New X-Men: Academy X #6

Issue Date: 
December 2004
Story Title: 
Choosing Sides - part 6: Battle Lines

Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir (Writers), Michael Ryan (Pencils), Rick Ketcham with Avalon (Inks), Dave Sharpe (Letters), Pete Pantazis (Colors), Randy Green (Cover), Moore & Ryan (Assistant Editors), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor In Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Icarus informs the New Mutants about the Hellions’ plan to break out Kevin Ford and adds that Wind Dancer went with them. The team decides to fight the Hellions and Elixir asks Wolfsbane to join them. When she refuses, he asks her to keep quiet about this. The team confronts the Hellions outside the station in Salem Center, moments before the Hellions can free Kevin. The two teams fight and Prodigy confronts Wind Dancer about the leadership issue. They come to terms with it and Sofia rejoins her team. With the added muscle and David’s talent for strategy, they win. In the meantime, Cyclops, Emma and Rahne have arrived, as Rahne did tell the others, while inside the station Dani is distracting the agents.
Cyclops takes them back to school commending the New Mutants for trying to stop the other team but chiding them for taking things into their own hands instead of telling the X-Men.
Two weeks later, charges are dismissed against Kevin and he is allowed to return to school. However, after witnessing the battle, he feels the Hellions are his true friends and wishes to be reassigned to their team. As a result, Icarus takes the empty spot on the New Mutants team.
Surge makes some tentative peace with her roommate, Dust, Prodigy and Wind Dancer decide to be co-leaders and, after Elixir confronts Wolfsbane over betraying the New Mutants, they kiss.

Full Summary: 

Noriko Ashida opens the door to the room she shares with her roommate, Sooraya aka Dust, pleased to find that her roommate, whom she considers a freak, isn’t around. At least that way she can listen to her music.

Suddenly, somebody taps against her window. Nori is surprised seeing as how the room is on the third floor. She opens the window to find Jay Guthrie outside, who informs her that his squad is getting into trouble. The kind that could bring the whole school down.

Outside on the grounds, Laurie Collins is tossing pebble into a lake when Jay looks her up too, telling her that her teammates are looking for her. He calls the three of them, Noriko, David Alleyne and Josh Foley, over. New Mutants meeting, he announces. But he is a Hellion, Laurie points out. Making a face, Jay tells her not to remind him.

Once the others have gathered, he explains that the Hellions intend to help Kevin. Good, Laurie announces forcefully. Somebody should help him. He didn’t do anything wrong. Nobody said he did, Jay replies, but it isn’t their decision to make. Plus, he’s been arrested by the F.B.I., David adds - which means Julian is leading his squad into a battle with the US government, Josh states. And people call him impulsive.

Noriko suggests she could race down to the station to stop them, but David is against the idea. They could make things worse. Besides, Sofia is their squad leader. She should be informed. That’s not possible, Jay reveals. Julian got Sofia to help them. She’s with the Hellions now.

Not too far away, Julian telekinetically flies his squad towards the station, while Sofia flies under her own power. What is their plan, she asks. Nice not to be in charge anymore, huh? he leers. She would very much like to lead one day, Sofia defends herself, but the New Mutants did not trust her, so she did not trust herself. Julian tells her to let him do the planning. They’ll scope the train station. If they get a chance with Kevin away from Agent Pierce, they’ll snag him quietly. Nobody will see. And if they cannot sneak him away, Sofia asks. Then they put down the F.B.I. hard, Julian decides.

Nearby, on the mansion grounds, Elixir informs an incredulous Rahne Sinclair. She becomes more incredulous when he assures her that the New Mutants mean to stop the Hellions and she warns him that they should let the X-Men handle this. They want to do this themselves, as Sofia is with the Hellions, he explains. Then why come to her, Rahne asks. He hints that she could help and she forcefully tells him that he figured wrong.

A little farther away, the other New Mutants and Icarus are waiting. Laurie jealously wonders why Josh had to involve her, while David asks her to let him handle talking to Sofia when they catch the others. They are going to need Laurie’s powers. Plus, a part of this is about David and the squad leadership. Rahne, in the meantime, explains that she cannot help them break the rules. Josh leaves and asks her not to tell the faculty.

