New X-Men: Academy X #17

Issue Date: 
October 2005
Story Title: 
House Divided - part 2

Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir (writers), Aaron Lopresti (penciller), Brad Vancata (inker), Pantazis & Chu (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Sean Ryan (asst. editor), Nick Lowe (assoc. editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

As the SHIELD squad called the Hellions track down the human terrorists in Japan looking for some answers regarding their attack on the New Mutant Leadership Institute, Noriko Ashida AKA Surge learns some hard truths about the lengths that SHIELD will go to maintain Magneto’s grip on the world. She witnesses the torture of Cameron Hodge by SHIELD agents, Wither and Josh Foley. She steps in and stops them but Hodge insists that she escape and try to help her father with the knowledge he passes along to her. He begs her to kill him rather than leave him as SHIELD’s captive. Surge reluctantly agrees to Hodge’s demands, unaware that her every move is being trailed by SHIELD. She goes to the New Mutant Leadership Institute and recruits help from Prodigy, Wallflower and Mercury. Sophie, Jubilee and Dust insist on tagging along as well. The small band of mutants head to Japan and surrender themselves to the human terrorists. Meanwhile, SHIELD investigates Project Genesis and find themselves at odds with Emperor Sunfire who insists the project is of little importance. He also reveals that he considers Surge his own child since it was he who removed her from her sapien parents and insured her bright future.

Full Summary: 

The Hellions arrive in Tokyo via Magik’s stepping disks in time to thwart a terrorist attack on an employee of Project Genesis. The terrorists train their guns on the Hellions and prepare to fire but the Hellions strike back with their powers. Magik once again demonstrates her ruthlessness by using her stepping disks to re-direct a bullet fired at her and killing the terrorist who fired it. Scion orders her to keep the terrorists alive for interrogation. The Hellions make short work of the large group of terrorists, using their powers in efficient but brutal fashion. The rescued scientist refuses to answer SHIELD’s questions about Project: Genesis stating that his work is classified. Magik teleports a handful of the surviving terrorists to the bottom of a volcano to “persuade” them to talk.

Meanwhile aboard the SHIELD Helicarrier, Agents Wither and Josh Foley are using their own powers to coerce a confession from Cameron Hodge, the human terrorist who led the attack on the New Mutants Leadership Institute. Wither uses his power to feed on Hodge’s lifeforce and brings him to the brink of death. Agent Foley then uses his healing powers to restore Hodge. The process proves to be excruciating.
Noriko Ashida (Surge) witnesses these interrogation methods and rushes in to intervene. She is rebuffed by Agent Foley who reminds her that she has been removed from the Hellions squad. When he and Wither insist on continuing their work, Surge steps between them and defends Hodge. She dodges Wither but is grabbed by Elixir, who uses his “healing” powers to draw Surge’s blood into her lungs, rupturing the blood vessels so that her lungs begin to fill with blood. Wither moves in to finish her off, but she zaps him with a bolt of electricity. She reminds them that she was trained for combat as she takes Agent Foley out with a fierce uppercut punch.

Surge asks Hodge for some answers and he recognizes her as Seiji Ashida’s daughter. He tells her that he is Cameron Hodge and that one day he will destroy mutantkind. He makes it clear that she will be spared, in part for saving his life and partly because her father wants her returned home to him. He says that mutants must pay for the atrocities that they have forced upon the sapien population.
Surge tries to argue that Magneto’s rule has brought peace and prosperity but Hodge tells her she is naïve and assures her that SHIELD’s interrogation techniques are only a small portion of the cruel methods Magneto uses to maintain his rule. He mentions Project Genesis as just the beginning. Surge demands to know where her father is and Hodge agrees to tell her, if she will agree to kill him now. He argues that SHIELD will kill him once they have the information they want and that she cannot escape now with him in tow. Surge reluctantly agrees.
When Agent Foley wakes up, he finds Hodge dead and reports what has happened to Agent Moonstar. This has gone according to plan and Moonstar notes that Surge is being followed now that she has the whereabouts of her father.

Back in Tokyo, Moonstar, Scion and Magik interrogate the captive terrorists. At first, they claim not to know anything but when Magik threatens to leave them in the volcano, they confess that the terrorists’ next target was Emperor Sunfire’s personal project, Project Genesis. They claim to just be guns-for-hire and don’t know the details of the project’s aims.

