X-Factor Annual #2

Issue Date: 
October 1987
Story Title: 
The Man in the Moon

Jo Duffy (writer), Tom Grindberg (penciler), Joe Rubinstein (inker), Petra Scotese (colorist), Joe Rosen (letterer), Bob Harras (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

In Central Park, Franklin Richards tells his Power Pack friends about a precognitive dream about being kidnapped by a man (whom he doesn’t recognize as Quicksilver) and the moon being destroyed as a result. His friends, who are there for a play date with X-Factor’s charges Artie and Leech, are skeptical, unaware that Quicksilver along with Lockjaw is indeed waiting to kidnap Franklin. He tries to do so, but Leech’s power suppression ability keeps Quicksilver and Lockjaw from being able to flee. While the other Power kids – also powerless – try to help Franklin, Katie calls X-Factor, soon leading to a struggle. When Leech leaves the vicinity, however, Lockjaw teleports Quicksilver, Franklin and X-Factor to the Inhuman Royal Family, not what Quicksilver intended. After a brief fight, Lockjaw teleports Quicksilver and Franklin away with Medusa and Gorgon, all of whom become prisoners of the man who controls Quicksilver – Maximus. The mad Inhuman intends to restore Franklin’s former vast psychic abilities and use them. After the Inhumans and X-Factor make their introductions, they figure out a way to find Lockjaw’s teleportation signature and confront Maximus and Quicksilver. Eventually, they manage to destroy Maximus’ control device and beat him. Quicksilver flees but is now more clear-minded and promises his daughter he will make things right again. Marvel Girl, who has been arguing with Cyclops about Phoenix feels a bit more mollified after saving his life.

Full Summary: 

Franklin Richards’ narration:
He wasn’t afraid, not really. But he was in the mist, all by himself, listening to something going pound-pound-pound. It kept getting louder and louder and he wanted to know what was making that sound. Maybe it was something heavy or maybe it was feet or maybe he was hearing his heart but he couldn’t see anything, until he came. A running man whom Franklin calls the man in the moon picked him up. And then Franklin felt bad because he knew it was the man’s head that was pounding. The pounding got louder the faster they ran and Franklin knew the man was taking him to the moon and the closer they got the louder the pounding got and whatever was causing the pounding made the whole moon fall apart!
End of narration.

This is the story Franklin tells his friends, the Power Pack kids, in Central Park. As usual, the youngest Katie doubts him, telling Franklin how dumb that is. He defends himself that he dreamed this. Julie suggests it was only a dream. Nothing is really going to happen to the moon. Haughtily, Katie agrees. The big baby just had a nightmare that scared him and now he is trying to scare them! Julie doesn’t really believe Franklin would do that. Franklin agrees but points out it was one of his special dreams.

Alex points out it can’t really happen that way. Frank’s father is a famous scientist, he could tell him. It’s physically impossible for something to pound apart an entire planetary mass. Jack reminds his brother how young “Tattletale” is. That stuff is too complicated for him. He offers to lend Franklin some of his Cody Davis Space Ranger books. Franklin points out that he can’t read yet.

Katie decides the moon is going to be there forever. Frank is such a baby he just didn’t understand what his special dream was saying. He didn’t say it was saying anything, he points out. He just told them what happened in it He figures to tell them it might be important.

Alex admits they are being unfair. They got their powers from the Kymellians and the powers are all pretty straight forward and easily controlled. Not since they all switched powers, they aren’t! Jack interrupts. But Frank’s dream power is genetic, Alex continues. He probably got it because his parents are both superheroes in the Fantastic Four who got powers from exposure to cosmic rays. Maybe his powers are a lot vaguer than theirs but they are always pretty reliable when they can figure out what his special dreams mean. Franklin says he didn’t mean for them to do anything but he wanted them to know, just in case.

They change the subject as their friends Artie and Leech, charges of X-Factor, arrive, accompanied by Jean Grey and Scott Summers who brought them for the “play date” with the Power kids. But Artie runs after the grown-ups. Leech explains to the Power kids that Artie is shy.

Artie catches Jean and Scott arguing with Jean blocking Scott’s attempts to talk. She suggests icily next time he might try some place a little less public than Central Park and shushes him, so Artie doesn’t overhear. Artie uses his mental powers to show them Leech playing with the Powers and Franklin. Scott asks why he isn’t playing too. The picture changes, showing the X-Factor members in the Morlock tunnels and how Angel received the injuries to his wings. Scott asks if Artie is nervous with the Marauders still being out there and suggests he stick close to them.

