Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #410

Issue Date: 
October 2002
Story Title: 
Hope - part 1

Chuck Austen (writer), Ron Garney (penciler), Mark Morales (inker), 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, Iceman, Archangel, Nightcrawler and Stacey X, as well as Monet, on-loan from X-Corporation, are heading to Scotland after Xavier reported a distress call he picked up. Tensions run high between Stacey and Monet, and soon their jet is attacked by large fireballs which are fired from a nearby island. Monet is blasted through an opening in the hull, while Nightcrawler is forced to crash the jet on the island, bursting it through a castle. In Vancouver, a young boy with a fish-like appearance, Sammy Pare, is bullied by some other kids. He arrives home and goes to a field, where he has a small hide-out. Inside, he has a gun hidden away that he puts in his pocket and returns home, where he finds that Professor Charles Xavier is waiting for him. Xavier invites Sammy to the Xavier Institute. Sammy is very keen to go, and he meets the Beast who is piloting the jet that Xavier arrived in. Xavier realizes Sammy has a gun with him, and confiscates it. As they prepare to leave Vancouver, Xavier contacts the X-Men, and learns that they are in danger and injured. To complicate matters, the Juggernaut has appeared!

Full Summary: 

Vancouver, Canada. A boy walks down a street, when suddenly, several bullies surround him. ‘What happened to you, Squid-Boy? How come you’re so ugly?’ one of the bullies asks. ‘Your momma do it with a fish?’ another inquires. ‘Is that were you came from? Your mom climb into the fish tank and do the nasty with Mister Bubbles?’ he asks. The boy steps into view - his appearance is clearly that of a fish. ‘Look at him. He’s gonna cry!’ one of the bullies shouts. ‘What’s’a matter, Squid-Boy? You gonna cry?’ another asks. The taunts continue as one of the bullies declares that nobody loves the little Squid-Boy, before one of them suddenly spits in his face!

The boy stops in his tracks and looks down, while clenching his fists. The boys all howl with laughter, before one of them shouts ‘Loser!’ and shoves the boy, forcing him down into a puddle of mud. The boys laugh again, and the bully who pushed him announces that he was getting all dirty, so he probably saved his life. When the bullies leave, pleased with their work, the boy leans against a fence. ‘I’m a loser. A geek. A mutant. And not one of the good kind’ he tells himself, rubbing his face, and decides that the good mutants have brain powers that can melt their enemies’ skulls into jelly, and set fire to their eyeballs. ‘I don’t have brain powers. I’m not even good at math’. He picks up a stick and drags it along the ground, then along the fences which outline properties. ‘I’m just a turd’ he tells himself.

Soon, the boy reaches his home, where his mother is waiting on the porch for him. ‘There you are, Sammy. I was getting worried’ Sammy’s mother calls out. ‘Why?’ Sammy asks. ‘Because…are you all right?’ his mother asks him. Sammy replies that he is fine, and his mother asks him to come in and change, as they have company coming. ‘Okay’ Sammy replies, before telling his mother that first he is going to go to the field, just for a minute. ‘No, Sammy. Come in like I told you’ his mother calls out, reminding him that there are rusty nails and broken glass all over the field, that it is not safe.

Sammy ignores his mother, and shuffles over to the field. Shopping carts and broken cars are scattered throughout the field. A few planks of wood are nailed together against a large tree, and a sign says “get lost” is taped to it. ‘If I want, I can breathe underwater. But who wants to do that? What is there to do underwater except look at other things that remind me of how ugly I am? I don’t want to breathe underwater’ Sammy tells himself as he lifts up the flap and enters the small “fort”. Inside, “voodoo dolls” of Sammy’s bullies are strung from the ceiling. Several jars are lined against a wall, which has a picture of the Blob taped to it. Small candles light the dank room, as Sammy tells himself ‘I want to not breathe underwater’. He reaches for a newspaper and thinks to himself that he wants to swim down to the bottom of the pool, lie on his back with his eyes open and not breathe.

