Thursday, January 26, 2017

Throwback Thursday - The Uncanny X-Men #362 (1998)

The Uncanny X-Men #362 - The Hunt For Xavier! Part One: Meltdown released by Marvel on December 1, 1998

A frenzied Pyro tears across the farms and fields of Nebraska, leaving burning crops and houses in his wake. The S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier arrives, but its agents, unable to withstand his heat, ask his demands. In a panic, Pyro replies, "Xavier." Soon, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury is briefing the X-Men, whom he's summoned for assistance.

Elsewhere in the world, Professor Charles Xavier is dreaming of a peaceful utopia. Within the dream, Magneto arrives, telling the Professor there are two of him, and that he must wake up.

Meanwhile, in the Salem Center clinic of X-Men associate Dr. Cecelia Reyes, she begrudgingly accepts delivery of a large wooden crate. With no one at the X-Men's mansion to sign for the parcel from Moira MacTaggert in Scotland, Cecelia was designated as an alternate recipient.

Back in Nebraska, while Storm, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat and Marrow assist firefighters and
emergency responders in putting out blazes and rescuing civilians, Wolverine, Colossus and Gambit track Pyro. Wolverine begins to clear away a firebreak in the field, while the other two get close enough to hear Pyro shouting at some unseen person to leave him alone.

Thinking Pyro's being driven mad by the Legacy Virus he's infected with, Gambit and Colossus try to approach him, but are held back by the intensity of his flames, greatly increased by the disease. Adding to Gambit's difficulty is the ethereal presence of a woman he calls "Bebette"

Throughout the ordeal, Marrow asks each of her teammates about the Professor, expressing a mixture of wonder at the respect he commands, curiosity about the man, and the same disdain she exhibits toward others. The X-Men's responses emphasize Xavier's kindness, humanity, wisdom and devotion to his ideals.

As Storm brings down rain to put out Pyro's flames, Nightcrawler joins in on the chase which finally ends with a well-placed punch by Wolverine. The X-Men that see a metallic figure within Pyro's inferno, and Wolverine hears its robotic voice. Pyro intensifies the blaze even further and forces the figure to liquify.

As he lies prone, the weakened Pyro still asks for Xavier, while also claiming the Professor sent him. Fury then steps in to take custody of Pyro.

Later, the X-Men have returned to their mansion and have set up the contents of the crate that had arrived, a smaller Cerebro system on loan from Dr. MacTaggert. Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat) operates it, and locates the Professor's genetic signature in not one place, but two points on Earth: San Francisco and Tajikistan. Suddenly, feedback from an unknown source shorts out the device, ending the search. With two leads to go on, Storm decides to split the team to investigate both locations.

Meanwhile, something falls to earth in Tajikistan, as another splashes down in the bay by the Golden Gate Bridge. Shortly, the Cerebro entity emerges from the waters, locked in on Xavier's bio-signature.