Maybe all Utopia’s have a snake. That’s just the way it is. In any event, the place will never be the same.
‘What kind of crime?’ Wolverine asks as he follows Cyclops down a corridor. ‘Murder? Robbery? Kidnap? Something really serious?’ Wolverine asks. ‘In hindsight this was inevitable. All these individuals thrown together…bound to be a crime sooner or later’ Cyclops replies. ‘What crime? I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what’s happened!’ Wolverine exclaims. Cyclops informs Wolverine that it isn’t he whom he will be helping. ‘I’d like you to assist our new head of criminal investigation. You might be surprised at who I’ve chosen’ Cyclops adds. ‘Damn it, Summers. You ain’t put Magneto in charge of policing Utopia?’ Wolverine exclaims. ‘No, Logan. Not Magneto’ Cyclops replies, and as they round a corner, they bump into the new head of criminal investigation - holding a magnifying glass and wearing a Sherlock Holmes style hat. ‘Aw, ya gotta be kidding!’ Wolverine exclaims as Doop stares back at him, and says something in his native tongue, “Doopspeak”.
Nope, Utopia will definitely never be the same again.
Outside, several X-Men and students - Colossus, Rogue, Magneto, Gambit, the Sub-Mariner, Bling! and Indra - have gathered. ‘Doop wasn’t even an X-Man, dawg. No way should he be investigating us!’ Bling! exclaims in a huff. ‘The lady is correct, oui? Solving le crime…it requires a cool and logical mind. Does that creature even have a mind?’ Gambit replies. Wolverine strides past everyone, with Doop hovering above him. ‘With my powers, surely I’d make a better detective’ Rogue exclaims, but Wolverine tells her that it is not his call.
For three days and nights, Doop questions the citizens of Asteroid M. At least, he calls it questioning.
After Doop shines a bright light on Cannonball and asks him something in “Doopspeak“. Iceman informs Wolverine that he spent three hours being grilled by Doop, who kept asking him about French new wave cinema. ‘I - I got off light, though. He saw Magneto earlier. He made the poor old guy tap dance for him!’ Iceman exclaims.
Wolverine meets with Doop: ‘Spit it out, Doop. How am I meant to help if I don’t know what the crime is?’ Wolverine asks. ‘But there has been no crime -’ Doop replies, in English. ‘No crime? Then why -?’ Wolverine asks. ‘- no crime yet. But there will be. You see, some crimes wait for their perpetrators to find them. Wait for a criminal to discover them’ Doop exclaims. ‘A latent crime, I call it’ Doop adds. Sounds like bull’ Wolverine replies.
On day four it happens. The first attempt on our bold detective’s life comes from Cannonball. The New Mutant called Cannonball lunges towards Doop with a large knife - before Wolverine smacks into Cannonball, knocking him to the ground. The second attempt on Doop’s life comes soon after, from Gambit, who throws kinetically charged playing cards at him. Doop is knocked off balance, and shouts something in “Doopspeak”.
Wolverine grabs Doop and remarks that it is funny, for until he came there was little or no crime on Utopia. ‘Even Norman Osborn never made them this angry’ Wolverine adds, before they make their way around a corner. ‘What’s your point, feral one?’ Doop asks in English. ‘My point? My point is, that since you’ve been here…just about everyone’s turned into a potential killer’ Wolverine replies. ‘Surely everyone’s a potential killer’ Doop remarks, in English.
Doop is right, and Wolverine only just manages to stop himself from killing Doop right then and there. On day five, the confessions begin.
‘…I’ve wanted to kill many times before. Human and brother mutant. I especially wanted to kill all those X-Static wannabes’ Cannonball exclaims, boasting that he is rotten to the core. Soon, Doop interrogates Gambit, who admits that he is a criminal at heart, and that it took Doop to show him that he is a danger to society. ‘Evil. I pretend to have changed, but in truth, I lie in wait. A cobra, poisonous, fangs bared…’ Magneto declares as he is interrogated.
A snake. Sure, there’s a snake in Utopia. But the snake ain’t Magneto. Wolverine tells himself as he rests his feet on a desk. ‘I think we’re through for the day, Logan’ Doop announces, before asking Wolverine if he fancies a walk around the island before cocoa. Suddenly, Wolverine pops his claws and thinks to himself that the snake isn’t even Doop. ‘It’s me!’ he tells himself before lunging at Doop, backing the green creature up against a wall.
