Yesterday, the New Mutants were at the remains of Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in Southern New York, studying, honing their inborn mutant powers. Today, they’re on the other side of the world, lost among the sprawling back streets of the Asian city of Madripoor’s low town, fighting for their lives….’We’ve been set up!’ shouts the New Mutants’ enigmatic leader, Cable as he fires his weapons at their enemies. Cable adds that whoever they are, it is as if they have been expecting them, and have come prepared.
The alien New Mutant known as Warlock exclaims that their hostile foes are armed with special weapons, while Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair points out that there is more of the enemy than there is of them. Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta tells his teammates to face it, they could all be in big trouble. Tabitha “Boom-Boom” Smith fires her plasma time bombs at their enemies while Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie blasts through the air, asking his teammate Julio “Rictor” Richter what he is waiting for, that he should start shaking their foes apart. But Rictor, now wearing a green and white version of the team costume, hesitates, exclaiming that his powers have increased geometrically, so he is not used to controlling them, adding that he would be nuts to test his powers here, where it is Earthquake prone, unless he really has to.
Watching Sunspot use his strength to bash through his foes, Cable recalls how the Japanese government has supposedly dispatched someone to meet them here, and wonders where he could be. ‘He can’t be the one who betrayed us, but someone definitely has!’ Cable thinks to himself, before unleashing his powerful weapons again, thinking that if any of his students is injured in this attack, those who ordered the attack will answer with their lives.
Suddenly though, Shiro Yashida a.k.a. one-time X-Man “Sunfire” bursts onto the scene, ‘What the heck?’ Boom-Boom mutters as the flame-engulfed mutant flies past her, before asking if he is another creep they have to fight. Sunspot tells Boom-Boom that she has it backwards, as that is a friend. Indeed, Sunfire begins attacking the soldiers, and Warlock declares that a visual scan has confirmed that Sunfire is the New Mutants’ contact. Sunfire shows off an incredible display of his powers while telling the soldiers to back off, ‘You hound the allies of Sunfire of Japan!’ he exclaims. One of the soldiers remarks that they were not warned to expect him, and suggests a retreat.
‘So that’s Sunfire? He’s, like, totally hot!’ Boom-Boom exclaims as she tosses her time bombs about. Sunspot smashes one of the warriors and tells Tabby now to get too worked up, as from what he read in Sunfire’s profile, he is not exactly prince charming. Bobby adds that Sunfire’s father may have been a diplomat, but that tact is not Sunfire’s strong suit. Rictor tells Bobby to forget diplomacy, as it is fire power they need right now, and Sunfire has that in spades. ‘Look at them scatter!’ he remarks watching the soldiers flee.
The New Mutants and Cable gather round as Sunfire drops to the ground once the warriors have run away. Shiro tells Cable that it is a pity he and the New Mutants fell into these villains trap, and adds that when he suggested they meet him here, he did not know they would be attacked. Cable replies that he knows that, as no son of Saburo Yashida could ever be a traitor, though he suspects that someone is monitoring their movements pretty carefully. However, Cable feels that it was not a serious attempt to take them out, but more of a reconnaissance mission to find out, first hand what the New Mutants can do, and secondly, who their allies might be. ‘Now they know…and they’ll be ready to counter us’. Sunfire declares that they must go carefully then, if they are to survive long enough to thwart their enemy’s plan, adding that since there is no further need for secrecy, perhaps they should continue this meeting in high town.
Meanwhile, General Nguyen Ngoc Coy is the chief among Madripoor’s crime lords, with a managing interest in much that is corrupt, forbidden and profitable. However, a recent encounter has made the General question uncharacteristically the wisdom of a very lucrative transaction. ‘You have a problem, General Coy?’ asks the deadly Stryfe via communicator. The General asks Stryfe what he has done by brining these dangerous mutants into Madripoor, adding that Stryfe did not warn him they were to be the target of his men’s attack.
Stryfe replies that he did not bring them here, and tells the General that he has not lost anything in testing them for him, reminding him that he has paid him far more than it was worth, and declaring that now he has their measure, the next men to face the New Mutants will be his own! The image of Stryfe disappears from the visual communicator and three other mutants appear - Dragoness, Kamikaze and Sumo! Kamikaze tells the General that he will find that the New Mutants’ reputations far outstrip their abilities.
