Ultimate Comics X-Men #18.1

Issue Date: 
January 2013
Story Title: 
At the Speed of Mach Two

Brian Wood (writer), Filipe Andrade (artist), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (colorist), Sara Pichelli & Marte Gracia (cover), VC’s Joe Sabino (letters & production), Emily Shaw & Jon Moisan (assistant editors), Sana Amanat (associate editor), Mark Paniccia (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

After President Captain America offered mutants the choice between taking the Cure or settling in a new mutant homeland, almost all mutants opt for the Cure. Husk turns out to be brainwashed by Stryker and detonates a bomb in one of the Cure lines, leaving Iceman heartbroken. Kitty has trouble of her own, as Mach Two has come to join them. The young girl has grown more cynical and angry, and sees Kitty as the reason why so many mutants are giving up. She reveals that, with her magnetic powers, she can freeze Kitty and keep her from phasing, and threatens her before Rogue gets between them. Finally, only twenty mutants opt for the new homeland. Later, Kitty tells a woman representing the government about what happened.

Full Summary: 

An interrogation room: An official-looking blonde asks Kitty Pryde to go over it one last time. Annoyed, Kitty points out it was the last time two rounds ago! Just be honest – she is waiting for Kitty to trip up and contradict herself.

The blonde replies this is a friendly debriefing. The situation is complex. The new administration is reviewing Kitty’s file. And they need to be sure of a few things before moving forwards.

Kitty asks to see her file. The blonde refuses and immediately gets a phone call. “As you wish, Sir,” she replies and hands Kitty her file. Which consist of a copy of Kitty’s birth certificate and her dental records from when she was twelve.

Shall they start again, go over it one last time? the blonde repeats. Kitty sighs. She didn’t know about the bomb. None of them did. When they arrived in the southwest, all of this had already been set in motion…

The blonde summarizes that Kitty arrived seven weeks ago. In that time, she raised a militant force comprised of displaced mutants, organized a coherent insurgency and defeated the Stryker-led army of Nimrod-Sentinels… not to mention dozens of militia cells comprised of human aggressors. Impressive.

Nick Fury helped, Kitty begins. The blonde cuts her off. Whatever assistance she had from Nick Fury will not be part of the official record! The blame is all hers then, Kitty mocks. Blame, responsibility, success… whatever she wants to call it. What happens next will determine that. Kitty repeats she didn’t know about the bomb.

The blonde wants to talk about her manifesto, the call to arms she broadcasted. Did she intend that to be a declaration of war? It was a statement of identity, of purpose, Kitty replies. It has a clear non-violent message. What is she talking about… a declaration of war? Mutants have been victims of genocide

That will not be part of the official record, the blonde repeats. They are prepared to place the future of mutantkind into Kitty’s hands. But they cannot pull that off with words like ‘genocide’ being casually tossed around. There’s nothing casual about what happened to them, Kitty retorts. The blonde reminds her Captain America has offered salvation. Take it! Take the Cure and be free of any future persecution forever. Take the political settlement and truly become a mutant nation. This is a historic moment. Be part of it! Now… tell her about the bomb.

Flashback: three days ago:

A long line of mutants has formed in front of the Cure tents. In the line stands Paige Guthrie aka Husk. Bobby Drake tells her she doesn’t have to do this. Captain America promised Kitty he’d protect t mutants who didn’t want the Cure. She can stay who she is. Paige reminds him Cap also offered them the Cure. Besides, she’s sick of shedding. It’s gross. It’s great being the girl who can turn into diamonds. It sucks being the freak who then flakes her skin all over the floor. Who’s gonna ask out that girl? Him! Bobby retorts.

She smiles. He’s one of the sweet ones. How about right now? she suggests. Wanna buy her a drink? She asks him to get her a bottle of water. They have them at the station. Coming right up, he promises and runs. He deserves better she smiles and presses a button on her hidden bomb harness. An explosion ensues.


Kitty can’t talk about the bomb without first talking about the Cure. Such a hopeful word, but it’s another form of genocide. Some of these mutants have known nothing else but violence and abuse, simply for being different. She can’t judge their choice to take all that away. The Cure is a series of injections, each of them quite painful, to be followed by four to six hours of induced coma while the ‘reversion’ takes place.