Meanwhile, Surge and Prodigy are at the New Mutant Leadership Institute researching information they need to rescue Noriko’s father. David is working at a station across from Doug Ramsey so that he can tap into his natural skills with computers and languages. David discovers the true purpose of Project Genesis and is shocked by what he finds.
He goes to get Laurie Garrison, who is meeting with her father and discussing her murder of Quentin Quire. He reassures Laurie she did the right thing and that he’ll handle it from here. David interrupts and asks Laurie to talk about the situation. She agrees and joins Noriko, Mercury and David in the alleyway to discuss their course of action. Noriko is still reeling from the effects of Agent Foley’s attack but insists that she will heal just fine. They all agree that they have to try to put a stop to Project Genesis. They are discovered by Sophie of the Stepford Cuckoos. David tries to say they were just discussing summer plans, but Sophie says that she knows what they are up to and wants to help. Her sisters disagree but agree to keep her secret.
When David suddenly absorbs the ability to speak Chinese, he realizes that Jubilee is eavesdropping as well. She and Dust, referred to as the “Shallow Twins” insist on going along as well, seeing the excursion as a fun road trip.
Inside the Institute, Tag goes to see Quentin and discovers him dead on his bed. He reports this to the administration and is comforted by Karma, who tells him that it appears to be suicide. Brian doesn’t believe that Quentin would do that to himself, but Dr. Garrison arrives and confirms that Quentin had expressed suicidal thoughts during their sessions together. Brian still won’t believe it and runs out of the room.

The Hellions have gained an audience with Emperor Sunfire to inquire about Project Genesis. He tells them that the goal of the project is to recycle waste into useable food. Scion pushes for more details and this angers the emperor. He assures the SHIELD squad that there is nothing about Genesis that would make it a target for terrorists. He then asks why Noriko is not with the Hellions and insists on knowing where she is. Moonstar explains that she took Surge off the mission because of the involvement of her father. Sunfire corrects Moonstar and states that Seiji Ashida was merely her genetic predecessor and that he served as the empire’s chief sapien advisor. When Shiro learned that Seiji had tried to hide his daughter’s mutant status, the Emperor removed her from her family and punished her father for denying her her birthright. Sunfire claims that he is her true father since it was he who assured her future. He tells Moonstar that she was wrong to take her off the mission since Noriko would have tracked down her own father in his service.

Surge leads David and his “team” to Tokyo where they locate the warehouse that Hodge indicated was the base of the terrorists. The terrorists are psionically shielded. Noriko advises caution since her father is inside. She enters on her own, proclaiming herself to be Seiji Ashida’s daughter and asking to speak with him. She goes as far as to claim that they are there to help. She is approached by a blond man with a large knife attached to his forearm. He asks why they should trust them and warns that they will not be allowed to leave here alive.

Characters Involved: 

Dust, Jubilee, Mercury, Prodigy, Quentin Quire, The Stepford Cuckoos (Celeste, Esme, Mindee, Phoebe and Sophie), Tag, Wallflower, (all students at the New Mutant Leadership Institute)

Magik, Quill, Julian Keller/Scion, Surge, Synch, Wind Dancer, (all members of the Hellions, Junior SHIELD Agents)

Karma, Cypher, Dr. Sean Garrison (Staff at the New Mutant Leadership Institute)

Danielle Moonstar, Wither, Josh Foley (Elixir) (SHIELD Agents)

Emperor Sunfire

Cameron Hodge (human resistance group)

A Japanese scientist working for Project Genesis

Terrorists from a Japan-based human resistance group

In flashback only

Seiji Ashida

Story Notes: 

Cameron Hodge was shown as the leader of the human terrorist attack on the New Mutant Leadership Institute in New X-Men #16 but was not named until this issue. Hodge was a mutant-hating human who manipulated the original X-Men during the time they operated as X-Factor and later merged with the Phalanx to become a mutant killing machine. He first appeared in X-Factor (1st Series) #1 and was presumably destroyed with the Phalanx in Cable (2nd Series) #16.

This issue reveals the full scope of several characters’ powers. Wither’s power is characterized as “hungering” to be used. Elixir is shown to manipulate biological processes beyond mere healing and Surge is noted as having an accelerated rate of healing. Prodigy demonstrates the ability to mimick Doug Ramsey’s computer and language skills which are linked to his mutant abilities. This is the first indication that Prodigy has the potential to duplicate mutant powers that are cerebral in nature (such as those possessed by Cypher or Forge).

The blond terrorist at the end of the issue is likely a known character given the manner in which he was revealed. The most likely candidate is Donald Pierce, a prominent mutant-hating cyborg who has fought the New Mutants in the regular reality and is known for using bladed weapons.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: