Issue Date: November 2005
Story Title: World Tour: House of M – part two
Staff: Tony Bedard (Writer), Paul Pelletier (Penciler), Rick Magyar with Hennessy and Meikis (Inkers), Wil Quintana (Colorist), Dave Sharpe (Letterer), Sean Ryan (Assistant Editor), Nick Lowe (Associate Editor), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)
While Beak sulks over losing Angel and his kids in this new reality where Magneto rules, Blink ponders whether it is right for them to try and turn this mutant utopia to what it was before. A fight breaks out between Mimic and Sabretooth over what to do, as Sabretooth thinks sacrificing Beak’s children is fine to preserve this world. Beak spots Angel across the street and meets up with her, but the possessed Angel kidnaps him and takes him back to apartment. There, Mutant X reveals to Beak that he has possessed Angel, whose body is staying quite fresh longer than expected. He wants to know more about the Exiles. The Exiles are found by the renegade Moira MacTaggert, who is wanted for trying to isolate the mutant gene, but the Exiles discover that it was only so she could cure her son, Mutant X. However, Magnetos stopped her and Mutant X escaped to become a serial killer. She tells them about Mutant X’s powers and his weakness to metal, but the group is attacked by Sentinels, which are out to apprehend Moira. The Sentinels kill innocent humans along the way, dispelling any notion Blink had of preserving this “utopia.” The Exiles then rush off to confront Mutant X.
The first question the Exiles always ask when they arrive in a new reality is what is wrong with this picture. After that, they ask what they must do to set things right. However, compared to Blink’s home reality, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong at all with this new reality she is in. Her world was consumed by a war between mutant and man, or flatscans as they are called in her reality. Here, in Earth 616, humans are referred to as Sapiens. Most of them are at the bottom of the social ladder, but they are not oppressed. They could get jobs if they wanted, and every society has its dregs, supposes Blink. However, the only thing that keeps Blink from thinking that this mutant utopia she is in perfect is one problem.
His name is Beak and this is his reality. He joined the Exiles a few months ago to help them fix alternate worlds gone bad. While they were away saving other worlds, however, everything in his reality changed. Mutants went from being a misunderstood minority to having mutation being a norm. Blink isn’t sure how this happened or if it can be changed back, but she is starting to think that changing this mutant utopia back might be the biggest crime of all.
Blink stands amid the crowd in Wall Street, while Beak sulks on a bunch, consoled by the horribly disfigured Mimic. Blink looks up at a banner of Magneto upon the Stock Exchange. In her reality, he led the X-Men. In other realities, he is the most evil mutant on Earth. On this odd version of Earth 616, he is a hero of the highest order. She has spent all day reading up on him. King Magnus controls the governments around the world. S.H.I.E.L.D. is under his total command. Prosperity under his rule is undeniable. The evils his armies avert are too numerous to count. Even Sentinels, murderous robots usually out to kill mutants, only serve to protect and area a common sight all around. None of this is consolation for Beak, though.
Mimic tells the sulking Beak not to worry. They will find out what happened on his Earth and, if anyone can change it back, it is them. Annoyed, Sabretooth approaches Mimic and tells him that he is not thinking straight. They fix broken realities. What is wrong with this one? Offended, Mimic asks Sabretooth what he is talking about. Beak’s children do not even exist in this reality. Sabretooth tells Mimic that he knows that, but what if they erase a million more children by reverting the world back to normal. Would that be fair? Beak is young and in this world he has a chance of meeting someone else and starting a family. Does it look as if anyone in this crowd would judge Beak for his looks, asks Sabretooth as he points out all the various mutations around them, including a devil woman that Morph takes a shining too. Sabretooth even points out that no one has given Mimic’s disgusting complexion a second look since they arrived.
Mimic gets into Sabretooth’s face and tells him that he is noble to write off Beak’s children like that. However, if Blink were to be erased from existence, Mimic knows that Sabretooth would kill half the planet to get her back. Long as I get to start with you, retorts Sabretooth. Besides, he continues, it isn’t the same. He and Blink have spent years together trying to survive. Beak only had his children for a few months. Besides, it seems that Angel is better off now than before. She used to like in a shack before. Now she is an underwear model that has an uptown apartment.
While the two argue, the sulking Beak looks across the street and is shocked to see Angel across it standing in a busy crowd, staring at him. As Blink breaks up the argument between Sabretooth and Mimic, adding that she would like to know how reality was altered no matter what they decide to do, Beak runs off and tries to catch up to Angel. Unfortunately, he does not knows that his girlfriend is in fact possessed by the killer Mutant X, who has taken an interest in the Exiles, or particularly the Tallus possessed by Sabretooth.
