Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #402

Issue Date: 
March 2002
Story Title: 
Utility Of Myth

Joe Casey (writer), Ron Garney (penciler), Mark Morales (inker), Hi-Fi Design (colors), RS and Comicraft’s Saida (letters), Pete Franco (assistant editor), Mark Powers (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

The X-Men check out the new X-Corps headquarters and are welcomed by Banshee, who agrees to show them around and explains his strategy. In his opinion, the mutant population needs to be polices by mutants and he has drilled this team to function like an army. The X-men witness an alarm going off, as two mutants are registered battling each other in Berlin. Banshee sends his operatives to deal with the situation, and Avalanche, Surge and the Blob quickly defeat the battling Abyss and Fever Pitch and also deal with a local mutant hating militia. Banshee agrees that the X-Men accompany him to the battlesite, yet they have to keep a certain distance and probably won’t like what they see. Once in Berlin, Bashee congratulates his team, inspects the captives and interrogates the militia men, who are serving A.R.M., the Acculturation Resistance Movement, and they won’t stop until the last mutant is defeated. The X-men are shocked that their old friend is working with well known criminals and at the methods he uses to achieve his goals. The next day, Warren Worthington attends a G8 meeting in rome to talk about the rising mutant population. He points out that among mutant society there are different philosophies, and that the X-men have dedicated themselves to Charles Xavier’s dream of peaceful coexistence. Actually it should not be a genetic discussion, but one about political and social evoltuion. In the X-Corps labs, Sunpyre has studied the two captives and tells Banshee that they both have formidable powers but might be too violent to keep in line. Banshee answers “We’ll see” and he walks into a secret chamber, where Mastermind is strapped into a tank, with cables and tubes connected to her body. He plans to use her illusion power to to get both new arrivals under his control.

Full Summary: 

