New X-Men: Academy X #1

Issue Date: 
July 2004
Story Title: 
Choosing Sides - part 1: Here is the House

Nunzio Defilippis & Christina Weir (Writers), Randy Green (Pencils), Rick Ketcham (Inks), Dave Sharpe (Letters), Pete Pantazis (Colors), Randy Green (Cover), Stephanie Moore & Cory Sedlmeier (Assistant Editors), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor In Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

As a new semester begins at the newly rebuilt Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, there are quite a few changes in store. Scott Summers, AKA Cyclops, and Emma Frost are now co-headmasters of the school, and they have a different idea of how the school will be run. Students will all be trained to use their powers and be taught self-defense, on top of their regular school classes. The new students, including Noriko Ashida and Josh Guthrie, are given a tour by the headmasters, and Nori begins to butt heads with Miss Frost. Nori also damages her gauntlets unknowingly, and while in the cafeteria with David Alleyne, Sofia Mantega, Laurie Collins, and Josh Foley, her electricity powers begin to act up, causing a blackout. The five of them set out to find the missing piece of Nori’s gauntlet, steal Scott’s keycard to get into the Danger Room where the missing piece was lost during the tour. As they enter, Nori has to release her charge and accidentally causes the Danger Room to activate a program, unleashing a pair of sentinels and a crowd of armed soldiers on the five mutant students. Through luck and teamwork, they manage to beat the program and find Nori’s missing regulator knob. Unfortunately, everything isn’t right, and David tells the others what he saw on the computer screen in Mr. Summers’ office. All the students are being separated into different squads, and the five of them might not want to get too comfortable hanging out. They may be getting broken up …

Full Summary: 

Outside of Salem Center, N.Y., one hour north of New York City, Scott Summers, Cyclops of the X-Men, welcomes a group of new students to the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. He tells them that because they are the new students, he and Emma Frost thought that they would give them the tour. He says that they will take attendance first, but Emma interrupts, informing him that he is going about this all wrong. She says that introductions are in order, and emphasizes that this is Charles Xavier’s Institute for Higher Learning. He founded the school for mutants like them.

Emma introduces herself and her cut-to-the-chase partner as headmasters of the school, adding that they may know Scott by his X-Men codename, Cyclops. One of the students, a girl who slightly resembles an elf, raises her hand and comments on Scott and Emma being X-Men, then asks what that means. Scott tells her that they are heroes who protect other mutants and defend humanity… even if humanity doesn’t trust them. Another of the students, Josh Guthrie, a boy with red feathered wings, asks if they are supposed to become X-Men. Scott says that the Institute is a school first and foremost. They are here to control their powers. And to attend classes like any other teenager.

Another of the students, a boy covered in quills, asks Miss Frost what her powers are, and she tells him that she is a telepath. She then tells them that she will not use her powers to pry into their thoughts. She switches to telepathy and adds that it does mean that they can never ignore her, and the elf-girl covers her ears and says that Emma’s voice is in her head, adding that it is creepy. The quill-boy asks Scott what his “dorky-looking headgear” does. Scott comments on the “dorky” part, then mentions quill-boy’s ability to fire quills, and asks him to send a couple into the air. He does so, swinging his arm and letting three quills go flying into the air, and before they get far, Scott blasts them all, disintegrating them in the air. The boy says “cool,” and Scott says he is glad he thinks so. All of them are going to turn their mutations into gifts. People are afraid of mutants. Sometimes they hate what is different. That makes the school a target. From now on, the students will learn to defend themselves. Scott then goes back to attendance, checking the list to see that first on the list is Noriko Ashida.

Meanwhile, at the Grind Stone in Salem Center, Luna calls Noriko. She says she appreciates her staying after her shift is over, but asks if she has to get back to school for orientation for the new semester. Nori says she doesn’t know why she even needs be there. She’s been at the school for weeks now… and she watched it being rebuilt. She asks Luna if she can tell them she had to work, but Luna refuses, telling her that this is a part-time job, and she’s a student. She adds that she is so not getting into trouble with her faculty advisor. She then points her thumb towards the door and tells Nori to go. She’s late, and its at least a fifteen minute walk—but Nori interrupts, pointing out that her mutant power lets her absorb static electricity and discharge it whenever she wants… She turns a knob on her gauntlets and asks in her speed-talk why she would want to walk, and in a flash of electricity, she zooms off towards the school. As she zooms by, a few Grind Stone customers look surprised, making comments about her being a mutant.

