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Uncanny X-Men #103: Review

Feb 1977
Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum

Story Name:

The Fall of the Tower

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Uncanny X-Men #103 Review by (June 12, 2024)

Review: Nightcrawler gets some time to shine, saving the rest of the X-Men and allowing them to take the fight to Black Tom and Juggernaut once more. I never turn down some prominent Nightcrawler moments. His ability to turn invisible when in shadow is also established though it’s not used very often and, when these old issues were reprinted years later in the Classic X-men title, the panels were even re-drawn to eliminate any mention of the ability. I mean, he’s already dark blue, he does just fine blending into shadows already, so I understand the change. The X-Men’s fight against Juggernaut goes a bit better this issue, though they don’t actually defeat him. Banshee kicks Black Tom into the ocean, causing Juggernaut to jump in after him, for a clever, if slightly anticlimactic method of victory.

Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room for this issue. It’s revealed that the castle is home to actual, 1- or 2-foot-tall leprechauns. And that’s just…so weird. Mutants, aliens, and demons are one thing, but leprechauns feel so out of place and odd. It really doesn’t feel like it fits with almost anything else that happens in the entire series, especially as X-Men is much more sci-fi than fantasy. It’s also clarified that the families that were captured and used as blackmail were the “leprechaun families” which begs the question, “families of who?” Does this mean that Banshee is part leprechaun potentially? It would certainly explain his original appearance from the 60s. Not to mention the fact that the first time we hear the name “Logan” is from a leprechaun, of all things. It’s so strange that they’re essentially never mentioned again, which is probably for the best.

Comments: This issue establishes Nightcrawler’s ability to become invisible in shadow. This power would seldom be used and outright ignored in later stories. First mention of Wolverine’s real name (at the time), Logan.





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Uncanny X-Men #103 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

After the rest of the X-Men were defeated and captured last issue, Nightcrawler was saved by some mysterious, small figures, as they make their way through the secret corridors with him. Nightcrawler awakes with a start and finds his saviors to be actual, honest to goodness leprechauns. Eamon O’Donnell, the steward of the castle, informs Nightcrawler that his friends have been captured, as well as the fact that he was being blackmailed by Black Tom, who forced his way in charge of the castle and imprisoned the leprechaun families. He also lets on that Black Tom and Juggernaut were taking orders from someone in red, horned armor. Nightcrawler is sure he knows who he means but then one of the leprechauns asks Nightcrawler why he was partly invisible when they found him in the shadows. Confused, Nightcrawler sticks his hand into a nearby shadow and discovers that he can become completely invisible in the shadows!

One of the other leprechauns leads Nightcrawler to the laboratory, where Black Tom Cassidy and Juggernaut have the other X-Men imprisoned in specialized confinements. Black Tom dons a special glove designed to inflict pain to torture the X-Men, in an effort to draw Xavier to them. Hearing that they really want the Professor, Nightcrawler teleports into the laboratory and uses his image inducer to look like Professor Xavier. Disguised as the Professor, Nightcrawler taunts and dodges around Juggernaut, until eventually Juggernaut punches right through a wall, causing a huge shockwave and smashing a hole right through to the outside. Feeling the wind on her face once more, Storm generates a huge wind which carries herself, Colossus, and Wolverine to freedom outside, while Juggernaut grabs Banshee, to prevent him from escaping as well.

Back inside the collapsed lab, the leprechauns make their way to safety, coming upon an unconscious Nightcrawler buried in debris, and are determined to rescue him. Outside, Colossus struggles to get Wolverine free of his restraints, until Storm offers her assistance by picking the lock, surprising the other two. With Banshee still their prisoner, Black Tom and Juggernaut make their way to the battlements of the castle and threaten to send Banshee down to the X-Men, piece by piece. Storm flies up to the top of the castle but has to contend with the turrets firing lasers at her. Meanwhile, after Wolverine called Storm a “broad” once too often for his liking, Colossus throws Wolverine up to the roof while he attempts to climb up the wall the hard way, hand over hand. Storm does her best to deal with the lasers, generating a huge thunderstorm around the whole area, while Colossus tries to avoid Juggernaut’s thrown rocks.

Meanwhile, Wolverine landed on the other side of the castle, to be found by one of the leprechauns. The leprechaun reveals that he knows Wolverine’s true name, Logan, and offers to guide the incredulous Wolverine to where the action is taking place. While Juggernaut and Black Tom are busy with the others, Nightcrawler sneakily frees Banshee from his confinements. Banshee once again takes the fight to Black Tom, while the rest tangle with Juggernaut. Banshee and Black Tom engage in a frantic sword duel, until Banshee kicks Black Tom off the edge of the roof and into the ocean below. This causes the panic-stricken Juggernaut to jump in after his only friend, as both of them seemingly get lost in the waves below. We end by cutting to Erik the Red, proven to have indeed been Black Tom and Juggernaut’s employer, as he in turn checks in with his mysterious boss, promising their next plan won’t fail, with the return of the X-Men’s oldest and deadliest foe!



Dave Cockrum
Sam Grainger
Janice Cohen
Dave Cockrum (Cover Penciler)
Dave Cockrum (Cover Inker)
Letterer: John Costanza.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Banshee
Banshee

(Sean Cassidy)
Colossus
Colossus

(Piotr Rasputin)
Juggernaut
Juggernaut

(Cain Marko)
Nightcrawler
Nightcrawler

(Kurt Wagner)
Storm
Storm

(Ororo Munroe)
Wolverine
Wolverine

(James Howlett)

Plus: Black Tom Cassidy, DKen, Erik the Red.

> Uncanny X-Men: Book info and issue index

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