Ultimate X-Men #55

Issue Date: 
February 2005
Story Title: 
The Most Dangerous Game - part 2

Brian K. Vaughan (story), Stuart Immonen (Pencils), Wade von Grawbadger (inks), Justin Ponsor and Frank D'Armata (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Loretta Krol (production), John Barber (assistant editor) Nick Lowe (assistant editor), Ralph Macchio (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Angel, Dazzler, Colossus, and Nightcrawler fly to Krakoa to rescue Arthur Centino from his reality-show hunt. Meanwhile, Mojo Adams sends out his newest hunter, Arcade. When Colossus's team arrives on the island, the three of them begin to take out the cameras, while Angel remains on the jet. They run into Arcade and a fight begins. Nightcrawler is stabbed, but Arthur arrives and saves the day. Marvel Girl, Cyclops, Iceman, and Shadowcat arrive in Genosha and begin to search for clues as to who framed Centino for killing Lord Scheele. Scott's team is investigating the site where Arthur supposedly assassinated Lord Scheele, when a six-armed woman ambushes them with various martial arts weapons.

Full Summary: 

Dazzler, Angel, Nightcrawler, and Colossus are flying in the X-Wing, barely above the ocean. Angel is flying the plane, Dazzler is riding shotgun, and Nightcrawler and Colossus are behind them in the back seats. Dazzler tells Angel to pull up, calling him birdbrain. They're not in a freakin submarine. Angel tells Dazzler he's sorry, but he's only flown the X-Wing simulator before this. Dazzler exclaims in disbelief that the kid with wings doesn't know how to fly? Angel tells her it wasn't his idea and he doesn't even want to be here. He tells her they're probably going to get expelled when Professor Xavier finds out they stole the jet.
Nightcrawler asks him what choice did they have but save the fellow mutant from being slaughtered for the entertainment of others. Colossus chimes in that perhaps Xavier, the most powerful telepath on the planet, planted the idea for this rescue mission in their minds. For all they know, they're doing exactly what he wants. Mein Gott, responds Nightcrawler, what if Peter is correct? What if even their conversation was predestined? What if they have no free will… but are merely Herr Professor's pawns?

Angel responds to Kurt, that's the weakest rationalization he's ever heard. If the Professor really wanted them to help this guy escape Krakoa, why wouldn't he have just told them to? Plausible deniability, Colossus responds. If they're captured, Xavier will be able to claim that he never told anyone to break a prisoner out of a sovereign nation. He'll just say that is was the work of a few of his "disobedient students."
Dazzler, referring to Colossus as Studly, remarks if they're captured they're probably going to be the next people to die in this Battle Royale knockoff. Exactly, Warren replies, they should have at least waited for Cyclops and his team to get back from their mission. They don't even know if the mutant they're risking their lives to save is innocent. Nightcrawler replies, perhaps, mein Freund, but who among us truly is?

Inside Mojo Adams' estate, he begins to introduce the audience to another episode of Hunt for Justice! He introduces himself as well as the newest hunter brave enough to take on the condemned animal who still runs free somewhere on his treacherous isle. He's shows the audience the young man known to gaming fanatics around the world as Arcade! A large red-haired, muscle-bound man stands in front of him. He has many guns, armor, and other gadgets on his person.

Mojo continues to introduce Arcade: He's a prodigy who came all the way from his empire in Redwood Shores, California. At the tender age of thirteen he designed Murderworld, the original "first-person shooter," making him an instant millionaire.

Arcade asks Mojo how long he's gonna take. Mojo continues to elaborate on Arcade’s accomplishments: he's tried to find a more immersive gaming experience, and has watched countless hours of raw footage of Arthur, hoping to devise a unique strategy that will--

Arcade cuts Mojo off, telling him to skip the cut scenes and get to the action. Mojo suggests that they should actually take it from the top, as Arcade's dialogue is coming of as rather one-dimensional, and he'd like to see something with a bit more sincerity. Arcade points his gun at Mojo's head, sarcastically asking him if he wants sincerity.

Major Domo, operating the camera, begins to yell for the guards. Mojo tells him no and to keep rolling. Arcade explains that he's there because his sister was killed when Magneto blew up the Brooklyn Bridge. With him locked away for life, wasting Arthur is the closest Arcade's is going to get to tasting justice. Mojo thanks Arcade, as his speech was exactly what the audience needed to hear. Arcade brushes it aside, commanding Mojo to tell his goons to stay out of his way. From here on in Mojo's island is his free-fire zone.

Arcade walks off and Major Domo comes up to Mojo, telling him it was an excellent segment. Domo asks a noticeably unnerved Mojo if he honestly believes the heavily armed psychopath is going to have any trouble taking out their "Longshot" as he is famished and exhausted. Mojo assures Domo that Arcade will succeed, but a part of him is just going to miss Mr. Centino, the best player ever to set foot on Krakoa. Domo assures Mojo, that there will be others. Mojo isn't convinced, as Genosha has exiled most of its mutants, and the remaining few are hiding. What happens when their neighbor runs out of potential contestants for them to use? Domo tells him that there are mutants rotting in jail cells all across the globe. Perhaps its time they take their "talent search" worldwide.

