The X-Men were almost defeated by a castle of goblins
A castle filled with goblins once held the entire X-Men team hostage in what was easily one of their strangest missions.
The X-Men have encountered some of the most bizarre creatures imaginable, including extra-dimensional horrors, wild aliens, and even giant demon bears. But in Strange X-Men # 103 by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum and Sam Grainger, the X-Men have met creatures straight out of fantasy and folklore: elves!
What was supposed to be a relaxing vacation at Cassidy Keep in Ireland for the X-Men has turned into a nightmare thanks to the combined efforts of Black Tom Cassidy and the Juggernaut. Black Tom Cassidy, the evil cousin of X-Man Banshee, attacked the castle where he and the X-Men were staying. Defeated, the majority of the X-Men have been locked in Black Tom’s Torture Dungeon.
Nightcrawler, however, was saved from imprisonment by the resident elves who lived in Banshee Castle. The elves transported Nightcrawler to safety and helped revive him. Nightcrawler, very naturally, was incredulous and confused when he laid eyes on the fantastic creatures. Once both sides realized that neither was a threat to the other, efforts were immediately put into saving the rest of the team.
As Black Tom and Juggernaut rejoiced over their victory over the X-Men, Nightcrawler appeared in perfect disguise as Professor X. Black Tom and Juggernaut were fooled by Nightcrawler’s deception, but only for a moment. But a moment was all that was needed as Juggernaut accidentally drilled a hole in the dungeon wall, giving Storm a clear view of the sky. Summoning her mutant powers, Storm created tumultuous winds powerful enough to free herself and the rest of her mutant allies.
While Storm, Colossus, and Banshee engaged Black Tom and Juggernaut, the goblins rescued Nightcrawler from the rubble of the destroyed dungeon. Sadly, Wolverine was left out of the fray as Colossus had thrown him at the castle for disrespecting Storm. As he cursed Colossus for his wrong goal, the goblins approached him and offered to guide him to the other side of the castle. Much like Nightcrawler, Wolverine was completely surprised to see the magical creatures rushing past him. It wasn’t until one of them called him “Mr. Logan” that he listened to them and followed them. Interestingly enough, this was the very first time Wolverine was called “Logan” in the comics.
The problem ends when Banshee is released from his silent gag allowing him to use his sonorous screams to hamper Juggernaut. Banshee and Black Tom grab the swords nearby and clash in the classic swashbuckling fashion Banshee defeats Black Tom by throwing him over the edge of the castle into the sea below. Juggernaut leaps after him, terrified of losing his only friend in the world. With their enemies gone, Storm clears the sky above the castle and allows peace and calm to return. As for the elves, however, no trace has ever been seen of them.
Strange X-Men # 103 could have been a classic but slightly generic story with the team of heroes captured by the villains. Would they have escaped without the help of the elves? In all likelihood, they would have, but the fact that their help came from a bunch of elves gives the problem an undeniable sense of fun and imagination that sets it apart from similar stories. While they’re not quite the sort of legacy characters who should see a revival, the Cassidy Keep elves were a silly and unique addition to the X-Men myth. Still, it would be interesting to see what they’ve been up to after all these years.
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