Jean remarks that it’s good no one’s over in this part of the park or they would have some explaining to do. Or they could just shriek: “Oh help! It’s an evil mutant! Someone call X-Factor!” Scott suggests grimly. Jean states that the remark was in poor taste, to which Scott replies that he is more worried about their judgment. They founded X-Factor as a way of helping mutants by pretending to take them off the public’s hands…

That moment, their teammates, Hank McCoy and Bobby Drake, join them with hot chocolate. Bobby gives his cup to Artie, joking it wouldn’t do for an Iceman to drink something hot.

Scott and Jean continue arguing about whether or not X-Factor was a good idea. However, the others aren’t fooled. Artie shows them that they are really arguing about Phoenix, about Scott having had an affair with a woman he believed was Jean.

Meanwhile, in the Blue Area of the moon, where the Inhumans live in their home Attilan. In the throne room, Gorgon is playing with his infant niece, Luna. His cousin Triton points out to Medusa that her husband and their king Black Bolt seems troubled. Of course he is, she lectures him. As the wisest and most sensitive monarch, he knows something is amiss with their people. Knows by the listlessness and odd behavior when he flies through the streets of Attilan and by all of the strange humors and maladies that have attacked the Royal Family, including his own migraine headaches, one of which he is clearly suffering from at the moment. Triton is nervous. He feels for Back Bolt but is afraid what would happen might Black Bolt utter a sound with his destructive voice. Medusa tells him not to fear that. A lesser man might so indulge himself in trying to ease his pain. Her love? Never!

She is more troubled by a personal grief, she continues as she takes up her niece. She is astonished that her sister Crystal should have proven herself to be so faithless a wife, betraying her husband with another man and then going to Earth to join the Fantastic Four, leaving poor little Luna to become a royal ward. It seems incomprehensible and so unlike Crystal.

Triton points out that she had provocation. Her husband Quicksilver has always been a vain and arrogant fellow and his recent actions in betraying and attacking old comrades have thinned the affection of all who hold him dear. Medusa reluctantly concedes the point but Crystal, as a member of the Royal Family, should value duty more than vulgar inclination. And this is the first time she has travelled without Lockjaw. Without him, she couldn’t return to the moon if she wanted to!

Lockjaw is currently with Quicksilver, both hiding in Central Park and watching the Power kids and Franklin at play. Quicksilver sneaks up on them. The man in the moon! Franklin recognizes him a split-second before Pietro grabs the boy. The other kids see him and Quicksilver wonders why his speed has suddenly failed him. The reply is, of course, the draining powers of Leech, who grabs Quicksilver’s leg.

Julie orders her siblings to put on their costumes (meaning they simply appear), but the problem is Leech is cancelling their powers as well. Alex decides they just need a little teamwork. Jack has positioned himself behind Quicksilver, so Alex runs into Quicksilver, who falls backwards over Jack.

However, Quicksilver still refuses to let Franklin go. Alex orders Katie to get out of Leech’s range where she can fly to get the X-Terminators or someone else to help. After a few steps, Katie finds she can fly away.

That moment, Lockjaw comes running towards them. He tries to teleport himself, Quicksilver and Franklin away, but also finds his powers dampened by Leech.

Katie finds Artie, though she doesn’t recognize Jean and Scott in their civilian clothes as members of the X-Terminators. She shouts at Artie to help her find the X-Terminators. A bad man with a big dog is trying to take Franklin. Katie explains his name is Quicksilver and he can’t run fast because of Leech. Scott asks her to stay and take care of Artie while they find the X-Terminators to help. Jean and Scott run towards the restrooms to change into their X-Terminator outfits.

Franklin notices that the man in the moon is feeling horrible. Quicksilver orders Lockjaw to attack the kids. The X-Terminators (including Iceman and Beast) arrive at that moment. Quicksilver has certainly come up in the world, Beast mocks, taking on five children. Does he think he and the dog can handle them all? Immediately, Quicksilver recognizes them as the original X-Men.

Immediately, Cyclops orders Leech to stay close to Quicksilver. Julie is relieved at the backup but Alex points out Leech will dampen their powers too. Cyclops orders Pietro to put down Franklin. He refuses. He was sent for the child and will not leave without him. Iceman tackles Pietro and Jean, who has stayed away from Leech, traps them telekinetically.

