New X-Men: Academy X #2

Issue Date: 
August 2004
Story Title: 
Choosing Sides - part 2: Assembly

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

Brief Description: 

As the kids react to the news that they may be split up soon, Julian arrives to spoil the moment by threatening to tell on them for being in the Danger Room unsupervised. An argument ensues, but Sofia manages to get Julian to keep it a secret by working Julian’s crush on her. The kids attempt to get Dani to explain what is going on, but she tells them she is too busy at the moment. Nori meets her new roommate, Sooraya Qadir aka Dust, and they immediately get into a disagreement over their beliefs on women’s rights and religion. Nori leaves, and is soon found by Cyclops, who demands his keycard back, and warns her that the rules are in place for her safety. He admits that he was impressed by the way they handled the Danger Room and decides not to punish her or the others, but tells her to get her gauntlets looked over. She asks if she can’t just get rid of them, but Cyclops convinces her to give them another try, and after a brief conversation, they head off in their own directions. Meanwhile, David isn’t pleased about the possible changes, and decides that he will tell Dani the next day that he is leaving, though Josh isn’t convinced. The following day, Julian meets up with Jay Guthrie and tells him that they both have Emma Frost as an advisor. Julian explains about codenames, and Jay says that Icarus would be his choice. The two arrive at the basketball court, where a three-on-three game soon begins: David, Josh, and Sofia versus Julian, Cessily, and Santo. Iceman drops in to referee, and after an impressive show of powers from both teams, Cessily scores the winning basket. After the game, the kids arrive too see Dani, and find out that she wanted to see them too. After a small amount of convincing, the kids agree to trust Dani on it, and she shows them templates of training uniforms, which they will be allowed to customize as they like. Monday’s Assembly arrives, and Cyclops explains that all students will be put into training squads of six people. He introduces his squad, the Corsairs, and Emma introduces her squad, the Hellions. Finally, Dani tells everyone about when she was a student and she was part of a team called the New Mutants. They were a family, and her kids are like one too. She introduces Prodigy, Wind Dancer, Surge, Wallflower, and Elixir, as her squad, the New Mutants!

Full Summary: 

In the Danger Room of the newly rebuilt Xavier Institute, David just filled in his friends on a piece of information he came across in Mr. Summers’ office. Sofia tells him that it cannot be true, and asks why they would split them up. David tells her he isn’t sure what’s going to happen to them, but they’re breaking the entire student body into quads. He continues that he doesn’t know about the others, but he didn’t sign up for this. He came to be a student, not a potential X-Man.

Josh gets upset and says that they can’t split them up. They work great as a team: they just took out two sentinels and a squad of bad guys! Unnoticed by the kids, Julian Keller was watching from the door, and announces his presence by applauding, and sarcastically tells Josh that they are real pros. He adds that he bets the Danger Room was on wimp setting. Josh asks what Julian is doing there, and Julian says that he saw them sneaking out of the cafeteria after the lights went out and figured he’d drag his loser friends into trouble. And then he’d be the one to make sure they got caught. Josh points out that it’s not like Julian is some sort of saint around Xavier’s.

Julian changes the subject back, and tells the “jerks” that they’ll definitely be split up at Monday’s assembly. Julian is questioned about knowing about the assembly and he points out that that is one of the perks of having the Headmistress as his advisor. She tells him everything. He then asks who they have for an advisor. Dani Moonstar? A leftover from the New Mutants, who were basically just X-Men wannabes? David protests that Dani is very important at the school, but Julian doesn’t sound convinced. He excuses himself, saying that he has to get their sorry butts in trouble.

Josh tries to stop him, reaching out and telling Julian to wait, but Julian blasts him backwards telling him that if he tries to touch him again, his telekinesis will do more than push him away. Sofia blows Julian back, telling him that her wind can push people just as well as his telekinesis. Sofia brings him up close to her, and Julian asks what she wants. Sofia tells him that they were just helping a friend. She wants him to keep their secret. Julian says he never could refuse a beautiful girl. Especially one with a sexy accent and cool powers. Julian agrees not to tell, but only because Sofia asked so nicely, and heads out, telling “Gorgeous” that she owes him one.

As they head out of the Danger Room, Josh says that Julian is such a jerk, but David tells him to forget about Julian. He wants to ask Dani what’s going on. As they head towards Dani’s office, Laurie asks if Julian likes Sofia, but Sofia says that she doesn’t know, or care. All she knows is that she got him to keep quiet. Nori tells the others that they can talk to Miss Moonstar if they want, but she’s not her advisor, and then tells them she’s going to bed. Sofia starts to try to stop her, but David tells her to let Nori go. It’s time to get some answers.

As they step into Dani’s office, Dani is talking to someone on the phone, making sure they’ve checked every junkyard, though to no avail it seems. David gets her attention, but she tells them that it is not really a good time, and asks if it can wait. They agree and head out, and Josh, irritated, quotes David saying that “Miss Moonstar will know! She’ll take care of everything!”

Back in Noriko’s room, she is in her pajamas putting up a poster while listening to the song, Extraordinary, by Liz Phair, when someone arrives at the door. A girl wearing a burqa steps into the room and Nori asks who she is. She introduces herself as Sooraya, Nori’s new roommate. Nori asks her if the music is bothering her, and soon turns it off. Sooraya thanks her, then adds that she didn’t catch Nori’s name. Nori just tells her that she didn’t throw it, then adds that Sooraya doesn’t like her music. Sooraya starts to explain, but finishes that she doesn’t understand American music. Nori just says “whatever,” then continues about things they don’t understand, and asks if Sooraya’s outfit is actually a burqa?

Sooraya starts to explain that it is traditional in Afghanistan to—but Nori finishes her sentence for her—cover yourself from head to toe in shame and be subservient to men? Sooraya lowers her hood and tells Nori that it is about modesty. There are boys and men on campus. And it is not right for her to show off by exposing herself or her flesh to them. Nori pauses as she puts up her poster and just stares down at her bed for a moment. She turns around and sits on the edge of her bed and asks if Sooraya thinks she is saying that she – Nori - exposes too much flesh. Sooraya explains that she does not judge the way Nori dresses, and she only asks that Nori do the same for her. Nori gets up and heads to the door, and tells her that Sooraya is judging her. She just said that exposing flesh is showing off. She then continues that she doesn’t need to be lectured by someone who is setting women back fifty years just by walking around like that. She slams the door, and Sooraya is left by herself in the room looking down over the conversation.

As Nori walks out of the hallway, Cyclops comes down a set of stairs and tells her that he was just looking for her. He tells her it’s getting close to curfew and asks if she thinks now is a good time to be leaving her room. Nori says she needed to get some air because she was given a religious nut for a roommate. Cyclops tells her that she’ll deal. She’s tough. He then adds that he didn’t come here to listen to complaints about roommate assignments, so Nori asks what he came to bust her chops for then.

Cyclops tells her that he came to get his keycard back. The one she stole to break into the Danger Room. He adds that they have rules in place for a reason. It’s not safe in the Danger Room without proper X-Men supervision. Nori starts to ask how he—but she is cut off by Cyclops saying there are cameras inside. As Nori starts to look down, he adds that he saw how they all performed, so he’ll forgo the punishment. This time. But adds that Noriko must get her gauntlets looked at tomorrow. Nori asks if she can’t just get rid of them. They’re big. They’re clunky. They’re ugly. And apparently they’re fragile and unreliable.

Cyclops tells her that Miss Moonstar gave him all the details on her life before she came to the school. He says he knows she lived on the street and used pills to regulate her power. He asks if she wants to go back to that, and she quietly says “no… maybe…” Cyclops tells her that she could learn to control her power one day. Give them time to work on that. But if she doesn’t, she might wear those gauntlets forever, like he wears his visor, and he motions towards the visor he wears. He says that it is ugly, he knows it, but it keeps him from hurting the people around him and turns his mutation into something useful. As Cyclops leads Nori down the hall, he asks her if she’ll give the gauntlets another try, and give her roommate another try, as well. Nori says affirmative on the gauntlets, fat chance on the roommate. Cyclops tells her that’s fine. For now. As they separate ways, Nori tells him that she still doesn’t like him, but he just smiles and tells her she doesn’t have to. He’s still in charge.

Over in the boys’ dorms, David is pacing his and Josh’s room, and tells Josh that, if it is true, he is leaving the school. Josh says he didn’t even think David like him, but they break them up and he’s gone? He says he’s touched, but David says yeah, in the head. He wasn’t talking about him. He says that he didn’t sign up to be an X-Man. He came here to get an education and to learn to control his powers. He adds that he isn’t changing his plans. He’ll go back to Chicago. Josh says that he’ll believe it when he sees David tell Dani, and David says he’ll tell her tomorrow. Josh says that he couldn’t tell Dani he’s leaving. He’s got such a major crush on her. David says that if anyone would chase after a teacher it would be him. Josh disagrees, saying that if anyone was gonna make out with a teacher it would be him. Sucking up and being teacher’s pet? That’s David’s department. David tells Josh that he’ll see. He’s telling him tomorrow. He’s not waiting until Monday’s assembly to see how they’re changing his life. He’s out of there.

The next morning in the grounds behind the school, Julian approaches Jay, who is under a tree with his guitar, and asks him if he is the new guy; Josh Guthrie. Jay corrects him, telling him that he’s not Josh anymore. His old life is over. Julian seems a little bit unsure of him, but tells him that it was a good move ditching the name Josh. It’s a chump’s name, if you ask him. Julian introduces himself and tells Jay that Miss Frost thought they should hang out since they both have her as an advisor. Jay says he thought the students got to pick their own advisors. Julian explains that with the school rebuilt, so were the rules. He adds that Miss Frost is cool, though, and then gets him to come along because he has something fun lined up.

As they walk along towards the school, Julian mentions the fact that the X-Men all have codenames, and says that the students all eventually get them, ‘cept the teachers get to pick them., but Miss Frost lets them suggest their own. He asks what Jay is thinking for his, and he replies, “Icarus.” He starts to explain that he means Icarus, the Greek Myth. He flew too close to the Sun. His wings burned and he plummeted to the earth—but Julian stops him, saying he know the story, and says, “Bummer much?”

As they arrive at the Basketball court, Julian introduces Jay to Cessily Kincaid and Santo Vaccarro and tells him that they have Miss Frost for an advisor, too. He then introduces Santo and Cessily to Jay Guthrie, their fourth. Jay asks what he means by “fourth,” so he tells him that it’s for basketball. They’ve got a grudge match to settle, and he points towards Josh, Laurie, Sofia, and David, who just arrived at the court. David tells Josh there is no way he is playing. He’s terrible at basketball, and he’s got more important things to do. Josh tells him that he can talk to Dani after the game, but Julian needs some schoolin’ now. Josh tells him not to worry about knowing how to play. He says he rocks at basketball, so David can leech some of his skills with his powers. Sofia says that it will be fun. She has never played an actual game of basketball.

Josh and Julian meet each other, and Josh asks him who the new guy is, and asks him if he had to go seek out a new friend, and Julian says he is new blood. Gonna help him kick his—but Jay taps his shoulder and tells him that he doesn’t like basketball, and he didn’t even ask him, so count him out. Julian complains that he can’t do that. It’s four-on-four! Laurie tells them that she is not very… athletic, so suggests they make it three-on-three.

The game starts, and as David makes it past Julian, he complains that David saw that coming telepathically, and it’s unfair using powers, but David just tells him that he doesn’t use his powers. They’re always on. So now he’s as good at basketball as all of them combined, and he can see which way Julian is going before he goes. He tells him it’s just part of him. Deal with it. David takes a shot, but as the ball flies towards the basket, Santo shoots his hand up and blocks the ball, telling David that his powers are part of him. Deal with that!

Just then, an ice-slide appears, deflecting the ball, and a voice says, “That’s goaltending, my friend!” The ball slides along and drops neatly in Iceman’s hand. Someone says “cool… Iceman! Iceman says that his friends call him Bobby, but those in his Intro to Business class can continue to call him Mr. Drake. He then asks what is with playing without powers. Where’s the fun in that? You do that anywhere. This is Xavier’s! He then tells them to start again. He’ll be the ref.

As Iceman throws the ball towards Josh and David, Julian tells them to give it up, and uses his telekinesis to hold the ball up high in the air, adding that not even Shaq could handle his telekinesis. Just then, Sofia flies by and grabs the ball, telling them that she finds telekinesis is a crude substitute for the power of the wind. Julian asks if she wants the basket, then tells her she’ll have to go through him, so she blows him aside with her wind and says another time, perhaps, but for now she will settle for… two points! Julian complains to the ref that Sofia was charging. He was planted! Iceman repeats “planted” incredulously, and tells him that he was eight feet in the air. Nice try.

The game continues, and Santo passes the ball to Cessily. As Josh covers her, he tells her there’s no way she get past—huh? She goes into liquid form and moves behind him, telling him that it’s kinda hard to cover a puddle of mercury, and takes the shot. Josh tries to intercept, but with a swish, she scores. Julian announces that that’s the game. Victory is theirs! As Julian and Santo high-five, Santo tells Cessily to get in there and celebrate, but as she puddles across the court, she tells them to give her a sec. She’s gotta get back into her clothes.

Julian grabs her shirt and shorts and holds them up, teasing her that if she wants them, to come and get them. She tells him that it’s not funny, and David tells him to give the girl her clothes back. Iceman agrees, telling him to do it, at the same time freezing his butt. As Julian gives Cessily her clothes back, Jay asks Laurie what the deal is with Julian. Laurie tells Jay that he is his friend, so he should tell her, but Jay says he just met him. Josh, fuming, says he can’t believe they lost. David tries to reason with him, pointing out that it’s just basketball. Josh says he knows, but he hates that guy. Laurie tells Jay that it was nice to meet him, and she leaves with the boys and Sofia.

Soon after, the four of them arrive at Dani’s office, and as they enter, David tells Dani that they really need to talk to her. With Nori already there, Dani says that is good because she just sent for all of them, and then asks where they were. Josh tells her they were just losing a basketball game, so David tells him to let it go. He then tells Dani that he doesn’t know what she wanted to talk to them about, but he bets that it has something to do with Monday’s assembly. He tells her that he’ll just cut to the chase, and asks if they are being split up into squads.

Dani splits the question in half, and first answers whether or not they will be being but into squads: Yes. She then answers whether or not they will be split up: No, of course not. She tells them that they are her kids. She likes being their advisor. She turned down being an X-Man to be here. She tells them that they aren’t taking them from her, and tells them not to worry. David says that is good, but she knows he didn’t come here for life as an X-Man. Dani says of course she knows that, so David starts to say that he needs to—but Dani cuts him off and asks him if he trusts her. David says he does, absolutely, so Dani lets him know that everything will be fine. Just wait until Monday’s assembly.

Josh whispers to David that he sure told her, but David just whispers back that he trusts her. Dani tells them all to come to her because she has something to show them. She tells them that it is the template for their new training costumes. Each of them will be able to customize it to their own taste. Nori looks and asks if it is spandex, adding that she is so not wearing tights. Sofia happily says that it is exciting. They get to wear costumes like the super heroes do.

Dani corrects Sofia, telling them that they’re not super heroes. That’s not what this is about. It’s about training them to use their powers safely and being able to defend themselves. David says that if he has to… maybe he can put in a visor with a heads-up display, get information from the school computer… Josh teases that maybe a big “kick me” sign on his back would really help with that geek image. He then says that he’s thinking he’ll lose the sleeves, show off his arms. Laurie tells him that that would look great.

Monday morning in front of the school, the Assembly begins with Cyclops welcoming the students as he stands with Emma on a stage erected in front of the Phoenix Memorial Statue. Off behind the stage, Dani whispers to the kids telling them that they look great. Josh says most of them do, anyway, and says he is trying to figure out who David’s supposed to be, Shaft or Gambit. He asks him if he thought this would make him look cooler, and David tells him to shut up. Dani tells them that the squads are supposed to be six kids each. She adds that she has someone in mind for their number six. That’s what she’s been dealing with lately, but no matter what happens with that, they are with her and that won’t change. They’ll stay together as a team. She adds to David that she knows he is concerned, but this is a good thing, and she promises. Dani then tells them to listen to Cyclops.

