Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #151

Issue Date: 
November 1981
Story Title: 
X-Men Minus One

Chris Claremont (writer), Jim Sherman and Bob McLeod (pencilers), Josef Rubinstein (inker), Bonnie Wilford (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Louise Jones (editor), Jim Shooter (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Charles Xavier informs Kitty Pryde and the rest of the X-Men that the Prydes are withdrawing their daughter from the school. They react with a mixture of anger, sadness, and confusion. Instead, she will be sent to The Massachusetts Academy, the headmistress of which is Emma Frost, the White Queen of the Hellfire Club. In a conversation with Storm, Kitty expresses her anger at her parents, feeling that these events are related to their pending divorce. Storm, who lost her parents at a young age, sympathizes with Kitty’s confused feelings of betrayal. Knowing she will miss Kitty, Storm drives her to her new school, which Kitty dislikes immediately. While waiting in a lounge at the Academy, Storm is ambushed by Emma Frost, who uses a special gun to switch their bodies. Soon after departing the Academy, “Storm” contacts Sebastian Shaw and tells him to initiate “phase 2” of their plan once she reaches Xavier’s school. Once she arrives there, she finds that Shaw has gone ahead with the second phase early, as sentinels are attacking the school. With her help, the remaining X-Men are taken prisoner. Elsewhere, the real Storm, in Emma Frost’s body, escapes her captors and finds Kitty. Her young friend does recognize her, of course, thinking her to be an enemy. Attempting to stop Kitty from phasing through the floor, Storm accidentally uses the unfamiliar psionic powers she currently has access to and knocks Kitty out, fearing she may have killed her.

Full Summary: 

Having received a formal, to the point letter by registered mail, Professor X has summoned the X-Men, from various leisure activities by the looks of their dress, to his study in his School for Gifted Youngsters. Kitty Pryde is already there, sitting on the Professor’s desk. Xavier tells them that he is afraid that he has some bad news: Kitty’s parents have decided to withdraw her from the school. Although they realize that Kitty likes the school and that she is doing well there academically, they believe it would be more advantageous for her to attend a school whose pupils were more her own age. She’s to leave them within the week.

Cyclops asks if they can do so just like that, out of the blue, with no warning whatsoever. Similarly perplexed, Nightcrawler asks if they can do such a thing. All of the X-Men have shocked looks upon their faces, while Kitty, who has already heard the news, seems to be in a state of sad resignation. Xavier points out to Nightcrawler that they are her parents, so their actions are perfectly within their rights. He thinks that they are making a mistake, but if their minds are made up, there is nothing they can do to prevent it. Wolverine does not look too happy about this turn of events when suddenly, Kitty shouts out that they could at least try! Cyclops shouts Kitty’s name as she phases through him, furniture and finally the door, choking back sobs of grief and rage.

Storm calls out, telling her to wait, but Professor X advises that she and Colossus, who seems about to rush after her, let her go. For the moment, he believes Kitty would rather be left alone. Characteristically finding this passive approach undesirable, Wolverine tells “Charley” that he’s got a simple solution: why not use your telepathic powers ta’ make the kid’s folks change their minds. With a stern look, Xavier says that, while he may have indulged in such tactics in the past, he will do so no more. To deliberately manipulate a sentient mind would make him no better that the villains they oppose. Looking away in the direction Kitty left, Wolverine unhappily surmises aloud that Xavier is just gonna let the kid go. Wolverine, Xavier snaps, “we have no choice!”

Meanwhile, in the residential wing of the mansion’s second floor, Kitty phases up through the floor and then through the door of her bedroom. The tears she’s been holding back ever since she saw her parents’ letter finally burst forth. Hours later, Storm enters Kitty’s dark room. The light from the hallway illuminates the young girl’s bed, where she lies awake, holding a stuffed bear. She still wears the same bathing suit she had on earlier. Storm asks if Kitty is all right, since she didn’t come down for supper. Kitty replies that she’s not hungry, and gives Storm a flat no when asked if she would like to talk.

