Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #62

Issue Date: 
July 2013
Story Title: 

Staff: Marjorie Liu (writer), Gabriel Hernandez Walta (artist), Chris Peter (color artist), Virtual Calligraphy‘s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Phil Noto (cover artist), Jennifer M Smith (assistant editor), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Nick Lowe (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Mystique returns to the apartment she shares with Sabretooth in Tokyo. She takes a bath, when she suddenly finds herself under attack by Iceman. But Iceman is in New York, currently undergoing a therapy session to help him deal with recent events in his life. He goes to a café, where Kitty Pryde, Gambit and Karma are waiting for him, as an icy storm starts to brew outside. They discuss Apocalypse, briefly, before Iceman gets a surprise visitor – Polaris who claims Iceman asked her to meet him here. The troubles continue as Opal Tanaka and her young son, Robert arrive, with Opal also telling Iceman that they had previously arranged to meet here. Kitty grows more annoyed, and to top it all off, Annie Ghazikhanian, another of Iceman’s ex-girlfriends arrives next. They all start to leave, while a waitress has been watching them, and she reveals herself as Mystique when she departs, going to the apartment that Gambit has in the city, where she confronts him. They battle for a time, with Mystique giving him a warning about Iceman. At the Jean Grey School, Kitty spends some time talking to Wolverine about her relationship with Iceman, and how she misses Colossus - which Iceman overhears in the corridor. At Avengers Tower, Thor starts acting strangely. And, Iceman goes off on his own, traveling through the ice, snow and water, until he cracks his chest open, revealing the Apocalypse Seed inside. Later still, Opal reads to her son, while Annie tends to a victim of the cold at the hospital she works at - and Polaris dreams of Havok, before she is covered by ice.

Full Summary: 

Tokyo, Shibuya District, where a young woman walks through the busy streets. Tapping something into her mobile phone, she approaches a door and climbs the stairs to an apartment. As she does, her form changes from the young woman - to Raven Darkholme a.k.a. Mystique.

Inside the apartment, Victor Creed a.k.a. Sabretooth is seated at a table, watching several monitors with news reports about the X-Men. ‘What’s that?’ Raven asks Creed as she looks at a small cage on the table with three kittens in it. ‘A snack’ Creed replies. ‘Hey!’ he snarls when Mystique picks the cage up and takes it away from him.

Mystique goes into the bathroom and sits down in the bathtub, the hot water covering her body. The three kittens are on the floor, out of the cage, and they look at her gun, on its holster, hanging over a chair. ‘Hand ‘em over, Mystique!’ Sabretooth shouts through the wall. Mystique just tells him to go away, as he is boring her. She sinks back into the water, when suddenly, from the vapor, hands reach up to her. ‘What the…’ Mystique exclaims, as she is pushed back, ice now pushing her back in the bathtub. She reaches for her gun, and starts firing into the bathtub as she manages to escape it. ‘Show yourself right the hell now!’ she shouts. The kittens are at her feet as she utters ‘Damn it, Bobby’.

In the meantime, half a world away:

‘I’ve been having nightmares, Doc’ Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman confesses. He adds that he has never had great dreams, not since he was a kid, but that these are different - they feel real. The doctor asks Bobby what he is doing in these nightmares, to which he explains that he isn’t doing anything - just sitting in the dark, in the snow or in the middle of ice, but the nightmare comes from what he is feeling - hunger. The doctor asks Bobby to explain why that hunger frightens him. ‘Because I’m not hungry for food’ Bobby responds. ‘I’m hungry for something else…’ his voice trails off, as the doctor suggests ‘Love. Intimacy. Connection’.

Bobby looks away as he sits on a chair in the psychiatrist’s office, while the psychiatrist tells the mutant hero that it seems to him, that his nightmare is about craving those things. ‘That’s nothing to be afraid of, Bobby’ the psychiatrist assures him, but Bobby replies that it feels pretty dark. ‘Of course it does. Intimacy requires vulnerability. And being vulnerable is the one thing you fear most’ the psychiatrist explains. The psychiatrist continues, telling Bobby that it is common among people in his… profession, as so much rides on being strong, invulnerable. Bobby rubs one of his wrists as the psychiatrist adds ‘But that’s not real life, is it? The stresses are overwhelming. So are the sacrifices. Mistakes cost lives. You can’t have a bad day when so much is at stake’. Bobby continues to look away as the psychiatrist tells him that all of that is bound to affect other parts of his life. ‘Sure’ Bobby replies casually. ‘But you sound like you don’t quite believe it. Bobby?’ the psychiatrist suggests, but gets no response, as Bobby looks away nervously.

When the session is over, Bobby walks down the snow-covered sidewalk, hands in his pocket, head hanging. He reaches a café and enters. Several of his teammates - the X-Men based at the Jean Grey School - are inside, sitting a table reading reports. ‘I thought you wanted to restructure, Shan. Maybe even sell Hatchi Tech’ Kitty Pryde asks Xian Coy Manh a.k.a. Karma, who tells her friend that she did, but that after going over the projections her sister was developing, she doesn’t know if any of them can afford to let the company go. Remy “Gambit” LeBeau tells Kitty that Karma is right, as Hatchi was making some dangerous toys, so if Shan sells, they will just end up with someone else. ‘Better we have ‘em, non?’ he points out.

‘Hey, Kitty’ Bobby greets her. Kitty looks up at Bobby and tells him that she is so glad he is here, as Hatchi Tech’s books are in a mess, and they need his accountant super-power. Bobby leans down and kisses Kitty, who is slightly taken aback. ‘What? You act like I never kiss you’ Bobby tells her. Kitty replies that she didn’t know they were at the public display of affection stage. ‘Nothing to be embarrassed about, Kitty’ Bobby remarks, to which Kitty points out that she didn’t say that.
A waitress comes over and tells the quartet that her manager just told the staff they are closing early today because of the storm, so if they have any final orders, she needs to take them now. Karma points out that it isn’t even noon, and asks if the storm is going to get that bad. ‘Sure you haven’t been playing with the weather?’ Kitty smiles at Bobby, while Gambit asks Karma if she hasn’t been watching the news. ‘Practically calling it the apocalypse out there’ he declares. Bobby’s eyes go wide, and he does not look impressed.

‘Apocalypse? You think that’s funny?’ Bobby asks as he jumps to his feet and starts pointing his finger at Gambit. ‘It is!’ Gambit replies. Bobby tells him ‘Don’t use that $#% word at this table, Gambit’. ‘Ooookay, never mind’ the waitress mutters, walking away from them.
‘Bobby’ Kitty calls out, grabbing his arm, his hand has turned to ice, and he has covered the table in ice as well. ‘Sorry. I’m really sorry’ Bobby replies as he retracts the ice and sits down. Bobby admits that he is still not over what they had to deal with in that other world. ‘Hearing you say… apocalypse… triggered something’. Karma points out that it has only been a month, and tells Bobby that it is okay. Gambit apologizes to Bobby, and tells him that he knows what it is like. Bobby informs his friends that he has been on edge lately, not sleeping well. ‘You haven’t mentioned that’ Kitty replies, concerned. She puts her head into her hands when Bobby replies that he didn’t want to bother her with it. ‘I just need to… chill out. Ha ha’ he laughs. Gambit and Karma look up, ’If you’re stressed now…’ Gambit begins. ’Run, Bobby. Run for the hills’ Karma tells him.

