Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #409

Issue Date: 
September 2002
Story Title: 

Joe Casey (writer), Sean Phillips (penciler), Hi-Fi Design (colors), RS & Comicraft's Saida! (letters), Mike Raicht (assistant editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Wolverine and Chamber discuss the situation with the Vanisher. Wolverine mocks and disagrees with Warren's tactics to get to the Vanisher through his business contacts, but Chamber sides with Warren and the argument is settled. Mistaken for just another drug addict, Stacy gets close enough to the Vanisher to place him under her pheromone control. About two weeks later she releases him and tells him that Warren Worthington demands to see him. They meet in a tavern, unaware that both brought back-up as several of the Vanisher’s henchmen as well as Iceman are posing as waiters. When the Vanisher learns that Worthington has bought the designer gene trade from under him while he was in his pheromone-induced state, he tries to teleport away, but Iceman freezes him in place. The other waiters inject themselves with the drugs, transforming into mutants too, but Bobby encases them all in a block of ice. Logan agrees that Warren’s approach was the right one. At the same time, Nightcrawler investigates a church in which a few dead junkies were found. Kurt is shocked to discover that the church’s Cardinal is addicted to designer genes too, as he transforms into a huge monster. Suddenly members of the Church of Humanity teleport in and kill the Cardinal. Since their leader, the Supreme Pontiff, has special plans for Kurt, they leave him unharmed. Later Logan finds Kurt brooding. He admits that he has been putting on a front of frivolity to conceal the recent things he has learned about himself. Logan reminds him that despite everything changing, but the X-Men have saved the world before, and they will do it again.

Full Summary: 

At Worthington Industries Archangel, Wolverine and Chamber sit in Warren's office as Warren's contacts transmit info concerning the Vanisher designer gene business. Logan mocks Warren's methods of tracking down the Vanisher, himself preferring to simply use the tried-and-true "find the bad guy's lair and beat him" technique. Logan asks Jon whose side he is on, and Jono sides with Warren's approach.

In a nearby restaurant, Telford Porter, with total cockiness, proclaims to his new associates his victory in taking over the street-drug trade. He takes one of the drug lords to the secrecy of the restaurant kitchen and demands all info regarding the drug lord's dealers and front companies. Their conversation is interrupted by Stacy X, whom Porter mistakes for a gene junkie. With a touch, Stacy renders the drug lord "unconscious" with her pheromones. She tells Porter that she has a business proposition for him, and asks him if he's ever heard of the X-Ranch.

At St. Paul's church, Nightcrawler 'ports in, demanding an explanation from Cardinal Hammond concerning the dead junkies found in the church's basement. As a syringe falls from the Cardinal's hands, Kurt realizes, to his horror, that Hammond himself is a gene junkie. The Cardinal transforms into a hulking black beast, and mistaking Kurt for a demon, begins to attack him. Given no choice, Nightcrawler begins to choke the Cardinal to death with his robes, but he is flung away by Hammond. As Hammond prepares for the death blow, three soldiers from the Church of Humanity teleport in. With moral outrage, they condemn Hammond for "succumbing to the temptations of mutant immorality," and proceed to blast him to death with their energy rifles. They are about to kill Kurt, when one of the soldiers recognizes him as one who the Supreme Pontiff has "plans" for. They teleport away, leaving Kurt alone inside the church.

(two weeks later)

In Porter's Plaza Hotel suite, Porter and Stacy relax in a jacuzzi. Porter is in pheromone-induced ecstasy. He gloats about how the X-Ranch will be a new franchise, another part of his empire. Stacy touches him, and suddenly Porter snaps out of his state. Stacy tells him that he has been under her influence for two weeks now. Porter declares that she is dead, but Stacy tells him that a friend of hers wishes to meet with him.

Logan arrives at his apartment, and finds Kurt moaning with fear in his sleep. Logan wonders what is bothering his friend.

In the Tavern on the Green, Warren meets with the Vanisher. Porter angrily declares that Warren cannot possibly do anything to hurt him or his empire, which is why he agreed to the meeting. Yet Warren points out that the experience with Stacy proves that he indeed can be touched and harmed. Warren tells Porter to make a call to his people. Porter agrees, confidently telling Warren that he has surrounded himself by his own henchmen in the restaurant. Meanwhile Iceman posing as a waiter, pours wine for an elderly couple.

Porter contacts one of his men, Mr. Finch, who informs him that Porter's former employees have all deserted him because a Mr. Worthington doubled his offer. Porter is shocked: Warren has bought the designer gene trade from under him while he was in his pheromone-induced state. Enraged, Porter begins spouting threats and starts to teleport away. Unfortunately for him, Bobby appears behind him and freezes him in place. Warren declares that, since he now controls the drug trade, he'll have the genes off the streets by morning. Behind them, several waiters inject themselves with syringes. They begin to transform into various types of mutants while the patrons flee in terror as Wolverine watches the action unfold from outside. Iceman tells Archangel to get clear while he deals with Porter's men. After a few seconds, Bobby emerges. The three re-enter the restaurant to see all of Porter's men frozen in a giant block of ice.

Back in Worthington Industries, Warren congratulates the team on their success. Kurt kisses Stacy's hand, commenting on her espionage skills before 'porting out. Jono notices that Kurt has been acting strange ever since Europe. Warren and Logan shake hands, Logan admitting that Warren did a good job. Chamber wonders if Stacy really considers franchising the X-Ranch, though she says it does seem like much of a priority anymore. However if the X-Ranch would reopen, he’d always get a discount.

Logan finds Kurt brooding on the roof. Kurt admits that he has been putting on a front of frivolity to conceal the recent things he has learned about himself. Logan reminds him that everything is changing: Professor X can walk again, Beast is mutating, and Banshee was nearly killed for his efforts to change the world. Kurt responds that even with each good change, the potential for disaster still lurks. Logan assures him that the X-Men have changed the world before, and they will do it again.

Characters Involved: 

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

several of the Vanisher’s henchmen

a druglord
Cardinal Hammond

Members of the Church of Humanity

Story Notes: 

This is the final Issue of Joe Casey's run as writer on Uncanny X-Men. Chuck Austen takes over next issue.

The issue is subtitled Rocktopia – part 8 of 5. Besides there would be no eighth issue of a five-part storyline, it is the only issue entitled Rocktopia. Apparently it is a pun based on the four part storyline Poptopia (Uncanny X-Men #395-398) at the start of Casey’s run.

As can be seen in Uncanny X-Men #399, the X-Ranch was a brothel with mutant prostitutes.
Of all the changes mentioned in the final scene :

- Beast mutated off panel between X-Treme X-Men #3 and New X-Men #114.

- Xavier regained the use of his legs in New X-Men #126 when his body was healed by Xorn.

- Banshee was stabbed through the throat by Mystique in Uncanny X-Men #406.

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