Giant-Size X-Men: Storm #1

Issue Date: 
November 2020
Story Title: 

Jonathan Hickman (writer), Russell Dauterman (artist), Matthew Wilson (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Ariana Maher (letterer), Tom Muller (designer), Russell Dauterman & Matthew Wilson (cover artist), Alex Ross; Jen Bartel (variant cover artists), Anthony Gambino (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Annalise Bissa (assistant  editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Storm is struggling to recover from the Techno-Organic virus that she has been infected with. Jean Grey tries to comfort her friend, while Emma Frost suggests her that she simply undergo resurrection, before Monet St Croix arrives and announces that she thinks she knows how to save Storm. Later, Monet and Cypher arrive at the apartment belonging to an AIM operative, who was not expecting them, but rather someone else who was paying him to double-cross his super-evil organization. That person was Fantomex, who soon joins them, along with Storm. Fantomex thinks he is going to get paid for helping out, but Storm has other ideas. Shortly, the AIM operative provides an access way into the mysterious realm known as the World. The group battle the strange creatures inside the World, with Cypher being assisted by Warlock, who has merged with him. Storm's condition seems to worsen, and Fantomex vanishes when the others are locked in battle with the World's weird creatures. Monet and Cypher get Storm into the pyramid-shaped building where a device that can help Storm is located, and they find Fantomex is already there, speaking with Ultimaton. Storm is placed into the device, a unity field, which begins to purge the Techno-Organic virus from her body. The others fight an eyeball creature which has arrived, and is about to attack the machine purging the virus from Storm – until Storm is restored, free of the virus, she destroys the eyeball creature. Storm thanks Monet for figuring all of this out. The AIM operative uses a weapon on the machine when it begins to change. The weapon prevents the machine from any potential intelligence reaching evolutionary critical mass. As the others prepare to leave the World, the AIM operative elects to remain behind with Ultimaton, and Cypher speaks with the machine, telling it that he will see it soon.

Full Summary: 


'As far as anyone can tell, it appears as if you have some kind of Techno-Organic virus coursing through your body' Jean Grey tells her dear friend Ororo Munroe a.k.a. Storm. Jean explains that the virus is not one they have experienced before, similar in effect, but slower in methodology, and that it will spread, unbated, until it consumes the host. Jean tells Ororo that they have tried every blood replacement or purification method they could think of. Jean is wearing her new green and yellow costume as she sits next to Storm, while Emma Frost sits nearby. Flowers cover the benches they sit on, while a small pool of water with lilypads is in the ground in front of them. Jean continues, informing Storm that they have had Forge, Beast and basically every genius on the island take a crack at figuring this thing out. She tells her friend that she is sorry, but they don't know what to do – or how to stop it.

Hanging her head, Ororo tells Jean that she is sure she did her best, that she is sure everyone did. 'I suppose all there is to do now is wait and hope for a miracle' Ororo smiles as Jean puts her arms around her and they look into each other's eyes. 'The miracle will be one of you realizing what an overly dramatic bit of nonsense this all is' Emma Frost snaps. 'After all, we're just going to resurrect you, dear. If you're feeling bold, perhaps now's the time to make a few modifications' Emma suggests, adding that she has a few ideas. 'Emma. What the he-' Jean begins, turning to Emma, but Storm narrows her eyes at Emma as she tells Jean that it is fine, and to let her talk 'She's so very good at talking' Storm exclaims as she stands up. 'Thank you. I often feel an underappreci-' Emma starts to reply, before Monet St Croix appears. She apologizes for interrupting, before announcing that she looked at Storm's medical results – and she thinks she knows how to save her.


'Okay... so how do we find this guy?' Doug Ramsey a.k.a. Cypher asks as he propels through the air thanks to his alien companion, Warlock, who has transformed himself into a jetpack. Monet flies alongside him as if she was walking through the air, as they lower themselves towards an apartment. Monet tells Doug that what they are looking for is temporal phenomena – anomalies, really, so that they can track a specific kind of person who does a specific kind of job. They land on a balcony and Doug approaches a glass sliding door. Monet stands with her arms folded as she tells him 'Once I figured out how we might save Storm, I asked all the smart mutants -' to which Doug interrupts her: 'Well, you didn't ask me... so not all the smart mutants, obviously'. Monet tells Doug that there was a threshold, and not to take it personally, before revealing that they got busy triangulating every atemporal incident they could find and eventually they narrows their needs down to three individuals.

