New X-Men: Academy X #8

Issue Date: 
February 2005
Story Title: 
Haunted: Part 2

Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir (writers), Michael Ryan (pencils), Rick Ketcham (inks), Pete Pantazis (colors), Dave Sharpe (letters), Randy Green (cover), Stephanie Moore & Sean Ryan (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Kim tries to convince everyone that she really is a mutant able to talk to the dead. Nobody believes her and the New Mutants and Dani try to sort things out. Before they are able, the ghost switches off the Danger Room’s safety protocols and activates a simulation of Magneto. The group has the most difficulties in defeating him, but luckily Shan arrives just in time and switches the Danger Room off again. The New Mutants get a check-up to make sure they are fine and go to dinner. Cyclops and Emma Frost promise the team they’ll try to solve things. At dinner, Laurie is scared of the ghost, so Josh offers to take her to dinner off campus. Laurie finds that to be a terrific idea and offers Josh to join her on her weekly dinner with her mom. Kevin approaches Laurie to make sure she’s fine. Josh is offended by that and a fight almost breaks out between him and Kevin. But then, the kids’ dinner table disappears and, all of a sudden, drops out of the air! Julian, who was also at the cafeteria, is labeled primary suspect, though the young troublemaker claims to have nothing to do with it. Later, the New Mutants realize that the ghost must be a former student who has died when Magneto destroyed the school. That would also explain the choice of his simulation in the Danger Room. David uses the school computer to find data about all the students who didn’t return to the school after it was rebuilt and a list of all current students. So Noriko suggests to go to the cemetery behind the school and check headstones against names. Meanwhile, Kevin gets called to Emma Frost’s office and she wants him to talk to a specialized therapist. Dani, Rahne and Shan gather and Dani realizes who the ghost is. Josh and Laurie leave on their date. Later, the rest of the New Mutants go to the cemetery and find the ghost, who only tells them to “leave now while you can” and then teleports all of them away!

Full Summary: 

Xavier’s, the Danger Room:

An overjoyed Kim tries to convince the New Mutants that she really is a mutant who can talk to ghosts. Nobody believes her, of course, but Kim swears that it’s the truth. Dani is more interested in finding out how the ghost spoke to the young girl. Kim swears that she isn’t lying. Dani suddenly senses that Kim is telling at least part of the truth, as she can feel that someone is up in the Danger Room’s observation deck, and that that person is dead.

At the observation desk, the ghost switches the safety protocols off and presses on a button. Suddenly, a simulation of Magneto appears! And he is ready to kill the X-Men. The New Mutants panic, as they know that Magneto used to fight all the X-Men and would win. The group gets more and more convinced that Kim really does speak to dead people.

Magneto uses his power of metal to destroy part of the Danger Room. A heavy piece almost drops on Laurie, but Josh notices it just in time and catches the bullet. David tries to make perfect battle strategies. He wants Nori to attack him, since she controls electricity. Noriko tries, but Magneto manipulates her metal gauntlets and makes her knock David out. Sofia tries to distract Magneto but he is quicker than she is and defeats her as well. Dani wants to use her illusion powers but knows that they are useless on Magneto, thanks to his special helmet.

Jay has heard enough and flies into action. He flies over Magneto and takes his helmet off. Magneto isn’t impressed and magnetically throws Jay against a wall. Noriko panics when she sees Jay getting hurt and totally freaks out when she finds out that Magneto broke her gauntlets, and thinks that she will overload.

Dani uses her powers and brings Magneto’s worst fear out, that of Charles Xavier. The two old enemies talk to each other like they always do, while the New Mutants try to make time to find a way to defeat Magneto. Suddenly, Magneto’s simulations fades away! The group looks up and finds out that Shan has arrived just in time to switch the Danger Room off. The survivors tend to the wounded. Noriko walks over to Jay and is surprised to find out that he’s still alive and didn’t snap his neck like the thought he had. Jay says that his wounds always heal and that he couldn’t die even if he wanted to. And he doesn’t want to die.

Later at the Infirmary.

Beast checks up on the New Mutants and makes sure that everyone is fine. Josh is last and goes to see his friends. Outside, Dani can’t thank Shan enough for arriving when she did. They try to figure out what happened. A panicking Rahne enters the room as she heard that Josh was injured. Dani corrects her that everyone was practically hurt but that they’re all okay now. When Rahne asks how it happened, Dani explains to her friends that she thinks that the school is haunted. Shan and Rahne can’t believe it. Dani confirms that she could feel a presence in the control room before the Danger Room simulation started, and that it was most definitely not alive. Shan is confused, as she thought that Dani’s death-sense powers had faded. Dani thought that too but apparently she was wrong. They need to find this ghost.

Cyclops and Emma Frost check on David. He isn’t sure if they really were attacked by a ghost. But he admits that weird things have been happening to the New Mutants all day. At first, he suspected that Julian was messing with them, but now he isn’t so sure. Emma highly doubts that Julian would put the group in that much danger. Still, Scott wants to look into every possibility. David also informs the two headmasters about his visiting sister, Kim, and that she thinks that she can talk to ghosts, thanks to a mutant power. Cyclops and Emma don’t know what to say about that. Before they can go on, Kim and Sofia enter the room and want to have dinner. Cyclops tells David that he can go and promises to look into both matters.

