Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #36

Issue Date: 
April 2011
Story Title: 
Monstrous part 1

Daniel Way (writer), Jason Pearson (penciler), Karl Story (inker), Sonia Oback (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Jason Pearson (cover art), Michael Kaluta & Dave Stewart (variant cover art), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

A hired Mentallo leads a Roxxon-chartered trip to Monster Island. Their goal, to plunder the oil reserves hidden deep beneath the island. Their problem, the giant monsters riddling the island. That’s where Mentallo comes in as he heads the expedition toward the center of the island. A giant monster attacks and after one of the men is sliced in half they run back to the ship as fast as they can. Mentallo stays behind to hold off the creature. When Mentallo receives word they’re safely on the ship he orders a sea monster to kill them all. Elsewhere, Armor and Wolverine are in a Danger Room training session when all of a sudden Armor’s powers flare up. It turns out her mother and brother died, thereby increasing her powers. Armor, Wolverine, Cyclops and Emma all travel to Japan to take Hisako to meet with her father as they plan the funeral arrangements. Wolverine goes solo to hit up a nearby bar. Before he gets to his intended destination the monstrous Fin Fang Foom comes stomping toward him.

Full Summary: 

Sea of Japan

A lone figure, his hands resting on a guardrail, stands out on the deck of a Roxxon freighter. Mentallo is his name, or at least that’s what he wants to go by when the head of Roxxon’s science team comes up top to join him. Gadsden jokes that that sounds just like a magician’s name. Mentallo continues to look out over the sea, pretending to be amused by the comment.
The oblivious Gadsden wants to know more about the island they’re traveling to, Kaibutsu Jima. “Monster Island,” Mentallo corrects him. Gadsden cautions him on using that name around the other men, as they’re already spooked. “As they should be,” Mentallo assures him.
The island, and all its wonders, lies before them. On the west bank giant crabs and shadowy dinosaur-like creatures roam the coast. On a nearby outcrop of rocks a rather long, serpentine creature splashes its tail in the water, the top half of its body obscured by the other side of the rocks. Near the large, billowing volcano at the center of the island there are dozens of circling pterodactyls.
Gadsden goes over the plan once more with Mentallo. First, they have to set off eleven exploratory detonations. Then their drill teams will bore deep into the ground to where the true treasure lies. Gadsden doesn’t need to remind him that if those detonations aren’t perfect the volcano will fully erupt, and the resulting tsumani would hit both Koreas, the Russian coast and most of Japan. Worst of all, Gadsden explains, all of Monster Island would be turned into a slag heap and they’d never be able to drill through to the billions of gallons of oil under the island.
The only reason Japan sold Roxxon the island, Gadsden explains, was because they didn’t think they would be crazy enough to drill it, plus they’re economy’s not the greatest. Mr. “diarrhea of the mouth” continues talking away, telling Mentallo how glad he is Roxxon picked him over of one of those grenade-popping merc squads they keep on retainer. He says it could’ve proven disastrous if they get attacked with all these explosives they’re carrying. Still staring out at the island Mentallo guarantees they will be attacked, but tells Gadsden not to worry as he has plenty of tricks up his sleeves.
Utopia, Danger Room

“Surprise,” Wolverine yells as he leaps, claws out, at a horde of Brood closing in on himself and Armor. Armor demands to know what he’s doing there as this was supposed to be her test. As she lands a Brood-puncturing kick Wolverine tells her they’re a team and they fight like a team. Ssssak--! go his claws as they penetrate a Brood’s elongated dome.
From the control room Emma and Scott watch the battle unfold. The ever sarcastic Emma asks if Wolverine’s statement to Armor was “ironic” or “hypocritical.” Cyclops said he told Wolverine to say that. In fact, the reason he sent in Wolverine was to force Armor to use her mostly defensive mutant power in conjunction with an offensive member of the team. “But more importantly…” he starts, leaving Emma to see for herself what he’s referring to.
Down below Wolverine barks for Armor to watch her back, but the brash upstart cuts him off screaming that she knows. “Seriously! I got this,” she cries out, but Wolverine warns her not to be overconfident as things can get tricky.
When Logan turns around his face is looking very Broodish. He backhands Armor and she is knocked off her feet and sent flying backward.
“…she needs to learn to keep her guard up,” Scott finishes. Emma asks how long this test will last and Scott says it depends on how much she can take, but he told Wolverine not to go too far. Emma guesses fifteen minutes and the two lovers exchange a look.
Back in the Danger Room the Brood are gone. It’s just Armor and Wolverine. He tells the kid this is her real test and she’s about to fail. They both stare at each other; Armor with a fierce look on her face.
“Holy…” Scott utters, a shocked look stretched across his face, the sounds of the battle loud and clear in the control booth. The scene below is not what one would expect between the battle-hardened Wolverine and a nubile upstart. However, Hisako’s armor had somehow grown to gigantic proportions and Wolverine is squished like a bug up against the Danger Room wall by her outstretched hand.
At first the Hisako can’t understand how she accomplished that. Either does Wolverine who drops to the floor just as confused when she dissipates her armor form. Then it hits her, the cold hard truth. As if to verify her worries the cell phone on her hip starts to ring. Before she answers she tells Wolverine that someone is probably calling her to tell her someone died.
Monster Island

