X-Factor (1st series) #30

Issue Date: 
July 1988
Story Title: 
Kiss of Death!

Louise Simonson (Writer), Walter Simonson (Penciler), Bob Wiacek (Inker), Joe Rosen (Letterer), Pete Scotese (Colorist), Bob Harras (Editor) Tom DeFalco (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

Iceman and X-Factor’s students play a game of volleyball using one of Boom-Boom’s time bombs as a ball. When the “ball” almost hits Cyclops and Marvel Girl, they berate the children for misusing their powers and Iceman for being so irresponsible. The two of them then depart for Dallas on their mission to find Cyclops’ son. Once they’re gone, Iceman and Beast fly to New York to have some fun. However, Beast ends up by himself, while Iceman entertains a group of women. When a woman approaches him, he becomes nervous, leaves the restaurant, and climbs up to the roof. There, he witnesses Infectia drawing a policeman with a grudge against mutants into an alleyway. She mutates the cop with a kiss and orders him to go after Iceman. As the monster smashes up the restaurant, Infectia runs to Iceman, claiming that the monster is after her. After Beast and Iceman defeat the monster, Infectia begins seducing Iceman. Beast tries to warn him about her, but he refuses to listen. Elsewhere, a strange egg-shaped creature sneaks into a Nebraska orphanage and Death infiltrates Worthington Enterprises, searching for information on Candy Southern. In Dallas, Destiny helps Freedom Force get the jump on Cyclops and Marvel Girl. The situation escalates, as Cyclops demands information on his missing son. Back in Manhattan, Iceman takes Infectia back to the ship, ignoring all of Beast’s attempts to dissuade him. The kids don’t like her, and the feeling is mutual. Boom-Boom especially dislikes Infectia, as she’s developed a crush on Iceman. Infectia and Iceman share a romantic moment watching the moon over the ocean. Their evening culminates in what could be a deadly kiss…

Full Summary: 

Infectia sits on a rooftop, looking through her collapsible telescope, daydreaming. She imagines herself in the arms of X-Factor’s Iceman, planting a kiss on his lips. He becomes a giant, dwarfing Infectia, who stands atop a tall pedestal. He beams with a grotesque smile as he offers her a present: X-Factor’s sentient ship. But that scenario isn’t a reality yet. X-Factor’s ship is still out there, she tells herself, “floating on the Atlantic like a silver cloud.”

Aboard the ship, Iceman and X-Factor’s students play a game of volleyball, using one of Boom-Boom’s time bombs as a ball. Skids slaps it over the net; Rusty challenges Iceman to stop it. “No sweat,” he says, and a bat made of ice materializes in his hands. He whacks it back over the net and Rusty cries foul. Iceman says he’s a mutant, doing what comes naturally. What could be fairer than that?

Boom-Boom counts down, warning them that her time bomb is about to explode. She watches Iceman with a giddy smile on her face. “Isn’t he smart, the way he whacked it practically into the stratosphere? Isn’t he wonderful?” Rictor stands behind her, arms crossed, frowning. “I’d think he was more wonderful if he was on our team!”

But what goes up must come down. Jean and Scott emerge onto the deck, and the time bomb plunges toward them. Scott informs them that he and Jean are about to leave when Jean notices the time bomb falling out of the sky. She diverts it with her telekinesis and he blasts it. “Are you kids out of your minds?” he says, livid. Jean lectures Boom-Boom, telling her that her time bombs aren’t toys. Scott tells Iceman that he should know better.

Rusty says they were just having a practice session. Skids adds that they were just honing their powers. Boom-Boom says it was just a little bomb and, if it got dangerous, Rusty or Rictor would’ve burned it up or shook it apart. Iceman tells Cyclops to chill out. He wouldn’t have let anyone get hurt. “What do you think I am – crazy?”

Cyclops wonders if that’s what he is. He goes on to say that X-Factor brought the kids to the ship to train them in controlling their powers. Marvel Girl wonders if leaving them without adult supervision was a bad idea. “I resent that!” Iceman says. The ship chimes in, saying that Cyclops and Marvel Girl have an important mission, and that there will be no more games of “volley bomb” while they’re gone.

Cyclops and Marvel girl take off in a crescent-shaped aircraft designed by the ship. As they depart, the students talk about how they hope Scott finds what he’s looking for. They all agree that he’s gone crazy since learning his son was alive.

