X-Factor (1st series) #131

Issue Date: 
February 1997
Story Title: 

Howard Mackie (writer), Jeff Matsuda (penciler), Art Thibert (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Glynis Oliver (colors), GCW (separations), Kelly Corvese (editor), Bob Harras (chief)

Brief Description: 

Havok has a nightmare, the same nightmare he’s been having for weeks. It’s about the changes that are taking place in his life; about him taking control instead of being the one being controlled. To do this, he needs to create a new Brotherhood. He discovers the whereabouts of Dark Beast, who is in a government facility. He breaks him out, and also frees the teleporting assassin, Fatale. Dark Beast thinks Havok is there to kill him, but Alex surprises him by destroying his shackles, and offers him an opportunity to join his new Brotherhood. With little option, he accepts.

Full Summary: 

Under the streets of New York City, Havok is having the latest in a series of nightmares. In his dreams, he is wearing the Malice choker, and is being taunted by Magneto and Professor Xavier, though others from his past are present such as Dark Beast, the Living Pharaoh and Mister Sinister.

The nightmare is all about control. He has been told what to do all his life, and even his brother, Cyclops, taunts him by telling him how much of an embarrassment he has been to him. Under the threat of death at the hands of Cyclops, Havok lets rip with his cosmic power. He wakes, and finds that he released a large amount of energy in reality. The shock waves are felt above ground by some kids playing basketball.

Havok thanks goodness it was only a dream. However, it’s the same dream he’s been having for weeks. He’s been pretending to formulate the next great step in his life; the next great step for mutantkind and the fear of failure darkens his horizon. He can feel the world around him falling apart, and all he can do is to hide in the sewers and surround himself with the headlines that cry out for someone to take action. The headlines in the newspapers scattered around him, tell of Onslaught’s battle with the heroes, and of presidential candidate Graydon Creed’s murder.

He reads the words ‘mutant menace’ in one, and tosses the paper away. He wonders how many more mutants will be hurt; will die, because of the actions of a few. He suddenly notices, as the dust settles, that the paper has gone through a hole in the wall; a hole he created with his blast. He steps through, and finds himself in a large laboratory.

He recognizes it as being Dark Beast’s old lab. It was McCoy’s base of operations, while he had Havok under his control. Though he doesn’t remember much of that time, he feels he was drawn there anyway. Aside from being the perfect place to hide, he knew McCoy had a stash of equipment hidden somewhere in there, which could be very useful in his newfound mission. If only he knew how to use it.

The room is dominated by a large spherical beam of light shining upwards in the center, at the base of which sits a chair. Power conduits lead to and from it. On monitors, the image of Dark Beast dominates. He uses the still active computers to determine McCoy’s current whereabouts, and quickly finds him.


In a top secret government holding facility, Dark Beast is indeed being held prisoner. He is shackled around the arms and waist, and a muzzle is fixed over his mouth to prevent him from using his teeth. All he can do is pace around and around, whilst his captors torment him. He isn’t best pleased with the situation.

Dark Beast had journeyed to this timeline when his own ceased to exist. For years, he hid beneath the surface of society until an opportunity opened up. That came when he saw this Earth’s own Hank McCoy. He kidnapped him, and hid himself amongst the X-Men. Then came Onslaught, and an end to his subterfuge. Eventually, as even Havok turned against him, McCoy was captured by X-Factor and turned over to their government superiors. For the past month, McCoy has been interrogated by government agents, curious to know from where he has suddenly surfaced; agents who are unaware of the apocalyptic revelations that remain hidden for now. To McCoy, this is all a game, only the conclusion has yet to be played.

His guards wish to rough him up a little. After all, he is a mutie. Besides, one of them points out, no one’s been down there since Creed was murdered. His colleague isn’t so sure, but the friend adds that at least they can stop him from whistling. His friend is in agreement with that, and so they head into his holding cell. They order him to cease his whistling, but McCoy asks if they have any requests. “A sonata perhaps?” One of the guards holds a nasty looking electrified rod in front of him, and tells McCoy that he always wanted to be the conductor of a major symphony orchestra, but his parents couldn’t afford to send him to Julliard. “Sing for me, McCoy.”

He uses the baton on McCoy, who screams in agony. His muzzle is snapped off in the process. The guard asks if he’s ready to change his tune now. His colleague warns him not to get too near, but as he holds his hand too close to Dark Beast, McCoy takes a chomp out of it, biting his thumb in half. He wants to kill McCoy, but their boss, Barnes, orders him to go to the infirmary, and not to even think about seeing this prisoner again. The guards reckons they can still fix his thumb, but McCoy gulps it down. “Oops! So sorry.”

The guards leave, and Barnes informs McCoy that, the next time, she might not be able to protect him. McCoy replies that he has faith in her.

(sometime later)

The guards are still smarting at Barnes’ treatment of them. They feel she’s been pushing them around for far too long. It’s not their fault they’ve been unable to get diddley out of McCoy, or why he looks like the other Beast. One of them touches one of the large metallic doors, which exit the base. He tells his friend it’s hot. His friend replies that they’re in the desert; of course it’s hot. Without much warning, the door explodes and, through the smoke, steps Havok. He tells the two guards, and several of their colleagues, to pardon the mess - but they have someone he wants.

