Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #399

Issue Date: 
December 2001
Story Title: 
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge

Joe Casey (writer), Tom Raney (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), Hi-Fi Design (colors), RS / Comicraft / Saida ! (letters), Pete Franco (assistant editor), Mark Powers (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Special thanks to Tom Derenick and Sandu Florea (pencils and inks for pages. 19-24)

Brief Description: 

Archangel learns that members of his organization have been spending company money on a mutant brothel called the X-Ranch. The X-Men send Iceman to the ranch to investigate and he masquerades as a client. When he arrives Iceman finds one satisfied client, Mr. Favreau, a recent recipient of the X-Ranch’s services. The brothel’s house mother, Madame Drache, escorts Iceman to his appointment, Stacy X. Stacy uses her pheromone powers to control Iceman’s bodily functions and incapacitate him. Archangel comes to save him and subdue Stacy. The Church of Humanity enters the brothel armed with deadly weapons and an appetite for mass murder. The X-Men and Stacy fight off the attackers and escape, but not before several X-Ranch employees and clients are murdered. Once they’re all safe inside the X-Wing, the X-Men and Stacy fly east.

Full Summary: 

Archangel pulls his weight as chairman during a Worthington Industries meeting. He demands that the board of directors tell him why such a large portion of company funds is being invested in something called the X-Ranch. He also wants to help finance some programs, started by Professor Xavier, which provide aid to mutants. Some board members try to snowball Archangel with excuses, but he eventually learns that his people have been spending money at the X-Ranch because the place is a mutant brothel. After dismissing everyone, Archangel contacts Nightcrawler and the two of them agree that the X-Ranch bears investigation. Once they’re finished, Archangel removes his shirt and jacket and spends some time soaring through the night air.
In Nevada, a Mr. Favreau nervously arrives at the X-Ranch by limousine. He is greeted by Madame Drache, the house mother. Madame Drache tries to alleviate some of Mr. Favreau’s tension by assuring him he has nothing to fear. She directs him upstairs to a room with one of the prostitutes, named Bette. Mr. Favreau is shocked when he sees that Bette is extremely obese. Bette uses her mutant powers to find his deepest desires so they can have some fun together, but tells him there will be no touching. From far away, Nightcrawler eavesdrops on the meeting between Bette and Mr. Favreau, disgusted. He says that the audio sensors are functioning properly and gives the okay for the X-Men to send in their spy.
Later that night, Iceman arrives at the X-Ranch by limousine. He enters the brothel under the alias of Mr. Friese and Madame Drache greets him. Working his new cover, Iceman tells Madame Drache that he works for a major record label and that a high-powered associate suggested he visit the X-Ranch. Just then, Mr. Favreau comes downstairs from his appointment with Bette, perplexed and stammering. He wonders how Bette was able to do what she did to him and hands Madame Drache some cash before he leaves. Iceman tells Madame Drache that Mr. Favreau looked really satisfied and she tells him that all X-Ranch customers leave happy. She explains that the X-Ranch depends on rich clientele like Mr. Favreau to stay in business; the people without the fear of breaking taboos like paying mutants for sexual favors. When Iceman mentions that an openly mutant brothel could attract deadly attention, Madame Drache assures him that everything is safe since the employees can protect themselves and prostitution is legal in Nevada. She escorts Iceman to his appointment and leaves him with one of her girls.
Inside, Iceman meets a scantily clad woman named Stacy with orange snakeskin instead of ordinary flesh. She tells him that lust tastes something like licorice. More than a little startled, Iceman ventures out to the balcony to get some air. Stacy follows after him and gets to work. She whispers into his ear about chemistry and bodily secretions while she begins touching him. According to Stacy, her body emits pheromones that allow her to control the reactions of others. Iceman starts to feel funny and collapses, incapacitated. Archangel arrives to his teammate’s rescue and subdues Stacy, who tries to beat him with better than average combat skills. Archangel pins her, careful not to let her touch him. Nightcrawler contacts Archangel through an electronic device and warns him that human intruders are beaming into the X-Ranch lobby.
Downstairs, followers of the Church of Humanity teleport into the lobby and kill Madame Drache, despite her attempt to stop them with her fire breathing power. They claim that the fires of humanity must destroy the brothel and punish the mutants inside. Armed with laser guns, the men make their way through the X-Ranch tossing bombs and firing lasers, killing everyone they find along the way, including the human clients. Archangel frees Stacy and gets Iceman back to his feet, knowing that they’re going to have to fight to make it out. Between the three of them, they beat the followers of the church and Nightcrawler picks them up in an X-Wing while the X-Ranch catches on fire.
Inside, once everyone boards the plane, Stacy meets Nightcrawle, the pilot, and says that he can call her Stacy “X”. Stacy sarcastically compliments the X-Men on their rescue operation since they failed to stop the Church of Humanity before all of her co-workers were killed. She yells at Chamber when she sees him staring at her. Nightcrawler assures her that the X-Men aren’t through with the Church of Humanity and their crimes. Archangel warns Stacy not to use her powers on any X-Men while she’s with them. Together, they head back east in the X-Wing as the X-Ranch burns down.

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Chamber, Iceman, and Nightcrawler (all X-Men)

Bette, Madame Drache, Stacy X (all X-Ranch)

The Church of Humanity

Mr. Favreau

Mr. Childs and the Worthington Industries Board of Directors

Story Notes: 

First appearance of Mr. Favreau, Mr. Childs, Stacy X, Madame Drache, the X-Ranch, and its employees.
Drache is the german word for dragon.

Issue Information: 

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