Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #41

Issue Date: 
October 2011
Story Title: 
Monstrous - conclusion

Daniel Way (writer), Nick Bradshaw (art), Rachelle Rosenberg (color art), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters), Salvador Larocca and Guru eFX (cover art), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonzo (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Mentallo captures Emma Frost and Wolverine. He explains that this moment and the innovative helmet he’s created is the culmination of his life’s work. He now plans to destroy the island and bury them both under millions of tons of rock. He leaves them to their fate, but he doesn’t get far before Wolverine manages to break free, deactivates the explosives he’s set and confront him. Mentallo tries to take control of the monsters again, but Cyclops appears and destroys the helmet. Not entirely helpless, he tries to use Scott to attack the others, but Emma gets the better of him. He makes his escape, but the creature appears carrying his bearer bonds in a shipping container. It lets go in order to deliver the goods to its master and the container seemingly kills Mentallo as it lands. The X-Men then take Armor back to Japan where her father humbly welcomes her back with open arms. Meanwhile, Roxxon’s Director Brewer is assassinated for being foolish enough to employ Mentallo in the first place.

Full Summary: 

Mentallo has captured Emma Frost and Wolverine. He has two monsters hold them whilst he gloats. He tells them that he’s had a very long time to think about what he would say if this moment came to pass. He’s spent time in prison, time living in destitution and time serving the will of idiots and egotistical fools. So many long, bitter years. It’s a speech that’s changed many times over the years but the essence has always remained the same. “You thought I was a joke,” he exclaims, “But looks who’s laughing now.” He opens his arms wide, showing off his little empire. He admits that he’s a little disappointed in how easy it was to capture them.

Wolverine says they were looking for him. How **** hard could it be? He shouldn’t go getting a swelled head or his dumb-ass helmet may not fit any more. He laughs a little, pleased with his witty put down. Mentallo replies that his “helmet” as Wolverine so ignorantly refers to it is the culmination of his life’s work and, he adds, the key component in orchestrating their long-overdue destruction. He is about to continue but Emma interjects and asks about that… the destruction part. She tells him he can correct her is he’s wrong, but she assumes his intent is to have these creatures eat them. If so, she points out that her body has the same molecular compound as a diamond, making her entirely indigestible. Her companion’s bones are infused with a metal called adamantium, which is quite unbreakable.

Wolverine says it looks like that plan’s out the window. He’d best hurry up and come up with a Plan B. “Hmm,” Emma adds. “Perhaps it would be helpful to put on your thinking cap?” She pauses for comedic effect. “Oh, wait…” Mentallo snarls but reckons they’re stalling. Are there others? he wonders. He thinks either there are and they’re buying time until the cavalry arrives or this is just a trick. So, the best thing for him to do, he surmises, is to move quickly. He tells Wolverine that he’ll continue with Plan A if he doesn’t mind. He explains that they won’t actually be eaten, but instead they’ll be buried under several million tons of volcanic rock.

He walks over to Emma and tells her that Roxxon sent him there to protect an oil drilling crew on an exploratory mission. Does she know what they brought with them? Emma replies that if it’s a drill she has a suggestion for what he can do with it. “Explosives…” replies Mentallo. “Lots of explosives. Explosives which are now armed.” He clicks a switch on a remote control and admits that he was going to detonate the volcano after he got his money as a simple “up yours” to Roxxon and everyone else who’s taken him for granted over the years. But, thanks to their timely advice…

Wolverine asks him to hold on. Did he do all this for money? Mentallo says of course. Does he think he did all this to be evil? Wolverine replies that wiping out an entire civilization is pretty **** evil. Mentallo laughs. Do the creatures look civilized to him? He asks the creatures if they are civilized and of course receives no answer. Wolverine asks if he’s trying to be funny, but Mentallo tells him he’s just trying to prove a point - that point being that the smart monsters will survive no matter what. He disappears, leaving the two X-Men to their fate.

Emma then asks why Wolverine was stalling. He asks if she thinks she can get all the monsters out of the cavern in case he can’t safely deactivate the explosives. She tells him she could if she could use her powers. Wolverine reckons the best way to use them is to get the monsters to chase her. Mentallo commanded them to keep her there, so if she makes a break for it they’ll do whatever it takes to obey that command. So, she should run fast and he’ll meet up with her topside. She asks him to answer her question. Logan replies that she’s not being very ladylike. Doesn’t she know she’s supposed to be patient with older folks?

(Roxxon Headquarters, Dubai)

Three large men enter the building and brush past Director Brewer’s secretary. The lead guy pulls on a pair of gloves as he walks. He tells Brewer that he can consider this formal notification of full termination. He points his finger at Brewer, Donald Trump-style. “You’re fired.” Brewer tells him he can’t but he replies that the board can. The vote was unanimous. Brewer finds all this unbelievable, but the guy replies that what is unbelievable is that he actually sent the bearer bonds. “Eight hundred million dollars! What were you thinking?” Director Brewer says there was no time. He had to make a decision.

The guy pulls out a pistol with a silencer and Brewer asks him to wait. He explains that the oil reserves beneath Monster Island are massive… unprecedented. It’s worth the ransom. The guy asks since when did Roxxon pay what resources are worth. They’re in the exploitation business. Has he forgotten that? He gives Brewer something else to mull over in his final few seconds. Mentallo, he explains, is insane. You can’t just pay guys like that off and cross your fingers. Once he has the bearer bonds, what’s to stop him demanding more? “Th-the X-Men?” asks brewer. “Wrong answer,” replies his assassin.

(Monster Island)

Through binoculars, Mentallo sees the large creature he sent return carrying the bearer bonds returning to the island. He congratulates himself on his achievement. He presses the switch to activate the explosives but hears nothing more than a rumble. Wolverine, who has managed to break free, then confronts him and says he might think he is a criminal mastermind, but to everyone else, he’s just a **** joke. Mentallo wonders why there’s been no explosion so Wolverine informs him that they have been deactivated. The rumbling he hears is the cavalry.

The monsters appear and encircle Mentallo, who still believes he has the upper hand. They’re still his cavalry. Wolverine asks Emma to explain. She appears, a little out of breath from running. Mentallo points out that she can’t control the monsters whilst in her diamond form. She can’t do anything! Emma replies that he’s wrong about that. She’d love to show him how wrong he is, but she thinks she’ll let her boyfriend handle that. Mentallo turns but it’s too late. An optic blast destroys his helmet and puts him on the ground. Cyclops appears carrying Armor over his shoulder. He tells them that he got to the cavern as quickly as he could but Armor and the Blackbird’s cloaking device are both heavier than they look. Armor, a little dazed, tells him that’s so not what a teenage girl wants to hear immediately upon regaining consciousness. Just so he knows.

Scott asks how she feels. Hisako tells him she’s exhausted and asks what she missed. Logan says nothing much which reminds him that he has Mentallo to deal with. He stands over the villain and informs him that they too have an island; a place where there’s nobody to try and control them. They deserve the island, just like these monsters deserve theirs. “Guess what you deserve?” Mentallo begins to break down. He cries that it wasn’t supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be his big score… the one he’s waited for all these years. My God, he realizes, he’s gonna die in prison. He then remembers that he has powers and informs the X-Men that he doesn’t need the helmet. Frost may be better than him, but she’s not faster.

He takes mental control over Cyclops and activates his optic blast. Emma diamonds up really quickly and the blast bounces off her, but Wolverine isn’t so lucky and he goes down hard. Emma reverts to human form and immediately forces Mentallo out of Scott’s mind. Unfortunately, this has given him the time to make his getaway. He runs through the forest, huffing and puffing, but soon comes across one of the island’s giant inhabitants. He uses his mental powers to force it back, but he then looks up to see the giant creature carrying his bearer bonds in a Roxxon shipping container. The creature lets go of it, obeying its command to bring it right to him. Mentallo cannot move in time and the container seemingly lands right on top of him. As it hits, the doors flip open and the eight hundred million in bearer bonds come flooding out.

Meanwhile, the X-Men make their way to the Blackbird and Wolverine does a good job repairing it. Logan asks Hisako if she’s all right. She says yes, but then adds that she doesn’t know. She can’t believe she slept through the mission. That’s so embarrassing. Wolverine reminds her that she saved their butts… twice. And it’s not like she took a nap. She fought to the limit of her endurance and beyond, so her body shuts down because it needed to recharge. Maybe, he adds, her body knew that the real battle isn’t the one she slept through. It’s the one to come.

(sometime later)

Hisako is returned to her home and she exits the Blackbird towards her waiting father. As she approaches him, he lowers his head and tells her that he is ashamed. “Please, forgive me,” he adds. He explains that when she left he was furious with her, but then he saw her. He tells her that to put her grief aside as she did in order to help others was a noble act in the face of despair. He admits that he has always been proud of her, but never more so than now. Still with his head lowered, he tells her that she brings great honor to him, and to their family. They hug tightly and tears flood from Hisako’s eyes.

Characters Involved: 

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


Monsters of Monster Island

Roxxon staff including Director Brewer

Hisako’s father

Story Notes: 

This issue follows Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #39.

Issue Information: 
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