He opens the newspaper, a copy of the Daily Bugle, it’s headline says “Mutant Haven Leveled”, and a photo of the X-Man Cyclops is seen. Hidden in the paper is a gun. Sammy picks it up and tells himself that there is nowhere left to go - just the bottom of the pool, where it is quiet and peaceful. ‘The question is…am I going to the bottom of the pool alone?’ Sammy wonders. Suddenly, his mother can be heard calling out to him. ‘Sammy! Will you get back over here and out of that field like I told you?’ Sammy hangs his head and walks back towards his house with his hands in his pocket.

As he reaches the street, Sammy is shocked to see his mother standing next to a bald man with a cane, a large aircraft behind them, parked in the middle of the street, which has received the attention of some neighbors. ‘I told you we were expecting a visitor’ Sammy’s mother tells him. The bald man looks down at Sammy and shakes his hand, asking him how he is. Sammy just stares up at the new arrival, before the bald man introduces himself as Charles Xavier. ‘I’m here to offer you what I think is a wondrous opportunity’ Xavier announces, and a smiling Sammy begins to cry.

Meantime, another high-tech aircraft streaks across an ocean. ‘So where’s Xavier sending us? What’s in Scotland?’ Stacey X asks. Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Archangel explains that Xavier detected a weakening mutant signal, before he cut off. Warren adds that he is sure the Professor will get back to them soon. ‘And what’s with Chamber? He can’t just bolt to college with no notice, right? I mean, isn’t this a job?’ Stacey points out, before remarking ‘I’m not clear on what exactly we X-Men are supposed to be’. This causes Monet St Croix, on loan from the X-Corporation, to ask ‘“We” X-Men? “We”? There is no “we” here, Stacey X‘. The glamorous Monet motions around the jet, announcing ’There is the X-Men…and then there is a mutant prostitute hitching a ride’.

This causes Wolverine a.k.a. Logan to smile, and he exclaims that he thought a nap was going to be the highlight of this trip. ’Monet, that’s really not…’ Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner begins, trying to calm the situation, but Stacey can look after herself, and snaps ’Hey, princess. Men pay money to be with me. When men sleep with you - they’re only aroused by daddy’s wallet’. ’STACEY!’ Archangel scolds her.
Suddenly, there is a loud noise. ‘What the hell was that?’ Warren asks. ‘Something that went “whoom” and then went “chunk”, and eventually goes “reeee” Nightcrawler points out. Stacey X remarks that it sounds like something just tore off, to which Wolverine pops his claws and declares that things are getting more fun by the minute. ‘We don’t want that happening at several hundred miles an hour’ Monet points out. ‘No, really. Ya think?’ Bobby “Iceman” Drake mutters.

Suddenly, as the X-Men approach an island, several large fireballs are fired at them, one of which strikes the X-jet, and as it causes part of the hull to break off, Monet’s seat is released, and she falls through the opening. She doesn’t get far though, as some cables attached to her seat get caught on the jagged opening, and she is suspended in the air. ‘Hang on, Monet!’ Stacey X calls out as she gets out of her seat and tries to help bring Monet back into the jet. Stacey holds onto the cable and jumps up to try and grab Monet. ‘Idiot. I’m invulnerable!’ Monet shouts, telling Stacey that she should have stayed in her seat. ‘Oh…oh hell, oh my God!’ Stacey calls out as she struggles to get back inside the jet. Warren calls out to Stacey, while Nightcrawler tries to steer the jet towards the island.

‘Oh, God! I’m going to die!’ Stacey exclaims. Warren flies up through the opening and tells her that she is not going to die, that he will not let her. An instant later, the X-jet slams into the island, bounces a couple of times, before bursting through a castle, shattering the wall.

