My Brother, My Enemy! last edited by pikahyper on 01/07/20 11:28PM View full history

Colossus takes center stage in "Prison of the Heart!"

Reprint of and retroactive backup story to The X-Men #97 - My Brother...My Enemy! (1967).

Prison of the Heart

Sitting on the boardwalk of a beach in Brooklyn, Colossus contemplates the changes his life has gone through in the short time since he left his farm to join the X-men.

From the street behind him he hears cries for help coming from a young girl speaking Russian. Investigating, he sees her being forced into a car by three men and instinctively jumps on the roof of their car as they speed away. As the driver swerves wildly, Colossus changes to his organic metal form. Inside the car the three men are shocked to see a metal fist come plunging through the roof.

The driver shoots Colossus through the windshield to no effect before veering out of control and crashing into a wall. As the driver orders his associates to get rid of Colossus, the young hero lifts the front of the car over his head and rips out the engine block, prompting the men to flee. In the backseat of the car, Colossus finds the girl they had captured, who's now unconscious. Not wanting to frighten her, he returns to human form before she regains consciousness and explains that she is now safe as she awakens.

Returning to the beach, Colossus is greeted by two older men who had held onto his bag, confessing that they looked inside and praising him for his ability to draw. The girl he saved has returned there as well to thank him and introduces herself. She says her name is Anya Makrova. Colossus inquires about why the men who captured her were after her, but she avoids the subject and he suspects that she's hiding something.

As they walk, she tells him that she's a dancer, the first Prima Ballerina in the the history of the Kirov Ballet, and that she has come to New York to pursue her dream of becoming a famous dancer, claiming that in Russia she felt that her heart was in a cage, and that a true artist must be free to follow her heart. Then she almost dances into a moving train before Colossus can save her again.

Inquiring as to what brought Colossus to the States, he replies awkwardly that he is a student. When she asks if his parents approve, he says that they do, and she says he's lucky because her father doesn't approve of her decision at all. She says that she must follow her heart and that her heart tells her to stay close to him. She invites him to come see her dance that night, saying that this performance could be her big break to a career in dancing, and she would like him there as her hero, her champion.

Later that night he attends the performance, which receives a standing ovation, and seems very pleased. Afterwards he waits outside of the rear entrance to the theater to congratulate her. After a few hours she finally emerges, apologizing for how long it took her to get away. He gives her a drawing as a present and she gives him a flower and a kiss, and the two embrace in mutual affection.

As morning breaks they find themselves back at the Brooklyn boardwalk and realize that they've been up all night walking and talking, and Anya expresses her desire to be with him for the rest of their days. Also back at the boardwalk are the men who tried to kidnap Anya the day before, this time with another man who seems to be in charge. Colossus demands to know who he is and what he wants, and he says that Anya is coming with them. Colossus tells them to leave her alone and the man draws a gun. Undeterred, Colossus changes again to his organic metal form and makes short work of the men, who run away in defeat.

As he turns his attention back to Anya, he realizes that she is horrified, and she makes no secret of it, saying that his transformation is horrible and calling him a monster. Defensive, Colossus asks what is so wrong with it, but she replies that he lied to her by not telling her about his true nature. He asks what of the feelings they shared, and asks her to look into is heart, but she turns away, throwing his drawing back at him and responding that "a man made of steel has no heart!"

Colossus watches her run off, picks up the crumpled drawing, and leans on the railing of the boardwalk. He leans motionless as morning becomes day and as day becomes night, until finally he tears the crumpled drawing in half. As he walks away down the boardwalk in the moonlight, he responds simply, "you are wrong."

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