Uncanny X-Men Annual (1st series) #18

Issue Date: 
July 1994
Story Title: 
Trust is a Two-Edged Sword (First story)<br> And Nothing Will Ever be the Same (Second story)

First Story: Glenn Herdling (writer), Ian Churchill (penciler), Hilary Barta & Bud LaRosa (inkers), Richard Starkings (letterer), Dana Moreshead & Mike Thomas (colorists)

Second Story: Jeph Loeb (writer), Tim Sale (artist), Joe Rosen (letterer), Greg Wright (colorist)

Lisa Patrick (editor), Bob Harras (group editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

First Story:
Stevie Hunter is distraught after Jubilee vanishes after a dance class. She meets with the X-Men, who have a note from Caliban - revealing he has Jubilee and will trade her for Sabretooth, only Sabretooth must be brought to him by Shadowcat. Four teenage boys are camping in the woods when Caliban scares them away and steals their snacks, to bring the food to Jubilee, who is not so keen on the food. She talks to Caliban, trying to trick him into letting her go. But Caliban is filled with rage and hatred for Sabretooth, and the X-Men. Jubilee manages to get Caliban to remove her shackles, and blinds him with her light powers, she then runs away through the Morlock tunnels, despite Caliban’s warnings that it is a dangerous place. However, Caliban knows the tunnels well and eventually locates Jubilee and takes her back to his hide-out. Professor X and Jean Grey meet with the imprisoned Sabretooth, but he refuses to help them unless they remove his shackles. Shadowcat arrives at the Xavier Institute, and with Professor X and Jean Grey confronts Sabretooth about whether he will help her rescue Jubilee. Jean uses her telepathic power on Sabretooth, and he agrees to go with Shadowcat. As they make their way through the tunnels, Shadowcat and Sabretooth argue, and engage each other in combat, until they find themselves trapped in a chamber which Caliban fills with water. Shadowcat refuses to free Sabretooth from his shackles, and uses her power to phase into a circuit box, which opens a door to another tunnel, and they are able to escape through it. In the next tunnel however, they are attacked by a giant squid. Sabretooth begins to flee, leaving Shadowcat at the mercy of the squid. However, Caliban is on hand and he attacks Sabretooth, before going to help Shadowcat against the squid. Jubilee confronts Sabretooth and calls him a coward for not helping Shadowcat, so Sabretooth lunges at the squid after it knocks out Caliban, and he begins tearing it apart, destroying it. Sabretooth manages to get out of his shackles, and violently attacks Caliban, until Jubilee uses her powers to blind Sabretooth, enabling she and Shadowcat to put his shackles back on. Shadowcat goes to help Caliban, but he sneaks away in the dark tunnel - revealing his face, severely clawed and scarred by Sabretooth.

Second Story:
After being told to let go of his past, Bishop cannot, and engages in a Danger Room scenario where he is on a mission with his comrades Randall and Malcolm. The scenario ends, and Jubilee finds him, wanting him to spend time with her. He declines, but then changes his mind, pleasing Jubilee.

Full Summary: 

First Story:
Deep in a forest in the dead of night, four teenage boys are gathered around a camp fire. ‘C’mon, c’mon, Smitty!’ Stop hogging the pages - we all wanna see!’ one of the boys calls out to the one who is looking at a magazine. ‘Speak fer yerself, Lopez - I think the Goose might be chicken!’ one of the boys remarks, referring to his friend next to him. ‘Cut it out, Dean’ Goose replies as he eats a sandwich. Lopez asks Goose what the matters is. ‘We’re away from our folks for the whole weekend! You still a scared that your old man will find out?’ he asks. Dean reaches into Goose’s bag and pulls out something, announcing that Goose brought along his own reading material. ‘Comic books!’ he exclaims, laughing, and holding the books up.

Dean holds the comics up in the air and suggests to Goose that he read them first and let him know how they end. ‘Give ‘em back, Dean! It’s not funny!’ Goose calls out as he reaches for his comics. Lopez reveals that in his house, comic books are just as bad as skin mags. ‘My old man says they glorify mutants!’ Suddenly, a cloaked figure emerges from the nearby shrubbery and looms over the boys, exclaiming ‘Your “old man” has no reason to fear, young manling - for it is not glorification we seek - it is total subservience!’ he booms. ‘My God! It’s Bigfoot!’ Lopez shrieks as he jumps to his feet.