Cyclops tells all of the kids that he is happy to have them all back to the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning for a new semester. They’ve had some setbacks, but they are still here. He continues on that, as they all know, Miss Frost and he will be running the school as headmasters. Professor Xavier is away pursuing other aspects of his dream. A dream of humans and mutants coexisting peacefully. But that dream is still alive here. In light of recent dangers faced by the school, they will be making some changes.

Every student will receive advanced combat training. The students will train in squads, mentored by X-Men advisors. These squads will consist of six students each. Students in these squads will have codenames assigned and will receive training uniforms. Those squads that have already been chosen will be introduced today. But all of the students will be in a squad before the month is over. Cyclops continues that he will be serving as advisor to the first squad. He starts to introduce his squad, but off behind the stage, Laurie whispers that she forgot about codenames. She says that she hopes they didn’t pick something terrible for her, but Sofia assures her that Dani would not allow that. Josh tells David that his money is Brain Boy for him, but Nori tells him to lay off him already.

Just then, Cyclops finishes introducing the members of his squad, the Corsairs. He turns it over to Miss Frost to introduce her squad. Emma steps up and starts to introduce her kids. Julian Keller. Codename: Hellion. Cessily Kincaid. Codename: Mercury. Santo Vaccarro. Codename: Rockslide. Jay Guthrie. Codename: Icarus. Sooraya Qadir. Codename: Dust. Brian Cruz. Codename: Tag. And so, Emma gives them… her squad: The Hellions. Santo turns to Cessily and asks if it is just him, or did they just become Hellion and the Hellions. Julian smiles and asks. “Isn’t it cool?” Cessily says that there’ll be no living with him now. Cyclops then announces that Danielle Moonstar will introduce her squad.

When Dani steps up, she tells everyone that when she was a student there, she was a member of the team known as the New Mutants. They were like a family. Now there are more than a hundred students. That’s a great thing, but her kids are like a family, too. She says that the sixth member of her squad is selected, but not at the school right now. So she will present the five who are. David Alleyne. Codename: Prodigy. David whispers that he kinda likes that, and Sofia whispers that it fits. Sofia Mantega. Codename: Wind Dancer. Noriko Ashida. Codename: Surge. Laurie Collins. Codename: Wallflower. Laurie whispers and asks Josh what he thinks. He whispers back, saying who cares if they’re good or bad? They’ve got codenames. They’re the next generation of X-Men! Josh Foley. Codename: Elixir. Josh happily says that they are super heroes! Dani steps behind the five kids, and proudly presents her squad… The NEW MUTANTS! And just to make the moment perfect, Josh jokingly asks when they go on their first mission.

Characters Involved: 

David Alleyne / Prodigy, Noriko Ashida / Surge, Laurie Collins / Wallflower, Josh Foley / Elixir, Sofia Mantega / Wind Dancer (New Mutants squad)

Brian Cruz / Tag, Jay Guthrie / Icarus, Julian Keller / Hellion, Cessily Kincaid / Mercury, Sooraya Qadir / Dust, Santo Vaccarro / Rockslide (Hellions squad)

Dani Moonstar (teacher at the Institute)

Cyclops, White Queen I (X-Men and Headmasters of the Institute)

Iceman (X-Man and teacher at the Institute)

Corsairs squad

Other Students at the Institute

Story Notes: 

The name “Corsairs” comes from the name of Cyclops’ father, who was a space pirate who called himself Corsair. Among others the Corsairs seem to include the surviving three Stepford Cuckoos among others.

The Hellions were Emma Frost’s students before she joined the X-Men. Most of the members of the old Hellions teams are dead.

The original New Mutants were students of Charles Xavier years ago. Among the members were Dani Moonstar, Xi’an (Shan) Coy Manh, and Rahne Sinclair, who are all part of the cast of this book.

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