Sitting down on the bed, Ororo says that it isn’t like Kitty to sulk. Kitty tells Storm that she is not sulking; she just wants to be left alone. Trying to comfort her and be sympathetic, Storm tells her that she understands, but Kitty rises suddenly, phasing through the bookshelf that seems to act as a headboard to her bed. While Storm may understand, she doesn’t. Saying her young friend’s name in surprise, Storm thinks that Kitty’s phasing can be as disconcerting as Nightcrawler’s ability to telport! Over at her computer, Kitty explains that she is happy with the X-Men, happier that she ever was back home in Deerfield – and she didn’t think that was possible! She wonders why her folks want to screw that up?!

Kitty asks Storm if she has any idea where they are sending her and then, without waiting for an answer, tells her that she’ll be going to The Massachusetts Academy. Ororo looks on in shock, as Kitty pulls up a familiar face on her computer’s monitor, going on to say that her new school’s headmistress is Emma Frost – the White Queen of the Hellfire Club. You remember her, don’t you? Kitty asks Storm, knowing very well that she does. She remembers, though for months she has tried desperately to forget.

Storm remembers her trip to the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, accompanying Professor X along with Colossus and Wolverine, to contact a young mutant Xavier’s sensors had detected. That mutant was Kitty. However, the X-Men weren’t the only ones interested in her. Within hours of their arrival, they were ambushed and captured by the White Queen, while Kitty escaped. Emma Frost used her telepathic abilities to interrogate her prisoners and would have destroyed Storm’s mind . . . had Kitty not altered the other X-Men. Storm recalls the White Queen’s psionic duel with Pheonix, a battle that the X-Men assumed ended in Emma Frost’s death. But if she somehow survived . . .

Storm’s hands tremble at the thought. After all this time, merely thinking about what happened terrifies her. She felt so vulnerable in the White Queen’s hands – for the first time since childhood, completely helpless. Storm notes to herself that the Professor will have to telepathically examine Kitty’s parents to ensure they aren’t acting under the Queen’s influence.

Coming out of her thoughts, Storm reminds Kitty that, hard as it may be to accept, her parents are only doing what they think is best for her. That’s a crock, Ororo, Kitty responds. Her parents are splitting up and they want her out of the way while they do it – why does Storm think they sent her to Xavier’s School in the first place?! If they really cared, she’d be home with them and they’d be a real family again! Turing suddenly and taking Kitty by the shoulders, Ororo asks her, who is being selfish now? She tells her that things . . . change, people change. What is real one day is not always real the next.

Still confused and upset, Kitty points out that they are her folks. If they didn’t love each other, why’d they get married, why’d they have her?! If she can’t depend on that reality – what can she depend on?! Kitty’s words cue another memory – far older, far more painful. Ororo was four when she saw her parents killed. She was too young then to know grief – that came years later – her strongest emotion was a sense of betrayal . . . at the wanton destruction of the order and sanctity of her world. Thus, she is able to sympathize and answers Kitty’s question only by saying that she wishes she knew. Hugging her close, Kitty tells Ororo that she is frightened and asks her will . . . will she ever stop loving her? Calling her darling, Storm suggests perhaps when she dies. Life is very lonely, Storm tells her young friend, to live it well, you must be strong enough to trust, to risk, to . . . forgive. Her parents do love her. Kitty supposes that Storm is right, but she hurts. Storm tells her that she is growing up, implying that hurting is a part of the process.

Xavier discretely confirms that Kitty’s parents, Carmen and Terri Pryde, are indeed acting on their own. Over the next several days, Kitty has several tearful, impassioned conversations with her parents, but they remain adamant. They truly believe that they are making the right move, one that should at least be tried. More than once, Kitty nearly tells them of the Hellfire Club and Emma Frost’s connection with it. But that would mean having to tell them of the X-Men as well, and Kitty refuses to compromise her friends and teammates.

Early on a Monday morning, Wolverine and Nightcrawler watch, sitting on a low, exterior wall, as Colossus and Cyclops help pack Kitty’s belongings into Xavier’s vintage Rolls-Royce, which will transport her to Massachusetts. Professor X tells her that they can send her furniture after her, or home to Deerfield. However, Kitty tells him to just keep it there, as she intends to visit them every chance she gets. Whether he likes it or not, she’s an X-Man; he won’t be rid of her so easily. The X-Men then say their individual good-byes, Wolverine telling Kitty to call him Logan. Sitting for a moment apart from the others, Colossus tells Kitty that he’s not very good at writing letters. It is difficult for him to express his thoughts and feelings on paper . . . but, for her, he will try. That is, if she wishes to hear from him. Kitty tells him that there’s hardly anyone she’d rather hear from more. She’s been sitting with his hands wrapped around one of his arms. Now, she reaches around and they embrace, sharing a kiss that seems more than friendly.

