Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #13

Issue Date: 
February 2006
Story Title: 

Joss Whedon (writer), John Cassaday (artist), Laura Martin (colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Sean Ryan (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (associate editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

In the present day, Emma Frost is forced to confront the deal she made so long ago with Cassandra Nova, even as she was sending the Mega-Sentinels to destroy Genosha. In exchange for saving her, by bestowing the secondary mutation of Emma’s diamond form, Cassandra would gain Emma as a plant within Xavier’s group, even though Emma would not remember it until Cassandra allowed it. Now that that time has come, Emma stands with Cassandra, Sebastian Shaw, Ellie Phimister and the one who has brought them all together, the cloaked Perfection, who informs Emma that her game will be first. Elsewhere in the Institute, Logan trains the remaining students in combat himself, since the Danger Room is no longer a high-tech training facility. Meanwhile, Beast and Cyclops each try to lose themselves in their work, shunning the company of others. Miles away,
SHIELD Director Hill meets has Special Agent Brand of SWORD meet her at the SHIELD helicarrier, though the meeting is useless. Brand refuses to submit to an administrative lease and storms off the carrier, rocketing to SWORD’s orbital space station, the Peak, where she is informed that they have news. Back at the Institute, Kitty is still unsure of her relationship with Piotr, after a romantic dream of the two of them, which leads into a horrific nightmare of her father, she is even more confused. However, after building up enough courage, Kitty finds herself visiting Piotr in his room and rambling about their relationship, until he defines it once and for all with a passionate kiss. Having witnessed this via her telepathy, Emma intends a little seduction of her own and tries to prompt Scott to their bed. Engrossed in paperwork, he rebukes her, so she uses her powers to wear his “favorite outfit,” the exact form of his former wife in her green Phoenix costume.

Full Summary: 

(some time ago)

Why me, Emma asks, her face refusing to betray her inner thoughts. Because, Cassandra Nova replies with an opposing wry grin, because you’re a predator Miss Frost. Because, at the end of the day, you will do what’s best for you. In the long run, that will mean planting yourself where you can be of the most use to me. In the short run, it will mean surviving.

The two women stand in the jungle of Ecuador, amid the recently revitalized Sentinel station. However, if Emma Frost realizes the purpose of the facility, she has other things on her mind. When Emma points out to her that she seems pretty confident that she won’t stop her, Cassandra replies glibly. Calling Emma “my precious girl,” she informs her that she won’t even remember she was there until she lets her. As psychics go, she’s – oh, what’s the phrase? – bush league. She could strip her down to a single screaming neuron of pain without blinking and the only think that stops her is her confidence in her practicality.

Now returning her gaze to Emma and peering from beneath the brow of her safari hat, Cassandra informs Emma that they’re all going to die. Millions, in minutes. No warning, no escape. She’s going to be right there in the middle of it. Asked by Emma how she is then going to survive, Cassandra gives a simple reply: Secondary mutation, my dear. They’re going to “create” one for her. Not that she has to ask, Cassandra continue… but does she like diamonds?


Clad in only his civilian garb and a scowl, Logan addresses the remaining students in the Danger Room, and tells them that nothing’s changed. A lot’s happened, he concedes. Buncha students gone, but that doesn’t change what matters. What matters is the fight. What matters is the last time they were in this room… they all wussed out.

Scowling herself, Hiroko asks Logan to excuse her. Once he does so, she replies that the last time they were in this room, they found her best friend dead. And then hell opened underneath them. Literally. Sir… Yeah, wow, Logan replies sarcastically. That’s really terrible. But if she wants advanced self-pity, that’s Professor Summers across the hall. This is combat.

In reply to this, Match asks if they Danger Room isn’t active. Since the… Isn’t this just a room now? Yeah, it’s a big, grey room, he replies. No computers, no simulators… kinda bare. So, Match asks sheepishly, what’s the… uh… danger? Smiling wryly, Logan calls for the lights, which turn out at his command. In answer to match’s question, Wolverine pops his claws.

As he examines a small object clasped in his tweezers, Beast asks Cyclops if they are to assume that the children are going to survive this experience because… In answer to his teammates trailing question, Scott replies that Logan’ll go easy. Well, for Logan. It’s what they need.

Finished with his own repair, Scott approaches Hank, who now examines his object of interest beneath a microscope. Continuing, he adds that going up against the “great and terrible Wolverine…” they’ll come out feeling like heroes just cause they survived. And again the assumption, Hank trails again. Well, nobody’s afraid of him, Scott says, or he’d’ve done it. He could, Scott says to Hank, ‘course that would mean leaving the lab for five minutes and that’s not on the menu, is it? If it’s not a mission or a class, he’s there, no exceptions. Does he want to tell him what he’s doing down there?

He’d love it, Hank replies. After he tells him why he’s there and not upstairs with his lady love. Yeah… Scott trails. Hmm.

Nice, Logan says, as he realizes that he’s come up against a decent defense. While Hisako’s psionic exo-armor could not stop Logan’s adamantium claws, it did stop his knuckles from proceeding further. As a result, the tip of his claws stop micrometers from Hisako’s bulging eyes. Beneath her, the rest of the class lie upon each other in a pile, with her on the top.

Pulling his claws out, Logan asks Hisako what the stuff is made of. Still reeling from an apparent brush with death, Hisako stutters that it’s her family. She means, the line of her ancestors pass this strength, this protection that she can access. It’s hard to… Taking a moment to consider something, she asks Logan for confirmation that he didn’t know he wouldn’t go through? What is he, Logan defends, research guy? It all worked out.

She could be dead! Hisako yells back. Dead sounds nice, Match moans as he tries to return to his feet, which causes Logan to rejoin that they are a bunch of whiners. To this, Hisako mutters to herself in Japanese, her displeased face conveying what she says. When she finishes, Logan replies, again in Japanese, much to her astonishment. Her eyes downcast, she mutters that she’s never going to be an X-Man.

Under a tree on the Xavier estate, Kitty Pryde rests her head on Piotr Rasputin’s chest. Asking him what he thinks, she then raises her head and looks into his eyes. Does this qualify as “crowding him,” she asks. It is what he would call a great start, Piotr replies. A smile on her face, Kitty returns her head to his chest. And… uh… what would he call a good finish, she asks. Caught off guard, he replies in stuttered speech that he’s not sure…

Fortunately, Piotr is saved by an approaching man, who calls out Kitty’s name. Raising her head, Kitty replies to the stranger that that’s her. What can she… Kitty’s words trail as she realizes that the stranger is no stranger at all, but her father, previously believed deceased. Rushing to him and grabbing him in a bear hug, Kitty exasperatedly cries aloud that it’s impossible. A moment later, she realized the truth: it is impossible.

Kitty breaks her hug and looks into the eyes of her dad. In reply, Mr. Pryde states that he knows. And this sort of thing has been happening a lot to her, she then adds. To this, Piotr replies that that’s true. He knows, Mr. Pryde states again. But it’s him, he then adds. Believe him. Nobody else would feel this way just looking at her. Hugging her father again, Kitty allows herself to enjoy the reunion.

Speaking up again, Mr. Pryde tells Kitty that he knows she’s got tons questions but he has just one: Why did she let them die? With this, Mr. Pryde’s skin breaks down into particulates and are scattered to the wind right before her. Waking up with this fright, Kitty takes a moment to recoup her surroundings.

Sitting beneath the same tree Kitty was underneath in her dream, Piotr wraps his massive arms around Kitty, trying to comfort her. Bad dream, he states, more in rhetorical statement than question. Yeah, a real kicker, she replies. When he asks her if she’s all right, Kitty enjoys the embrace Piotr gives her and smiles, getting’ better already.

