Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #67

Issue Date: 
November 2013
Story Title: 

Marjorie Liu (writer), Amilcar Pinna (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: 

A young woman called Wendy is infatuated with the X-Men and super heroes. She lives in a small town and struggles to fill out her college applications. Her parents and her sister try to give her advice about getting out of the town. At the diner where her sister works, she gets the surprise of her life when Wolverine and Gambit walk in. They have come searching for a strange alien that they have been tracking. Wolverine and Gambit ask her if she has noticed anything strange in town, but she stumbles when she tries to reply. She races out of the diner after them, and alerts them to the alien on Gambit’s car. A large alien ship appears overhead, and transports Wolverine, Gambit, Wendy and the car with the little alien inside it. After examining their new surroundings, they find the baby alien in the trunk of the car. The alien ship wraps tentacles around the three, and enters Wendy’s mind, seeing her visions of herself fighting alongside the X-Men and other super heroes. The older alien speaks to Wolverine and Gambit and reveals that the little alien ran away because it was afraid of growing up, of becoming a ship like this one, but discovered that being alone is more frightening than the transformation. It explains that it would have killed them had they harmed the child, but it saw in Wendy’s mind trust and comfort. Wendy is embarrassed that they saw her fantasy, and when the alien releases them and disappears. Wolverine and Gambit give Wendy some advice and comforting words about belonging, and return her home. Wendy finds a note from Wolverine, before getting to her college applications.

Full Summary: 

The snow and ice slowly melts in a suburban neighborhood where a young woman sits in her room, tapping away at her laptop, she writes: “- the ship rocketed high above the Earth, higher and higher, pressing the kidnapped girl against thr seat the aliens had strapped her to. She struggled against her bonds, fighting with all her strength, desperately trying to regain control over her ability to turn into fire. The aliens had injected Wendy with a serum to block her powers, but she could feel the fire still burning inside her. If she could only fight through the haze, push beyond the wall - she might have a chance to free herself. She couldn’t let the aliens take her. The secrets she had been given by Wolverine had to stay safe. But suddenly, an explosion! The ship rocked sideways, making Wendy’s head spin. Aliens began screaming. A familiar snarl filled the air and through the smoke, a burly silhouette appeared. “Wolverine!” Wendy shouted. “Watch your back!” But it was too late. An alien warrior managed to slip the nuclear noose over his head, cinching it into place. In seconds, if she couldn’t help him, his entire body would melt into a ball of adamantium goo. Seeing her friend in need - watching the horror in his eyes - was finally enough to push Wendy over the edge. With a scream, she reached inside herself - and found the fire”.

The young woman is sitting at her desk, photos of super heroes on a board next to her, she reads “Get away from him” she shouted at the aliens, unleashing a… a maelstrom… upon them, incinerating their flesh, burning them back from Wolverine. When she reached his side, he pushed her away. “It’s too late for me” he growled. “Never” she told him, and -” Suddenly, ‘Wendy?’ a voice calls out. Wendy turns around and sees her mother standing over her. ‘I didn’t expect you home for another hour’ Wendy tells her mother, who explains that she traded with another nurse so her night shift ended a little early. ‘What are you working on?’ Wendy’s mother asks. ‘Um… something for English class. I’m writing a paper about the X-Men. Um… the impact of mutants in our contemporary society’ Wendy reveals. ‘It’s all craziness, that’s what the impact is. I don’t have anything against mutants, but I’m glad you’re not one of them’ Wendy’s mother tells her.

‘Mom, think of all the good that mutants can do with their powers. They can be heroes’ Wendy points out. ‘Sweetheart, I know you’re fascinated by all this… stuff. But it wasn’t a hero who turned the weather upside down. Mutants are the reason your father won’t be able to work the farm this year and had to take a job as a janitor at the hospital’ Wendy’s mother points out, before telling her daughter that her father is waiting for her. Wendy goes into the kitchen and bids her father good morning. Barely looking up from his electronic device, Wendy’s father tells her that he thought she wasn’t going to send him off to work today. ‘I’d never forget to do that’ Wendy assures her father. ‘Hmmmm. Have you finished filling our college applications?’ Wendy’s father asks. ‘She hasn’t even started them’ Wendy’s mother declares. ‘That’s not true. I’ve got all the applications in my backpack! I’m going to visit Diana at the restaurant and work on them over breakfast!’ Wendy explains. Her father tells her that he will give her a ride. Wendy protests that she can walk, but her father tells her that she can’t on these roads.

Shortly, in the car: ‘Wendy… about those applications’ Wendy’s father begins. ‘Dad’ Wendy complains. But her father asks her not to put it off - no matter what their situation is now, she has to apply to college. They drive past a man in a cart being pulled by a horse, and Wendy’s father tells her that she can’t stay here, that this place isn’t good for her. ‘It’s too isolated for you, especially’.

Soon, Wendy sits in a booth at a diner, reading the “Lord of the Rings”, when a waitress brings her food over, ‘Still reading those fantasy novels of yours, Li’l sis? You need to check in with the real world’. Wendy looks up at her sister and tells her, Diana, that this is the real world, just a different way of explaining it. ‘Anyway, you used to read this stuff, too, and then you got old’. Diana replies that she got practical - which is what Wendy needs to get. ‘You got practical and never left town’ Wendy remarks. ‘That’s not fair. I got engaged’ Diana replies. ‘Right. To a guy whose biggest dream is owning a monster truck. That’s not you. If you marry Josh, you’ll never leave. He’ll stay here until he dies, and you’ll be stuck with him’ Wendy tells her sister. ‘His grandpa was in the Ku Klux Klan. You want to be that stuck?’ Wendy asks. Diana points out that Wendy has never even had a boyfriend. ‘Talk to me after you’ve fallen in love’ she snaps. Turning away from her sister, Diana tells her to get her head out of those fantasy worlds, as magic doesn’t exist. ‘And you’re not special’.

Outside the diner, Remy “Gambit” LeBeau tells Wolverine a.k.a. Logan that they are in a small town, and are going to stand out. ‘Sure you want to stop here?’ he asks. ‘I’m an old man, Gambit. I need coffee and meat, or there’s going to be a problem’ Wolverine replies, adding that the alien creature they have been tracking has to be close, hiding in trucks and cars for the last thousand miles - it can’t do that forever. Wendy looks out the diner window and is shocked at seeing the two X-Men. She watches them as they enter and Logan tells Gambit hat even if Rachel hadn’t lost the psychic trail back in Columbus, the alien hasn’t been that good at hiding, physically, so they should find plenty of bread crumbs - people talking about seeing those tentacles. ‘It’s a baby, Logan. That’s what Karma and Cecilia said, right? Just a lonely alien…baby. Not much experience, and a lot of fear. We have to remember that’ Gambit points out. They sit at the counter and Wolverine tells Gambit that just makes it more dangerous. ‘Non. Makes it more in need of a friend’ Gambit suggests.

‘Sap. Those kittens of yours have made your soft’ Logan remarks. ‘I have a photo of your plating with them. I make one call and Jubilee will post it on the Avengers Facebook Page’ Gambit replies, sipping his coffee. ‘Damn, you play dirty’ Logan mutters. Wendy sneaks past Logan and Gambit and leans over the other end of the counter, ‘The X-Men are here’ she whispers to Diana. ‘What?’ Diana replies. ‘The X-Men! They’re here! At the counter!’ Wendy declares quietly. ‘Stop whispering’ Diana tells her sister as she looks down the counter. ‘I have to! Super-powered hearing! Ohmygod. They are so hot!’ Wendy exclaims. ‘Huh. I guess’ Diana replies, taking a look. ‘You guess?’ Wendy exclaims. An older waitress comes between the sisters, and Diana tells Wendy that she has to get back to work. ‘Stop making things up’ she adds. ‘I’m not! Diana -’ Wendy starts to reply, but Diana declares that the X-Men don’t visit little towns in the middle of Indiana. ‘Now go back to your breakfast and stop bothering me. It’s embarrassing’.

