Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #8

Issue Date: 
February 2005
Story Title: 
Dangerous – part 2

Joss Whedon (writer), John Cassaday (artist), Laura Martin (colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Stephanie Moore & Sean Ryan (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Just moments after Blindfold’s enigmatic warning, all of the telepaths and psychics in the Institute suffer a simultaneous attack, which knocks them out leaving them unable to reawaken. While the team moves them to the infirmary, miles away, a Sentinel which had been found by a local comes online, bursting forth from the barn where it had been kept. Lacking all limbs but its left arm, the Sentinel begins to drags itself toward the Institute… and its “Lord.” At the Institute, the X-Men are taking stock of their situation – the psychic attack and the still-missing student, Wing, and the inexplicable total communications blackout – when Lockheed arrives, warning them of an intrusion. When the X-Men go to investigate, they find the arriving Sentinel, who attacks both them and the school. Cyclops is able to eliminate its threat with a powerful optic blast and then order Wolverine to finish it off, while he and Colossus check on the students, whom he told Kitty to take to the Danger Room for safety. Wolverine makes short work but, before delivering the final blow, hears the unusually talkative Sentinel speak of its “Lord” and that the “children will pay for the father’s sins.” Racing back to the school, Wolverine finds that the other X-Men cannot gain entrance to the Danger Room and the children inside. As they theorize that their enemy is inside, Emma arrives with the Beast, explaining that the Danger Room itself is their enemy and that it is angry. Inside, the Danger Room has reanimated the corpse of Wing, shocking the rest of the students. Elsewhere, Special Agent Brand is awaiting the decision of the S.W.O.R.D. committee when she is visited by another agent, who informs here of the complete loss of all monitoring devices in the school.

Full Summary: 

I welcome the gift, it thinks. Upon the floor of the Danger Room, Wing lies inert. Dead. A pool of his blood, spreading next to his clawed hand.

Two humans, looking down from the upper level of their barn. One of them, Bob, smiling to himself as he looks at what they have below. He tells his partner that they’re going to be rich.

Back at the Institute, the X-Men are still trying to decipher the enigmatic words of Blindfold when Emma detects something. “Now what is that sound…?” she asks.


Emma, the three Stepford Cuckoos and Blindfold all reel in pain, blood erupting from their noses.

Back at the barn, a red light bathes the two men, whose dreams of avarice turn into fear of impending doom.

Back at the Institute, the doors of the Danger Room crackle with electricity.

Cyclops props himself just above Emma, who is now unconscious, calling out to her. Tending to one of the Cuckoos, Logan notes that all of their psychics have been nailed. Tending to another Cuckoo, the Beast tells Kitty to check the rest of the school. Before he can finish his sentence, she is already half-phased through the wall.

Picking up Emma and the four unconscious girls, Cyclops, Logan, Piotr, Beast and Hisako make their way to the infirmary. As they race, Cyclops tries to recall what Blindfold said – that something was coming? Hisako adds to this that the other kid they spoke of was Wing, who Blindfold said was leaving. To this, Hisako adds that she thinks he’s in trouble.

Elsewhere, Kitty kneels next to another collapsed student, a young boy. Another student, whose body seems to have the color and texture of tar, explains that the student just keeled over, not even making a sound. From another room, a student cries out for help, asking someone to get a teacher.

At the barn, one of the men asks the other what he did. The second, Bob, replies that he never powered it up… he wouldn’t know how. He’s just been polishing, tinkering… The first notes that it took three months to dig that thing out of his woods. If he’s messed with it… Bob interrupts his friend, asking if “it” is looking at them. The man repeats the question but this time with fear. Half a moment later, the barn is ripped asunder as the goliath form of a Sentinel crashes through the side, its left arm outstretched.

I hear you, Lord, it bellows before crashing into the ground – lacking legs. Unable to walk, the Sentinel begins to crawl with its one good arm – the other a missing limb as well – calling out into the night. I come. Praise be unto you. Watching in horror, the two men are left in the remains of what was once a structure.

Logan drops down from the limb of the tree, announcing that he doesn’t smell a damned thing. This is an attack, he tells Kitty and Piotr, it ain’t comin’ from without. Wondering about Wing, Kitty asks if he can catch him anywhere. Logan replies that he doesn’t know his scent, but then tells her that, if he started all of this, he’s dead.

Cyclops stares down at the unconscious Emma, asking her to come on. Holding her hand, he tells her that Hank said that there’s nothing wrong physically. No reason she can’t all wake up. Which means someone’s shutting her down. That may work on these kids… but she’s Emma Frost. Does she hear him?

