Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #17

Issue Date: 
November 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: 

From their station in orbit, Agents Brand, Deems and Sydren watch as Ord of the Breakworld and Danger rocket to the Institute in search of Colossus, who they have discovered is destined to be responsible for the Breakworld’s destruction. Despite the threat, Brand orders Lockheed, SWORD’s mole in the Institute, not to interfere. Shortly thereafter, as Logan and a recovered Hisako go in search of Kitty, Danger and Ord arrive. However, Danger immediately realizes she is experiencing critical malfunction caused by an unknown source. As she and Ord consider their next action, they are unaware that a mentally recovered Wolverine is nearby. In the levels below, to cajole Kitty into performing their needed task, Perfection – now revealed to be “the White Queen” – telepathically has Kitty live a fantasy in her mind, where she has a son with Piotr Rasputin, named Michael, but then loses him to the X-Men. Eventually escaping incarceration, she steals into the Xavier Institute and removes her son from a containment capsule designed to keep even her out. In the real world, she has actually removed the artificial body of Cassandra Nova from her prison, much to Ms. Nova’s delight. However, before Cassandra can make use of her body, the White Queen is shot by a de-powered, though no less dangerous, Cyclops.

Full Summary: 

Sitting in her hospital bed as her husband leans over her shoulder, Kitty Rasputin stares down at her newborn son and addresses him by name. “Michael.” It’s nice to meet you, she tells him.

Entering the room together, Scott Summer, Emma Frost, Logan and Hank McCoy greet the new parents, with Logan asking if he can finally smoke a cigar now. When Scott wonders if it is visiting hours yet, Hank suggests that they could wait outside. He’s a cat – he’s great at pacing. Dismissing this, Kitty promptly introduces Michael to his “insane family.” Hearing this, Logan is incredulous, asking what happened to “Logan.” Cocking an eyebrow, Emma asks whether at some point they become cute – is that how it works? Grinning himself, Scott tells Emma to stow it – he’s a dreamboat. At the foot of the bed, Hank tells Kitty that they’re so proud of her and asks if they can hold him. Soon as he’s twelve, Kitty replies.

Excusing himself, a new visitor enters the room, asking if he can get a look. Smiling, Kitty introduces Michael to Professor Xavier, adding that she made him herself. Suddenly, little Michael wakes up, grudgingly at first but quickly bawling at his newfound consciousness. Startled slightly, Kitty quips to the group, “I think I broke it.” When Piotr asks if she thinks he’s hungry, Kitty asks everyone to talk amongst themselves. She’s gotta work this feeding-thing out. As Kitty begins to console the crying Michael, Xavier looks on, grimacing.


Kitty and Piotr sit on the grass in a park, near a statue dedicated to the fallen of Genosha. Holding out her arms, Kitty beckons to Michael, now a toddler, who is attempting to walk to his mother. Arigato! Mama, Arigato! little Michael calls out to his astonished mother, who tells her equally astonished husband that she has no idea where that comes from. She thought he’d pick up some Russian… When Piotr suggests that maybe he has a power after all, Kitty asks if he means like Doug’s. Wouldn’t that be great… But not likely, Piotr replies.

When Michael succeeds in bridging the gap to his mother, Kitty picks him up. She tells Michael that she doesn’t care. Power, no powers… how can anybody think that matters? As Michael pleads with his mom to put him upon her shoulders with an emphatic, “Up on! Up on!” Kitty tells her husband that Michael’s magic. Their own crazy magic spell.

The family moment is quickly broken by the arrival of Professor Xavier, who coldly instructs her to put the boy down. He’s afraid it’s not safe. The seriousness of the situation is punctuated by the arrival of the rest of the X-Men – Cyclops, Emma, Wolverine and the Beast – all in costume, arriving from the opposite direction. Repeating Xavier’s key word, “it,” Kitty holds her son to her chest and asks what he means that it’s not safe. What are they all doing? What they have to, Wolverine replies coldly. His expression stoic, Cyclops adds that he wishes it were different. If there was another way…

As Piotr transforms his flesh to the organic-steel of Colossus, Kitty holds Michael even closer, tells Xavier that they have two seconds to explain – and stop moving! Inching closer in his hover-chair, Xavier tells Kitty not to try to phase. He’s locked her power out of her brain. When Kitty asks again what’s going on, Emma answers. Michael has power, she explains. The Professor sensed it the day he was born. They’ve been trying to understand it… What power? Kitty demands, interrupting. Terrible power, the Beast replies simplistically. What power? Kitty yells. They can’t come in there with some vague junk about the future and expect them to give up their son!

Piotr begins to interrupt, but Kitty continues watching the X-Men. She tells her husband to just hold them off for two minutes, she knows he can do it. However, when she looks up at him, she sees Piotr, still in his armored form, with a sad expression on his face and his fist raised. “I’m sorry, Kitty,” he tells her.

(still later)

Piotr Rasputin sits motionless in a chair, his back straight and eyes forward. Behind him, silhouetted in the darkened room by light flowing through the rainy windows, Kitty Pryde stands on a chair, holding the handle of a phased axe through his head. Apologizing to him, she tells him that if he blinks she lets go. “Where is my son,” she says, more in a threatening statement than a question.

Motionless as commanded, Piotr asks Kitty if she would murder him. To this, Kitty tells him not to talk to her like a person. He needs to be isolated, Piotr replies. If he could have been with him… Teeth bared, Kitty spits back that Piotr is not a person. He’s a big, metal, @#$%ing robot, and somehow she didn’t see it. Their son! Eighteen months she’s in that… place… figuring, waiting… She sang him to sleep. Every night. He’s her son, so she did that. Five hundred and forty-seven times. It was for her. To help her. Because Michael, five hundred and forty-seven time he went to bed without her, not understanding. Not safe, not fair, for a child, he’s a child… Her child. Not his. Robot. Where?

Casting down her eyes downward, Piotr relents. He tells her that Michael is in the basement. In a box. He tells her to go. He won’t try to stop her.


Her eyes tear-filled, though seeing a world different from the one in which she walks, Kitty Pryde, clad in her X-Men costume, repeats Piotr’s words: Basement. Box.. As she walks down the hallway, Kitty is watched by a cringing Logan and a maniacally smiling Emma Frost, herself clad in the attire of the White Queen.

In the orbital space station called the Peak, agents of SWORD ready a spacecraft. On the main deck of the ship, Special Agent Brand asks alien advisor Sydren if it is Frost. Speaking in his alien lisp, Sydren replies, Mosssst like. Incredulous, Brand responds to the thought of Frost attacking her own team. Fury briefed her on the possibility. There are, Sydren interrupts, anomalies in his sensings… One that seems to match Cassandra Nova… but not… it’sss… Annoyed, Brand tells Sydren to spit it out – but with less spiting. Not ssstable, Sydren continues. There and gone. But she’s supposed to be the best, Brand counters. Could be blocking him out…

Interrupting the two, Agent Deems informs Brand that they are eighty miles out. They have a visual from the mole. Turning to the screen, Brand and Sydren see Ord of the Breakworld jetting above the tree line, hanging onto a robotic creature, the bottom half of which is a rocket and the top resembling a female. When Brand asks who the “tinker-toy” is, Deem replies, “Danger.” He explains that she’s A.I., Shi’ar tech. @#$%ing Shi’ar, Brand curses, then adding that she wishes someone would prophesy the end of those clowns… Returning to the issue of Danger, Agent Deems tells Brand that they think she’s responsible for that last ass-whupping this X-team took. The wild sentinel incident…

Considering this, Brand remarks that Ord has an ally who’s not a moron. And can control all their systems, Deems adds. That’s how he escaped. Right, Brand replies. She then orders him to put all the techs on stasis alert and to run a block on any network intrusions that smell remotely Shi’ar. She doesn’t want to fall out of the air. Apart from that, no deviation.

Suddenly receiving a message from the translator device, Deems informs Brand that it says the mole wants to engage. Replying no, Brand replies that they let Ord reach ground zero. When Deems reports that the mole is determined, Brand interrupts and instructs him to just patch her in. Once he has done so, Brand begins to speak in an alien language, which is transmitted to the ground far below. As the mole watches Danger and Ord rocket overhead toward the mansion, Brand’s instructions are received. Hovering in mid-air from the flapping of his wings, Lockheed the dragon listens to his orders.