The X-Men’s jet lands at the X-Corps headquarter outside of Paris. Once inside Banshee’s office, Nightcrawler speaks for the team, stating that they are curious what this new organisation is about. Banshee replies with “ Fear not, friends, I am as clear-headed as I’ve ever been ” and continues that he is very pleased to see them, especially Chamber whom he trained as teacher for Generation X. Iceman, Archangel and Nightcrawler say that they are in europe to take part in the G8 economic summit, as they are discussing the rising mutant condition, and that Banshee’s strange X-Corps is concerning them. For months they haven’t heard from him, and then he suddenly returns leading this new outfit. Banshee explains that he is still serving the Dream, like before, wether as an X-man, on Muir Island in Moira’s labs or teaching Generation X. He has seen Xavier’s dream from all sides, and especially in recent months many things have changed – Moira killed, Xavier outing himself to be a mutant and the Massachusetts academy closing. Kurt offers comfort, these events really must have touched him, but he finds Banshee’s response rather extreme. They have to consider that they shape the way the population perceives mutants, and is a drastic military group the message they want to send ? Banshee says yes, and then offers to show the X-Men around before they make any further judgements.
They start at the command center. They even have a tap on the Cerebra device at Xavier’s mansion and lots of other equipment. Stacy notices that all of the workers look the same – they are all Multiple Man. Banshee says that the X-Corps’ purpose is above and beyond simple location and training of mutants like the X-Men do, this group will strictly police the mutant population. As an interpol agent and later as an X-Man, Banshee has seen both sides of the law, and found each endeavor lacking in some way, that’s why he founded the new organisation. He doesn’t care about humanity anymore, as they are no real threat compared to evil mutants constantly fighting the X-Men and others. It’s time to maintain an order within mutant population. Suddenly alarms go off, the devices locate two mutant signals in Berlin, Germany. Local authorities report mass destruction and that they have evacuated the area, and Banshee immediatly starts barking orders. While the Multiple Men are still crossreferencing their files to identify the two mutant signatures, Banshee decides to send in the “Bastard Squad”. Kurt, Warren and Bobby are reminded of a drill sergeant and a military operation.
In Berlin, a van arrives near the battle site and some militia group jumps out. They are speaking german and want to deal with the mutants for humanity’s sake. They find Fever Pitch and Nils Styger fighting. Fever Pitch wants to capture the genoshan mutant as he knows people who would pay millions to disscet him. The human militia group themselves surround the combatants and prepare to fire, as they are hit by a shockwave. Avalanche has arrived, and he says that they should let the professionals handle the crisis. Another X-Corps operative by the name of Surge enters the fry, using his electic powers to gain the attention of the battling mutants. Surge claims that they both would have been fried if he weren’t wearing his restrainer pack. Fever Pitch is unimpressed and uses his flame on Surge. Avalanche tells him to get a rest, as they have another option. He radios to the rest of the Squad that they need “Mr. Big” at the coordinates and also informs them of the local militia. Carried by seven helicopters, the Blob if lifted in the area, and drops on both Fever Pitch and Abyss, ending the fight.
In the command central, the equipment registers Blob’s seizmic impact. Banshee is informed that they situation has been dealt with and he boards a craft that will carry him to Berlin. Nightcrawler marvels at the technology at the X-Corps disposal and asks how they are funded. Sean explains that he had a few bank accounts frozen by Interpol years ago, also he uncovered a forgotten Factor Three account. Other than that, they are using an abandoned A.I.M. facility and are funded by donations. Banshee says that the X-men are welcome to accompany them to Berlin and witness how they deal with such situation, yet the will have to keep a respectable distance, and probably they won’t like what they see.
Both the X-Corps helicopter and the X-Men’s jet arrive in Berlin to find that Blob, Surge and Avalanche dealt with the mutant hating militia by tying them up in tanglewire. Seeing them, Kurt looses his tempers and teleports over to Banshee, wanting to know why he has known criminals serve in his group. Sean reminds him that they were meant only to observe, and that he will explain his actions later on, yet now he has business. Banshee then inspects Fever Pitch and Abyss who are held in forcefield cubes. He congratulates his team on their efficency and tells them to load the prisoners. The X-Men discuss what they are observing. They don’t like what they see, two known criminals and an unknown third operative, they wonder what Banshee thinks he is doing.
Meanwhile Banshee is interrogating the captured militia men. As they are handed over to the local authorities, one of them states that they are part of A.R.M., the Acculturation Resistance Movement, and they won’t allow mutants to overrun society. They will fight to their last man to cleans humanity of every single mutant. Archangel, Nightcrawler and Iceman try to reason with banshee once more, asking if heavy muscle tactics and agressive militarism are his only answer, and Banshee confirms it. This is the new approach to achieve unity through reactionary concepts and revolutionary emotion. As the X-Corps’ helicopter lifts off, the X-men are left behind puzzled. They have never seen their friend so driven. They know that Sean might have good intentions, but these definately are the wrong methods and how can he he hope to keep these criminals in line ?
About twelve hours later, Banshee checks into the labs where Sunpyre, aka Leyu Yoshida has been examining their two captives. Both are still contained in the cubes, but properly sedated. She fills Banshee in that the first one is Fever Pitch’s power is high intensity, organic flame, however he burned his own body away. Banshee knows him from the time when he was among Gene Nation, who once battleb Generation X. The other mutant is genoshan Nils Styger, and the scientists have yet to fully explore the extent of his powers. Yet they discovered that he was once infected with the Legacy Virus and it supposingly was eliminated when the airborne cure was released last year. Banshee thinks of his good old friend Peter (Colossus), and comments that he was a good soldier, who gave his life to elimiante a mutant plague brought onto them not by humans but a fellow mutant (Stryfe).Sunpyre continues that Styger was last seen with Renee Majcomb, whose current whereabouts are unknown, though she could have died in the Sentinel Massacre on Genosha. She concludes that both captives are fairly unstable and can not recommend them being used as field operatives, as their violent tendecies could hardly be controlled. Banshee’s answer is “We’ll see, Miss Yoshida .... we’ll see.”
In Rome Warren Worthington attends the G8 summit and is allowed to make a speech, because of the recent events in Genosha and Germany. After being introduced as the chairman of Worthington Industries, Warren starts stating the obvious, namely that he is a mutant as the audience can see by his blue skin and the huge wings on his back. The G8 meet every year to discuss global cooperation and the mutant topic might be the most important one. Warren says that he knows the rumors that they must have heard and he knows of the fears that humanity has, fear of the unknown. Yet they only need to look at him and find that he doesn’t hide anything; like him there are dozens of other mutants who have aligned themselves to the cause of Charles Xavier who wants to achieve peaceful coexistence. Warren addresses the recent X-Corps situation and says that understandably humans are nervous, it’s true that there are differences within mutant population, but he and the X-Men will make sure that these differences will be addressed. The X-Men’s goal is to further mutant rights but not at the expense of the human race. Warren closes his speech with stating that it is not about genetics, but about political and social evolution. He has come as a potential ally, and they now have the future in their hands.
Meanwhile Banshee head to some secret basement area of his base. After a control panel confirms his identity he gains entrance and he walks towards a tank that is holding Mastermind. Her head has been shaved, and many cables and tubes are connected to her body. “Time to test your limits, lass ... Don’t let me down.”

Characters Involved: 

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

Avalanche, Banshee, Blob, Mastermind II, Multiple Man, Sunpyre (all X-Corps)

Mystique, posing as Surge

Abyss / Nils Styger

Fever Pitch

Several members of A.R.M.

Story Notes: 

Fever Pitch was a member of Gene Nation. He and the group were last seen in the crossover of Generation X #50 and X-Man #50.
Nils Styger was seen in the company of Renee Majcomb in Cable (2nd series) #40. There he was also revealed to be suffering from the Legacy Virus. Yet readers got to know another version of the character before, as Styger’s counterpart in the Age of Apocalypse was the Horseman Abyss. This issue is the first time Nils Styger is refered to as Abyss in the main Marvel Universe.
Way back in his first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #28, Banshee was a mindcontrolled operative of Factor Three. He was freed by the X-Men and helped them to track down and destroy the organisation in Uncanny X-Men #35-39.
Sunpyre was among the interim team that Jean Grey recruited to invade Genosha during Eve of Destruction in Uncanny X-Men #392-393 and X-men (2nd series) #112-113. The X-Men only consisted of Jean, Wolverine and Cyclops at that time, with Storm’s (X-Treme X-men) team having departed to search for Destiny’s diaries, so she tried to contact some former members and new mutants. Sunpyre answered her call instead of her older brother Sunfire, whom Jean originally meant to contact, yet when the crisis was dealt with she left Xavier’s school like the other interim members.
Banshee refers to Colossus, who sacrificed his own life by injecting himself with the serum of the Legacy cure, which needed to be activated by a mutant pthat would get killed in the process. Colossus dies, so that thousands of infected mutants and mutates might live. (Uncanny X-Men #390).

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