Uncanny X-Men (3rd series) #17

Issue Date: 
April 2014
Story Title: 

Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Chris Bachalo (pencils and colors), Tim Townsend, Al Vey, & Jaime Mendoza (inks), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer & production), Chris Bachalo & Tim Townsend (cover art), Xander Jarowey (assistant editor), Jordan D. White (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Magik drops the students off at a strange alien location. They try to figure out where they are and Hijack uses his cell phone, something which Cyclops has forbidden, to find out they are in Montana. A huge monster appears and the youngsters split up in a panic. Tempus is with Goldballs. When she is scared again, she inadvertently uses her power and disappears. The Stepford Cuckoos, in the meantime, have realized they are in Tabula Rasa and inform the others. They are surprised by some native humanoids. When Celeste lashes out at them, they psychically attack and almost kill her until Benjamin uses his power to calm them, after which they let Celeste go. Tempus reappears but seems traumatized and changed. She asks Celeste not to tell anyone what happened to her. The youngsters are then surprised by SHIELD, who tracked Hijack’s cell phone signal. Hijack takes over their weapons. Before the situation becomes worse, Magik teleports them away. Cyclops is furious at Hijack for disobeying orders and fires him.

Full Summary: 

The X-Men’s students are unceremoniously dropped in a strange exotic location, courtesy of Magik. Have fun, she smirks and disappears.

The kids try to get their bearings. Celeste of the Stepford Cuckoos suggests maybe she is getting the other teachers. Phoebe informs her sister that Magik left them here. Where are they? David Bond aka Hijack wonders. Fabio Medina aka Goldballs suggests they are being tested. The Stepford Cuckoos argue whether this is the Savage Land or not, causing Eva Bell to ask what the Savage Land is and why does it smell. Phoebe stresses it is not the Savage Land.

Christopher Muse aka Triage has the bright idea that this might be the Danger Room. This is the hologram program that the teachers use to beat on them. Train them, Benjamin Deeds corrects. Same thing, Triage shrugs. They just want them to think they are somewhere else. It’s part of their mind games. Training, Benjamin points out. Same thing, Triage repeats. Celeste doesn’t buy it, while the others consider the option.

Fabio suggests Eva use her time travel powers to send them back before they are taken here… and then they win? That is not how her power works, Eva points out.

Hijack has had enough and takes out his cellphone to use Google maps. Triage reminds him they are not supposed do use cell phones. Hijack informs him he couldn’t break his contract, so he is not giving up his phone. Benjamin chimes in that Cyclops said SHIELD can track their whereabouts by phone. Good, they can come and pick them up here, David retorts.

Eva tells him he should listen to Cyclops. David cuts her off. He knows she has a thing for “Professor Laser beams” but he is the one who stranded them. She does not have a “thing!” Eva protests. Yes, she has, David shrugs. It’s ok. Everyone has a thing for someone. She doesn’t have a— David cuts he off. He is older than them. It’s okay. Benjamin agrees. Eva’s crush is not subtle. The Cuckoos point out that they can read her mind.

David gets something. The phone says they are in Montana. Dude, this is not Montana, Phoebe scoffs. Irma suddenly has an idea. She knows where they are.

Do they hear that? Fabio asks. A moment later, a giant horned creature attacks and they scatter. Benjamin shouts in vain they shouldn’t be splitting up.

Left with Fabio, Eva asks if everyone thinks she has a thing for Professor Cyclops. Focus, he tells her. It’s a test, she insists. They want to see how they deal with the unpredictable—

They realize they are standing next to the legs of another giant bird-lizard creature. Both kids panic; Fabio lets loose a barrage of gold balls, Eva builds a timebubble around herself and disappears. When the gold balls actually take out the creature, Fabio brags, but realizes Eva is gone. Then he hears a scream.

The scream comes from Christopher, who panics at the sight of a giant spider. Irma and Phoebe order him to stop it. They remind him that they faced worse in Limbo. It wasn’t crawling with slimy creatures, he points out. He’s going to vomit on all of them. Irma goes into his mind and calms him.

Irma and Phoebe lecture him that in the field you don’t freak out. They are in a dangerous situation and screaming just doesn’t cut it. Triage apologizes but doesn’t think anybody heard him.

Moments later, the foliage rustles. The girls get ready, only to find it’s Fabio who followed the sound of screaming. Which one of the girls was screaming like that? He asks if they saw Eva run by. He lost her. Where are they exactly? Christopher wonders.

