X-Man #13

Issue Date: 
March 1996
Story Title: 
The Hunted Below

John Ostrander (writer), Luke Ross (guest penciler), Rob Hunter (guest inker), Mike Thomas (colorist), Graphic Color Works (separations), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Jaye Gardner (editor), Bob Harras (chief)

Brief Description: 

A young woman named Threnody is being pursued through the sewers of Paris by the Marauders. She foolishly fled Mister Sinister’s servitude, hoping to find Nate Grey, but all she has found is imminent capture or death. Her telepathic screams for help attract the attention of Nate, who sits high on a Parisian rooftop. He is wondering whom he can trust on this Earth and it seems as though Madelyne Pryor is the only one. He sees an explosion emanating from the sewers and ventures below ground, discovering the Marauders chasing Threnody. He engages them in battle and manages to stall them long enough for him to help Threnody, or vice-versa, escape. As they make their way through the dank tunnels, he asks who she is. She explains that she is a mutant who feeds on the death throes of others. Mister Sinister managed to put into place something that prevented her going crazy from all their voices and the pain that came from their dying bodies. Sinister now knows Mister Sinister is alive on this world, but he doesn’t know Nate exists. Nate ambushes the following Marauders and leaves only Riptide alive. He places a psychic implant in his brain that will hopefully persuade Sinister that Threnody has perished along with the other Marauders. With nowhere to go, Threnody decides to join Nate as he searches for his a friend he misses greatly. On his trail in the sewers, some time behind, is Cable. He is close to catching up with Nate and won’t stop until he finds him.

Full Summary: 


Threnody runs through the sewers beneath Paris. Normally, it is humans who hound people like her but, today, people of her own kind are in pursuit. She realizes what she has done is stupid. She thought she was so clever, slipping away from Sinister before he had any idea what she was up to. Unfortunately, Sinister doesn’t let anyone walk away from his service. He had her pegged before she took a step.

Threnody had hinged everything on getting to know this ‘unknown’ new mutant; Nate Grey. She thought she could get him to help her. She doesn’t know why she thought of him, and not Beast or the X-Men. She sorta feels a connection to him, like she can trust him. She knows that Nate is somewhere in Paris, but she hasn’t had time to locate him. Now, Sinister’s hounds, his cloned Marauders, are on her trail and she’s scared. Arclight can hear her splashing through the dregs society has flushed into the sewers, and senses a kill.

Above, on the rooftops, sits Nate Grey. Like Threnody, he feels he was a fool. The way he lashed out at Dr. MacTaggert and the rest of Excalibur like that… he might have killed someone. If they hadn’t opened their minds to him, daring him to face the truth, he might have. Mind you, a few of them believed he was some sort of terrorist when he showed up. He guesses he was, once. Another time, another world, but not here. He wonders who he can trust. Whom does he believe?

Rogue? A woman who, on his world, actually led the X-Men. Moira MacTaggert? She seems genuinely concerned about his well being. If only she wasn’t so close to Xavier. Then there’s Madelyne, who he came back to Paris to find. She is the only person he can turn to and she is out of his reach, lost somewhere. He thinks about when Xavier attacked him. Did he just overreact during that situation? Dark Beast wanted him to side with him. He said they were from the same world. If he hadn’t been so forceful and attacked him as well, he may have joined him.

Maybe it doesn’t matter, he thinks, as he looks at the city below. Moira’s tests indicate that he’s going to die before he’s twenty-one. His own power is consuming him. There’s news he could have lived without. Just where is Madelyne, when he needs her, and why can’t he locate her using psi-scans? Maybe, he considers, she is no longer in Paris.

Suddenly, there is a large explosion below and a plume of smoke rises to his rooftop location. Nate picks up someone’s thoughts, calling him from below, so he drops to the ground. Whoever it is, they are scared and trapped below ground. In the sewers, Threnody calls for him to help her, as she is hotly pursued by the rampaging Marauders. Prism taunts her by asking if she thinks Sinister really wants her back, or is he going to allow them to have some fun. Nate hears the name, Sinister, and now knows that Sinister is alive, on this world.

