New X-Men (2nd series) #20

Issue Date: 
January 2006
Story Title: 
Childhood’s End - part 1

Craig Kyle & Chris Yost (writers), Mark Brooks (penciller), Jaime Mendoza (inker), Brian Reber (colorist), Sean Ryan (asst. editor), Nick Lowe (assoc. editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

The Xavier Institute reacts to the aftershocks of the House of M reality shift. Wanda Maximoff’s decree of “No more mutants” leaves a huge percentage of the Xavier student body powerless. Some are panicked and distraught, others jubilant and thankful to be normal once more. Assuming that he is now powerless, Wither touches his long-time crush Wallflower and finds to his horror that his powers are intact. Emma tries to restore order and protect those students who are recklessly testing whether or not they still have their powers. Not all students survive the aftermath while others must live with the effects on their powers, their lives and their friends. Once the initial shock has subsided, Emma takes charge to protect those who remain. She dismisses the now-powerless Dani Moonstar and clashes with Cyclops over her decision to do so. Elixir tries in vain to restore Wallflower’s withered arm. Meanwhile, Logan calls X-23 and tells her she has to come home, hinting that there is much more to their relationship than previously revealed. Two weeks after M-Day, Icarus returns to the Institute covered in blood. He collapses in front of a shocked Emma Frost who can clearly see that his wings have been amputated!

Full Summary: 

Dallas, Texas – Two Years Earlier:

A destitute looking old man approaches an abandoned church in Dallas, Texas. The sign on the front reads “Ministry of the Reverend William Stryker”. Rev. Stryker enters and begins to speak to the Lord, asking him why he was forced to sacrifice everything he held dear: his wife, his child, and his ministry. He wonders why God has forsaken him and left him with nothing. He takes a gun from his pocket and holds it to his head, begging the Lord to once more give him strength and to light the way back to Him. As he is about to pull the trigger a light floods the room and the enormous crucifix before the Reverend Stryker glows. Stryker falls to his knees and thanks the Lord.
The Xavier Institute – M-Day:

Emma Frost awakens on the lawn of the Xavier Institute following the reality-warping event that created the House of M. As she gets her bearings, she hears a cry for help from inside the Institute and races inside to investigate. Inside, the collective student body reacts to the after-effects of the reality warp and the Scarlet Witch’s decree of “No more mutants.” Kevin Ford is awakened by a scream and heads out to see what’s wrong. A boy is running down the hallway screaming and nearly knocks Kevin over. Behind him is Dallas Gibson AKA Specter who is crying and states that he cannot call forth his shadow. Kevin then hears another scream and leaves Dallas to find out what’s happening. He turns the corner and sees utter chaos in the common room. The students’ reactions are varied. Some are screaming for help, others are jubilant and thankful. Preview is declaring that she can’t see (due to the loss of her precognitive powers) while Indra, who is still obviously mutated, cannot recognize one of his classmates who apparently no longer looks the same without his mutant genome.
Emma bursts through the door and tries in vain to calm everyone. She then calls out telepathically to the Stepford Cuckoos to help her. The three telepathic sisters all apparently still have their powers as they are overwhelmed by the panic and emotions of the student body. Emma sees a delirious young man who is punching a wall. His fists are covered in blood but he’s smiling as he realizes that he is normal and can once again feel pain. Emma uses her telepathy to force him to sleep.
Amidst the chaos, Icarus (who still has his wings) tries to get everyone to calm down. He is with Wallflower and Wind Dancer. Kevin approaches them and realizes what has happened: they’ve all lost their powers. He excitedly approaches Laurie and says that it’s wonderful as he reaches out to touch her. As he grabs her arm, it begins to wither away. Icarus pushes Kevin away and asks what he was thinking. Kevin is shocked at what he’s done since he assumed his powers were gone, too. Icarus and Sofia rush Laurie to the infirmary as Kevin looks on in horror.
Emma makes her way to Cerebra while telepathically monitoring the school. She senses that Melody Guthrie still thinks she can fly and is about to leap from the roof of the Institute. Emma telepathically alerts the Beast, who leaps through a window and catches Melody as she begins to fall. Emma realizes she cannot find the student code-named Hydro and alerts the X-Men. Logan pulls the boy out of the pool and replies to Emma that he’s found him but that he’s dead. Emma calls the Stepford Cuckoos, who are still psionically overwhelmed by the mental chaos, to her side.
Josh Foley wakes up and wonders what’s going on. His roommate, David Alleyne seems dumbfounded and states that he doesn’t know…that he doesn’t know anything. Apparently, Prodigy has lost his mutant ability to telepathically absorb the knowledge and skills of others. In a nearby room, Hellion wonders what’s happened to his roommate, Tag who is in shock over losing his mutant powers. Dust and Surge realize that they should go help while Mercury looks at her silvery form in the mirror and wonders aloud “Why not me?” Rockslide on the other hand is still obviously in possession of his mutant powers and rocky form but is sleeping through the commotion. Wither is in complete anguish and declares again and again that this isn’t fair.
Inside Cerebra, Emma and the Cuckoos join together to telepathically will the entire student body to sleep. They are successful and Emma thanks “her girls”, who make it clear to Emma that they are not her girls. They wonder what’s happening.
Xavier Institute - Two days later:

