Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #403

Issue Date: 
April 2002
Story Title: 

Joe Casey (writer), Aaron Lopresti (penciler), Mark Morales (inker), Hi-Fi Design (colors), Richard Starkings Comicraft (letters), Pete Franco (assistant editor), Mark Powers (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

On their way back from Rome, Archangel and Stacy investigate a new mutant signature in Zürich and arrive in time to prevent a young pyrokinetic getting killed by the anti-mutant militia A.R.M. Yet when a group of X-Corps operatives arive to take the boy with them tempers flare, and again a fight starts, but it quickly ends, with the X-Corps having the advantage of their powers. Hopelessly outnumbered Stacy and Archangel can only watch as they take the boy with them. In Paris Banshee has both Chamber and Nightcrawler as guests in the X-Corps building. He offers Jono to join and reveals that his former teammates Jubilee, Husk and M are already there. Later while Kurt and Sean discuss their different approaches to mutant/human relations, Chamber learns from the girls that they don’t share Banshee’s methods, they only joined to keep an eye on him. Also there is something strage in the basement. Chamber decides to pretend to join and investigate, and finds Mastermind’s tank in the basement, and suddenly he is pulled in her astral scenario. Iceman follows Blob, Avalanche and Surge into a bar. Tempers flare and they almost fight, but then they calm down and reveal that Banshee has arranged full immunity for them and pays the former criminals for their involvement in the X-Corps. Later Surge travels to Zürich, where he kills A.R.M. leader Jakob Eisen and several of his followers.

Full Summary: 