Within Salem Center station, Agent Pierce tries to reach out to Kevin by offering to take off his handcuffs. Kevin angrily tells him that, when his powers developed, they killed his father. The one person who truly cared about him and he has to stand trial for this as though he wanted to do it. Pierce assures him he won’t be convicted. Refusing to listen, Kevin enters the bathroom. Seeing the tiny windows, he realizes there’s no escape through there.

Suddenly, a voice tells him to cheer up, as the Hellion Mercury pools her liquid form through the window and informs him that the Hellions are going to bust him out once he steps away from the wall.

She returns to the others and gushes about their new costumes. Finally, she can use her powers and not wind up naked. Julian Keller explains that he is going to take down the wall and warns the others that they have to move fast. They have to be prepared to take on the F.B.I. if necessary.

Now that’s a really bad plan, a voice suddenly announces. The New Mutants have arrived. From within the station, Kevin watches events unfold through the tiny windows.

Sofia is incredulous that the Mutants are there to stop them. Julian remarks that this fight has been brewing for some time.

At Xavier’s, Dani informs Emma and Scott that she has hired Evangeline Whedon as Kevin’s lawyer. She thinks she has a shot at getting charges dismissed if Pierce cooperates. Emma muses that Kevin’s chances would be better still if she used a little mind control on the judge… or maybe agent Piece …

Scott protests: they don’t work that way. Emma scoffs that they both have too much faith in human authorities. While this is a charming trait in Scott, Dani at least always struck her as more practical. Practically speaking, Dani replies, if they remove themselves from the law, they will never get its protection later on. Their discussion is interrupted by Rahne, who has something urgent to tell them.

Back, outside the station, Julian smirks announcing when are they going to learn that his telekinesis is too powerful for them? They won’t have to if he doesn’t get to use it, Josh shouts as he tackles him. Rockslide separates his hand from his body and sends it after Elixir but misses. Moments later, he starts crying – traumatized - a victim of Laurie’s pheromones.

Elsewhere David confronts Sofia, asking why she is doing this. Sofia lashes out, asking if this is another lecture about her being too impulsive and a bad leader? He never said that, David retorts. He was willing to follow her. She is the heart of their team. That’s why they are all here – to keep her out of trouble.

Sofia hesitates and admits she doesn’t know what to do about Kevin. She felt as if she had to act and nobody would tell her what to do. Except for Julian. She didn’t know because there is no easy answer, David points out. She’s not a bad leader for seeing that this situation is screwed up. Julian is a bad leader because he thinks it is simple.

Tag attempts to take David out from behind but Icarus grabs him first and deposits him on the top if a tree over Brian’s protests of “traitor”.

Elsewhere, Noriko confronts her Hellion roommate, Dust, who doesn’t want to fight. Surge, however, is spoiling for a battle. She has had enough of Sooraya always doing what other people tell her to, whether it is wearing a burqua or fighting the F.B.I.. She zaps Sooraya with her electric bolts and the other girl turns into her Dust shape.

Unsure, Mercury changes her arm into a blade and threatens that she won’t let them take Kevin. She orders Elixir to get off Hellion. With Elixir distracted, Julian gets his bearings and telekinetically levitates Josh away.

Wind Dancer catches him with her winds. She tells David that she is with the team, but he has to lead. David orders Laurie to keep on using her pheromones to keep Rockslide out. Then, Noriko and Sofia are to change targets. Sofia disperses Dust, allowing her winds to take the girl back to campus over Julian’s protests, while Noriko zaps Mercury, recalling that the element mercury is an excellent conductor of electricity.

Nori asks David id he wants her to fry the ‘creep’ – Julian. Hellion haughtily tells her to keep out; this is between the leaders. He challenges David, who is tempted but retorts that a good leader knows how to delegate. As if on cue Jay comes up from behind and knocks Julian out.

Inside the station, Pierce asks the other agents to check on Kevin, who is still in the bathroom while he takes a look outside. The wind sounds pretty severe. That moment, Dani comes running in, demanding to talk to him about Kevin’s case.

Inside the bathroom, the agents ask Kevin to come with them and he complies. Dani informs him that she’s been talking to Agent Pierce and has arranged for a lawyer. She thinks he’ll be fine. Bitterly, he asks her to leave him alone. He has to go to jail now.

Outside, Josh has recovered and asks what he missed. Not much, David replies. He thinks they’ve won. Now that’s what he wants to hear, Josh replies. Why couldn’t this be a field day exercise?

