Ultimate X-Men #58

Issue Date: 
June 2005
Story Title: 
A Hard Lesson

Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Steve Dillon ( art), Chris Eliopolous (letterer), Paul Mounts (colorist), James Taveras (production), John Barber (assistant editor), Nicole Wiley (assistant editor), Ralph Macchio (editor),Joe Quesada (editor-in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger & Justin Ponsor (cover)

Brief Description: 

Xavier has trouble, as his bank has frozen his assets, thanks to the heirs of Sebastian Shaw. To make matters worse, mutant Siamese twins named Syndicate choose to rob this bank and Xavier finds that he cannot use his telepathy against them. Nevertheless, he manages to forge the hostages into a team that actually beats the twins. Afterwards, he offers the twins the chance to work for him. He orders them to make sure he gets his money back without taking any lives, then he will pay for their sister’s operation. Elsewhere, the X-Men are fighting Warlock.

Full Summary: 

A cheerful bank clerk greets Proessor Xavier and asks if his name is pronounced “Zay-vyer” or “Ex-zay-vyer”. Giving him a stony look, Xavier informs him that Professor will do. The clerk is somewhat taken aback by his attitude and begins to explain that, when he watches NCAA games, the Xavier coach always goes ballistic whenever anyone mispronounces… Xavier interrupts him. He has been banking with this institute for nearly twenty years and this day he discovers that all of his assets have been frozen.

The clerk takes a look in his files and explains that Xavier’s account is currently under investigation. Someone is trying to seize his assets. The estate of a Mr. Sebastian Shaw is claiming that there was an unauthorized transfer of funds from his account into Xavier’s several months ago. “The Hellfire Club,” Xavier mutters under his breath, before turning back to the clerk and asking him to release as small portion of his checking account at least. He has a school to run. It’s out of his hands, the clerk replies, before asking unhelpfully if he can help him with anything else. Xavier thinks at the man that he could force him to sign over the entirety of his personal saving directly to him and make him believe he lost it all in a drunken night. Blissfully unaware, the clerk repeats his question

Xavier intends to leave when, suddenly, the lights go out and a being with two heads and two set of arms enters the bank pointing guns at the people. They introduce themselves as Syndicate.

Is that a mutie? a young man murmurs and his girlfriend whispers back that she thinks they are Siamese twins. Overhearing that remark, one of the heads turns to the girl, asking her if they look like they are from Siam? They are conjoined. And they are mutants, his brother adds. He adds that their heart pumps out an electromagnetic pulse with each beat so the security system is already fried.

The agitated clerks asks them not to hurt anybody, while Xavier telepathically notifies the police, while making them believe they are hearing this report on their radios. The security guard blurts out that he isn’t armed and tells them to take what they need. The clerk asks everyone to be calm. The bank is insured. He asks everybody to cooperate. One of the Syndicate brothers pistol-whips him.

Xavier telepathically announces that he gave them one chance to end this of their own free will, but that is a privilege they no longer deserve. He orders them to lay down their arms and stop this madness. The brothers notice somebody trying to hack into their brain, but the effect is not the one Xavier desired. They turn to a geeky-looking teenager, asking him if he believes he can control six pound of interlinked grey matter. They are immune to tricks like that. Is he immune to a hole in the face?

Xavier speaks up now, asking them to leave the boy be. He is responsible. He is a mutant just like them. Nice try, one of the brothers replies, but they know the differences between a mutant and a regular old freak. With that, he kicks Xavier out of his wheelchair. His brother is hesitant. He thinks Xavier looks familiar. All bald dudes look the same to him, his brother retorts. He adds that he smells about nine grand in each of those machines and suggests they pry them open.

Suddenly, the police interrupt from outside and demand they give up. Still believing the nerdy boy to be the psychic, Syndicate threatens him. Surprisingly reasonable, he points out that, if they fire so much as one shot, the police will storm in with their guns blazing. His lines are being fed to him by Xavier, who has him suggest they use the humans as hostage. Kreskin’s got a point, one of the brothers admits.

In the meantime, Xavier contacts Jean Grey, asking if the X-Men have already contained that situation in New Jersey.

In Jersey, the X-Men are battling the shapeshifter Warlock and Jean informs him that they haven’t yet. Does he need them? Xavier assures her he will be fine.

Syndicate orders the geek to get out and tell the police they want a personal jet parked outside with an unarmed pilot in one hour or they will begin executing hostages every 15 minutes. They order the rest to get into the vault.

A middle-aged woman mockingly quotes her husband as they all comply. “Don’t sign up for direct deposit,” he says. They’ll just steal your money,” he says. Her husband tells her to shut up. The security guard suddenly breaks down with a heart attack. Does anyone know CPR? the middle-aged man asks. Xavier addresses his wife, stating that she used to be a lifeguard once. She doesn’t remember anything! she claims. Xavier informs her that he is tapping into the recesses of her long-term memory. The detail should return to her… now. The woman recalls what to do and gets to work.

