X-Factor (1st series) #77

Issue Date: 
April 1992
Story Title: 
Great X-pectations

Peter David (writer), Larry Stroman (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Michael Heisler (letterer), Bob Harras (editors), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

The Mutant Liberation Front breaks out Hairbag and Slab of the Nasty Boys from prison. After a fight with X-Factor, they escape, but X-Factor is left with the gauntlet of Stryfe, whose scent is familiar to Wolfsbane. Havok learns that Mr. Sinister was the Nasty Boys’ leader. X-Force member Cannonball tries to take Rahne away from X-Factor, believing she is being held against her will, but she refuses to leave. She and Polaris let Cannonball escape, despite the team having orders to arrest X-Force members for questioning. Elsewhere, in the Tucker clinic, a couple faces the decision of whether to abort their unborn fetus after learning that there is a high possibility he or she will be a mutant. Stryfe orders the MLF to kill Dr. Tucker, who created the test for the mutant gene in the unborn.Meanwhile, Professor Vic Chalker’s luck runs out and one of his experiments kills him.

Full Summary: 

An African-American couple sits in the doctor’s office, waiting for his pronouncement. After assuring the Corteses that they did the right thing in coming to them and agreeing to their advance testing program at the Tucker clinic, Doctor Tucker explains that most of the in utero tests came back fine. However, the test that he himself developed, the gene specifity test – came back positive.

That’s the - whataya call - the mutie test, Julio Cortes asks, isn’t it? The experimental one.

According to the test, Dr. Tucker explains, there is a possibility that their unborn child is carrying the Homo superior gene. As he says “mutie” or – as it is more delicately put by some nowadays – GeeCee… genetically challenged. The test is accurate to within 55 percent. Now that is not as much as he would like, but he is still working on developing it further…

Crying and furious, Mrs. Cortes lashes out at her husband. He had to take that job at the nuclear plant! He told her it was safe! Their first child and he had to do this!

Helplessly, Mr. Cortes asks the doctor what they should do. Dr. Tucker reminds him there is no easy answer. There is a 45 percent chance their child is normal and, even if it were a mutant, there are many positive mutations, the gift of flight, great strength…

Does she really want to take the chance of having… a freak? Mr. Cortes asks his crying wife, who pleads how bad could it be. It is still their baby…

Elsewhere: He’s not impressing anyone, Wolfsbane informs the growling Nasty Boy called Hairbag in his prison cell. He’ll impress the skin right off her hairy little back! he growls. She was just lucky!

Rahne reminds him that she mopped the floor with him. She isn’t afraid of him or his friends. Slab is tucked away in the same facility. And Ramrod is in the country illegally. So he’s out being deported. So much for their Nasty Boys.

Hairbag fakes a jump at her before he is held back by the energy field of his cell. When Rahne automatically jumps back, Hairbag mocks her about not being afraid. He just startled her, she shouts, and she hopes these force beams gave him a nasty headache. This is a top government holding facility. He won’t get away! She’s barely spoken those words when an energy portal appears behind her.

In another part of the building, Val Cooper is talking to Ms. Victoria Wang from the public defender’s office. Val criticizes that Wang’s legal maneuverings have resulted in a four day delay regarding moving the prisoners and there seems to be no end in sight. Ms. Wang replies that will continue as long as the prisoners don’t get proper legal representation.

Mr. Claudius tells her he appreciates the consideration but she doesn’t realize how dangerous her clients are. Vicky Wang tells him not to patronize her. Val insists she trust her. You can’t treat individuals like Hairbag and Slab like ordinary people.

Vicky shoots back she can’t not treat them that way. They have the same rights as everybody else. She knows what goes on in other cities. Blind eyes being turned in New York or LA while “super criminals” get shuffled off to the Vault in Colorado for indefinite periods of time. Cut off from attorneys, from their rights as Americans. This will not happen in the District of Columbia.

Downstairs, members of the Mutant Liberation Front emerge from a teleportation gate. As Wolfsbane alerts the rest of X-Factor, she is attacked by Wildside while Reaper gets ready to free Hairbag. Forearm tells Tempo to twist some time after Thumbelina has gone to find Slab. Tempo slows down the guards to 1/10th speed, making them easy pickings for the MLF.