Kitty’s narration:

They came from all over, travelling for days along prescribed corridors. They set up camps, shantytowns and communal kitchens while they waited their turn. The news media was all over it. ‘Woodstock’ for the mutant generation, one VNN reporter called it. Kitty wanted to punch her. Her dream was slipping away. Is this what they risked their lives for? To just become human in the end?

Putting his arm around Kitty’s shoulder, Jimmy Hudson asks if she is going to take the Cure. Of course not, she protests. Him neither. Just had to ask. Everybody gets to choose, babe. She shakes off his arm and orders him not to call her babe.

Husk made her choice. From the moment they picked her up outside Stryker-controlled territory, she was playing them. She was no escapee, she was a plant. Her goal to undermine the mutant cause afterwards, to show the world that if you give mutants peace, they’ll return the gesture with violence.

Husk survives the bomb and is arrested by soldiers. Mutants must be exterminated! she screams. Stryker was right!

The doctors say she was brainwashed in the camps. If they didn’t have a friend in the White House, she may have succeeded in destroying them from within. Kitty won’t be feeling bad for her ever again.


The blonde asks Kitty to account for the whereabouts of her primary team at the time of the explosion and afterwards.

Jimmy was with her. At her tent. About half a kilometer from the blast. They assisted with triage of the wounded. She should have multiple witnesses. Rogue was with Quentin Quire. She doesn’t know where they were. The blonde finds Quentin checked in at the Cure tent. Poor Rogue, Kitty sighs. The blonde asks about Robert Drake.

Kitty’s narration:

Kitty explains Bobby is the youngest of them. For all she knows, Paige may have been his first real crush. Maybe he was really in love with her. She didn’t return the feelings but that wouldn’t have changed how Bobby felt. Bobby was there when she did what she did. Kitty wishes Husk had died. It might have been easier to move ahead.

Bobby’s in the desert, hitting an ice object he created, refusing to talk to anyone.


The blonde observes that for such a tight-knit team things are really falling apart. Is that a question? Kitty asks. The blonde reminds her that the government is prepared to invest a great deal of capital, both financial and political, in the future of mutantkind. She’s asking the tough questions required. In many ways, Kitty and her team are the core. She certainly has made herself a figurehead, a full-fledged media personality. You can buy a shirt with Kitty’s face on it in malls across the country, did she know that? Kitty spits back she hasn’t been in a mall lately. She’s been living in tunnels and caves, fighting for her life!

Does she want to continue helping her kind? the blonde asks forcefully. Of course, Kitty shouts back. Excellent, just one last area to cover. Tell her about the young Woman known as Mach Two

Kitty’s Narration:

Nomi Blume. An orphan who lived in the tunnels with them in New York. Kitty liked her. She was genuine and far nicer than you’d expect, given her upbringing. Kitty saw her as a kindred spirit, someone who could work with her. She was just so young.

As the X-Men are arguing, Nomi comes running, addressing Kitty. What the hell is she doing here? Kitty bursts out. Instead of letting Nomi finish, Kitty announces that they have to get Bobby someplace quiet. Find them later, okay? Nomi senses and takes away some shrapnel from Bobby’s back of the head that could have gotten infected otherwise. Kitty thanks her, and again tells her to find her later. They’ll talk!

Angrily, Nomi clears the blood of the shrapnel. Later, Nomi, she mimics. They should feel lucky she didn’t put this right back where she found it!


So she’s underage, the woman asks. They all are technically, Kitty points out. They either are or aren’t, the woman replies sharply. This is one of the more troubling aspects of the mutant situation in the eyes of the administration.

Are they going to find their parents and see how many want them back? Kitty mocks. She’d almost dare them to but she doesn’t want to see any of those kids have their heart broken twice.

The blonde goes back to Nomi. They had an altercation….

Kitty’s narration:

Kitty wasn’t prepared for the degree in which Nomi’s powers had changed. Back in the tunnels, she had a slight magnetic effect. It was real enough but minor compared to her control over anything metal.


The woman interrupts. Is she saying mutants can evolve their abilities? Improve them? In rare cases, Kitty admits, but it’s always involuntary. Does she have to write that down? Absolutely. She is told to continue.

Kitty’s narration:

They fought a bit, Kitty admits.

Kitty finds Nomi eating a sandwich. So this is later? she mocks. Thanks for working her into her busy schedule! She saw Kitty on VNN a dozen times. She was fighting Sentinels and had a gun. What happened?