Back at the car, Scott asks Kitty if she’s all set, as he is to drive her to Massachusetts. Kitty guesses she is, but asks him where Ororo is. Isn’t she going to see Kitty off? In her attic room, Storm thinks that it has become so natural to think of Kitty as her own daughter, it’s a shock to remember that she isn’t. She summons a wind to lift her through the room’s skylight and down to her friends. As she lands she asks Professor X for a favor: may she drive Kitty to her new school? Kitty is enthusiastic about the idea and Xavier has no objections, but he asks Scott if he does. Cyclops says it is fine with him, though it will be a long and possibly dangerous trip. Does she want company? Storm declines his offer, saying that she can manage, thank you. Once they’re off, Ororo tells Kitty not to cry, as this isn’t the end of the world. Not really. Kitty asks, isn’t it? Then how comes she feels . . . like she’ll never see any of them again?

They reach their destination – the city of Snow Valley, deep in Massachusetts’ magnificent Berkshire Mountains – by mid-afternoon. As they drive into town, Kitty tells Storm that after their last tussle with the Hellfire Club, she did a lot of research on the people they fought. She learned that Emma Frost owns most of the land around Snow Valley and controls most of the local industries. She’s filthy rich. The members of the Hellfire Club are all filthy rich. They don’t need to be criminals, Kitty says, they do it for kicks. They’re sick.

Storm can’t argue with that, but changes the subject and asks Kitty what she thinks of the Academy, now that they are driving through it. The grounds are beautiful. Looking out the Rolls Royce’s window, Kitty says the campus is perfect, the students are perfect. She hates it. She knows the Professor wanted her to dress nicely . . . to make a good impression, but she wishes she’d worn her oldest, most frayed, most comfortable pair of jeans. Everyone she sees looks alike – a school of preppie, zombie clones. Yuck! Storm smiles at her remarks.

Inside the school’s administration building, which dominates the entire valley, a faculty woman welcomes Kitty, telling her that they’ve been expecting her. Kitty should come with her and they’ll get her squared away. Her friend, meaning Ororo, can wait for her in the lounge. Waiting there, Storm thinks that she should have been more open with her suspicions of an attack by the Hellfire Club, though she now feels that such a foolish, unnecessarily brazen move would make no sense; as far as Kitty’s concerned, they’ve won. She’s completely in their power. Perhaps Wolverine was right, she thinks, they should have done anything to prevent this.

Entering the room and reading these last few thoughts, the White Queen tells Storm that she is right, they should have. Storm, in shock, yells the woman’s name: EMMA FROST! Light flares star-bright in the room and, outside, heads look upwards in confusion and alarm as a peal of thunder rumbles across the cloudless sky.

Soon after, Kitty and Ororo prepare to say goodbye. Storm says that she senses somehow that things are not quite so awful as Kitty anticipated. Nah, Kitty responds, they’re waiting ‘til Storm leaves before wheeling out the rack and thumbscrews. Looking at her seriously, Storm tells Kitty that she must leave. Still not ready to accept recent events, Kitty jokes that it’s a long trip home and asks Ororo if she wants company. Hugging her close, Storm calls Kitty a silly goose, telling her that she would fly with her to the ends of the Earth if she could. Be brave, Ororo advises, and tells Kitty to remember, should she ever need the X-Men or . . . her, as a friend – she has but to call.

Though they do not wish to break their embrace, they must part and go their separate ways. As Storm drives away, a girl waves from across the street asking Kitty if she is “Kit,” and introduces herself as Muffy, her orientation advisor. Kitty says it figures that her name would be Muffy, thinking that she would still feel out of place even if the Academy were an ordinary school. She’s an X-Man; she’s been to another planet, fought aliens, demons, and super-villains. She liked the life she led. Nothing’s going to be the same without it. She doesn’t fit here. She doesn’t belong. As she thinks these thoughts of discontent, Muffy offers to show her to her dorm. Kitty follows, feeling alone and terribly vulnerable.