In the mansion, Logan gently nudges the shoulder of Hisako, pleading for her to wake up. Regaining consciousness, she realizes aloud that she passed out again. His eyes wide with fear, Logan confirms, adding that everyone’s asleep except for the Pryde girl, and she’s come over a bit funny. Helped back to her feet by Logan, Hisako asks, “Funny how?” Beginning to ramble incoherently, Logan replies that she just walked off! They saw a woman who claimed to be a queen but as she’d forgotten her skirt (he could clearly see the silhouette of her undercurve) he assumes she must be mad – thought that doesn’t preclude her from royalty; one reads about George the Third bumbling away the Americas…

Having had enough of his ramblings, Hisako grabs Logan by the shirt and pulls him close. “What happened to Ms. Pryde?” she demands.

A woman on a mission, Kitty Pryde takes the direct route, using her phasing powers to walk through walls. Walking silently, with fists clenched, Kitty thinks how they fail you. They leave you or they let you down. They die. Or worse. The only man in this world that she will ever truly trust… is the one she made.

Having reached her destination, Kitty finds a spacious room, with the object of her attention in plain view. It is a rectangular box, with its ends tapering into points, like pyramids. Eerie yellow lights shine from four small windows. Walking up to the box, Kitty’s thoughts go to her little boy inside. My little man. My Michael. Mommy’s here.

Back in sick bay, Piotr Rasputin stirs, speaking Kitty’s name before he has even fully regained consciousness. Helping him up, Blindfold says hello to him. Beginning to rise, Piotr speaks Shaw’s name, then remarking that the Hellfire Club is back. Yes, she replies. And she has, if he pleases, his orders.

As the Beast, now as feral as his name, feasts on a downed deer, the White Queen informs Cassandra Nova that things are going quite well. Stone-faced, Cassandra asks the Queen why isn’t it done, then? It’s being done, the White Queen replies. This is the most delicate part. She needs to be patient. She has the soul of patience, “you underclad cretin,” Cassandra rejoins. Ignoring the insult, the Queen replies that Cassandra has by far the most to lose, so she should stop pretending she’s in charge of this operation. To her, the Queen adds, speaking to the nearby Sebastian Shaw and Ellie Phimister as much as Cassandra, they are all expendable.

Half turning with a cocked eyebrow, Cassandra asks if she really means all of them. Even her… how shall she say… better half? Thinking to the other Emma Frost, who is currently in a small gap somewhere below the foundation of the mansion, the White Queen asks if she means “the imposter.” Oh, her most of all, the White Queen replies.

At the box, Kitty Pryde rubs her hands over the container. She knows what this is, she thinks. Hyperdense alloy, submolecular shift matrix. Even trickier than the cell they had her in. Can’t phase through like she’s used to. Kitty-proofed.

Though four lasers begin to fire from the corners of the box, each harmlessly passing through her phased body, Kitty’s mind does not wander. Except, she continues in thought, the Kitty they were dealing with hadn’t spent a year and a half in a black room with nothing to do but focus on exactly this. Spin your atoms all you want, she mentally tells the box. She can get past it. She can get him out.

With great concentration, eliciting sweat on her furrowed brow, Kitty’s hands begin to pierce the shell of the box. As her left hand begins to phase into the container, alarms go off and Kitty is rocked in pain, screaming out into the otherwise empty chamber. Through gritted teeth, Kitty pushes her hand further into the box, followed by her arm until her face is against the container. The pain is nearly unbearable, causing Kitty to consider giving up. However, another moment later, something gives her hope. I can feel him, she thinks.

Walking down the corridor of the Institute, Hisako asks Logan if he has any idea where she went. Perhaps where she’s from the children “float through the walls,” Logan replies, but he never learned it. She went down. And westerly, he thinks. As Hisako mutters something in Japanese, Logan tells her they’re to have no more of that heathen funny talk. When she suggests no talk at all, Logan reminds her that he’s got claws.

Suddenly, the world around Hisako and Logan erupts in fire, as Danger’s rocket form plows through the walls of the Institute, burrowing into the lower levels below and hurling the two backwards.

Below, Ellie Phimister glances upwards, sensing something approaching. Also detecting the disturbance but unconcerned, the White Queen tells Ellie to ignore it. They’re almost there.

In a level above them, Danger as begun to reconfigure her lower torso from that of a jet engine to ambulatory legs. As she does so, Danger tells Ord of the Breakworld that the alloys she borrowed from that space station are infinitely useful. She hardly misses her hard-light capabilities. Emerging from the dust, Ord tells Danger just to tell him where he is. Their new housing system, the robot replies, placed him exactly where they are. It’s a special scramble code; they’ve upgraded. She’ll need thirty seconds.

Nearby, Logan lies on his back on the floor of a nearby kitchen area, unconscious. As a delayed reaction from the impact of Danger’s landing, a beer can rolls off of the refrigerator shelf, which was also knocked open, and falls onto Logan’s nose, waking him up. Reaching for the can, Logan picks it up before sitting upright. Examining the top of the can, Logan’s mind finds new clarity, resulting in a markedly altered demeanor.

Still considering their next course of direction, Danger vocalizes that something is not right. Angered by the implication, Ord reminds the android that she promised him… Interrupting Ord, Danger informs him that she’s experiencing an unprecedented cognitive dissonance. Locators are fluctuating. It’s… She’s lost. Their computer can’t be this good. Returning to the subject at hand, Ord speaks the name of his quarry. Rasputin. Just Rasputin. He will beg if he must. Take him to him, he pleads. Help him save his world.

Yelling in pain as sweat pours from her forehead, Kitty finally succeeds, pulling forth her son from the container. Holding him close to her chest, she bolts away from her son’s prison before eventually collapsing to her knees. Silently calling out to God, she thanks Him. However, it is not God’s voice that Kitty hears next, but that of Piotr Rasputin, who speaks her name. When she looks up at him with eyes filled with anger, he asks her what she’s doing. Still exhausted by her task, Kitty haltingly tells Piotr that she did what he wouldn’t… She saved their son.

Looking down at what Kitty is cradling, Piotr sees no infant, but a larva-shaped, green slug, dripping with goo. Piotr’s eyes go wide at the sight of it, moments before rolling back in his head. A moment later, Kitty drops the blob, which lands with a splat, followed by she herself.

As Kitty and Piotr lay on the floor, unconscious, Cassandra Nova examines the blob, remarking that it’s about time. She cannot imagine, Cassandra tells the White Queen, what it’s like to be trapped in that slimy mess. Of course she can, the Queen rejoins. Speaking back to the Queen, as well as Shaw and Ellie, Cassandra tells them that she has to thank them all for their parts in this. Smirking at this, Shaw asks if this is sentiment. From her?

Ignoring Shaw, Cassandra tells them that, as soon as she is free of that thing and back to full power, she will melt every one of them into nothingness. So, she thought she’d thank them now. It’s been, of course, a pleasure, Shaw replies, showing no reaction to the threat. Beats a mass grave in Genosha any day, Ellie adds. Returning back to the blob itself, the Queen asks Cassandra if she may assume her choice of a new host body. Oh, yes, Cassandra replies, as she looks on at the unconscious Kitty. And, be assured, she will take much better care of that hair. As the White Queen concentrates on her task, Cassandra asks how long. Minutes at most, she replies. But, she would like to know…

Suddenly, the sounds of three gunshots erupt through the chamber and the White Queen lurches forward, her back arched backward from the impact. Doubling over a moment later, the Queen clutches her stomach, from which exit wounds gush forth blood. In shock as much as pain, the Queen mutters that this is impossible. Interrupting her, the gunman apologizes to her, but tells Emma that it’s like she said, he doesn’t have any claws. Holding his smoking pistol, Cyclops looks on with naked eyes, emitting nothing except looks of anger and rage.

Characters Involved: 

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

Blindfold, Hisako Ichiki (Xavier Institute students)

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

Special Agent Brant, Agent Deems, Sydren (all SWORD)

SWORD agents

Ord of theBreakworld


(on screen)

Ord of the Breakworld


(Kitty’s fantasy)

Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Professor X, Shadowcat, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Michael Rasputin

Hospital staff

Story Notes: 

The mystery of the mole in the Xavier Institute, which was first mentioned in #8, is resolved with the identity of Lockheed.

Kitty’s reference to “Doug” no doubt refers to the late Doug Ramsey, who possessed the power to understand any language he was exposed to.

Tinkertoys are simple wooden toys created in the early 20th century. They are composed of wooden spools each with multiple holes, in which sticks may be inserted, making thousands of combinations of shapes.

Special Agent Brand’s wish that “someone would prophesy the end of those clowns,” might be a reference to the current storyline running in Uncanny X-Men – “the Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire.”

George the Third was the king of Great Britain and Ireland during the time of the American Revolutionary War.

Issue Information: 
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