Wendy walks past Wolverine and Gambit as she heads back to her booth, while Logan asks Gambit if he thinks he did the right thing by letting Bobby back on the team. ‘Course I do. But you knew that, or else you wouldn’t have asked’ Gambit replies. ‘Think I can’t handle a different opinion?’ Logan enquires. ‘Non. But it’s no secret my history makes me… sympathetic’ Gambit points out, adding that he has done bad things, been a bad man, and he still has all of that inside him, paying for it, and always fighting not to slip back into that old skin. ‘Same as you’ he tells Logan, adding that forgiving Bobby is the easy part. ‘I need to hear that’ Wolverine replies, eating his food. ‘I know’ Gambit tells him. Wendy keeps look up at the X-Men, ‘Oh’ she gasps when Wolverine looks back: ‘Hey’ he says to her, before he and Gambit go over to her.

‘Don’t suppose you’ve seen anything strange around here, have you? And by strange… you’d know it if you saw it’. Wolverine asks ‘N-n-no’ Wendy mumbles. ‘Right. Thanks, kid. And… good book’ Wolverine tells her, pointing at the “Lord of the Rings” book.

Logan and Gambit head out the diner door, ‘I’m so stupid’ Wendy mutters to herself, before she races out the door. ‘Um, excuse me!’ she calls out. Standing in front of Gambit’s car, they turn back to her: ‘Yeah?’ Wolverine asks. ‘I… well… I’d like to tell you…’ Wendy begins, before she shouts ‘Holy cow. What is that?’ as she sees a green, tentacled creature on top of Gambit’s car. ‘What? It’s been in my car? For how long?’ Gambit asks. ‘We’ve got another problem, gumbo’ Wolverine remarks, as overhead, a spaceship appears. ‘Oh, wow. I’m dreaming, right? That’s can’t be real’ Wendy utters. ‘It’s real’ Wolverine tells her.

‘Cool’ Wendy shouts, while her sister and others inside the diner press their faces up to the window to watch. Logan turns to Wendy and tells her not to just stand that, but to run and get inside the restaurant. Logan calls out to Gambit and tells him to get away from the car, when suddenly, Wolverine, Gambit, Wendy and the car vanish in a burst of energy. Wendy screams, and then vomits as the trio - and the car -find themselves in a strange green landscape. ‘Here, kid. It’s mostly clean. Not sure it matters, though’ Wolverine remarks, handing Wendy a tissue as she wipes her mouth with her jacket sleeve. Wendy takes the tissue and asks where they are. ‘I have no idea. But I’m sorry you got caught up in it’ Wolverine replies, before suggesting she stand up, as whatever is beneath them smells like acid, and he is afraid it might burn her skin. Gambit holds his bo-staff ready as tentacles slowly reach around him. ‘Oh, God. Please tell me we’re not in Cthulhu’s stomach. I don’t want to be slowly digested by hell juices’ Wendy declares. ‘Ha’ Wolverine laughs. ‘No, really, I’m serious’ Wendy tells him.