‘You three?’ General Coy asks ‘Stryfe, you mean to send your assassins here to Madripoor? Is that necessary?’ General Coy asks. Stryfe realizes that General Coy fears for the safety of his corrupt little system, and reminds him that the destruction of Cable and the New Mutants will benefit Coy’s plans, nearly as greatly as it will benefit Stryfe’s own plans.
Elsewhere, low town is a sprawl of shacks and alleyways, while high town is modern steel and towering glass. It is towards one of the hotels catering to the wealthy tourists that Sunfire now leads Cable and the New mutants. Sunfire and Cannonball are capable of flying themselves, while Warlock carries Rictor and Wolfsbane, and Cable, Boom-Boom and Sunspot ride on a sky-cycle. Cable tells Sunfire that his father’s death was a great loss to the world, to which Sunfire replies that his father always spoke highly of Cable, and that it is a shame Cable’s son met with so untimely a fate. Cannonball thinks to himself that even when Sunfire is saying something nice his voice sneers, and wonders what his problem is, while wondering what this talk about Cable’s son is about, as the New Mutants are not aware of Cable having any children.
The heroes land on a balcony at the hotel and Cable tells the New Mutants that his son would be about their age by now, and declares that one day soon he will destroy the man who killed him, surely as Sunfire avenged his own father. Sunfire warns Cable that vengeance does not stop the sharp pain of grief, before remarking that they must tend to the matters at hand, and asks Cable if he has ever heard of “sleet“. Sunfire explains that, initially it was touted as a new designer drug, but its intense high dissolved too quickly, into paranoia and murderous rage - sleet users then died, taking others with them. The clientele kept killing themselves, and others.
Sunfire explains that he fears the drug has been put to another use now, and his government believes, that as a test, it was added to the water supply of one of his nations small mountain villages. Sunfire holds out a photograph showing the results. ‘Carnage! That’s chemical warfare!’ Cable exclaims as he looks at all the dead bodies in the photograph. Sunfire remarks that the Japanese government has commissioned him to investigate, and he has traced the drug here. ‘Just as we traced the Mutant Liberation Front!’ Cable exclaims.
Sunfire remarks that it appears they share a common goal, and Cable agrees, before revealing that he brought along portable Cerebro’s to track the MLF. Taking the portable Cerebro out of one of the many compartments his utility belt has, Cable reads it and announces that there are several mutants near the wharf. He explains that these smaller Cerebro’s can only register locations, so they will have to get visual conformation to verify their identities, before declaring that if the Mutant Liberation Front is responsible for this horror, then they will suffer, just as they have made Sunfire’s people suffer.
Cable, the New Mutants and Sunfire move quickly, using the Cerebro units to trace the Mutant Liberation Front to their lair as the darkness falls. Cable, Sunspot, Rictor and Wolfsbane stand over some motionless guards and Bobby tells Cable that he doesn’t like splitting the team up, for every time they do, there is trouble. Cable replies that he doesn’t like it either, but that it is necessary, as reconnaissance by land and air will garner the fastest results, and speed is essential right now. Wolfsbane informs Cable that on the perimeter there are many guards, and whatever they are guarding is surely important. Rahne adds that at least the Cerebro units will help keep track of their other teammates and Sunfire. ‘I just hope they’re careful’ someone remarks.
Boom-Boom sits on Warlock’s back as he, Cannonball and Sunfire fly across the dock. Boom-Boom exclaims that she must be, like, pretty good to get picked up for aerial reconnaissance when she cannot even fly. Warlock suggests that what is actually the case is that Cable deduced her power would be best used in high altitude combat situations. ‘In other words, they need peace and quiet on the ground!’ Cannonball tells Tabby, adding that is why she gets exiled up here.
Later, at low town near the docks, Rictor runs ahead of Sunspot and Wolfsbane, but Sunspot tells him to wait up, reminding Rictor that the problem he has with Cable has caused difficulties for them before - Rictor interrupts, telling Bobby to drop it, as it is over, and that there wont be anymore problems, as they are a team and will stay a team. Rictor wonders however, how Cable fits into this, and remembers that when he was a child, Cable seemed like a monster, but now he isn’t so sure, and wonders if he had powers back then, how different things might have been for all of them.