‘Go ahead, Wolverine. Kill me. If you think it will save your Utopia’ Doop declares. ‘It’s all of us’ Wolverine tells himself. ‘It’s…all of us…all of us…save Utopia…must save…Utopia…Have to kill him. Can’t let him show us…the truth about ourselves…can’t let him ruin…’
Wolverine looks at his hands, they are green and stringy - and as sunshine filters in his bedroom, Doop wakes up - and realizes they are his hands he is looking at, as he mutters something in “Doopspeak”. ‘Doop! Doop!’ a blonde woman in see-through dress exclaims as she approaches the bed, carrying a cup of coffee the girl tells Doop that he was laughing and giggling in his sleep again. ‘Come on, big boy. What were you dreaming about this time?’ the woman asks. ‘Oh, I’m not the one who’s doing the dreaming’ Doop replies as he takes the coffee and puts his other hand on the girls’ shoulder. The girl utters something in “Doopspeak”. ‘Exactly, my dear’ Doop replies.
‘The Kraken, Namor? Seriously?’ the White Queen asks as she finds herself dressed in exotic armor, carrying a massive sword and riding a winged-horse which flies her towards the Kraken, where Namor the sub-Mariner is attempting to spear the massive creature that has risen above Utopia. Suddenly, ‘Emma? Emma, where are you?’ a voice calls out. The White Queen snaps back to reality: ‘Hmmm? Sitting right here, Scott darling’ she tells her lover Scott “Cyclops” Summers. ‘Where I always am’ she adds, while Storm, Doctor Nemesis and the Sub-Mariner all stare at her.
Cyclops tells Emma that they need her focused, and explains that Namor was just reviewing his plans to buttress Utopia underwater. ‘My apologies if I was boring you, Frost’ Namor declares. ‘Not at all, King. I find all this discussion about underwater buttressing…riveting’ Emma replies.
Soon, after the meeting, Namor leaves the meeting room, and Cyclops turns to the White Queen, telling her that he knows their new surroundings aren’t as posh as she is used to, and that all these logistics and details can be - ‘Mind-numbing? Soul-crushing?’ Emma offers. ‘Overwhelming, I was going to say’ Scott tells her. ‘When I was a girl, Scott, I dreamt of living on the White Cliffs of Dover. Now, I’m living on Asteroid M, with the most marvellous view of…nothing, actually, that’s overwhelming’ Emma tells him. Scott tells Emma that she is going to have to start coping with this distraction, or impatience or whatever she is having. ‘Ennui, Scott. Malaise’ Emma tells him. ‘Because do you know what the Cuckoos have been up to?’ Scott asks. Emma looks at him, concerned.
Later, Emma makes her way down to the shore of Utopia and calls out to her favourite students: ‘Celeste. Irma. Phoebe…we need to talk!’ she announces. ‘Certainly, Miss Frost’ the girls reply all together. ‘Don’t try to charm my by speaking in unison, girls, I know what you’ve been doing behind my back’ Emma informs them. She reminds them that they banished Indra into an endless field of corn, while they tap-danced on Loa’s fingertips until she plunged into the churning waters of the cold Pacific, and finally trapped Match at the bottom of a well, with a stringy-haired Asian ghost-child.
‘Telepathically, of course, so that no one was really hurt. Physically, I mean’ Emma declares. ‘I suppose on some level, we’re to blame for calling you the Stepford Cuckoos. But tell me…why, in God’s name, are you re-creating scenarios from “evil child” horror movies and inflicting them upon your less formidable peers?’ Emma asks. ‘We were just playing, Miss Frost’ one of the girls replies. ‘The truth is…it’s boring here’ the others add. ‘Irma’s been sneaking to San Francisco, to the Haight, and buying DVDs at Amoeba’ one of them announces. ‘Of horror movies. I see’ Emma declares, narrowing her eyes.
