X-Factor (1st series) #17

Issue Date: 
June 1987
Story Title: 
Die, Mutants, Die!

Louise Simonson (writer), Walter Simonson (penciler), Bob Wiacek (inker), Joe Rosen (letterer), Petra Scotese (colorist), Bob Harras (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Iceman is returned to X-Factor by Thor and his powers are growing out of control. Upon his return he learns of Angel’s suicide and the team attends the funeral. Warren’s service is surrounded by media and anti-mutant protesters and the altar in the chapel is spray-painted with the words Die Mutant Scum! Cyclops still struggles with his guilt over Angel and Madelyne’s deaths and appears to be having hallucinations. Cameron Hodge tries to prevent the team from going to San Francisco and stopping a mutant named Rictor from destroying the city, but the team proceeds anyway. When they reach California, they are attacked by an organization called The Right and discover that Rictor is a mutant who has been tortured by The Right, causing the earthquake. Iceman freezes the quaking building with his uncontrolled powers and Jean shuts Rictor down by briefly stopping blood flow to his brain. This causes Cyclops to believe Jean is really Phoenix. The police try to stop X-Factor as they leave San Francisco, but Iceman gives an impassioned speech about how they saved the city and that most mutants are good people and humans should be glad they exist. Cameron Hodge is upset by Bobby’s speech, which was broadcast on television and continues to plot against Scott and the other members of X-Factor.

Full Summary: 

Flying in from high above the X-Factor complex in New York, the mighty Thor returns Iceman to his home.

Thor is unsure about leaving Bobby, his ice powers having been heightened by Loki, and he thinks Bobby should seek medical attention. Iceman reminds Thor that he is a mutant and can’t go to a hospital in his ice form.

A security camera focuses on the pair as they land on the complex roof. In the control room, Beast and Cameron Hodge see Bobby’s arrival and are concerned by his icy, shivering appearance.

Racing up the stairs, Hank runs to his friend’s side as Thor flies off into the sky. Rusty and Skids follow, worried about Bobby. Hank helps Bobby to his feet and is shocked by the cold emanating off his body.

Bobby promises to catch Hank up about what happened later. Joking, Bobby notes Hank’s yuppie suit and asks if he’s going to a funeral.

Stricken, Hank tells Bobby about Warren’s suicide. Sitting down on his bed, Bobby can’t believe Warren would kill himself. Warren didn’t want to live without his wings, Hank says, and they had to be cut off or Warren would have died.

Angrily, Bobby yells the human doctors didn’t have to cut off Warren’s wings, that there had to be another way and maybe humans really do hate mutants!

Hank thinks Bobby is feeling too ill to attend the funeral, which is in an hour. Bobby insists on attending and Rusty uses his flames to thaw the ice off of Bobby.

Skids reaches into Bobby’s closet and hands him his suit. Bobby congratulates Skids on her control of her force field and she tells him that she and Rusty helped each other learn to control their abilities.

Skids thinks Warren would have been proud of her accomplishment, but is saddened that he will never know. She runs off to tell Jean and Scott that Bobby has returned.

Later, the members of X-Factor exit their limousine at Warren’s funeral service. Hank comments on the number of anti-mutant demonstrators and riot police in attendance. Scott is glad the kids didn’t come with them, as they don’t need to be exposed to such a media circus.

As they enter the chapel, Jean is unable to locate Candy Sothern, Warren’s girlfriend. Scott is alarmed that none of the X-Men are in attendance, as they used to be his teammates!

Jean makes the excuse that perhaps the X-men are away in space, as they do that sometimes. Scott remembers, and wonders if that is where he developed the knack of never being around when people need him. Feeling extremely guilty, Scott feels he could have stopped Warren from committing suicide if he had been there.

On a hill above the chapel, the Morlocks Caliban and Leech approach. They are disguised in heavy layers of clothing and plan on slipping through the side entrance to pay their respects to Warren.

Outside the chapel, reporter Trish Tilby stops Scott. She asks him about the backlash X-Factor has been receiving since it was revealed that Warren, a known mutant, was its financial backer.

Trish also points out that the brutal anti-mutant campaign that X-Factor is advertising is fanning the flames of hatred and bigotry and begins to blame Warren for it. Bobby cuts her off, yelling that Warren was the most peaceful guy he knew. He runs towards her and his ice powers flare out of control, freezing the cameraman’s lens.

Fortunately, Leech and Caliban race to Bobby’s side. Leech’s powers nullify Bobby’s before Iceman’s mutant identity can be revealed. Caliban ushers them inside the chapel, since the “weather” is so cold and icy.

Cameron Hodge steps forward to speak with Trish and states that Warren backed the mutant-hunting X-Factor to rid society of a dangerous element. Hodge’s statements upset Bobby, making him think that maybe all the anti-mutant craziness is X-Factor’s fault.

When the group enters the chapel, they all stop in their tracks and gasp in alarm. Someone has spray painted “Die Mutant Scum” across the altar!