The cloaked figure swats at the boys’ tents as he declares that he is not named Bigfoot, bt another monster. Smitty begins to run for his life, but the cloaked figure grabs him, ‘No so fast, frail one’ he remarks, before holding both Smitty and Lopez up in the air, and asking them if they truly believed they could escape one who can sense their every movement. ‘Um…no, sir’ Smitty replies. The cloaked figure sniffs the air, and smiles, announcing that one of them is definitely a mutant, and that their scent is so sweet. ‘It would be easy to remove your weakness from the mutant gene pool…but I no longer hunt my own kind’ he remarks, before dropping the boys. ‘Run!’ Goose calls out. The cloaked figure laughs and tells the “manlings” to flee for their lives. ‘I ain’t a mutie’ Lopez declares. ‘Neither am I’ Smitty adds.

The cloaked figure reaches for the boys’ bags, and mutters ‘What fools! I make sport of their fears. But such was not my primary intention…I must bring these supplies back underground - another child’s life hangs in the balance!’ he declares as he collects some snack foods, then races from the forest, straight onto a road - which a large truck is speeding down. ‘NO!’ the cloaked figure exclaims as he is caught in the headlights of the truck - but an instant later, the truck drives on - as the mysterious figure has dropped down through a manhole. ‘Filthy humans’ he mutters as he trudges through the sewer tunnel. ‘They pollute the world with their vehicles, while they pollute mine with their very presence!’ he declares, while deciding that their corruption spreads to those he once dared to call friends.

He reaches an opening to another part of the tunnel which has been covered by a blanket. ‘They have taken as their own one who casually butchered my people…so I have taken one of theirs’. A red and white costume can be seen under his cloak as he walks towards a girl who is in chains and shackles, sitting on a pillow, lit candles by her side. ‘Here, spark-child…I bring the food you require’ he tells her. Looking up over her shades, the unimpressed girl replies ‘The name’s Jubilee, buster - not “spark-child”’ before asking him if he calls that food. ‘I call it a casting call for the next Alka-Seltzer commercial!’ Jubilee exclaims, suggesting to her captor that if he plans on keeping her alive, she suggests he be a bit more selective in his choice of cuisine.

Jubilee then asks her captor if he wouldn’t mind telling her why he has brought her here. ‘I do not wish to hurt you spark - Jubilee. Your people - the X-Men - have committed the ultimate transgression…they have brought a savage murderer into their midst and offered him sanctuary’ he booms. ‘You mean Sabretooth?’ Jubilee asks. ‘How’d you know about that? It’s supposed to be a secret’. The figures hood falls back slightly, revealing his grey skin as he replies simply ‘I know’. Jubilee informs her captor that she is not too happy about the situation, either. ‘Hey! I got an idea! You untie me and we’ll storm the mansion together!’ Jubilee suggests.

‘ENOUGH!’ Jubilee’s captor booms, looming down over her, he tells her that he grows weary of her childish sarcasm. Jubilee leans backwards, and looks over her shades, ‘Okay, okay! Sheesh! Who the flying fig are you, anyway?’ she asks]. ‘Your people call me CALIBAN!’ the former Hound announces as he tears his cloak away. Caliban reveals that, long ago, Jubilee’s people saved him from the monster that massacred the race of tunnel-dwelling Morlocks. ‘They took me in, as they now take in Sabretooth - but they could not grant me the power I craved for revenge. That is when Apocalypse offered to remake me in his image!’ Caliban explains. He boasts that no longer was he the weak, snivelling Caliban - but he became Apocalypse’s Hellhound. ‘But for the X-Men, I am simply DEATH!’ ‘Oh boy’ Jubilee mutters.

Meantime, at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in Westchester, New York. ‘But can the X-Men perform a rescue operation without endangering Jubilee?’ Professor Charles Xavier asks as he holds up a note that reads Jubly is mine. I will kil her x-ept if u bring me saber-tuth. I only trust Kitty Pryde. No wun els or Jubly wil dy. Caliban.

