Generation Hope #4

Issue Date: 
April 2011
Story Title: 
“The Future is a Four-Letter-Word” – part four

Kieron Gillen (writer), Salvador Espin with Scott Koblish (art), Frank Martin (color), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Olivier Coipel and Mark Morales and Chris Sotomayor (cover), Greg Land and Frank Martin (variant cover art), Randall L. Miller (production), Jake Thomas & Jordan D. White(assistant editors), Daniel Ketchum (assoc. editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

The X-Men return with Hope and the Five Lights to Utopia, where they are welcomed by Emma Frost and Kitty Pryde. Before Kitty can show them their rooms, the Lights are ushered off for testing. Teon has a fight with Wolverine, which establishes Wolverine as the Alpha Dog. Emma and Cyclops confront Kenji with what he’s done to Tokyo. While Kenji has a somewhat abnormal mind and a fascination with sadism, he seems truly horrified and regretful. Ultimately, Emma agrees that he wasn’t in control of himself, so they offer help. Nemesis tests the powers of the other kids. When he tests Gabriel, he humiliates him by having him fail at running on water to show that he is a localized time manipulator instead of a speedster. Gabriel doesn’t take it well and hits him. Later, they all decide to stay on Utopia, not necessarily out of their own will, as Laurie points out. Hope thanks Gabriel with a kiss, for saving her life in Tokyo. Left alone, Kenji begins to again display the disturbing behavior that preceded his attack on Tokyo…

Full Summary: 

Tokyo, Japan, in the wake of Kenji’s attack. Cyclops silently broods. “No time to stare at the chessboard, Slim,” Wolverine tells him. “Move your piece!” Scott decides they need to find out what they got here. They need to leave. They gather the unconscious Hope and Kenji and leave.

In the plane, looking to the back at one of the two beds, Gabriel calls Kenji a freak. He’s aware that he is a mutant, too, Laurie asks dryly. Yeah, but not a freaky mutant, Gabriel corrects her. Is she a freaky mutant? Laurie asks, referring to her very visible mutation. He assures her she looks great. And it’s not about the mutation being freaky. But the freak with the mutation. That Kenji guy almost killed them all.

He thanks her for the save. Her pleasure. He saved Hope twice, she points out. Think she noticed? Gabriel asks hopefully. Is he interested? Laurie inquires, with Gabriel claiming that is not the question.

Rogue suggests they all get some sleep. First lesson of the X-Men lifestyle: Embrace the redeye.

Idie looks outside the window muttering “goodbye, Tokyo.” She’s sorry they had to come.

At Utopia, Emma Frost and Kitty Pryde are welcoming them alone. Where is everyone? Cyclops asks. Emma replies Kitty had the young students make banners and such, welcoming their new brethren. However, she latterly decided such festivities were inappropriate after what happened in Tokyo. She is sad to report Utopia is running short on poster paints. If they have to start a kindergarten class, they may be in trouble. Good first impressions, remember? Kitty reminds her. She turns to the Lights, apologizing for Emma. She woke up on the wrong side of her life. She asks them to ignore her “spacesuit.” Long story. Most importantly, they’ve got their rooms ready and hot baths… They need Kenji and Hope brought in, Cyclops announces. They are still unconscious and he needs the X-Club examining the Lights ASAP… Which will wait until they’ve all been peered at by Dr. Nemesis and friends, Kitty interrupts and shows them they way.

Home is Utopia, Gabriel muses, that’s funny. Doubly so, Laurie replies and explains that Utopia, derived from the Greek, has a double meaning. It means “good place.” It also means “no place.” Utopia doesn’t exist.

The Lights follow the others inside save for Teon, who stays back, growling at Wolverine. Yeah, he supposes this counts as later, Wolverine agrees. “Let’s get this out of the way.” “Fight!” Teon shouts and they do.

I did this?” Kenji Uedo asks in disbelief as Emma Frost and Scott Summers show him holographic images of the destruction in Tokyo. Kenji’s default form now seems to be somewhat inhuman, the left half of his face scarred, some technology merged with him and his fingers ending in short tentacles.

The critics always said his underlying influences were obvious and somewhat juvenile, he muses. He guesses they were right. It almost looks like one of his installations. Except for the red, he mutters… wouldn’t use red. He asks them to please stop it. Eyes downcast, Kenji admits he has fantasies of killing people. He stands on a subway platform and stares at the back in front of him, imagining how one push could turn a man into a bad Pollock pastiche. He reads Mirbeau and nods along, De Sade and sees a mirror. He unmakes the world with his art… but it is art. It is fantasy. It is not reality. It is about reality. Yet Tokyo burns and bodies grow cold…. He did this, he admits to himself, staring at the new shape of his hand. He asks the X-Men leaders to help him. It can’t happen again.

Scott telepathically asks Emma for the diagnosis. Obviously he’s not normal, she admits. He leans a little towards the abnormal but he is not lying in any way that matters. He isn’t responsible for what happened. It was a dreadful accident. He is difficult to read but a little persistence cuts through. It isn’t a normal mind. Literally, Cyclops reminds her. What happened to his arms is just the tip of the glacier. The X-Club says most of his internals have been replaced by undifferentiated techno organic cellular mass. His whim became reality. More than any of them he needs them.