Beak crosses the street after shoving through a crowd, but, when he gets to the corner, he finds that Angel is gone. Suddenly, Angel swoops down and lifts Beak into the sky. Beak demands that Angel tell him what is going on. With a distinct Irish accent, Angel tells Beak to shut up and stop struggling, unless he wants her to drop him. On the ground, Morph points to the two mutants in the air and asks why the chicken crossed the road. Sabretooth stares off at them and wonders if that is Angel carrying Beak. Mimic volunteers to catch up, but a voice tells him not to as that is a sure way for their Beak friend to get killed.
The Exiles turn to see a ragged and dirty Irish woman, who speaks softly to them. She tells them that Beak is in danger and they can only save him if they know what they are up against. The Exiles ask the woman who she is, but the woman refuses to tell them while the Sentinels are around. There is a place nearby where they can talk. Unbeknownst to the woman, though, a Sentinel has already noticed her, but for the moment does nothing.
In a local food kitchen, the woman sits with the Exiles among homeless Sapiens. She apologizes to the Exiles for having to inform them that the female who took Beak is beyond saving. She is just a vehicle for a killer mutant whom she has been chasing since Edinburgh. He has the power to snatch bodies and bend reality, which gives him a distinct power signature. She then shows them a device she uses to track him, and adds that the bracelet on Sabretooth’s arm gives her similar readings. When she heard them talking about saving doomed realities, she thought maybe they could help her stop the killer. The killer is her son. She is Moira MacTaggert. Does that mean anything to them?
Morph asks if her name should ring a bell. Moira is then convinced that the Exiles truly are not from this reality if they do not know who she is. If they ever watched the news, they’d know she isn’t the bag lady she looks like now. She is a scientist who owns a research laboratory on Muir Isle, in Scotland. She works in genetics and was the first to properly identify the emerging mutant phenomenon twenty years ago. She won a Nobel Prize for that. Grant money poured into her, but none of that could save her son from his own mutation. Kevin withered away before her eyes and hungered on people. She locked him away and searched for a way to cure him by isolating the mutant gene and neutralizing it. However, seeking a way to undo mutation is a sure way to make enemies out of Magneto. The Sentinels destroyed her lab and she has been the most wanted Sapien in the world since. Her son escaped to become the world’s most wanted mutant.
Elsewhere, “Angel” and Beak arrive at Angel’s penthouse. Beak is hopeful that Angel finally remembers him, or the mentioning of the kids made her think at least. No, replies Angel. She does not remember in the last. They are certainly not here to speak about children. Beak, scared and confused, asks Angel why she is speaking funny. What is wrong with her eyes? Is she on drugs? “Angel” tells Beak that Angel is not here right now. He is the furthest thing from an angel that Beak has ever met. Now, he must tell her about his friends.
She sensed something in them that she has never sensed before… something kindred. She then throws a newspaper in Beak’s face, telling him that to read the headline. It’s about her and it should prove to him that Beak should not withhold any information. It is the second article down, and obviously not the one about Magneto or Von Doom.
Beak sees the article about the killer known as Mutant X, but doesn’t understand. “Angel” calls Beak dense and just announces the revelation. He is not Angel, he is Mutant X. Beak better tell him about his companions no, or else he will have to climb into Beak’s mind and rummage through the memories. Beak steps back and falls over something. He looks to see what it was and then sees the withered body of Blunderbuss. Mutant X tells him that if he enters Beak’s body he will burn out like Blunderbuss, and he is not in any hurry to leave Angel’s body, as it is staying fresh longer than expected.
Back at the food kitchen, Sabretooth tries to get the facts straight. Moira is saying that her son is a serial killer, who has their friend… and they are wasting time talking?! Moira tells Sabretooth that they cannot just attack Mutant X. There are things about him they must know that only she can tell. Blink asks Sabretooth to contact Heather via the Tallus and ask her to double check Moira’s history to see if her story rings true. Moira asks what a Tallus is, but Sabretooth ignores her and calls Heather.
In the Panoptichron, Heather tells Sabretooth that she is already on it. She already has Moira’s folder pulled up. If this was the usual Earth 616 then Moira MacTaggert would be… well… dead, but she doesn’t need to know that. The part of her being a geneticist on Muir Isle is true. As for her son, what she sees on his file scares the hell out of her.
In the kitchen, the local priest comes over to the Exiles and kindly tells them that this place is only really for the disadvantaged Sapiens. Their presence is disturbing those who come here for sustenance. He regretfully must ask that the mutants leave. Annoyed, Sabretooth doesn’t think that the priest regrets it, but Moira stops him and apologizes to the priest, for she should have known better. The priest thanks Moira, telling her that it pains him to be so inhospitable.
