Suddenly feeling sympathy for Scott!

Ryhmä-X 5/1985 Cover
Ryhmä-X 5/1985 Cover

The story of the Dark Phoenix began in Ryhmä-X 3/84 with the appearance of Jason Wyngarde, and in this issue, 5/1985, it finally takes the center stage.

The plot

Kitty, who got caught last time sneaking around Hellfire club, is on the run and runs into the rest of the X-Men, who have come to their rescue.

By the way, one thing I have to set straight. On page 7 in the first panel Kitty says: “[…] I escaped, but the X-Men and Xavier were caught.” In  my last post I thought the Xavier on the table in Hellfire club’s premises was different a Xavier than the one who gave the X-Men a hard time in his mansion, but obviously I was wrong. In the last issue they didn’t show Xavier being caught so I totally forgot he was with the rest of the group. Sorry about that.

Well, the X-Men and Kitty rescue the rest of the X-Men. It would all be quite normal unless there were more worrying signs coming up with Jean Grey/Phoenix. She’s getting all the more powerful, which in itself seems to worry Scott/Cyclops. But what really alarms her team mates is the way she destroys Emma Frost/White Queen… or so we are let to believe, because to my knowledge Emma Frost will make her appearance later again. And who knows, maybe being Phoenix, Jean was able to know what even the writers didn’t know at the moment, that Emma and Scott are going to get together later on – or so my husband has spoiled for me! Maybe she destroyed her in a jealous rage! Well, maybe not. She’s beginning to use her powers all the more carelessly, affecting people’s thoughts, changing outfits and all. To be honest, if I’d have that kind of powers I’d do the same. I’d also make stupidity painful, but that’s another story. ;)

Ryhmä-X 5/1985 Through the floor
Harry Leland makes Wolverine heavier, making him crash through the building floor to sewers.

Aftger being freed, The X-Men go to a ball held at the Hellfire club’s headquarters, which to the outside seems to be a respectful wealthy businessmen’s club. The Hellfire club members notice them coming in and send in Jason Wyngarde to turn Jean into “Dark Queen”, joining the Hellfire club, which he succeeds in without any trouble. She leaves with Jason, who reveales himself to Scott as being Mastermind (in Finnish “Aivo”, lit. “Brain”) and when Scott goes after her she almost kills him. The X-Men fight the Hellfire club members and to their horor, are all soundly defeated. Only Wolverine escapes because he went crashing through the floor to the sewers running under the house after Harry Leland turned his body heavier, making it impossible for Wolverine to move or attack him. It looks like the days of the X-Men are numbered! Luckily Wolverine is boiling with rage in the sewers. Looks like the days of Hellfire club might be numbered instead.

Ryhmä-X 5/1985: Jean leaves with Aivo, Scott left behind.
Ryhmä-X 5/1985: Jean leaves with Jason Wyngarde, leaving Scott behind.

(This story was originally published in X-Men 131-132.)

Suddenly it got colder in Hell

I was writing this post and scanning images when it suddenly hit me. Who hasn’t she kissed yet! No wonder Scott’s feeling a bit insecure about Jean. And to be honest I don’t wonder he didn’t grieve for her when he thought she’d died in Ryhmä-X 1/1984. Just look at the evidence just from this issue. Shame on you, Jean!

Just look at this picture of Jean going upstairs with Jason Wyngarde. How many of you would just look calmly on when your loved one deserts you on the dance floor and then escapes upstairs in the arms of another man or woman! Well, fine, that was part of the story as was the kiss she had with Jason Wyngarde in the last issue, but there is no excuse for this one…

Ryhmä-X 5/1985: Jean kissing Archangel in front of Scott!
Ryhmä-X 5/1985: Jean kisses Warren in front of Scott! 1) Jean: "You look good, blonde." 2) Warren: "Likewise, redhead." If we keep this up, Scott's going to get jealous."

Look, she’s kissing Warren/Archangel in front of everyone! Is this some weird insider joke between them I’m not aware of or what. And why don’t the others or Scott react to this! And it’s Warren who has to tell Jean this is going to make Scott jealous. Or is he so used to watching Jean giving “friendly” kisses to everyone he doesn’t even pay attention to it? That’s one weird couple. Maybe he’s better off with anyone else than Jean…

Time for a new “second story”
– How it began for the current X-Men?