A young man remarks that Xavier really is a mutie, isn’t he? He is the man who’s going to get them out of here alive, Xavier retorts. The middle-aged man protests that they need to keep their heads down and wait for the cops to sort this out. Xavier replies that he believes Syndicate will go through with their threat of killing them. The clerk, Michael, agrees, remarking that the authorities won’t negotiate. Xavier thanks him and states that some of the bank’s moneybags contain certain theft-prevention-devices. He needs Michael to gather as many as he can.

He turns to a young woman named Sara and states that she has studied Tae Kwan Do for the last six years. She only made it to second gup, she replies defensively. She sucks! her boyfriend adds. Xavier explains that she didn’t reach black belt because of her failure to believe in herself. He can remove the mental block she placed in her way to give her the skills to disarm those men. He’s going to turn her into the ultimate fighting machine by giving her a pep talk? the boyfriend scoffs. That’s bull, Morpheus!

The middle-aged man, Mr. Thomas, agrees. Xavier cannot send children to fight that monster. Xavier seriously replies that they live in the society they live in today because they have trusted their youth to fight their greatest battles for them. They are far better prepared to face those dangers than they often give them credit for. Besides, he will need him to carry Mr. Kleinfeld, now that his wife has finished reviving him. Mrs. Thomas is almost in disbelief that she has saved the man. Mind over matter, Xavier tells here. Now here’s the plan…

In the other room, the Syndicate brothers are arguing. The one remarks that the other said they wouldn’t have anything to worry about once the EMP wave knocked out the surveillance cams. The other tells him to calm down. They can still pull this off. They have to think of Alice.

Xavier wheels in, a bag with money on his lap. He tells the men he wants to buy his way free. These are the containments of his safety deposit. The brothers shout at him to get back into the vault. Xavier throws the bag at them. The disguised dye pack explodes in their eyes. Xavier telepathically orders team one to get out while team two, the two young people are to strike. Sara disarms one of the brothers with a kick, while her boyfriend hits Syndicate with a fire extinguisher. Xavier commends them and asks them to get out. He will finish this.

The kids are barely outside when Syndicate grabs Xavier by the throat. One of them asks Xavier to give them one reason why they shouldn’t make him a quadriplegic? Calling them Matthew and Luke, he announces that he has the leverage now. They set him down and he introduces himself. He may not be able to control their minds but he can read them. He knows about their ailing sister and about their plans to steal enough money for the operation. Unless they do exactly as he says, he will order her to go to the top floor of her hospital and throw herself to death. The brothers believe he is bluffing until he gives details about the hospital room and seems to be in the process of going through with his threat. Panicked, the brothers ask him to not. They’ll do what he wants.

A little later, the brothers step outside with raised hands. Suddenly, one of them goes wild, shouting he won’t go out as a punk. Picking up on the hostility, the cops shoot. The brothers die.

From inside the building, the real brothers watch the scene, asking what the cops were shooting at. They didn’t see anything. Xavier explains that he broadcast an invented scenario into their minds. Eventually, they will forget everything. He tells the brothers to look for redemption. They can do more good for his cause out here than from inside a cell. Does he want them to be X-Men? No, he wants them to complete a mission for him in which the X-Men mustn’t be implicated. The last vestiges of the Hellfire Club are attempting to rob his children of the funds they need to wage peacekeeping efforts. He wants Syndicate to use their special skills to get his money back. But if they take one single life in the process, he will not pay for their sister’s operation.

He announces that he will escort them to one of his Manhattan safehouses, where they will lay low and away further instruction for his assignment. Assignment, the brothers protest. Are they his students now? Of, course, Xavier replies. They all are and the world is his classroom.

Characters Involved: 

Professor Xavier

Colossus, Cyclops, Dazzler, Iceman, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat (all X-Men)



Michael, the Bank clerk

Security guard

Sara, Kevin, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, Mr Kleinfeld and other hostages


Story Notes: 

Sebastian Shaw’s assets were given to Xavier by Phoenix in Ultimate X-Men #25.

Kreskin built a show business career on his apparent ability to read people's thoughts. His weekly TV show The Amazing World of Kreskin was a syndicated hit from 1971-1975, with Kreskin wowing his studio audiences by guessing birth dates or deciphering the pips on hidden playing cards. (While Kreskin has always been vague about the exact nature of his skills, he denies being a psychic or mind reader and prefers to call himself a mentalist.) In the 1990s, Kreskin became famous to a new generation via repeat appearances on the David Letterman and Howard Stern shows.

The “Morpheus” quip refers to the character in the “Matrix” trilogy, who, in the first movie, tried to free the hero, Neo, from his mental shackles with similar lines.

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