Back in Vancouver, Sammy recalls Xavier’s words - “a wondrous opportunity” and decides that he likes the way Xavier said it. His voice, his accent. He keeps replaying it over in his head. Xavier, Sammy and his mother are all seated at the dining table, while Sammy’s father stands behind his wife and son. Sammy thinks to himself that his parents are asking a lot of stupid questions - like how much, to which the answer is nothing. Sammy thinks that the worst question his parents ask is “We hear it’s not safe. That you had some…problems and a lot of students left”. Sammy spends a horrible minute worrying that Xavier is angry, that he has changed his mind and will leave him here alone.

But he doesn’t, and Xavier explains that there will be problems, but that he is equipped to handle it. Sammy digs the way he says “equipped”, like he could melt skulls. Sammy’s father frowns, but later that evening, Sammy is packing, and ready to go. He stands on the porch as night settles over Vancouver, and standing next to the X-jet, Xavier is speaking with a local police officer, who remarks that he and his partner used to drive out to Groom Lake back when you could still get close without getting shot. ‘I love this kind of stuff. You must be pretty rich’ the officer adds, looking at the X-jet. ‘I get by’ Charles replies. The officer asks Charles if he understands that he is not supposed to land this on a public street though.

Charles explains that it was an emergency situation and that it will not be repeated. ‘Too bad. Cause if it happened again, I might have to do a personal inspection’ the officer remarks. ‘Next time I’m in town’ Charles assures him. ‘Next time’ the officer replies as he waves goodbye. Sammy looks up at Charles, who asks him if he is all set and ready to go. Sammy’s parents watch from the porch, while Sammy just utters ‘You’ve got brain powers’. Xavier smiles and explains that the technical term is telepathy, but that yes, essentially he has brain powers. ‘And a certain amount of charm’ Xavier adds, before they climb the stairs into the X-jet. Sammy asks Xavier if he didn’t make the officer go away, to which Charles explains that he believes in personal freedom for all, and claims he would never rob that freedom with invasive manipulation, unless lives depended on it.

‘Can you melt people’s skulls?’ Sammy asks. Charles replies that he doesn’t know, as it is something he has never tried. Sitting in the pilot chair is Doctor Henry McCoy a.k.a. the Beast, whom Xavier introduces Sammy to. ‘Whooa!’ Sammy gasps. Henry extends a hand and tells Sammy that he can call him Hank, or Beast if he prefers. ‘Dude, you are like, totally stylin’…Beast!’ Sammy exclaims, adding that he wished he looked like him, then no one would ever mess with him. Hank remarks that he doesn’t think he has ever gotten that reaction before, but that he will take it as a compliment. Charles announces that something told him the two of them meeting might be mutually beneficial. ‘A little bird, perhaps?’ Hank asks. ‘He’s got brain powers’ Sammy declares. ‘Does he now? In all our years together, I never realized’ the Beast smiles.

‘I’m sorry…I guess I should’a known you…I mean…’ his voice trails off. Charles tells the young mutant that it is all right, that he realizes this is a little exciting and overwhelming. ‘But now that you know how I restrict my mental gifts, Sammy - I’m sure you can understand that I cannot allow unsupervised weapons of any kind at my school’ Charles states. Sammy looks at him wide-eyed, before reaching into his pants and pulling out the gun and handing it to Charles, who frowns. ‘Well, well…’ Hank whispers. Sammy claims that he didn’t want to leave the gun, in case someone found it, they might get hurt.

Xavier tells Sammy that was very wise, before suggesting he take his seat and strap himself in. Sammy looks up at Xavier for some time, before turning and walking to his seat. ‘That’s it. We have a short trip ahead of us, but it pays to be safe’ Charles explains. Hank asks Charles if this has anything to do with their sudden descent onto a public street. ‘It has everything to do with our sudden descent onto a public street’ Charles replies, examining the gun. Charles then excuses himself for a moment as he re-connects with Warren and the others to complete his instructions on their mission. But concentrating hard, Charles finds that something is wrong.