A few miles away, the Rolls reaches the crest of the ridge that forms the eastern wall of the valley and suddenly swerves, skidding to a stop on the shoulder. Storm thinks that she’s probably too close to the academy – Kitty might see what she’s doing – but she doesn’t care. She’s waited too long – planned and worked too hard – for this moment. And in this, as in all things, her pleasure will not be denied! She steps out from the car into a lovely mid-summer’s evening, the sky clear, the air still. Raising her arms to the sky, she quotes King Lear, act 3, scene 2: “Blow winds and crack your cheeks. Rage, blow! You cataracts and hurricanes, spout till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks. You sulph’rous and thought-executing fires, vaunt couriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts, singe my white head!”

For a moment, nothing happens and she begins to feel like a fool. Then, in a manner of seconds, a thunderstorm appears over Snow Valley and a wind sweeps her into the air. This is magnificent, Storm thinks. Power courses through her like fire! Every fiber of her being is alive, aware. She’s never felt such glorious sensations. And the storm she created – she doesn’t perceive it as clouds and thunder and lightning, but as patterns of energy. She . . . she’s a living part of it! Her clothes begin to shred and fall away from her, revealing her uniform beneath them, as she glories in her power. Merely by concentrating, she can shape these awesome natural powers to her will. Laughing delightedly, she soars into the heart of the tempest and plays with it like a new toy, experimenting with every facet of her elemental powers, doing whatever she pleases, totally heedless of the consequences.

When she has learned all that she thinks she needs to, she tries to send the storm away only to discover that such forces are more easily set in motion than restrained. She accepts the challenge, pitting her human will against the power of nature gone wild. The struggle leaves her exhausted, but at its end all is once more as it should be.

Having landed, Storm throws a long jacket around her body, covering her uniform. She realizes that, in those last few minutes, she nearly lost control. She must remember that she cannot create such effects out of nothing. She manipulates natural weather patterns at a fantastically accelerated rate. That requires absolute precision and total concentration. If she ever lets things get out of hand the results could be devastating. Still, she thinks, the experience was extraordinary, the ultimate sensual thrill. For a time, she became one with the Earth itself. Now seated in the Rolls Royce, she lights a cigarette and thinks that she’s had enough of these games; she did not become Storm for her own amusement. She has work to do.

From the Rolls’ car phone, she requests, from the mobile operator, a person-to-person call to the Hellfire Club. In a mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York City, Sebastian Shaw answers. Good evening, Sebastian, says the caller. It is Ororo. She’s just delivered Kitty Pryde to the Massachusetts Academy and she though she’d ring an . . . old friend. He doesn’t mind. Not at all, Sebastian responds, judging from recent weather reports in her vicinity he assumes all is going to plan. He assumes correctly, she tells him. She dearly wishes she could be present when “Miss Frost” awakes. The torment “Miss Frost” will be going through ought to be exquisite. Smiling, Sebastian approves of her actions as very nasty, but then that’s what makes her so appropriately delightful . . . as the White Queen. Laughing delightedly, she thanks him for the grand compliment. She’ll be on the road a few more hours. She tells Shaw to initiate phase 2 after her arrival at Xavier’s school. She’ll see him then.

At that same moment, in a sub-basement beneath the academy’s administration building, a piercing scream emits from a room guarded by a male and a female armed with pistols. “Good lord! That scream!” says the male guard. Arms folded and seated on a wooden crate, his female companion observes that this must mean their “guest” is finally conscious. She sounds in bad shape, says the man. He’d better check it out. Still seated, the woman says he’d better not, calling him Harvey. Their orders forbid any contact with the prisoner. They’re to prevent her escape, period.

Inside, a small light on the wall and a desk lamp lights the room, leaving many shadowed areas. Emma Frost’s body lies on the floor next to the bed, curled up in a ball. However, it is Ororo’s thoughts within this mind of this body. What a nightmare! she thinks. When she faced the White Queen and felt her telepathic psi-bolt burn into her mind, it was as if her very soul were being turned inside out. She was laughing, taking pleasure from Storm’s pain.

