Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #416

Issue Date: 
February 2003
Story Title: 
Living in a Mansion

Chuck Austen (writer), Kia Asamiya (artist), JD Smith (colorist), Paul Turone (letterer), Mike Raicht & Nova Ren Suma (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

CB Cebulski & Aki Yanagi (special thanks)

Brief Description: 

Nightcrawler encounters Iceman experimenting with his powers, and asks if he wants to accompany him and Stacy-X back to the X-Ranch. Iceman makes comments about the state of the X-Men and how it seems anyone can hang around the Mansion and call themselves an X-Man. He inadvertently upsets Nightcrawler during this. Stacy-X, meanwhile is still in the infirmary, but has her bandages removed. During the process, Nurse Annie is very distracted as Professor X is in the infirmary, still trying to reach the comatose Havok. Stacy-X tries to shock Nurse Annie by revealing various things to her. Stacy tries to rile up Cyclops as well, but he isn’t interested. Professor X reveals that he has contacted Polaris and that she will arrive in the morning. Annie and Northstar discuss her situation regarding Havok, but Annie still is not seeing sense. Archangel accompanies Nightcrawler and Stacy-X to the X-Ranch, but flies alongside the jet. Stacy is worried Archangel is ignoring her, but Nightcrawler tries to explain that Archangel is getting over Psylocke. After leaving the X-Ranch, Stacy has collected some personal memoirs. Meantime, Juggernaut is leaving the school grounds, and Squidboy accompanies him. Juggernaut seems mean at first, but seems to be slowly warming to the odd mutant child. Squidboy even reveals that he once had a gun and was going to kill his bullies. Their journey takes them some miles away from the institute, to an old house, which Juggernaut begins to demolish. It is the old Marko house. He relives some memories, before continuing to tear the place apart. With the house completely destroyed. Juggernaut and Squidboy seem to have bonded, and sit down to watch the sun set.

Full Summary: 

Xavier’s Mansion, the Institute for Higher Learning, on a cloudy day, Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner walks through the corridors of the mansion, when he startles two young students, including Glob Herman, who exclaims ‘Huh - huh - hey. How’s it happening? I mean -’ before Nightcrawler greets them, and replies that it is happening just fine. The other student looks at Glob after Nightcrawler passes them and quotes “How’s it happening?”, before asking Glob where he learned to talk. ‘I got nervous! That’s an X-Man!’ Glob replies. While Nightcrawler knocks on one of the doors down the hall, the other student replies ‘I know that. What am I, stupid? I go to school here, too. Night-something’. ‘Nightcrawler’ Glob states. ‘I thought you said you weren’t stupid’ Glob remarks.

Glob asks the other student what Nightcrawler’s power is, to which the other student announces that he walks through walls. ‘Come in!’ a voice calls out to Kurt from the other side of the door. ‘No, dummy - he teleports’ Glob states. ‘Don’t dummy me, Mister “How’s It Happening”. You know they don’t let you in the X-Men if you can’t do good grammar’ the other mutant declares. ‘Can’t DO good grammar?’ Glob mutters, while Kurt enters the room, and greets Bobby “Iceman” Drake, asking him ‘How’s it happening?’ Sitting on the floor in the middle of his room, icicles formed throughout his quarters, Bobby turns to Kurt and quotes “How’s it happening?”, before asking Kurt if that is some new hip slang or something, before stating that he is happening good - he thinks.

‘How are you?’ Iceman asks Nightcrawler, who replies that he is fine, before motioning to all of the ice in the room and asks Bobby what he is doing, adding that it is rather surreal in here - lovely, but surreal. With two ice-figurines in front of him, Bobby explains that he is attempting some crude animation by freezing and unfreezing adjacent molecules in rhythm. He adds that they might look like they are moving, but that they are actually multiple ice-figures built and evaporated simultaneously. ‘Like hand drawings that simulate movement but don’t actually move’ Bobby adds. ‘Very impressive’ Kurt declares, to which Bobby replies that it isn’t really, but that it is entertaining.

