Uncovering ‘Stranger Things’ Inspiration, Comic Book Uncanny X-Men #134

Titled, Too Late, The Heroes! The Uncanny X-Men #134 opens with the X-Men surrounding an exhausted Cyclops, who makes it known that he’s just battled Jean on the astral plane and took a whipping for his troubles. Nightcrawler, Storm and Colossus among others. Knowing that Jean has joined the Hellfire Club, and knowing how powerful she truly is leaves the moral of this group entirely shattered. It’s a powerful intro that gives us the clear impression that things aren’t going to go well for the X-Men in Uncanny #134.

We immediately learn that the X-Men are trapped, kidnapped by Mastermind and have now had their powers negated by devices attached to each member of the team. Tough luck, right there. Knowing that Jean isn’t exactly aligned with the vision of the X-Men, her assistance is obviously nixed.

What’s interesting about this scenario is that it, in a way, mirrors the plight of Stranger Things’ child heroes. In their minds they’re all every bit as strong as the X-Men with their powers, but, like the X-Men they’re also very susceptible and vulnerable in such a state.

Right off the bat we catch up to (then) current affairs by addressing Jean’s stance as the leader of the Hellfire Club. She’s being manipulated by the mysterious Jason Wynegarde, who happens to Mastermind, all illusioned out.

We also get a quick introduction to Mastermind’s cohorts, mutant Harry Leland, the formidable Sebastian Shaw and the cyborg, Donald Pierce. It’s no wonder the X-Men are having a hell of a time with this little war. Those goons, in addition to Mastermind, in addition to Jean Grey? Forget about it.

But, the tides sway early. As the children of Stranger Things found backup in Elle (or Eleven, or 011), the X-Men find backup in a raging wolverine who storms into the Hellfire Club’s celebration shindig.

If there’s one thing Wolverine can do masterfully, it happens to be crashing a party.

Running with the Hellfire Club, Jean Grey is neither, Jean Grey nor Phoenix, she is addressed as the Black Queen. And she’s the key weapon in this battle.

But there’s a swing in momentum that goes unnoticed by most, Cyclops being the only one to pick up on Jean’s change of heart. She helps free Cyclops from the grip of the Hellfire Club, and he lets a little hellfire of his own out in the process. So, Jeanie’s back in the game… or is she?

A battle of the X-Men and the Hellfire Club ensues, and it makes for absolute chaos. While the X-Men found themselves on the receiving end of a beating just a few episodes ago, it’s the good guys that get off to a dominant start in the rematch.

Beast is introduced midway through the battle between good and evil. Now an Avenger, Beast must make a choice, summon the Avengers who will look to mow down the X-Men, as they’re being publicly portrayed as the villain, or he can go and do his best to get his longtime friends, the X-Men out of the predicament they’re currently in.

I think we all know the decision that Beast made.

The war rages on until Pierce and Colossus fight to a near standstill. But Pierce slips away, the cunning fellow, only to encounter Shaw and both agree to having suffered defeat since the Black Queen threw a major monkey wrench in the plans.

But the presence of something dark still resides in Phoenix. Something dark enough to essentially melt the brain of the Mastermind. Jean Grey is gone, and like Elle, from Stranger Things, she’s pushed to a point of what could be absolutely no return, utilizing her powers in ways she’s never done before.

Again, sounds a little like Elle’s final showdown in Netflix’s Stranger Things, no?

The wedge between the Dark Phoenix and the X-Men is now very firmly established.

Uncanny X-Men 134 Phoenix


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