At the Genoshan airport, Cyclops, Jean, Iceman, and Shadowcat are walking towards the exit. All the televisions there have Arthur on them. Cyclops states that it makes him sick how the country is glued to that show. He wonders how people can be amused by unspeakable acts of horror. It's like Roman gladiators. Or American Idol, Kitty replies.
Bobby wonders if Scott can really blame them. Arthur killed one of their favorite leaders. Their parents all tuned in to watch Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Osborn. Kitty corrects him, as it was Lee Harvey Oswald. And also, they don't know that Arthur Centino killed Lord Scheele. Kitty continues that you can't trust the same cops who helped round up an entire group of people for deportation. Just ask her grandparents, she says as she holds her Jewish Star of David necklace.
Bobby gets defensive and tells her to get off his case. Its bad enough he has to take orders from "Captain Ray-Ban", he doesn't need her in his grill too. Kitty mockingly says "In my grill, huh?" and tells him that's pretty cool, calling him Vanilla Ice. Bobby loses it. He tells her if she wants to see cool, just keep talking trash, "sister". Kitty replies if she were his sister, she'd phase his head into a brick wall. Bobby states it’s because that would mean she's in love with her own brother. Kitty begins to say, he wishes, calling him a scrawny--

Jean cuts them off telepathically. She looks quite angry. She tells them to knock it off! She wishes the two of them would just hook up already and get it over with! They're supposed to be gifted exchange students, not a bunch of freshmen brats on spring break. She then tells them to pipe down before they blow their cover. All of them are unaware they are being watched by a white-haired woman in a trench coat.

Back in Krakoa, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Dazzler are stumbling off the X-Wing. Dazzler states she can't believe that thing's not equipped with barf bags. Angel begins to state any landing you can walk away from…

Colossus takes charge. He tells them they should move out. Their first priority should be making sure their faces aren't broadcast all over the world. Nightcrawler suggests Angel could make a few passes overhead and attempt to locate the--

Warren interrupts. If its all right with them, he's gonna just wait on the plane. Dazzler tells him he can't wuss out on them now, calling him Winger. He just has a bad feeling about this place. Nightcrawler tells him it's just like their Bluetail program from the Danger Room. Colossus interjects. No, it isn't. There are no failsafes out there so he's not going to force anyone to come along. They'll have to manage as a trio. Allison asks if Pete isn't hot when he plays front man. Kurt retorts she is not well. Colossus tells Warren if they're not back in an hour, take the plane back to Xavier's. Warren wonders what to do after that. Colossus says that he doesn't know about the other two, but he'd like to be buried next to Hank.

Centino is standing at the edge of a cliff. At the same moment, Mojo is watching the same image on his TV screen. He asks Major Domo what their star is doing now. He can’t fly he coop, can he? Domo replies he cannot. Arthur has hollow bones, but their records say he’s not a flier. He’s agile, but also delicate. If he tries to jump, he’ll…Oh no. Domo wonders if Centino has realized he cannot beat them. Perhaps he has decided to forfeit. He worries though, because if he commits suicide, he’ll destroy their finale.
Mojo starts screaming. He tells Domo to forget the stupid game and give Arcade the mutant’s coordinates. He has to kill him before he kills himself.
Suddenly the screen turns into static. Mojo, still frantic asks if this is a joke, and orders them to give him picture, dammit. Domo isn’t sure what has happened. He tells Mojo the remote cameras have stopped transmitting. Mojo calls the control room asking where the hell his feed is. They report that they’re sorry, but there seems to have been an accident at the main relay station on the east shore.

Arcade is running through the jungle. Mojo, speaking on his earpiece, asks him what’s going on out there. Arcade says Mojo should tell him. He lost that sorry excuse for a camera crew ten klicks back. Mojo tells him they’ve dropped video for the entire island. Arcade says he anticipated something like this. The prisoner is clearly done playing defense. He’s decided to attack where he knows it’ll hurt most…Mojo’s ratings. Mojo says he can’t afford this. He’s sending a shock team to back him up. Arcade tells him not to bother, as he’s run a hundred simulations for a scenario, just like this. The animal is good but he’s also…predictable? Arcade comes upon the relay station, completely blown apart by Dazzler, Nightcrawler, and Colossus.

Arcade asks who they are. Dazzler responds by asking who the #&*^ he is. Arcade tells Mojo he’s clever. He’s thrown a few extra muties into the mix to keep things interesting, huh? Arcade states they’re all the same to him, and starts shooting wildly.

Colossus intercepts the bullets, Nightcrawler teleports, and Dazzler runs. Colossus tells them to take cover; he’ll handle this one. He picks up Arcade. He asks him if they aren’t the defenseless prey he were expecting, eh? Arcade asks him if his ear canals are metal too. He fires a high-pitched frequency from a device in his hand. Colossus falls to his knees, covering his ears. Arcade assumes he must get crazy reverb in there.