They won, Kitty reminds her. This is peace. Everyone wants to help. Nomi snorts, she didn’t think humans want to help mutants. A few do, Kitty points out. More so now that Captain America was elected. A lot of the hate and rage went away. It feels like a fresh start.

Nomi replies she travelled all the way here to fight in the liberation war. So why did they stop? Stop what? Kitty asks. Um, the war? Nomi mocks. Because they won, Kitty repeats. They defeated Stryker’s Sentinel army, liberated the camps, opened up the southwest. They had to fight them, but that is not the same as wanting to fight a war.

Does she think she’s stupid? Nomi asks. Kitty is suddenly paralyzed and dragged into the air. She’s not, Nomi continues. She picked up a few things since Kitty left. She’s not the Nomi Blume that magnetized her ankles and hung upside on from the pipes to make the little kids laugh. She’s the Nomi Blume who can isolate the iron in her blood and control it. Feel that? She bets Kitty can’t phase now. She’s not fooled and she’s not going to be co-opted! She remarks that all these humans, when push came to shove, wanted to see them dead and in the ground. She wants a war but she knows she can’t win that one.

She did some walking round after Kitty blew her off earlier. Thousands of mutants are taking the Cure because of some deal Kitty cut with the president. Kitty disarmed. Kitty allowed the future of the mutants to be a political decision… a human political decision.

She levitates the bit of shrapnel in front of Kitty’s face. Maybe the war she should fight is the one that saves mutantkind from Kitty. Nomi, please, Kitty asks.

Rogue comes back, asking what’s wrong. Nomi drops Kitty. Nothing wrong, she claims. She was catching Kitty up. Rogue replies she wants to hear that from Kitty. Is that Rogue she is talking to or one of her multiple personalities? Nomi mocks. She used to babysit her, Rogue reminds her. Who made her the tough guy?

She helps Kitty up and asks what happened. Nomi has some secondary mutations, Kitty explains. And none of them allow her to hear ghosts, Nomi quips. She thanks Kitty for the talk. She looks forward to another one soon.<?>

As she walks away, Rogue wonders what happened to Nomi. She grew up before she was ready, Kitty replies somberly. Just like them. She warns Rogue that Nomi is actually dangerous.


The blonde states that Kitty chose to not report the assault. Kitty isn’t sure she would call it an assault. But she had bigger problems to deal with. Such as? The sheer number of mutants lining up to take the Cure. Husk’s bomb had its desired effect. To amplify the mutant fear that the world is full of people who want them dead and they’ll stop at nothing to achieve it. Thousands took the shot. She began to see what the future of the mutant race was going to look like. About twenty people. Pretty effective solution to the mutant problem, right?

The blonde reminds her it is not her Cure. She is just here to ask the questions, that’s all. And with that, she thinks they are done.

The US government has its answers, Kitty agrees. Or should she say, its intelligence? The blonde repeats they are done. Before she walks out of the door Kitty states she knows what the woman is thinking. The mutants’ numbers are decimated and so they are at each other’s throats. It’s tempting to leave her with that impression. But she will give her a warning instead. Don’t think they won’t stick together. Don’t think if they give them the slightest bit of trouble they won’t fight back. They backed the mutants into a corner. If they think they fought hard before, they haven’ seen anything yet. And now they are done.

South west Utah, 18 miles from the reservation:

A few days later, the government begins the process of relocating them. Jimmy calls it a reservation. Kitty hopes they can think of a better name. She is depressed, having fought only to see the number of mutants reduced past extinction level. What’s the point? She keeps telling herself they are free as the twenty mutants left board the bus.

Jimmy reminds her how they sat together on the bus from New York. Want to find the same seats? Kitty tells him she really wants to be alone right now. She figures tomorrow is a new day…

Characters Involved: 


Kitty Pryde

Jimmy Hudson


Kitty’s narration / flashback:

Iceman, Jimmy Hudson, Kitty Pryde, Rogue, Storm (all X-Men)


Mach Two

Other mutants

Story Notes: 

The story takes place between issue #18 and 19.

Kitty calling Bobby the youngest is odd, as she and Rogue are about the same age.

It’s also strange that she refers to Husk as his first crush, as he had relationships with both Rogue and Kitty.

Issue Information: 
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