As the freed Hairbag joins the attack on Rahne, Forearm notices something coming at them fast, despite Tempo’s time distortion slowing everything to a crawl. The confusion is explained a moment later when the fast moving being – Quicksilver – hits Tempo. Havok’s plasma blast announces the arrival of the rest of the team… of X-Force Reaper cries. But with a completely different line-up!

He’s telling him, Guido informs Havok, this is gonna keep happening until they get their own trading cards.

As per Forearm’s suggestion, Strobe (calling him “Sweetcakes”) tries to block Havok’s blast.

Addressing him as Guido, Havok orders him to take Forearm. Strong Guy, Guido insists. Just take him already! Havok snaps. Tackling Forearm, Guido informs him Havok thinks his name is stupid. He doesn’t see why Strong Guy is dumber than Superman. And it beats being called “Sweetcakes.”

Reaper tries to hit the dodging Havok and Polaris with his scythe and actually manages to hit Havok, shouting he hasn’t got to cooperate, just die! Big talk from a refugee from Killer Klowns from Outer Space! Polaris snaps, taking control of the scythe and pushing him away.

Havok orders Multiple Man, who is near the cells, to help Wolfsbane. Thumbelina is nearby in her small form. She grows tall next to Madrox, who bursts out where she came from. Detroit! she replies as she hits him.

Disgusted, she turns to Slab, who is still behind bars. Calling him “Kris,” she lectures him for getting captured. Mom called her. She’s worried sick. Slab apologizes to his sister.

Elsewhere, Professor Vic Chalker enjoys his triumph, having finally completed his super-deadly exo-skeleton. It won’t run out of power. Not when he has enough generators and batteries attached to light up South Dakota. He exits into the open air, ready to rid the world of the freaks of nature called GeeCees. Noticing that it is starting to rain despite the weather forecast, he nervously wonders whether he should head back inside and run a quick double check to make sure all the generators are water tight. If there is any exposed wiring, it could… fry him-- which is exactly what happens.

His corpse stands frozen in the armor. Flying past, Cannonball of X-Force wonders what a weird statue is standing there, but that’s none of his concern.

In the meantime, Reaper and Hairbag are on Wolfsbane when Madrox joins the fight. Thumbelina shouts at them they are leaving. Zero is opening a portal back to headquarters. She tells Tempo to slow the silver-haired idiot down, which she barely manages. Tempo mutters these people are a bigger pain than X-Force. At least Cable’s people don’t keep cracking wise.

The MLF members and Nasty Boys run towards the portal and disappear. Quicksilver is willing to follow, but Havok has a better idea and orders Polaris to draw back what she can from the other side. This turns out to be Stryfe, in his very metallic armor.

His arm is already on X-Factor’s side and Wolfsbane grabs it. The MLF cannot close the portal without Stryfe being cut in half, so a tug of war begins, both sides try to physically pull Stryfe to their side.

Finally, a weapon on Stryfe’s armor fires at Polaris, making her lose concentration. With that, the X-Factor members lose their grip and Stryfe slides back to the other side and the portal collapses.

Pietro sarcastically congratulates Havok on his caution. Alex shoots back there might have been thousand troops on the other side. This team’s safety is his responsibility and he won’t have them go into situations half-cocked! Guido agrees. They should be going in completely cocked. Alex asks him not to help.

Calmer, Pietro assures him he appreciates his concern for their well-being but maybe he hasn’t noticed that the MLF accomplished their mission. They took X-Factor’s prisoners and they have nothing to show for it.

Madrox offers Stryfe’s glove, which might make a nifty paperweight. Maybe they will find something in it that can lead them to the MLF… like a return address… Wolfsbane muses that there is more to it. Something about the scent on that glove is vaguely familiar… but different. As if she should know but couldn’t…

A little later, Valerie Cooper and Alex try to debrief Jamie Madrox about the Shaffran affair (not having had any time to do it sooner). What did he learn about the punks they faced? Oh, and that’s all? he asks as he loafs on the couch. He hasn’t heard any apologies. Like, for locking him in that chair. Like, for doubting his word. Like for-- Val apologizes. Jamie still considers sulking. She happens to know Linda Hamilton, Val offers. How would he like a personally autographed picture? Personalized: “To Jamie: God’s gift to women?” She promises to try.

