Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #427

Issue Date: 
September 2003
Story Title: 
The Dead Have No Rights

Chuck Austen (writer), Steven Kim (penciler), Morales, Green & Florea (inkers), JD Smith (colorist), Rus Wooten (letterer), Phillip Tan (cover artist), Warren Simons (assistant editor), Mike Raicht (associate editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Husk, Jubilee and Archangel are paying their last respects to Skin at a graveyard in Los Angeles when Jubilee reveals she feels bad because she denied Skin. Husk tries to cheer her up after Warren leaves to go on some personal business. Two workers arrive at the graveyard to dig Skin up because he is a mutant, which goes against the religiously backed grounds of the cemetery. At a children’s hospital, Warren offers to use his abilities to heal all the children he can, hoping also to learn the limitations of his new healing power, after a test, the senior doctor allows him to. While Jubilee goes to talk to the cemetery manager, who is having an argument with his wife over the phone, Husk gets into a fight with the workers, one of whom she accidentally outs as a mutant with the ability to transform his body into steel. As Husk and he battle, Jubilee and the manager return, Jeremy gets fired for being a mutant and the manager offers to cremate Skin for them. Later, he gives the X-Men the remains, and after they leave he gets a phone call from his wife, who reveals that their terminally ill daughter was healed by an Angel.

Full Summary: 

Beverly Glen Cemetery, Los Angeles, where three members of the Uncanny X-Men, Warren Worthington the third, Paige Guthrie and the most recent re-addition to the team, Jubilation Lee, stand over the gravestone of Angelo “Skin” Espinoza, who was part of Generation X alongside Paige and Jubilee. Skin, alongside Jubilee and four other mutants, some also associated with the X-Men were crucified by the Church of Humanity. Jubilee and Magma survived, while Skin and the others did not. Jubilee tells Paige that she feels terrible being here, but the compassionate Paige tells Jubilee not to, as Angelo would never hold anything against her, and she knows it.

Jubilee clutches her trademark yellow trenchcoat and tells the Kentucky-born mutant called Husk that she thinks the point is Skin did want to hold something against her – literally she means – but she wouldn’t let him. Warren Worthington, somewhat older than the two girls and Paige’s current boyfriend doesn’t know much of what went on between the close-knit members of Generation X and he asks Jubilee what she is talking about. Paige tells the original X-Man, codenamed “Archangel” that Angelo asked Jubilee out before he was killed, and she said “no”, Husk adds that Jubilee is being all stupid about it now, as Jubilee answers back that she isn’t, but is wondering if perhaps she made a mistake for both her and Angelo. She looks to the ground forlorn as she says ‘If maybe I could have made his last days happy ones’.

Warren smiles, and trying to cheer Jubilee up, he tells her that she shouldn’t waste time making herself feel guilty in a situation like this, that it is just a destructive waste of energy. Husk and Jubilee both look at Archangel a little crossly as he quickly apologizes, realizing that his words came across more as commands, than advice. Paige rolls her eyes as he adds that it is a hard habit for him to break. Warren spreads his feathery wings telling the girls he feels like he is intruding somewhat, before announcing that there is something he wanted to do anyway. Jubilee laughs as Warren calls them “ladies” when he leaves.

As Paige watches her boyfriend leave, Jubilee tells her that she thinks Warren is really sweet and handsome, and she can tell that he likes her a lot. She asks Paige what her problem is, and almost whining, Paige tells Jubilee that it isn’t her, but Warren, and adds that he has been giving her the cold shoulder ever since Chamber arrived back at the Institute a couple of weeks ago. Paige announces that Warren thinks she is still in love with Jono, and so he is “trying to give me space” she mocks, before calling Warren an idiot and telling Jubilee that she doesn’t want space, but the complete opposite – to get naked with him!

Standing over his grave, Jubilee announces that she wishes she could get naked with Angelo, before wondering if she missed her chance at happiness. Husk asks Jubilee if this is why she is all upset, because she thinks she lost her chance? Jubilee admits to Husk that she misses Skin more than she ever thought she would, remembering how irritating he could be sometimes. She wonders if she did love him, but didn’t know it. Husk puts her arms on Jubilee’s shoulders and tells her that there is no question about that, ‘you absolutely did love him’. Husk smiles, and tickling Jubilee’s check she tells her that if she ever calls her “Paigey” again she will be buried down with Angelo.

Jubilee turns around and hugs Husk, burying her face into her for comfort, and Husk tries to console her, hugging back, she tells Jubilee that she is here for her – before looking up and seeing two men dressed in overalls with shovels and a tractor standing nearby. The shorter man waves at the girls and tells them not to mind them that they can wait until the girls are finished and dig Angelo up later. Jubilee turns to the men and as both girls look shocked, she says ‘You can do what?’

Soon, at a children’s hospital in Los Angeles, Warren walks through the reception area, much to the amusement of children and shock of parents. As he approaches a desk, the woman behind it asks Warren if she can help him with anything, leaning on the desk Warren tells her that he would like to see whomever is in charge of the facility, that he has a unique proposition for them.

Back at the cemetery, Jubilee and Paige walk over to the workers and ask them what they mean, “you can dig him up when we’re done?” The shorter man asks the girls if the knew their friend was a mutant, and that some of the other tenants have complained about this, so they have been ordered to dig him up and remove him. ‘Cremate him’ the taller man tells the girls. Furious, Jubilation raises her voice and announces to the men that Angelo is buried next to his mother and grandparents, with an equally raised voice Paige tells the men that they are not going to cremate him, or dig him up at all.

The taller man looks a little nervous as his friend tells the girls that they are wrong, the girls just fold their arms and stand their ground. The men smile wickedly as they tell the girls that they don’t make the rules, and so if they don’t like them they should go talk to the manager, and they tell them he is down in the main office by the gate. Husk tells Jubilee to go talk to the manager while she holds the fort here. Jubilee asks Husk if she is sending her because her powers are ‘wimpier than yours’? Husk tells her that it right, and Jubilee replies ‘Okay, just clarifying’.

Back at the hospital, Warren stands before the senior doctor in charge of the hospital and several other staff, the main doctor asks Warren if what he is saying is that his blood actually has the power to heal, which is part of his mutation, and that he would like to learn it’s limitations? Warren confirms that with the doctor, who tells his assistant, Ramona, that they will take a sample of Warren’s blood and run tests for viruses like hepatitis and AIDS – Warren cuts the doctor off and tells him the mutants cannot acquire AIDS. The doctor agrees with Warren, before telling him that for all he knows, Warren is just a crazy person with a glue gun and dead plucked chickens taped to his back. Warren laughs and tells the doctor that he could be right, before telling them he is sure they would agree that a glue gun and feathers ‘wouldn’t allow me to do this’ and he stretches his wings out full length displaying them in all their might. The doctor tells Ramona to get him a scalpel.

Back at the cemetery, Jubilee approaches that main office, where inside, the manager is on the phone, talking to his wife, where the two are having a heated conversation about how something is causing them both to be very exhausted. Jubilee barges in and angrily, she says ‘You the manager?’ The manager tells his wife he will have to call her back He tells his wife he is not being insensitive, but someone is in his office. Jubilee slams her fist down on his desk and asks him what he thinks he is doing digging up Angelo Espinoza’s body? The manager tells his wife that he knows she needs him, as Jubilee starts raving again, telling the manger Angelo has a right to be buried where he is, as he wanted to be near his family and the have paid for that plot.

Jubilee presses the hang-up button on the phone telling the manager he can talk to his ‘little chickee’ later, the manger raises his voice now too, mad that Jubilee hung up on his wife. Jubilee tells him that his wife can wait, as there are goons outside right now trying to dig up her friend. The manager is annoyed that this is all about Angelo Espinoza, and he reveals to Jubilee that he and Angelo’s family had an agreement, a legal contract, on which they lied by saying that no member of their family was affected by the X-gene. Pointing his finger around the place, he tells Jubilee that as a religiously backed institution they are within their legal rights to deny anyone for any reason at all, a burial plot if it is within conflict with their other internees. ‘And mutancy conflicts with our religious beliefs’ he yells at her.

Jubilee lowers her voice as she tells the manager that Angelo’s family was poor, that they barely had enough money to pay for the common plots, that it should be their right – the manager tells Jubilee that they have no rights, that the dead have no rights before reminding her that as Angelo has no family members left to pay for his reburial, it means that his remains must be cremated at their expenses. He adds that if Jubilee doesn’t want the remains just disposed of, she can take them with her. Jubilee just looks helplessly to the ground.

Back at the hospital, the doctor cuts into his own arm, before doing the same to Warren, as Warren tells the doctor to make his cut deeper and longer than his so that it will not have time to heal. The doctor is astonished that Warren’s wound has already started to heal around the knife, before they quickly press their arm wounds together, and when Warren tells the doctor it should only take a couple of seconds, which it does, the separate their arms, and the doctor stares in amazement at his completely healed and scarless arm. Warren looks down rather sheepishly as the doctor and Ramona stare at him, before the doctor grabs Warrens arm and pulls him out of the room, and rushing him elsewhere.

Back at the cemetery, the larger worker leans on his spade and tells Paige that he could make her move. ‘You could try’ Husk snaps back at him, before he asks her if she is challenging him, that she thinks she could really stand up to him. Husk corrects him and tells him she knows she could stand up to him before smirking and trying to get him worked up, she tells him that he is the only one here who thinks he can do things he cant. The large man walks over to Paige as he tells her ‘you got stones’ Paige corrects him as she rips off her skin, telling him that she is stone! ‘Wanna wrestle?’ she asks.