Several hours later, Iceman decides its time to party, but Beast doesn’t think it’s a good idea to leave the kids alone on the ship. The ship reassures him that they’ll be safe, and that they will have a nutritious dinner before viewing a film on the political situation in Central America.

Once Beast and Iceman take off, the ship suggests chiliburgers with French fries and apple pie for dessert. “Sounds great,” Rictor says, “I can’t wait to see Rambo Nukes Commando in Nicaragua on a twenty-foot screen!”

Shortly thereafter, Beast and Iceman land in New York. They’re immediately surrounded by a throng of reporters bombarding them with questions. Where’d you get the plane? Why didn’t your ship teleport you? Have you learned any more about those Anti-Bodies who attacked your ship? Beast can only stutter, as usual, but Iceman gladly fields the questions, telling them that their ship made the plane, because it’s more fun to fly. A reporter asks why they are suddenly so popular. Iceman simply says that they were born with mutant genetic structures that give them extraordinary powers, “but we have you folks to thank for our present celebrity. And one of the bonuses is an invitation to the Hard Rock Café!”

Infectia hears all this on the radio as she sits at her window, looking through her telescope. She wonders what will happen when she scrambles a genetic code that’s already been scrambled. “There’s only one way to find out,” she says, “and it shouldn’t be too hard. All I have to do is get close to him.”

Meanwhile, Iceman entertains a group of women in a bar, while Beast sits at a table by himself. The women ask Iceman all kinds of questions: How did your ship learn to do all those things? When did you discover you were a mutant? Where do you get all your money? He answers the last question. “I personally have advertising and endorsement commitments, though our ship supplies our every need.”

One of the women comes up behind Beast, putting her hand on his shoulder. “Really? Is it true what he says? Your… every need?” she says, with just a hint of innuendo. She takes him by surprise and all he can do is shamble away, telling her that he has to go. “Bobby didn’t tell me there’d be all those people,” he thinks as he swings out the window and onto the fire escape, “an’ they’d be askin’ all those questions!”

Hanging over the street with one hand holding onto the fire escape above him, he wonders why Pestilence had to touch him, stealing his intelligence. He thinks he should’ve remained on the ship with the kids.

On the street below, a cop on the beat swings his nightstick as he walks past the window of a store selling televisions. He watches Iceman’s interview, sneering. He believes that the media made those mutants into celebrities when they really belong in jail. Infectia approaches him and asks, “What’s the matter, officer? Don’t you like mutants?”
He explains that reporters don’t care what the mutants are about, as long as it sells advertising space. And that’s exactly what they’re doing by “making heroes out of those villains.” She asks him what he would do if he had those powers. He says he’d arrest the mutants, but it would take a bigger man to do that.

“That can be arranged,” Infectia says as they make their way along the sidewalk. She mentions her interest in molecular biochemistry. The officer puts one hand on his handcuffs, wondering if she’s talking about “recreational chemistry.” She says she doesn’t do drugs, but she makes her own chemistry. They walk into an alleyway and she pins him against a wall, showing him exactly what she means. “Biochemical engineering was daddy’s specialty,” she says, leaning in to kiss him, “and I am daddy’s little girl.”

Beams of energy radiate from the alleyway, and the officer is transformed into a massive beast, much like the Anti-Bodies she created. His mouth is lined with fangs and the shreds of his uniform hang over his mutated body. Infectia stands behind him, hands on her hips. “See? You’re a bigger man already!” She asks him who he was going to arrest. “Iceman!” he tells her. She instructs him to follow her. She knows just where he is.

Halfway across the continent, a jet carries Jean and Scott over Dallas. Jean says she’s followed every clue but can’t determine the whereabouts of her sister or her sister’s children. “At least with my son,” Scott says, “we know where to begin.” They’re in Dallas to meet with Freedom Force, the last people to see the X-Men alive. He wonders if Madelyne said anything to them, then realizes that they were also the last people to see his brother alive. “I’ve hardly given Alex’s death a thought,” he says. Jean tells him that he hasn’t had the chance--he’s had to deal with emergencies ever since learning of the death of the X-Men. He says that when he thinks about it, he just feels nothing. Numb. He wonders if he’s always resented Alex on an unconscious level. “Maybe,” he says, “I just don’t care?”

On the ground, Freedom Force awaits the arrival of Cyclops and Marvel Girl. Destiny informs Mystique that they’ll arrive soon. Mystique says that Freedom Force will be ready for them.

