X-Factor (1st series) #53

Issue Date: 
April 1990
Story Title: 

Louise Simonson (writer), Terry Shoemaker (penciler), Allen Milgrom (inker), Joe Rosen (letterer), Tom Vincent (colorist), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Caliban attacks Archangel, who is wounded after his fight with Sabretooth. The two battle on a New York rooftop, with Archangel being seriously injured. The fight ends after they fall to the streets below, a triumphant Caliban leaving Archangel in the care of Officer Jones. Jean and Scott go for a romantic walk in the park and Scott proposes. Jean, troubled by Phoenix and Madelyne’s memories, turns him down. Bobby and Opal Tanaka try to go out for dinner, but the restaurant Bobby has chosen is closed. As they head to Opal’s apartment to eat in, they are followed by Mole, the Morlock. When Nathan Christopher’s stroller spots him, Mole accidentally phases through a crane and topples steel beams onto Bobby and Opal. Bobby saves them with an ice barrier and angrily encases Mole in ice. Opal asks Bobby to release Mole, as he is her friend. Opal and Bobby continue to her apartment and Mole returns to the sewers where Sabretooth is waiting for him.

Full Summary: 

On a snowy rooftop in New York, Caliban stares down at a bloody Archangel. Caliban is hunting Sabretooth, who has left the scene of his battle with Archangel.

Caliban approaches a dizzy Warren, who mistakes him for Sabretooth and slashes him with his wings. Caliban, excited to bring down Apocalypse’s former Horseman, grabs a huge chunk of masonry and hurls it at Archangel.

Meanwhile, Jean and Scott leave a clothing store after purchasing a new coat for Jean. As they walk, Jean cries out at a figure in a wide-brimmed hat and cloak. She believes it to be Jason Wyngarde, known as Mastermind.

She telekinetically knocks off the figure’s hat, revealing a young woman. As Scott tries to comfort her, Jean is disturbed by all the memories in her mind from Phoenix and Madelyne. She fears she’ll have no room for her own memories, but Scott assures her things will get sorted out in time.

Scott suggests taking a walk in the park to take Jean’s mind off her troubles. Jean reminds him that it’s late and there could be muggers in the park. Scott scoffs that muggers would be no match for them with their powers, just as Jean pelts him with a snowball.

Jean keeps firing snowballs at Scott with her telekinesis, while Scott melts them with his optic blasts. He grabs hold of Jean and playfully throws her to the ground, kissing her.

Elsewhere, Bobby and Opal arrive at a boarded-up restaurant. Bobby apologizes, upset as this used to be a 24-hour Mexican restaurant with a vegetarian menu. Opal tells him it’s okay, as she feels bad that Bobby has to carry all the packages Nathan’s stroller couldn’t accommodate. Bobby laughs, as he went overboard with shopping.

He notices Opal shivering in the cold and gives her his coat. Opal protests, as Bobby will get cold but he reminds her that he’s a mutant and proceeds to ice up. Opal remarks how different they are, with Bobby living in a giant ship, going to outer space and fighting menaces. Bobby tells her he’s only human as well and she agrees that they are alike in the ways that matter, although she doesn’t like his face iced up.

Opal offers to take him home for dinner, where she can heat up some pizza and he can thaw out. Bobby is hesitant, as he is surprised at the trust she has in him. Opal assures him she trusts him and wants to be home where she can see his face.

Mole follows the couple, shocked that Opal is taking Bobby home with her. He is concerned that Opal is too trusting and vows to protect her from Iceman.

As they walk to Opal’s apartment, they run into Officer Jones. She tells them Archangel saved her life again tonight and asks Bobby to thank him for her. Officer Jones informs them of the grisly murder she is investigating, but assures Opal she’ll be safe with “Frosty” looking after her.

Mole, watching from behind a fence, scoffs at Opal being safe with Bobby. He loses his balance and topples to the ground from the boxes he was perched on. Opal and Bobby wonder what caused the noise, but continue walking to Opal’s place.

Back on the rooftop, Archangel dodges the bricks Caliban has thrown at him. He is shocked by the Morlock’s actions and reminds Caliban that he used to be X-Factor’s friend. Caliban tells Warren that he willingly went to Apocalypse to be transformed and become his hound.

Archangel is reluctant to hurt Caliban, but fires his wing-knives at him in self-defense. Caliban in momentarily knocked down, but his strength and invulnerability allow him to quickly retaliate, tossing more bricks at Warren.