Cyclops fears Lockjaw is getting savage. They need their powers to handle him. He orders Leech and the Power kids to move out of range and wait for them. Jack refuses but his older siblings tell him to come along. A growling by Lockjaw later, they are gone.

The next moment, Lockjaw teleports, taking not only Quicksilver and Franklin along but also X-Factor. Leech cries and Julie tries to comfort him while the others wonder if they will come back.

A moment later, Lockjaw and the mutants reappear in the throne room of Attilan, much to the surprise of the Royal Family. Franklin recognizes the place from his dreams and announces they are on the moon.

Quicksilver curses Lockjaw. When he told him to bring them home, he was referring to their master’s home, not Lockjaw’s!

Medusa asks by what right Quicksilver has come here and who these strangers are. Quicksilver spits that he has severed all ties with their precious Royal Family. And they will get no more explanations from him.

Little Luna, on Gorgon’s arms, becomes excited and reaches for Quicksilver, crying for her “Da.” When he sees his daughter, his head starts to pound and Franklin senses the pain and wishes he could help. He tries to reach out to Quicksilver, who suddenly recalls his mission. He grabs the boy and runs.

Medusa sends her living hair after them. She tries to strangle Quicksilver but, with his superspeed, he uses the locks to tie Triton and Kanak together instead. Iceman and Beast try to get in his way in vain. When he sees Luna in Gorgon’s arms, though, Pietro hesitates before fleeing to the exit. However, he never reaches the door, being held by Marvel Girl’s telekinetic forcefield.

As Black Bolt prepares to put an end to this, Quicksilver orders Lockjaw to attack Marvel Girl, who is still holding him. Beast jumps at Jean to shove her out of harm’s way, breaking her concentration and thus allowing Quicksilver to flee.

Medusa makes a cage around Lockjaw with her hair, at which point Gorgon hands Luna to Karnak, intent on stopping the aggressive dog. Instead, Lockjaw teleports away with both Medusa and Gorgon.

The members of X-Factor note that fighting Quicksilver is just as hard as in the old days. Iceman regrets not being able to help, but these days his ice runs amok.

Triton addresses them in Black Bolt’s name and welcomes them. He apologizes for whatever harm Quicksilver’s actions have brought them. He pledges the Inhumans shall help to recover the child even as they rescue their cousin Medusa. He explains that Black Bolt cannot talk directly and introduces the Inhuman Royal Family. Cyclops recalls that one of them was a member of the Fantastic Four once. Triton confirms, Medusa. And Crystal was and currently is a member as well. Cyclops finds this an odd coincidence, as the kidnapped boy is related to the FF.

Speaking of kids, why is Quicksilver so frightened of the baby? Bobby asks. Because she is his daughter, Karnak replies. Then surely he must have a wife who cares for him. Jean listens up at the word “wife.” Gorgon replies that once they all thought the love of Crystal and Pietro would last forever, but they have grown apart and Crystal has left her conjugal home, lured back to her unmarried life by the siren call of an old lover. Imagine that, Jean remarks pithily, considering Scott is in the same situation with her and his wife, Madelyne. Scott continues that even people who have known Pietro since long before his marriage have been baffled by his conduct.

When Black Bolt then has Karnak ask who they are, Cyclops introduces them. Iceman then asks where they are and is informed on the moon in the city of Attilan, right atop what was once the Blue Area formerly controlled by the Watcher. This is a shock to Scott, as he realizes they are back to where Phoenix died. Jean too is bitter thinking of Phoenix, her rival, a woman she can’t compete with because she is dead. Like Scott’s wife, Maddie, another doppelganger of her. How can she beat those ghosts with her face? Angrily, she storms off.

Scott remarks that he gathers Quicksilver been something of a problem to the Inhumans in recent months. Are they also aware that for some time he’s been slipping away to Earth, probably with Lockjaw’s help, and causing trouble there? Beast adds that he was a long time member of the Avengers but recently tried to get them into serious trouble with the US government and nearly succeeded. Iceman adds there have been attacks on the Fantastic Four as well and acts of crime that were petty in every sense of the word.

Karnak replies they are aware and points out it is odd in a man who takes pride in his own grandeur. But it’s of a piece with what’s gone on here. He shows a pattern of treachery against all to whom he previously gave affection and loyalty. They sound like the acts of a madman. Triton adds that Lockjaw has been acting like a mad dog.