At the castle, Charles’s astral form appears above the destruction caused by the X-jet crashing with the castle. Charles calls out to Kurt, who is slumped over the controls of the X-jet. ‘Logan!’ Xavier calls out, but gets no response as Wolverine lies with a sharp piece of wood impaled through his chest. No response either from Monet, who lies amongst the rubble strewn near the plane. Warren and Stacey are also lying outside the plan, but Stacey rouses once Charles calls out to her telepathically. ‘What? What?’ Stacey gasps, getting up, before she sees Warren, and tries to wake him. Charles tells Stacey that he can see Warren through her, but cannot feel him, and asks if he is breathing.

Stacey replies that he isn’t, and begins to panic, she shouts ‘Someone help me, please! He isn’t breathing! Warren’s not breathing!’ Calmly, Xavier asks her if she knows CPR. Stacey replies that she doesn’t, and tells Xavier to stop yelling in her head. Charles explains that he can teach her, that he can do the CPR through her, when suddenly, Stacey notices Wolverine, whose body has a large stake sticking through his chest. Stacey goes wide-eyed and shouts ‘They’re all dead, Professor. My God, they’re all dead! Why did you send us here?’ she screams it once more, and her voice can be heard across the island.

In the X-jet, Charles informs Henry that he cannot get through to Stacey, that he cannot calm her. Henry explains that Stacey is probably in shock, pointing out that she has not been trained for these types of missions. Henry suggests Charles tries stimulating her serotonin levels. But Charles replies that he wants to calm her, not put her to sleep, before deciding on hormonal stimulation, perhaps her adrenal gland. Xavier concentrates hard as he tries to reduce her “fight” or “flight” impulse, and he speaks to her once more, telling her to calm down. ‘You are my eyes and hands there, and I need you to relax’ he tells her. ‘The lives of the X-Men depend on it! Charles announces. Sammy goes wide-eyed as he watches and listens to Xavier in action.

Leaning over Warren’s body, Stacey assures the Professor that she is better now. ‘Good. Excellent’ Xavier replies, before asking Stacey to relax and let him take over so they can administer the CPR. Stacey does so, and Nightcrawler emerges from the X-jet, ‘Aye, carumba’ he declares, before telling Stacey that he bets she thought he was going to say something cute in German. When he sees Stacey seemingly kissing Warren, Kurt asks her to tell him that she is kissing Warren out of gratitude. ‘He’s…he’s dead, Kurt. Please, help me!’ Stacey gasps. Kurt drops down beside her and helps with compressions, telling Stacey to handle the breathing, while he takes care of the heart. Kurt then asks where Monet is. Stacey casually replies ‘Over there, somewhere’.

Iceman emerges from the jet as Xavier’s astral form explains that he received a distress call over the hotline that he maintains, and after some investigating, it seemed quite legitimate. Xavier announces that, obviously, he is worried he has sent the X-Men into a trap. Suddenly, Kurt looks horrified and utters ‘Juggernaut’. ‘I’m sorry, Kurt, what did you say?’ Charles asks. ‘I said, JUGGERNAUT!’ Kurt gasps, as indeed, the unstoppable Juggernaut marches towards the battered X-Men….

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Beast, Iceman, Nightcrawler, Stacey X, Wolverine, Professor X (all X-Men)

M II (member of X-Corporation)


Squidboy / Samuel Pare

Mr & Mrs Pare



Police officer

Story Notes: 

Debut issue of Uncanny X-Men for writer Chuck Austen.

First appearance of Sammy Pare, who would take the name Squidboy.

The poster in Sammy's fort is the cover of Uncanny X-Men #402, which was the last issue that artist Ron Garney had done.

Actually Chamber did not simply leave to get a college education, but he is there undercover to investigate the murder of several mutants (in his own limited series). Apparently Stacy is not aware of this.

The next issue reveals that the castle is intended to be Cassidy Keep, the ancestral home of Banshee, Siryn and Black Tom. However Cassidy Keep is located in Ireland, not Scotland, which only makes sense, as the three characters are Irish too.

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