Warren dodges the flying bricks and Caliban tries using his fear-amplifying powers to scare Archangel into submission. Warren has faced his worst fear when Apocalypse transformed him and is unaffected by Caliban’s power.

Archangel slashes Caliban across the face, who is shocked by the injury as he is supposed to be invulnerable. This infuriates the former Morlock, who knocks Warren down with a vicious punch.

Back in the park, Jean and Scott continue to embrace. She telekinetically lifts them on top of Belvedere Castle and they admire the nighttime view. As Jean looks out at the buildings, she is reminded of bluffs in Arizona. She has never been there, but has Phoenix’s memory of kissing a visor-less Scott on a bluff in New Mexico.

Scott kisses Jean and asks her to marry him. As he asks her, Jean is remembering his proposal to Madelyne Pryor.

Bobby and Opal continue their walk to Opal’s apartment. Mole follows close behind them and Nathan Christopher’s stroller detects him, shining a spotlight. Startled, Mole falls back, phasing through a construction crane. His power causes the crane to drop its load of heavy steel beams, where Opal and Bobby stand below with the stroller.

Bobby reacts quickly, creating a massive ice barrier to protect them. A stricken Mole can’t believe the damage he’s caused and Bobby encases him in ice, thinking Mole did it intentionally.

On the rooftop, Archangel staggers from his injuries. Caliban leaps at him and sends them both plummeting to the ground. Onlookers summon the police while Caliban rants to Archangel about taking revenge upon all who have wronged him. Warren wonders how he ever wronged Caliban. The former Morlock replies that Archangel was Apocalypse’s first and favored creation and his destruction will prove Caliban’s superiority.

The police arrive and Officer Jones yells at Caliban to stop. He picks a car and throws it at the police, destroying the squad car. They open fire on Caliban, but it has no effect. Caliban mocks Archangel for protecting the weak, where he would destroy them. The police try to take Caliban into custody, but he takes off in pursuit of further vengeance.

Officer Jones rushes over to Archangel, who is horribly injured. She asked what kind of monster Caliban was. Warren replies that he would be the same type of monster if he followed the dictates of his wings.

Back in Soho, Mole uses his powers to melt through Bobby’s ice slide, causing Bobby to tumble to the ground. Opal can’t believe Mole has powers and that he toppled the girders onto them.

As Mole approaches him, Bobby uses his powers to wrap Mole in ice faster than he can burn through it. Opal yells for him to stop, as Mole is her friend and she knows he wouldn’t purposely hurt them.

She asks Mole what he was doing and he tells her he was trying to protect her from bad guys, like the one who was after him. As a concerned Bobby asks Mole what kind of bad guy was after him, Sabretooth sits perched on a rooftop, watching them.

On top of Belvedere Castle, Scott asks Jean if she heard him, if she will marry him. He tells her how much he loves her, but Jean cuts him off. She reminds him that he has loved her, the Phoenix posing as her, and her clone Madelyne. All their combined memories of loving Scott feel like they are pushing her into Scott’s arms and forcing her to love him. Jean tells him she does love him, but she won’t marry him.

In Soho, Opal tells Mole he doesn’t have to go back into the tunnels, that he can come back to her loft. Mole tells her it’s okay, that he is safe now and wants to return to his friends. The reality is Mole is heartbroken and can’t bear to watch Bobby and Opal together. Opal tells Mole to take care of himself, gives him a big hug and he goes down into the sewer.

Bobby and Opal head off to her apartment for dinner as Mole forlornly watches from the sewer grate. He sniffs back tears and slides down a chute into the lower tunnels, not realizing a murderous Sabretooth is waiting for him below.

Characters Involved: 

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

Nathan Christopher Summers

Mole (a Morlock)

Opal Tanaka

Officer Charlotte Jones (NYPD)



Story Notes: 

Archangel and Sabretooth had a bloody battle in X-Factor (1st series) #52.

Jean’s coat was destroyed in the battle with The Locust (X-Factor #52).

Jean absorbed the memories of the Phoenix and Madelyne prior during the Inferno saga.

The Phoenix memory Jean recalls is when the Phoenix and Scott shared an intimate moment in New Mexico in Uncanny X-Men #132, when the Phoenix used her powers to control Scott’s optic beams.

Scott proposed to Madelyne Pryor in Uncanny X-Men #174.

Belvedere Castle is located on Vista Rock in Central Park, New York.

Issue Information: 
Written By: