By Jason Juniewicz
wants the Morlocks
dead. So he sends in the baddest, most cold-blooded group of mutants ever assembled--The Marauders
--to execute the biggest outright slaughter of mutants in the history of the Marvel Universe, an event that could only be known as the Mutant Massacre.
The event kicks off in UNCANNY X-MEN #210 with the young Morlock Tommy
being attacked and killed after she is followed back to the Morlock tunnels. The slaughter begins as the Marauders kills every Morlock they lay their eyes on. A lone Morlock manages to make it out alive and contacts the X-Men
, who decide they have to go down into the Morlock tunnels and help any way they can.
It's a grisly scene as the X-Men witness carnage that horrifies them beyond belief, a plethora of dead Morlocks lying as far as the eye can see. After a lengthy and terrifying search they finally encounter the Marauders and a hellacious battle ensues that leads to Nightcrawler
ending up in a coma and Shadowcat
in a seemingly permanent state of phase.
But perhaps the most shocking event to take place during the battle is when Colossus
kills Riptide, the mutant responsible for Nightcrawler's injuries, but not without enduring serious damage to his own armored form.
Over in X-FACTOR #9, the first class of X-Men enter the carnage when they follow their young ward Artie
into the Morlock tunnels and have their first run-in with the Marauders. The battle ends up leaving Beast
injured, but X-Factor
manages to stave off the Marauder's first attack. The ever heroic Angel
opts to stay behind and distract the remaining Marauders while Iceman
and Marvel Girl
escape with their injured teammates. Angel then manages to find Artie, but his joy is short-lived as he gets mangled by the Marauders Blockbuster
and Harpoon while helping Artie escape.
Back to the X-Men's Russian bruiser, Colossus finds himself unable to revert to his human form due to the injuries he received from Whirlwind, and eventually collapses. The X-Men turn to their headmaster at the time, who just happens to also be the Master of Magnetism, Magneto
, who succeeds in repairing Colossus' wounds. The armored Russin's joy is short lived however, as he's horrified to find he is a paraplegic.
is doing what he does best as he searches the tunnels for a member of the Marauders to take prisoner and bring back to interrogate. He manages to find one, but it just happens to be his old sparring partner, the mutant named Sabretooth
. While Wolverine would love to mix it up with his age-old enemy until the end of time, Sabretooth is holding a Morlock healer hostage, who's somehow still alive. Wolverine tricks his old enemy into fighting just long enough for Wolvie to bring the house down on him…literally. Wolvie manages to collapse part of the Morlock tunnels on his old foe, leaving an angry Sabretooth behind. He gets the healer back to the mansion just in time for an explosion to rip through the Morlock tunnels.
Before the cause of the explosion is revealed, the mighty Avenger Thor
enters the fray when he hears screaming coming from under the city. The Norse God of Thunder heads down to investigate, and finds Blockbuster and Harpoon with a screaming Angel viciously pinned to a wall by two of Harpoon's chosen weapons. He makes short work of them and brings the battered and broken Warren Worthington back to the surface. Along the way, he also finds Artie who has happened on the young Morlock Leech
and an injured Caliban
After being taunted by Sabretooth, Blockbuster comes out of nowhere to attack the Thunder God, and actually manages to break his arm. Angel regains consciousness and with his last bit of strength, saves Thor from Blockbuster's sneak attack. Back on his feet, the Asgardian manages to put Blockbuster down for the count with a blow from mighty Mjolnir. Continuing on, Thor meets up with the beaten and exhausted Cyclops and Marvel Girl who take Angel up to the surface with them and part ways with the Thunder God.
X-Factor thinks they may be out of the woods just as Cyclops feels a burst of heat coming right for them. They barely escape an explosion that sears the Morlock tunnels clean of everything in its way. After surveying the death and destruction, Thor is visited by Hela
, who tells him of a curse she has placed upon him that does not allow him to heal his injuries or die in hopes that the Thunder God will suffer to the point he envies the dead. Thor vents his anger and frustration with a mighty blow from his hammer that engulfs the entirety of the Morlock tunnels in an explosion of tremendous energy, destroying everything.