‘It wasn’t so bad before, when we had the Phoenix within us…but now…we’re just like every other run-of-the-mill telepath’ the girls exclaim. ‘No offense’ they add in unison, as Emma looks slightly forlorn. ‘None taken’ Emma quickly replies, before telling the Cuckoos that in point of fact, she is a touch restless as well. Emma declares that they must rise above their circumstances and not resort to re-enactments of “the Bad Seed”. ‘No, for that matter, wallow in daydreams inspired by “Clash of the Titans” Emma adds. ‘”Clash of the Titans” Miss Frost? Starring Harry Hamlin? Back when he was super-cute?’ the girls ask.
Emma reveals that the film was a childhood favourite of hers. ‘Maggie Smith played Thetis. She was…magnificent’ Emma exclaims, before telling her students that there is to be no more bullying the younger students. ‘From now on, we’re channeling your talents and breeding for good, not insolence’.
The girls are allowed to increase their time on Cerebra, during which one of them uses the time to re-read “Remembrance of Things Past”. ‘Proust? Again?’ one of them exclaims, while the third yawns.
The Cuckoos help with the welcoming and processing of their brother and sister mutants on to these rocky shores. Excuse me, but you’re not a mutant!’ one of them exclaims to a boy with blue skin and red markings. ‘That’s body paint!’ another of the girls declares. ‘Poser’ one of them mutters.
The White Queen tells the girls that in addition to those mundane responsibilities, she has another idea. ‘Back when I was living on another, much larger island of mutants, there was one duty that fulfilled me above all others…’, and recalls a lesson where she proposed to her students that they spend their telepathy period hacking into the mind’s of some of their favourite screen idols. ‘”E” is for education, girls’ Emma announces.
And so, ‘How are the Cuckoos doing?’ Scott asks Emma later that night. ‘Quite marvelously, as a matter of fact’ Emma replies. ‘Taking to teaching like fish to water…’.
In a classroom on Utopia, ‘”A” is for Asteroid M, our new home’ one of the girls begins. ‘”B” is for Beast, recently departed’ another declares. ‘”C” is for Celeste, who thinks she’s better than us, but really she isn’t, really she’s just one of three’ the third exclaims.
While Emma taps away at a computer, Scott asks her how her inner life is. ‘Still fantasizing you’re else-where?’ Scott asks her. ‘I’m…adjusting, Scott. Tectonic plates shift…and what happens to the diamonds underneath? They get harder’ Emma declares. ‘I’m the rock beneath my rock, my Harry Hamlin-like darling…as solid as ever…’.
3AM, and although it is not cold, it is cold for California. On Utopia, the work-in-progress home court for mutants good and not so good. But societies are hard to build. There are lots of extra pieces in the box. Lots of lessons. Lesson four (or so): food is hard to supply to a whole nation, even a mini one. Without rules, there is no way to make sure kids have food to eat the next morning. Without a grocery store, those rules become important. So the X-Men guard the food.
While Cyclops watches Wolverine take a bucket of chicken from the refrigerator, Warpath has drawn the short straw for the guarding of the food, and this 3AM shift has gone to him. He is bored and angry, with a short straw he would like to use as a weapon. But to pass the time, Warpath imagines Utopia originally an asteroid, still in space. He makes a long list of possible ambushes from his position. When it gets too long, he removes the ones that aren’t lethal.
Rules don’t always go over so well. If you’re younger, sometimes the rules are liked even less. Loa, Rockslide and Match are young. And more importantly, at 3AM they are hungry. Crouched behind a corner of the kitchen, they peer down through the darkness to where Warpath is slumped against the door to the food storage. ‘There is no back door’ Match exclaims. ‘Well, we’ll have to improvise’ Loa tells him. ‘You’re obsessed’ Rockslide tells them. ’You’re obsessed with the world “obsessed”!’ Match tells Rockslide, while Loa tells Rockslide that he is afraid. ’What? I’m sensible’ Rockslide retorts. ’Yeah, you’ve got the sense to be standing here dressed like a bandit’ Loa remarks, referring to the balaclava that Rockslide wears over his face.
‘Well, you made good sense before. “If this land is our land, then why are all the snacks on the wrong side of a lock”?’ Rockslide quotes Loa. The x-kids begin walking down a corridor, following some cables, to which Loa asks Rockslide why then, if it makes such sense, is he still whining. ‘You’re a student, think of it as math. They want you to solve your way in’ Match remarks, before pointing at Rockslide and remarking that he is afraid. ‘I’m sensible’ Rockslide replies. Match exclaims that there is really no door at all, to which Loa replies ‘I told you’, before using her powers to create a back door to the food store. ‘We’re X-Men. We improvise!’ Loa exclaims.