Sunspot and Wolfsbane stop and Bobby remarks that he doesn’t understand how she and “the Brooding Marvel” can be an item, as she is so normal compared to Rictor. Rahne frowns, ‘Except when I grow fur and fangs!’ she reminds Bobby, before telling her long time teammate that Rictor may be moody and impulsive, but that he has a good heart, and has been kind to her. ‘So have I…so has Sam…but I haven’t seen you falling for us!’ Bobby points out.
Rahne looks shocked and replies that Bobby and Sam are like brothers to her, safe and sweet, while Rictor is different. ‘Different, yeah! Secretive…moody…strange!’ Bobby replies, pointing out that Rictor has been with the team for ages, but they still do not know much about him. ‘So who died and made you Sherlock Holmes of the universe? Leave Rictor alone, ‘Berto, please!’ Rahne exclaims, adding that when Rictor wants them to know more, she is sure he will tell them.
Sunspot and Rahne go to catch up with Cable and Rictor, Sunspot walking a few feet behind Rahne while thinking that the little werewolf bared her fangs, though he supposes he deserved it. Bobby reminds himself how Rahne has always felt things so deeply, and finally has begun to say what she thinks. He knows that Rahne would defend any of her teammates the way she defended Rictor, but nevertheless, she and Rictor are still so different. ‘For her to love him…for him to love her…if he does love her…it’s courting disaster!’
Meanwhile, high above, Cannonball calls out to the others, telling them to hold it, as Cerebro is registering unknown mutants down below. ‘Awesome! Let’s do a fly by and check them out!’ Tabby exclaims, and Warlock agrees, making a joke, to which Sam tells his teammates to get serious, as this could mean trouble. Suddenly, the three MLF members leap onto the scene, and Kamikaze shouts ’If you thought, fools, that we would cringe from you quietly in the shadows…you do now know the Mutant Liberation Front!’ The massive Sumo suggests that the New Mutants breathe their last of the sweet air, and boasts that he will crush them into dust. ’Head’s up, partners - these jerks are killers!’ Cannonball warns his teammates and Sunfire.
Kamikaze remarks that Cannonball is wiser than he looks, before flies towards Warlock, and smacking into the alien, knocks Boom-Boom from her place, while Kamikaze exclaims that his power speaks with the voice of destruction. Boom-Boom tells Warlock to be careful, informing him that Kamikaze explodes on impact, like a living time bomb, before wondering what she is warning Warlock for, as she is falling too! Tabby mutters that, perhaps this aerial combat isn’t such hot stuff after all, before screaming for help. Cannonball blasts towards Boom-Boom, telling her to keep the noise down and catches her in his arms.
Sumo however tells Boom-Boom that it seems she will live long enough to see her teammate buried beneath his monstrous bulk, and leaps into the air above where Warlock is lying on the ground. ‘Alarm! Alarm! Self is experiencing extremely negative reaction to potential impact!’ Warlock cries, just as Sumo lands on him. Boom-Boom, now on the ground, rushes over to Sumo, ‘Hey! Let him go you tub of lard!’ she exclaims as she throws a time bomb at him, which causes some pain. Tabby then warns Sumo that next time she will take off his ugly head.
In the air, the deadly Dragoness counters Sunfire’s blasts and asks him why he does not go to his teammates aid. Sunfire informs Dragoness that they are not his teammates, and that he serves his mother country - alone. Sunfire then asks Dragoness who she is, burning with a flame as white hot as his own. Dragoness replies that, like Sunfire, her family’s genes were twisted in the fires of Hiroshima, a curse that has freed her to take her revenge upon mankind. Sunfire blocks Dragoness’ power, and thinks to himself that he has never fought such a powerful opponent, nor one who serves a cause so evil! ‘Her heart is black as night, and yet her brilliance dazzles me!’ Shiro thinks to himself.
Cannonball evaluates the situation and sees that Sunfire is holding his own, barely, while at least Boom-Boom has managed to free Warlock. Sam calls out to his alien teammate and asks him to shape shift into an airbag, then tackle Kamikaze and contain him. Warlock goes up behind Kamikaze and tells Cannonball that it is an excellent strategy, as he will then nullify Kamikaze’s power to impact and explode. Trapping Kamikaze, Warlock remarks that Cable’s lessons on tactics have paid a good dividend. Warlock begins to ask Cannonball what he should do now, but before Cannonball can answer, he and Warlock are both struck by a paralysis ray, causing Warlock to return to his default form and setting Kamikaze free, while Sam and Warlock both fall from the air, landing hard on the dock below.