Danielle Moonstar bursts out of the headmasters’ office looking angry beyond words and strides silently past Cyclops, slamming the door once he’s inside. Inside, Emma tells Scott that Dani has no place here, like all the rest who have lost their powers. Scott reminds her that he said they would discuss this first. Emma says it doesn’t matter and that without her powers she’s just a potential victim like all the students who are now human. Cyclops replies that he doesn’t care and that Dani is family. Emma insists that the school is for the “gifted” and that Dani no longer qualifies. Emma tries to explain that she knows how much Dani means to Scott and the students, but that she is merely trying to save her. Scott disagrees and says it isn’t right. Emma tells him not to be selfish and to let her go, for her own safety. Outside, Wolverine listens in on the entire exchange.
In the infirmary, Laurie Collins looks at her withered forearm and hand and says she can’t feel anything. She begs Elixir to help her. He tells her he’s trying but can’t stop crying. He asks if it’s her doing or just him. She replies that she thinks it’s him, perhaps implying that she has also lost her powers. He promises to keep trying until he’s fixed her. Outside the room, Wither watches in anger.
Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco:

X-23 is sitting on the pier when her cell phone rings. She answers but says nothing. Logan says that she might as well talk since he can hear her breathing. She says that she misses ‘them’ and Logan tells her that they aren’t there anymore. X-23 replies that ‘she’ was her only friend and Logan says he knows but that she’s gone now and that he needs her to come home now. He calls her Laura. She refuses and Logan reminds her of the deal they made. He says that he didn’t tell anyone that he knew her and even let her slash his face and that she hasn’t kept up her end of the bargain. Laura says she tried and Logan tells her that she didn’t. He tells her no more growling or alien costumes, she has to try for real this time. X-23 is worried that Weapon X will find her there. He tells her that she’s probably right but that the world is a scarier place and she’s needed by the kids at the Institute now and that she needs them. He tells her that if she doesn’t come back, she’s already dead. He asks her to trust him and she hangs up the phone and tosses it into the Bay.
Xavier Institute – Two Weeks after M-Day:

Emma and Scott are arguing. Now that word is out about the decimation of the mutant population, Emma is determined to protect those students who remain no matter the cost. She knows that now that this information is public, their enemies will be coming after them. She tells Scott that if he wants blood on his hands, then so be it. As they argue, a bloodied hand reaches for the front door. He manages to push the door open before collapsing. Emma looks out to see the bloodied and apparently lifeless body of Jay Guthrie on the doorsteps. His wings have clearly been amputated and poorly bandaged as blood is seeping through and he is covered head to toe in blood.

Characters Involved: 

Emma Frost, Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast (All X-Men)
Danielle Moonstar
Elixir, Icarus, Prodigy, Surge, Wallflower, Wind Dancer (All New Mutants Squad)

Dust, Hellion, Mercury, Rockslide, Tag, Wither (All Hellions Squad)

Melody Guthrie/Aero, Hydro, Preview, Stepford Cuckoos and other unnamed students at the Xavier Institute
Reverend William Stryker

Story Notes: 

The “ACADEMY X” tagline has been dropped from the series with this issue for reasons that become apparent in the course of the story.
The events of “M-Day” and the aftershocks felt at the Xavier Institute are also depicted in DECIMATION/HOUSE OF M: THE DAY AFTER.
The Reverend William Stryker first appeared in the Marvel Graphic Novel #5, X-MEN: GOD LOVES, MAN KILLS. He was shot and presumed dead at the end of this issue. He next appeared in X-TREME X-MEN #25- 30. At the beginning of this arc, Stryker had clearly been incarcerated for some time. It is not yet clear how this flashback fits in with his established chronology.
Stryker refers to the “sacrifice” of his wife and child. In actuality, Stryker himself killed them both when he learned that his wife and newborn son were mutants.
X-23 and Wolverine first “met” in UNCANNY X-MEN #450-451. In this issue, they did not seem to know each other. The dialogue here suggests otherwise. Prior to meeting the X-Men, X-23 was living in Mutant Town with several other mutants who helped her out and befriended her when she was working as a prostitute and one of her johns turned up dead [NYX #3-7].
Wolverine calls X-23, “Laura”. This is the name given to her by her creator/mother Dr. Sarah Kinney as revealed in the X-23 Limited Series.
X-23 is in San Francisco, which is also the home of her creator, Dr. Sarah Kinney’s sister and niece. It is unclear exactly who she is there trying to find and who she’s referring to as her “only friend”.
The following mutants are confirmed in this issue as no longer having their mutant powers: Melody Guthrie (Aero), Brian Cruz (Tag), David Alleyne (Prodigy), Jessica Vale (Preview) and Hydro. In addition, Wind Dancer and Tag were confirmed as powerless in DECIMATION/HOUSE OF M: THE DAY AFTER.
This issue confirms that the following students are among those who still have their powers: Elixir, Hellion, Icarus, Indra, Mercury, Rockslide, the Stepford Cuckoos/Three-in-One, Wither and X-23. Dust and Surge will also be a part of the new team and their powers have been depicted as active in cover solicitations.
It is unclear whether Wallflower still possesses her pheromone powers.
The girl declaring that she can’t see is Paragons squad member, Preview. This was verified by several members of the creative team.

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