The school cafeteria…

It’s past normal dinner hour, so the lunchroom is mostly empty, besides the New Mutants and a few Hellions. Outside, there’s a heavy wind and the branches of the trees blow hard and scarily against the windows. Laurie finds it creepy to find the mansion so empty today, and is scared by the rattling after what happened today. Josh thinks it’s kind of cool to find Xavier’s haunted. Noriko doesn’t and still suspects Julian to be the culprit. Julian enters the room and walks over to his teammates, completely ignoring the New Mutants. Sofia doesn’t think that Julian is that mean, though she suspects that he will tease them about the Danger Room disaster. Laurie thinks that too and tells Sofia that Julian is at least not bugging her all the time, referring to him hitting on her. Sofia, hesitating, thinks that’s better too.

Kim gets upset and can’t understand why everyone is talking about Julian and doesn’t believe her story. Noriko tries to calm her down. Kim wonders how soon she can go to school here and thinks if they will let kids start in mid-semester. Sofia explains that they will if Kim really is a mutant, for her own safety. Noriko tells Kim to get serious and tries to make her understand that if she could talk to the ghost that that doesn’t make her a mutant. A serious Kim tells Noriko that David was right about her and that Nori really can be obnoxious. A surprised Noriko withdraws herself and says that she will keep her opinions to herself in the future.

Laurie is still freaked out by the wind and thinks that Sofia could use her powers to make it stop. Josh knows what Laurie needs: a dinner off campus away from all this weirdness. Laurie thinks that might be fun, and invites Josh to come with her to her weekly visit to her mother and have dinner with them. They could ask permission to leave campus. The rattling outside gets even worse then before. Sofia really starts to think about using her powers to make it stop. She thinks that the ghost is very angry. David tries to apologize to Noriko about what Kim said to her, but Nori tells him that she’s fine.

Wither walks over to Laurie and asks her if she’s okay. Laurie tells Kevin she is. Kevin was just worried about her because these weird things kept happening to her. Josh gets upset and tells Kevin that he will keep Laurie safe, no matter what. Kevin isn’t impressed by that remark, as he still thinks that the only thing Josh is good at is getting into trouble. They keep arguing and Josh thinks that Kevin wants to fight him. Kevin doesn’t want to do that, because if he would fight Josh would be dead. Josh thinks that to be a threat.

Everyone gets up from their table to stop the arguing before it gets out of control. Suddenly, Kim notices that the table is gone! Everyone looks around and out of nowhere, the table and the food falls out of the air and almost hits them! The group looks at Julian, suspecting him, but Julian claims to have nothing to do with it.

The Headmaster’s Office…

Cyclops has called Julian to him and also suspects him to be behind it all. Julian honestly tries to convince Scott that he has nothing to do with it, but Scott doesn’t believe one word with it. He warns Julian that if something bad would happen to the New Mutants after this conversation, he will come looking for him. So it will be Julian’s job to make sure that each member will be safe. Julian agrees and is allowed to leave and get some sleep. Though Julian isn’t so sure that he will sleep in a house that is haunted.

In their rooms, David tries to catch some sleep but can’t because Josh keeps talking. Josh convinces David to go deep themselves into the ghost incident tomorrow. Kim tries to convince Sofia and Laurie that there really is a ghost, though they are both already convinced. Noriko, alone at her room, looks sadly at her family photo. Jay sits alone on the roof.

The next day…

In his class, David explains to Kim that the estate is old, but the building is new, so the ghost might be someone who died recently. Sofia tells Laurie that perhaps the choice of Magneto in the Danger Room was not a coincidence, as the dead often try to communicate with the living by whatever means they can.

At the library, Jay informs a not-much-interested Noriko that their team has a theory that the kid was trying to tell them he died when Magneto destroyed the school. Noriko wonders why the ghost didn’t just talk to them if he really wanted to. Jay realizes that it really bugs Nori that Kim doesn’t like her.

After school…

The New Mutants gather at the computer room. When David wants to know why they aren’t just telling the faculty about his theory, Sofia explains that’s because Cyclops is convinced that this is all Julian’s doing. And besides, Kim says, the ghost will only talk to her. She needs to be there and the teachers won’t let her do that. Josh tells David that, since he is their resident smart guy, he needs to get into the school records and find out which kids died when the school blew up.

David does as told, but can’t access that file since it’s secure. Josh suggests that David latches on to someone’s hacking skills. David could do that in the same room as Sage or Shadowcat, but he thinks that they would probably want to know why he is hacking into secure files. What David can get, is a list of current students and students before the explosion. If they compare, then the kids who are no longer here at the school are their target. But a whole bunch of kids didn’t return to the school and only a couple of kids died. And David has no way of knowing which is which.