‘Excellent! Excellent!’ shouts the diabolical Stryfe, before remarking that Zero teleported him here at a most opportune moment. Stryfe hovers over Cannonball and Warlock and declares that the Mutant Liberation Front has them right where it wants them - fallen and cringing on the ground! Cannonball asks Stryfe who he is, to which Stryfe obliges by introducing himself. ‘I’m called Stryfe! I am a friend to mutants…an enemy of humankind!’ Sam realizes that Stryfe is the MLF’s leader and remarks that he must have the drug.
‘The drug! So that’s why you’re here!’ Stryfe exclaims, before confirming that he does indeed have it, and boasting that the contents of a single vial will poison the water supply of Tokyo, and revealing that another is designated for New York and others for London and Moscow, and warning Cannonball that there are other cities planned also. Sam tells Stryfe that to even think of using such a weapon, would mean he must be mad. ‘Mad? Perhaps. But when I’ve finished here, the world will listen to me!’ Stryfe replies. ‘Hang on every word and rush to do my bidding, because they will be afraid. For they will know that I’m mad…and if they thwart me, I will do as I have threatened’.
Cannonball asks Stryfe if killing innocent people, children, the power is worth it. Stryfe picks Sam up and holds him high above his head, and replies ‘Power is there for the taking, power…to the mutants!’ Stryfe declares that humanity will come to fear mutants, and in the end humans will serve mutants, grovelling on their knees. Cannonball tells Stryfe that it won’t work, that Cable will find them, ‘He’ll kick your butt!’ Sam exclaims. Stryfe asks Sam how he thinks Cable will find them, ‘Through this?’ he asks, pulling the mini Cerebro from Sam and destroying it, Cable calls Sam a fool, as Cable will never find them. Stryfe turns to his team and orders them to secure the prisoners and shackle them beneath the ray, where they will remain powerless until they choose to use their powers in his service.
Nearby, Rahne checks her Cerebro unit and announces that something terrible must have happened, as the Cerebro has lost track of the others, they have simply disappeared. Cable remarks that the others may have fallen into one of Stryfe’s traps, and tells Rahne not to worry, as Stryfe won’t harm them yet, as they are potentially too valuable and resourceful as they are, adding that they may escape and cause trouble from within. Cable tells everyone to be quiet, as he can hear someone coming, and orders Rahne to switch to her wolf form and remain on the roof here with Rictor.
Cable orders Sunspot to power up and be ready to block the newcomer’s egress from the alley below, adding that they will take him out quick and easy, then maybe they can find out what is going on. Sunspot stands ready behind a building and thinks to himself that Cable has faith in the New Mutants and their abilities, listens when they talk, and actually believes in them. Bobby feels that their old teacher, Professor Xavier never did, but Cable is a leader, a strategist, a real hero, ‘And I’ll die before I let him down!’
Down in the alleyway, Cable sneaks up behind the newcomer and thinks that he might be a member of the Mutant Liberation Front, but he is a professional, moving like an animal through this murky mist. Cable decides to make his move before the newcomer senses his presence, and smacks his opponent hard in the face. Suddenly, SNIKT, the newcomer unsheathes a set of deadly metal claws: ‘Not bad, sucker…but not near good enough!’ exclaims the deadly X-Man known as Wolverine!
Sunspot turns and sees Wolverine, and thinks to himself that Cable doesn’t know Wolverine, and Wolverine doesn’t know Cable- so they will kill each other unless he can stop them. Bobby calls out to them, to stop, but they don’t appear to hear him. ‘Cable’. Wolverine snarls. ‘Logan…it’s you!’. ‘Yeah, bub. Who else would it be?’ Wolverine asks, before leaping towards Cable. Sunspot’s heart sinks as he watches the two men - his heroes engage in battle. Cable and Wolverine know each other, and their knowledge only fuels their fury. In this back alley of the ramshackle port city on an insignificant island nation, the battle of the century is joined as flesh pounds flesh and steel clashes against steel…from such an arena, can either man emerge alive?