Story by Chris Claremont, Ann Nocenti, Michelle Wrightson, Jim Starlin & Jim Shooter
Creative Teams :
Pages / Writer / Penciler / Inker / Letterer / Colorist
1 – 2 Stan Lee / John Romita Jr. / Al Gordon / Tom Orzechowski / Daina Graziunas
3 – 4 Stan Lee / John Buscema / Klaus Janson / Tom Orzechowski / Marie Severin
5 Ed Bryant / Brent Anderson / Joe Sinnott / Phil Felix / Bob Sharen
6 – 8 Louise Simonson / John Byrne / Terry Austin / Mike Higgins / Petra Scotese
9 Ed Bryant / Brent Anderson / Dan Green / Phil Felix / Bob Sharen
10 – 12 Stephen King / Berni Wrightson / Jeff Jones / Tom Orzechowski / Christie Scheele
13 – 14 Bill Mantlo / Charlie Vess / Jay Muth / Janice Chang / Christie Scheele
15 Ed Bryant / Brent Anderson / Tom Palmer / Phil Felix / Bob Sharen
16 – 18 Alan Moore / Richard Corben / Richard Corben / Jim Novak / Michelle Wrightson
19 – 21 Ann Nocenti / Mike Kaluta / Al Milgrom / Lois Buhalis / Glynis Oliver
22 – 24 Harlan Ellison / Frank Miller / Bill Sienkiewicz / John Workman / Christie Scheele
25 – 26 Chris Claremont / Brian Bolland / Craig Russell / Lois Buhalis / Glynis Oliver
27 – 28 Jo Duffy / John Bolton / John Bolton / Ron Zalme / John Bolton
29 – 30 Mike Baron / Steve Rude / Carl Potts / Diana Alberis / Marie Severin
31 – 32 Denny O’Neil / Bret Blevins / Al Williamson / Janice Chang / Daina Graziunas
33 – 35 George RR Martin / Herb Trimpe / Sal Buscema / John Costanza / Glynis Oliver
36 – 37 Bruce Jones / Gray Morrow / Gray Morrow / Joe Rosen / Ann Nocenti
38 – 39 Steve Englehart / Paul Gulacy / Bob Layton / Ron Zalme / George Roussos
40 – 41 Jim Shooter / Alan Weiss / Joe Rubinstein / John Morelli / Christie Scheele
42 – 44 Mike Grell / Jackson Guice / Steve Leialoha / Rick Parker / George Roussos
45 – 48 Archie Goodwin / Howard Chaykin / Walt Simonson / Ken Bruzenak / Leslie Zahler
Cover by Art Adams
Cover Dated 1985
This comic could clearly be part of any number of event months, but Frank Miller got us here first.
All proceeds from this comic book are being donated to famine relief and recovery in Africa. I bought this as a back issue, so I am not sure if when I bought it, that was still the case.
The X-Men fight Hunger, both the concept and embodiment.
The best way to get 21 different creative teams to do a comic is to break it up into segments and that is exactly what they do here.
Stan Lee opens the comic with Rachel screaming.
The X-Men come running towards her. The team at this moment is – Rachel, Magneto, Nightcrawler, Storm, Rogue, Colossus and Kitty. The X-Men, minus Kitty, rush outside to see that they are now in the desert. Off in the distance, is Kitty trying to save the post carrier.
Kurt tries to teleport to Kitty but is in extreme pain and has to go back. Wolverine runs over to Kitty but by the time he gets there, he is starving and withering away. So is Kitty. Then strangely, Wolverine decides to kill the post carrier and once he does, the yard reverts back to normal.
I just like that Stan Lee got his one chance to write Kitty Pryde and made her a hero.
The team breaks out, Rogue and Rachel are looking for who could be behind this attack. The others are inside, taking care of Kitty.
After no one having any success, we get our first of many segments. Colossus is swimming and there is nothing else he can do, as he is the worst. Kurt and he have a very awkward conversation regarding the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz, that I don’t quite get. Then Colossus is put into a dream sequence where the rest of the X-Men have his power, but slicker. They don’t feel anything and they want him to be the same. He revels in it, then is shame face when the illusion stops.
Storm sees from the mansion, Colossus crying. She judges him to be weak as Kurt hugs him.
Kitty asks if anyone wants to join her for lunch. When she enters the kitchen, we begin the Stephen King written scene. Oh man, the horror legend sure does put Kitty through her paces, having her wither to the bone and beyond. She feels intense hunger as she deteriorates more and more. She is feeling all of this as each panel is like a second in time as she crumbles to the ground. The cloak figure taunts her.