Ororo “Storm” Munroe tells the Professor that she does not think it would be wise, and announces that she has already contacted Kitty, who is boarding the next Concorde out of Heathrow. Sitting on a couch, Stevie Hunter is distraught, and announces that this is all her fault. ‘If I hadn’t left the dance studio to run that errand…’ she exclaims, to which Jean Grey points out that she might have been Caliban’s first casualty in his insane plot to abduct Jubilee. Xavier tells Stevie that Jean is correct, before turning to Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast, asking him if he can calibrate the portable Cerebro unit to locate Jubilee’s or Caliban’s specific gene frequencies in the Morlock tunnels. ‘No sweat’ Hank replies and Xavier announces that leaves just he and Jean with one final task.

Soon, in the catacombs of the Mansion, a door slides open, and an unimpressed Jean Grey tells Charles that she doesn’t like this. ‘Exchanging hostages? That’s a stretch - even if we are talking about Creed’ she declares. Sitting in shadows, Victor “Sabretooth” Creed snarls ‘Oooh, I love it when you say my name, Red’, but Xavier tells him that that they are not here for a social visit. Xavier informs Sabretooth that Jubilee has been kidnapped by someone with whom Creed is quite familiar - Caliban - the mutant tracking Morlock. ‘I’m not prepared to give you up to him, but I will need your cooperation is our plan is to -’ Charles begins, but Sabretooth interrupts: ‘I think you’ve been polishing your scalp too hard, Chuckles. You’re talking to SABRETOOTH, here! I ain’t one of your flunkies to lay down my life fer some little chippie who’d like nothing more than to see me in that maniac’s clutches!’ Sabretooth exclaims, clamps over his mouth and hands.

Red laser bars separate Sabretooth from Charles and Jean as Sabretooth remarks ‘Tell ya what, though - if you’re willing to remove these shackles and have Red give me the glow - maybe we can cut a deal’. ‘No’ Charles replies immediately. Sabretooth asks him what he means by “no”. Charles points out that Creed is in no position to make deals. Charles and Jean turn to leave, but Creed tells them not to turn their backs on him. ‘You need me, Chuckles! You don’t have a tracker any more!’ Creed declares, before telling Charles and Jean that they will never find Caliban in those tunnels, despite all their technology. ‘D’ya hear me!? You’ll be back!’ he boasts as the door slides shut in front of him.

Back in the tunnel, Caliban holds a spoon and aims it at Jubilee’s mouth, but Jubilee leans away from him. He asks her why she won’t eat. Jubilee tells him that she has a confession to make: ‘Ever since I was a little tyke, I’ve always had to suppress a gag reflex whenever I was spoon-fed’. Jubilee holds up her shackled hands and tells Caliban that the only way she eats is with her own hands. ‘NO! I won’t untie you!’ Caliban tells her, tossing the spoon down. Jubilee tells Caliban to suit himself, but points out that the X-Men will not be too happy when he exchanges a corpse for Sabretooth. ‘I pray that time comes soon’ Caliban remarks as he removes the shackles. ‘Gee, thanks’ Jubilee mumbles.

Jubilee alerts Caliban to the fact that the candles are burning out, and tells him that it is getting dark down in the tunnel. Caliban tells Jubilee that if she needs light, he will go forage for firewood. Jubilee asks him if he can see in the dark, to which Caliban reveals that his eyes are sensitive to even the smallest amount of light. ‘Is that so?’ Jubilee asks, looking thoughtful, before suddenly releasing a burst of plasma energy - her “fireworks” and exclaiming ‘Then say “Cheese”, sucker!’ as Caliban cries out in agony and falls backwards. Jubilee climbs up a ladder to another level of the tunnel, and remarks ‘Dope. No wonder you never cut it as an X-Man’. Still dazed by the lights, Caliban cannot see. ‘Jubilee?’ he calls out, before screaming out to her.

‘Like, this is totally gross!’ Jubilee exclaims as she runs through some dirty water as she tries to escape the tunnel. Caliban tries to follow her, calling out to her: ‘Listen, spark-child! You were much safer with me than you are by yourself! You don’t know these corridors like I do - and I will find you long before you can reach the surface!’ he tells her. Caliban adds that only he knows the safe passages, and only he knows where it is unwise for anyone to tread. Jubilee can hear Caliban calling out to her as he tells her that although the Morlocks have disappeared, there are other, more horrible denizens of the Alley. ‘More terrifying than Caliban!’ he adds as Jubilee suddenly sees a skull floating in the water.