While Iceman worries how they will get home then, the members of the Royal Family have come to a conclusion: there is one of their members who, from his youth, has sought by malice and treachery to usurp his brother’s crown. All that has befallen them might be his doing.

Karnak hands little Luna to a nanny and they step outside. Black Bolt rises up. The others explain that Black Bolt is attuned to powers and energies of all sort. With his own antennae, he can locate the faint emanations left by Lockjaw’s passing.

In the meantime, Quicksilver and Lockjaw have brought Franklin to their master, who as the Royal Family correctly deduced is indeed Black Bolt’s younger brother, Maximus the Mad. Franklin senses something wrong in him and demands to be let down. Maximus allows this as the room is safeguarded. The two grown prisoners, Medusa and Gorgon, however, are chained.

Franklin asks Medusa if she is well. The better for having a brave boy like him by her side, she replies. The rest of the company in here isn’t fit for them. She continues that Pietro’s treachery surprises her but she’s always known Maximus for a bad one, ever since the first time he was defeated by the Fantastic Four. Franklin asks if she knows his parents. They are in the Fantastic Four. Medusa lifts him closer to her face with her hair and now recognizes him as Franklin Richards, whom she last saw as a baby. She recalls that, as a baby, he demonstrated enormous telepathic and telekinetic abilities. He tells her that now he has special dreams and sometimes can send his dreamself out, that’s all.

Maximus, listening into the conversation, believes he can reawaken all of Franklin’s potential. Franklin asks Medusa why the man in the moon ran away from the baby. Medusa explains she is his child and he left her behind when her mother left to join the Fantastic Four. Franklin realizes she is talking about Crystal. Doesn’t she miss her baby? Medusa replies that her sister has hardly been behaving like herself lately. More like a selfish and destructive stranger. Enraged, Quicksilver orders her to stop talking about his personal affairs.

Elsewhere in Attilan:
Jean looks down a balcony, telling herself that coming here isn’t Scott’s fault. He can’t help it. And she can’t help herself. Right now she hates him!

As the others join her, Beast remarks that he still can’t get over how much the old Blue Area has changed, can she? She was never here, she reminds him. And as far as she is concerned, what died here the time he is referring to was a monster!

Karnak interrupts them, announcing Black Bolt has found what he seeks. The emanation came from a tower across the city. Both groups get going, in Triton’s case through the water system. Triton emerges from a pool inside Maximus’ citadel, immediately hiding and watching.

Maximus is watching the other attackers on a screen, mocking their predictability. For years, they dared call him mad, he rambles, but they didn’t know of his pain or his genius. For now, he can drain that so-called madness into others, to be forever freed of it. He’s already attained some measure of success. Experimenting with machinery, he’s been able to inflict listlessness and pain on them all. And exercise nearly complete control over Quicksilver, Crystal and Lockjaw. And once he has learned how to channel the pain and the power through an organic conductor, feeding it through the powerful channels of Franklin’s psionic abilities, all the moon will be his.

Medusa shouts at him to let the boy go. While Maximus was out of touch, Franklin’s powers have been altered. He no longer wields the might that was his in infancy. Maximus refuses to believe that and orders Pietro to bring the boy to the machine.

That moment, Triton acts and destroys part of the machine. Lockjaw attacks him, while Medusa notices something happening to the outer wall. It’s X-Factor and Black Bolt entering.

Medusa warns them that Maximus means to harm the child. Maximus has defensive force shields around himself and machinery close to him. He orders Pietro to kill Franklin if the others have any chance of getting him. Franklin kicks Pietro, telling him the bad man is doing this.

Cyclops and Black Bolt attack the force screen, while Iceman and Karnak free Medusa and Gorgon. Gorgon stamps the ground and the shockwaves slows Quicksilver down. Jean blocks the doorway and Medusa almost captures him.

Maximus orders Lockjaw to take Quicksilver and Franklin away, then uses his machinery to cause Black Bolt even more agony. Black Bolt sinks to the ground, but still emits no noise.

Iceman freezes Lockjaw in solid ice before he can reach Quicksilver but again finds his power out of control, encasing himself. X- Factor try to help him but Black Bolt, also out of control, almost zaps Jean. Cyclops is about to retaliate but Jean warns him that Black Bolt’s eyes are like a sleepwalker’s; he doesn’t even know he did it.