In the previous Ryhmä-X’s there had been stories of the “previous” X-Men. After feedback with about half of the readers liking and the other half wishing them stories away, the Mail-Man decided to change the magazine’s second stories into older stories of the current X-Men. In the first story published we are told how the “new” X-Men were found for the group. This isn’t really a story in my opinion, but rather short scenes showing what each member was doing at the time and Xavier coming by and asking them to join the group. Quite a boring approach from the writers, but I suppose they had their reasons.

First we are shown Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler being chased by an angry mob who are ready to kill him just because he’s different. Well, he does look like a devil with his dark blue skin and tail. Just when the mob is about to strike a stake through his heart Xavier comes over, freezes the people and asks Kurt to join the X-Men.

In the following scene we are shown Wolverine walking into an army office in Canada. Xavier has asked to speak to him and the army officials have agreed to. Xavier asks Wolverine to join and he does – just like that. The army official gets pretty annoyed by this but there’s really not much he can do to stop him from going. Funny, somehow I had expected a more dramatic story behind Wolverine’s departure taken from the tension there has been build between him and Canadian government.

The third story evolves around Ororo/Storm. She’s worshipped as a goddess in Kenya helping the people suffering from draught. Whe she makes it rain, Xavier comes up telling her she has “responsibilities” and should go with the X-Men. Somehow I think she knew enough of responsibilities, taking care of the people of Kenya, fighting against the draught. And somehow I think they would have needed her more than the X-Men, considering the draught the whole continent had to suffer in the 1980s.

Then for three panels’ worth we find out Sunfire joined the X-Men because he was asked. Oh, and Banshee, too, had a background story worth a total of two panels. He’d gone to the opera and Xavier asked him there. Nice, it’s easy when you know how.

And the last story introduces Colossus‘s past, how he saved his little sister Illyana (she’ll join the group later when her own mutant abilities emerge). Everybody was doing their field work when suddenly a tractor on the loose almost runs over Illyana. Peter turns into Colossus and saves his sister… and Xavier just happens to come by when this happens. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had set the tractor loose just to narrow down the search among the Russian fieldworkers.

After Colossus joins the X-Men the group is full, including Colossus, Storm, Thunderbird (not to be mixed up with Shaman from the Alpha Flight), Nightcrawler, Banshee, Sunfire and Wolwerine. No Jean nor Scott there yet.

No detail small enough

In the reader mail there was once again a letter I must mention. Reader “Jäsen 446” (“Member 446”) asks from Mail-Man: “You have said that Sasquatch can lift “only” 70 tons, but he somehow managed to stop a DC-10, with a propulsion power of 75 tons (Ryhmä-X 3/85). How is this possible?” As you can see there is no detail small enough to go unnoticed from an enlightened Marvel reader! But the answer is simple. Mail-Man points us that the plane was at the moment standing still and therefore not using it’s full propulsion power. Also, Mail-Man adds, the storm raised by Shaman was pushing the plane backwards making it even lighter for Sasquatch.

The answer might be simple to Mail-Man, but while scanning the scene for you, I noticed something interesting. To my knowledge (correct me if I’m wrong) planes slow down in order to land. That would mean the plane was not using it’s full 75 tons of propulsion power. But then in the first panel below the pilot says she has her engines on full power and the plane doesn’t move, meaning they now have that 75 tons of propulsion power on. Mail-Man said the wind was helping Sasquatch throw the plane, but could it really help him worth “5 tons”? Also he throws the plane so far with such power it shatters the nearby hangar, meaning he could not have been using his full powers to stop it.

According to Wikipedia the plane itself weighs at least 207 tons lb/109 tons kg and according to Boeing the plane had three engines with 40 tons lb/17,1 tons kg thrust in takeoff (I suppose that’s the max propulsion power) meaning it had 120 tons lb/51,3 tons kg thrust power. (Note that units are not specified in the comic, therefore probably referring to kgs since we use grams in Finland. But maybe the translator was lazy and left the units unconverted; it could be lbs. 1 lb = 0,45 kg) This means that either writers made a mistake, I understand nothing about planes, mathematics, and/or physics, or Sasquatch’s powers are based on comic physics and have nothing to do with real life. Either way, real life: 0, comics: 1.