Far away, in a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska, a flying craft shaped like an insect lands on top of a building, its six legs latching onto the roof. A robotic, ovoid being emerges, its features obscured by shadows. Its only words are, “We’re heeere!”

Back in Manhattan, Infectia and her mutated police officer stroll casually up to the Hard Rock Café, looking for Iceman. The host asks if they have a reservation and the beastly cop smacks him head over heels. “I’ve got more than a reservation, dude!” he says. “I’ve got a badge – and right on my side!” Infectia takes the opportunity to sneak away, unaware that Beast is looking down on her from the roof.

The monster crashes through the wall, calling out to Infectia, who tries to blend in with the crowd. Patrons turn over tables, as they stampede for the nearest exit. Iceman turns toward the noise and Infectia runs into his arms, telling him that that monster was chasing her. She plays the damsel in distress, pleading for Iceman to save her. The monster rampages across the restaurant, charging Iceman to get away from Infectia, telling him that he’s under arrest. Iceman recognizes the monster as another one of the Anti-Bodies, a group of monsters who recently attacked X-Factor’s ship. This monster has no idea what Iceman is talking about. Iceman goes on to say that they couldn’t take the heat of battle and just disintegrated into dust. “Since neither of us want that to happen to you,” he says, encasing the monster in ice, “you may want to rethink your attack strategy real carefully.”

“Infectia… what’s he talking about?” the monster shouts, shattering the ice and sending shards in every direction. Unaware of who she really is, Iceman tells Infectia to stay back – the monster seems to be growing. She says she feels safer next to him. “He keeps raving… talking like he knows me,” she says about the mutated police officer, “and I’ve never seen him before in my life!”

At that moment, Beast arrives and launches himself at the monster, planting his feet on its face. He tries to tell Iceman that this monster was a cop who went into an alley with Infectia, but he can’t seem to get the words out. Iceman won’t listen to him, anyway. “I’m trying to talk reason to this guy!”

After Beast strikes him, he grows even larger – his fangs alone must be five feet long. “I’m bigger, alright,” he says. “Big enough…” He starts to radiate white light. “… to lock you up!” The light overtakes him, and in a flash, he disappears like the Anti-Bodies before him. “What happened?” Beast asks, crouching where the monster once stood. “Darn it, Beast,” Iceman says, “I was trying to reason with him! I was beginning to get through to him!” Infectia continues to hang on to Iceman, telling how noble and brave he was.

The dust hardly clears before reporters swarm the scene. “Was that spectacular, or what?” “How about a shot of you and the little lady?” “Front page of the Bugle!” Beast tries once more to tell Iceman about that cop and Infectia, but Iceman tells him to put a sock in it. He says they should let the reporters get the pictures they want, for the good of mutant-human relations.

Under cover of darkness, Warren infiltrates Worthington Enterprises. He accesses a computer terminal, tapping away on the keyboard. Behind him, a security guard lies dead or unconscious in the hallway. He attempts to access information on Candy Southern, but he doesn’t have the proper security code. A security guard sneaks up behind him and orders him to turn around real slow. “With pleasure,” Warren says, releasing a score of fletchettes at the man, pinning his shirt to the wall. The guard is terrified as Warren lurches toward him. “And now,” Warren says, “you will locate the proper access codes concerning The Right and its present operations, pertaining to the disappearance of Candy Southern.”

In Dallas, Cyclops and Marvel Girl look for Freedom Force, but Freedom Force finds them first. Destiny says that Marvel Girl is an anomaly – she can’t see her clearly, as though she’s been displaced in time and space – but she’s able to sense Cyclops. “Proceed – now!” she says, and Blob steps in front of the two members of X-Factor. “Hi guys, lookin’ for us?” he says, smiling and waving. “As a matter of fact, we were,” Marvel Girl answers. The rest of Freedom Force move in to surround them. “Gonna turn yourself in?” Blob asks.

Blob tells them that they haven’t registered under the Mutant Registration Act. He slaps Cyclops with the back of his huge hand, jolting him off his feet. “Or maybe you just wanna continue our political discussion from last time we met?” Furious, Marvel Girl taunts them, saying that Uncle Sam holds their leash, that they couldn’t wait to register. “Temper, temper,” Crimson Commando says, holding a pistol up to her head.

Pyro looks on with a sadistic smile as Stonewall holds Cyclops around the neck. His eyes glow red behind his visor. “This was going to be a friendly little fact-finding mission,” he says, the corners of his mouth turned down in a typical Scott Summers scowl. “If you’re wise, you’ll keep it that way!” He demands they tell him everything they know about his missing son.