Suddenly, a thin drill emerges from the ground, confusing everybody. The priest bends over it as Sabretooth asks what it is. Before the priest can reply, the drill shoots out and impales the man. The cap then pops off and a radar goes off. “Saints preserve us…” mutters Moira, as she stares at the dead priest. Suddenly, the whole floor shatters a Sentinel crashes through the building from below.
The Sentinel immediately goes for Moira, who asks for help. Mimic and Morph come to her defense, which causes the Sentinel to call for back up, as it did not expect mutant resistance. Blink orders the other humans in the area to get out. As they rush to leave, another Sentinel hand smashes through, claiming that there are too many excess Sapiens obscuring their target of Moira MacTaggert. “Obstruction Removed,” says the Sentinel, as it unleashes a powerful energy blast, reducing the innocent Sapiens in the area to nothing but charred skeletons.
Just like that, all of Blink’s notions of a romantic mutant utopia die screaming. The Sentinels have no regard for life, and no life of their own. She doesn’t have to pull punches. Blink teleports outside to confront the two Sentinels, which stare at her. As they shoot at her she leaps around. She tries to recall the last time she was happy. Recently, it has been one disaster after another. She is sick of being manipulated and watching her friends lose their powers, their families, and their lives. It seems like everything they care about is taken away piece by piece. Sabretooth is a father to her. Why does he have to hate the man she loves? Why did Mimic’s face have to turn into gristle and meat? She can learn to move past it and see his inner beauty, but haven’t they been through enough?
Blink ends her fight by teleporting pieces of the Sentinels to space. Inside, Morph makes a joke that in this reality it’s ok if Magneto is good. If mutants are the majority, he can handle it. However, Sentinels popping through the floor is just wrong! As a Sentinel captures Mimic, Blink enters and teleports the Sentinel’s head away, ending the battle. She turns to Moira and tells her that she has to get her tracker device. They are going to save Beak now. Anything else they need to know Moira will tell them on the way. In awe at Blink, Moira takes her and agrees.
The group soon tracks Mutant X to a tower, which seems to have an organic web growing on it. Moira tells the heroes that Kevin’s abilities are one of the most powerful ever recorded. First, he can temporarily suspend the laws of physics. He can warp reality to suit his whims. His displays usually aren’t as ostentatious as this new building, though. That is one way of putting it, replies Sabretooth. As a group of reality warped mutants run out screaming, Morph turns into Edward Scissor Hands and tells the group that this is getting really crazy.
The heroes enter to see a few residents being attacked by man-eating plants, a warped floor, a crazy rug, and other warped objects. Moira tells them that Kevin consumes his own body, so he is always looking for a new one to inhabit. When he possesses somebody, he displaces their psyche, killing them effectively. They need to remember that Mutant X can look like anyone and, if they get too close, say ten feet or so, they run the risk of him taking their body. As the heroes reach the top level of the building and emerge on the roof, Moira tells them one last fact. Kevin’s only weakness is metal.
The heroes then look in horror as they see Beak tangled up in the legs of a water tower upon the room… and the withered decomposing body of Angel, still possessed by Mutant X.
“Hullo, Mother,” says the psychotic mutant.
Beak, Blink, Heather Hudson, Mimic, Morph, Sabretooth (Exiles)
Various homeless Sapiens
This is part of the House of M crossover that continues from the prelude in Excalibur (2nd Series) #13-14. Tie in issues include Spider-Man: House of M #1-5, Iron Man: House of M #1-3, Incredible Hulk (3rd Series) #83-86, Uncanny X-Men #462-465, New X-Men (2nd Series) #16-19, Cable/Deadpool #17, Black Panther (4th Series) #7, Mutopia X #1-5, Wolverine (3rd Series) #33-35, The Pulse #10, The Pulse: House of M Special Edition, Secrets of the House of M, Captain America (5th Series) #10, and New Thunderbolts #11. None of the tie-ins are needed to understand the main story in House of M #1-8.
The Exiles really have visited Earth-616 twice before this issue. The first time was throughout Exiles #28-30, and another time in Exiles #46-48.
Like a few other earlier deceased Earth-616 characters, this issue reveals the resurrection of Kevin MacTaggert, a.k.a Mutant X, who is also known as Proteus. He originally had died in X-Men #128 after Colossus punched his metal fist into him. Later, he was temporarily resurrected in Uncanny X-Men Annual #15 and bounded with Piecemeal, but later chose to end his own life in X-Factor (1st series) Annual #6. Moira MacTaggert was killed when Mystique blew up Muir Isle during the Dream’s End crossover in X-Men (2nd Series) #108.
This Issue has been reprinted in:
Exiles Vol. 12: Word Tour Book 1 (Trade Paperback)
Issue Summary written by: Redguard (Mandeep Jangi)