Aboard the X-jet, Stacy and Archangel are returning from Rome, where Warren spoke in front of the G8 nations. Stacy wants to know why they even try to talk some sense into the world leaders, who are anxious and suspicious about mutants anyway, but he says she will understand once she met Professor Xavier. Banshee might have his way of doing things, but the X-Men are about coexistence, and if the listen, humans will understand the difference. Stacy replies that the X-Men must be nuts, they are fighting a lost cause, if she had a dime for every time she was met with prejudice, she’d be richer than Warren himself. He agrees that the world is a complicated place, and tolerance is hard to achieve. Humanity fears mutants because they represent evolution’s next step, there is no getting around that. Stacey asks him wether he is sure, but to her shock he remarks that acute self-awareness was something she needed in her former profession (she was a prostitute). Right then, they receive a radio transsmission from Nightcrawler; Cerebra registered a mutant spike in Zürich, and according to the news on CNN, there is already a local mob to “deal” with the mutant.
Arriving in the swiss captial, Stacy and Archangel find a pyrokinetic mutant who can’t control his power and is about to be executed by members of the anti-mutant militia A.R.M.; Warren tries to reason with them that the boy needs help, but they order him and Stacy to surrender themselves to human authority or they will share the boy’s fate. Right then, Multiple Man arrives with a squad of X-Corps members (Radius, M, Surge and Fever Pitch). They tell the two X-Men that this is within the X-Corps’ jurisdiction. The militia members aim their weapons at them, and their leader shouts that any uniformed mutant officer is to be shot, but Warren once more tries to calm the situation by telling Multiple Man that their aggressiveness only helps to escalate matters and he and Stacy could handle it alone, but Jamie thinks different. The X-Men are far away from home, while they have the proper facilities to handle a stray mutant nearby. Meanwhile M approaches the boy, and Fever Pitch takes to the air. He fires his flame blasts and the A.R.M. members quickly run away. Multiple Man gives Archangel another speech about the X-Corps’ purpose; they’ll deal with any threat to the mutants, may it originates from within or outside the mutant community and once Banshee and his forces are through, there will be no more muatnt-on-mutant violence. Stacy makes her way to Radius, apparently flirting with him, but he knows what she is up to. He says that she doesn’t even have to try and use her pheromones on him, as they won’t make it through his personal forcefield. After the X-Corps leave with the rescued mutant, Stacy asks why Warren didn’t try to fight, but he answers that they are supposed to be on the sameside, and they were hopelessly outnumbered anyway – Multiple Man alone is an entire army.
Somewhat later, at the X-Coprs building in Paris, Banshee is talking with Chamber. Banshee claims to do it all for the children. They are born and start their lives without suspecting anything, then in their teens they discover they are different. Some hear about safe heavens and schools where they might be accepted and nurtured, but it's only a dream. Reality is different, the global family is a dysfunctional one, and even though Xavier might have the right visions, his school gets attacked too. And looking back it were mostly other mutants, not humanity who performed these attacks. That is why Banshee founded the X-Corps. He wants to ensure peace among mutants and that should be the legacy they leave the future generations of mutants. Chamber commnets that Banshee has gotten very intense, but Banshee says that he has never been better. He then leads Chamber through the building and offers him to join the X-Corps, if he is not comfortable with the X-Men; in fact he has a surprise in store. A door opens, and in the room with at least six beds are Husk, Jubilee and M, Chamber’s former classmates at the Massachusetts Academy.
Banshee leaves so that the friends can talk with each other. Jubilee is happy to see Chamber, M makes a comment of his X-uniform having no style and there is still that romantic tension between him and Paige, who has followed Chamber’s exploits with pop singer Sugar Kane in the news. Chamber answers that he has been thinking about Paige a lot and then demands why the three girls are with this militaristic outfit. They confide in him that Banshee contacted them individually, and when they heard of his plans they were skeptical. They decided to keep an eye on Banshee and therefore joined the group, and now have been hearing rumours about some kind of monster in the basement. Even non-telepaths have felt some kind of presence there, and Chamber agrees, he senses it too.
Elsewhere Iceman enters a bar, where Avalanche, the Blob and Surge are having a drink. There is immediately some tension, but Avalanche still offers Iceman to sit down and take a drink with them. Bobby refuses, he says that he is sure something is wrong with the X-Corps. Either Banshee or them, and he bets it’s them. The Blob finally has enough and starts to threaten Bobby, and he ices up to defend himself, but suddenly the Blob stops in mid-sentence. Avalanche tells him to sit down again and calm down, he shouldn’t blow his pension on Iceman. Bobby understands that the criminals are getting paid by Banshee. Surge announces to leave, apparently the others have some history to work out and he has other business. Avalanche tells Iceman that Banshee made them an offer they couldn’t resist and he also arranged full immunity for them, before the law, they are no longer criminals and there is nothing the X-Men can do.
At Banshee’s office, he and Nightcrawler watch the news. A tape shows a speech of Jakob Eisen, leader of A.R.M. He says that since the mutants assemble their armies, so will humans, and the advantage in genetics will be opposed by sheer numbers. Nightcrawler thinks that this is a serious problem, A.R.M. are really trying to engineer a confrontation, but Banshee replies that if his actions have spurred such response, then the X-Corps are on the right track. No doubt A.R.M. will need to be dealt with, but as Kurt wants to know how, he switches topic. He tells that Sunpyre is still running diagnostics on Abyss, as he can’t allow to have a field operative incapable of controlling his powers. Nightcrawler makes a sarcastic remark, but Banshee defends his actions, the recent successes prove him right. Multiple Man, Radius, Jubilee, Husk, M – they are all here because they belive in him and for the most part the X-Corps is a group of volunteers. Nightcrawler demands to know about how the Blob and Avalanche got involved, and Sean again changes the topic. This time he reminds Kurt of the time when they both were new to the X-Men. Nightcrawler says that because of the friendships forged during that period he is so worried about Banshee. Sean excuses himself, having to plan another strategy for the next day, and Kurt teleports to the hangar. There he meets with Chamber, who informs him of what he learned about the basement of the building. Chamber asks for Kurt’s permission to stay behind and pretend to join the X-Corps and investigate, and Kurt welcomes his initiative. However he reminds Jono to be sneaky.
In Zürich, Jakob Eisen is discussing with his many followers, as suddenly the lights in the room go dark. Then all men in the room are electrocuted, and in the doorway stand Surge. His fist is still smoking from using his electric power and his face displays and evil grin.
At the X-Corps headquarter, Chamber has made his way to the basement, where he enters the room with Mastermind’s tank inside. Jono approaches it and telepathically says “Hello”, and suddenly he finds himself elsewhere, drawn onto the astral plane. In front him are Magneto, the Scarlet Witch, the Toad and Quicksilver, the founding members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants though in their recent costumes.

Characters Involved: 

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

Avalanche, Banshee, Blob, Fever Pitch, Husk, Jubilee, M, Mastermind II, Multiple Man, Radius, Surge (all X-Corps)

Jakob Eisen, leader of A.R.M.
On a video screen :


Story Notes: 

The X-Men rescued Stacy from the X-Ranch, a brothel with mutant prostitutes in Uncanny X-Men #399.
The astral scenario of the original Brotherhood was already seen in Uncanny X-Men #401.
Instead of receiving an annual, Uncanny X-Men has two issues in March 2002.

Issue Information: 
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