“Hear him?” another mocks, inaudibly to Emma, you can’t shut the man up! “Don’t worry, lamb,” the voice continues, unheard, “I’m cloaked and not about to give our little game away so soon… But, honestly, since for once you can’t actually interrupt, I have to ask… Summers? Really? I know you wanted to cement your standing in the group, but if that geek was sharing my bed… I think I’d try not to wake up.”

Some distance away, a sound approaches, repeating itself every few moments. First a Whump!, then followed by a crrackacknnnarckkkkk!. It is the sound of the single arm of the unrelenting Sentinel, reaching out and dragging its legless carcass trough the woods, every closer to its destination. Whump! Crrackacknnnarckkkkk!

In her cell, Special Agent Brand continues her exercises, completing a rep of push-ups. Clad only in pajama bottoms and a tank top, her arms and shoulders are bare, showing the tattoos on her upper arms. On her left, GRACE is spelled out – on her right ANNA. The single-minded nature of her exercises is ended with arrival of another agent, calling out her name and salutation.

Placing a tower around her neck, she accepts the dossier that she is presented. While looking over it, she hears the man explain that it’s regarding Xavier’s mansion. Every tap they have in there went offline. Even their mole’s not responding. Looking back up at the agent, she asks if he thinks they made them.

Outside the infirmary, Cyclops, Beast, Kitty and Piotr compare notes. Referring to the psychics, Hank explains that there’s not a thing out of place. No toxins, no bleeding, or swelling… they’re just shut down. Asked by Piotr how many, he replies nine, including Emma. Hearing this, Kitty asks about others, wondering if it’s localized. What about the Professor?

Arriving on the scene, Logan reports that she’s not gonna reach him. They’re not gonna reach anyone from there. Hearing Cyclops ask about the phones, Logan then adds the computer lines, TVs, all satellite connections… He thinks this is the point – cut them off. Understanding, Beast realizes that they have no way of reaching the outside world. Unless of course they go there.

Taking that in to consideration, Beast reminds the others that they’re just twenty minutes from town and there’s no one in there that can’t be moved… Unless that’s what they want, Cyclops interjects. Drive them out; pick them off… Logan then added. Exactly, Cyclops says. The compound has defenses the woods around don’t.

Suddenly, Lockheed flies by, circling around Kitty to get her attention. Moving by reflex, Kitty rhetorically asks him what’s going on. Talking to the others, she informs them that she asked him to do long-range recon, and that he must have found something. Something that’s coming their way.

Running outside, toward the woods, the four – Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus and Kitty – follow Lockheed. When Wolverine asks why Lockheed, when the psychics are down, can still… Kitty interrupts him, saying that she doesn’t know. Their connection’s intuitive, she guesses. More instinct than thought. To this, Wolverine asks what Lockheed’s instinct is.

Before Kitty can reply, Cyclops realizes wonders aloud where the lights are. Almost in response, Lockheed breathes forth a stream of flame, illuminating the area just beyond the fence and the monstrous Sentinel beyond it.

Now seen, the Sentinel, propped up with its remaining arm, focuses its eyes on the mutants below. With a mechanical Destroy, it unleashes scarlet fury down. Acting on pure instinct, Colossus armors up, stepping before Wolverine and taking the brunt of the blast, its fiery wrath incinerating his clothes. Nearby, Kitty saves herself by phasing, while only Cyclops’ reflexes have allowed him to leap from harm’s way. Not even waiting to hit the ground, Cyclops pivots in mid-fall, unleashing his own optic blasts in retaliation.

Now propped on its torso, the Sentinel uses its arm to grab and rip up the gate effortlessly, bellowing Destroy the oppressors! As the Sentinel throws the gate at the mansion, ripping into the Institute’s side, Cyclops orders Kitty to get the kids below. He wants all of them in the Danger Room till the monster’s down. Not waiting for their own orders, Colossus and Wolverine race toward the Sentinel, which has already begun to fall down, presumably to begin its crawl toward the mansion. Running under the monstrosity, Colossus grabs the Sentinel, followed by Wolverine, who yells back that down ain’t the problem.

Not listening, Cyclops continues his strategy, looking for an opening. However, he finds his optic blasts ineffectual against the armored gauntlet of the robot. With lightening speed, the Sentinel takes but a moment between blasts to stretch out his hand, backhanding the X-Men’s leader and sending him flying back. His own opening now found, the Sentinel focuses his gaze at the school, unleashing blasts, which incinerate the school’s walls. Inside the school, Kitty continues shepherding the students to the Danger Room – ordering them to move!