Anxious, Jubilee calls out’ Yeah, right. And I suppose there are giant alligators living in the sewers of New York, am I right? Sorry, Caliban, I don’t -’ she interrupts herself, screaming as she calls out that something grabbed her ankle. Jubilee lifts a foot out of the water, ‘Uh - oboy’ she mutters as she looks around, and sees Caliban looming over her. ‘You see, spark-child? The Alley is best-suited to one who has lived here most of his life’ Caliban tells her, explaining that it was designed to protect the Morlocks, who once lived here, and to destroy those who did not. Jubilee tells Caliban that she is kind of glad to see him, but that she still doesn’t buy the “other denizens of the deep” story. ‘Fortunately, you not longer have to’ Caliban tells her as he lifts her up and puts her over his shoulder. ‘Hey! Put me down! Do you hear me!’ Jubilee complains.

Back at the Xavier Institute, Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde, formerly of the X-Men and currently of Excalibur, has arrived. Kitty frowns as she stands in front of Creed, who mutters ‘Ahh, the brat’s come to see the zoo’s latest attraction’. Creed tells Shadowcat to come closer, remarking that he enjoys the smell of fear. Kitty tells Creed to cut the Hannibal Lecter routine, as it will not work. Jean tells Kitty to be careful, and Creed repeats her, before pointing out that if they go into the Alley, it will just be the two of them - alone in the dark. ‘Think you’re ready?’ he asks her. ‘You are SICK!’ Kitty shouts, before turning to the Professor and informing him that she will be more than happy to deliver this killer to Caliban - gift-wrapped!

But Charles tells Kitty that she knows that is not the plan, as Sabretooth’s involvement is a necessary risk. Charles explains to Kitty that they are counting on her previous relationship with Caliban to help negotiate Jubilee’s release. ‘So you want me to betray another friendship, like you had me do with Peter?’ Kitty asks, referring to Colossus. Kitty folds her arms across her chest as she tells the Professor that she never had many friends, but that he is doing his part to put the kibosh on the ones that she has. ‘Kitty, that’s not fair’ Jean remarks, but Charles declares that Kitty is right, and apologizes to her.

Charles tells Kitty that he sees her point, but that in both circumstances, lives were at stake, and they were extremely difficult decisions. ‘Yo, I hate to bust up this family reunion, but lemme remind you that I still haven’t agreed to be a part of this fun and games!’ Sabretooth declares, pointing out that there is still the matter of his list of demands, when, suddenly, gas fills the chamber. Calmly, Jean asks Sabretooth why he is so surprised, as he has forced their hand, so they are giving into his demands. ‘A pity, really. You were making such progress’ Jean adds as she lifts Creed into the air, telekinetically. ‘Hey! Lemme down!’ Creed complains. Psychic power surges from Jean’s mind as she tells Creed that now they have to start from square one.

Sabretooth exclaims that it is so good, that he never thought he could miss anything so much. ‘It’s like…wait! It’s too much! Turn it off! Turn it off!’ he begs as he cannot handle Jean’s power. Jean tells him they refuse to meet his second demand - the restrains must stay on. ‘All right! All right! Anything! Just turn it off!’ he begs. Jean does, and Creed falls to the floor. ‘Nice one, Red. But never let it be said that Sabretooth ain’t a fair guy’ Creed declares.

Soon, Creed and Kitty stand before an access panel into the Morlock tunnels. ‘So, this is it, kid. Just you and me. Ain’t no turning back now’ Creed tells Kitty. Jean and Charles watch as they enter the tunnel, and Jean tells Kitty to take care of herself. Xavier warns Creed to handle himself appropriately. ‘You’ll find my patience has limits’ Charles adds. Kitty glances over her shoulder and thanks the Professor for the sentiment, but assures him she can fight her own battles. The access panel slams shut and Creed calls out ‘Brave words, girl…I hope you can see as well as me down here, so you’ll know what’s coming’ he tells her. ‘They don’t call me Shadowcat for nothing’ Kitty replies, before suggesting they cut the posturing and start looking for Jubilee.