As Quicksilver tries to flee with Franklin, Jean and Gorgon move to stop him, while Karnak breaks Iceman out of his own ice. Beast tries to stop Quicksilver, who hits him at superspeed. When Franklin tries to stop him, Quicksilver is about to hit the child… but then sees his own daughter, Luna, in his place and hesitates.

Jean tells Scott that, when Gorgon set up his shockwave, there was a disruption effect at the lower edge of Maximus’ force shield. They need someone to take advantage when that occurs next. Cyclops refuses to let her risk it. She reminds him that they are all sitting ducks unless they do something and he agrees. Jean orders Gorgon to shake things up, as he’s never shaken them before. Medusa has to handle Black Bolt if he tries to interfere!

Quicksilver rambles that would mean setting lover against lover. A thing that must never be! He is lost in painful memories: Medusa and Black Bolt… as close as his Crystal and he were. As truly and purely in love as Cyclops and Marvel Girl… as they were before the pain came between them… As the pain comes between all love and loyalties. He shivers and doesn’t know what to do.

Medusa embraces her husband with her hair, asking him to let her share his pain… if harm he must do, harm her.

Jean orders Gorgon to act and, joined with Jean’s telekinesis and Cyclops’ optic blast, they manage to move the lever. The field falls and Gorgon and Karnak grab Maximus, who orders Black Bolt to kill!

Black Bolt fires at Cyclops, who isn’t hit as Jean’s telekinetic field protects him. Medusa throws herself at her husband, asking him to pull together. In the meantime, Triton pulls a lever to free him from the device.

Cyclops tells Jean that that stunt could have cost her life! It wouldn’t be much of a life if she stood by and watched him die, she admits. A short distance away, Beast watches them and figures things will be all right between them.

He turns to Franklin and asks about Quicksilver, Franklin explains that Quicksilver started to cry when the lady got hurt and cried even more when she got better. But he thinks he feels better now, because his head isn’t pounding anymore. So he said goodbye to Franklin and ran away.

Later, he heroes talk. Iceman wonders if Triton’s suspicion could be true, that Quicksilver was under Maximus’ control the whole time and can’t be held responsible. Medusa doubts it. He has always been hard and arrogant, and look at the ease with which Black Bolt shook off the mad man’s influence! Sure, after the machine was destroyed, Beast thinks to himself.

The Inhumans decide to take Franklin home. Quicksilver, in the meantime, has snuck into Luna’s room, promising a thing like that will never happen again. Her mother isn’t quite herself yet, but he vows all his efforts shall go towards making things right.

Elsewhere, Scott and Jean walk. Scott tells her he knows now Phoenix wasn’t her but, when he loved it, he thought it was her… and it loved him enough to die for his sake and the sake of the universe. He’d like to think it learned than in trying to imitate Jean. It’s the same kind of crazy generous thing she did herself today. Jean kisses him on the cheek. She’s not making any promise about tomorrow but, for tonight, at least she understands. Let’s go for a walk, she suggests, so he can pay his respects and show her the place where his Phoenix died…

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all X-Factor)
Artie Maddicks, Leech (X-Factor’s charges)

Alex, Jack, Julie and Katie Power (all Power Pack)
Franklin Richards / Tattletale

Black Bolt, Gorgon, Karnak, Medusa, Triton (all Inhuman Royal Family)
Luna Maximoff

Maximus the Mad

in Quicksilver’s imagination:

Cyclops, Marvel Girl

Story Notes: 

The story takes place between X-Factor (1st series) #15-18.

Franklin should recognize Quicksilver from Fantastic Four 1st series) #239.

The Kymellians are an advanced and friendly alien civilization that gave the Power kids their powers.

Iceman’s lack of control was caused by Loki in Thor (1st series) #377.

Quicksilver attacking the Avengers and Fantastic Four occurred in Avengers Annual #15, West Coast Avengers Annual #1 and Fantastic Four (1st series) #304-306 respectively.

Crystal’s affair occurred in the second Vision & Scarlet Witch limited series.

Beginning with the breakdown of his marriage, Quicksilver was being written as a villain. This story is the first step in his redemption, by showing that Maximus was partially to blame for his behavior.

Last time the X-Factor members were in the Blue Area (with the exception of Iceman and Marvel Girl) was at the trial of the Phoenix in X-Men (1st series) #137.

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