Field Day? an enraged Cyclops asks, who has just arrived with Emma Frost and Rahne. He continues that they will be lucky to ever get out of the main building again. Emma addresses her charges, the Hellions, and announces that they are all in deep trouble. She understands their motives, but this was disastrously stupid.

Cyclops addresses the New Mutants, telling them they did well to stop the Hellions. But it would have all been for nothing, had the F.B.I. seen them, which they were seconds away from doing. They should have brought his to the X-Men’s attention. He knows that some of them think there is not much of a difference between them and the faculty. Some of them aren’t much older than the students. But they have years of training. Josh angrily looks at Rahne.

Later, on the mansion grounds, Noriko looks for Sooraya at superspeed. The Afghani girl finally peeks out from between the bushes, asking for Nori’s help. She cannot go back to Dust form at the moment and she has no clothes. Nori hands her her Burqua. Sooraya thanks her and Nori informs her it was Jay’s idea. He also figured it’d be better if a girl brought it.

Nori continues that Sooraya’s squad is in serious trouble. The New Mutants are getting detention but the Hellions are getting big time punishment. As is fair, Sooraya replies. They were wrong to take the law into their own hands. Noriko states that she doesn’t understand her. She breaks the law on Julian’s order, but won’t make the run back to the dorm naked. Would she have, Sooraya asks. Absolutely, Nori replies. It is her body. All the others can do is look. Sooraya replies that is why she understands Noriko as little as she does her.

The Criminal Courts building, Atlanta, Georgia, two weeks later:

Kevin’s lawyer Evangeline Whedon asks for the charges to be dismissed. They have already submitted testimony from experts on mutation that conclude that Kevin’s power was uncontrollable. The investigating officer has ruled that the death of Kevin’s father was accidental. The boy shouldn’t’ be punished. He s best served attending a school where he can learn to control his power. Agent Pierce agrees that he has ruled the death accidental. The state does not oppose the motion and charges are dismissed.

Dani gives Emma a suspicious look, considering how well everything is going, and Emma assures her she had nothing to do with this.

While Kevin thanks his lawyer, Emma and Dani walk up to Pierce, and Emma admits that it has never been such a pleasure to be proven wrong. She assures him he will always have friends at the Xavier Institute. She takes Kevin by the arm and walks him outside. He looks back at Dani and Pierce but says nothing.

That’s gratitude for you, Pierce observes. He’s just a teenager, Dani defends Kevin. She’s grateful, for what it’s worth. It’s worth a lot, he replies and asks her out on a date the next time he’s in town. Surprised, she agrees.

Later in Cyclops’ office, Icarus and Wither wish to be reassigned. Kevin wants to be a Hellion. When he was in that train station, he learned who was looking out for him and it wasn’t the New Mutants. It wasn’t Ms. Moonstar.

Jay remarks that he’d like to be a New Mutant if there is an opening. Emma assures Kevin that he belongs with them, while Dani welcomes Jay and reminds him that his brother was a New Mutant once, too.

On their way to the Danger Room, David once more brings up the leadership issue to Sofa. She insists that he is better suited for the job. He replies that he is the brains of this outfit, but she is the heart and soul. The old New Mutants had two leaders. They can do the same. She is a better people-person than him anyway. Sofia agrees and tells the team that, as her leader, her instructions are to do what David says.

Later, Josh pays a visit to Rahne in her office. He accuses her of avoiding him and tells her he is angry. He asked her not to tell the faculty and she did. Rahne jumps up and forcefully tells him to get it through his head. She didn’t tell the faculty. She is the faculty. He’s a student and she is a teacher. Suddenly, he kisses her. Moments later, she responds.

Characters Involved: 

Elixir, Prodigy, Surge, Wallflower, Wind Dancer, Wither (New Mutants)

Dust, Hellion, Icarus, Mercury, Rockslide Tag (Hellions)

Dani Moonstar, Wolfsbane (teachers at the Institute)

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

Justin Pierce (F.B.I. agent)

Other agents

Evangeline Whedon

Story Notes: 

Agent Justin Pierce was introduced in New Mutants (2nd series) #13. He is the nephew of Donald Pierce, and aided in the recapture of his uncle.

Evangeline Whedon, mutant lawyer, is a close affiliate of Storm’s team, the X.S.E.

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