Meanwhile, Warpath tips very slowly to one side - accompanied by a sound he would deny was a snore, but is so loud it wakes him up again. He rubs his face, and leans back against the door. Warpath sniffs - and then smiles.
Back behind him, Loa exclaims ‘Oh my God…why are you doing that?’. Rockslide smiles as he absorbs the debris from the wall into himself, exclaiming that it is evidence, and now no one will know they were here. ‘Yeah. You’ve really covered our tracks’ Loa mutters, while Match tells everyone to focus. To the hungry, the refrigerator seems to glow like a holy grail. Rockslide will insist he heard the sound of a choir - but there is nothing angelic about what he hears next: ‘You’re trespassing’ Warpath booms.
‘No. We’re X-Men’ Loa boasts as she and the boys turn to face Warpath, who examines his knife casually, as he tells Loa that X-Men don’t break and enter. ‘Oh, come on. We’re on the lam half the time, we so do!’ Loa complains. Warpath tells the kids that he is not here to argue with them, as he has got his orders and suggests they try running, because that would be more fun for him. Loa complains that she is so sick of this. ‘No matter what we do we’re perpetually treated like freshmen. We get ignored and pushed around even though we save the world, too!’ she exclaims.
‘We are not the mutant daycare. We are heroes. We have come for ice cream and if we have to embarrass a backup dancer for the Village People to do it, well…batter up!’ Loa exclaims. ‘Holy crap!’ Match smiles, while Warpath grins. ‘Heh’ he mutters, before rushing towards the children. Match releases a burst of flame, which Warpath dodges. ‘Don’t make me -’ Match begins to say, before Warpath covers the boys’ face, and pushes him to the ground, before lifting him into the air. ‘Wait! Wait!’ Match exclaims - but Warpath opens an oven door, and throws Match inside the oven.
‘Gas stove! Gas stove! Met me out!’ Match pleads, banging on the oven door. ‘Go ahead, kid: flame on!’ Warpath tells him, before Rockslide, using his massively increased arm, taps on Warpath: ‘That’s my friend, jerkwad!’ he exclaims. ‘You may want to rethink who you spend your time with’ Warpath suggests, cutting Rockslide’s arm. ‘AHH! Who does that?’ Rockslide asks, warning Warpath that by doing that, he is just going to beat on him with harder stuff. ‘I’d like to see you cut through this!’ he exclaims. ‘I’m not taking any requests tonight’ Warpath replies as he uses his sharp knife to slice of Rockslide’s head. ‘This is in such poor taste’ Rockslide mutters as his body and head fall to the ground - separately.
‘I can hear you, little hero’ Warpath calls out to Loa, swinging his knife around so that it meets her neck, while Loa puts a hand to Warpath’s chest. ‘You gonna pull the hair out of my chest before I can sever your -’ Warpath begins, before Loa tells him that she is going to dissolve his chest cavity. ‘You really would, wouldn’t you’ Warpath realizes. ‘I came here for ice cream. I’ll leave when I get it’ Loa declares. Warpath removes his knife and puts it away: ‘I’m sold, Loa. I expect no one I’ll have to answer to tomorrow is as crazy as you’ Warpath tells her. ‘Wait a minute!’ Rockslide’s head calls out. ‘Is he chewing? Are you chewing? You crazy maniac! You stole food, too! You’re were totally chewing food the whole time!’ Rockslide’s head exclaims. Warpath turns to him and frowns, food around his mouth….
Utopia, it is the new home of the X-Men, but one of the longest-serving X-Men has felt less valued here as Storm, weather manipulator, and more as Ororo, the Queen of Wakanda. Food rations always running low, the team wants Storm’s governing experience to better manage the place, and while Cyclops hasn’t said so himself, Storm can feel the leadership council’s eyes on her whenever the situation is brought up. But the truth is, Storm has very little advice to offer, for Wakanda is lush with natural resources and all their food is hunted or grown.