Watching this from her study window, Emma Frost’s deep thoughts are interrupted by Ellie Phimister, who crouches like a buzzard on a nearby table. Bad dreams, big deal, she continues. She dreams herself to life. She sleeps and makes her over and over and over and over… Yes, interrupts Sebastian Shaw, already tired with the repetition of the obvious. She’s mentioned over and over and can they dispense with the preliminaries? He rather craves action. Sitting nearby, Cassandra Nova clasps her had in thought, while a cloaked figure stands nearby.

Turning to her “guests,” Emma asks Sebastian if that’s why he grows so careless? To force her hand? Speaking up, Cassandra states that she thinks they’ve been spectacularly patient, “child.” To this, Emma counters that they show up with no regard for… she could hear every word she thought in Genosha. But Xavier couldn’t, Cassandra replies. Dear Charles was the only real threat to their little cabal; and he was wrapped up in his own problems as always. She thinks Sebastian is right. Receiving a “bless you, lady” from Sebastian, Cassandra immediately replies back with an “unlikely.”

Her eyes downcast, Emma states that she doesn’t know. You never know! Ellie cries aloud. She’s sorry, she knows she’s the best teacher and not her, but she’s so bored! She wants to dream some noise. In agreement, Cassandra, still sitting, points out to Emma that that’s a majority. Informed by Emma that she doesn’t run this club, Cassandra replies back that she kept her alive. And she returned the favor, Emma then retorts.

Ladies, interrupts Sebastian. He’d like to mention two things. First, while the original Hellfire Club has devolved into a glorified strip-bar, they have an actual mission. A holy one to him. And second, they were all brought together by one person. And in his opinions, hers is the only voice that needs be heard. Referring to the shrouded woman, Sebastian calls her by name: Perfection. Is it time, he asks.

Slowly, a gloved hand emerges from the cloak of Perfection. Pointing to Emma, Perfection calls out her name, informing her that her game is first.

In the massive SHIELD helicarrier, Special Agent Brand informs Director Hill that nothing has changed. The mutant situation is still a threat, and she will continue to monitor the X-Men in… Interrupting, the director replies that she knows how Brand “monitors.” She’s broken every law she’s ever heard of, she’s harboring an international criminal… “Intergalactic,” Special Agent Brand corrects the term is “intergalactic” and that means it’s so far outside her jurisdiction she couldn’t even breathe there.

Whatever relationship she had with Nick Fury, Director Hill continues, it’s over. SHIELD isn’t just gonna roll over every time she gets whimsical about the laws of this planet. Her relationship with Fury, Brand rejoins, is the only reason SHIELD ever heard about their business. She doesn’t know what microcephalic moron thought she had the stone to run the company, but, without Nick, all she is is underfoot.

Walking away, Brand calls back that, if she gets in her way, she won’t even hear the crunch. Threats, Director Hill says. From where she’s standing, she’s nothing more than a thug. Well, that’s the problem with living in the clouds, commander, Brand replies, as she gets into a rockship, you can’t see the big picture from this far down.

As the craft rockets off the helicarrier, making its way into orbit, Special Agent Brad uses the wireless to call the Peak. She reports that she’s upbound, eighteen minutes away. They’re to align trajectory on her mark. In orbit, the Peak is a space station, shaped in the form of a conical spear point, with three circular platforms circumnavigating at varying angles. From the control room of the station, Special Agent Brand receives confirmation of her trajectory. She’s then informed that they have news.

Sitting alone in her room at the edge of her bed, Kitty sits in silence. She’s totally cool, she thinks to herself. She’s totally calm and he’s totally cool. Her calm is exceeded only by her cool, which is total. With this decided, she continues to sit. A moment later, she is resolved. Here we go. What seems like only a moment later, Kitty is at Piotr’s door.

Standing in his doorway, Piotr tells Kitty that, no, he was just reading. ‘Cause if she’s bothering…, she begins. Interrupting, Piotr asks her to come in. Was it about her dream, he asks, as she enters. No, she replies, it’s… Well, she rethinks, not that part of the dream. She means she has something to… She’ll just go.