Noriko suggests to go to the cemetery and check headstones against names. Kim finds that cool and Nori is glad to hear that. Josh asks the group if they are doing that tonight, so that he and Laurie would cancel their dinner. Sofia thinks that they should do it tonight, as there would be less of a chance of being spotted. But she tells Josh and Laurie that they should not cancel dinner, as the rest of them can handle it. Sofia walks over to Laurie and whispers to her and asks if they really are going on a date, since Laurie spend all this time with Josh and he hasn’t even kissed her yet. And when someone brings a boy to meet her mother, that seems like a date to Sofia. Laurie tells her friend that they’ll see what happens.

The Headmaster’s Office…

Emma has summoned Kevin to her. She has heard about last night’s incident, but tells the boy that since the fight did not get far, neither him or Josh are facing detention. But Emma does believe that it’s time that Kevin talked to someone. To a professional. A therapist. Kevin doesn’t see why he should need to do that, since Josh doesn’t have to do it. Emma explains to Kevin that this isn’t about Josh. It’s about his power and that it’s causing him emotional difficulty. Emma knows what it did to Kevin’s father. And she also knows that Kevin was using his powers on animals at the junkyard. And it distresses her that Kevin threatened to use it on Josh.

When Kevin asks to whom he should talk, Emma explains that she is looking into their options. She thinks that she has found someone with a favorable attitude towards mutants and with a sterling reputation. But Emma confidents Kevin that this is not a punishment. She just wants to see him happier. Kevin promises to give it a try. That’s all Emma asks.

That night…

It’s been twenty-four hours. Dani, Shan and Rahne gather at the library. Dani says that Scott and Emma re still looking into students, but Dani knows in her gut that it really was a ghost. And she also realizes that her kids are going to be looking into it. Shan asks Dani if she’s really sure that her team won’t just leave it to the faculty. Dani knows that David would think that, but then she realizes that he would be outvoted because, technically, the New Mutants wouldn’t be doing anything wrong. Dani wants to go figure this out before the kids do something foolish.

Meanwhile, the New Mutants, minus Josh and Laurie but with Kim, are on their way to the graveyard behind the school. David really thinks that they should take this to Dani. Sofia tells David that they are training them to take care of themselves. Jay thinks that they really should take care of themselves, as the ghost is targeting them. David corrects that it’s not just them. He knows Callie from the Corsairs. David has heard that weird stuff was happening to her at lunch yesterday and rather thinks that the ghost is targeting new students. Sofia isn’t so sure, as the ghost also went after Laurie, and she isn’t new. Jay thinks that David might be right, as Laurie was with Kevin in the lab and he just came back to the school.

The kids find the headstone of deceased student Greg Van Meter. David hands Kim over his glasses and tells her to look into them to find out if that’s the boy she saw. It isn’t, but Kim can see the ghost hiding behind a tree nearby! but the ghost quickly disappears afterwards. Kim tries to convince everyone that the ghost was really there. David knows that his sister is right as he saw the ghost as well.

Shan thinks that what this ghost has done can either be ghost powers or his own mutant powers. Rahne remembers that things have been moving. So either the ghost has telekinesis, or… Teleportation, Dani recalls. The ghost appears again behind Kim and tells her to leave now. Dani asks her friends what the ghost wrote on the chalkboard. “Leave now,” right? Rahne tells her that Josh told her that it said more to Kim. It said: “leave now while you can!” Dani remembers her saying that to a student when she and the others were evacuating the school when Magneto attacked. Dani knows who the ghost is.

Everyone of the New Mutants can now see the ghost. Noriko offers her coat to the ghost, as he must be cold. The ghost says that he’s dead. Nori tells the ghost that doesn’t mean that he can’t be cold and offers her coat again. Kim realizes that the ghost is talking to Noriko, to all of them. She asks the ghost if that’s because she is here. Is she channeling him? The ghost tells Kim that she is different. Kim knows that she is, but that’s a good thing. The ghost tells Kim that she shouldn’t be there. He tells all the New Mutants that they shouldn’t be here.

Sofia tries to calm the ghost down. The ghost tells the team to leave now, while they can! He looks at them and stands still, and then teleports the New Mutants away!

Characters Involved: 

Elixer, Icarus, Prodigy, Surge, Wallflower, Wind Dancer (all the New Mutants)

Karma, Moonstar, Wolfsbane (former New Mutants)

Hellion, Tag, Wither (all the Hellions)

Beast, Cyclops, Emma Frost (all X-Men)

Kim Alleyne (Prodigy’s sister)

unnamed ghost

Danger Room simulations:

Professor Charles Xavier


Story Notes: 

The recent Danger Room simulations of both Xavier and Magneto are from their last battle in New X-Men #146-150.

Magneto attacked and destroyed the school in New Mutants in New X-Men (1st series) #147. It was recently completely rebuild in New X-Men (1st series) #156.

Dani used to be able to perceive the coming of death in the form of a mark on those individuals about to die. She received that power when she became a Valkyrie in the New Mutants Special Edition #1. She stopped being a Valkyrie somewhere between New Mutants (1st series) #87 and X-Force (1st series) #66, because she didn’t like it anymore. As she never used those powers since then, it was assumed by fans that writers simply had forgotten about it, but this reveals otherwise.

The cover is an homage to the poster of the classic thriller The Exorcist.

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