Dazzler tells him to keep turning it up to eleven, calling him Geek Squad. The louder he whines, the harder she brings it on. She starts to spark and launches one giant bolt of color at Arcade. Arcade is knocked against a tree. He asks her if she’s that chick from Dazzler. He says her sophomore album stunk, and shoots some webbing from a wrist cartridge at Dazzler’s mouth.

He tells her one of his programmers reverse engineered the webbing from some polymer he scraped off a wall in Manhattan last—Nightcrawler teleports in front of him and punches him in the face. He teleports away. Arcade frantically looks around. Nightcrawler appears again and kicks Arcade in the stomach. Arcade observes that he’s a teleporter. He got bored with that gimmick circa Asteroids. If he were a novice, like Nightcrawler, he’d probably jump right…there. Nightcrawler appears behind him, only to get stabbed in the stomach. Arcade holds onto the knife sticking out of Nightcrawler. He tells him all he has to do is flick his wrist, and he will open him up like a—

Arthur stands on a branch above Arcade and orders him to let Nightcrawler go. He’s the one he wants. Arcade replies that’s true enough. Arcade begins to fire at him. Arthur starts leaping through the trees, landing right in front of Arcade. He tells him he’s begging him not to pull that trigger. Arcade tells him this is for his sister, calling him a murdering a piece of—Arcade’s gun backfires in his hand, exploding in his face.
Arcade lies on the ground unconscious. Arthur helps Nightcrawler to his feet telling him to try not to move. Nightcrawler says it’s impossible. How did Arthur know Arcade’s gun would backfire? Arthur tells Kurt its sort of his thing. He doesn’t know how, but her can alter the probabilities of certain situations to work out in his favor. Basically he’s really, really lucky. Dazzler, mouth still webbed up, mumbles an Mm mmm mmf? Peter asks if he’s so lucky, what is he doing there? His right eye glowing, Arthur replies he was waiting for something like them to fall out of the sky.

Back in Genosha, Jean, Scott, Bobby, and Kitty are continuing their investigation. Jean asks Scott if he’s sure this is it. She’s not picking up any psychic residue of a struggle there. Scott tells her that’s where the Genoshian authorities claim they found Lord Schleele’s body, along with the mutant who supposedly knifed him to death. Bobby doesn't understand how Scott can say "supposedly". He asks him if he didn't read the report. The killer was found with the murder weapon in his three-fingered hand. He assassinated somebody's husband...somebody's father. Scott replies that if Bobby had studied the report instead of just skimming it, he would have noticed the lack of blood in the crime-scene photos. Scott continues to say that he believes Scheele was killed somewhere else, and then brought there…along with the mutant the real killers found to be their fall guy.
Kitty asks him what they do now, calling him Sherlock. Scott tells her to dive under the topsoil and see what she can find. He tells her to look for any foreign objects the police might have missed…or failed to cover up. Scott then tells Bobby, he's to refrigerate anything Kitty finds. They'll be able to preserve any latent prints longer at lower temperatures. Bobby replies that he's a glorified cooler.

Jean begins to question, if this politician was so beloved by these people, who would have a motive for killing him except the mutants his government was against? Scott tells her Scheele didn't really become popular with humans until he was "martyred". The Professor told him Scheele was one of the few public leaders to oppose the "relocation" of Genosha's mutant population. Scott tells her that he thinks his murder might have been punishment for-- Jean cuts him off. She tells him it feels like there's someone else there. Suddenly Jean is knocked unconscious from behind. Her assailant is the white-haired woman in the trench coat. Scott grabs the rims of his ruby quartz glasses and tells the woman to give him one good reason why he shouldn't blow her head off. The woman replies that she'll actually give him six.

The woman drops her coat, revealing her six arms, each holding a different martial arts weapon, including an ax, nun-chucks, two swords, throwing stars, and a riot baton.

Characters Involved: 

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

Arthur Centino

Mojo Adams

Major Domo

Airport pedestrians

Mojo's guards


Story Notes: 

Battle Royale, a bloody cult film based on the novel by Koushun Takami depicts the adventures of a Japanese school class abandoned on an island where they are forced to kill each other.
Osborn is the last name of industrialist/super-villain Norman Osborn, a.k.a. Green Goblin, and his son, Harry.
Lee Harvey Oswald was the man who assassinated US President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Two days later Jack Ruby shot him under suspicious circumstances.

Asteroids is an old classic arcade game.

Magneto and his Brotherhood blew up the Brooklyn Bridge in Ultimate War #1.

Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast was killed in Ultimate X-Men #44, and was buried on the grounds of the Xavier Institute.

Vanilla Ice was a famous white rapper from the early 90's, who now seems as cheesy as the phrase Bobby uses, hence the pun.

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