Ororo . . . seems to be in a cell. That’s hardly surprising, but she’s escaped from cells before. However, she feels so . . . strange. Her voice, her body, don’t seem quite . . . right. There’s so little light, she can barely see – but her night vision is almost as keen as Wolverine’s. She can function in anything save absolute darkness, yet here she’s virtually blind. She crawls over to the mirror in the bed’s headboard, but it is too dark to make out her reflection. She tries to generate some ball lightning, but nothing happens. No matter how hard she tries, she cannot utilize any of her elemental powers! What has that witch done to her?! Sliding her hands along the wall she finds a light switch and learns, from her reflection in the mirror before her, the answer to her anguished question: she is in the body of the White Queen! No, Goddess – NO!! she screams.

Meanwhile, on the sprawling grounds of Xavier’s estate, two lovers, Kurt Wagner and Amanda Sefton, stroll the lakeshore beneath the just-risen full moon. It’s been months since they last saw each other and neither of them mean to let this precious time got to waste. As they kiss beneath the moon, the moment is perfect until an energy bolt nearly strikes them both. Kurt tells Amanda to take cover, they’re under at-- Before he can finish, he is struck by another bolt, as Amanda screams his name. A sentinel appears, its sensors marking its recent target as the X-Man, Nightcrawler.

Running from the sentinel, Amanda thinks that her mother, Margali Szardos, could reduce that thing to melted slag with a gesture, but the spells she’s been taught aren’t effective against material, real world objects – especially those made of cold iron. The sentinel’s sensors indicate that the female’s readings are anomalous and unknown to memory-prime. Capture of both subjects – SQUARRWK! Much like happened to Nightcrawler, Cyclops cuts its words short by a long-range attack from the window of Xavier’s mansion. Amanda recognizes this a full power optic blast, but wonders how Cyclops knew they were in trouble?

The sentinel lands in the nearby lake, drenching Amanda with water as Wolverine appears on the scene asking them if they are okay?! She’s fine, Wolverine, Amanda answers, but Kurt’s unconscious! Head for the house, he responds, they’re too vulnerable out there. He’ll lug the elf. Move, darlin’! Raising Kurt’s inert form up onto his shoulders, Wolverine tells Amanda that if she feels a slight tingle inside her skull, that’ll be Charley – usin’ his psi-powers to keep track of them. When they’re in range, he keeps a constant low-level rapport with all the X-Men. That’s how they knew the two of them were under attack.

Seeing the frightened expression on her face, Wolverine asks Amanda what she’s starin’ at? What’s wrong? That robot, Wolverine, she answers, it didn’t come alone! Three sentinels are rising up from the lake and heading in their direction. What are they, Wolverine, Amanda asks, what do the want with them? Holding Kurt over his shoulders, Wolverine tells her that they’re sentinels, sweetheart – mechanical mutant-hunters. An’ more often than not, assassins as well. Noticing that one of the sentinels is their previous combatant, Wolverine exclaims, Shoot! Cyke’s zap beam didn’t even scratch that sucker’s paint!

Meanwhile, in a secret control center far beneath the Hellfire Club, Sebastian Shaw monitors and controls the progress of his mechanoid creations. Various computer stations are monitored by women. One of them informs Shaw that they’ve run a scan on Wolverine. His bones are laced with adamantium, making them essentially unbreakable. He also possesses adamantium claws which extend through openings in the backs of both hands from housings built into his forearms. Neutralize him quickly, Techno, Shaw responds, smiling, but keep him alive! Harry Leland has . . . plans for that pipsqueak psychopath.

Back at the Xavier’s mansion grounds, Wolverine uses his claws to sever sentinel cables that have caught Amanda. Colossus appears to help them, as Kurt regains consciousness. Wolverine offers direction: “Kurt, get your lady outta here! and, Petey, can you polish off this sentinel?” As Kurt picks up Amanda, Colossus answers that he can do so easily, grabbing a hold of the ends of the recently severed cables. He digs in his heels and pulls, executing a judo throw Cyclops taught him. It has excellent results. However, Wolverine, heading for the face of another sentinel with claws bared, meets with a blinding light, a blast that catches him full in the face.

Colossus notes to himself that Wolverine’s enhanced, super-sensitive eyesight must have made him especially vulnerable to the sentinel’s attack. Colossus – Petey – Wolverine gasps, holding his face, he can’t see! Reaching out with a large hand, the sentinel reports that target Wolverine is helpless. Sentinel A-3 will apprehend target at once. However, launching himself into the air, Wolverine tells him to forget it, bub! He may be blind, but his other senses are workin’ fine! He doesn’t need to see its ugly face to cut it to ribbons. Capice, sucker?

