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X-Treme X-Men (2nd series) #10
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When the X-Men were turned into toddlers by Mojo, the New Mutants took up the role of the X-Men, dressing up with their intended graduation costumes. [Uncanny X-Men Annual #10]
|Author : Peter Luzifer||Last Modified : Oct 11, 2003|| |
Introduction / Description
The term Siege Perilous is taken from stories of Arthurian Romance, where it referred to a special seat at King Arthur’s Round Table. This seat was made by Merlin and it was reserved for the one knight destined to achieve the quest of the Holy Grail. To anyone else, the Siege Perilous was fatal. When Sir Galahad arrived at Camelot his name appeared on the seat, and indeed he later accomplished the mission and claimed his seat at the Round Table.
In Marvel Comics, the Siege Perilous has been used to name two different phenomena, but strangely both times by Merlin and his daughter Roma. The first incident can be found in Captain Britain (1st series) #1-2. When Brian Braddock was on the run from a group of villains who had broken into the Darkmoor power plant, he had a motorcycle accident and drove off a cliff. Barely alive after the near fatal fall, he found himself face to face with the apparitions of Merlin and Roma, who welcomed him to the Siege Perilous, a circle of stones resembling Stonehenge, albeit smaller. Brian was asked to choose one of two magical items resting on the stones – the Sword of Might or the Amulet of Right. His choice being the right one, he was considered to take on the mantle of Captain Britain, and the rest is history.
The other Siege Perilous of the Marvel Universe is a magical gem that can enlarge to a giant portal. Everyone who steps through will be judged by the highest of powers, the good and ill of their lives will be weighed in the cosmic balance and they are reborn into a new life without remembering the old one.
It is this item that this article is about. Roma gave the crystal to the X-Men during a time when Psylocke, Captain Britain’s twin sister, was among their line-up. However, wether there really is any connection between the gem and the circle of power is unknown.
Shortly after the X-Men’s apparent death in Dallas, Roma resurrected them and gave then a new lease of life. The team decided to use their new "dead" status to operate underground; as now they could attack many of their former villains without them suspecting it. After defeating the Reavers and claiming their base in the Australian outback as their new home, the X-Men were presented with a problem though – they couldn’t turn over the defeated villains to the authorities without revealing themselves. That's when Roma appeared and presented them the Siege Perilous.
She explained to them how the gem worked, and the group of ca. 20 unnamed Reavers was sent through to have their lives judged and be reborn with a chance to redeem themselves. Parting ways with the mutants, Roma left the Siege in their care, though only after reminding them that it was for the X-Men to use as well should they ever tire and get fed up with leading a superhero life. [Uncanny X-Men #227, 229]
Over the following weeks, the X-Men battled brood-infected mutants, Genoshan Magistrates and Limbo demons, though none of these fights requiring the use of the crystal. However somewhat bored in the isolation of the Australian outback, Dazzler curiously used her light powers to illuminate the gem and peered inside. She saw various images of herself : singer, lawyer, housewife, superhero and baglady, but all of a sudden, each version was killed. The corpses united into a single image telling Alison that everyone had to die sooner or later. The incident left her completely drained and somewhat scared of what the future had in store for her. [Uncanny X-Men #246]
On the same day, the X-Men had to battle a merged Nimrod / Mastermold and weren't doing too well. The future sensory systems were slowly able to countermeasure the X-Men's technical "invisibility" and in the end only Rogue and Dazzler were left standing and able to fight. Alison remembered the crystal gem inside her pocket and threw it behind the giant robot. The portal enlarged and tried to suck the Sentinel in, but it anchored itself to the ground with some tentacles. Rogue tried to push it through the gate, but instead the robot captured her. Knowing that there was no other solution Rogue ordered Dazzler to blast both of them into the Siege Perilous. Alison did as told and after Rogue and Nimrod / Mastermold entered the portal it shrank down to gem size again. [Uncanny X-Men #247]
Later on, after some X-Men had left due to personal reasons, the team only consisted of Havok, Dazzler, Colossus and Psylocke. In the Savage Land, they fought Zaladane and the Savage Land Mutates when Betsy suddenly received a precognitive vision. She saw the other X-Men killed by the Reavers and herself turned into one of the cyborgs. Next she saw Gateway chained and gagged and unable to help; he only could point towards the Siege Perilous. Betsy deduced that the vision was a warning, the X-Men would get killed by the Reavers upon their return to Australia. [Uncanny X-Men #250]
After the mission in the Savage Land ended with the rescue of Lorna Dane from Zaladane's citadel, Betsy thought about warning the others about her vision. Just as she was about to suggest staying in the Savage Land instead of returning home, Gateway teleported them back to the Australian base.
Once there, Betsy could already telepathically sense the approaching Reavers. The team was in no shape to fight and so she suggested using the crystal as an escape route. After a short discussion Dazzler and Colossus stepped through willingly.
Havok, on the other hand, needed a little telepathic push. Running out of time Psylocke "convinced" Alex to walk through. Clearly her butterfly power signature was seen and she finished Havok's sentences before he could voice any more concerns.
Psylocke herself entered last, just as the Reavers arrived. Pierce was mad to have been betrayed of his revenge and crushed the shrinking crystal. [Uncanny X-Men #251]
That's the last time that the Siege Perilous appeared; however it is doubtful that the magical item could really have been destroyed by mere physical means.
In and Out
Usually the people that enter come out naked and amnesiac. It seems as if everyone emerges at a place where he/she has been before.
Ca. 20 unnamed Reavers
Whatever became of them is unknown.
Betsy Braddock She was found washed up on the shore of a small island in the south china sea which belonged to the Hand. The amnesiac woman was evidently a telepath, as she managed to answer in each interrogator’s native tongue. The Hand operatives contacted one of their leaders, Matsuo Tsurayaba, who recognized the X-man and knew exactly what to do with her. Soon afterwards, Betsy had an Asian body and was brainwashed into believing herself to be Lady Mandarin, the Hand's prime assassin. [Uncanny X-Men #255-256]
For a long time it was believed that Psylocke's body had been magically transformed, but years later it was revealed what really had transpired in the labs of the Hand. Matsuo’s lover Kwannon, the prime assassin of a rival organization, had been comatose ever since she and Matsuo had to battle each other, and Betsy provided the perfect chance to restore her. Spiral at the Bodyshoppe was contacted and she switched the minds; actually both women gained parts of each mind, soul and personality - though a bigger part of Betsy’s core ended up in the Asian body and more of Kwannon was given to the British one. [X-Men (2nd series) #31]
One of Lady Mandarin's first assignments was the assassination of Wolverine. However when she used her psychic knife on her opponent, Betsy gained access to Logan's memories. Facing the images of her former self caused Psylocke to snap out of the brainwashing. Together Logan, Betsy and Jubilee defeated the Hand and left. Considering her own fate, Psylocke felt very guilty for having sent the X-Men into the Siege Perilous and wondered what had happened to them. [Uncanny X-Men #257-258]
Jenny Ransome and Phillip Moreau had just been attacked in their loft in Soho, New York, as Piotr appeared in a dark corner. He helped them to battle the Magistrates and the thankful couple invited him to stay with them. Neither one did recognize him as Colossus since they only knew him in armored form. [Uncanny X-Men #259] Under the name Peter Nicholas, Colossus became a famous artist. Not before long he was discovered by X-Factor, Banshee and Forge who were searching for the missing X-Men, but since Piotr seemed happy and did not remember his time as an X-Man they left him alone. [Uncanny X-Men #264]
Month later however, Piotr was possessed by the Shadow King who used him to attack Xavier and Stevie Hunter. The Professor was forced to telepathically erase the Peter Nicholas identity in order to free Colossus from the Shadow King's influence. [Uncanny X-Men #279]
Dazzler was found on Malibu beach by Lila Cheney's bodyguard Guido. He took her into Lila's villa, although Ms. Cheney was not present. Alison had once played in Lila's band and through the various computer files Dazzler learned about her former life as songstress and reluctant superhero, even though she could not remember it. Alison went clubbing and was recognized by a guy who recently found the only remaining copy of the yet unreleased movie that Dazzler took part on. With Dazzler's miraculous return the movie could be promoted very easily and Alison Blaire again became a media celebrity, yet it also drew some unwanted attention. [Uncanny X-Men #259]
Back when the movie had originally been produced, Eric Beale, who also was responsible for publicly outing Ms. Blaire as a mutant, blackmailed Alison; he wanted to own her in exchange for the movie's release. Of course she turned him down and burned the movie costing Beale a fortune. [Dazzler: The Movie]
