Mutant X #16

Issue Date: 
January 2000
Story Title: 
God and Man

Howard Mackie (writer), Cary Nord (pencils), Andrew Pepoy (inks), Gina Going (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Jason Liebig (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

The Six begin their mission into finding and rescuing mutants in need. They move to Georgia, where they rescue young mutant Jonah Reeves from attacking mutant hunters. The Six defeat the hunters and bring Jonah to a safe place. A short time later, Nick Fury finds out about these events and sends his Bastion-unit out to bring the Six in. The next mission of the Six brings them to New Orleans. While on their way to rescue the next mutant, the heroes find themselves attacked by members of the United Guild of New Orleans. They bring the Six to their leader, Gambit. Gambit claims that he didn’t kill them because of his past debt with Bloodstorm but, with that debt now repaid, he orders them to leave his town at once. After arguing about what to do, the Bastion-unit and its helpers drop into the building, wanting Gambit’s daugher, Raven, back. A fight comes up, and a stray bullet kills Gambit’s wife, Bella Donna. Bella Donna’s brother, Julien, turns out to be a traitor, who has revealed their secret hideout to Fury and kidnaps Raven, handing her over to the Bastion-unit. Alex finds something familiar about this attack, which the Bastion-unit confirms, but that shall be explained in due time. They teleport away, leaving Gambit and the Six alone. Gambit buries his wife, knowing that, with her death, their marriage won’t have any meaning left and the Guilds will fall apart. Gambit doesn’t care about any of that and just wants to find his daughter again. And, until that day has come, he shall join the Six!

Full Summary: 

Savannah, Georgia

Young mutant Jonah Reeves runs through his school playground late at night. But this time, he is not playing; he is running for his life! Jonah realizes that, should he ever stop running, it would mean his certain death.

Jonah accidently trips over a stick and a bullet just misses his head. Jonah decides not to run anymore and stands up with full confidence. Jonah believes that running didn’t help his mom and dad, or his sister, Laurie. He can’t run, as he belongs to them. Mutant hunters show up, mocking at Jonah when they see him stand there like he’s an innocent mutant. The hunters know better, they believe, as they saw what Jonah did to their friend Tom back there.

Harry, one of the mutant hunters, asks if they are going to do the same with this one like with all the others. Another hunter says they’ll do the exact same, pulling the trigger on all of these mutant freaks together and kill them all off. The hunters prepare to shoot, until their guns are pulled out of their hands by the thrown shield of Captain America! Cap orders them to drop all the rest of their weapons and step away from the kid. The hunters don’t believe this to be a concern to Cap, as it is simply a matter between them normal ordinary humans and the mutants. The hunters hate the fact that the mutants always think they are better then humans, so they have to show them real good that they are not.

Havok, with the Six behind him, show up. Alex says that the humans won’t mind them involving then, just ordinary them ordinary mutants against them humans. Jonah can’t believe that the Six are really there with him. The hunters are not afraid of the Six, as they know them well. After all, they are the mutants who nearly destoryed the world. The hunters tell the Six that just because mutants have some genetic mutation won’t mean that the humans will just roll over and die and they begin shooting at the Six. Captain America defends his newfound friends with his shield. Alex joins Cap, saying that there goes their plan of fear, intimidation and a reasonable solution. Cap agrees, but is more concerned about how ordinary human civilians can get such sophisticated weapons. This disturbs Cap.

Brute playfully lifts one of the hunters up and plays a little with him. Ice-Man joins in and creates a few ice-blocks to make the hunter feel really cold. Bloodstorm stops their joking around because they’ve still got a rescued child to tend to. Havok, firering one of his blasts at one of the hunters, tells Bloodstorm to lighten up, as they desirve to have a little fun once and awhile, because they have been on the road for some time now. When Alex notices Jonah looking at the fight rather scared, he re-thinks what he just said. Alex knows that Nick Fury and his S.H.I.E.L.D. Stormtroopers aren’t taking their mutant hunt slightly. The soldiers claim that they will bring the mutants to safety, but Alex doesn’t believe that, because it has been proven in the past how bad these things go.

Havok now realizes how different things were when he first landed in this strange universe. Unlike the world where he came from, mutants and humans lived together in peace. This was all ruined when the Goblin Queen attacked. Alex believes that all he can do about this is just stand by and watch this world become an even darker version than his home world. But Havok refuses to let that happen. He becomes angry, and unleashes a huge plasma-blast at one of the hunters. The hunter begs Alex not to kill him, because he has a wife and kids. Alex, Ice-Man and Jonah stand over the hunter triumphically.

Alex tells Jonah to take a good look at the human hunter. Alex explains that this man represents a small percentage of the humans on this planet. Currently, the humans are a very vocal and dangerous minority. Alex tells Jonah to not let their hatred towards mutants affect him. Alex tells the hunter that they are going to find a safe place for Jonah, but first something else has to be done. Alex calls for Ice-Man, who, with a big smile on his face, knows exactly what to do.

