Ultimate X-Men #54

Issue Date: 
February 2005
Story Title: 
The Most Dangerous Game - part 1

Brian K. Vaughan (story), Stuart Immonen (pencils), Wade von Grawbadger with Scott Koblish (inks), Justin Ponsor (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Nick Lowe (assistant editor), Ralph Macchio (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

A blonde-haired mutant with a glowing eye is hunted on an internet reality show, as punishment for assassinating a Genoshan politician. The show is hosted by a large albino man named Mojo Adams. Kitty finds out about the show, and the X-Men soon plan a rescue mission. Xavier pulls rank when Colossus disagrees with his pacifist decision to check the situation out first, angering most of the team. Four team members fly to mainland Genosha to find whoever might be responsible for framing the young mutant. Colossus, Nightcrawler, Angel, and Dazzler stay behind with the Professor. After attempting to work out some frustration in the Danger Room, Dazzler suggests they hot-wire the X-Jet and fly to the island and "raise a little hell".

Full Summary: 

A young blond man runs through the rain forest, yelling at his pursuers to stay away from him. Like hell, mutie! The hunter points his rifle at the boy, backed up against a tree. The boy doesn't want to hurt him, but the feeling isn`t mutual. The boy states that he tried…

Throwing razor blades at the hunter, the boy scratches his enemy's face. The hunter complains on his earpiece. He was told the boy would be unarmed. He must've pocketed the razor blades when makeup was prepping him, the reply comes. The hunter must finish the job. The boy is ready to throw some more razor blades, but is swiftly knocked over when hit by the side of the gun.

The hunter asks if he has any last words, as he prepares to decapitate the boy with a machete. As the rain pours down, the boy says he is sorry. Sorry won't bring back the man he murdered, comes the reply. The boy insists he didn't kill Lord Scheele. The hunter is puzzled. He asks, No? Then what is he sorry about? Him. The boy's right eye glows as he utters this. The confused hunter looks up at his blade. The hunter is struck down instantly by a massive bolt of lightning.

The boy stands over his body, calling for help. Somebody help him! What's wrong with those people? This is--
"Incredible!" A large pale skinned man with white dreadlocks stands before two armed guards in front of a TV screen with the boy's image on it. The man comments on the events. The condemned survives another hunter! Does he suddenly have the power to control the weather or is he just the luckiest mutie in the world? Either way, he's now the longest-running contestant in the history of Hunt For Justice!
The large man is the host, Mojo Adams, reminding the viewers to log onto the all-new 24/7 feed for real-time updates. This one isn't over friends…not by a long shot.

Scott Summers questions the broadcast. He and Jean are sitting with Kitty in her room, watching the show on her computer. Her room is cluttered with Spider-Man pictures and posters. As to whether the show is real, it beats her. But she's been hearing rumors about mutants getting executed on live web broadcasts. So she hacked into this overseas subscription site to see if it was legit.
Jean Grey intervenes. This has got to be staged. Its probably just some marketing stunt for a bad Bruckheimer flick. Scott mutters that's redundant. Kitty tries to defend her position. Remember that Kraven the Hunter tool? He was real and he hunted people live on television…until her boyfriend canceled his ugly tuchas. Jean begins to question, since when is Spider-Man her-- Scott cuts her off. It could be serious. They should tell the Professor. Jean Grey points to her head, surrounded by a yellow-orange aura. She told him ten seconds ago.

In the planning room of the Xavier institute, a hologram of an island appears. Xavier begins to address his students. He thanks them for assembling so quickly, but the bad news is that the video Kitty found is authentic. His contact at the State Department informed him that the show is being filmed on Krakoa, an island nation off the coast of Genosha. Nightcrawler questions what s Genosha. Angel tells him it’s a small country south of Madagascar and his father had dealings with them after their government outlawed all mutants a few years ago.

The Professor explains that Angel is correct. Many mutants fled, but one of the mutants who remained in hiding is the boy on the show - Arthur Centino. A court found Art guilty of the recent assassination of popular Genoshan politician, Lord Joseph Scheele.

Jean Grey calls it disgusting that they extradited him to some jungle to be hunted like vermin, for entertainment. Dazzler agrees, though for a different reason. This is so obviously a Running Man rip-off that Stephen King and Richard Bachman should both sue.
Xavier continues to speak. Genoshans treat all mutants as subhuman, but criminal mutants are exceptionally low. An image of Mojo Adams appears behind Xavier. He tells them that Mojo is a media mogul who had the idea of the public executions, and the government agreed as it might be a means of deterring possible Homo superior uprisings.

Kitty asks, isn't the great white whale there –referring to Mojo - a mutant? Xavier replies no, he is merely an albino though many would see little distinction between the mutations. He goes on to say Mojo's show has been number one in Genosha since it debuted three months ago. Cyclops wonders why the American government has let it continue for that long. Xavier informs him that the United States has little ethical ground to condemn other nations' capital punishment practices, much less their policies on mutant rights. It wasn't even that long ago that their own government was sending Sentinels to destroy innocent mutants. Colossus wonders when they are going to attack.