In the meantime Beale developed a fixation on Dazzler and blamed her for everything that went wrong in his life. Hearing of her return he unsuccessfully tried to kill her a few times and finally kidnapped her on the evening of her movie premiere. She awoke tied up in Beale's place, which actually was a shrine full of Dazzler pictures, and Beale tried to kill her once more, yet Alison used her light powers to soothe the man and make him see the beauty of life. The incident showed Dazzler that there are more important things than being a star. [Uncanny X-Men #260-261]
Weeks later Longshot contacted Lila and Dazzler for help in his rebellion on Mojoworld. Even though she could not remember their time together among the X-Men, Alison felt she could trust and love this man. Fighting side by side in the rebellion most of her memories returned over time. [X-Men (2nd series) #6, 10]
The unique situation of having two personalities and sets of memories (Rogue and the absorbed Carol Danvers / Ms. Marvel identity) in one body confused the Siege Perilous. After quite a while, Rogue emerged in her room in the Australian outback with her memory completely intact. At first she thought that the whole explanation of cosmic balance and second chances was a hoax, but then she discovered that she no longer had Carol's abilities and memories. She was now ground-bound and vulnerable but suddenly she was attacked by Ms. Marvel. The Siege Perilous had attempted to separate them and provided each woman with a body, yet there wasn't enough lifeforce to sustain both of them. Rogue tried to escape through Gateway's portals to the Savage land, but Ms. Marvel followed and continued to fight.
Whoever had the upper hand of the battle was healthy, while the other was looking drained and aging. Rogue was about to give up, since she didn't want to "kill" Ms. Marvel for a second time, when Magneto stepped in. He rendered both unconscious and when Rogue woke up, Magneto had used machinery to drain / kill Carol's body and restore Rogue to full power. [Uncanny X-Men #269]
The brief alliance, or actually a beginning relationship, between Magneto and Rogue ended after she witnessed him murdering Zaladane in cold blood. Rogue traveled to Muir Island, where she rejoined the X-Men during the Muir Island Saga. [Uncanny X-Men #275, 278]
The X-Men finally learned of Havok's fate during the X-Tinction Agenda. Alex had been placed on Genosha where the amnesiac mutant was easily manipulated into joining the Magistrates. When the Genoshan forces attacked Xavier's school, Storm was the first to recognize his familiar power signature. [Uncanny X-Men #270] Later when the X-teams attempted to rescue some of their own, Havok had to battle his brother Scott, who was able to unlock Alex's memories by reminding him of certain incidents from their childhood. Havok then remembered his past as a member of the X-Men, but played the Magistrate role for a while longer waiting for the right opportunity to help his friends against Cameron Hodge. After the villain was defeated, Alex opted to remain on Genosha to oversee that the country would be restructured with equal rights for both humans and mutates. [X-Factor #61-62]
Months later, after X-Factor, aka the five original X-Men, had rejoined Xavier's school, the US government sought to replace their mutant team Freedom Force with a new team. The name X-Factor was chosen since this time the group should not be made up of convicted criminals. Professor Xavier and Valerie Cooper traveled to Genosha and asked Havok to lead this new team and he accepted the offer. [X-Factor #71]
As it had been already suspected by many fans during the Zero Tolerance crossover, Bastion was nobody else than a transformed Nimrod / Mastermold. After being judged by the higher forces, the merged robot Nimrod / Mastermold was reborn as a man of flesh and blood. With no memories of his former existence as a mutant hunting Sentinel, he was taken in by a caring woman named Rose Gilberti. Over time news reports about the "mutant menace" activated some buried memories in his mind, and Bastion left Rose to join anti-mutant people like Graydon Creed and Senator Brickman. Without really knowing how he was able to do it, Bastion provided the blueprints for a new breed of Sentinels, the so called Prime Sentinels, and continued to build his Operation Zero Tolerance organization. [Cable & Machine-Man Annual '98, Machine-Man & Bastion Annual '98]
Questions, Theories and Misunderstandings
On many message boards people have questions regarding the topic and often facts seem to be mixed up or entirely false. Listed below are the most popular misunderstandings with short explanations why they do not work.
1) The X-Men were resurrected in Dallas by walking through the Siege Perilous.
Wrong. The resurrection happened in Uncanny X-Men #227, but the crystal was only introduced in #229. What might have added to the confusion here is that in #227, the X-Men sacrificed their lives for Forge to use their essences in a magical spell to seal a gate to the Adversary's dimension. Later Roma in her Starlight citadel pulls the X-Men's essences out of that gate. However this "gate" is something else than the Siege Perilous.
2) The X-Men gained the "technical invisibility" by walking through the Siege Perilous.
Wrong. The invisibility is mentioned for the first time in Uncanny X-Men #229. As said above, at this time none of the X-Men had walked through the crystal gem yet. Roma explained that the invisibility was a side-effect from her resurrection, as the mutants‘ lifelines had been broken they now in a sense stood apart from life. Her exact words to describe the technical invisibility were: "You cannot be detected by any agency other than yourselves -- living or mechanical, magickal or scientific -- neither being nor power, nor enchantment. You may be seen by the naked eye -- and by the devices of this place, your new home -- but that is all." This applied to the X-Men from the Australian era, namely Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Rogue, Psylocke, Longshot, Dazzler, Havok and their ally Madelyne Pryor.
3) Storm emerged from the Siege Perilous transformed into a child.
Wrong. Nanny and the Orphan Maker were responsible for Storm's condition. The confusion was caused by the fact that the kid Storm was naked and without memory in her first appearance and it was only revealed fourteen issues later what actually had happened to Ororo.
In Uncanny X-Men #248 the remaining team (Longshot and Wolverine had left to deal with personal problems) was attacked by Nanny and the Orphan Maker. Storm tried to follow their aircraft but was captured by some metal tentacles as Havok used his plasma beams to blast the ship out of the skies. At the crashsite, the team found Storm's scorched dead body. Much to the reader's surprise the child Ororo debuted a few issues later in Uncanny X-Men #253. She appeared in Cairo, Illinois during a rainstorm.
Uncanny X-Men #267 finally revealed that off-panel Storm had already been pulled into Nanny's ship where a life-model decoy of her was created. When Havok blasted the aircraft, Nanny escaped with her captive in an second ship, while the X-Men found the LMD at the crash site, believing their teammate dead. Nanny tried to bound Storm to herself by reducing her to childhood, but Ororo's will was too strong and she escaped during the process although without the memories of her adult life.
Storm undergoing a fake mutant process in Genosha during the X-Tinction Agenda restored her back to adulthood.
4) The X-Men lost the "technical invisibility" by walking through the Siege Perilous.
Wrong again. Only five of the eight people in question (Madelyne died during Inferno) ever walked through the portal. So by all means Storm, Longshot and Wolverine should still be "invisible", and even after the de-aging Ororo could not be recorded by technical devices. Additionally the other five have all been reported to still be invisible at one time or the other after emerging from the crystal.
5) So, Roma gave the X-Men three different, independent gifts: Resurrection, Technical Invisibility, Siege Perilous ?
Yes, sort of. Actually the invisibility was first named a side-effect of the resurrection. However the invisibility is no longer there, yet the eight X-Men are still alive, so these two also don't seem to depend on each other.
6) So what became of the invisibility ? When and how did it end ?
This is a dangling plotline left open when Claremont left the book in 1991. Since then it has been forgotten about. The most logical theory up to date is related to Excalibur's lighthouse. As revealed in Excalibur #49 the lighthouse was a nexus place simultaneously existing on every Earth through the multiverse. In Excalibur #50 Meggan imploded the lighthouse, and by doing this damaged the magical matrix of Otherworld where Roma’s palace is situated. As a result of this, long-term-spells like the X-Men’s invisibility could have dissipated.
However the X-Men are first seen on video screens again in X-Men (2nd series) #1, which was released a few months prior to the Excalibur arc in question. So for this theory to work, Excalibur #50 needs to take place before X-Men (2nd series) #1. Considering that Excalibur #46-50 is a tight storyline all happening in a single day and there was a time gap of a few months between Uncanny X-Men #280 and X-Men (2nd series) #1 during which the mansion was rebuilt and Storm's hair grew back, this certainly could be the case.
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