‘So what’s up? You need something or just visiting?’ Bobby enquires. Kurt explains that Stacy actually wants to go back to the X-Ranch to look for some personal things. ‘Just thought I’d see if you wanted to go’ Kurt remarks. Bobby frowns and replies that he doesn’t know, pointing out that this whole thing is getting a little much. ‘I mean, who is Stacy and why’s she hanging around us so much? All right, so she’s a mutant, but she’s not an X-Man. The X-Men are a group - a set group - a family even - not a club anyone can join just because they’ve got the right chromosome’ Bobby declares.

Iceman adds that it has gotten to the point where anyone who hangs out in the lobby for an hour thinks they’re an X-Man. Iceman continues, declaring that the X-Men are Scott, Warren, himself, Hank and Jean - and that everyone else is just a Johnny-come-lately. Nightcrawler frowns, and begins to turn away. Iceman realizes what he just said, and calls out to Kurt: ‘I didn’t mean - you’re not -’ he begins, ‘I know, Bobby. I know’ Kurt remarks, before excusing himself.

Outside, Sammy Pare a.k.a. the young mutant called Squidboy approaches Cain Marko, better known as the Juggernaut, who is wearing a trench coat and approaching the gate. Cain declares that he has to get out of this place. ‘This place is freak central and it’s making my skin crawl’ he declares. Squidboy frowns, to which Juggernaut tells him that he didn’t mean it like that. Cain turns back to Sammy and tells him that it is a great place for him. ‘But for a guy like me, it’s just a freak sh-’ he cuts himself off, realizing what he was about to say. Squidboy hangs his head, and Cain looks down at him. Juggernaut sighs and tells Sammy that he needs to get out for a while and breathe.

Sammy replies that he understands, and adds ‘I just thought…Xavier can’t said he can’t do the enrolment for a couple of hours, so I’ve got some time, and -’, he is interrupted by Cain who asks ‘You think I want you tagging a long with me?’ Squidboy looks forlorn, and utters ‘No. I…uh…I just had some time to kill, so I thought…I mean, I don’t know anybody else here yet, so…I’m sorry’. Cain continues on out the gate, and Sammy tells him that he will see him later. ‘Yeah, well don’t wait up or nothing’ Cain calls back, before he stops, and turns back to Squidboy. ‘Listen, kid…Sammy…’ he begins, but Sammy tells him that it is all right. ‘Go get away from the freaks’ Sammy declares. ‘Look, don’t be a little s- Don’t be a little jerk. I’m trying to tell you I want you to come with me and I’m - ya know - I want you to come with me’ Juggernaut declares. ‘Really?’ Sammy asks. ‘Really. But don’t expect me to buy ice cream or nothing. It ain’t in my nature’ Juggernaut informs Sammy.

Meantime, in the infirmary, Nurse Annie Ghazikhanian tends to the young mutant Stacy X, who motions to another bed where Scott “Cyclops” Summers and Professor Charles Xavier stand, and asks ‘So that’s Cyke’s brother in the bed?’, to which Annie replies ‘Yes, that’s his brother, Alex. Didn’t you know?’, while Cyclops frowns as Professor X attempts to reach into the mind of Alex “Havok” Summers. Stacy tells Annie that she doesn’t know anything, and that Cyclops hasn’t said more than two words to her since she has been here. Stacy admits that she hasn’t been around much longer than Annie, really. Annie remarks that she did not know that, to which Stacy, in a raised voice, directed at Cyclops, calls out ‘Yeah, I know it’s hard to believe, but I haven’t always been an ass-kicking X-Man!’. Cyclops turns his head slightly, but says nothing. Annie smiles as she begins to remove the bandages covering Stacy’s face, and assures her that she will be out kicking butt soon enough, because her skin is growing back nicely. ‘Well, that’s interesting, cause I haven’t even had skin since I was sixteen. I’ve had scales’ Stacy retorts.

Annie replies that she learns more about Stacy by the minute. ‘Scales? Really?’ she asks. ‘Yeah. I got breasts and scales all within a week of one another. Kept my stepfather -’ Stacy begins, before she realizes that Annie’s attention has drifted elsewhere, towards Havok. ‘Kept your stepfather -? - what?’ Annie calls out. ‘Nothing. Never mind’ Stacy mutters, Nightcrawler enters the infirmary and asks Stacy if she is ready to go, as he as an X-Plane with her name on it, ready to go back home to the X-Ranch.

‘Great. Let’s hit it, Kurt’ Stacy calls out as she sits up and puts her jacket on. Annie recommends to Stacy that she doesn’t to anything too strenuous. ‘Your skin is still -’ she begins. ‘Nothing strenuous. Just going back to my old brothel. You know I used to be a prostitute, right?’ Stacy declares, winking at Annie. ‘No, I, uh…I don’t think you mentioned that, either’ Annie remarks. ‘Well I was. A good one’ Stacy boasts, before raising her voice again and directing her speech to Cyclops, she shouts ‘The first X-Man ever to earn her living on her BACK!’ - this gets Cyclops’s attention and he turns to Stacy, telling her that this is an infirmary and she should keep her voice down. ‘If you have a pressing need to perform the “tough girl” show - do it outside’ he declares.

Stacy frowns, before turning and walking away, with Nightcrawler following her: ‘You got in troooouble’ he mocks. Stacy tells him to shut up, while Xavier looks up and tells Scott that he has found nothing, that he simply can’t find Alex’s consciousness. ‘There’s a thread of it attached to his brain, but -’ Xavier begins, before Cyclops interrupts, asking if Stacy disturbed his concentration. Charles assures Scott that he is a little more practiced than that, and assures him that he will try again later, maybe even with Jean and Emma’s combined psychic strength. ‘We’ll solve this’ he declares.

Charles announces that he has also called Lorna, and that she will arrive in the morning. ‘I figured it couldn’t -’ Charles begins, while Cyclops looks over to Annie, who is wrapping some bandages around Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier. ‘Can I speak to you for a moment outside?’ Scott asks the Professor. Both men leave the room, while Jean-Paul tells Annie that he doesn’t think his mouth is injured. Annie looks down and sees that she has been wrapping up Northstar’s face, and quickly apologies to him. Annie reminds Northstar that if he behaved himself a few days ago, he would not be here at all.

‘Oh, don’t start with me, girl’ Northstar declares, remarking that Annie has been so obviously distracted by Alex the Vegetable, that Cyclops is not even keeping her secret anymore. Annie unwraps the bandages, while Cyclops can be seen speaking with the Professor outside of the infirmary. Northstar remarks that, oddly, Cyclops seems to be somewhat understanding - for some reason - of Annie’s affection for his comatose brother. ‘And I’m sure he’s outside right now asking the Professor to be considerate of your feelings in regards to Lorna the “Ex”’ Northstar adds, remarking that this is all the more confusing to him. ‘Well, it makes sense that you’d be attracted to his brother Alex over there - he is handsome. Quite handsome’ Northstar remarks, but points out that Annie is in love with the man when she has never known him as anything more than a warm corpse.

‘This behavior doesn’t seem rational to me, and can’t seem rational to his brother’ Northstar states. ‘Does it seem so to you?’ he asks Annie, who narrows her eyes and replies ‘…no. But when has the heart ever been rational?’ She turns back to Jean-Paul and suggests that she could be a closet necrophiliac. ‘Now there’s an interesting possibility’ Northstar replies.

Three miles outside Xavier’s, Juggernaut and Squidboy walk close together, and the young mutant remarks that the school seems pretty cool, but that he hasn’t had the chance to settle in much yet, as Xavier has been too busy to give him a room assignment or even a tour. ‘But it’s the first place I’ve been where people don’t stare at me like I’m a total freak’ Sammy adds. ‘Mm hmmm’ Cain replies. ‘And then a buncha monkeys flew out my butt and ate the President’ Sammy declares. ‘That’s great, kid’ Cain replies. Sammy stops and looks up at the Juggernaut, and reveals that Nightcrawler told him that Professor X is Juggernaut’s step-brother, and that Cain has spent most of his life trying to kill him.

‘Why? Why would you do that?’ Sammy asks. Cain frowns and declares that it is not really any of Sammy’s business. ‘No. I guess not. I just -’ Sammy begins. ‘You just what?’ Cain asks as he picks up a rock lying on the pavement. Sammy continues on down the path and reveals that he had a gun, and was thinking of killing a bunch of kids from his school because they picked on him all the time. Cain throws the rock, and asks ‘And what? You think that makes us the same?’. Forlorn, Sammy replies that he doesn’t know, and suggests that perhaps inside, he is a villain, like Juggernaut. ‘That’s what you think? That I’m a villain?’ Can asks, while the stone hits a nearby letterbox, smashing it from its pole.

Sammy looks back at the Juggernaut and replies ‘I don’t know, I just -’, but Cain interrupts, explaining that he did what he had to do - what he thought was the right thing for him. ‘Nobody thinks they’re a villain’ he adds. ‘Other people make you a villain’ he tells Sammy. ‘Xavier made me a villain. It’s his fault my father died. My father. I tried to make him pay for that, and I’m the villain!?’ Cain shouts, hurling another rock - and another - and another - at an abandoned house across the street. The rocks smack into the house, and Cain spins around, ‘Dammit, kid! See what you made me do?’ he demands.

Sammy replies that he didn’t do anything, to which Juggernaut asks ‘Oh, what? You’re gonna backtalk me now? Is that what you’re gonna do?’ But Sammy just asks Cain why he is blaming him. ‘You always blame people for something you did?’ he asks. Cain raises his voice, and raises a fist: ‘How dare you talk to me -’ he begins, before narrowing his eyes, looking down at the fallen letter box - with the name “Marko” painted in red on it. Cain stops in his tracks, and turns away from Sammy, who calls out to him, asking him what is wrong. Standing in front of the house, Cain grits his teeth and replies ‘Nothing, I - I used to live here’ he reveals.

Meantime, somewhere over the Midwest, Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Archangel soars alongside the X-Plane, where inside, Stacy glances out the window at the handsome hero and asks Nightcrawler if he is sure Warren isn’t avoiding her. Glancing back from the pilot’s seat, Kurt assures Stacy that Warren likes to fly, and points out that most of the time, his wings are all cramped up or folded in, so this is release for him. ‘If you say so’ Stacy mutters, before telling Kurt that Warren has become so weird about that “almost kiss”. ‘Has he got a girlfriend or something who might be jealous?’ Stacy asks.

Nightcrawler tells her that there was someone Warren loved very much - Betsy - except she loved someone else. ‘He broke up with her, but that didn’t mean he stopped loving her’ Kurt remarks, before explaining that not long ago, Betsy was killed. ‘I didn’t know’ Stacy replies, to which Kurt tells her that there is no reason she should. He points out that Warren is a very private person, even with his friends. ‘He’s been through things we can only guess at’ Kurt tells Stacy, as they continue onwards.

Back at the abandoned Marko house, Cain has ditched the trench coat and puts his Juggernaut helmet on as he strides towards the house. ‘Cain, what are you going to do?’ Sammy asks, wondering why he put his Juggernaut armor on. Cain just tells Sammy to watch himself, and he begins to rip a window pane from the house, before punching away at the walls. A large hole is created, and Cain enters the house. Memories flood into Juggernaut’s mind, as he remembers farewelling his father, who casually replied ‘Yeah, well don’t wait up or anything, Cain’.

‘Cain, what are you looking at?’ Sammy enquires as he observes Cain simply staring ahead. There is silence, before Cain replies ‘The past’. The memories continue, and Cain remembers his father saying ‘You’re going to love it. We’re going to live in a mansion’. The young Cain replied ‘But I like it here. All my friends are here’. Cain’s father, Dr Marko, told his son that he will make new friends, better friends, from a better class of people. ‘But what’s wrong with my friends?’ the young Cain asked, while Juggernaut remembers the discussion. He continues on through the house, remembering an incident where his father yelled at him, blaming him for breaking a bottle of alcohol. ‘I didn’t do anything, Dad!’ young Cain called out.