It wasn’t his fault, Cyclops addresses Kenji and promises to try and clear it with the Japanese authorities. And if they can’t, Utopia is a mutant sanctuary. If he’s innocent, there’s no way they’d hand him over. Emma admits that having an artist of international renown reside here is a splendid proposition. She couldn’t help but be complimented by his “Regicidal Vivisection.” Pardon? Scott asks. Meditations on super heroine sexuality, Kenji explains. Life size sculptures made of meat. Rotted over time. The reality which underlies the much desired flesh. The lie of human beauty. He did one of Ms Frost. Emma quickly assures Scott it was very good. She knows about this kind of thing.

It’s a tragedy he lost his hands, she tells Kenji. No, it’s not, he corrects her. Tokyo was a tragedy. His hands… it’s the only good thing. He painted, he sculpted, he filmed… all a waste of time. Dead art forms… He holds up his left arm and malleable flesh moves. His fingers turn into little screaming avatars of him. “Now I am a live one.”

Outside, the two combatants roll off the cliff and into the ocean… When they emerge, Teon offers Wolverine, whom he has recognized as Alpha, a fish. Wolverine tells him to keep the fish. He’ll need the strength for the next time they spar.

Later, Dr. Nemesis enters the X-lab, happily greeting the kids as his “tiny mutant chicklings.” In short: they were broken. Hope touched them, they were fixed, whatever “fixed” means. He will now reveal what “fixed” means for each and every one of them. Exciting!

Laurie: bad news: She is extraordinarily blue. Apart from that general physiological enhancements and flight. Her body has some fascinating reactive property. Even at transonic speeds, it’ll alter to give her, frankly, freakish maneuverability. Laurie kind of likes the word “transonic.”

And Teon … one may suspect he can no longer understand a word anyone’s saying except possibly “fetch”… But actually Teon can parse complex ideas. He simply no longer cares about them in favor of hyper-efficient processing of his primary survival instinct. He’s fast, strong and totally imprinted on a certain redheaded young lady, so be nice, he tells Hope.

And further testing on her has only strengthened his previous diagnosis: She scares everyone. The terror is such that he has been temporarily rendered precognizant. In Hope’s future, he predicts… more tests! Oh great, she shrugs.

Becoming kinder, Dr. Nemesis tells Idie she is a temperature manipulator. Subtract heat from here and move it over there and vice versa. Her power is working magnificently. There is nothing wrong with her. Idie says nothing to that pronouncement.

Nemesis turns to Gabriel, telling him he is very, very interesting. He wants to turn to scientific methods to confirm or deny his hypothesis. He asks them to step outside to the beach where he orders Gabriel to run over water as fast as he can. He is a speedster, he’ll skim the surface.

Gabriel runs and falls right into the water. He is not a speedster, Nemesis reveals, he is a localized time manipulator. Yes, he speeds up, but he isn’t running any faster. He knew that would happen! Gabriel seethes. He better believe it, Nemesis replies and turns his back on him. But show-not-tell is much more fun.

Anyway, Nemesis concludes, that’s everything for now. Headmaster dictator Cyclops would want a word. “Dry off first, Speedy Gonzales”. Gabriel hits him at superspeed (or with localized time manipulation). No one gets to say that! he announces angrily. Supplementary observation, Nemesis mutters. Lack of actual velocity no limitation in close combat engagements…

Later, Cyclops and Kitty lead Hope and the Lights to a corridor with several rooms. Scott explains they would like them to consider Utopia as a second home. They are mutants and will always have a place here. While things have changed, the core of Professor Xavier’s dream remains. This is a school for talented young people. They’d like to teach them but that’s entirely their call. Is it really? Laurie asks. It is, Scott begins to assure her. Laurie interrupts, asking Hope what she is doing. She’s staying the other girl replies surprised, but what does that—everyone else? Laurie asks three “staying” and one “woof” from Teon amounting to the same thing. So guess what she is doing? Laurie states with an odd smile.

Kitty shows them their rooms. Hope follows Gabriel into his to talk about what happened in Tokyo. Teon wants to follow Hope who orders him to stay outside. With the door closed, Hope thanks him for saving her and the back-up. He risked more than anyone. It’s okay, he begins when suddenly she kisses him. And that’s to answer her question from earlier she tells him and walks outside where Teon is waiting. And he thought he was the one who moved fast, Gabriel muses, touching his lips.

In front of his room, Laurie and Idie ask Kenji if he wants to join them. They are going to look around. He tells them he remembers them vaguely. Laurie saved people from him. And Idie… hurt him. With a smile, he thanks them both and bows. Flustered, Laurie repeats her offer. He thanks them and declines. He wants to be alone. He has a lot to think about.

Later, Kenji sits in the shower stall, the water falling on him. Suddenly he chuckles. The tentacled mass of his left arms spreads about to the walls of the shower stall, one of them entering the shower head. The water turns black. With his new black color, Kenji writes words on the wall:
No Hope
No Lights
No Future

I am becoming art… Kenji whispers…

Characters Involved: 

Hope Summers II
Gabriel, Idie Okonkwo, Kenji Uedo, Laurie Tromette, Teon Macik
(Five Lights)
Cyclops, Rogue, Shadowcat, White Queen, Wolverine (all X-Men)
Dr. Nemesis

Story Notes: 

Kitty wears the suit because she is currently intangible.

Octave Mirbeau was a 19th and early 20th century French journalist, novelist and playwright who achieved success across both the general public & avant-garde spectrum. Presumably Kenji is referring to his two novels judged to be scandalous by self-styled paragons of virtue : Le Jardin des supplices (Torture Garden, 1899) and Le Journal d'une femme de chamber (Diary of a Chambermaid, 1900).

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