Elsewhere, Celeste informs Hijack and Benjamin that this used to be a small town in Montana. It’s a long story but, in this area, 130 million years or so have passed. All kinds of crazy and new species were raised in here in a bubble. They are actually what the Earth will look like in 130 million years. Still looking at his hell, David is doubtful. Celeste shushes them. She’s picking up a mind behind that tree.

A moment later, she breaks down with a scream. Benjamin walks towards the three humanoid but odd, featureless shapes without mouths and assures them they don’t want to hurt them. His power allows him to shift into a form approximating theirs. He asks them to stop doing that to Celeste.

Elsewhere, Fabio is still trying to find Eva. Phoebe and Irma suddenly become agitated and begin to cry. They can’t feel Celeste in their psychic hive-mind anymore.

Again, Ben pleads. One of the beings touches his face and Celeste wakes up with a gasp. Angrily, she announces they are going to regret what they just did. Ben tells her not to. They are an evolved species. Let’s just get out. Celeste doesn’t listen. The beings pick up her mood. Suddenly, they have mouths and roar, showing a lot of very sharp teeth.

A moment later, they are frozen, thanks to a somewhat changed Eva Bell, her costume torn, her skin scratched and her hair longer. Wordlessly, she hugs Benjamin.

Hijack asks what happened to her. The others reach them as Celeste gives her a curious and shocked stare. Eva whispers to Celeste that she knows she can read her mind and knows where she’s been. She asks her to please not tell anyone.

Fabio asks where she went. Didn’t she hear him calling for her? Eva kisses him on the forehead and apologizes.

Christopher wants to touch her to heal her cuts and bruises. Violently, she shoves him away and tells him not to touch her.

Phoebe picks something up and announces they are in a lot of trouble. Behind them are SHIELD troops led by Nick Fury Jr, as well as Avengers Hawkeye and Spider-Woman. Fury announces they are under arrest. Agent Coulson plays the good cop and assures them they respect the position Scott Summers put them in and would like this to go as easily as possible. Hawkeye suggests they listen to Coulson. They don’t want them. They want Scott Summers. Coulson offers they’ll find a way to get them all home.

And that is why you don’t bring a cell phone, Fabio tells Hijack. Triage believes they are still in the Danger Room. The hologram isn’t even accurate. Nick Fury is— Yeah, uh-uh, Fury cuts him off. Enough with the commentary. Hands in the air.

The Cuckoos find their powers don’t work on the SHIELD agents. Hijack announces he’s got this. He hijacks their hi-tech guns, which are now all pointing at Fury, as well as their armor. Told them not to bring the armor, Hawkeye who is not influenced gloats. Hijack tells the Cuckoos to relieve the Avengers of their weapons. Fury vows he ain’t going to let that happen. A moment later, all the kids have vanished, courtesy of Magik.

In the X-jet:
What do they have to say for themselves? Cyclops demands. He was going to ask the same thing, Hijack shoots back. Dropping them in the middle of some prehistoric hell! Futuristic hell, Irma interjects. They could have been killed! Hijack continues. Cyclops calls it field training. Putting them in an unpredictable environment, which would be a lot like the environments they will find themselves in every day, to see what kind of survival skills and character they are equipped with. “And you completely failed!”

That’s hardly fair, Celeste begins to protest. Scott specifies. He didn’t say they all failed. He said Hijack failed. He reminds him of forbidding cell phones. They were out in the most unestablished area on the planet and SHIELD still found them in fifteen minutes. They were about to be captured!

Hijack points out his powerset turned the situation around. Scott retorts that he created a situation where he needed to reveal his powers to the enemy. The next time they will be ready for him. He revealed himself to them and he revealed that he doesn’t belong here. He is out!

Hijack sputters ‘excuse me?’ Scott continues that he made a disastrous tactical mistake and refuses to admit he made one. He doesn’t listen and endangered everyone on the team. The X-Men have lost members because of arrogance and carelessness. Never again! He is out. Magik!

David protests the unfairness of that decision. A moment later, Magik has dropped him off at his old apartment. Just be glad he didn’t kill anybody, is her parting shot before she disappears.

Characters Involved: 

Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik (X-Men based at the New Xavier School)
Benjamin Deeds, Goldballs, Hijack, Stepford Cuckoos, Tempus, Triage (all students)

Nick Fury Jr
Agent Coulson
Hawkeye, Spider-Woman (Avengers)
SHIELD agents

Natives of Tabula Rasa

Story Notes: 

The kids were in Limbo in issues #5-7.

Tabula Rasa was created by Dark Archangel in Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #15.

An X-Man lost due to arrogance presumably refers to Thunderbird I.

What happened to Tempus is revealed in Uncanny X-Men Annual #1 and All-New X-Men Annual #1.

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