we get this interesting dialogue.

Storm and Gambit talking

The eternal discussion between those who choose to see life as fun and those who take a more serious approach. I need more of Gambit's outlook myself.

On the ground, Banshee makes a nice discovery replete with references to Scottish culture.

Banshee looks at some Scottish designs

Psylocke informs everybody that someone or something very powerful is being held in Muir.

Forge talking

The confrontation begins as Legion lashes out at Storm.

Legion fighting Storm

Since Storm has a psylink with Psylocke, Elizabeth also gets a dose of Legion's power. Lucky Legion.

I think this hurts more though. Banshee getting taken out by his own daughter, Siren.

Siren attacks Banshee

It's Gambit vs Madrox with Madrox giving a nice capsule description of his power.

Gambing listens to Madrox

Wolverine vs. Rogue. Good match.

Wolverine fights Rogue

Amanda (a sorceress) confronts Jubilee in a beautifully done panel.

Amanda uses magic against Jubilee

In a short aside. Professor X reacts to the past destruction of the X-Mansion.

Professor X in the ruins of the X-Mansion

It's more of a nostalgic reaction though, I read somewhere (I forgot where) that the Prof is has a net worth of around two billion dollars. Also, it isn't the first time the Mansion was destroyed and rebuilt. It's like moving house. It's a chore but it's not a new chore.

What follows next is a meeting between two main adversaries.

Professor X and the Shadow King

And a grisly report of the situation in Muir

Fallen X-Men

Well, things are off to a bad start.

The issue ends with Professor X being pitted against a mind-controlled Colossus.

Mind-controlled Colossus confronts Professor X

I'm not too worried, it should a simple matter for the Professor to wrest Peter's mind from the Shadow King. Or is it? They're not called cliffhangers for nothing.