Bobby and Kitty turn around to the door, where Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris is standing. ’Hello, Bobby. Sorry I’m late’ Lorna smiles. She is wearing a long purple coat and walks over to Bobby, kissing him on the lips. ‘Mmm… you taste as good as I remember’ Lorna remarks. ‘Uh… wow’ Kitty utters, wide-eyed. Lorna sits down next to Bobby and reminds him that he told her it was just going to be the two of them. ‘Not that I mind, it’s lovely seeing all of you. Been too long, especially you, Gambit. Remember when we were two of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Haha, that was hilarious’ Lorna declares. ‘What?’ Bobby utters, looking at Kitty.
Polaris tells everyone that it’s ugly weather out there, and that she should have just worn boats instead of her Christian Louboutins. ‘Of course, I solved that problem by simply floating over the snow’ she adds. ‘Oh, mutant powers, it’s like magic sometimes’.

When she gets no response, she turns to Bobby and asks ‘Um… hello?’ Bobby looks back at her and tells her that it is great seeing her, but that they haven’t talked in years. ‘Is that some kind of joke?’ Lorna asks, seriously. ‘Er… no’ Bobby tells her. Lorna reminds him that he has been texting her for weeks, and that they have spoken on the phone. ‘It was your voice’ she insists. ‘You said you missed me’.
Bobby smiles and tells Lorna that he does miss her, but that it wasn’t him who contacted her. ‘Bobby, if this is another prank -’ Lorna begins, while Kitty looks sceptical, and someone calls out ‘Bobby!’ This causes Bobby, Kitty and Lorna to turn around, so they face a woman in a gray coat, with a little boy at her side, all wrapped up in a puffer jacket to keep warm. ‘Oh my God. Opal?’ Bobby gasps at seeing Opal Tanaka and her son Robert.

Kitty frowns, while Karma covers her mouth in shock, and Gambit grins. ‘Mon dieu. Ex-girlfriends. Current girlfriend. This is my idea of hell’ he remarks. ‘Shut up. You know you’re loving it’ Karma tells him.
Bobby gets up and goes over to Opal, telling her that he can’t believe she is here as he puts his hands on her shoulders. ‘Neither can I’ Opal replies. ‘No, really’ Bobby declares, before asking her why she is here. Karma walks over to the little boy. ‘Your name’s Robert, right? Why don’t I get you a… cookie’ she offers, leading him to the counter, away from the confusion.
‘Why are you here?’ Bobby asks Opal. She asks him what he is talking about. ‘You invited me here. I was going to be in town for my book tour, and -’ Opal begins, before Bobby asks ‘Wait, you’re a writer now?’ Opal frowns at him, before turning to the X-Men and asking ‘What the hell is wrong with him?’ ‘Everything’ Kitty replies, arms folded, clearly unimpressed.

Bobby tells Opal that he has not talked to her in over a year, that he would remember. ‘We’ve been duped. And someone is definitely getting a laugh out of this’ Lorna mutters, while Opal tells Bobby that it was his voice, that the texts came from his number. ‘I can show you’ she offers, but Bobby tells her that he believes her, and remarks that someone is just trying to ruin his life. ‘It’s nuts. Who would do this?’ he asks. ‘Is it really that bad seeing me?’ Opal asks. ‘God, no. Opal…I…’ Bobby’s voice trails off, when suddenly some asks: ‘Er…hello?’ Bobby turns around. ‘Hi, Bobby’ a woman remarks. ‘$#%#. Annie’ Bobby gasps. Gambit tells the other that few men can handle so many beautiful women. Kitty tells him to shut up. ‘Wow… you… don’t look happy to see me’ Annie points out.

Kitty gets to her feet and puts her coat on. ‘Greetings, former girlfriends-of-Bobby-Drake. Let’s all go somewhere else, okay? We obviously need to talk’. ‘I need a drink’ Polaris announces as she too puts her coat on. ‘Oh, save it. You can’t even handle orange juice without getting a sugar high’ Kitty declares cruelly.
Annie looks at Opal and asks her if she is also Bobby’s ex-girlfriend. ‘Yup’ Opal confirms as she takes her son’s hand. ‘This reminds me of why I stopped working for the X-Men’ Annie remarks. ‘Is that how you met Bobby? I was working in a music shop…’ Opal begins. ‘Someone kill me’ Polaris mutters as she follows them out. ‘You are so dead, Mister’ Kitty warns Bobby.