At the same moment, within the mansion, Xavier tells Wolverine telepathically to let the Professor be his eyes. He will guide Wolverine with his thoughts. Standing nearby at a window, Cyclops blasts a sentinel with an eye beam while asking the Professor where the sentinels had come from? He thought they were done with sentinels for good when they put Stephen Lang and his “Project Armageddon” out of business. Xavier does not know, but in addition to learning their creator, they must also discover how they managed to breach the security of their estate. Just then a sentinel punches a hole through the roof above their heads, telling Xavier to fear not, mutant, all will be revealed in due course. Before either X-Man can react, the robot floods the room with nerve gas and they drop, instantly rendered unconscious.

Simultaneously, Emma Frost approaches, driving the Rolls Royce. Seeing the sentinel on the mansion’s roof, she thinks, ah, Shaw, how typical of him to start without her. Exiting the vehicle, her thoughts continue: does Shaw hope that his precious toys can defeat the X-Men single-handedly, thereby rendering her plan to infiltrate them pointless? She wishes him luck, because she thinks he will need it. The X-Men have fought the sentinels before – and triumphed every time.

On the battlefield, Wolverine is just barely missed by a sentinel’s energy bolt. Letting Xavier cue his moves was a mistake, Logan thinks; when Xavier’s directions were cut off, it left him badly off his stride. Nearby, another sentinel pounds Colossus fiercely into the earth, telling him that his power rivals theirs. Therefore, they will not permit him to utilize it against them. Seeing this, Kurt instructs Wolverine and Amanda to head for the trees. The sentinels will have trouble tracking and capturing them there. Starting away, Amanda asks Kurt, what about him?!

Without answering, Nightcrawler teleports to the X-Men’s armory, where he grabs a case of explosives, thinking they should do the trick nicely. Then, teleporting as fast as he can, he returns to the fray, space-shifting from sentinel to sentinel faster than the eye can follow, attaching thick gobs of plastic explosive and detonators to their joints. Start to finish, the jobs takes nine seconds. He’d set the detonators for ten.

After the explosion, one of the sentinels is still moving. Appearing suddenly in the air above, Emma Frost (as Storm) tells everyone to hit the deck, she’ll take care of it, and she zaps it with a bolt of electricity. However, her attack is careless, and Wolverine must leap to shield Amanda from the fall of its wreckage. While Colossus tells Storm it is good to see her, having feared the sentinels might try to ambush her on the road, Nightcrawler questions why she attacked to carelessly. The robot was crippled, they could have found safer ways to destroy it! Kurt rests his hands on Wolverine’s inert body as he speaks. Wolverine’s hurt, Amanda points out, unconscious! If he hadn’t shielded her from the explosion . . . she does not finish, but her thoughts are clear.

Frost apologizes to Kurt; she only sought to help. The danger is over. She tells Colossus to turn human and change into civilian clothes in case their neighbors or the police come calling, wondering what’s been happening there. As he complies with her order, the three of them are unexpectedly attacked by her. You’re so obliging, she tells Peter, he has no idea how much she appreciates that. Pleasant dreams, X-Men. When they recover from these low-yield lightning bolts, they’ll all be guests of the Hellfire Club – for the rest of their natural lives!

Elsewhere, Storm attempts to escape her captivity. The hands are a bit stiff, the fingers not quite as sensitive, she thinks, but even though she’s trapped in Emma Frost’s body she still remembers her lockpicking skills. As she opens the door, voices appear in her head. One asks: “did you hear something?” Another: “how did I ever get partnered with such a jerk?” Unaccustomed to telepathy, Storm is caught unawares by other peoples’ thoughts – from all over the campus – crashing in on her. Up the hallway comes Harvey and, as he calls her now, Janet, Storm’s guards. They are now masked and dressed as traditional Hellfire Club guards. Janet, Harvey says, that cry! She heard it! Janet asks him to back her up – and set his pistol on stun. They should remember their orders: under no circumstances is their prisoner to be harmed.