The boarding team slowly makes it’s way across the island. A giant roar startles the men and they begin frantically looking around the forested area for any sign of a monster. A sweaty Gadsden, water bottle in hand, asks his man Tyler how close they are to the detonation site. “Hold on, I’m…” is all he has time to say before the massive, taloned paw of a turtle-like creature plants itself right in front of them. Mentallo looks up at the creature unafraid and says, “Very close.
Utopia, Danger Room

Tears streaming down her face Hisako relays the news to the trio of X-Men. Between sobs she tells them her mother and brother are both dead. The three adults look down with pity at the young girl.
Cyclops is the first to speak, expressing how sorry they are for her loss. Hisako continues rambling on bringing up how her father’s brother died when he was very young. “…It should’ve been me. I should’ve been there,” she mutters quietly.
“I beg your pardon?” Emma asks in response to Hisako’s words. Logan cautions her to stop right there and then takes Armor around the shoulder. He comforts her with words of solace and says if she needs anything they’re there for her. At first Hisako doesn’t know what to say, but then she asks for a ride to the airport. Scott refuses her request. Instead, he offers up the Blackbird… for all of them.
On board the X-Men’s jet Logan and Hisako sit side by side. She tells Logan they really didn’t have to accompany her, but he reminds her of what he said earlier, “X-Men are a team, but more’n that, we’re a family.” With that, the Blackbird leaves the hangar en route to Japan.
Monster Island

Gadsden orders his men to run, the monstrous turtle beast looks ferocious. Before taking off himself Gadsden grabs Mentallo by the shirt and asks why he’s not %$&@ protecting them. With a slight smile on his face Mentallo tells him that it was Roxxon, not he, who promised him protection.
Before the argument can continue a loud anguished scream cuts through the air. The two men turn just in time to see the upper torso of Barnes falling to the ground. The turtle monster, blood slavering from its mouth, growls as it closes in on Gadsden and Mentallo. Before it chomps down on another meal Mentallo holds out his arm towards the creature and yells, “STOP!”
The creature does as commanded. Then Mentallo turns and tells Gadsden to take the rest of the men out of there. Gadsden starts to ask Mentallo what he’ll be doing, but the mesmerizing mutant says he’ll be fine, that he has the situation under control.

The X-Men step out from a cab on a busy Tokyo street to find Hisako’s dad waiting for them. She introduces the rest of the gang to her dad. He gives them a curt “hello” and then Hisako takes leave with him.
Once they’re gone Emma comments on the dad’s brusqueness, but Scott reasons that everybody deals with grief in their own way. Logan hails a cab and when the driver asks if he’s American, he quickly responds “Canadian” and asks to be taken to the nearest bar.
Monster Island coast

The survivors are back onboard the ship. Gadsden grabs a radio and reports to Mentallo they’ve made it back. “Congratulations,” is all Mentallo says. Gadsden was expecting more and after a pause asks him if he’s coming since the operation is a bust. Mentallo disagrees, calling it a raging success. Gadsden has no idea what Mentallo’s getting at, but it’s obvious something screwy is going on. He radios back that they’re leaving.
His eyes flashing red Mentallo tells Gadsden he’s wrong about that. That’s when a huge leviathan freak of nature emerges from the water. It wraps one tentacle around the ship upheaving the large freighter and breaking it apart. All cargo and men go flailing overboard into the deadly waters.
Roxxon Corporate Headquarters, Dubai

Over a dozen people are seated on either side of a long, executive table in what looks like a boardroom. The shadowy figure running the meeting starts off by saying, “Gentlemen. We have a situation.”

The happy go-lucky cab driver tries making conversation with Logan, but he’s not in the mood. When asked if he’s visiting for business or pleasure, Logan replies, “Neither.” Before the one-sided conversation can go further the cab jumps slightly into the air jarring Logan from his seat. He tells the cabbie to watch the potholes, but the petrified man tells him it wasn’t a pothole.
The cabbie tries putting it into reverse, but doesn’t get far. He then takes off running on foot. Logan gets out of the car and yells after him, but when he turns around he sees what it was that scared the man. Staring up into the air he gives Emma a little telepathic nudge and asks her to look through his eyes to see what he sees. “An’ no… I ain’t started drinking yet,” he finishes.
What Logan sees, and what scared the cab driver into hysteria, is the giant, fire breathing form of Fin Fang Foom marching his way through the city streets. Eyes glowing amber yellow, his mouth flaming slightly with billowing smoke roiling past his head, the giant creature seems to look in the general direction of Mr. Wolverine.

Characters Involved: 

Armor, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Wolverine (all X-Men)
Mr. Ichiki

Fin Fang Foom
Brewer (Roxxon board director)

Gadsden, Tyler, Barnes (all named Roxxon mercenaries)

Story Notes: 

Mentallo last appeared in the pages of Avengers Academy #6. In that issue he fought against Reptil and lost.
Roxxon is worldwide petroleum company known for its shady business dealings.
Monster Island first made its appearance in Fantastic Four (1st series) #1.
This is the first time we’ve seen how Hisako’s ancestral powers are affected by a family member’s death.
It’s pretty clear the Roxxon board member closest on the right side of the table is a woman. Hopefully she wasn’t offended when Brewer referred to her and everyone else as “gentlemen.”
Fin Fang Foom was last seen in human form working as a chef in a Chinese restaurant at the Baxter Building. (Fin Fang Four #1-4)
On the final splash page featuring Fin Fang Foom there’s a billboard lit up on the left showing a shadowed picture of Godzilla, a famous movie monster known for its large size and for attacking Japanese cities.

Issue Information: 
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