Monet continues, revealing that from there, they simply did a deep dive on what kind of people they were dealing with and picked the most compromised – and so here they are. 'Make sense?' she asks. 'Hmmm, sure...' Doug replies as he looks at the door, then glances back at Monet, telling her that he thinks the door has some kind of alarm system or booby trap rigged to it, so he isn't sure how they are going to sneak in. Monet then grabs the door and tears it from the frame with ease. 'Or we could not sneak in at all... I guess that works' Doug remarks.

Monet and Doug enter the living room where they find a man in a yellow AIM costume and helmet lying on a sofa, blanket over his body, glass of wine on the table next to him. He looks over and tells them that he was wondering when they were going to show up. 'But there's no need to be so aggro with my door -' he begins, before realizing that his new arrivals are now who he was expecting. 'Who are you?' he asks.

'Here's a better question: Who were you expecting... and why?' Monet answers. 'Here's an even better question: Do you really just hang out all day wearing that getup? Doesn't seem practical' Doug adds.

The man in the AIM suit stands up and tells his new arrivals that he is a professional. 'I can't sit around in my pajamas all day, can I? Who does that?' He walks over to them as he reveals that as far as who he is waiting for, it is the person who is paying him to double-cross his super-evil science organization. 'You know, the man with all the money. Guy named... Fantomex'.

(Later still)

'Ok, so I know I agreed to help, but I feel guilty, and I need to come clean about something' Fantomex announces as he stands in front of Monet under a darkened sky. A large dome can be seen jutting out of a forest, surrounded by a fence. 'You feel guilty? Really? You?' Monet asks, unimpressed. Cypher stands near Monet while the AIM operative stands behind Fantomex, and Storm can be seen several feet away from the others. 'Guilty might not be the right word...i t's probably more along the lines of I promised this idiot a bunch of money to get us inside and I can't actually pay' Fantomex replies. He adds that most of these guys don't make it through these things anyway. 'But just in case, could you extend to me some petty cash... a lone of credit... something like that?' Fantomex asks. 'Wait, what?' the AIM operative utters.


'So... we're negotiating?' Monet asks. 'I don't know how much juice you've got, honestly' Fantomex tells her. Storm's eyes begin to glow white, while Fantomex tells Monet that she needs to get inside, and this guy needs to get paid. 'You've got the money... really, this is only going to end one way' he adds. 'Well, I'm going to get something out of you. So what's it going to be?' Monet asks, arms folded as she stares at Fantomex. There is a rumbling, and both Fantomex and Monet turn to Storm. 'Uh-oh' Fantomex utters. Lightning crackles in the sky above them, followed by loud thunder. 'So... you are paying. That's all I was asking for' Fantomex remarks.

'Speaking of...' the man in the AIM suit begins as the group walks towards the dome in the forest. Cypher touches the side of the dome while the AIM operative golds up a small round disc and reveals that he spent ten years on doctorate degrees and advanced studies only to get tricked into working at AIM by shiny toys and a mail-order bride – which would have been fine, had he not been drafted into a suicidal silence team built to hack the temporal bubble of an artificial world. 'So, uh, pay me to betray my organization – not die – and disappear with a ton of cash? Yes. Thank you, sir. Sign. Me. Up' he exclaims as he presses the disc into the side of the dome, which opens some sort of door, which everyone then passes through.

Once inside, the group stands on the edge of a cliff, while strange objects appear before them – several floating pyramids and large eyeballs with tentacles attached to them. Some serpent-like creatures with large teeth fly past, too. 'Okay... everyone take a good look. Welcome to the World' Fantomex announces. Cypher observes the eyeballs blasting energy at the pyramids and points out that it appears there is some kind of giant battle going on. He adds that he doesn't know what they are fighting about, or fighting over, but he thinks they are pretty lucky, as this seems like the perfect distraction. Cypher then asks which way they have to go. 'You're looking at it. The big weird-shaped place' Fantomex announces, pointing at the strange pyramids. 'All right... so not so lucky. Fantastic' Cypher mutters. 'It'll be fine, Douglas' Storm assures the younger mutant, while Monet switches to her Penance form, Storm tells everyone to follow her lead as she takes flight, blasting the strange creatures ahead with bolts of lightning.