Let’s end this post with the event itself so you can judge it yourself. And feel free to comment on this highly interesting problem.

Ryhmä-X 3/1984: Sasquatch throws a plane, part 1
Ryhmä-X 3/1984: Sasquatch throws a plane, part 1
Ryhmä-X 3/1984 Sasquatch throws a plane, part 2
Ryhmä-X 3/1984: Sasquatch throws a plane, part 2

“I tell you, it was quite a workload!”

Ryhmä-X 4/1985 Cover
Ryhmä-X 4/1985 Cover

I love the feel of a smooth magazine. Most of my older Ryhmä-X magazines have been in active use, probably read through a couple of times and have been left lying around wherever. The covers feel a bit rough and worn to your fingers, the pages have turned yellow and have minor tears down the sides. When I turn their pages I can feel how the pages have become a bit frail.

This issue of Ryhmä-X, 4/1985, is in perfect condition. It’s cover paper is still shiny and feels perfectly smooth under my touch. When I open the magazine the pages still have that resistance of a newly acquired magazine – they want to keep together, closed. I love it. A perfect specimen. And it’s 26 years old. Amazing.

The plot (thickens)

The X-Men are united and on their way back to their headquarters, the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, Professor X’s mansion. Scott and Jean finally have time to talk about Scott’s involvement with Colleen Wing. Scott says they were only friends, and that the reason he didn’t mourn after Jean was because he was blocking his emotions, and Jean buys it just like that and they kiss. Ok, maybe she’s feeling guilty because she’s been daydreaming of Jason Wyngarde. But Scott, I would have never believed you were such a liar and what about Colleen! I wonder how she’d feel about you being “only friends”, Scott?

Let’s see… In Ryhmä-X 3/1984 Colleen makes her move on Scott. They are seen walking arm in arm and going for lunch (p. 38-39) and Colleen gives Scott the key to her appartment (p. 45). Ok, still quite innocent and that key thing we can blame on Colleen. But by Ryhmä-X 1/1985 things have gone a bit further. Spider-Man sees Scott and Colleen walking down a street and thinks: “Colleen and Scott. I didn’t know they were dating.” (p. 4) Ok, Spider-Man just sees them walking and draws conclusions from what he sees. No solid proof yet, but obviously they act like they were dating. But wait no more, because at the very second panel of page 5 Scott says: “Colleen, did you know that you and Jean are the only ones I have ever dated.” The word he uses in Finnish is “seurustellut” and that means going steady. No excuses there. He’s serious about this relationship. I don’t know which word he uses in English, but if it’s “dated” then it could be he meant only that they have gone on a couple of dates, maybe had romantic dinners and such. Nothing too serious. After that incident, the X-Men find out they all survived the collapse of Magneto’s headquarters (Ryhmä-X 1/1984), and there are no more scenes of Scott and Colleen together.

But really, that key from Colleen is a call to mating, and if the other X-Men have felt awkward enough to think about Scott and Colleen in the presence of Jean, the two of them must have been more than just friends! And just look at that scene (now back at Ryhmä-X 4/1985). Scott says: “I need to talk to you about a few things.” Who knows what he was going to talk about. Maybe about some tactical details or something, but Jean replies: “About Colleen Wing? No need to. I already know about it.” I bet this is when Scott almost wet himself – it’s never a good idea to anger Phoenix. Jean continues: “I would never read your thoughts, but the others thought about it every now and then -” Since there is that en-dash I suppose Scott interrupts her by saying: “Jean, Colleen is a friend, that’s all.” OH PUH-LEASE, SCOTT! You really couldn’t come up with anything better! I bet he sighed in relief when Jean said she hadn’t read his mind and then he just abruptly cut in, saying: “We were just friends.” I can hear it in my mind how he’s said it very quickly, trying to hide his guilt.