As the council meets, while dozens of other residents of Utopia gather around, Storm turns away. The only living this on this island are the mutants, and without food, their bonds are really being tested. She knows that if they are to stay united, they need a solution, and fast. But if Storm’s experience as a queen has taught her anything, it is that the solution to every problem always lies somewhere, sometime, with someone.
As Storm takes flight, a voice cries out to her: ‘Ororo!’. Storm turns and hovers off the edge of a building. ‘Namor! I’m sorry, I didn’t -’ she begins, but the Sub-Mariner asks Storm to join him. ‘After all, we’re both up here for the same reason, aren’t we?’ he asks. Storm drops down beside the Sub-Mariner, who informs her that he often comes here after the council meetings to get his mind off of the floating rock. ‘Actually, I -’ Storm begins, but Namor continues, remarking that he cannot help but feel the island nation experiment is destined for failure. ‘Not very worthy of people like you and me, Ororo, wouldn’t you say?’ Namor asks.
‘I wouldn’t say things are all that bad’ Storm replies. Namor “hmphs”, before remarking that even Cyclops is less optimistic than he cares to admit. ‘It’s going to take extraordinary leadership for this place to become the true utopia the X-Men hope for it to be’ he adds. ‘I agree’ Storm tells him. ‘Good. And that’s why I’ve decided…I’m going to leave!’ Namor announces. ‘Your solution is…to leave?’ Storm asks. ‘Not my solution, my response’ Namor tells her. ‘Why?’ Storm asks. ‘Is it not obvious? If anyone here could relate to my position, it is you’ Namor responds.
(Shown with illustrative images, narrated by Namor)
Namor tells Storm that all his life he has been Namor the First of Atlantis, so ordained by Father Neptune himself. ‘My power under the seas is unequalled and an entire civilization is under my command - its fate solely in my hands’. Namor tells Storm that he has fought alongside the world’s greats heroes in the world’s most famous battles, both underwater and on the surface world. ‘I’m of such import and influence that superhuman leaders on Earth have sought my council and alliance’.
‘Yet here I’m a subordinate on an island of sitting ducks, expected to take marching orders from an ineffective leader that I could crush with my bare hands’ Namor exclaims, adding that he doesn’t know what Emma Frost sees in Cyclops. ‘If Summers wants to be the captain..then he should go down with the -’ Namor begins, before Storm creates a swirl of wind around him, preventing him from leaving. ‘Wait a minute!’ Storm exclaims. ‘Do you really believe you’re the only one making sacrifices here?’ Storm asks him, frowning.
(Shown with illustrative images, narrated by Storm)
Storm declares that she has seen the pyramids of Egypt up close and have wandered the plains of the Serengeti, where her ancestors once lived. ‘The vastness of my homeland is my sanctuary. Its landscape is my mother’s milk’ Storm declares, admitting that Utopia is gray and lifeless and depressing, and that she doesn’t like it much either. ‘Especially when I can be home in Wakanda enjoying power, her privacy, and especially her husband, T’Challa. ‘I miss him terribly when I’m here’.
Storm declares that she stays because her people need her to stay. ‘If I can help in any way, I have the responsibility to do what I can to ensure the survival of my species’. Storm lowers Namor onto the rooftop, pointing out that one would think the weight on Cyclops’ shoulders is something to which the King of Atlantis could relate. Namor closes his eyes, while Storm tell him that he is right, the two of them are so much alike, as they both come from royal bloodlines. ‘But the history books are filled with stories of murder and oppression carried out by kings and queens. Greatness isn’t a birthright…it’s earned by those who answer when history calls upon them to be great’ Storm declares. Ororo tells Namor that, right now, history is calling upon them to figure out how this place can sustain itself. ‘So what do you say? Will you answer the call with me?’ Storm asks.
Namor looks at Storm and says nothing - before taking to the air - flying up, he suddenly changes direction, and dives into the ocean, while the X-Men and others watch from Utopia. Namor swims deep, down into a trench, searching for something - he comes to a sudden stop. Moments later, he rises from the ocean, a massive beast-like fish above his head. He drops the fish onto Utopia, in front of Storm and the others. ‘Way to go, Pointy Ears!’ Wolverine grins, before unsheathing his claws. ‘Let’s eat!’ he exclaims, while Storm looks at Namor and smiles.