But it's not over yet. Psylocke
senses an intruder just as Rogue
gets a nasty surprise in the form of a sneak attack by a hopping mad Sabretooth. Making his way into the X-Mansion and attacking Psylocke, Sabretooth destroys most of Cerebro
in the process. Psylocke manages to hold her own against the vicious Marauder, but eventually Sabretooth gets the upper claw. Just as 'Tooth's about to finish her off, Wolverine shows up to spoil his fun. The two bitter enemies engage in what has come to be one of their most brutal battles in the long history of their rivalry. After a knock-down-drag-out battle royale, Wolverine reveals to Sabretooth that he's been suckered. While Wolverine kept Sabretooth busy, Psylocke removed all she could from his mind about the Marauders. Just as the X-Men show up to capture Sabretooth, he jumps off a cliff and disappears.
The Mutant Massacre was one of the most brutal and life-altering of all of the events in the lives of the X-Men. Possibly the deepest wound was felt when Angel had his wings amputated. This tragic turn of events led him right into the arms of Apocalypse
, who later transformed Angel into Archangel--the Horseman known as Death.
Wonder what happened to Sabretooth? Well check out DAREDEVIL #238 when the Man Without Fear squares off against Victor Creed right after his daring escape from the X-Men.
Note: It wasn't until CABLE #28 that Mister Sinister revealed his reasons for wanting the Morlocks dead, and later in UNCANNY X-MEN #350 it was explained that it was Gambit
who originally assembled the Marauders and then led them down to the Morlock tunnels. This shocking revelation links right into the events of X-MEN #200 when the Marauders make their presence known once again.
X-MEN writer Mike Carey has a few words to say about "Mutant Massacre" and how it figured into the events shown in X-MEN #200, where the Marauders made their shocking return. "Hard to say," says Carey on where this legendary crossover fits in the pantheon of X-Men events. "Nobody's ever done the overture better, that's for sure. Those opening episodes, when we didn't know who the Marauders were and what their agenda was, were truly terrifying and spectacularly tense.
"I think in some ways, though, those were early days for inter-book crossovers, and the pacing of the later episodes suffered from a sudden deceleration of pace as all the different teams remained mired in the Morlock tunnels for a long time, meeting each other in various combinations. Then it got really good again when Malice possessed Lorna and the scale of Sinister's plans became apparent. All in all, I'd say...best moments are top of the heap; 'Mutant Massacre' as a whole is still in my top three, but probably ousted from the actual top spot."
In terms of favorite moments in "Mutant Massacre," Carey responds by naming a couple of events that have become fan favorites over the years. "Favorite moment--maybe Colossus killing Riptide," says Carey. "Maybe Wolverine fighting Sabretooth (back when that was still a new sight) and beating him to a standstill--purely as a diversion while [Sabretooth] gets his mind picked by Psylocke. Very cool moment, particularly because of how important that beat was for Betsy herself."
By now you know that the nefarious mind behind the Mutant Massacre as none other than Mister Sinister. Carey has some hints as to what role the most sinister of X-villains will play in the upcoming months. "Well I wouldn't want to give anything away," teases Carey. "So far he's refusing to be a part of Hank's quest at all, but it's clear that he's got his own plans afoot. Sinister's accumulated database of mutant-related knowledge is definitely a factor in 'Endangered Species.' For Sinister himself...look to the current storyline in Adjectiveless X-Men for more clues on that one."
Faithful readers of X-MEN have also seen that Gambit has returned to the Marauders to fight alongside them. Carey offers some hints as to what we can expect from his return as well as how the Mutant Massacre fits into what is happening in X-MEN right now. "For long-term readers, there's that added poignancy in seeing Gambit fighting alongside the Marauders again, in present time, because we know what happened the last time he threw in his lot with Sinister and the price he paid for dancing with the devil," explains Carey. "In a lot of ways, with this story we're going right back to Mutant Massacre--to that vibe and that conception of the characters, and passing over a lot of stuff that's happened since. There are a lot of direct parallels, and in some ways a lot of pay-offs from things that happened in that story. And the backstory, in terms of character motivations and the way some people play their hand, is very relevant. We felt it was a really rich vein to tap into, if you'll pardon that slightly disturbing metaphor."
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