This is the scene that we learn who the villain is, Hunger.
Kurt walks in and we are now down, two X-Men. Then this transitions to Kurt’s nightmare which relates to his religious belief and JC is mentioned.
Kitty is able to get it together enough to hug Kurt, taking him out of his illusion.
The rest of the X-Men are keeping busy, looking for any additional signs of threats.
The Alan Moore written section is all about Magneto. In his illusion, he finally has won the war – mutants are now the dominate species on the planet. The downside is that the planet is barren now. People are starving all across the planet.
The Rachel segment is about her reaching out telepathically for any trace of Hunger. The result is that she is overloaded with the sensation and in her dreamscape, becomes a Hound again. This is still early in her history, so her reference to being a hound is the easy to go reference. There is a moment when the Dark Phoenix shows up and she is proud of Rachel’s Hound days – which is pretty messed up.
Next, are these three pages Harlan Ellison wrote, Frank Miller drew, Bill Sienkiewicz inked, John Workman lettered and Christie Scheele colored. Of course, Frank Miller got the Wolverine section.
Pretty awesome sequence with Logan, the man having to fight with Wolverine, the animal. He comes out the better for it.
The Storm sequence is pretty interesting. It seems to be an excuse to show Storm in various states. The first one is being an overweight with kids. Which is cool to see but the other images are of her in sexy outfits. This is during the time when she doesn’t have her powers. The other outfits are cheerleader, a fairy and a seductress. There is also a grandmother type version too.
Storm snaps out of her illusion and is ready for a fight. She gathers the X-Men and they get on a plane to Africa. There is this sad moment, on the plane, when Rogue realizes that she hasn’t had an encounter yet and wonders why.
Once they get to Africa, they are shocked by how many of them are starving. Just then, a plane comes in and we start the George RR Martin segment.
This new plane is fully loaded with food. The Africans start walking towards it, but there are too many and some are being forced into the direction of the propellers. Good thing the X-Men are there to start saving people. Once they save everyone who is in danger, they assist in dealing out all of the food.
This is the first of the references to how grave the famine situation is in Ethiopia, Africa and how the X-Men feel powerless to do anything. But they are not powerless, they can volunteer their time (and money) toward the relief efforts.
Surprised Storm never makes a reference to being back home or how this isn’t how she left her great continent.
Rogue gets her second sad moment when a young boy walks up to her. She offers him some food and he touches her face. Instead of her absorbing his lifeforce, he dies from the effort of just walking over to her.
This launches Rogue into her segment of the title. She goes to her fellow X-Men, and either kisses or touches them, absorbing her powers (they don’t go into why she kisses some and touches others) and once she has all of their powers, she heads out to where she feels Hunger is at his strongest. She doesn’t power with Storm, as she doesn’t have any powers. Thus, Storm is the only person who can later assist Rogue.
Rogue finds the temple that Hunger has been using as a base. Hunger grabs her and she tries to absorb his abilities and instead, the process is reversed and Hunger now as a human host.
Storm comes in, demanding that Hunger let go of Rogue. It refuses. We learn that it feds off of despair, which being hungry and deaths from starvation are a pretty good source of despair.
Storm decides to delay Hunger until Rogue’s absorbed powers fade away. Pretty cool how the story reveals which powers are gone as if you see the X-Man, then that means that power is gone now. The first is Kurt, as he teleports Storm away from Hunger.
Wolverine is next to fight Hunger Rogue. Next is Colossus, followed by Kitty. Hunger knows that they won’t really hurt him as if they do, they will be hurting their friend.
Rachel is able to free Rogue’s mind of Hunger, so now they saved her but have the disembodied Hunger to deal with again.
Kurt is the first to realize that their victory is barely that. Magneto tells him that they have to take the safety of the team to be the true victory.
Storm reveals Hunger’s origins, that it may have been the first primal mutant. Rachel states that it will live forever as there will always be despair. Which now that I’ve typed despair so much, I’m reminded of the Marvel villain – D’Spayre, who has the same power absorption.
The X-men are left with nothing to do but to keep volunteering in Africa, as long as they are there and to keep the plight of those starving in their minds and hearts.
Rogue is able to fed a young boy, and he is able to take the food, so the issue ends on an up beat.
The inside back over is a letter from Jim Shooter, explaining how the project came together – in large part due to the efforts of Berni Wrightson.
This link from Jim Shooter’s website goes into even more background of the comic :
Some great insights there! Funny story about Stephen King and how he gave them 3,000 words for three pages. They did cram as much as they could.
If you want to know more about the 1983 – 1985 famine in Ethiopia, here is the Wikipedia page –