ga11owbraid's Classic X-Men #19 - Showdown! review

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Third Time's A Charm

 I am a big fan of the the Classic X-Men/X-Men Classic series, mainly because the earlier issues were cover to cover art. Instead of running ads, Marvel squeezed in an extra X-story at the back of the issue that had it's own cover (on the back). The extra story was usually tied to the reprint and was often a character piece on one of the heroes or villains.  In this issue, Magneto is the featured character.
This tale is a reprint of Uncanny X-Men 113. It marks the first time the All-New, All- Different X-Men beat Magneto (third time's a charm). The two previous encounters are also excellent, but I enjoyed this one because Cyclops manages to mold them into a team. 
The story starts with the X-Men being held hostage in Magneto's Antarctic underground lair, each of them collared by a device that renders their motor capabilities the equivalent of a toddler as well as overriding their powers. Magneto purposefully left their mental capacity intact so that they would suffer - Wolverine in particular looks to be going insane. To make matters worse, they are taken care of by a robot nanny that baby talks them. She even promises to put bows in the Beast and Wolverine's hair! 
This is one issue were I came to admire Ororo. She manages to free her teammates from a fate worse-than-death in quite a spectacular fashion. Gambit would later escape in a similar way during the X-tinction Agenda, an homage to Storm's feat of thievery. 
Magneto comes home to find his state of the art nanny-bot spinning in circles. He realizes that the X-Men are going to attack, and expects to trounce them yet again. The encounter that lead to their capture was lopsided, with the Master of Magnetism easily disposing of them one-by-one. 
This lapse in judgement leaves him prone to Cyclopse's leadership. Without warning, Magneto is blasted on all sides from the X-Men's ranged attacks: Banshee's wail, Storm's lightning, Cyclopse's optic beam, and Phoenix's telekinetic blast pummel him almost before he can put up his force field. The attact leaves him on his backfoot. Colossus and Wolverine get up close and personal - disregarding Scott's instruction, Peter hammers Magneto in his armored form. The fury of Colossus's blows manages to disorient Magneto just enough to avoid having his metal body twisted into a pretzel - but for how long? Wolverine leaves a bloody gash on his back adding to the relentless assault. As the battle wages on, Storm has been instructed to turn up the heat around her foe, making conditions sweltering hot - but only for Mags. As Magneto starts to get his bearing, the Beast and Nightcrawler go into action. Gaining as much momentum as possible, Hank tosses Kurt by his tail like a track and field hammer throw. Crawler teleports in midair, reappearing just in front of Magneto, using the force of the Beast's throw to quickly snatch the helmet from a confused Magneto's head. Colossus's ensuing uppercut nearly takes Magneto's head off. Just as he is about to strike, Phoenix blasts her enemy, tossing him like a ragdoll. 
Magneto is beaten, but Jean's careless attack has ravaged to control panels that keep the hideout safe from the molten forces around it. Lava is pouring through the damaged base. Magneto uses this new threat as a cover to escape, summoning his forcefield and flying right through the magma. The X-Men are not as forturnate, and are still trapped inside as Magneto flies away. He looks back and witnesses a fantastic explosion. Are his most hated enemies dead? (of course not)!! 
This story is sandwiched between several awesome issues (Alpha Flight, The Imperial Guard, Mesmero, the Savage Land, Juggernaut, the Dark Phoenix Saga are all featured during this run). The books before and after it are the reason why the X-Men became so popular. Chris Claremont and John Byrne are in top form as bothe writing and art are superb. I recommend this series for any avid fan - the stories are timeless.

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