In Manhattan, Iceman and Infectia walk hand in hand past a florist. Beast follows behind, still trying to tell Iceman about Infectia and the monster cop. Iceman’s attention is focused on Infectia. He says he’d love to show her their ship, but it only allows mutants inside. She says she is a mutant, and then demonstrates her power on a bouquet of flowers. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they were just a teeny bit bigger?” she says. She kisses them and they grow instantly as Iceman looks on, mouth agape. Infectia continues with her ruse, telling Iceman that its just a little power, but as soon as she discovered it she just had to find him.

She offers to pay for a cab, telling them that her father left her millions of dollars. “I just wish there was a more… spectacular way I could thank you for saving my life,” she says as they get in the cab. Again, Beast tries to interrupt, but Iceman cuts him off. Infectia resumes her story in the cab. “I was coming to the Hard Rock Café to turn myself in to you… you personally… when that monster came after me.”

Iceman and Infectia sit close together. Beast leans away from them with his head against the window, sulking. He says he saw her take the cop into the alley. “An’ then he… he…” he trails off, lacking the intelligence to complete a sentence. “He what?” Infectia says. “Poor thing, you’re so confused.” She then asks Iceman if X-Factor could train her. She says she heard about Beast losing his intellect. “What if I could use my power to cure him?”

She pays the cabbie, tells him to keep the change. The three mutants walk to the plane, but Infectia leaves the flowers in the cab. “Hey, what is this?” the distressed cabbie says as tentacle-like vines reach for him.

As they fly away, Iceman tells her that the purpose of X-Factor is to train mutants. “Though that power of yours may seem minor now, who knows what you might eventually accomplish.”

The plane lands and the students are there to greet them, asking if they had a good time. Iceman is surprised that they’re still awake. Infectia looks at the kids X-Factor rescued and calls them adorable. They take offense to that. “Who is that bimbo?” Boom-Boom wonders. “Ask Bobby,” Beast replies as he leaps off the plane and over a wall. “I’m too dumb ta lissen to, anyway!” The kids all look on, shocked and confused.

“Hi kids, this lady’s name is Infectia,” Iceman says, as he introduces Infectia before walking off with her, their arms locked together, both of them grinning. “I’ll just . . . show her to her quarters. See you kids later,” Iceman says. Infectia doesn’t think the kids like her. Iceman says they’re just cranky because it’s way past their bedtime.

After Iceman and Infectia leave, the kids all stand around frowning, except for Artie, who just looks sad and hurt, clutching a teddy bear. “This ‘lady!’” Boom-Boom says. “She’s practically the same age I am.” “Our bedtime?” Rusty adds. “Is he kidding?” The ship calls Iceman rude for not even introducing her. “Count your blessings,” Skids says.

Iceman and Infectia gaze out over the ocean together. Infectia mentions how beautiful it is, the way the moonlight reflects off the ship. “It’s really something special,” she says. Iceman fixes his eyes on her. “Yeah, and so are you.” She tells him he’s handsome and heroic and generous, and how she’s always wanted a ship like this one…

She touches his face as they come closer together. “Darling, darling Bobby,” she says, closing her eyes, their lips about to meet. “Don’t talk anymore. Don’t even think. Just kiss me, here in the moonlight.”

Characters Involved: 

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

Rusty, Skids, Boom-Boom, Rictor, Artie, Leech (X-Factor students)

Warren Worthington III/Death III


Restaurant patrons

Mystique, Destiny, Blob, Pyro, Spiral, Avalanche, Crimson Commando, Super Sabre, Stonewall (Freedom Force)

Nanny II


Police Officer (mutated by Infectia)

Story Notes: 

This issue marks the first appearance of Nanny II, though here it is only in shadows. Her first full appearance is in #33.

On the first page, Infectia sings a line from “As Time Goes By” by Herman Hupfeld, famously featured in the movie Casablanca.

The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants became Freedom Force in Uncanny X-Men #199, when Mystique convinced Val Cooper to allow the Brotherhood to work for the government.

The previous meeting of X-Factor and Freedom Force took place in X-Factor (1st series) #9, during the “Mutant Massacre” crossover.

The Anti-Bodies attacked X-Factor’s ship in X-Factor (1st series) #29.

The X-Men were last seen in Uncanny X-Men #227.

Issue Information: 
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