Ultimate X-Men #24

Issue Date: 
January 2003
Story Title: 
Hellfire and Brimstone - part 4

Mark Millar (story), Kaare Andrews (art), Dave McCaig (digital paints), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), C.B. Cebulski (associate editor), Brian Smith (associate editor), Ralf Macchio (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

In the Savage Land Cyclops and Wolverine work their way to the city’s computer system, following the trail of the missing soldiers they’ve been sent to find. In the meantime back at the Blackbird, their stowaway is being read the riot act by Xavier and told that she will be expelled as a consequence.

Wolverine and Cyclops are attacked by a group of animated corpses under the control of the city’s computer brain that has decided to evolve and create a new post human species to rule the world. Its plans never see fruition though, as kitty, searching for her team mates phases through the computer and disrupts its systems.
Back at the x-mansion, Jean is feeling better, as she hasn’t had any Phoenix hallucinations the previous night. In the meantime Beast is getting ready for his big date with his Internet girlfriend Naomi – actually the Brotherhood member Blob.

The Brotherhood is also eagerly awaiting the date, as beast innocently told “Naomi” that the old Brotherhood leader Magneto is still alive, however the members who know about this, do not wish their current leaders – Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch - to learn of this.

In the meantime Iceman is supposed to blame the X-Men for his injuries at a press conference. He refuses to do so and instead commends Xavier for teaching him integrity.
Finally, the Hellfire Club – the X-Men’s secret billionaire sponsors – are waiting for a mysterious alignment to take place, for which they’ll need Jean Grey to become the host of the power she’s been dreaming about. They conclude, it is time to invite the X-Men …

Full Summary: 

Five Miles below the Savage Land Cyclops and Wolverine are nearing the city’s computer system. Wolverine reacts to Cyclops’ questions about the systems with sarcasm, until their discussion once more turns to Jean. Wolverine however changes the subject back to the missing soldiers they are tracking, since he has picked up their scent.
Meanwhile back at the Blackbird Kitty Pryde is being read the riot act via phone. Xavier is extremely angry for her sneaking out on this mission, and he makes it clear that she is going to be expelled, when she returns. Her mother had insisted on her not taking part in missions and Xavier doesn’t want another injured student to sue him like Iceman is doing. When he asks her whether he should send Colossus to pick her up, she replies arrogantly that being intangible she’s hardly in any danger.
Back at the mansion the exasperated Xavier asks Jean, how she’s feeling. She’s getting better, Jean answers, last night there were no hallucinations about any weird world-destroying phoenix gods. Xavier is convinced that this was just a phase as her powers are expanding, since she’s growing up. A similar thing happened to him, when he was young, he confides, while they all settle down in front of the TV set, waiting for Iceman’s press conference.
Upstairs, Storm asks Beast whether he wants to come downstairs, but he’s too busy dressing up for his date with “Naomi”.

Meanwhile at the Brotherhood’s headquarters, Prosimian reminds the other animal mutants that this matter has to be kept secret - especially from Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
Outside the New York trial court the press conference is about to start. Senator Turk tells Bobby how proud he is and reminds him that Xavier screwed up his life and that he needs the hundred million Dollars. Bobby sees his parents in the crowd wishing him good luck. Turk addresses the crowd, introduces Bobby and tells of the pain that Bobby had to suffer thanks to the X-Men.
Bobby is then supposed to read his prepared statement. Instead he tears the sheet up, telling the press that none of the things Turk told them are true. He reminds them that the dangerous missions Xavier sends the X-Men on are meant to actually help ordinary people and injuries are about par for the course when you’re training to be a superhero. He knows his parents could use the money and he feels sorry for screwing things up for them, but he has integrity and he has Xavier to thank for that.

As Bobby walks away with his stupefied parents in tow, Turk angrily threatens him, telling him that the money he gave the Drakes for the medical bills is refundable. So what? He can take it out of Bobby’s weekly allowance, the boy replies.
Cyclops and Wolverine have in the meantime closed in on their goal. The smell of rotten flesh tells Wolverine, that the missing soldiers are on the other side of the door. Suddenly the animated corpses of the missing soldiers attack them. Wolverine orders Cyclops to hit the floor and goes into berserker mode –he finishes off all of the zombies on his own. Finished, he strains to reign himself in. Suddenly a computer-voice tells them that that batch was only supposed to rein them in, the soldiers with the guns though, are willing to use lethal force, if necessary.

The animated computer greets them. When Cyclops dumbly asks who it is, it introduces itself as the digital mind that used to control Magneto’s entire city. It remembers every minute detail about them, when they stayed here. With Magneto gone, the city expected to “die”, until it adopted Magneto’s evolutionary theories for its own. It decided to evolve and adapt. Since it lacked the manual dexterity to rebuild itself, it reanimated the dead and then started to assimilate the soldiers. Now, it plans to create a new post human species – humans and mutants will be assimilated. As the machine muses that it has apparently evolved pride, as it felt necessary to boast of its plans, it suddenly explodes as a result of Kitty Pryde phasing through it. Kitty got scared by a dinosaur sniffing at the plane and decided to rejoin the guys, but then noticed that her powers are messing with the electronics. The men order Kitty to leave and attack the now leaderless zombies.
In the meantime in New York the members of the mysterious Hellfire Club seems to know a little too much about Jean Grey.

The men assembled around a large table discuss that she hasn’t had any visions for 24 hours, a sure sign that her body is getting accustomed to the idea of acting as a host. Xavier has no idea what they are up to and believes them to be just billionaires investing in the future. The alignment, Sebastian Shaw points out, is only 48 hours away. After a thousand years of waiting they only have to be patient for another couple of days…

It’s time, he concludes, that the X-Men meet the Hellfire Club.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Colossus, Iceman, Kitty Pryde, Marvel Girl, Professor X, Wolverine (all X-men)

Prosimian and several unnamed animal mutants (all Brotherhood of Mutants)

Senator Andrew Border Turk (an anti-mutant activist)

Mr and Mrs Drake (Iceman’s parents)

Sebastian Shaw and several other unnamed members of the Hellfire Club

Story Notes: 

This marks the first appearance of Sebastian Shaw and the Hellfire Club

Issue Information: 
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