Gambit tells Wendy that he doesn’t think they are inside a demon, but that it is definitely alien. ‘No kidding, Gumbo. And I think we both know why we’re here’ Wolverine announces. ‘That thing… is it still inside there?’ Wendy asks, standing by the car. Wolverine tells her that he can hear it moving, to which Gambit theorizes that it must have found them at one of their stops, perhaps in Columbus, which could be why Rachel lost its trail, as it masked its thoughts using them as the shield. Wolverine pops his claws, and Wendy goes wide-eyed: ‘The… claws. You just popped your claws…’ she exclaims. ’Whatever, Gambit. I don’t get any of that psychic mumbo-jumbo’ Logan calls out, before suggesting to Wendy that she stand back. ‘We don’t know how this thing will react’ Wolverine remarks as he slowly opens the trunk. ‘Mon dieu’ Gambit gasps. ‘Oh… hi there. That… um… isn’t a mutant, is it?’ Wendy asks. ‘Non’ Gambit replies. Wendy points out that it looks scared, to which Gambit asks her how she can tell. ‘It just looks it’ Wendy replies. The small tentacled alien creature with one large black eye stares up at them, and Wolverine tells Wendy not to get near the damn thing, as it is not safe.

‘You know, I could use a beer right now’ Wolverine remarks. ‘Oui. A beer that destroys alien ships and communicates with lonely, tentacled babies. That’s just what we need’ Gambit agrees. Suddenly, tentacles from behind Wendy reach out and grab her. She screams, and Logan and Gambit turn to her, ‘Get to the girl!’ Logan calls out. ‘I’m trying’ Gambit assures him as he kinetically-charges the tentacles. There is a loud noise, and Gambit tells Wolverine that he will blow himself up if he tries anything now. ‘Might be worth it, though’ he adds. ‘Not yet’ Wolverine calls out, tentacles wrapping around him, he asks Gambit if he sees the girl. Wendy is nearby, tentacles wrapped all around her body, she pleads to the alien, ‘If you…can understand me…I can’t…breathe…’ she gasps. Two tentacles touch Wendy’s forehead, ‘Oh! What are you -’ she begins, when suddenly, she sees herself in various scenarios. Fighting ninjas alongside Wolverine. Soaring through the air with Storm. Clinging to Spider-Man as he swings through the city. Riding on the Hulk’s back as he rampages.

‘…looking at?’ Wendy utters, before grinning. The tentacles retract and Wendy falls to the strange ground. Tentacles similarly touch Wolverine and Gambit, and they too fall to the ground. Wendy looks over and sees that the baby alien has crawled out of the car. ‘What…what happened?’ she asks, when suddenly, several tentacles merge together into a two-legged mass of tentacles. ‘Oh…hi’ Wendy says as she looks up at the strange alien, while the baby alien crawls to it. ‘My head…it’s still attached, non?’ Gambit calls out. ‘I don’t know. I can’t open my eyes or my skull will explode’ Wolverine replies. ‘You should open them anyway, Wolverine. You need to see this’ Gambit calls out as he looks at Wendy, who is kneeling close to the aliens, reaching out, she and the baby alien touch. Wendy turns to see Wolverine and Gambit watching her. ‘You’re awake!’ she exclaims, before telling them not to be scared, that it is okay, really, just a misunderstanding. ‘The alien brought us here because it wanted to make sure we hadn’t harmed its kid’ Wendy explains. ‘What… the…’ Wolverine begins. ‘It’s… a kid?’ Gambit asks.

The larger alien speaks in English so that everyone can understand it, although with lots of extra “s“. ‘Childssss… yessss… one of… oursssss’ it begins, adding that the child ran away long ago because it was afraid. ‘Afraidsss of becoming…sssship…’. ‘Ship? What the hell does that mean?’ Logan asks. ‘A ship, Mister Wolverine. Like this one we’re on. That’s what this little alien will become. It’s… puberty… for them. Part of growing up. This big alien is also the ship. But it used to look like that’ she explains, referring to the larger mass of tentacles holding the baby. ‘So what’s there to be afraid of?’ Gambit asks. The larger alien explains that the process is frightening, painful to become different, that growing up is hard. Wendy listens and holds the younger alien’s tentacle as the adult alien explains that it takes adults to trigger the growth, so this one ran away. The adult alien continues, explaining that being alone - loneliness is very terrible, that it hurts others, leaving the family and this one scared - that it is not any easier - worse than becoming the ship.