Juggernaut walks past his childhood bedroom, the door boarded up, but a sign still remains tacked to it: Cain’s room: no trespassing. Cain remembers lying on his bed, and his father standing over him, removing his belt. ‘You want to cry about us moving? I’ll give you something to cry about!’ his father shouted. ‘We’re going to live in a mansion! You hear me?’ he boomed as he whacked the belt down on his agonised son, who cried. The memory causes Juggernaut to go into a rage - he shouts, before beginning to punch his way through the bedroom, smashing the walls and ceiling, causing many walls and planks to fall around Squidboy, who quickly rushes out of the door.

Later, at the X-Ranch, the X-Plane takes off, and Archangel takes to the sky after it. ‘So, Stacy…find anything worth keeping?’ Kurt asks. Smiling as she looks at a photo, Stacy replies ‘A few things’, and explains that she found a picture of she and some of the girls. ‘It’s a little burnt, but not bad’ she adds. She looks at the photo, depicting herself, Fat Nancy and Madame Drache. Stacy remarks ‘Fat Nancy. That’ what she called herself. We never called her that, though, we loved her too much’ Stacy explains. She adds that Fat Nancy was so happy to be at the X-Ranch. To be sexy, that men would want her -that they’d come back to be with her.

Stacy continues, telling Kurt that underneath it all, they were just girls - little girls playing dress-up, being sexy - trailer trash, living in a mansion. ‘I’m sorry’ Kurt tells her. Stacy replies that the Ranch was like heaven for them, as they had friends, company, they talked about boys and watched romantic movies and had pillow fights. ‘Pillow fights?’ Kurt enquires. ‘Oh, yeah, Sometimes - late at night - we’d all be lounging around naked and -’ Stacy begins, to which Kurt frowns and interrupts her, asking her what else she found. Stacy rifles through her belongings, and tells Kurt that it is nothing that will get him going like those pillow fights. ‘Just a few scraps, photos…a bunch of things that didn’t mean much…to anyone but me’ Stacy explains, while looking at two video tapes and frowning.

Back at the Marko house, there are loud noises and dust billows into the air as the house comes tumbling down. Cain laughs as he emerges from the rubble, before muttering that the dust is making it difficult for him to breathe. ‘Gee, I wonder why?’ Squidboy mutters, before asking Cain if he is done yet. ‘Why - you bored?’ Juggernaut replies. ‘No’ Sammy tells him, adding that he just wants to know what Cain has got against this house. ‘More than you can ever imagine, kid’ Cain announces. ‘Like what? I waited this long…least you could do is fill me in’ Sammy asks as he reaches into his bag and pulls out two cans of root beer. He throws one up to Cain, who catches it.

‘So spill about the place’ Sammy asks. Cain explains that it isn’t the place, but what it represents. ‘You were right. I been blaming other people for my mistakes - same way my dad blamed other people. Blamed me - for his’ Can declares. Juggernaut states that it is time he stopped blaming and started appreciating. ‘I mean, look at you and me. Two poor kids with no friends, no future, no hope - and because of Xavier - we’re going to live in a mansion!’. With that, Cain and Sammy sit down on some rubble, clink their cans of root beer together, and watch the sunset in the distance.

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Cyclops, Iceman, Juggernaut, Nightcrawler, Northstar, Stacy X, Professor X (all X-Men)


Nurse Annie Ghazikhanian

Glob Herman, Squidboy and other students

In Juggernaut’s memory

Cain Marko

Dr Curt Marko

In Photograph

Stacy X, Fat Nancy, Madame Drache

Story Notes: 

Lorna is of course Lorna “Polaris” Dane - Havok’s long term off-again-on-again lover, and member of the X-Men, X-Factor and Muir Island X-Me. She was last seen in New X-Men #132.

Northstar’s injuries are a result of defending Iceman from the clay-mutant Rober’ in Uncanny X-Men #415.

Squidboy’s gun incident took place in Uncanny X-Men #410.

Betsy Braddock a.k.a. Psylocke was slain in X-Treme X-Men #2-3.

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