On the monitors surrounding Barnes, both Dark Beast and the teleporting assassin, Fatale, can be seen. As Barnes listens to reports of a super-powered intruder working his way to containment area X-L7, she knows she must try and protect the prisoners. The mainframe goes down. All she can do is to wait. Meanwhile, she can see, and hear, Dark Beast screaming at the camera. He knows Havok is coming for him, and he can’t be allowed to perish like this. He even begs.

An explosion nearby heralds Havok’s arrival. As the smoke and debris settles, Havok continues on in silence. All resistance has fallen by the wayside and he is left to deal with the harshest opponent of all, his own conscience. He thinks about the direction his life is heading. He remembers the rage, which followed the release of McCoy’s dark mind control. He recalls how he lashed out at Polaris, and then attacked an innocent civilian aircraft and attempted to kill his own brother.

On both those occasions, he could claim he was being controlled. Not this time. Every step he takes moves him further and further away from any point of reconciliation. The biggest surprise to Alex Summers is… how little he cares. He wants McCoy. It doesn’t matter that he finds his cell empty, or that a lone guard has decided to help McCoy to a rooftop evacuation pod. McCoy will be his.

McCoy, meanwhile, is eager to have Barnes move things along a little quicker. He is petrified of Havok catching up with him. Barnes assures him that she knows what she’s doing. She starts the craft and takes off, blasting away from the facility into the night sky. Havok witnesses their escape and knows he can’t allow this to happen. He fires at the ship, and causes the control panel to explode. Barnes feels she can still land the craft; but it’ll be tough. Havok’s pleased with the results. His wide-range plasma blast took out the navigation controls without damaging the ship. Now that’s control, he thinks.

He spots more security guards heading his way. It would be easy for him to just cut loose. Right there, he could start the real war between humans and mutants. How disappointed big brother Scott would be? It’s not the way Cyclops of the X-Men would handle things. No, he decides; this is not the way of the Brotherhood. He’ll find another way, his way, and he knows exactly what that is.


At the scene of the crash, Havok teleports in, courtesy of the newly released Fatale. She thanks Alex for springing her. She knew he needed a teleporter, but she’d heard he’d lined himself up with Ever. Alex replies that he did, but tells her she’ll be happy to know that he’s discovered that Fatale is much more powerful. Fatale flirts a little with Havok, adding that they don’t really need Dark Beast, but Havok puts her in her place. He makes it clear that she is a useful tool and nothing more. He’s controlling her this time and she should stay in line, or else.

Out of nowhere, a blast knocks them both off their feet. Hiding in some bushes, Dark Beast can’t believe that Barnes missed them. Barnes replies that she just wanted to scare them. He can berate her later, she adds, but for now they should run. As they set off, one of Havok’s plasma blasts follows them to a dead end. Awaiting imminent vaporization, Dark Beast orders Barnes to get him out of his bonds so he can get them clear, but Barnes says it’s too late. The plasma blast arrives and, to their amazement, it only destroys her weapon.

Through the smoke, Havok and Fatale approach them. Havok informs them that he means them no harm. Had he wanted to, he could have done a lot more damage to them. He asks Barnes to step out of the way; his business is with McCoy. Barnes refuses, as she won’t allow Havok to murder him. Alex asks Fatale to remove her. Dark Beast begs for mercy, but Havok tells him to stop. This is more than he deserves. Using a tiny fraction of his power, he destroys the shackles that rendered McCoy helpless. He can’t believe he is still alive.

Havok reminds McCoy that he should remember that, if he wanted him dead, he’d be nothing more than a genetically superior pile of ashes by now. He has need of McCoy’s talents in his Brotherhood. Mutants will no longer lay down and be slaughtered. Nor, he adds, will he stand around while others of his kind slaughter and wreak havoc upon the rest of the world. He tells McCoy that the X-Men are weak, and never take affirmative action for the cause. He plans to change that.

He warns McCoy that, if he betrays him, he’s history. Even worse, he might drop him back into the government’s hands and tell them exactly where he comes from. McCoy grins and says, in that case, he’ll give Alex a brief demonstration of his loyalty… by killing the human refuse before him. He leaps at Barnes, snarling ferociously. Havok blasts him in the back, sending him reeling. He tells McCoy that no innocent humans will die. He tells Barnes to let people know exactly what has happened here today. The Brotherhood is not about killing. It is about assuring that mutants will live in peace, with each other and amongst humans.

Barnes asks what happens when humans and mutants clash. Whose side is the Brotherhood really on? Havok replies that he doesn’t take sides. He takes initiative. McCoy smiles. “My, my. What a grandiose dream you have for us all. It will be interesting to see how you carry it out… Prelate Summers.

Characters Involved: 

Dark Beast, Fatale, Havok (all Brotherhood)

Dark Beast’s guards, including Barnes

Children playing basketball

(in Havok’s nightmares)

Cyclops, Dark Beast, Magneto, Living Pharaoh, Mister Sinister, Professor Charles Xavier

(in newspaper headlines)


Captain America, Iron Man (both Avengers)

Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Thing (all Fantastic Four)

Graydon Creed

(on monitors)

Dark Beast and his guards


Story Notes: 

Julliard is located at the Lincoln Center in New York City. It was founded in 1905 as the Institute of Musical Art.

Havok was mind-controlled by Dark Beast during the Onslaught storyline.

Havok and Cyclops fought in Uncanny X-men #339.

The speech balloons following the explosion that takes Havok and Fatale out are wrong. The ‘Stay close’ line should be coming from Havok.

Dark Beast’s final line refers to Havok’s Age of Apocalypse counterpart, who was one of Apocalypse’s prelates.

Issue Information: 
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