The little alien looks at its parent and admits that it is time to grow up, to become something new. ‘Cannot besss thissss foreverssss…. The little alien and its parent embrace, with many tentacles wrapped around each other. The adult alien tells the humans that they can go now, that it has seen they did not hurt the child. ‘But we just got here, non?’ Gambit remarks, while Wolverine tells the alien that he wants to know what happens next. ‘You have your kid. You gonna leave us now? Our planet?’ he enquires. The alien replies that if they had hurt the child, they would have killed them, or if they were mean or harmed the child, they would have killed them, too. Motioning to Wendy, the baby alien remarks that she trusts them, that her mind is filled with trust - trust and comfort. The alien tells Wolverine and Gambit that they know this, as they saw it for themselves in her mind.

Wendy goes wide-eyed and her jaw drops. ‘Wait…they saw what?’ she gasps. Wolverine and Gambit smile and help her up. ‘Oh, I’m so humiliated’ Wendy utters. Gambit tells her not to be, as it was amazing. ‘But you need to add more ninjas to your fantasy, kid. Way more’ Wolverine jokes. The adult alien remarks that little ones are all the same - with fears, longing and hopes. It adds that this one is not alone in this. An instant later, Wolverine, Gambit, Wendy and the car are dropped in the middle of a field and the ship has vanished. Wendy lies on her back. Tears fall from her eyes. ‘You okay, kid?’ Wolverine asks, while Gambit tells him to let her be. ‘No, it’s fine. I just…that was a lot’ Wendy points out. Wolverine tells Wendy that she saved the day and kept her cool. ‘Not that. It was what the alien said to me. About not being alone’ Wendy replies. Wendy sits up as Wolverine and Gambit sit next to her, ‘I’ve always felt alone. Except for my sister and Mom, I’m the only black kid in this entire county. I might as well be a mutant, the way people act sometimes’ Wendy points out.

She lifts her glasses and wipes her tears, ‘But this is what I know. And I’ve always thought… if I feel alone here… then how could it be any better where everything is unfamiliar?’ she remarks. ‘Who will ever want me? I’m not special. If I really was a mutant…if I had powers…’ her voice trails off. Wolverine puts an arm around her while Gambit tells her that she has it all wrong - powers don’t mean anything. ‘We’re still just as alone, with the same heartbreaks’ he explains. Wolverine tells Wendy that character is its own power, and she demonstrated plenty today. ‘You saved our lives. You communicated with an alien ship. What can’t you do? Where can’t you go?’ he remarks. ‘I want to belong Mister Wolverine. I don’t want to be an outsider anymore. That’s what the X-Men are to me, you know. A place to belong, and be accepted’.

‘Aw, hell. We’re all people, kid. We make mistakes’ Wolverine tells Wendy, but Wendy tells him that she doesn’t care, and that she is afraid to go back - what if she forgets? What if she just stays in one place forever? What if she never feels this alive again? Wolverine explains that there is a right and wrong way to do things. ‘Just remember what you did today, what you learned. You don’t have to be afraid’ he adds. Gambit tells Wendy to belong to herself, belong to a purpose, whatever it is - that she will find people who want to belong alongside her. ‘That’s it?’ Wendy asks. ‘No. But it’s a start’ Wolverine replies.

Later, Wendy is returned home to her parents and sister, awaiting with open arms. In her room, she looks at photos of Wolverine and Gambit, and begins to cry. ‘Thanks, you guys’ she whispers, wiping tears from her eyes, she then turns to her college applications which are lying on a table. With them, is a note from Wolverine that reads: ‘Once an X-Man, always an X-Man. You’re not alone, kid. Wolverine’. And Wendy starts to fill out her college applications.

Characters Involved: 

Mother and Father

Patrons at diner


In Wendy’s Vision
Hulk, Spider-Man, Storm, Wolverine

Written By: