Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #434

Issue Date: 
January 2004
Story Title: 
The Draco - conclusion

Chuck Austen (writer), Takeshi Miyazawa (penciler), Craig Yeung & Scott Elmer (Inkers), Avalon Studios (colorist), Rus Wooton (letterer), Cory Seldmeier & Stephanie Moore (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

In Azazel’s dimension, Kiwi Black kills Archangel’s torturer, and the two men start to flee. In the dungeon, the captured X-Men are planning to let Iceman take water from their bodies so he can reform his own when they are attacked by Ginniyeh. Ginniyeh displays a new power, the ability to alter her physical state of being, until Iceman absorbs all the water from her body, thus defeating her and restoring his own body. Nightcrawler and Abyss are planning to escape somehow when Polaris sticks her head through Abyss’ portal before she uses her powers to rip apart the castle, sending everything flying through Abyss into the real world. Wolverine escapes from his captor, and when Iceman and the others return to Earth, Annie Ghazikhanian kisses Iceman for rescuing her son, despite her romantic involvement with Havok. Nightcrawler teleports back in to confront his father, who attacks Kurt before being sucked away somewhere. Wolverine, Mystique, Kiwi Black and Archangel escape back to Earth and the team returns to the mansion, where after spending time with his two new brothers, Nightcrawler declares that Professor X has always been a true father to him. Alpha Flight’s battle with Juggernaut comes to an end after Sasquatch beats Cain to the point he cannot fight back.

Full Summary: 

La Isla Des Demonas, where the founder of the X-Men, Professor Charles Xavier, stands with one of his most powerful X-Men, the tempestuous Polaris, and the school nurse, Annie Ghazikhanian. They look through the stomach of young Nils Steiger, a.k.a. Abyss, who is trapped in another dimension with many of the X-Men, and their captor Azazel. Azazel’s former consort, the mother of the X-Men’s Nightcrawler, Mystique, asks Azazel what’s going on with Abyss’ stomach as she can see Xavier. The temptress crosses her arms and scowls when the biblical mutant offers no answer, instead he rushes over to his son, as another of his sons, Kurt Wagner – Nightcrawler – teleports, and grabs Abyss before Azazel can, and teleports away again. Azazel looks at Mystique, annoyed that Kurt somehow knew Ginniyeh was not here to read the truth, and that his son lied to him. ‘I wonder which side of the family he gets that from?’ Raven Darkholme remarks dryly.

Meanwhile, in the land of the Great White Cloud, Vancouver, Canada more specifically, two more X-Men are in somewhat of a predicament. Samuel Pare tries to wake his mother who was wounded by their home collapsing during the battle between Alpha Flight, and Squidboy’s friend, the X-Man Juggernaut. Heather McNeil Hudson, the geothermal-powered Alphan known as Vindicator is suddenly thrown past Sammy, as his idol, Juggernaut, taunts Heather’s husband, James MacDonald Hudson, Alpha Flight’s leader, Guardian. Cain Marko jibes that Alpha Flight is supposed to be Canada’s “best”.

Wearing “super-armor”, Mac gets up and informs Cain Marko that that was his wife he just threw across the yard and starts to punch him. Cain takes the punches before taking hold of the metal collar on Mac’s armor, he pulls it up and rips it off before sending Man flying across the yard too. Cain smiles before saying ‘So much for these Canadian Hulk-buster designs, eh?’ Cain mocks that he was even saying “eh” like a Canadian when he sees Dr. Walter Langkowski a.k.a. the super-strong Sasquatch fast approaching. Squidboy pleads with Juggernaut not to hurt anyone anymore and Cain stops for a moment - until Sasquatch pummels into him.

Wearing armor also, Sasquatch asks Cain what the matter is, as if he didn’t have anymore “funny Canadian” jokes left. Walt pounds against Cain’s skull, and asks Cain if he is just going to lie there, while Sammy looks on. Cain doesn’t blink, and Sasquatch’s fists continue to hit his face – until Vindicator grabs Walt and tells him to get off Juggernaut. Northstar arrives back after taking Sammy’s father to the hospital, the speedster is confused as to what is going on, as he was only gone one minute. Heather calls to Walt to stop again, and he does, as Heather suggests Walt actually look at Cain, declaring that he is not even fighting back anymore.

Deep within Azazel’s castle, Azazel and Raven come across the blind psychic known as Ginniyeh. Azazel rushes over to her and asks her if she is all right. Ginniyeh mumbles something and Azazel asks her if it was Kiwi Black who did this to her and how he did it, adding that she should have been able to read his thoughts and predict his attacks. Ginniyeh replies that Kiwi’s thoughts are shielded from her and that he had an additional power they did not anticipate. She adds that she will be all right and encourages Azazel to go find Kurt and Abyss. Azazel asks her if she can read his thoughts on the rest, but Ginniyeh simply smiles and replies that she doesn’t need to, for they must kill them all.

In a torture chamber within the castle, the handsome Warren Worthington III, the founding X-Man known as Archangel is suspended against a wall and tells his captor that he will not scream for him, not wanting to give him the satisfaction. The winged captor informs Archangel that he will give him more than he can imagine, for in the thousand years he has been trapped in this dimension by Warren’s “kind”, they have all managed to develop more gifts than just the initial ones that manifest in adolescence.

The captor walks up to Warren and uses some kind of charger on him, sending a pain surge through Warren’s body. The evil mutant informs Warren that he has a small amount of telepathy, enough to pick up an important message from Warrens’ mind – an image of a young blond woman who means something to him – the one who is down in the pits right now. Furious, Warren begins to threaten the captor if he lays a hand on Paige, but the captor smiles and declares that he will lay more than a finger on her, adding that they will both scream for him. Kiwi Black sneaks up behind the villain with a sword….

Meanwhile, in the pits, the young psychic mutant Carter Ghazikhanian, Nurse Annie’s son, informs his mother’s lover, Havok, Husk and Jubilee that Iceman, whose head he is holding in his hand, that he is ready to take some water out of their bodies to reform his own shattered body. Alex Summers apologizes to Bobby about the comment he made earlier, but that if he can get enough water from them all to become whole again, he is willing. Paige Guthrie adds that she is game and he can take whatever he needs from her too. Jubilee tells Bobby that he can take whatever he needs from Paige, until she gets stern looks, she agrees to him taking water from her too.

Jubilee turns around, suddenly as Ginniyeh enters the room and stands ominously behind her. Jubes leaps up and uses her mutant fireworks against Ginniyeh, who grabs Jubes at the throat and tells her not to waste her light powers, as they are useless on a woman with no eyes. Husk transforms her body into steel and lunges towards the blind woman, who pushes Jubilee to the ground. Ginniyeh traps Husk, as Havok charges up his solar powers before calling for Paige to move. However something knocks Havok over before he can act – Ginniyeh has an unseen power, the ability to extend her limbs.

Ginniyeh dodges Husk’s punch by extending her neck downwards. She reaches over with one hand and picks up Carter, who drops Iceman’s head in the process. Carter calls to Alex that Ginniyeh is hurting his head when suddenly, Ginniyeh’s head drops to the ground and a new one pops up. Her body begins to change shape repeatedly, limbs distorted and changing, she starts sprouting eyes and begins to clamp down harder on Husk, and continues to crush Carter’s head – until she is stopped. She screams, and ice forms in the air – all the water from Ginniyeh’s body begins to be sucked away until nothing but skin and bone remains, she falls to the ground.

Havok, Jubilee, Paige and Carter look on – at the reformed body of Iceman! He smiles, thanking his teammates for the offer, but that he got the water he needed from somewhere else. He adds that he will probably put it to better use than she would have!

Elsewhere in the castle, Kurt runs through a corridor with his half-brother, Nils, aka Abyss who tells Kurt that he knew he was lying when he said he couldn’t teleport in this dimension, that he thinks because they are brothers they have a connection. Kurt mumbles a feeble agreement as Nils informs him that is why he too lied to Azazel, so their father wouldn't know he could use his powers still. He tells Kurt that he likes him and thought his jokes at the dinner table were funny and not Azazel. Nils quickly adds that he knows who the Scarlet Witch is, so he understands the joke he made. Kurt mumbles again before putting his hands on the young mutant’s shoulders telling him that they are trying to be stealthy, so they should keep the noise level down.

Suddenly, the lovely Lorna Dane shoves her head through Abyss’ stomach and asks Kurt if he wants to come back to her side of the dimensional rip. Nightcrawler tells Polaris that he does, but that the X-Men are all separated and he doesn’t know how to find the others, for Warren and Logan are both separate somewhere and the others are all in a dungeon somewhere in the castle. Lorna starts to look around asking where exactly they are before noticing a little blue boy staring down at her.