Hidden in the night sky above New York, Apocalypse and his Horsemen look upon his final fourth Horseman, Death. After one of the Horsemen comments that the new arrival looks like a drowned cat, Apocalypse reminds them that looks can be deceiving. Inside this man’s heart burns a dark anger and Apocalypse will kindle that anger to use against the world!

Back at the X-Factor complex, the team arrives home with Caliban and Leech. While the Morlocks reunite with Artie, Skids and Rusty, Bobby is still stunned that someone could hate mutants so much to have written something like that.

Cameron Hodge berates Bobby for almost causing X-Factor to blow their cover and forcing Cameron to distract the media by making a statement. Bobby retorts that all Cameron did was spout anti-mutant speeches and their “dangerous element” and that maybe they should rethink just who is dangerous to whom.

The phone rings, interrupting Bobby’s tirade. Cameron answers the call, which is from the Governor of California. Apparently a mutant named Rictor has threatened to shake San Francisco into the sea in twelve hours and says he is with the mutant terrorist team, the X-Terminators!

Cameron starts to tell the Governor that X-Factor is unavailable during their time of grieving and an incredulous Jean snatches the phone away from him. The line has already been cut off and Jean asks Cameron what he thinks he’s doing.

Cameron stammers that with everything that has been going on, X-Factor isn’t up for more trouble. Jean reminds him that they are the X-Terminators and some evil mutants are using their name to threaten a city!

Jean tells Cameron to phone the Governor back, but Bobby interrupts with an idea. If they go to San Francisco as the X-Terminators, it will show the public that mutants are not their enemy. Caliban offers to come along to help track down the mutant, Rictor.

Skids and Boom-Boom rush to the roof to tell Scott about San Francisco. They hear him talking to someone about how Jean, Phoenix and Angel’s graves are all empty. As the girls approach, they see Scott apparently talking to the thin air and think he’s losing it.

Scott sees Angel floating in front of him and asks why he didn’t wait for him and let Scott stop him from killing himself. A vision of Maddie appears, but Scott tells her that she shouldn’t be here, as they had found her body. He yells for her to quit looking at him like that, but berates himself for not being there when Maddie needed him. Scott cries out for the Phoenix, that she could make it right and fires an optic blast where the visions had appeared.

Boom-Boom and Skids watch Scott’s disturbing behavior, noticing that everyone he’s talking to is dead. Skids wants to approach him, but a nervous Tabitha takes off to tell Bobby what is going on.

As Skids tries to muster the courage to talk to Scott, Jean comes up the stairs and asks Sally to leave her alone with Scott.

Jean walks over and puts her arms around Scott. She tells him about the mutant threatening to destroy San Francisco and asks if he will lead the team. As they talk, a surveillance camera focuses in on the couple.

In the control room, Cameron Hodge watches the images of Jean and Scott. He scoffs at Scott’s supposed leadership, as Scott seems to be on the brink of insanity and Jean is hoping duty will anchor him to reality.

The other team members look up to Scott and Jean and they have balked at Cameron at every turn. However, with Warren no longer around to protect them, Cameron laughs that it will delightfully easy to destroy them both!

In Hank’s laboratory, Boom-Boom runs in to tell Hank and Bobby that Scott is talking to himself and has gone nuts! Hank dismisses her outburst as hyperbole and tells Bobby to get her out of the lab.

Tabitha pleads with Hank to listen to her, but he orders her out of his lab. Dropping a time bomb into a petri dish, Tabitha tells Hank he has an explosive situation on his hands. As the time bomb explodes, Boom-Boom flees the room with Hank in hot pursuit.

Running down the hallway, Boom-Boom stops short as Ariel pops out of a closet door and beckons Tabitha to follow her. Tabitha hesitates, but jumps in the closet to avoid getting caught by Bobby, who has come around the corner.

A blast of light appears from within the closet and when Hank and Bobby open it, Boom-Boom and Ariel have disappeared! Bobby insists he saw Tabitha and another kid go in the closet, but Hank tells him he must be cracking up and they will deal with Boom-Boom when they come back from California.

The team takes their helicopter to Kennedy Airport and board their jet for San Francisco. They will have only fours hours to find Rictor before the twelve-hour deadline. Scott figures they will find him in the middle of San Francisco, as earthquakes radiate from an epicenter.

Bobby turns to ask Caliban what he thinks and spots the Morlock gazing out the jet’s window. When asked what he’s looking at, Caliban replies that the clouds look like cotton candy.

Having never flown before, Caliban is worried that he knows so little about the world and that perhaps he shouldn’t have come. Bobby tells him to take one step at a time and hands him his own X-Factor uniform to put on.

Back at the X-Factor complex, the kids are worried about Boom-Boom’s disappearance. Artie mentally takes a look around the complex, but finds no sign of their friend. With no one else around, Rusty, Skids, Artie and Leech head to Cameron’s office to tell him about the missing Tabitha.

When they approach his office door, they hear Cameron on the phone. He is telling someone that X-Factor is on the way and to be ready and play it straight. Cameron tells the person on the other end of the line not to give it away and they might salvage this operation yet!

Artie projects an image of a fish and Rusty agrees that Cameron’s conversation does sound fishy. He tells Skids that there is no way they are telling Hodge anything.

Several hours later, X-factor flies through San Francisco’s skies in the helicopter, which they were able to transport with them in the jet. Caliban scans the populace below for signs of Rictor and suddenly senses a mutant presence of immense power in a building below.

As they try to land their helicopter, the roof of the building below slides open and two helicopters launch. The sides of the helicopters have the words “The Right” painted on them and they start firing rockets at X-Factor!

Jean telekinetically grabs the rockets and crashes them into the bay. Beast grabs Cyclops’ feet as Scott hangs out the helicopter door and shoots down one of The Right’s copters.

As the deadline approaches, the other enemy copter starts firing at X-Factor. Iceman is disgusted that the evil mutant Rictor is using humans to do his dirty work. Suddenly the building below starts to tremble and all of The Right’s helicopters take off away from the building.

With only seven minutes remaining, the team lands and rushes to the basement of the building. Along the way Bobby gripes about X-Factor being created to save mutants from human oppression and all they do is fight evil mutants!

Arriving in the basement, they find a teenager chained to the building walls, shaking with violent tremors. Rictor yells for them to stay away and that he won’t be used. Cyclops notes that Rictor is just a kid, but Bobby fumes that sometime rotten things come in small packages and that kid is shaking the building apart!

Iceman has had it with evil mutants and their destruction. In a huge burst of power, Bobby freezes the entire high-rise building but also turns himself into solid ice. Jean uses her telekinesis to catch the falling chunks of ice while Scott frees Rictor from his shackles.

As they run from the building, Jean asks Rictor if The Right were mutants. Rictor tells her he has never seen a mutant before meeting X-Factor and that the human Right members tortured him into shaking everything around him.
When the building starts to collapse around them, Scott blasts a hole through the wall and they all jump out, fifteen stories up! Jean catches them all and also has to snag the helicopter as it tumbles from the roof.

Straining under all the pressure, Jean gets Hank into the helicopter to get it started before she exhausts herself. Everyone is inside the copter except Rictor, who is still tremoring within Jean’s grasp.

Rictor yells for them to kill him, but Jean tells him they will find another way. Suddenly, Rictor cries out and the vibrations start to subside. The Right’s building collapses, but the rest of the city is safe.

Jean pulls an unconscious Rictor inside, explaining that she stopped the flow of blood to his brain for a moment. An amazed Scott is stunned by what Jean did, that she should have never been able to do that.

Scott tells Jean he knows how much it must have cost her to reveal herself, but a confused Jean tells Scott to stop talking in riddles. She shivers and asks Bobby why he is emanating so much cold.

Bobby tells her he’s okay, but he can’t seem to warm up. He is furious at The Right for making him think Rictor was the enemy when all along he was just a tortured kid.

Hank calls back to the others that they aren’t out of trouble yet, as two police copters flank theirs. Scott doesn’t want to risk killing them by firing his eye beams, but when he asks Jean to slow them down, he starts to call her Phoenix.

Hank tells Jean not to bother, that their copter should be able to outdistance the police. Bobby can’t believe that they just saved the city and now the police want to shoot them down. Hank reminds him that the building was destroyed by Rictor’s power, but Bobby is too furious by now.

Bobby grabs the microphone for the copter’s PA system and starts yelling at the police. He tells them that the X-Terminator’s are not responsible for the building’s destruction and that an innocent mutant child was tortured by humans to try and destroy the city.

Mutants are like everybody else except they have powers, Bobby cries, and most of them are good people. The X-Terminators saved San Francisco and Bobby wants everyone to know mutants by their deeds and be glad they exist!

Back at the X-Factor complex, Cameron curses as Bobby’s speech is broadcast on the news. He plans a press release to discredit Bobby and plots against Scott, as his madness will destroy him and when Scott topples, he can destroy the rest of X-Factor!

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all X-Factor)

Artie, Boom Boom, Rusty Collins, Skids (X-Factor students)

Cameron Hodge (X-Factor’s public relation director)

Caliban, Leech (both Morlocks)

Trish Tilby (news reporter)

Ariel II (member of Fallen Angels)


Famine, Pestilence and War (Horsemen of Apocalypse)

Unnamed fourth Horseman

Story Notes: 

Bobby’s disappearance in X-Factor #15 was explained in Thor #377-378 where Loki amplified his ice powers to use him as a pawn against Thor.

After losing his wings during the Mutant Massacre, Warren supposedly committed suicide by crashing his private plane. The mutant-hating organization The Right actually caused the explosion, but Apocalypse teleported Warren to his citadel to transform him into Archangel (X-Factor #14 -19).

The body Scott identified in Anchorage was not his wife, Madelyne. After a pilot job to San Francisco, Mr. Sinister had the Marauders attack Maddie and kidnap baby Nathan. Maddie was shot several times and left for dead. She was taken to a local hospital where she remained in a coma for months (Uncanny X-Men #206, #215).

Scott’s “hallucinations” are actually holograms planted by Cameron Hodge to drive him insane, thus allowing Cameron to destroy X-Factor.

Boom-Boom is taken away by Ariel II for events that take place in Fallen Angels #3.

Issue Information: 
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