Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #433

Issue Date: 
January 2004
Story Title: 
The Draco - part 5

Chuck Austen (writer), Philip Tan (penciler), Avalon Studios (colorist), Randy Gentile (letterer), Cory Seldmeier (assistant editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

In Canada, members of Alpha Flight attack Juggernaut, while Northstar tries to reason with his former teammates and help Squidboy and his family. Meanwhile, Polaris, Xavier and Annie return from Lorna’s mindscape only to learn that Annie’s son, Carter stowed aboard the X-plane with Havok and the rest of the X-Men when they were tracking Nightcrawler. Captured, Husk and Jubilee realize their powers cannot help them escape, while Havok learns that Iceman (whose head is all that remains) blames him for stealing away Lorna and Annie from him. Nightcrawler, Wolverine and Archangel learn of Azazel’s origin – that he was a mutant from biblical times, and was sent to this dimension in exile and uses teleporting mutants to escape so he can return to Earth. With his plan foiled by the X-Men, he is seemingly trapped here – unless someone can open the portal from the other side, while a teleporter opens it from this side. At that moment, Polaris, Xavier and Annie arrive, and Lorna stretches open a recent rip in the fabric of space – the gateway they all need to escape!

Full Summary: 

The Infirmary of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, where Charles Xavier has just been on a little adventure with one of his most powerful former students, Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris, the Mistress of Magnetism. Joining them was nurse Annie Ghazikhanian, who after witnessing the destruction of Genosha, is cowering under a table. Charles helps Lorna up off the bed as the green-haired mutant jibes Annie, asking her if she lost something under the table – like her mind perhaps. Charles goes over to Annie, who repeats over and over again that she is sorry. Lorna smiles wickedly and asks Annie to narrow it down, as she has so many things to be sorry for.

Xavier sternly tells Polaris to be sympathetic to someone who has experienced astral residue for the first time, as a young mutant enters the infirmary, asking Nurse Annie if she knows where Carter is, as he hasn’t been in any of his classes nor has anyone seen him all day. Tears continue to weep out of Annie and in between her blubbering she manages to reveal that Carter left for classes this morning – with her lover – Havok!

Who, at this very moment is being held prisoner with two of his three of his teammates – Husk, Jubilee and Iceman – well at least Iceman’s head, and, of course, Carter, who are in a cell filled with the skeletons of those that were there before them. Paige asks Jubilee where she thinks they are, to which the sassy young mutant reminds Paige that it is she who is the brains if the team, and that all she knows is that they are somewhere where their powers cannot work.

As Alex Summers holds up the head of Iceman, who was recently shattered by an arrow, Carter informs his mother’s boyfriend that he can hear Bobby thinking in his head, and he wants to know if Alex has tried to blast through the door. Havok tells Bobby that they have tried everything, and it seems that this cell is affected by a magic spell and none of their powers can affect it. Carter tells Alex that Bobby cannot make himself whole again because there is no water in the air – and he is scared, Carter adds that he is scared too.

Alex tells Carter that they are all scared, before Carter, who looks at Bobby’s head a little surprised, tells Alex that that Bobby is thinking a lot of bad words right now because Alex stole crazy Lorna and his mom away from him. Alex is taken aback at this, and clutching Iceman’s head with both hands he gets mad, telling Bobby that he was always blaming other people for his own mistakes. Alex informs Bobby that he would be quite happy to provide him with enough water so he can re-form himself into a whole person so they can discuss this situation man to Iceman.

‘I had an awful lot of water to drink right before we got off the X-plane, and I’m sure I could produce about a body’s worth’ Alex says, smiling, as Bobby’s head just gasps in horror.

Meanwhile, in Vancouver, Canada, Alpha Flight’s Sasquatch, wearing armor to protect his body from Juggernaut, smashes Cain Marko through the Pare home, as his former teammate, current X-Man the handsome Northstar, calls out for him to stop. Sasquatch continues to pound Cain as Northstar tells the two other Alphans present – James and Heather Hudson, a.k.a. Guardian and Vindicator respectively – that he will look after Sammy’s injured father, while they deal with Langkowski.

Holding onto Sammy’s father, Jean-Paul approaches the young mutant who is with his mother, and tells him that he needs to be strong and get his mother to safety. Looking up at the powerful X-Man, Squidboy tells him that they will be fine, as Cain would never hurt them. Jean-Paul tells him to look after his father, and somewhat saddened, Sammy asks if his dad is okay. Jean-Paul informs the young mutant that his father is broken, but he will fly him to a hospital later and they will be able to fix him. Sammy repeats that Cain won’t hurt them, to which Northstar tells him he wishes he had his confidence in Juggernaut.

Meanwhile, in Azazel’s castle, Azazel asks his henchman, Ydrazil, if he had to cut up the professor they just killed right now. Archangel asks Azazel who he and the others here really are and what right they have to murder an innocent man like they did, for he didn’t do anything to them. Azazel tells Warren that he owns the Earth, every rock, plant and human on it – at least it was until it was taken away from him, which gives him every right, after all, Professor Dibble insulted him in his own home!

Jillian, another of Azazel’s affiliates moves in on Nightcrawler as Azazel reminds the X-Men he has told them who he is, but it is they who do not grasp what he has said. Kurt Wagner asks the blue-skinned demon what she is doing, and Jillian admits to Kurt that she finds him attractive and she asks him if he is interested in her. Azazel asks if it was Arthur C. Clarke or Isaac Asimov who said, “Any science sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic”? ‘I think that was the Scarlet Witch’ Kurt jokes back, to Azazel, who is furious at this remark.

Nightcrawler turns to Azazel and asks him to clear up what he is saying, for first he was saying he was Satan and now he is not – suddenly, Kurt realizes that Azazel is actually a mutant from biblical times. Azazel proclaims that mutation is the core of evolution and that it is as old and necessary for life as life itself (as if the X-Men didn’t know this already), adding that change brought on by human civilization often becomes dangerous to the very planet, upon which something new is required for survival.

Azazel asks Kurt if he has seen satellite photos of his Earth from space, informing him that the large cities on coastal waters in particular are dead and diseased against the brilliance of the planet. That anyone can see what a cancer humanity has become to the very planet which supports it, eating with concrete, steel and asphalt into the green and vibrancy of the world around it. Azazel reveals that he is an advanced human, or like Kurt said, a “mutant from biblical times”.

Azazel continues, revealing that he challenged “God” by imposing rule and dominion and enslaving or removing the toxicity of humans, it was by those acts that Azazel was cast out of the “kingdom of Heaven”. Which were the remnants of the archaeological site known as Isla Des Demonas, where he was cast out by “Angels”. These “Angels” were another group of mutated humans, so far apart from his own world – from all worlds.

Azazel smirks as he tells the X-Men present – Nightcrawler, Archangel and Wolverine, as well as Mystique, his former lover – that all of this information is in historical record. Adding that if one knows where to look for it and how to interpret it, hopefully with it, the means to return, which is why, he reveals he wanted the archaeologist alive. Ydrazil apologizes and Azazel tells the X-Men that he has answered enough of their questions and now they can answer some of his.

He starts with Archangel and asks Warren what he knows of his lineage. Warren grits his teeth and proclaims that he will tell nothing. Azazel’s blind prophet, Ginniyeh reveals that Warren is telling the truth, and Ydrazil asks if he can kill him after he tortures him, for he hasn’t heard an angel scream in thousands of years. Azazel reminds Ydrazil that he hasn’t heard anyone scream, other than he, in a thousand years, and tells him to enjoy torturing Archangel as if he will not talk there is no point in keeping him.

Nightcrawler tries to reason with Azazel, but as Warren is pulled away by warriors, he calls to Kurt asking him to look after Paige for him. Kurt is struck down so he cannot help Warren, and even the unstoppable Wolverine is restrained by dozens of warriors. With Mystique at his side, Azazel smiles when a spear is driven into Logan’s back, though it won’t do much so he orders Logan’s arms to be removed at the shoulder. Adding for it to be done quickly as they will no doubt grow back quickly, which is why his shoulders need to be cauterized.

Ydrazil asks if he is allowed to skin Logan, but Azazel cautions him against having all this fun in such short amount of time, as he may want to spread it out and make the victims last. He reminds Ydrazil he may get bored over the next twenty years while he births a new batch of children with powers to open them a dimensional gateway, unless he can find a way back to Earth sooner.

In Vancouver, Guardian and Vindicator try to get Sasquatch to stop, but Sasquatch reminds them that Alpha Flight already gave the Juggernaut a chance to surrender and that this is payback. Mac tells Walt that this is exactly what his point is – that this is not supposed to be personal. Heather alerts Walter who has his back turned to Cain who is starting to get up – and he does, smashing Sasquatch in the gut and sending him flying back through the house.

This destruction causes the roof to fall down on top of Squidboy and his mother. Vindicator unleashes molten lava blasts on Cain who picks up a car and tries to throw it at her. Squidboy searches through the rubble to find his mother, and he does, but she is badly injured, blood streaming from her head, she lies still.

Azazel, accompanied by Kurt and several others have left the dinning room, and have met up with Kiwi Black, greeting him in the traditional Maori greeting of ‘Kia Ora’. Azazel informs Kiwi Black that he learnt it from his mother, Kiwi Black just frowns and glares back at Azazel. Azazel tells Kiwi Black that he would have thought he learned from the encounter with Archangel – either answer his questions and live, or refuse and die. Kiwi Black stops frowning and looks at Azazel, who informs Kiwi Black that he has failed in his role as guardian of the portal, and he tells Ginniyeh to remove him.