Lorna smiles wickedly before greeting Abyss and saying ‘The dimensional rip is in your stomach? Man, what a lame power!’ Crushed at this comment, Abyss stutters with his words before making a comeback by telling Polaris that she should see it when the rip grows bigger and everything starts flying in! Another wicked smile from Lorna, and the Mistress of Magnetism gets an idea…

… Suddenly, the castle shakes, and Abyss cries out as bricks start to fly inside of him at a rapid pace. Back on the real world, Nightcrawler, who had already come back through the portal, tells Polaris, who is using her incredible powers to rip the place apart, to be careful as she may hurt Nils while destroying the castle. ‘He looked tough enough to handle it’ Lorna states as Xavier and Nurse Annie stand back from the bombardment of bricks.

In another part of the castle, the mutant torturing Wolverine wonders what is happening. Logan replies that he doesn’t know, but whatever it is got his arm free, and he uses it to claw his captor and get himself free. Archangel follows the Maori mutant, Kiwi Black, apparently another of Azazel’s sons, through the broken castle and thanks him for freeing him before asking if he really had to cut the other mutant’s head off. Kiwi doesn’t answer, instead he declares that they will not be able to reach Warren’s feral friend. Archangel just tells Kiwi to grab his hand.

Back on Earth, Lorna asks Charles whether or not she is hurting ‘the kid’, Xavier replies that she isn't physically, but that he is terrified. ‘He’ll get over it’ Lorna shouts back before alerting them to the return of Iceman, who has created an ice sled and is carrying Havok, Husk, Jubilee and Carter with him. Bobby declares that he knew there was a portal open because there was so much moisture in the air. Nightcrawler teleports off somewhere as Iceman hands Carter over to his mother, the young boy telling his mom that it was ‘so cool’. Annie kisses Bobby in his ice-form and thanks him for rescuing her son. Bobby tells her ‘not to mention it’ as Jubilee points out the obvious – that the whole castle is collapsing around them – while Havok watches Annie and Bobby in dismay.

Back in Azazel’s realm, Kurt teleports in, where his father is standing amongst the collapsing citadel, he informs Kurt that he always liked him the best, and that of all his children all over the world, there was something special about him. Nightcrawler teleports them both away as the bricks they were standing on disappear and Azazel declares that he knows the currents of this particular dimensional rift like he knows his own tail, informing Kurt that he cannot teleport out a particular way and asking why he would even want to.

Azazel lunges forward with two swords, telling his son to rule beside him, that all he has to do is bring Nils back and the world could be theirs. Kurt grabs a sword and replies that he is not interested, as Azazel lunges at Kurt and proclaims he will then find Abyss without him – and then he will burn Kurt’s body beneath his throne for betraying him – for turning on his own father. Swords clash together as Kurt defiantly informs Azazel that he is not his father, but just a Lothario with regrets.

Kurt stumbles back during the fight, and on the ground he declares that it saddens him to know he shares genetics with a man whose heart is so black he sees no other options, not for love or compassion. Azazel wonders how he could have sired a son who looks like him, but harbors the foolish notions of angels. As he raises his sword above the fallen Nightcrawler, when the bricks around him give way. Kurt calls out to Azazel, who simply laughs as he starts to drift off. In the traditional Maori greeting ‘Kia Ora’ Kiwi Black, flown by Archangel, suggests to Kurt that they get out of this place and find a pub. Azazel’s devilish laugh is still heard as he flows through the portal, and Kurt looks on, almost saddened. With that, Wolverine, Mystique, Archangel, Kiwi Black and Kurt make their way out too.

After getting together with his brothers – Kiwi Black and Abyss – Kurt returns to the institute, where he informs Professor X that he will never remember how it began, but that he will never forget how it ended. For he learned at long last who his parents were, despite the answers leaving some confusion he now also has two brothers – more strangers than relatives – but more friends than he ever hoped they would be. Charles asks Kurt how he feels about losing the father, something he knows he has always wondered about and secretly hoped for. Nightcrawler smiles and declares that Azazel may have provided the genetic material, which makes him up physically, but his “father” has always been the man who has always been there whenever he needed him. Provided him with food, money, support and family, but most importantly, love, understanding and kindness. Charles smiles at this, and Kurt thanks him for being a true father to him all these years.

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


Squidboy’s mother


Kiwi Black

Yidrazil, Jillian, Ginniyeh, and other mutants with Azazel

Story Notes: 

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

An angry Havok made a comment to Iceman about having enough water to reform his body as he drank a lot before they came on the mission. [Uncanny X-Men #433]

Sasquatch bears a grudge against Juggernaut after he was easily defeated by him in a previous encounter. [Uncanny X-Men #422] The three Alphans‘ “Hulk-buster” armor was created to provide extra defense against the physical strength of Juggernaut.

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