Bobby, Gambit and Karma follow the women out of the café, while Bobby tells them that this isn’t his fault, that he doesn’t know who called the women. ‘That’s not why Kitty’s angry, mon ami’ Gambit explains as he walks off. ‘You were happy to see them. And she saw it’ Karma tells Bobby, before she leaves as well. Bobby hangs his head, and the waitress in the café sees him, before turning and leaving out the back entrance - where Mystique returns to her default form. Someone else working in the café sees the open door at the rear and rushes over - but looking into the alleyway at the back of the café, all they see is a dog running away.

The city is blanketed in snow now, as a an announcer reports that forecasters are not calling it the storm of the century, but predicting that this unrelenting blast of cold air could spell worldwide disaster. The announcer continues, stating that crops across the southern United States have been destroyed and that farmers in South America are reporting huge losses as this cold front sweeps down into the tropics, and scientists are at a loss to explain the weather, which they are calling “Apocalyptic”. The announcer asks whether they might be seeing the beginning of a new Ice Age.

‘That is the most ridiculous story I’ve ever heard. Bobby is so screwed’ Jubilee tells Gambit via mobile phone as Gambit sits on a bed wearing only his underwear, and eating some food, while reading some letters. ‘Nothing that I haven’t gone through and survived, non? He’ll be fine’ Gambit assures Jubilee, who replies ‘You love it’. Gambit brushes her off and asks her if she is drinking the blood of any handsome young men, to which Jubilee replies that she is just trying to stay warm, as it is snowing real hard where she is. Gambit informs Jubilee that it is snowing in New Orleans, and he would believe anything right now, adding that even Storm doesn’t know what is going on. ‘So, listen, I was thinking of coming back to -’ Jubilee begins, when Gambit tells her to hold that thought, as he has to go. He hangs up the phone, and looks up, to see Mystique standing in his room.

‘Why yes, Remy. You do’ Mystique smiles. ‘Always in a rush, Mystique. Want some?’ Gambit asks, offering her some pie. ‘You’re a slob’ Mystique tells him, aiming her weapon at him. ‘It’s peach’ Gambit explains, but Mystique replies that she only eats apple. ‘Too bad’ Gambit mutters as he throws the plate towards her. ‘You stupid -’ Mystique begins, as she fires the gun, but Gambit grabs his bo staff and dodges the bullet. ‘Go on, chere. I love a compliment’ Gambit jokes. ‘Oh, I’m going to rip you apart’ Mystique snarls as the staff strikes her in the cheek. ‘Cute’ Gambit says as Mystique morphs her body so that two tentacles sprout from her back, and she uses them to try and strike him, but Gambit leaps back over the bed, and picks up a necklace that is lying on the bed. He charges it with kinetic energy, and throws it at Mystique, striking her in the face. ‘I should just… kill you… right now’ Mystique declares when she composes herself, lunging for her gun, at the same time Gambit does.

Mystique wraps a tentacle around Gambit’s neck, pulling him back, while Gambit points out that Mystique would have dropped a bomb on his apartment if she really wanted him dead. ‘I hope you die. All you X-Men, murdered horribly in a wood-chipper’ Mystique snaps, aiming her gun at Gambit’s head. ‘That sounds more like love than hate’ Gambit smiles, to which Mystique just tells him to shut up. She turns him around to face her, and announces that she has come to give a warning about Bobby Drake. Remy tells Mystique that he wondered if she was behind all those ex-girlfriends of his showing up today, and asks her if she has got a reason, other than being flat-out sadistic? ‘I had nothing to do with those women. I assure you, I’m not that bored’ Mystique replies.