At that moment, Jubilee is strapped to the tunnel ceiling. ‘Hey, Cal - is this really necessary?’ she asks. Caliban asks her what she expects, and tells her that when she betrays Caliban’s trust, she must suffer the consequences. Jubilee complains that she cannot hang around like this forever, adding that it is only a matter of time before her Raybans fall off her nose, referring to her pink shades. Caliban tells her not to worry, as the ransom will be paid shortly. Jubilee asks Caliban how he doesn’t know that all the X-Men won’t come and tear this place down around his ears. Caliban tells Jubilee that if she had his sense, she would know that only two have entered the alley. ‘I will intercept them - to protect Kitty Pryde from the savage Marauder!’ Caliban announces as he begins to move through the tunnel.

Meantime, Sabretooth sniffs the air and announces that he has their scent. ‘This way!’ he declares as he leads the way through the tunnel, bounding over various pipes. Kitty calls out to him, asking him to slow down. ‘Hey! Didn’t you hear me?’ she shouts when Creed does not slow down. Kitty catches up to him and stands in front of him, ‘I said HOLD IT, mister!’ she snaps, reminding Creed that she is the one leading this mission. ‘We’re not rushing in without a battle plan’ she tells him. ‘Wrong, frail! I’m the one whose neck is on the line - and this is my battle plan!’ Creed retorts as he smacks Kitty across the face - but Kitty just scowls at him and exclaims ‘Nice try, Sabretooth! But I phased just in time!’

Sabretooth lunges at Kitty again, but his fist misses her as she ducks him. Creed tells her that the way he figures it, she cannot breathe and stay untouchable at the same time. He points out that sooner or later she will have to come up for air and solidify. ‘You know something - you’re right! Is this solid enough for you?’ Kitty asks as she becomes tangible again and smacks Creed across the face. Creed wipes his face and mutters ‘Nice sucker punch there, girlie’, adding that he didn’t think she would phase-in so soon. Kitty replies that she is full of surprises, and touches a button on her costume, which releases a set of nun-chucks. ‘For instance, these accessories on my costume - they’re not just ornamentation’ she reveals.

Kitty holds her weapons and looks stern she tells Creed that she is no punk kid that he is playing with. Kitty informs him that she learned how to defend herself, body and soul, a long time ago fro ma man who in many ways was Creed’s equal. ’But ten times your better in the ways that count’ she tells him. Sabretooth mutters that he is really starting to get hacked off at the X-dweebs comparing him to that snivelling Wolverine all the time. ’Besides - I hear he ain’t feeling so good these days’ Sabretooth adds. Kitty follows him and readies her weapon, but Creed spins around and kicks her in the face, telling her that it is time they all learned that the disciple is never as seasoned as his master.

Kitty drops to her knees and wipes her face, as Sabretooth moves towards her, remarking that his claws may be shackled but that his hands are still powerful enough to rend her limbs from their sockets. Kitty dodges his attack, as he slams into the side of the tunnel, and tells Creed that he is starting to sound like a real pain in the neck, as she smacks the nun-chuck into the back of Creed’s neck, enabling her to places one arm around his neck, and the other through his head. ’See this hand sticking out of your forehead? If I solidify it, your brain turns to jelly. Now, do we have an understanding?’ Kitty asks. Creed tells Kitty that the way he sees it, she loses her arm as well, but as she has the upper hand, they will play by her rules - for now.

Kitty lets Creed go, and he follows her into another part of the tunnel system as Creed announces that the scent leads through here. Kitty realizes that it is some kind of aqueduct, when suddenly, the panel slams closed behind them. Creed glances back and declares that it looks like someone is trying to keep them from leaving, and as it starts to get wet inside the aqueduct, Sabretooth tells Shadowcat that unless she has learned how to make it rain indoors, they have got a problem. ‘The floodgates are opening! But who!’ Kitty exclaims, before she sees someone standing up above them: ‘Caliban!’ Kitty announces. Caliban tells Kitty that it is he, and as he turns a large cog with his enhanced strength, he informs her that this entire chamber will soon fill with water.