Having recovered from the Sentinel’s blow, Cyclops calls out to Wolverine and Colossus, who are still in the fray, to get behind him. Though complying, Wolverine tells Cyclops that he has to get its mainframe but is rebuked. Cyclops replies that there isn’t time. He wants the thing off his lawn. Removing his visor, Cyclops opens wide his eyes and provides the Sentinel the unbridled force of his mutation. After the visor is returned, Wolverine stares at the devastation of the grounds, trees and the now inert shell of a Sentinel that remains. Every now and then, Summers, he says, I remember why you’re still in charge.

Not deigning to respond, Cyclops returns to the matter at hand, telling Logan to rip its guts out. As Wolverine races to comply, claws unsheathed, Cyclops theorizes to Colossus that the thing must have been torn apart in one of their old battles. What made it come back? And if it’s an attack, why send half an antique? Helping up the team’s leader, Colossus asks if he heard what it said. It called them oppressors.

The rest of the students having entered, Kitty pulls the door to the Danger Room shut, locking them in. Turning around, she sees the mass of students, standing near the middle, and makes her way through. As she does so, she informs them that the others should give them the all-clear in a minute. Meanwhile, she wants to do a roll call, make sure everyone is… there… Kitty’s voice trails as she finishes her sentence, almost as an afterthought. At the center of the mass of students, lying in the middle of the Danger Room is the corpse of Wing.

Recovering her composure, Kitty orders for nobody… nobody to touch anything. Bending down to examine the body, she calls out to Hisako. She tells the stunned and stuttering student that she needs her to take charge of the students. To get them into the hall and then try to find Mr. Summers. When asked if she can do that, Hisako is unable to answer, her eyes still transfixed on her friend.

Realizing that she isn’t going to get an answer, Kitty re-addresses the whole group, telling them that she wants them to move quietly back into the hall. As she begins to ask for volunteers, she is interrupted by a student, who asks her where the door went.

Arriving at the remains of the Sentinel, Wolverine finds that it is not completely destroyed. Immobile but still functioning, the robot informs the mutant in a mechanical voice that his lord is watching him. He knows what he’s going to do. Ignoring the ramblings of the machine, the X-Man leisurely claws his way through the robot’s armor. Dismissing its impending doom, the Sentinel states She tells me the children will pay for the father’s sins. And he must not fear death. Finding his goal, Wolverine tells the Sentinel to shut up and strike with his claws.

In the Danger Room, Kitty stands half-phased in the wall. She informs the students that she’s not feeling the exit. To this, she adds that someone’s messed with the programming in there and she needs to go out for a minute. Before she can disappear, an ethereal voice, calling her Sprite, tells her to go ahead. Leave the children with me. Almost in unison, the students turn to the voice, which turns out to be the re-animated corpse of Wing. His body is grayish, lacking its usual color and is still bloody and bent from the fall. After all, the corpse grins maniacally, I need only a minute or two… to murder them all.

Outside the Danger Room, even the prodigious strength of Colossus cannot budge the door. Arriving back from the control room, Cyclops informs the group that it’s sealed off too, and the intercom’s not working. When told by Colossus that the door won’t move, he replies that it’s supposed to be unbreachable. That’s why they put the kids there during attacks.

Which is just what their enemy wanted, Wolverine states. Sentinel was weird, he tells them. Chatty. Talked about his “Lord.” Said the children would pay for the father’s sins. Turning back to the Danger Room’s door, Cyclops realizes the obvious: they played right into their enemy’s hands. “Kitty…” Colossus mutters. Informing Logan that they can’t get them out, Cyclops adds that whatever the thing is, it’s got their kids in the Danger Room and it’s controlling it.

“No, Scott,” a weak Emma states. Propped by the Beast, she tells them that their enemy’s not in the Danger Room. It is the Danger Room. As the rest of the team looks on in stunned confusion, the exasperated Emma adds the Danger Room is angry.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Shadowcat, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Blindfold, Hisako, Stepford Cuckoos, Wing

Unnamed Xavier Institute students

Animated corpse of Wing


Special Agent Brand

S.W.O.R.D. agent

Unnamed local, friend of Bob

Story Notes: 

First mention of S.W.O.R.D. having a mole in the Xavier Institute.

Issue Information: 
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