‘You expect me to believe that?’ Gambit asks. ‘You already do. I can see it in your eyes’ Mystique replies, adding that something is wrong with Bobby. ‘What?’ Gambit asks. But Mystique confesses that she doesn’t know. ‘You don’t know. But you came all the way here to warn me that something is wrong’ Gambit mutters as Mystique frees him from her tentacles, which disappear. Gambit drops to his knees to pick up a photograph of Jubilee that he was looking at earlier, while telling Mystique ‘If only you hadn’t cried wolf all those years and told so many lies’. ‘Don’t forget I stabbed the lot of you in the back, again and again, and again’ Mystique points out. ‘I still got the scars’ Remy tells her, adding that so does Bobby. ‘He loved you, once’ Remy reminds her.

‘Yes, well. Men tend to do that with me’ Mystique points out, picking up some jewelry that was on the bed, and she tells Remy ‘I’ve given you a warning. The rest is up to you’. ‘You’ve told me nothing’ Remy replies. ‘I’m here, aren’t I? That tells you everything’ Raven replies, adding that as should today’s little soap opera. ‘You might at least agree that was unusual’ she points out. But Gambit tells Raven that it doesn’t explain why she cartes what happens to Bobby. ‘No, I suppose it doesn’t’ Raven admits, suggesting they keep it simple and call it a debt. As she stands before the door, ready to leave, Raven smiles at Gambit and tells him that she left him something. Gambit turns to his kitchen table, where the three little kittens are waiting for him. ‘Huh’ Remy remarks.

At the Jean Grey School, in Westchester, snow covers the grounds, as Bobby approaches Kitty’s room. He enters, asking her if she is awake, as they need to talk about yesterday. But he finds her room in darkness, her bed empty.

‘Hey, did I wake you?’ Logan a.k.a. Wolverine asks Kitty as she enters the kitchen to find him cooking some food. Kitty huddles into her dressing gown and replies that she couldn’t sleep, and then smelt the meat. ‘Delicious, juicy, meat’ she adds. ‘Well, come on then’ Logan tells his friend. Kitty informs him that she needs some relationship advice. ‘No’ Logan tells her. ‘You haven’t heard my problem’ Kitty points out. Logan tells her that it doesn’t matter, as it is too early in the morning for feelings. They sit at the bench as Kitty asks Logan if he knows she has been dating Bobby. ‘I mean, it’s not serious or anything. Or maybe it is, I don’t know. We’re just taking things day by day. No big deal. Like, totally casual. That’s smart, right? I’m trying to be smart about this’ Kitty exclaims.

Kitty informs Logan that this afternoon there was this thing that happened - this crazy thing - and it was like Bobby forgot she was there, that she didn’t exist anymore. Kitty adds that when it happened, all she could think was Piotr Rasputin would not have done that. ‘I’m trying to eat this steak Logan replies. Kitty ignores his remark and tells him that it is nuts, remarking that if Piotr came back, she doesn’t even know if they could be together again - not like they were. ‘But I remembered what we had…and there was nothing trivial about the way Peter loved me. I mattered. I never felt forgotten’ Kitty tells Logan. Kitty turns away and states that she wishes she could forget - for every time she thinks she is ready to move on, something happens that makes her miss him all over again. ‘Peter was the love of my life. And I guess… there’s a part of me that things…’ her voice trails off.

‘You can have him again’ Wolverine finishes Kitty’s sentence for her. ‘That’s crazy, right? He tried to destroy the world. He even tried to destroy me’ Kitty points out. ‘Welcome to relationships, darling’ Wolverine smiles. Kitty tells him to shut up. ‘What? Take it from an old man. There’s a reason so many women want to kill me’ Logan tells her. ‘And the ones who don’t?’ Kitty asks. ‘I miss them’ Wolverine tells her as Kitty leans her head on his shoulder, and he puts an arm around her, while, Bobby, in his ice form, stands outside the kitchen, listening to them. He grits his teeth, his form changes slightly, jagged shards of ice appear on his head as his eyes glow red.

Meantime, at Avengers Tower, ‘Jeez. Gods are such sore losers’ She-Hulk remarks as she, Hawkeye and the Black Widow, gathered around a poker table with Thor, stare at the Norse deity. ‘I don’t think he’s foaming at the mouth because he lost a hand of poker’ the Black Widow remarks, while Hawkeye asks her if she is experimenting with those old Russian poisons again. ‘I only paralyzed you for a week’ the Black Widow reminds him, adding that he needs to let that go. Thor then utters ‘Fimbulveter…’ over and over.

‘It’s the end of the world. That’s my other dream. There’s nothing left. Not even me. I feel my soul breaking apart, like I’m the snow. And what scares me is that I don’t care. Sometimes I think I’d like to lose myself. It would be easier to disappear. Become someone new. But I don’t think I could. Even if I tried. I’m not that lucky’ Bobby thinks to himself. His becomes one with the snow flakes, falling over the harbor. He merges with the water, and washes past some men out fishing. Penguins swim alongside him, as he approaches an icy landscape. His body reforms as he moves along the ice, until he is in his Iceman form once more. He pulls his chest open, and inside, there is a pink glow. He then evaporates himself in the form of a mushroom cloud - like a nuclear explosion.

In her hotel room, Opal reads a book, while lies next to her. She tells him that tomorrow they will play in the snow.

At the hospital where she works, Annie sits with a man wrapped in a blanket and tells him that he is safe from the storm, that he is nice and warm now, and they will take good care of him.

At the Jean Grey School, Logan tells Kitty that they should get some coffee, and adds that Betsy isn’t having any of it. ‘And she takes that sword of hers and threatens to cut off his -’ Logan begins.

And, Lorna lies in bed, ‘Havok…’ she utters in a restless sleep, before suddenly waking, wide-eyed in horror, she is unable to scream as ice suddenly blankets her….

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Iceman, Karma, Kitty Pryde, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Polaris (member of X-Factor)

Jubilee (voice only)

Opal Tanaka

Robert Tanaka

Annie Ghazikhanian

Mystique & Sabretooth

Black Widow, Hawkeye, She-Hulk, Thor (all Avengers)


Story Notes: 

The incident in the other world that Bobby refers to took place in the “X-Termination” crossover with the Age of Apocalypse.

Polaris and Gambit were both Horsemen of Apocalypse in the “Blood of Apocalypse” storyline [X-Men (2nd series) #182-185].

Opal Tanaka was Bobby’s girlfriend during his time as a member of the original X-Factor, and one of the book’s main supporting cast. When Bobby returned to the X-Men, Opal made the transition to a supporting character in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) and X-Men (2nd series) for a brief time, but like most other girlfriends and human supporting cast members, was eventually written out, with X-Men (2nd series) #39 being her last appearance until Iceman (2nd series) #1-4, which also introduced her son, Robert (named after Bobby, but not his son). Opal has not been seen since then, although Bobby thought he was reunited with her in X-Men Manifest Destiny #1, but it was only Mystique posing as her.

Annie Ghazikhanian was the nurse whom Havok was involved with when he was about to marry Polaris. Havok and Annie began a relationship, while Polaris and Annie hated each other. Iceman and Annie never got on, but they kissed at Havok and Polaris’s bachelor / bachelorette parties, before Havok and Annie began their committed relationship. Annie was also somewhat anti-mutant, and eventually left the Xavier Institute with her son, Carter, after breaking up with Havok. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #421-434, X-Men (2nd series) #157-164]. She hasn’t been seen since then.

Jubilee says “Listen, I was thinking of coming back to -”, which is a reference to her upcoming arrival at the Jean Grey School in X-Men (4th series) #1.

Iceman was with Mystique over the course of X-Men (2nd series) #190-203 until she betrayed him.

Polaris is calling out for Havok in her sleep. Havok left Polaris and X-Factor Investigations to join the Avengers Unity Squad in X-Factor (1st series) #245.
In Norse mythology the Fimbulwinter is the long harsh winter that comes before Ragnarok – the end of the world.

Issue Information: 
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