New X-Men (2nd series) #43

Issue Date: 
December 2007
Story Title: 
Children of X-Men – Part 2 of 2

Craig Kyle & Chris Yost (writers), Skottie Young (penciller/inker), Skottie Young & Jean-Francois Beaulieu (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Irene Lee (production), Daniel Ketchum (asst. editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Surge struggles with the burden of leadership and the potential that she could send her boyfriend, Prodigy to his death. Cyclops tries to counsel her but she instead tries to drive David away from the school by kissing Hellion. This sends X-23 into a fit of jealousy and further confuses Julian. Indra continues to worry that he’s marked for death as the youngest mutant. The Stepford Cuckoos offer to restore Prodigy’s memories of all the skills he absorbed in the past before losing his mutant power. At first he refuses but realizes this may be the key to becoming useful to the team once again. He accepts. Cessily reaches out to X-23 and sends Dust to talk with Hellion. Meanwhile, Elixir broods about issues of life, death and his power. The rest of the students try to bond through all this and Santo gives them a pep talk, telling them that he’s an X-Man and if the world tries to take them out he’ll go down fighting. He then starts the bonding activities by revealing to everyone present that Anole is gay. Victor is angered by this and Loa tells him that everyone already knows. Beast offers the students new uniforms that are bullet-proof to everyone’s delight and relief. David confronts Nori and tells her he’s staying despite her best efforts to drive him away. She attacks him and he easily restrains her with his newly remembered skills. Julian arrives and misinterprets David’s intent and attacks him. David uses Israeli Special Forces tactics to take Julian down hard. He then tells Nori that they’re through. The staff is worried about the students and how they are coping with the trauma they’ve endured. Kitty is especially worried about how to reach Josh. Josh brightens up however when Loa asks him if he’d like to make out with her. Cyclops announces a new training program and that Prodigy will serve as their instructor when the X-Men aren’t available. Meanwhile, Predator X has made its way to the Institute and is poised to attack. At the last moment, it turns away and heads in the opposite direction. The Purifiers see this as a sign, the fulfillment of something foretold by Stryker!

Full Summary: 

Cyclops is training in the Danger room with Surge watching nearby. He commends her on the job she’s being doing as leader of the New X-Men. He tells her that she took charge and got her people out alive. He tells her he’d like to discuss some strategies but she cuts him off and says “What’s the point? We won on pure luck.”

He tells her that she just described half of the X-Men’s wins. Scott admits that he’s concerned about her temper and that leading through anger will only get her so far. He begins to tell her that she needs to keep her emotions under control but again she interrupts him. She asks him how he felt when Jean Grey died. He is taken aback and she asks how he could do it. How he could put her in danger and how he felt when she died and he couldn’t protect her. She asks how he can love anyone after that. He explains that he couldn’t have stopped her and couldn’t help loving her for it. He tells Nori that she didn’t know Jean Grey but if she had she’d understand that. He adds that you can’t make choices for people and that being an X-Man is their choice. You love them because of it. Nori tells him that he’s wrong. She asks him if he had had the chance to save her but she’d hate him as a result, wouldn’t it have been worth it?

A short time later, Surge finds David in the common room and kisses Hellion right in front of him. Julian is surprised and resists. David storms out of the room. Julian pushes Nori away and asks what she’s doing. He looks over at Laura, who also runs out of the room. Mercury calls after her. Hellion is ticked off and flies out of the room as well with Nori watching as he leaves.

Pixie interrupts and abruptly asks Nori what they should do about Paras. Surge asks what she means and Megan explains that Indra thinks he’s going to die because he’s the youngest mutant on the planet, more or less. She asks what they should do. Surge tells them simply “Don’t let him.” as she stalks away. The other students are stunned. Loa says “Drama.” And Indra tells the others he’s really scared and asks if they’ll stay with him tonight. Rockslide calls the first shift and Indra nervously asks if someone else will stay with him tonight.

Elsewhere, Predator X is on the hunt following the scent of Dust. He is moving quickly and has already made it to the New York state border.

Back at the Institute, Prodigy is packing his things. He picks up a photo of the New Mutants training squad. The Stepford Cuckoos enter his room and bid him a cold, emotionless “hello”. He asks what they want and tells them he’s busy. They explain that they know what happened and why Nori did what she did. They want to help as thanks for David saving their lives when the Purifiers attacked.
They tell him they can help him remember everything he has forgotten. He asks what they think he’s forgotten. They explain that the human mind remembers everything but that the connections to those memories fail. They offer to restore those connections which would enable him to remember all the skills he ever absorbed with his former mutant powers. They clarify to David that he would only have the skills he learned while still a mutant but would not be able to learn anything new.

He says “No… I’ve been down this path before… it’s too much.” The Cuckoos tell him that they think his mind is strong enough or they would not have offered. They tell him they understand though and that if they could still feel emotions, they think they would miss him when he’s gone. David looks down at the photo of his old squad. He sees Nori in happier times. He asks the Cuckoos to stop and tells them to “Do it.”