Xavier explains that they have no right to interfere with another nation's so-called justice system. He instead wishes to send some more passably human X-Men on a fact-finding mission, posing as American students, visiting relatives. He informs them that following Rogue's departure, Logan has left for parts unknown and Ororo has gone after him. Therefore he has no choice but to ask two underclassmen--Shadowcat and Iceman-- to join Cyclops, Marvel Girl, and Colossus for the assignment. Dazzler questions, since when is she not one of the passably human ones? Iceman tells Xavier that Dazzler can have his spot, as he doesn't believe they should be rescuing a murderer. Xavier informs him that they aren't going near Krakoa, but on a mission to Genosha to find proof that he was framed. Suddenly Colossus stands up, towering over Xavier, claiming that the boy could be slaughtered while they are hunting for clues. He wonders whether Xavier has lost his mind or if he believes the boy would serve as a martyr. Charles tells Mr. Rasputin to sit down or he will show him exactly how much of his mind he still possesses.

Colossus states sometimes he wishes he had stayed in the Red Mafiya. They weren't always saints, but they looked after their own. Charles believes with that attitude, he should remain at the Institute with the junior class. Jean asks the Professor, calling him Charles, if they`re going undercover in such an anti-mutant country they could use some experienced muscle like--the Professor cuts her off. She will address him as Professor, and she will not question his decisions. Their flight leaves J.F.K. in two hours. He informs them to take whatever luggage they think they`ll need…but to leave their baggage behind.

Back in the jungle, a cameraman and a boom mike operator ponder why they are there rather than taking a job on the Amazing Race crew. Its because these people pay ten times what CBS does. The microphone operator tells the other to be quite, as the three-fingered freak couldn't have gotten far. They continue complaining not realizing Arthur is about to get the jump on them. He tackles the cameraman and takes out the mike guy with a backward kick.

Art picks up the camera and tells Mojo that only one of them is getting off the island.
Mojo and a man named Major Domo are watching this on the large TV and discuss whether or not they should keep Centino, or get a new contestant. Domo believes that viewers will become bored of him, while Mojo argues the merits of good storytelling. Domo argues that he is being insensitive to Lord Scheele's family. They need closure. Mojo reluctantly agrees and calls in the big gun.

At the airport, the X-Men are unloading their bags from the taxi. Scott worries about being recognized, but Jean assures him that her psychic suggestion makes them appear as average students. Scott complains about flying coach instead of the X-Jet, but Jean tells him that there aren't private lavatories on the X-Wing. Scott doesn't understand at first, but soon blushes.
Kitty notices Jean and Scott are braining again, because Scott started walking funny. Bobby grunts in reply. Kitty grabs him by the shirt. She begins to yell at him. She knows Bobby blames her for Rogue taking off with Gambit, but grunting at her like Wolverine won't bring her back. She isn't asking to be his best friend, but he could at least treat her like a human being. Bobby grunts. This is gonna be such a long trip, Kitty sighs.

Inside the Danger Room, Warren is fighting flying gargoyles above a church at dusk. Colossus tells him to knock off the melodrama. It’s the Danger Room, not summer stock. Nightcrawler tells him to go easy on Angel. He knows Colossus is upset, but Angel spent many hours on the program. Colossus doesn't think they should be concerned with some exercise, while everything is going down in Krakoa. Nightcrawler is worried too, but he has faith that their teammates will exonerate the unfortunate man before time runs out. Colossus reminds him that he isn't the only X-Man who was involved in less-than-legal activities. What if it was Storm on that island? Nightcrawler had not thought about it that way.

Suddenly Dazzler enters the room, slouching in a doorway, she asks the boys if they're going to mope or go do something about it. Angel and Nightcrawler wonder what she's talking about. Dazzler tells them they have a stealth fighter in the garage upstairs. Nightcrawler assumes it wouldn't be impossible once the Professor retires for the evening. Colossus wonders why she wants to do this, and Ali just assumes bad boys make her hot. Warren can't believe they're actually talking about stealing a plane and flying to a jungle where mutant kids are hunted for sport. Dazzler tells Colossus it's his call: play on the side of the angels again, or are they gonna raise a little hell?

Colossus smiles…

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Cyclops, Colossus, Dazzler, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Xavier (All X-Men)

Arthur Centino
Mojo Adams

Major Domo
Unnamed camera man

Unnamed microphone operator

Unnamed hunter

Airport pedestrians

Story Notes: 

Kitty met her "boyfriend" Spider-Man in Ultimate Spider-Man #42-44 and again in #66-67.

Spider-Man defeated Kraven the Hunter in Ultimate Spider-Man #21, and his reality show was soon canceled.

Rogue, Wolverine, and Storm all left in issue #53.
The US government sent Sentinels after mutants in Ultimate X-Men #1.

Amazing Race is a moderately successful reality show on CBS.

Prior to joining the X-Men, Colossus worked for the Russian Mafia, while Storm was a car thief.
This marks the first appearance of the Ultimate versions of Longshot, Mojo and Major Domo. The names “Arthur” and “Adams” are, of course, a homage to Longshot co-creator Art Adams, as is Centino which is an anagram of Nocenti – Ann Nocenti was Longshot’s other cocreator. Genosha and Krakoa are also mentioned here for the first time.

Jerry Bruckheimer is known for big – though not necessarily critically acclaimed – action blockbuster movies.

The funny part about Dazzler’s remarks that Stephen King and Richard Bachman should both sue is that Bachman is a nom de plume King used to write several books, among them “Running Man”, a book about a reality show where a man flees for his life. However, as the title of this storyline suggests it is also based on“The most dangerous game” by Richard Connell, a short story about an eccentric Russian general who hunts the most dangerous game on his private island – man.

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