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Uncanny X-Men #97: Review

Feb 1976
Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum

Story Name:

My Brother, My Enemy!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Uncanny X-Men #97 Review by (May 29, 2024)

Review: Xavier leaves on his vacation, after suffering terrible recurring dreams, making most of the issue an extended action sequence at the airport. Havok and Polaris, brainwashed by Erik the Red, are sent to kill Xavier and the X-Men battle both them and Erik the Red. Poor Havok and Polaris, getting brainwashed or mind-controlled or otherwise manipulated in some way is unfortunately something of a trend for the two of them, particularly Polaris. This is the first of like three times that it happens during Claremont’s tenure alone. We get some teases about Charles and Moira’s relationship, of which we’ll learn more later. Claremont’s signature melodramatic dialogue also seems to be more prevalent in this issue, though it’s kind of part of the charm. Wolverine’s also noticeably less likable in these early issues, coming off much more overtly abrasive, picking fights with everyone, sometimes over nothing, without any of his redeeming qualities. Not quite the more nuanced, though still hard-edged character he quickly becomes. Overall, some great action in what is essentially an extended action sequence while ending with showing the X-Men being watched by multiple different parties, leading right into the next few issues and beyond.

Comments: First appearance of this version of Erik the Red, spelled Eric the Red here. Erik the Red was formerly an identity adopted by Cyclops when going undercover in X-Men #51-52. First use of Nightcrawler’s image inducer, used to make him look more normal in public. Havok misspelled as Havoc in this issue. First time Lorna Dane uses the name Polaris.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Uncanny X-Men #97 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

The issue begins with Charles Xavier in the midst of a fitful, recurring dream he’s been having. Dreams of a climactic, violent space battle between two forces of alien ships. Then, as always, a single scoutship manages to escape the destruction, and Charles feels drawn to the figure within, awaking with a start just before he can see the figure’s face. Moira MacTaggert finds the shaken Xavier, still affected by the dream, as he admits that he’s worried he’s going mad. We then cut to Rio Diablo, where we find Alex Summers, alias Havok, and Lorna Dane, alias Polaris, where they live while studying for their doctoral degrees. Alex heads out while Lorna tidies up before hearing a suspicious knock at the door. Lorna opens the door, only to get struck down by an unknown figure. Alex hears her scream and rushes back, only to get taken out himself by a now brainwashed Lorna, while their mysterious captor reveals that he plans to use them to assure Xavier’s death!

Days later, some of the X-Men gather at Kennedy International Airport to see Professor Xavier off as he leaves for his vacation. A returned Jean Grey dotes a bit on the Professor, which he sarcastically rebukes, before telling her to inform Nightcrawler not to misuse the image inducer gifted him, a device used to make him appear more normal in public. After Xavier boards his plane, Havok and Polaris suddenly appear at the airport, surprising Cyclops. Jean tries to warn Scott of their ill intent, but is blasted by Polaris, as Havok also attacks Scott. The pilots of Xavier’s plane see the commotion and decide to get out of there, as Havok and Polaris take pursuit. Nightcrawler and Colossus chase after the two, with Nightcrawler managing to tackle Havok, causing his energy blast to go wild and completely destroy another nearby unoccupied plane in an enormous explosion, as Xavier’s plane manages to escape!

The X-Men look upon the chaos, stunned, while Cyclops angrily asks his brother what he thinks he’s doing. The man giving their orders then appears as well, revealing himself as Erik the Red, leaving Cyclops utterly shocked, as Erik the Red was a persona he himself adopted once when going undercover! As the X-Men engage with the villain, Storm attempts to get Jean to safety, but is intercepted by Polaris. Meanwhile, Cyclops tries to reason with Havok and break him free from Erik the Red’s control. Havok blasts a wall behind Cyclops, covering him in debris, but allowing Cyke to sucker punch Havok when he goes to check on his brother. Meanwhile still, Nightcrawler and Colossus engage Erik the Red, with Nightcrawler teleporting behind him so they can attack him from both sides!

Back with Storm, she and Polaris seem to be at a deadlock, when Polaris says they’ll have to put this little game on hold. Storm, furious at Polaris for calling trying to kill them all a mere game, delivers an epic lightning zap to Polaris, taking her out and sending Havok into a rage. Just then, Banshee and Wolverine arrive as reinforcements, as Erik the Red decides to make a strategic retreat, grabbing Havok and Polaris and flying away. Cyclops threatens to blast them but can’t bring himself to strike down his brother and lets them escape, earning him some ire from Wolverine, who calls Cyclops a coward. This, in turn, prompts Cyclops to deck Wolverine, who is stopped by Storm before he can retaliate. As Cyclops walks away, we see that the whole encounter was being watched over a video screen by Steven Lang, who in turn is being watched by another mysterious figure!

Dave Cockrum
Sam Grainger
Don Warfield
Rich Buckler (Cover Penciler)
Dave Cockrum (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Annette Kawecki.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Sean Cassidy)

(Piotr Rasputin)

(Scott Summers)

(Alex Summers)

(Kurt Wagner)

(Lorna Dane)
Professor X
Professor X

(Charles Xavier)

(Ororo Munroe)

(James Howlett)

Plus: Erik the Red, Steven Lang.

> Uncanny X-Men: Book info and issue index

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