In the common room, Rockslide is playing video games with Indra. Paras thanks him for staying with him. He comments on how quiet it is and says that maybe he’s just worried over nothing. At that moment, Rockslide explodes his rock form. Indra immediately activates his mutant armored form and cries out in surprise. Santo reforms his body and laughs at Indra’s reaction. He tells Paras that he should have seen his face and that he’s never seen anyone so scared before. Indra deadpans and says he’s going to bed.

Mercury goes looking for X-23 after the incident with Nori kissing Julian. She finds her in a girls’ bathroom. The room is trashed and Laura sits slumped against the wall, covered in gashes. Cessily is shocked at the state Laura’s in. Laura tells her that she doesn’t understand what is happening to her or what she is feeling. She confesses that she is scared that she’s going to hurt someone. Mercury hugs her and tells her it’s going to be okay and that she’s not alone anymore.

Outside, Julian is sitting atop a destroyed Sentinel head thinking about what has just happened. Dust arrives and asks if he is well. He tells her that he really isn’t. His best friend is dead, the girl he thought he loved is gone, his mentor has flipped out and he can’t stop thinking about a girl who scares him. This business with Nori is just too much for him to handle. He tells Sooraya that it’s too hard and he used to be so sure about things. Now he isn’t and he has no one to show him what to do now. She tells him that she is sorry and isn’t sure what to say. She assumed he would just be angry about what happened. He asks if Cessily sent her to check on him. She admits that she did. Julian smiles and puts his arm around Dust’s shoulder and gives her a half-hug. He tells her thanks and she is a bit surprised by the gesture but replies “You’re welcome.”

Josh Foley sits alone in his room, in the dark. He is brooding and as his thoughts linger in dark places, the black portion of his body migrates to his face.

A small group of students have gathered in the living room. Match is sitting on the floor in the center of them and Rockslide is roasting a marshmallow over his head. Ben glares at him and says “I hate you, Santo.” His reply is a dumbfounded “What!? Everyone loves a campfire.” Match reminds them that the last time they all gathered like this they got sucked into hell. He adds that if they just sit there it’s only a matter of time before something bad happens, like a snarling monster leaping through the window to kill them all. “This is what our lives are now”, he says.
Indra buries his head in his hands. Rockslide pipes up and tells them that if they want to lie down and die then go for it but he isn’t going to do that. He says it doesn’t matter what age they are, they’re all mutants and that means that someone is going to come gunning for them. He says that when that happens, he’s going down fighting because he’s an X-Man and that’s what X-Men do. He says that at the very least, they go down together. This causes Victor to smile at Rockslide, for a change.

Santo tells them all to shut up now and “let’s start bonding!” He volunteers to go first and announces to the entire group that “Anole’s gay!” This wipes the smile off Victor’s face as he fumes at Santo. Alani responds “Please…everybody knows that.” Victor is seething and telling Santo that he hates him. Santo simply says that if they’re all going to die, they should get it out in the open. He adds that he’s cool with it because it means more chicks for him.

Just then, Beast arrives with a large box filled with new uniforms for the students. He asks is he smells s’mores. Loa explains that they’re having a campfire and he commends them on their innovation. He tells them he has new uniforms for all of them and Loa asks if they have to as he displays the yellow and black togs. He adds that they’re bullet-proof and suddenly the group lights up. Megan asks if she can have two.

Nori sits in her room, clearly distraught by her current feelings. David enters wearing one of the new uniforms and announces that he’s staying. She looks up at him and he tells her that his name is Prodigy and that he stands with the Institute whether she likes it or not. He tells her that this is home and she doesn’t get to decide his future for him. She gets angry and tells him that he’s going to die and she can’t let that happen. She pushes him in the chest and asks what she has to do to get him to leave. She lies and says that she doesn’t love him and doesn’t want him there. She calls him useless and powerless. She screams that she loves Julian as she powers up her gauntlet with electricity. She demands to know what it will take to make him understand.
She swings at David who blocks her attack by simply raising his hand. He twists her around into a wrestling hold and tells her that he understands more than she knows.
At that moment, Hellion walks in and thinks that David has attacked Nori. He unleashes his telekinesis, slamming David into the ceiling as he orders him “Get away from her!” Julian asks Nori if he hurt her and she begins to tell him that David would never do that. David moves in from behind and strikes Julian three times in quick succession. Julian falls and David coldly explains that he just struck him with the three parts of the body that cannot break using Israeli special forces training that he absorbed from Wolverine and Shadowcat. Julian tells David that he didn’t kiss Nori. David says that he knows that and tells Julian that he should go talk to Josh about healing his cracked ribs. As Prodigy leaves the room he says calmly “By the way, Nori… we’re through.”