The graveyard worker realizes she is a mutant and lashes out at her with a punch, but Husk catches it and tells the man he is stupid, before attempting to lift him up He grabs Paige’s head within his own hand and tries to knee her in the stomach, until they all hear a loud ‘crack’. Paige clutches her stomach as she asks him if he did not hear the part when she said she was stone? The older man calls out to his co-worker – whose name is Jeremy – as he clutches his knee. As a strange clanging sound starts, Jeremy raises his voice and proclaims that ‘it’ is going to start.

Husk looks around a little worried and asks what the noise is, before Jeremy’s flesh is replaced by a steel skin. ‘Whoa, another Colossus’ Paige gasps as she realizes Jeremy is a mutant also. As he rips his shirt off, Jeremy tells Paige she has outed him, so he is now going to flatten her.

Back at the hospital, the doctor and Warren walk over to a bed-ridden girl whose blood type is the same as Warren’s, but because this is an unorthodox treatment, the doctor has to check with the girl’s mother. The doctor explains this to Mrs. Mendozza who, with tears in her eyes tells the doctor that she doesn’t care what it is, and just wants something to stop her daughter’s pain. She tells the doctor that he can do it.

Back at the graveyard, Jeremy rips a tree from the ground as his older friend and co-worker, Larry, asks Jeremy why he never told him. As Jeremy swipes the tree and hits Paige with it, he tells Larry to shut up. Larry shouts up to Jeremy that he will get fired now and Jeremy replies that that is why he never told him. Looking down at the ground, Jeremy wonders where Husk went, before he feels her stone body drop onto his shoulders causing him to fall over and drop the tree.

Paige tells Jeremy to get up before revealing that she is familiar with Colossus’ strength level and figuring Jeremy’s is the same, she knows he barely felt the last hit she gave him. Jeremy gets up and punches Husk clear across the graveyard, through a tree and she lands on top of a car, destroying it in the process.

Later, Jubilee, the manager, Larry and several police officers walk up the hill to where Jeremy is standing. Larry tells the manager everything that he saw, until the manager cuts Larry off, telling him that what is important is that Jeremy is a mutant, which goes against their policy of hiring mutants. Jubilee asks the manager to give her a few minutes so she can contact her teacher, Charles Xavier – but the manager tells her it will all be sorted out now. Jubilee protests, saying that they can relocate Angelo and his whole family. ‘No’ says the manager again, as Jeremy tells him that he can explain. The manager tells Jeremy to pack up his things and that he will get his final check once he and Larry have dug up Angelo.

As the sunsets over Beverly Glen, Warren, Paige and Jubilee stand in the manager’s office, he hands Jubilee a vase with Angelo’s remains in them, at his expense. ‘I’ll send you a check’ Jubilee snarls at him. The three X-Men leave the office, and Paige asks Warren how many children he healed. He tells her he healed twelve, and that the limitations of his healing factor have to do with blood type and Rhesus factor, before telling Husk he is more worried about her. He asks her if she is all right and she tells him to take his arm off her and that she is fine, just feeling stupid. ‘Which would be a new experience for you – and you like new experiences’ Jubilee mocks.

Inside his office, the manager of the cemetery stares out at the X-Men before saying that the world would be a much better place without them. The phone rings and it is his wife, who tells him that he will not believe what happened. In a hospital, a children’s hospital, where she is surrounded by happy children, she tells him that ‘An Angel came down from heaven itself and cured our little Reyna!’

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Husk, Jubilee (all X-Men)

Jeremy and Larry, two graveyard workers

Mr. Mendozza Graveyard manager

Mrs. Mendozza

Reyna Mendozza


Senior Doctor at hospital

Ramona, the doctor’s assistant

Other hospital staff

Patients at hospital

Story Notes: 

Throughout the entire issue Skin is mistakenly referred to as “Angelo Torres”. His true name is, of course, “Espinoza.”

It is probably safe to assume that a funeral for Skin was held B/T/S at the Xavier Institute, as it would be strange for just Husk, Jubilee and Archangel just to attend one, considering Chamber and the White Queen are both residing at the Institute at the moment, and while Synch is dead also, Monet, though she had the least to do with Skin, is in Paris and Banshee hasn’t been seen since the X-Corps debacle.

Skin probably asked Jubilee out during the time they were in Los Angeles together, between Generation X #75 and Uncanny X-Men #403, as prior to that, they showed no romantic affection towards each other.

Colossus was a longtime X-Man and member of Excalibur and the Acolytes who could transform his body into steel. He died when he released the cure for the Legacy Virus into the air by using his body to activate the cure, with the hope that it would redeem him for his sister Illyana dying of the virus. [Uncanny X-Men #390]

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