As she arrives at the school, Nori speedily asks people to get out of the way, and as she goes by the Phoenix Memorial Statue, she hits it with her gauntlet. She arrives at the small meeting in front of the school announcing that she is there, and barely late, really. Scott tells ‘Miss Ashida’ that he is glad she could join them, then switches to lecture mode, informing her that, though she may have kept her own schedule before she came to the school, here they have timetables, regulations and rules. Nori mock-salutes him, saying “Sir, yes sir!” Scott says that there will be a school-wide assembly on Monday, and he needs to prepare. He heads towards the door into the school and adds that Miss Frost will continue the tour of the main building and facilities. As he disappears through the door, Nori comments about the rules, regulations and timetables, and says he’s wound tight. Quill-boy whispers to her that he doesn’t know what Miss Frost sees in him, and Nori says that their being a couple is weird.

As the new kids follow Emma through the school, she points out that they have entered the main building. The first floor has classrooms, faculty offices, and the ballroom which will also serve as an assembly hall. Behind Emma, Jay whispers to Nori that she’s thinking Scott is the hard case and Emma is the pushover, but she shouldn’t provoke Miss Frost. Nori asks how he knows, but he just tells her to trust him. Soon, they enter the cafeteria where a few students are just sitting down to eat. Emma tells them that the cafeteria will be open from breakfast until dinner to accommodate any variation of eating habits.

The group continues through the cafeteria and out the back doors and Emma tells them that they have a basketball court and swimming pool out back, then warns them that if they hear a klaxon go off, they are to clear the courts immediately. The hangar for the X-Men’s jet is directly below, and the court is retractable. They soon pass the girls’ dormitory, which Emma points out, adding that the boys’ dorm is on the other side of the main building. She adds that past ten p.m., all students are to be in their dorms. Soon they come to the hedge maze, and Emma tells them that it was designed by Giancarlo Betto, the famous mutant landscaper. From behind Emma, Nori makes a comment about the hedge maze, and asks if someone was reading a little too much Harry Potter. Emma asks Miss Ashida if there is anything troubling her. Nori says no, so Emma continues the tour, pointing out her office, adding that the door is always open. Behind her, Jay asks Nori is she is looking for a fight, but Nori says she can handle Miss Frost.

They come back to the main building, and Emma says that on the second floor is the gym and faculty housing. But the exciting areas… the areas for which you need teacher with you… those are downstairs, and she presses a button. They soon arrive under the school, and Emma tells them that this sub-level is where much of the X-Men activity takes place. She tells them that down one corridor is Cerebra, their mutant detection system. It can detect any mutant anywhere. She adds that only a skilled telepath like herself can enter the chamber and use Cerebra. They then come to another door, and Emma swipes a keycard through a security device. She tells them that it is the Danger Room, where the X-Men have advanced combat training. The room will remain locked at all times as the simulations are quite realistic. Only faculty and X-Men can open it.

As the door opens to reveal the large round room, Emma continues: The Danger Room conjures obstacles and opponents to test the control of powers and combat abilities. Danger Room scenarios are brought online and kept in check from the station above. All of a sudden, a dial on Nori’s gauntlet pops off of her gauntlet and makes a metal-on-metal noise, which Nori hears, and asks if the others heard it too. She the place is falling apart, adding that it gives a whole new meaning to the term “Danger Room.” Emma turns to Nori, losing her temper, and tells her that she is growing weary of her clever remarks. There is nothing wrong with the Danger Room. She then asks if perhaps she should turn it on and test it on Nori. She says no thanks, and Emma says that they will continue the tour then.

Meanwhile back in Cyclops’s office, Scott sits at his computer, hood pulled off his head and visor replaced with ruby-quartz glasses. There are various windows open on the screen, and the one visible has various folders in it, titled “Student Body,” “New Mutants,” “X-Factor,” and “X.S.E.,” with “New Mutants” highlighted. A new window opens, and it is information on David Alleyne. Beside a picture of him, there is his name, followed by his age: 17, where he was born: Chicago, Illinois, and his powers: Limited telepathy, allowing temporary mimicry of skills and knowledge from nearby targets. Uncontrolled.

As Nori heads back to her dorm, she sees David reading a book outside her door. He says hi and asks how orientation was. She says it was a big stinkin’ waste of time, and then asks him what he’s doing there. He tells her he just wanted to see how her first day back was going. As she opens the door, Nori tells David that she appreciated what he has done for her, getting her into the school and everything… but he doesn’t need to check up on her all the time. David doesn’t know what to say to that, so he just says okay and follows her into her room. Nori asks him if he had to do the same lame tour when he first came to the school. David says he didn’t, but in his case it really would have been a waste of time, pointing out that his power lets him absorb people’s knowledge, meaning he would have known everything about the school without even being told.

As he looks into the room, David mentions that she got a corner room, which is nice, but adds that it is awfully big for one person. Nori says she likes to have her own space. It’s good to be alone, but just then she notices a suitcase on the un-claimed bed, and complains that it looks like she’s got a roommate. She heads over and puts a hand on the suitcase, and wonders aloud what kind of loser they stuck her with. David stops her from opening the case, telling her she can’t just look through her stuff. Wait till she can meet her. Then she’ll know what kind of… person she has for a roommate.

Nori shrugs it off and says he’s no fun, then asks him if he wants to listen to some music, but as she grabs her CD player, she finds that the batteries are dead. She says that it is weird, and David asks if her powers sucked the electricity out. Nori doesn’t think so, because her gauntlets are supposed to control her energy flow. She should be taking in barely any static electricity, and definitely shouldn’t be draining appliances. She decides to jump-start the CD player, but it shuts off again after a few seconds, and she admits that she doesn’t really understand her gauntlets, so she must have absorbed the charge back as soon as she let it go.

David tells her not to worry about the music, and asks if she wants to get some dinner, he’s supposed to meet Josh, Sofia and Laurie. Nori comments that she isn’t sure if she really fits in with David’s little club, but he tells her that they aren’t a club. They just enjoy hanging out together. He tells her that she’d enjoy it, too, if she gave them a half a chance, then grabs her gauntlet and tells her to come along.
In Scott’s office, the computer screen now has a picture of Sofia Mantega, along with her name, age: 16, where she was born: Caracas, Venezuela, and her powers: Control over the wind, including sounds carried on the air.

In the cafeteria, Sofia compliments Noriko on speaking English so well, and asks how long she’s been in this country. Nori says she ran away from home at thirteen, came to the States then, and lived on the streets till she came to the Institute. She then tells Sofia that her accent is barely noticeable, considering she’s only been here… what? Only a year? Sofia says that her father insisted she learn fast. He insisted on a lot of things. Nori says fathers always do.

Down the table, Laurie timidly tells Josh that the school really looks beautiful. They rebuilt it well. He agrees and says that the new basketball court rocks, but he wishes they’d built a few less classrooms.
Cyclops’s computer screen now shows a picture of Laurie Collins, with her age: 15, where she was born: Kent, Connecticut, and hew powers: Pheromone-based manipulation of emotions. Partly Controlled.

Back at the table, Laurie comments that the lake looks nice, too, and starts to say that maybe later they could—but Josh doesn’t notice her talking and cuts her off, asking David if he wants to play some one-on-one after dinner. David declines, saying that he’s not much of a basketball player. Sofia causes a small breeze to blow at Laurie, who whispers at Sofia, asking why she’s using her wind powers on her. Sofia tells her she was looking a little… amorous. She was worried she might give off pheromones, and adds that she knows Laurie doesn’t want to win Josh’s heart that way.

Josh leans back and tells David that he can just leech some of his basketball mojo and give him a run for his money. Josh adds that even if David copies his skills, David is lucky Josh is a healer, because he is so gonna bust his—but suddenly the lights go out, and David comments about it suddenly getting darker.
Scott’s computer now shows a picture of Josh Foley, and under his name it shows his age: 16, where he was born: Flushing, New York, and his powers: Omega-class healing ability.

The lights go back on and Sofia says it is normal again, now, but Nori asks, worried, if it was her. She looks down at her left gauntlet, which is sparking, and she notices that there is a piece missing, and says that isn’t good. Suddenly the room goes dark again, and she says that it had to be her. Across the cafeteria, a student announces a food fight, but they are interrupted by a telepathic message from Emma Frost asking that they please remain calm. There seems to have been a power outage in the cafeteria, but the emergency lighting should be on in a moment. As the lights turn on, the other students in the cafeteria look around the room, covered in food. Nori asks David if Emma has to go into people’s heads and freak them out like that. He says that you get used to it, but she doubts it.

Nori says that one of the regulator knobs on her gauntlet came off, and adds that she is going to be in major trouble if she doesn’t find it. Miss Frost already has it in for her as it is. Sofia tells her that she can make the wind bring her sounds from far away so she can listen in and find out if she truly does not like her, but Nori thanks her and says that a wise man once told her not to mess with Miss Frost, and maybe she’ll actually take his advice. David offers their help in finding the knob, and asks if she knows where it is. Nori says she heard something drop in the Danger Room and thought it was a problem with the equipment, but it must have been her gauntlet instead. She says they have to find it before Miss Frost finds out, but they need a faculty keycard to get in.

Josh says David can just use his telepathy to find out where one of them keeps it, but David reminds him that it doesn’t work that way. He absorbs skills… knowledge. Anything memorized or learned by rote. It would have to be someone who organizes their office meticulously. Obsessively, even. Someone anal retentive, and—just then, Scott Summers walks in and asks if everyone is accounted for, and David smiles slyly, “I think we have a winner.”

As the five of them head down the hall towards Scott’s office, Sofia points out that the lights don’t seem to be flickering anymore, and Nori says that she thinks she is all full of electricity. She’s gonna have to release soon. David tells her save the discharge for the Danger Room. With only gauntlet working, she might not be able to control it. The Danger Room is built to handle that type of thing. As he opens the door, David tells Nori that she did good work on the distraction. Summers left his door unlocked. As he walks into the room, he then points to where the card is, and comments that he’s never done that before, gotten the knowledge he wanted. Josh tells “Brainiac” that he’s the man, then goes and grabs the card. Just then, Sofia hears on the wind that Cyclops returning to his office, so they all start to leave, but David notices something on the computer screen, but Josh tells him to go.

Moments later, they arrive in the Danger Room, and Nori, in her speed-talk, tells them to stop gawking and start looking. She’s already way overloaded. Laurie asks David if he is alright, pointing out that he’s been so quiet since they left Mr. Summers’ office. He says he’ll explain later, but just then Nori speed-talks that she can’t wait any longer and discharges a huge blast of electricity that zaps the entire Danger Room… including the control room, causing a program to start up and the doors to slam shut. Nori says she feels much better, but Sofia looks up at a couple of sentinels and a bunch of armed guys and says she doesn’t.

Josh announces that an X-Men training session has started, and tells the others not to panic. He then asks David if he is absorbing all the fighting techniques of the guys surrounding them, but David tells him they aren’t real. His power is telepathic and they don’t have minds. As one of the sentinels sends a blast at David and Josh, they jump out of the way and Josh says maybe they do panic. David then points out that they should be programmed to respond like real humans, so he tells Laurie to use her fear pheromones. She says it shouldn’t be too hard because she’s feeling pretty scared right now, but David tells her not to be. He tells her that if the controls are working, there should be safety protocols in place.

David then tells Sofia to use her wind to direct the pheromones, but then he gets shot through the shoulder. Josh rushes over and tells Laurie and Sofia that he can heal David, so they should get the soldiers out of the fight, and adds “so much for the safety protocols.” As Laurie and Sofia get to work blowing pheromones at the soldiers, Nori mentions that someone is gonna have to take care of the big guys, referring to the huge sentinels looming over their heads. As she gets close to one of them, it tries to blast her, but it suffers a power failure as Nori absorbs electricity from it, mentioning, first normally and progressively faster, that she just got rid of a full charge and now she’s getting it right back.

The soldiers all start freaking out as the pheromones get blown at them all, and Nori says she wasn’t planning on keeping this charge as she blasts the remaining sentinel. Off to the side of the action, Josh heals David, who thanks him, and Josh tells him to just remember he owes him one. Sofia then flies up to the control room and shuts off the program. David tells Nori he found her knob, and she groans that she is drained. As Sofia drops down, she tells Laurie that they make an excellent team, and Laurie agrees that their powers do work well together. Josh says they are like a modern “Fastball Special.” He then explains that the “Fastball Special” was when Colossus used to throw Wolverine at the bad guys. When no one knows what he is talking about he is surprised that none of them study classic X-Men adventures. David admits that he is surprised Josh actually studies anything.

Nori says that this should fix it, but says she’ll get her gauntlets looked at in a few days, once the cafeteria incident has blown over. She then tells the others she should really thank them. They didn’t have to come down here and get mauled by sentinels, but Sofia tells her that of course they did. They are her friends. Nori says she’ll try to remember that. David slowly says that maybe they shouldn’t get so comfortable hanging out together.
At the same time, Scott enters his office and heads to his computer again. On the screen is a picture of Noriko Ashida, along with her name, age: 17, where she was born: Tokyo, Japan, and her powers: Absorption of electricity which can be discharged or internalized as bursts of speed. Uncontrolled, requires stabilizer gauntlets.

Nori asks David what he is talking about, and David says he saw Mr. Summers’ computer screen when they were in his office. Something about reassigning students for Monday’s assembly. A lot of them. Putting them into squads of some sort…
Back in the office, the screen now shows a window with the question “Reassign student?” on it, with the cursor poised between the “yes” and “no” buttons. There is a clicking noise as the scene switches back to the kids, and David tells them that he thinks they are going to break them up…

Characters Involved: 

David Alleyne, Noriko Ashida, Laurie Collins, Jay Guthrie, Josh Foley, Sofia Mantega (among other students at the Institute)
Emma Frost, Scott Summers / Cyclops (X-Men and Headmasters of the Institute)

Luna DePaula (manager of the Grind Stone)

Story Notes: 

New X-Men: Academy X is the reloaded version of New Mutants (2nd series), by the same writers.

Most of the characters were introduced, or re-introduced, for the first time in the thirteen issues of New Mutants (vol. 2).

The Institute was destroyed in the New X-Men (X-Men vol. 2) “Planet X” arc by an impostor of Magneto.

Joshua ‘Jay’ Guthrie is the younger brother of X-Men Cannonball and Husk. He was recently revealed to be a mutant and his mother forced him to attend Xavier’s school as a result.

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