At that same moment, the senior faculty are holding a “staff meeting” on the astral plane courtesy of Emma Frost’s telepathy. Kitty shares that she’s worried about Elixir who has been acting strange since their return from Limbo. Beast adds that the rumor is that he reconstructed Prodigy’s entire heart which would indicate a vast increase in his powers. Hank adds that this is well beyond anything he’s taught him since M-Day.
Logan adds that they should be worried about Pixie because he plans to kill her if she ever uses her pixie dust on him again. Piotr comments on the students’ current fear that the youngest among them, Indra is destined to die. He asks if there’s any reason for them to think this. Emma points out that more than half of these kids have serious emotional trauma from the events of the last few months. M-Day, the Purifiers attack and their recent ordeal in Limbo has had a profound effect. Given this, it’s no wonder they all think they may die. Kitty glibly says “Yay, school spirit.” Colossus asks if this is what life has come to…they measure a good day by whether or not someone has died, been tortured or lost a piece of their soul.

Despite their concerns, some of the students are coping. Most of the students in the common room have binged on junk food and fallen asleep. Cessily, Laura and Sooraya are having a sleepover and supporting each other as friends. Nori is still brooding, however and Prodigy is uncharacteristically grim. Kitty tells the others that she thinks Elixir is a real problem and that if they don’t think of something soon, they could be teaching the next Magneto. She asks what you do to stop a teenager from “being all dark and twisty”. At that moment, Loa knocks on Josh’s door. She finds him dark and sullen on the floor and says hi. She tells him that she’s been doing a lot of thinking lately about what they’ve been through and that she thinks it’s going to get worse. She says she was wondering if he’d want to make out. He’s taken aback at first but then the blackness drains from his face. He smiles and says tentatively “Sure?”

The next day, Cyclops addresses the students. He tells them that they may well be the last generation of X-Men and that they may die tomorrow. Or live forever like Wolverine. Either way, the Institute is still a school and they still have a lot to learn. He informs them that they will resume both team and individual training. Whenever a senior staff member is unavailable, Prodigy will serve as their instructor. Cyclops asks Surge if she’s okay with this and she reluctantly tells him that she’s fine and that they should just get to work.

Nearby, an assault helicopter piloted by the Purifiers tracks the movements of Predator X. One of the Purifiers notes that Predator X is moving at 100 miles per hour for over 19 hours! Predator X stops within view of the Xavier Institute. It stops and sniffs. It then turns around and begins running away! The Purifiers on the helicopter report this to their leader, Father Matthew. He is enraged and does not understand why it would leave like it did. Dr. Jack Abrams is with Father Matthew and tells him that perhaps it has found its intended target. Risman’s eyes grow wide and he says “God have mercy. It is as the Reverend Stryker foretold.” He looks out over his assembled Purifiers and tells them “Come… we have much to do.”

Characters Involved: 

Anole, Dust, Hellion, Mercury, Pixie, Prodigy, Rockslide, Surge, X-23 (All New X-Men)

Elixir, Indra, Loa, Match, Stepford Cuckoos, Wolf Cub (All Xavier Institute students)

Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Shadowcat, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Predator X

Matthew Risman, Dr. Jack Abrams and other unnamed Purifiers

Story Notes: 

Nori asks Cyclops how he felt when Jean Grey died. She doesn’t specify which occasion she’s asking about. Scott has witnessed Jean’s death or believed he saw her die several times. He first believed Jean had died in UNCANNY X-MEN #114 after a battle with Magneto. He later saw Jean sacrifice herself to prevent her Dark Phoenix persona from re-emerging as shown in the classic UNCANNY X-MEN #137. Most recently, he saw her killed by Xorn (while masquerading as Magneto) in New X-Men #150.
David states that he’s “been down this path” in reference to having unfettered access to his power to absorb the skills of others. David was given a glimpse of his possible future in NEW X-MEN (2nd series) #10-11. In these issues, Dani Moonstar and Emma Frost combined their powers to show him the road his powers might lead him down were his natural, mental limitations removed. This would have allowed him to permanently retain the skills he absorbed. Needless to say, this future path led to corruption and ruthlessness. Seeing this convinced David to leave these mental blocks in place.
The Stepford Cuckoos mention that they can no longer feel emotion. This occurred in X-MEN: PHOENIX WARSONG #5 when the Cuckoos trapped a fragment of the Phoenix Force inside them. To do so, they had to shut it inside their “diamond hearts” cutting them off from their emotions and causing them to become even more distant and emotionless than before.
Julian mentions that his best friend is dead, the girl he thought he loved is gone and his mentor has flipped out. He is referring to Brian Cruz (Tag) who died in NEW X-MEN (2nd series) #24, Sofia Mantega (Wind Dancer) who left the school after losing her powers on M-Day and Emma Frost, who has withdrawn from the students since M-Day.
Rev. Stryker used a time-lost Nimrod unit to ascertain future events affecting mutantkind. This is likely the source of the information that led to the development of Predator X as noted by Matthew Risman.
This issue features a pinup of Surge, Mercury and X-23 by Bryan Hitch and Paul Mounts.

Issue Information: 
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