A short time later…

S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives on the scene, the Six have already left. Nick Fury steps out and finds the hunters all frozen up, and the landscape entirely snowed in. Fury knows that this is the work of mutants and, more specifically, of the Six. Fury calls for Dum-Dum, ordering him to get the Espers. Dum-Dum obeys his general, saying that they are present. Fury’s pleased to see that they have sent him the Bastion-unit. The Bastion-unit confirms to an impatient Fury that he has the mutants’ trail and they were here. Fury says he knows that, but wants to know if the Bastion-unit knows where they are now. The Bastion-unit says he does.

The French Quarter of New Orleans, Mardi Gras.

It’s a time of celebration, parties and costumes, for the civilians of New Orleans; not giving the Six a hard time to pass by unnoticed. Cerebro informs Havok that he has just received a message from his mistress, Elektra, saying that she and Scotty have settled in quite nicely. Alex doesn’t want to know, because he had send Elektra away for a reason: he needs to stay focused in order to find and rescue mutants, and he can’t do that when he is worrying about Scotty. Elektra assured him she knew a place to keep Scotty safe and that was good enough for him. Coming to the subject, Alex asks Cerebro where the mutant is they came to rescue here.

Cerebro apologizes, as it would seem he has made a mistake. Alex doesn’t understand and asks for an explenation. Cerebro confirms that the mutant they came to rescue is most definitely here, but there are others as well. Alex asks what others he means. Cerebro says that there are many others, who are just above them! The heroes look up and see how shadowy figures jump from the roofes, right in front of them. The Six prepare for battle.

One of the attackers, apparently knowing Alex, tells Alex that this is a fight he cannot win, and he needs to come with them, seeing their boss. Alex asks who their boss is, already knowing the answer, but he isn’t sure. The leader of the attackers confirm that their boss is indeed the leader of the United Guild of Thieves and Assassins of New Orleans. The leader of the attackers orders Alex and the rest to come with them, or they die where they stand.

Ice-Man steps forward, telling the group not to go ahead of themselves, as he’s certain they can all be friends. Bob wants to shake hands with the leader of the attackers, but he withdraws, knowing that Ice-Man’s touch freezes him to death. The leader tells Ice-Man to back off, or he dies. Alex asks Ice-Man what he was thinking, but Bob wasn’t thinking at all, as usuall. Suddenly, a heavy noise flies over. Everybody looks up and see a plane passing by. Alex notices the aircraft as a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel. Another shadowy figure jumps from the rooftops and informs his leader, Julien, that he has got word from their boss and they have to move quick. Julien agrees and orders the heroes to come with him, and they better have the right words for their boss, or else.

A short time later…

Julien has brought the Six to his boss, Gambit. Julien introduces the Six to Gambit, but doesn’t know why his wife, Bella Donna, and his daughter, Raven, are standing beside him, because plans have to be made. Gambit agrees with that, but his family is exactly what he needs in order not to make rash decissions. Gambit jokes that being married and having a family really changes a man, and Julien should take it a shot. Gambit gets up from his chair and wants to shake hands with Havok. Gambit can’t believe that none of their paths have ever crossed. That is, of course, with the exception of Bloodstorm, whom Gambit knows.

Gambit turns to Bloodstorm, saying she looks better now than when they last saw each other. All grown up, he means. Bloodstorm smiles, saying that Gambit looks good as well. Gambit says he does, and has Bloodstorm to thank for that. Gambit explains that this is the reason why the Six aren’t dead yet. Now, with his debt with Bloodstorm is repaid, they better get out of his town. Alex asks what Gambit means by “his town.” Gambit confirms that New Orleans is his town, or at least for all intents and purposes, and they don’t want any trouble. Gambit doesn’t need mutants, or Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. on their tails.

Cerebro tries to apologize and say something, but both Havok and Gambit tell him to shut up. Gambit explains to Havok that he has set up New Orleans apart from the rest of the United States and he is the law here. New Orleans serves as a very safe base for Gambit’s operations throughout the world, and he doesn’t need any mutant freedom fighters or anything like it. The building starts to shake and everybody seems to notice it, except for Alex and Gambit, who continue arguing. Alex tries to tell Gambit that though he might not be a fan of mutants, there are a few in this town, even here in this room. Gambit asks what he means by that. Alex explains that they came here to rescue a mutant, but it turned out that something else happened.

The building starts to shake even harder and both Alex and Gambit finally look up, wondering what the noise is. The windows break, and the Six realize that they are under attack! Robots, working for S.H.I.E.L.D., drop in, reporting to the mutants that, by order 375/112/43, all mutants have to be placed in custody and resistance shall be met with their force. Gambit thinks that Havok set him up and calls him a traitor, pretending he came to help but instead betrayed him and his people. Gambit grabs Havok by the throat and charges up one of his playcards, wanting to kill Alex. Bella Donna call for Gambit’s help, as she realizes that they have come for Raven. Bella Donna shoots her way through the robots, but asks Gambit to help rescue their daughter. Gambit lets Alex go and rushes to his family’s aid.