Fantomex opens fire with is weapons as he leaps through the air, and Cypher lets Warlock take over much of his body, and is able to fire a blast of energy at one of the creatures with lots of teeth. 'Whoa! Nice call on the combat suit, Warlock! I could get used to this!' Cypher exclaims. 'Joy! Delight! Selffriend will be protected by -' Warlock exclaims, grinning as his head suddenly manifests from Cypher's arm – but he is interrupted by one of the eyeballs blasting him with energy, and knocking him backwards. 'See? That's what happens when you go after the mutant version of Bambi. So don't do that' Penance snaps at the eyeball as she shoves her deadly claws into it, causing a strange pink blood to spurt from it.

Fantomex and the AIM operative have landed on the ground, and Fantomex rushes towards the pyramid structure. 'Uh, hey! Hey! Where are you going? I'm in a bit of a spot here!' the AIM operative calls out as one of the serpent-like creatures wrap around him. 'I could use a... little... help... or maybe not'.

At that moment, Storm floats through the air, the sky around her turning dark as she announces that the environment in the World is exceedingly malleable – volatile and subject to change. Storm remarks that all of the micro-components and small swarming machines are especially vulnerable to such manipulation, transforming them from building blocks into weapons. 'And so, I give the World... wind' Storm utters, while Penance digs her claws into the ground, and the AIM operative uses a small device he has been carrying to create a force field around himself and Cypher.

'WIND TO WREAK HAVOK! WIND TO...' Storm shouts as she flies up above the pyramids, the eyeballs and serpents suddenly blown away by the powerful wind – but Storm is cut-off mid-sentence as the Techno-Organic virus rages through her body and she falls to the ground. Minutes later, Penance and Cypher are at Storm's side. 'She's coming around' Penance points out, while Cypher encourages Storm to wake up. 'Did it work?' Storm asks, the Techno-Organic virus covering her face. 'Of course. But now it's time to get you fixed up' Penance replies. Penance then addresses the AIM operative as Ned and reveals that she picked him not just because he could get them access to the World, but also because of his specific area of expertise. 'You figure out what we're looking for yet?' Penance asks Ned.

Ned announces that he thinks so, and tells his companions that there is a particular side effect that radical evolutionary experiments in a closed environment have – systems that are normally competitive, like organic and technological ones – have a tendency to become accidentally and terminally intertwined. He explains that they built a machine to pull them apart, that it is in there, in the same direction Fantomex ran off to. 'Who knows...we might even run into...Him' Ned utters as the group make their way into the pyramid building, and find Fantomex with Ultimaton, standing over the motionless bodies of several other AIM operatives. 'Uh, this isn’t as bad as it looks' Fantomex calls out. 'I promise' he adds, raising his hands while Ultimaton stands at his side. Ned motions to a glowing triangle-shaped object nearby and reports that it is the machine they need. He tells Storm that she needs to climb inside the unity field while he mans the controls. Storm touches the object and begins to enter the glowing triangle while Ned explains that when he activates the machine, it will begin to decouple Storm from the virus. 'Hopefully you're not past its ability to separate them' Ned adds when Storm is inside the triangle. Cypher keeps watch over Storm while Penance watches Ned at the monitor station. 'Powering on' Ned calls out. Storm appears calm, but she has a lingering question – why is she doing this when she can let go and be resurrected?

Suddenly, 'Hey! Looks like backup has arrived!' Ned calls out as a dozen or so large eyeballs enter the chamber. Storm wonders why she struggles, why she fights, while the eyeballs use their tentacles to knock Fantomex backwards. Storm asks herself why she doesn't surrender to the inevitable and wash her hands of it and start anew. 'After all, what's one life when you have an endless number of them?' Storm wonders. A tentacle wraps around Cypher's neck and energy crackles. The same happens to Ned, while Penance receives a strong blast of energy at close range. 'Where's the value? How can you even define what a “good life” is?' Storm asks herself, before deciding that the true meaning of life is in the living – it isn't a series of do-overs and restarts – it is fighting for what you have, what you believe in – it's fighting for who you are.

Ultimaton stands and does nothing once Fantomex, Cypher, Ned and Penance are all taken down. The mass of eyeballs moves closer to the triangle, which continues to glow as energy washes over Storm. 'I am a mutant. I am a goddess. And I want to live' Storm tells herself, as she casts forth a powerful surge of lightning, which blasts through the triangle and strikes the mass  of eyeballs down. 'NO!' Storm shouts. She emerges from the triangle, her skin has returned to normal. 'I'm better, see? Today I've had my fill of machines. I'm done now' Storm utters. She smiles as she looks at her fingers, which crackle with lightning. 'That's better. I'm back to full strength'.

Storm goes over to Cypher and helps him to his feet, telling him that she hopes they didn't put him out too much, and if he is all right. 'Oh, you know me... amazing at fieldwork' Cypher replies, joking that he is shocked he isn't sent on more of these things, as he is a natural. Storm turns to Monet, who switches back to her human form, and thanks her for figuring all this out. 'I am in your debt' Storm utters. 'Don't be was...huh?' Monet starts to reply, before she notices something strange in the chamber – the triangle that Storm was in has morphed into some sort of star, and is covered in the Techno-Organic virus. 'That doesn't look right. What's happening with the containment field?' Monet asks. Ned tells her that it is all right, and that he was expecting this. 'I came prepared!' Ned exclaims as he raises the device he has been carrying around with him and aims it at the containment device, covering it in a strange substance.

Ned explains that the problem with how this machine works is, in this case, that you are leaving behind a pure technological construct that has been exposed to the same temporal forces that Storm was, and there is no telling what it could become if it expanded at will. The Techno-Organic virus appears to subside as Ned reports that it is a containment system, that it should prevent any potential intelligence from reaching evolutionary critical mass. 'Uh-huh' Cypher frowns while he and Storm look at the containment field. Fantomex looks over at Ultimaton and remarks 'Dare I ask if you're finally ready to leave?' But Ultimaton tells Fantomex that he should know by now that he is never going to leave. Fantomex pauses, before announcing that he is going to stay, too. 'What does that mean, I have no idea...but I guess we'll figure out together. Stay put. I'll be right back after I show these guys the way back the real world' Fantomex tells Ultimaton as he starts to lead his companions out of the pyramid. Storm and Monet turn to Ned, and Storm asks him if he is ready to leave. 'If I remember correctly, there's a whole lot of money waiting for you' Storm adds.

Ned surprisingly announces that he doesn't need it. He tells Storm to keep the money, to spend it – but just not to give it to charity. 'So you're staying too?' Storm asks. 'Are you kidding? Look at this place. It's amazing!' Ned replies as he stands next to Ultimaton. Ned exclaims that it is like an  evil scientist's dream lab, that it is an entire world, so what is not to love? 'With talk like that, I should take you with us – whether you like it or not. But you helped save me...' Storm remarks, before thanking Ned and telling him to try not to get into too much trouble.

Cypher looks at the containment system and tells it 'I'm leaving now, but so you're not fooling anyone'. Cypher tells the containment system that the energy pattern it is throwing off really gives the game away to someone like him. He can make it our clearly – it is language, which means the containment system is conscious, sentient. 'You got something you want to say about that?' Cypher asks. The containment unit then speaks in its own strange language, which of course Cypher can understand. Cypher smiles, and replies 'Yeah... I'll be seeing you too'.


Characters Involved: 

Cypher, Fantomex, Emma Frost, Marvel Girl, Penance, Storm, Warlock





Story Notes: 

This issue acts as a direct sequel to Giant-Size X-Men: Jean Grey & Emma Frost #1.

According to interviews originally Hickman had planned for Storm to be pregnant and the child to be raised in the World.


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