Water swells up about Sabretooth and Kitty, as Caliban calls down to Kitty, telling her to save herself, to leave Sabretooth and phase through the sealed hatchway from which she entered. But Kitty tells Caliban ‘No deal’ and informs him that they are not leaving without Jubilee. She asks Creed to try and open the hatch, but swimming under water to try and do so, Creed finds that he cannot. He bobs up to the surface and holds his gloved hands up, telling Kitty that he cannot get any leverage with these things on. ‘I don’t suppose Chuckles gave you the key?’ Creed asks. Kitty holds her hands up and tells Creed ‘No way’, and declares that they do things her way.

‘We’re gonna be two drowned cats if ya don’t do it fast, frail’ Creed points out. ‘This way!’ Kitty exclaims as she starts to swim towards the wall where there is a control box, not yet covered by the water. Kitty remarks that it must be the fuse box which controls the hatchways. ‘A little phase of the hand and…voila!’ she announces after sticking her phased hand into the box, disrupting the circuitry. One of the hatches opens, and Kitty tells Creed that they need to get going. ‘Ya don’t have to tell me twice!’ Creed replies as he follows Kitty down the hatch. Caliban leans over the barrier and shouts ‘Nooo! Not that way! Even the Morlocks never…’ his voice trails off as Kitty and Creed are out of earshot.

The sound of cascading water sweeping Creed and Kitty away contribute to them being unable to hear Caliban, as the hatchway spews them out onto another level. ‘Now where the heck are we?’ Sabretooth asks. Kitty replies that she doesn’t know, but that any place is better than where they just were, as the two land in more dirty water. Sabretooth tells Kitty that she used a nifty trick back there, and asks her what she did. Kitty informs Creed that her powers can also disrupt electrical circuits. ‘Is that so?’ Creed replies, before Kitty tells him to come on, as they have to start all over again. ‘Might not be as easy this time’ Creed replies as they trudge through the dirty water. As Kitty rounds a corner, Creed announces that he is picking up something else down here, and that it is nasty.

‘Creed! What exactly is that?’ Kitty calls out as she grabs Creed by the shoulder and motions to something sticking out of the water. Creed replies that he doesn’t know, but that he is not waiting around to find out. He begins to climb up a ladder, when suddenly, something wraps around Kitty’s leg - it is a tentacle - belonging to a giant squid! The creature tosses Kitty up above the water and smacks her into the side of the tunnel, while Kitty calls out to Creed, telling him to come back. ‘Well, well, well. I couldn’ta planned this better myself’ Creed sniggers.

‘See ya later, kid! I’d stick around…but three’s a crowd -’ Creed calls out, but as he attempts to escape, Caliban gets in front of him and smacks him backwards. ‘You spineless worm! You would leave the Kitty Pryde alone to face this creature - even though she saved your miserable life moments ago! You disgust Caliban!’ Caliban exclaims, before calling out to Kitty, telling her not to worry, as he is here to save her. He leaps onto the squid and begins nettling the creature, while Sabretooth continues to make his exit, warning Caliban that once he gets his shackles off, they are having a date. ‘Oh, dear - and I thought I was the girl of your dreams!’ Jubilee remarks as she pops up in front of Sabretooth.

‘Nice manacles, kid’ Creed mutters as he looks at the shackles on Jubilee’s hands. He touches her face and tells her not to give him any false bravado, as he can smell her fear. Jubilee replies that she is not afraid of what he will do to her. ‘I’m afraid of what you won’t do to save Kitty…’ Jubilee tells him, explaining that Caliban brought her here to hold up his end of the bargain. ‘At least in some ways, he’s a man of honor’ Jubilee declares. Sabretooth looks up to where the squid has Caliban trapped in its tentacles and mutters that he is dying honorably, too. The squid suddenly knocks Caliban to the wall, and Sabretooth remarks that he has never been much for waiting, ‘And your time’s just about run out!’ Creed declares as he leaps towards the squid.

