("A lot about bees, for some reason.")
I have absolutely no idea what that title means. Not a clue. Is it a reference to Edinburgh? Doesn't seem likely. Mind you, considering how shitty the Scottish geography was last time round, I wouldn't rule out the possibility that Claremont thinks Auld Reekie is plagued by big cats.
At least it looks a bit more like Edinburgh this time. The panel featuring Princes Street Garden and the castle actually look pretty much perfect. I hope the X-Men and Proteus weren't battling on the Royal Mile. There's some good pubs there, and Camera Obscura.
Wherever the battle is taking place, though, it doesn't go well for the X-Men. By this point Proteus is strong enough to do pretty much whatever the hell he feels like, and apparently that involves an awful lot of trapping X-Men inside things, and turning shop-fronts into bees. I was particularly impressed by him opening a chasm beneath Banshee, slamming it shut once he's fallen in, and then turning the ground transparent so everyone can watch him suffocate. Rule number one about Proteus: even when you're about to burn out your host body, there's always time for dickishness.
Which isn't to say Proteus doesn't have a long-term plan. Item one on the agenda ("kill my father") is now complete, but item two ("enslave my mother forever") can't possibly be ticked off until those pesky X-Men are smothered in bees or encased in amber. And whilst Proteus can take someone off the board just by looking at them, the X-Men have an irritating habit of saving each other whilst he isn't looking.
(Some free advice, Proteus. Stop trying to kill X-Men by suffocating them and/or stinging them to death. These are time-consuming methods of murder. Just blow them up or rip off their heads or turn them into lampreys, would you? What is it about you and asphyxiation, anyway? Not to go all amateur psychoanalyst, or anything, but watching you hug your mother to you whilst you try to smother your enemies rather makes it look like there's some issues to resolve. Mind you, I guess you've killed your father; we all know what comes next...)
Eventually, Proteus' game of Whack-A-Mutant leaves him drained of power (particularly once Phoenix has a go at knitting his synapses into a sweater), and he flees to the battlements of Edinburgh Castle. Big mistake! This has been Cyclops' plan all along! It's a better one than usual, actually, if a tad Blackadder Goes Forth - keep throwing X-Men at Proteus until he runs out of power, then kill him dead (though Cyclops still gets pissy whenever anyone starts shooting guns; I guess he knows just what the CCA will and won't accept). Colossus gets to do the deed, of course, being made entirely of the one substance (well, "metal" can mean any number of substances, but you get my meaning) Proteus can't handle. The normally gentle and scrupulous Peter starts just by tearing Proteus from what's left of his host body, but Proteus responds by forcing Colossus to relive the death of his brother, and that proves to be his last ever mistake.
(More free advice to Proteus: do not deliberately enrage the one person who can easily kill you!)
After Peter has pulled his steel fists from the smoking psionic remnants of Moira's only child, he generously offers to embrace her until she feels better (maybe you should at least watch your hands first, eh, comrade?) Banshee quickly shows up to take over hugging duties (and try to not look too pleased that Moira's husband is now not so much estranged as a decomposing ruin), and the X-Men can relax. For now, they've won a hard-fought victory, and will be going home not only without casualties, but with more people alive than they originally thought.
Of course, none of them can guess the true horror that awaits them in the coming weeks. Worse than Proteus, worse than the Sentinels, worse even than Magneto. Next issue we face the greatest monstrosity known to man: teenage angst.
This issue follows on directly from the last one, and plays out in real time.
Thursday 23rd of September, 1982.
1 Marvel year = 3.62 standard years.
(Storm is 35 years old.)
|"I do not want to hurt these bees, either..."|
"M-Mike -- The wind, the bees are blowing away!"
"It -- it's a miracle!"
Look, I get you're relieved to be free of apoidean interference, but get a grip. A wind blowing bees away is not a miracle. Those bees being made out of brick and glass, that's a miracle. Just, you know, a bleedin' terrible one.
(Best sketch ever: Jesus feeds the five thousand - WITH BEES!)