The Six go into the battle as well. Havok says that they came for Raven’s rescue, so they better begin with it and help defeat the robots. Bella Donna notices how the robots are falling back, but tells Gambit that this place isn’t safe anymore and they have to move. Gambit tells his wife that it shall be done, as she and Raven are the only two things that matter to him. Bella Donna suddenly gets hit by a stray bullet, which hurts her in a vital place and she is dying. Gambit picks her up in his arms, telling her that he is going to be all right. Bella Donna knows that she is dying and begs Gambit to keep Raven safe. With her last breath, Bella Donna tells Gambit to stop him, as he has betrayed them all.

Bella Donna dies and Gambit says that she loves her and always will. He promises her that her death shall be avenged. Raven calls for help and is held hostage by her Uncle Julien. Raven warns her dad that Julien is a bad man. Julien tells his niece to shut up. Gambit can’t believe that Julien is the traitor. The Six can’t believe it either. Cerebro informs Alex that Raven’s mutant powers are above all charts and they can’t allow the Bastion-unit to have her. Alex understands. He charges up, ordering Gambit that he can’t just rush in. Alex knows that these robots are S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives, as is Julien, but there appears to be more about them, something almost familiar. Gambit doesn’t care, as they killed his wife, and now have his daughter as well.

The Bastion-unit appears, sarcastically congratulating Gambit on the futile, but bold words. The Bastion-unit tells Gambit that Raven never belongd to him, she never did, and Gambit knows it. The Bastion-unit says that she is theirs now as she ever was. The Bastion-unit grabs Gambit up by his throat, threatening that should he ever oppose them again, it will mean his early death. Julien, still holding Raven hostage, goes stand beside the Bastion-unit, who prepares to teleport away. The Bastion-unit tells Havok that he is right, as there is something familiar about their meeting. The Bastion-unit promises him that, now that they have the child, all will be revealed in due time. Raven sadly says good-bye to her dad, and the Bastion-unit teleports everyone out, leaving the Six and Gambit behind.

Alex tries to apologize but Gambit shuts him up, saying he now knows that Alex has nothing to do with this. Gambit just needs a little time. Gambit picks his dead wife up, saying it’s time to bury her. After that, he shall leave New Orleans. Gambit knows that, with Bella Donna dead, their marriage has no meaning anymore and the Guilds will be broken again. Gambit doesn’t care about that at all, he simply wants his daughter back, no matter how long it takes. Until that day has come, Gambit promises that he will join the Six.

Characters Involved: 

Bloodstorm, Brute, Captain America, Cerebro, Havok, Ice-Man (the Six)

Gambit (leader of the United Guild)

Bella Donna Boudreaux-LeBeau (Gambit’s wife)

Raven LeBeau (Gambit’s daughter)

Julien Boudreaux (Gambit’s brother-in-law)

unnamed members of the United Guild

Nick Fury (S.H.I.E.L.D. General)

Dum-Dum Dugan (S.H.I.E.L.D. Colonel)

the Bastion-unit (working for S.H.I.E.L.D.)

unnamed S.H.I.E.L.D. agents

Jonah Reeves (young mutant the Six rescue)

Harry, Dick and other mutant hunters

unnamed people living in New Orleans

Story Notes: 

More about Gambit and Bloodstorm’s shared past can be found in the Mutant X Annual 2000.

In this issue, Gambit has “normal” looking text balloons. In later issues, Marvel corrects this mistake and gives him vampiric text balloons, like Bloodstorm has. This is further explored in Mutant X Annual 2000.

In the real univere, Gambit married Bella Donna, his best friend, in order to stop the murdering between the Thieves and the Assassins Guilds. Their marriage would bring certain peace. Bella Donna’s brother, Julien, did not agree with their marriage and ordered Gambit to a duel. In the duel, Gambit accidently killed Julien when trying to defend himself. In fear that this death would mean murders again, Gambit left the Guilds and New Orleans, without mentioning any word to anyone or to Bella Donna. [X-Men (2nd series) #8]

Captain America used to be a member of the Avengers. When he was the only one who denied Nick Fury’s offer to work with him and join the mutant hunt, he fled them and joined Forge’s group. After the fight with Sunfire, Cap was accepted into the Six. [Mutant X #15]

What the Bastion-unit means about Raven not truly belonging to Gambit can also be found in the Mutant X Annual 2000.

Dum-Dum now calls Fury Colonel. In Mutant X #15, he called Fury “Nick” but Fury told Dum-Dum to call him Colonel or else Fury would shoot him.

The attack of the Goblin Queen can be found in Mutant X #1-12 & Mutant X Annual 1999.

In the real universe, Bastion is the leader of the anti-mutant organization known as Operation: Zero Tolerance. The X-Men had a hard time with it, but they eventually defeated him. [X-Men (2nd series) #65-70 and most other X-titles at the time]

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