‘Yo, slime ball, that’s my toy you’re playing with!’ Creed tells the creature, and begins tearing apart its tentacles, sending Kitty careening backwards. ‘Hope ya enjoyed the ride, kid’ Creed tells Kitty, who lands in the water nearby, and helps Caliban up. ‘What did Apocalypse do to you?’ she asks, looking at him. ‘Kitty Pryde - what?’ Caliban utters. ‘Believe it or not, Sabretooth just saved our lives’ Kitty tells him, and wonders if the Professor was right to stop his murder campaign by taking him in. ‘Maybe it’s possible for anyone to change - me…you…and yes, even Sabretooth’ Kitty tells Caliban, as they watch Creed tear apart the squid until it finally stops thrashing.

‘You rang?’ Creed calls out as he moves towards Kitty, Jubilee and Caliban. ‘I don’t know what to say, Creed - thank you. But we’ve still got to get Caliban to safety’ Kitty remarks. Creed replies that he is not worried about Caliban and asks her whgo her phasing power is. ‘Good as new, see?’ Shadowcat replies as she phases an arm through Jubilee. ‘HEY!’ Jubilee complains. ‘Well, that’s just peachy, cuz I’ve got an itch that I’ve been dying to scratch’ Creed remarks as he removes his shackles, freeing his claws. ‘NO!” Jubilee exclaims. ‘Thanks for telling me about that nifty side-effect of yer powers, kid’ Creed tells Kitty, before warning her to get out of his way, as he and Caliban have some unfinished business to take care of.

Creed grabs Caliban by his neck and shoves him against the wall, ‘You wanted me, Caliban - you got me!’ Creed tells him, before shoving his claws into him, re-opening that nasty scar that Archangel gave him. Sabretooth begins repeatedly clawing at Caliban, slashing at his face. ‘Here’s a matching set for the time ya broke my back!’ Creed snarls. He continues to slash at Caliban, asking him if he knows how long it takes for a healing factor to recover from a broken back, especially when you are floating face-down in this sink-hole. ‘Well, Cal - you’re gonna -’ Sabretooth begins, until Jubilee releases a burst of plasma in Sabretooth’s eyes, knocking back away from Caliban.

‘You little witch! Soon as these spots clear, I’m coming after you and it ain’t gonna be pretty!’ Creed warns Jubilee. Kitty congratulates Jubilee on her good work. ‘Now, while he’s still blinded - hit him hard and fast!’ Kitty exclaims. ‘I heard you were a brain, Kitty. But how’d you fix these things so quickly?’ Jubilee asks as they place the shackles back on Sabretooth’s arms and hands. Sabretooth growls and calls Kitty and Jubilee “brats”, telling them it will not do any good, as he doesn’t need his claws to rip her brain from her skull. ‘Sorry, Creed - only one cat is getting lobotomized today’ Shadowcat remarks warns him, suggesting he act like a good cat and get up against the wall. ‘You just used up your last life’ Kitty tells him.

Jubilee and Kitty turn back to Caliban, asking him how he is. Caliban covers his face with a hand and tells Kitty to stay back, as he doesn’t need her pity. ‘Caliban doesn’t need anyone! He is destined to always remain…alone’ Caliban calls out as he turns away. Kitty tells him that is not true, as there are people who will help him if he lets them. ‘All you need to do is ask’ she assures him, but there is no response as Kitty turns around, only the silence of the black water - Caliban has vanished.

Caliban makes his way back to his abode, all around is silence, where lurks the cry of a lonely heart - the echo of the last Morlock - the passing of the final Horseman. Caiban removes his hand from his face, revealing his face, with scars all over it. His howl is anguished. The Hound is born….

Second Story:
The dead of night. Three armed men stand ready. It should have been clean and simple. They needed to get from “A” to “B”. But if Malcolm and Randall have learned anything since joining the XSE, nothing is ever clean and simple when Bishop is involved. ‘Okay. We go on “three”. One -’ Bishop whispers to his comrades. ‘Wait. Does that mean “One, two, three” and then we go?’ Malcolm whispers, confused. ‘Or is it “one, two” and we move when you say “three”?’ Randall asks. Bishop doesn’t turn back to them, he stares straight ahead and replies’ Malcolm. Randall. Let me put it another way - move your “X’s”, men - we got what we came for - let’s get outta here!’ Bishop shouts as the trio make a run for it.