“Go?” he asks, confused. You know, she replies. It was nothing. And so, they’re done. With nothing. Not letting her go, Piotr tells her that she should stay and tell him what’s on her mind. She can go through him, she reminds him. She has powers where she can do that. Undeterred, Piotr produces a small smile, and ask Kitty if she’s going to tell him some more?

Still scattered in thought, Kitty replies no, but, they’ve been through all this stuff and she’s in her room thinking and if this was the perfect situation they’d be on a meteor hurtling into the sun or infected by the Brood or something really important that would draw them together and he wouldn’t be standing there like a big dumb guy and…

Kitty’s rambling comes to swift conclusion, as Piotr scoops her up in his arms, planting a passionate kiss on her now silent mouth. As the kiss lingers, Kitty runs her hand through the hair on the back of Piotr’s head. Briefly they part, looking into each other’s eyes with the understanding of their new situation.

Outside Piotr’s room, Emma stands in silence. After a moment, she turns, walking down the dark hallway. As her hand clasps around a doorknob, she pauses as a voice calls out to her. I know, the voice tells her. It is Perfection. The others don’t, of course, Perfection continues. Not even Cassandra, the great psychic, truly understands what’s going on with her and Summers. She really loves him. Finally turning to regard the cloaked figure, Emma replies coldly that she does. With all her predator’s heart.

Entering the room, she finds Scott hunched over a desk and reading light, going over papers. When she calls out to him, he replies that he’s just finishing up some bills. Pushing her need, she tells him that she knows things haven’t been… She wishes he’d come to bed. It’s bills, Emma, he replies, not even turning to her. One of the things she swore never to do. Undeterred, she tells him that she means it. Come to bed. She has a surprise for him.

Still engrossed in his papers, Scott asks if it can be later. Oh, Scott, she replies. This is really special. This is what he wants. She means… she’s wearing his favorite outfit… Standing behind him, Emma is transformed. A dead ringer for Jean Grey, Emma is also wearing the green and gold costume of Phoenix. Her gloved finger seductively caresses her lips, as her red hair dances in flames…

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Shadowcat, Wolverine

Anole, Hellion, Hisako Ichiki, Indra, Match, Pixie III, Rockslide, Surge, Wolf Cub (Xavier Institute students)

Cassandra Nova, Perfection, Ellie Phimister, Sebastian Shaw (new Hellfire Club)


Emma Frost

Cassandra Nova

Story Notes: 

Cassandra’s telepathic conversation takes place presumably during New X-Men (1st series) #114 or 115. At the end of #115, the two Mega-Sentinels Cassandra had constructed at the site in Ecuador attacked Genosha, killing over 16 million mutants.

Upon being rescued in the rubble of the devastated Genosha in New X-Men (1st series) #116, it was discovered that she had survived by a spontaneous “secondary mutation.” We now learn that this had been orchestrated by Cassandra Nova.

Emma’s deal with Cassandra Nova sheds new light on a confusing Grant Morrison New X-Men dangler. In New X-Men (1st series) #116, Emma was in a taxi leaving the school, when she inexplicably and suddenly left the cab to return to the mansion, just in time to snap the neck of Cassandra Nova. What the X-Men did not know at that moment, however, was that Cassandra has switched bodies with Xavier, and it had been the body that Charles Xavier’s mind inhabited that Emma had attacked.

The computer core which ran the Shi’ar technology of the Danger Room was revealed to have been self-aware and removed itself during the recent Danger storyline between Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #7-12.

Kitty’s dad was in Genosha during the attack and she actually managed to obtain a video recording of his death. [X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #36]

Kitty discovered that Piotr Rasputin was still alive in Astonishing X-Men #4.

The Hellfire Club was inexplicably discovered to have been transformed into a strip club in New X-Men (1st series) #142.

An unconfirmed translation to Hisako & Logan’s Japanese was offered by Comicboard’s poster Lux Gloriana, who posted that, to Hisako’s statement of, “It’s a shame they hired a murderous gorilla as a teacher,” Logan replied, “Don’t you think it’s shameful to your ancestors that you’re always complaining?”

Issue Information: 
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