Mutant X #23

Issue Date: 
September 2000
Story Title: 
The Gift of Fear!

Howard Mackie (writer), Tom Lyle (pencils), Andrew Pepoy & Cliff Rathburn (inks), Gina Going (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Jason Liebig (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

The green creatures created by Mr. Sinister and Xavier make the heroes witness their worst fears. Even Havok falls for them but he receives the help of Jean Grey and Apocalypse, who shield his thoughts from Xavier. Xavier kills Apocalypse, so Alex stands alone. Xavier gives Alex the choice to join him or not. Should he say no, X-Man shall kill the kidnapped Scotty and Raven. Alex almost gives in, but is strong enough to resist. Xavier explains his plan to take over every mind on the planet and create one huge mind: his. Hearing this, Sinister becomes angry at Xavier, because this is not what they discussed and Sinister won’t allow him to destroy the human race. Subsequently, Sinister and Xavier fight and Xavier kills Sinister. X-Man goes over to his deceased “father” and drops Scotty and Raven, who combine their powers with Alex’ plasma-blasts and defeat Xavier. While nobody else notices Xavier getting up again, the Brute takes the bullet before Xavier can blast Alex. Xavier disappears, promising that this is only the beginning of the end. The Six return to their castle and send Scotty, Elektra and Raven with Magneto and the X-Men to live on the moon, where they shall be safe. After putting the Brute in the infirmary, the rest of the Six plan their next move. Alex isn’t sure anymore if he should continue lead the team. Their conversation is ended by the Brute, who is surprisingly already healed, and has his intelligence back!

Full Summary: 

Mr. Sinister asks Alex why he, as close to genetic perfection as they come, would associate himself with the rest of the rabble over Xavier and himself. Alex simply says that he’s rather picky of the company he seeks. While the green creature’s from “Galactus’” ashes merge behind him, Sinister already plans something to do about that. Sinister points his attention towards Xavier, asking if he would be so kind.

Xavier steps forward and uses his mind-blasts against the heroes, thinking they’ve already given them enough time to delay their plans. But little do the heroes know that they themselves and their psionic energy are part of it all. Xavier struggles, as they are trying to resist him. Sinister says it’s useless to resist, as he is already here! The green creatures step out, ready to bring them all fear.

Captain America seems to be the first. Cap is left alone and he doesn’t see his friends anywhere. He wonders where they are. The Red Skull shows up, telling Cap that they are gone and he, the imposter, has to face him alone now. Cap doesn’t understand it, as he thought that the Skull was killed by his predecessor! The Red Skull gets angry and floats his energy through his hand, asking Cap, the mutant mongrel, if he can fare the same. Cap is surprised that Cap knows that he’s a mutant. The Red Skull attacks Cap, telling him that should he be allowed to have seen his fate, Cap and all the other mutants would have been nothing but a memory. The Skull believes that it might not be too late to live that dream, as he takes on one corpse at a time.

Ice-Man tries to resist, as he knows the creatures come from Galactus. His fear comes in the form of his father. William gets angry at Ice-Man, who calls him dad instead of father. As Ice-Man’s father slaps him in the face, his hand freezes! William says he’s not too surprised to see this happening from the likes of mutants. Ice-Man tries to apologize, but his father interupts him. Bloodstorm follows. She wonders what’s in store for her, as suddenly mist appears. A shadowy figure steps out and Bloodstorm is startled to see… Dracula! She’s too scared to do something, so Dracula quickly goes over to her and bites her in the neck.

Gambit rushes over and tries to save her, but he gets blasted down. The Assassin appears, who’s the last of his kind, after all the Thieves killed his family. Now, the Assassin is ready to kill Gambit. Meanwhile, Brute is scared of all the mist images. His own worst fears come in the forms of his human form, Hank McCoy, and the blue-furred Beast he once was. They mock at Brute, not understanding why they’ve let themselves dis-evolve in such a way. Brute recognizes them, but the images only mock harder, calling him an idiot; of course he recognizes them, because they are him! Brute tells them not to call him names, because he gets mad when they do that. And when Brute gets mad, he fights! He grabs the human Hank by the throat, ready to kill him!

Magneto seems to be left standing and knows what is going on. He wonders what his old friend, Charles, could possible gain by this, but Magneto promises him he shall withstand until his last breath. But Magneto gets caught anyhow, when hungry and haunted mutants come after him, touching and begging Magneto to come help him. It’s too much for Magneto and he screams out loud. Havok tries to help Magneto, but his own worst fear comes in the form of his older brother, Scott. Alex can’t believe it, but Cyclops tells his brother to be quiet, as he is an embarresment to the Summers family. Powers always out of control, losing every girlfriend, even losing his world. Alex almost gives in, but he gets the help from Jean and Apocalypse, who defeat his fear.

Jean says they have weapons to defeat Xavier and Sinister. Xavier doesn’t believe it and attacks them, saying that Apocalypse looks rather weak from where he’s standing. Jean tells Alex it’s up too him. When Alex asks why him, Jean explains that he is unknown to Xavier… an X-factor. And despite his bravado, Xavier can’t seem to get a hold on his mind. Jean doesn’t want to give Xavier time, because that will make him win. Alex uses his most powerful blast against the green creatures and destroys them all. Alex asks what to do, but Jean explains that she and Apocalypse can no longer help him now; he’s got to figure it out by himself.

Alex is ready for it. Xavier finds him pathetic and asks again to join him in a world with one ruler, where there is no world, hunger or strife. Alex isn’t interested and knows that Xavier is afraid of him. X-Man shows up and has Scotty and Raven in his might. Xavier explains that Scotty was never safe with Elektra, and Gambit’s daughter has always been a part of his plan. Scotty and Raven are psionic batteries and their power shall serve Xavier, unless Alex joins him. If he won’t, X-Man shall kill them both. Alex powers down and asks Xavier what he wants.

Xavier says he wants a perfect world come true! He also believes that he is the only person who’s capable of doing such a thing. All inner battles shall be stopped by using his power. Alex asks if he’s going to do that by rulling over them. Xavier explains that he shall have the power of the most powerful minds of the world, which he shall combine and form one unique mind… his! Sinister becomes angry because this is not what they discussed when Xavier came to him for help. Xavier calls Sinister a fool for thinking he’s interested in his futile experiments. Enraged, Sinister attacks Xavier, because he will not stand by while he destroys humanity. Xavier dodges the attack and fights back, the blast killing Mr. Sinister. X-Man goes over to his “father,” tending to Sinister and drops Raven and Scotty.

Suddenly, the Six cry it out from the pain, making Alex ask what’s going on. Apocalypse realizes that Xavier is beginning his plan to strike out on every mind on the planet, but he is shielding Alex and Scotty; he must strike fast or all shall be lost. Havok attacks, but Xavier dodges and attacks Apocalypse instead, toppling him. Xavier prepares to kill Alex now, but Scotty and Raven show up and show Alex a way to win. They combine their powers through Alex’ plasma-blast, which is strong enough to defeat Xavier. Apocalypse congratulates him but he has some bad wounds and is dying. Gambit wants to take him to a hospital, but Apocalypse says it’s too late for that now.

They don’t notice Xavier standing up at the back and preparing to blast Alex down. Brute is the only one who sees it and jumps before Alex, taking the hit for him. Ice-Man quickly jumps in and freezes Xavier up, believing that this should end it. Xavier, however, says this ends nothing, as it is only the beginning. With this, Xavier disappears. Brute is in a bad way and the Six quickly prepare their ship and move him over to their castle.

Two weeks later, in the infermary at the castle of the Six…

Alex has put Brute in a stasis field and Scotty takes good-bye from him. Scotty doesn’t want to go, but Alex wants him to be safe. And he shall be safe with Magneto and the X-Men on the moon. Gambit takes good-bye form his daughter, Raven, who shall also go to the moon. Alex and Elektra also take good-bye, and the Six watch their friends leave in their ship.

A short time later…

The Six argue about what to do. Gambit doesn’t care about the rest of the world and wants to hunt Xavier down. Cap believes they have more of a chance to a world view by improving the bad human/mutant relationship. Gambit says that this is no mutant thing for him, as he only joined the Six to find his daughter, which he has now done. Bloodstorm agrees with Cap and tries to convince her friend to come along. They are still arguing when Ice-Man suddenly asks Alex what he thinks of it. Alex, sitting alone in the back, says he was just wondering if he is the right man to lead them all. Half of the time he is somewhere else, on a whole other world, wondering what happened to them all.

Alex believes that, without Scotty holding them there, maybe Bloodstorm or Cap should lead the team. Their conversation is cut short by the Brute, who’s already healed. And, inexplicably, it appears that Xavier’s blast has somehow given him his intelligence back! Simply put: Dr. Henry McCoy appears to be the Brute is no more!

Characters Involved: 

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

Magneto (leader of the X-Men)

Jean Grey


Death/the Fallen, Famine, Pestilence, War (Four Horsemen of Apocalypse)

Professor Charles Xavier

Mr. Sinister


Scotty Summers

Raven LeBeau

fear images

The Red Skull (fear image of Captain America arch-enemy)

William Drake (fear image of Ice-Man’s father)

Dracula (fear image of Bloodstorm’s arch-enemy)

The Assassin (fear image of Gambit’s enemy)

Hank McCoy/blue Beast (fear images of Brute)

Cyclops (fear image of Havok)

Hungry and scared mutants (fear images of Magneto)

in Havok’s memories

Colossus, Cyclops, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine (X-Men from his world)

Forge, Mystique, Polaris, Sabretooth, Shard, Wild Child (X-Factor from his world)

Story Notes: 

Havok was, in his universe, first a member of the X-Men and later stepped over to X-Factor, until landing on this world. [X-Men (1st series) #65, X-Factor (1st series) #71, Mutant X #1]

The Assassin is a whole new character, never before seen in any comic. Not in Mutant X or in any of the Earth 616 books. Even after this issue, he is never seen again. He is probably created to the image Julien Boudreaux had in the real comics, where he was killing the members of the Thieves Guild. [Ghost Rider (2nd series) #26]

The Red Skull is the arch-enemy of Steve Rogers, the first Captain America, who fought him in World War II. Though this version of Cap does not seem to be Rogers, he looks just like Steve without his mask and it is never explained who his identity trully is.

Hank McCoy changed himself into the Brute after trying to find a cure for Ice-Man’s out-of-control powers. The explosion of the failed experiment made him loose his intelligence. [Mutant X #1 background-files, Mutant X #24]

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