Malcolm and Randall look upwards and fire their weapons, as Malcolm announces that they have major incoming off the aerial grid. ‘My mother told me there’d be days like this’ Randall mutters. Bishop, Randall and Malcolm are the best that the XSE has to offer. They are the elite of their time, some seventy years from today in a universe filled with possibilities. It should have been clean simple…. ‘Remind my again why we joined the XSE Randall asks. ‘The travel. The excitement. The pay!’ Malcolm replies as they follow Bishop, who asks them if they want to go back to the way it was - before they let mutants protect mutants.

Randall tells Bishop not to get nostalgic, when suddenly he is struck by weapons fire. ‘Randall!’ Malcolm shouts, before he begins firing upwards. ‘You motherless descendents of Mesmero!’ Malcolm booms, while Bishop grabs Randall, and tells Malcolm to get on the communicator and find an XSE pick up, ASAP. Bishop tells himself that he has got to buy them some time, and begins firing downwards. Malcolm asks him what he is doing while Bishop locates some high voltage cables. ‘XSE will bury me in paperwork for this, but right now - I’ve got a job to do!’ he booms as he sets off an explosion.

Bishop grabs Randall and they make a run for it, while asking Malcolm where the pick up is. Malcolm replies that they are coming in, but all the debris is playing havoc with his sensors. ‘In other words - we’re running blind’. Malcolm calls out, as he rushes into the darkness up ahead - and falls off the edge of a bridge that has been blown away. ‘Malcolm! Hold on, man!’ Bishop calls out. Clinging to the ledge, Malcolm replies that he is not going anywhere, and tells Bishop not to worry about him, to just get out of here.

Bishop leans over and reaches down for his comrade, telling him to stay calm and listen to him, as he is going to reach him. ‘Just. Hold. On. Got you!’ Bishop calls out. ‘Good, cause our ride is here’ Randall announces. Malcolm looks at Bishop and tells him that he never doubted. ‘I mean, I knew we’d be safe, because…you’ll always be there for us…be there for us…’ suddenly, he fades out, and there is blackness all around, as the Danger Room computer announces that the sequence is terminated.

Bishop exit’s the Danger Room, mopping his brow with a towel, he tells himself that everyone here wants him to let go of his past, but there are times - ‘Beautiful day our, Bish. Wanna go blading with me?’ Jubilee exclaims as she leaps in front of him, interrupting Bishop’s concentration. Bishop stares down at her and replies that he doesn’t think so, as he has had his work-out for today. ‘Fine. Okay. Your loss, toots!’ Jubilee calls out as she turns her back on him and throws her arms into the air, while thinking ‘Jerk’. Bishop frowns, before asking her to wait, and asks if it is okay if they go for a long walk instead. ‘Really? No fooling?’ Jubilee grins. They put their arms around each other and walk on, as Jubilee tells him that this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Bishop tells her that he has heard that line somewhere before. ‘You have?’ Jubilee asks. They were the best the XSE had to offer. The elite of Bishop’s future. Now, they are only Bishop’s past…it is never clean and simple….

Characters Involved: 

First Story:
Beast, Jean Grey, Jubilee, Storm, Professor X (all X-Men)
Shadowcat (member of Excalibur)

Stevie Hunter


Dean, Goose, Lopex, Smitty

Second Story:
Bishop & Jubilee (both X-Men)

As Danger Room Constructs:
Malcolm & Randall

Story Notes: 

This annual comes with the following bonus pin-ups:
Wolverine by Steve Skroce & Bob Dvorak
Archangel & Jean Grey by John Romita Jr (this may have been the original cover art for Uncanny X-Men #306)
Caliban by Ian Churchill
Cable by Mike Miller

This is the final annual to be numbered. From 1995, and for several years following, the annuals would be numbered by year. A new volume of annuals later started renumbering from #1.

First Story:
Caliban was rescued by X-Factor in X-Factor (1st series) #11. He betrayed them to side with Apocalypse in X-Factor (1st series) #24, and was granted new power by Apocalypse in X-Factor (1st series) #50.
Hannibal Lecter is the intellectual serial killer from “Silence of the Lambs”.
Kitty has a longstanding friendship with Caliban.
Kitty “betrayed” Colossus to help him as shown in Excalibur (1st series) #71.

Second Story:

Malcolm and Randall were killed in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #287.

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