And two panels later he says just before they kiss: “I used to say I loved you without knowing what I meant buy it, but now I do.” Oh, I bet! So he’s admitting it used to be just words to him. Oh Scott, you little…

Scott explaining his relationships with style.
1) Scott: "I need to talk to you abotu few things." 2) Jean: "About Colleen Wing? No need to. I already know about it. I would never read your thoughts, but the others thought about it every now and then-" 3) Scott: "Jean, Colleen is a friend, that's all." 4) Last panel. Scott: "... I used to say I loved you without knowing what I meant by it, but now I do. ..." OH PUH-LEASE, SCOTT!"

Oh yeah, the plot!

So the X-Men return to the mansion and find Xavier! He’s returned! …But acting very strange. He’s being very harsh with the X-Men and gnawing their self esteem with constant remarks. For once I’m on Scott’s side when he has to endure Xavier’s rude behaviour.

We are also introduced to two new mutants: The first one is Katherine “Kitty” Pryde (later becomes Sprite and even later Shadowcat). Her parents are getting a divorce and she has developed splitting headaches – and an ability to slide through solid objects. The second is Dazzler, a disco queen with an ability to make light out of sound vibrations, being her own lightshow. When the X-Men are divided into two teams and go to find the new mutants, they are both attacked by people in armour designed specifically for each X-man. They first group is defeated by the X-Men, but are accompanied by the White Queen of the Hellfire club, Emma Frost, and captured. Kitty gets a chance to warn the other group and sneaks into Emma Frost’s transport and finally to the Hellfire club where the captured X-Men are held.  And wait, isn’t that Xavier tied to the table. So if he’s here, then who..?

The story ends when the second team of the X-Men manage to escape their attackers with Dazzler and head to the other team’s rescue. But there is one delicous moment when Jean slips back to her imaginary world in the middle of the disco and ends up kissing Jason Wyngarde there in front of Scott. Haha, Scott! There’s some of your own medicine!

You call it cheating, I call it justice, Scott.
Haha, Scott!

The magazine also holds the final part of the adventure of the previous assemblage of the X-Men. Remember still? Xavier in coma. Need some part for that brain machine from Dr. Bruce Banner, but he has turned into the Hulk. Well, let’s cut the story short. They fight Hulk some more, find Banner’s lab, retrieve the missing object and wake up Xavier. Job well done!

“It was quite a workload!”

I love reading the reader mail, but this magazine came with a true gem! Listen to this:

An amazing reader mail from Ryhmä-X 4/1985.
An amazing reader mail from Ryhmä-X 4/1985.


you must have read the adventure where Jean turns into Phoenix (you referred to it in Ryhmä-X 2/84). Would you please publish the story in Ryhmä-X. This is wished by… (27 signatures!)… You must be wondering where we managed to get so many signatures. At first we asked all our friends who like Ryhmä-X to sign the petition, if they agreed with it. That’s how we got 18 signatures, but that wasn’t enough. We began to go to different places where they sell magazines and waited until someone came and bought a Marvel magazine, at which point we told them our cause. I tell you, it was quite a workload! These signatures were collected from Lielahti – in Helsinki or Tampere it would have been much easier.

We doubt anybody would have anything against [publishing] this story and since you said you were making this magazine for its readers, then…

By the way… [The letter continues with few questions concerning other Marvel magazines.]

Best regards, Jari and Hannu

Aww! I mean, aww! These boys went all around Lielahti (never heard of the place) (Lielahti in Wikipedia: English, Finnish with more pictures) collecting signatures for their petition to get the birth story of Phoenix published. I’m so impressed! I’m not sure, but from the language and words they used I could imagine they were at elementary school age – under 13 years, that is. I wonder what came of them when they grew up? Do they have an active role fighting for some other injustice, collecting names for petitions?

Fan drawing from Ryhmä-X 4/1985
The first published fan drawing in Ryhmä-X, published in 4/1985. Signed, "X".

In my youth I went around collecting names for a petition to keep Pihlajasaari dog friendly. I must have been 7 or 8 years old. Unfortunately my petition didn’t achieve its goal. They made the island a nudist beach, dogs not allowed to enter. But maybe I have had it in me always, because later in life I became an activist for Amnesty International and I have been, and still am, an active part of student politics in my university.

And if you wondered, the boys did get what they wanted. Mail-Man promised them he’d get the birth story of Phoenix onto a future publishing list. He couldn’t say for sure when it would come out, but soonish. Yay for you, Jari and Hannu!