Jamie explains that, when he reabsorbed the traitorous dupe, he picked up all his knowledge, but the dupe didn’t know everything. Apparently, he was recruited into the group about six months ago, sometime after the Coconut Grove business… which he now has full knowledge of, and he will never eat lobster again.

Anyway, they are called the Nasty Boys. They are all mutants—sorry, GeeCees. The leader was just called Mr. S. He was a big guy, diamond shape on his forehead, kinda looked like Colossus.

Mr. Sinister! Havok bursts out. He saw him die! Cyclops blasted him to pieces! Fried him! She didn’t know his force beam worked that way, Val points out and Alex admits she’s right. Blowing him apart, well… even Scott seemed a little surprised, but it happened, Lorna’s going to have a fit, when she finds out…

Unaware of this revelation, Lorna is strolling through Washington with Rahne, trying to connect with the troubled girl. Rahne admits she had a difficult time in Trans-Sabal. And there’s… other things. But she will work it out. Lorna assures her she wants to be her friend. Rahne knows she wants to help but it’s a hard adjustment from being surrounded by people her age to working with old people. Lorna pretends to be insulted and Rahne smiles, admitting she would like to talk to someone her own age.

That moment, Cannonball comes flying down and grabs Rahne. What is he doing? Rahne cries. Rescuing her, comes the reply. Angrily, Rahne warns him to let go of her. Sam remarks that isn’t her talking. He’s taking her home!

Flying up to them, an angry Polaris shouts her home is here and this is her talking! Let her go before she turns him from cannonball to cannon fodder! For that matter, maybe he’d better come with her. X-Force is wanted for questioning and she thinks he can answer some of those questions.

Rahne struggles out of Sam’s grip and shouts at him to go for his own good. Sam refuses to leave without her. Lorna holds him fast with the metal doodads on his uniform. Rahne begs her to let Sam go if she really wants to be her friend. Lorna swears and complies.

Sam comes flying back towards them when he is hit by a blast by Havok. He learns his lesson and flies off. Alex first orders, then pleads with Lorna to hold him fast.

Angrily, he shouts why she didn’t stop him. Seeing Rahne’s pleading look, Lorna weakly offers that she had a headache. Give her a minute, she will come up with something…

In the MLF headquarters, Wildside observes Stryfe replaced his glove. Does he buy them by the gross? Not amused, Stryfe tells them to take showers and get some dinner. He has another mission for them the next day. Fairly simple. He shows them images of a clinic which provides tests for women to determine whether their unborn children are likely to become mutants. He wants them to destroy the clinic, the test and the doctor who created and administers it, before the test moves from the experimental to the practical stages. In doing so, they will save the lives of countless unborn mutants. He loves this job, Wildside grins.

Characters Involved: 

Havok, Multiple Man, Polaris, Quicksilver, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane (all X-Factor)

Val Cooper, X-Factor’s governmental liaison

Cannonball (X-Force)

Mr. Claudius, a government operative

Mr. and Mrs. Cortez, expecting parents

Dr. Tucker, scientist

Vicky Wang, lawyer of the Nasty Boys and friend of Val

Slab and Hairbag (both Nasty Boys)

Forearm, Reaper, Strobe, Stryfe, Tempo, Thumbelina, Wildside and Zero (all Mutant Liberation Front)

Vic Chalker, mad scientist

Story Notes: 

The running gag about Vic Chalker will be resolved in X-Factor Annual #8.

Wolfsbane smells Stryfe’s genetic similarity to Cable.

The Shaffran affair refers to issue #75.

The adventures in the Coconut Grove occurred in the “Fallen Angels” limited series (where a pair of intelligent lobsters also played a role).

Cyclops killed Sinister in an atypical way at the end of the Inferno crossover.

“Lorna having a fit” refers to the fact that, as Malice, Polaris was Sinister’s slave.
Slab and Hairbag were captured in X-Factor (1st series) #75. Although Ramrod was captured too, he isn’t mentioned as being in jail at the time.
The real name of Tempo is Heather Tucker. There seems to be some connection between her and Dr. Tucker of the clinic.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: