Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #35

Issue Date: 
October 2010
Story Title: 

Warren Ellis (writer), Phil Jiminez (breakdowns), Andy Lanning (finishes), Frank D’Armata (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher

Brief Description: 

The X-Men reach Kaga’s base and fight their way to him. What they find is a wizened, deformed old man. Kaga tells them that he was one of the world’s true first mutants, a victim of the Hiroshima bombing. Despite his genius, he was despised and hated. He began to hope when he heard there were mutants in America, only to lean they were beautiful, perfect people. Full of hatred, he decided to kill them all. Cyclops tells him the X-Men will get their revenge on him by doing their best to ensure Kaga will lead a long life. When they realize that he might have a bomb in his wheelchair, Armor warns Kaga that she can make sure she and he will stay alive and she will also follow Cyclops’ orders. Beaten, Kaga gives up. When Wolverine then hits him (just in case), it leads to a heated and angry discussion, with Emma sarcastically noting to Brand she was once afraid she wasn’t moral enough for the X-Men and Cyclops wondering if he can somehow detonate Kaga’s bomb with Wolverine on top of it.

Full Summary: 

As their ship is entering the base of their mystery enemy, Cyclops asks Beast that this is a rescue ship, right? Fire-proof? Of necessity. Find him something that’s going to burn, he orders. Being a rescue ship, Hank points out that it doesn’t come with an onboard flamethrower. He bets it launches flares, Cyclops points out. He’s in no doubt that they are being observed. So let’s sharpen their attention and see if they can get some doors opened. And hopefully avoid being boiled.

He presses a button and the ship fires flares against all the different Brood / other enemy hybrids which catch fire as the ship flies on. Beast observes that, sooner or later, something with fuel in it is going to explode and they are going to be dashed against a wall or, if they are lucky, gently steamed in a fireball…

Wait for it, Scott orders. And indeed, an automatic door opens. They couldn’t just watch all this burn, he explains. There had to be an egress for emergency crews at the very least. Yes, “at the very least,” as the actress said to the bishop, Hank agrees. That doesn’t look very wide and he is not certain what Scott intends to do with it. Does Emma have this corrupting influence on everyone? Scott sighs. Emma regally announces she is not sure what that means.

Cyclops orders everyone to the middle of the plane and warns Emma not to shift into her diamond form as that would change the onboard weight and they’d all die. Except her, he supposes.

They obey and the plane flies through the too narrow door, losing both wings in the process. It slides onwards. An army is ready and expects them. He supposes it won’t fly again anyway, Cyclops muses. He wants one of these people in a condition to talk. X-Men are go! He blasts part of the hull away and the X-Men attack.

Armor tells Emma she only hit her foe in the head once, meaning he can still be questioned. She is such a good girl, Emma praises her. She thinks a shopping trip as a reward when they get home? Please don’t make her go to the bondage store again, Hisako begs. Oh please, Emma scoffs as she reads the man’s mind. The pink collar was in her size, too. A moment later, her eyes widen and she calls for Scott. Two levels up, she orders. It’s not good. When is it ever good? he asks rhetorically, as he fires upward to create a hole, after which he orders Wolverine and Armor up.

Wolverine protests. Last time she tried that, he nearly ended up as a meat smoothie. Armoring up, Hisako tells him not to be such a baby. He’ll almost definitely probably won’t die… She throws him upward through the hole Scott created. Oh for-- he swears when he sees what’s there and calls for Storm, who follows and hits the soldiers there with lightning bolts then she uses her winds to sweep her teammates up too.

Wolverine reaches the command center where he sees one lone figure sitting in a wheelchair. Right, bored with this crap now, he announces and unsheathes his claws. He orders the figure to turn around or not, his call. Ain’t like he’s got a soft spot for bald guys in wheelchairs.

The chair turns around and they finally see him, a wizened old man, horribly deformed both in face and body. Take a good look at Kaga, he tells them. Is he not a most glamorous mutant? Child of the atom. His mother survived Hiroshima. Look at him! He raises his claw-like hand, explaining these are not just developmental abnormalities. He has base-pair sequence changes within his DNA. He is the textbook definition of a mutant. But see! he shouts enraged. Where is his costume? Where are his superpowers? Where are his adoring crowds and his beautiful girlfriends? Nowhere to be seen! Look at them! The good mutants. Even Dr. McCoy there is a handsome beast! Kaga laughs mirthlessly.

They call themselves outcasts and outsiders, but look at them: they look like movie stars. Their clothing reeks of boastful sexuality, the fashion wear of action heroes. Do they think they have been badly treated by the world? Imagine their parents retching every time they see them. He had no avuncular professor to tend his ego. He only had his mind. By the age of sixteen, he was patenting technology through fronts and beards. By twenty-one, he was having to use that money to fund new medical processes to keep his failing body alive.

Can they imagine the joy he felt when he heard that in America there was a mutant generation standing up against a world that hated and feared them? For the first time, he dreamed he might have a family somewhere and that together they might make a kind of life where they didn’t have to hide in basement. And then he saw them. Perfect men and women who pose and punch people uglier than themselves.

He’s been planning to kill them for a long time. Years and years of murder science. Stealing DNA and information and creating an army. When M-Day happened and their ranks were reduced to under two hundred, he knew his time had come. Just a little longer. Strike teams in space. Bombers in low orbit. Sleeper agents. He could wipe them out…

She’s sorry, Emma announces bored. Was he still talking? She’s afraid, she’s tuned him out. All this because he doesn’t like the way they look? Couldn’t he have just written them a nasty email?

What was she expecting? Kaga shoots back. A master plan? A scheme to turn off the sun? This is the real world! Hatred and disgust are good enough reason to want to kill people!

Storm begins to look startled as Cyclops, a look of disgust on his face, reaches for his visor and it begins to open. Scott… Beast begins. Cyclops closes it again. ”Your prisoner, Agent Brand,” he states curtly. Really? Brand asks surprised. Yeah, maybe she can rustle them up a ride back home, too.

If they do not kill him, he will kill them, Kaga threatens. He will find a way. For as long as he has left to live. No, he won’t Cyclops addresses him. He won’t kill Kaga. He’s going to do something worse. He’s going to see to it that Mutantes Sans Frontieres’s medical funding is used to take the best possible care of Kaga until he dies of natural causes. Does he understand? They are going to care for him. Forever. You bastard, Kaga hisses.

Yeah, it’s been said, Cyclops replies. He turns to the others. All this because they are not like him. Story of their lives, Wolverine states. Yeah, but seriously, there a people who hate them because they are not outcast enough? Well, he had cause, Logan states. Can’t say that of everyone who tried to waste them. Speakin’ of… he gave up kind of easily, eh? For a man who spent that long thinking of ways to put them in the dirt…. Yeah, Cyclops agrees and just says “Emma,” who tries to telepathically read Kaga and finds she can’t.

They think he did all this and didn’t create a way to block a telepath? he shouts. They think he did all this and didn’t plan for a day when they came for him?

Konnichi wa, Armor greets him politely and tells him about her powers. She can create a forcefield around herself. Stronger than bombs. Impervious to gas. A total defense against anything he’s going to do. If she strains, she can enclose him in it, too. So only she and he will live through whatever happens then. She walks up to him. As the surviving member of the team, she’ll follow Cyclops’ instructions to the letter. He will still live in her care. No matter what happens next, he loses. There will always be X-Men.

Kaga stares at her and cries in helpless fury, then presses a button on his chair. Nothing happens; whatever weaponry he has is disarmed. So, Wolverine slugs him one. Storm and Beast react with disgust. What? he ask. He’s in his sixties! they protest. He can’t just—Hey! Wheelchair of death here, he points out. He switched it off! Armor shouts and pushes him. They don’t know what else he has here. He’s a crazy old man, he remarks. He’s a disabled old man, Hisako shouts back. She says potato, he says crazy old man with a wheelchair of death!

Watching the display, Emma remarks to Brand that she was once worried that she wouldn’t be kind or mature enough to join the X-Men. She can see how that’d be a concern, Brand agrees.

Cyclops addresses her, asking if she could find a radio in here and call in to SWORD HQ. He can have Storm deal with the fire once she’s done scolding Wolverine. What do they think his last resort was? A bomb? Probably, Brand agrees, why? He’s wondering if he could detonate it with Wolverine on top of it. Brand stares at him, mouth wide open in surprise.

Characters Involved: 

Armor, Beast, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Abigail Brand (director of SWORD)

Brood hybrids


Story Notes: 

This should be Exogenetic – part 5

This is the last issue of the Warren Ellis run (though he is telling one more story about the team in the “Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis” limited series). Starting with issue #36, the new creative team Daniel Way and Jason Pearson takes over.

“As the actress said to the bishop” is usually added as humorous remark after an inadvertent double entendre.

The “scheme to turn off the sun” might be a dig at the famous Sentinel story from X-Men (1st series) #59, where Cyclops convinces the Sentinels that they have to destroy the sun as it is the source of all mutations.

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