They find Storm lying on the ground outside her cell, overwhelmed by the sudden irresistible influx of psychic data. Well, she certainly didn’t get too far, Janet observes. Shove her back inside her cell. “Shouldn’t we take her to the infirmary?” Harvey asks. She looks in pretty bad shape. What happened to her? Just then, Storm jumps up and rushes off with a speed born of desperation. As Harvey and Janet give chase, she rushes into the night, feeling the hundreds of minds whose thoughts and feelings crowd her own. She’s drowning, losing touch with her unique essential self. Reality blurs, twists, reforms, as Ororo seeks salvation in her memories. She flashes back to a long-ago evening in the Greenwich Village apartment of her dearest friend Jean Grey, who, as Pheonix, was a fellow X-Man.

Storm is setting a table for a meal as eating utensils fly through the air toward her, sent telekinetically by her host. A little upset, Storm asks will Jean at least let her ask for things before she telekinetically tosses them at her?! Didn’t she ask? Jean wonders. She apologizes. It takes a ferocious amount of concentration to keep her telepathic ability in line. Sometimes, if she’s not careful she gets peoples’ thoughts and words confused.

On the Academy grounds, Storm crouches in hiding, holding a rock in one hand. As her pursuers pass by, her memory has helped her to realize that concentration is the key; she must maintain a wall . . . around her mind . . . to block out everyone else’s thoughts. She’s used to focusing her will; when she controls the weather, the process is similar – and . . . it’s beginning to work!

In her dormitory room, Kitty Pryde sits on her bed with an unhappy expression upon her face. She wonders what she is going to do? She can’t run away. She’d just be sent back there and if she headed for the X-Men, she’d get Professor Xavier in trouble. She almost wishes the Hellfire Club would make a move. This waiting is driving her looney! Just then, the door swings open and Storm rushes in, exclaiming words of concern for Kitty’s well being. Not knowing about the switch, Kitty exclaims cripes! The White Queen!

She thinks that, though she’s heard of giving a girl what she wants, this is ridiculous! Even as the thought flashes across her brain, Kitty dives off the bed, meaning to phase through the floor and escape. Child – don’t. Stop! Storm exclaims. WUNNGFF! Kitty hits the floor, out cold. KITTY!! Storm exclaims again. Goddess forgive her, what has she done? When she called out to her, she somehow instinctively acted to stop her as well. Her . . . psi-bolt hit Kitty with the impact of a brick wall. Cradling the girl in her arms, Storm observes that she came to save this child she loves, and instead she may have killed her!

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Sprite, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Amanda Sefton

White Queen (Emma Frost), Sebastian Shaw (all Hellfire Club)

Tessa, Shaw's personal aide

Harvey and Janet (Hellfire Club guards) Sentinels

Massachusetts Academy faculty person

First flashback:

Colossus, Storm, Wolverine, Pheonix (all X-Men)

White Queen

Second flashback:

Ororo (as a child)

David Monroe (Ororo’s father, American photojournalist)

N’Dar (Ororo’s mother, Kenyan princess)

Third flashback:

Storm, Jean Grey

Story Notes: 

The events Storm remembers concerning her last run-in with the White Queen occurred in X-Men (1st Series) #129-131.

Storm’s parents were killed in a plane crash when she was a child. Thus orphaned, she spent the next several years as a thief in the streets of Cairo, Egypt, working for Achmed El-Gibar. During this time, she developed excellent “thieving” skills, including a expert lock-picking ability.

King Lear is one of Shakespeare’s later plays, written around 1606. In the tragedy, Lear divides his kingdom between two of his three daughters, Goneril and Regan. Though she is the one that truly loves him, he disinherits Cordelia, his youngest daughter. This results in Lear’s insanity and death, among other tragic events.
Act Three, Scene Two occurs in the wilderness where Lear wanders accompanied only by his Fool. The quotation here is from the opening speech of the scene, given by Lear. The rest of it is: “And thou, all-shaking thunder, smite flat the thick rotundity o' the world! Crack nature's moulds, an germens spill at once, that make ingrateful man!”

Kurt first met Amanda Sefton, a flight attendant, in X-Men (1st Series) #98. In Uncanny X-Men Annual #4 it was revealed that she was actually Jimaine, daughter of the gypsy witch-queen, Margali Szardos, who had raised Kurt.

Scott refers to the events of X-Men (1st Series) #98-100 when speaking of Stephen Lang and Project Armageddon.

Issue Information: 
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