Ginniyeh does as she is told, and Azazel turns to his two surviving sons – Kurt and Abyss, both teleporters. Azazel announces that the real question is whether or not the can teleport back to Earth, or fail him as Kiwi Black did. Kurt asks Azazel what he is talking about, and of how Kiwi Black failed him, for he doesn’t even seem to know him. Azazel raises his hands and proclaims that no one knows him, for he was controlling their minds from this place, through their genetic connection. Azazel reveals that Kiwi Black was bred to be a defender of the portal, but he fought the mind control, and failed to kill the approaching X-Men who can be seen in one of the portals and allow Azazel the time he needs.

Azazel smirks as he reminds Kurt how the X-Men destroyed the dimensional gateway in which he intended to return to Earth through, for it was the only gateway out of where they are now. This dimension Kurt teleports to when he teleports is the same dimension that Abyss shunts things into. Azazel, Kurt, Mystique and Abyss look up, and they see various parts of the world, Kurt realizes that he can smell the sulphur – the brimstone. Azazel reveals that this place connects to all points across the Earth, as well as a few others, for it is their divine mutant gift that their thoughts can manipulate the energies, which form this unique juncture in space-time and open small holes – or together, very large ones.

Looking up, Azazel informs those around him that it was a cruel joke of the Angels to put him in here, so close that he can see his own world, yet to far to reach it without assistance from the other side. Turning to Kurt, he asks him if it is not true that they all want to find a way home, for none of them want to remain here forever, not even the seemingly endless years it would take until Azazel can breed a new set of teleporters, even if it means surrendering the word back to him.

Nightcrawler agrees that he too would rather be home but he is beginning to feel his body tremble, as if it was telling him where to go. Azazel remains emotionless as he tells Kurt that he knows the feeling well.

On Isla des Demonas proper, the X-plane carrying Xavier, Lorna and Nurse Annie has landed, and as the three examine the crater where the X-Men were sucked into, Lorna jibes Annie, telling her that she didn’t need to come along. Annie snaps back, reminding Polaris that Carter is her son and life, and once she saw him sneaking onto the X-jet on the security camera, there was no stopping her coming along. She tells Lorna to back off and give up the intimidation game, as she has already played her best hand.

Polaris ignores Annie and stands at Charles’ side as he reports that there is a lot of mental residue consisting of fear and anxiety around. Lorna asks if he is saying everyone is dead – to which Annie whines some more about Carter – but Charles comforts the nurse by telling her that Carter and the others are not dead, just beyond his reach. Annie asks what that means, as Lorna strides away, sensing something, she uses her incredible powers to pull apart the air. This reveals a recent rip in the spatial fabric and she can see the magnetic lines of force spread apart and broken – and she thinks she can open them!

Annie asks Lorna what she means by “I think I can open them”, and as the powerful mutant starts to do so she says ‘I don’t know how to dumb it down any more for the technically challenged, Annie’. She says simply that there is a hole in space between here and somewhere else – and she is widening it!

Vague shapes can be made out in the hole Lorna is widening, Kurt and Azazel are talking, and Kurt asks Azazel if the hole has to be opened from both sides of each dimension. Azazel confirms this, adding that Kurt’s stepmother, Margali Szardos, used to open it from one side, while he opened it from the other. He reveals that they did it by accident the first time, and she had believed she summoned a demon. Azazel proclaims that he encouraged that belief by offering to help Margali with her magick and that they became allies – and eventually much more!

‘You’re a real Casanova’ jokes Kurt before he asks Azazel what makes him think that any of them can open another portal themselves. Azazel reveals that it was done once before, for the leader of Angels accomplished it alone when he cast Azazel and his followers here, and Azazel was hoping that the archaeologist might give him some clue from Earth’s historical record. He comes to the realization that Kurt may be right, for none of them are powerful enough to open it alone – without someone to do it from the other side. At that moment, Abyss’ powers flare up, and through him, Polaris extends a hand to Kurt, asking him what is going on?!

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Havok, Husk, Iceman, Jubilee, Juggernaut, Nightcrawler, Northstar, Polaris, Wolverine, Professor Xavier (all X-Men)
Annie Ghazikhanian

Carter Ghazikhanian

Guardian, Sasquatch, Vindicator II (All Alpha Flight)

Mystique/Raven Darkholme


Claude Pare, Squidboy’s father

Squidboy’s mother



Yidrazil, Jillian, Kiwi Black, Ginniyeh, and other mutants/demons with Azazel

Story Notes: 

Iceman was shattered into pieces in Uncanny X-Men #429.

The Scarlet Witch a.k.a. Wanda Maximoff, one of the most powerful mutants in existence and an actual sorceress herself is one of the iconic Avengers. An alternate world Wanda and Kurt have a daughter together, Nocturne from the Exiles series.

Sasquatch wants payback against Juggernaut because when they last battled, Juggernaut defeated Sasquatch rather easily. [Uncanny X-Men #422]

It would appear that Kiwi Black is indeed Maori, making him one of the two Marvel characters from New Zealand, the other being the tourist who was transformed into the most recent Weapon X from Alpha Flight. [Alpha Flight (second series) #18-20]

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