He discovers the Marauders and orders them to turn around. He doesn’t know what their gripe is with the girl, but if they work for Sinister then there’s just one question. Where is he? He tells them that he is responsible for countless deaths, including those of his friends. Blockbuster warns him that he’s come on the wrong scene at the wrong time. Nate doesn’t hesitate in unleashing a telekinetic assault on the hulking Marauder.

His team mates soon back him up and Scalphunter says that it seems like the ‘little geek’ has more to him than they first thought. Blockbuster adds that they have more and they’ll kill him. Nate feels they need some sense pounding into them and he’ll be happy to oblige. He attacks them with a flurry of loose masonry from the tunnels, so Arclight tells the others to stand behind her and Blockbuster. She hammers her fist into the ground to create a shockwave, which spins Nate straight onto his back.

Scrambler wastes no time in leaping on Nate and grabbing his head. His power scrambles other people’s talents, and he toys with Nate’s. Threnody warns him not to do that. He doesn’t know what he’s playing with. Above ground, an engineer is placing barricades around an open sewer access tunnel, when the whole street is rocked by a massive explosion from below ground. Policemen and passers-by flee for their lives, as flames shoot out through the gaps in the asphalt.

Meanwhile, not far away, Madelyne Pryor stands on a balcony, looking across town, taking in the night air. She spots the light from the explosion and wonders what it could be. Selene tells her never to mind. Madelyne turns, not exactly happy that Selene has read her mind. Selene tells her that she enjoys using her gift from time to time. She adds that Madelyne is far too precious to get involved in the dangers of the outside world. At least for now, she adds, inwardly. As you wish, Madelyne replies, still wondering what’s going on across the city. Selene leads her back inside and informs her that she is her treasured pearl, and, one day soon, the world will be their oyster.

Back in the sewers, Nate recovers from the unleashing of so much energy. The Marauders lie in the ruins of the tunnel, but Threnody is okay and she helps Nate to his feet. She leads him away and he tells her that he doesn’t run away from fights. “You do if you wanna live,” she replies. The Marauders regain some semblance of order and discover Scrambler’s dead body. Prism creates some light and the remaining Marauders head after their quarry.

Emerging into a large opening in the tunnel system, Nate asks Threnody who she is, and why the Marauders are after her. She informs him that people have called her a lot of things, but the only name that seems to have stuck is Threnody, like in the song of mourning. As for the Marauders, Sinister sent them after her. She couldn’t bear to be used by him any longer. She points him to a side tunnel and thinks that it’ll maybe throw their pursuers off a little. Nate asks her to hold up a second, but she says they haven’t time. Nate insists they must make time. He doesn’t like being manipulated by anyone, including her, so she shouldn’t push it.

He catches his breath and tells her that the only thing he seems to know is that Sinister is involved in all of this. He thought Sinister was dead. He asks her just what is going on here. Threnody agrees to cooperate. She knows he can verify what she says with a psi-scan, but asks him not to go sticking his mind where it isn’t wanted.

Threnody explains that she’s a mutant, just like him, but she never had any success controlling her powers. In the end, she became overwhelmed and crazy. She could sense people dying all over the world, especially mutants who were suffering from the Legacy Virus. Their agony would well up inside her. She could feel every cell dying in their bodies and that pain would build up to the point where it made her lose her mind. That’s when she met the X-Men. She also met Sinister, who promised he could stop her pain. She was so desperate that she agreed to let him help, and the X-Men reluctantly entrusted her to his care.

Sinister ‘fixed’ her. She continues to inform Nate that she doesn’t know exactly what he did, but it worked, and at least the voices and the pain stopped. Once again, she was sane but she was stuck in Sinister’s servitude. He had her locate mutants suffering from the virus and keep an eye on mutants who weren’t. Over time, she grew to despise him and his twisted desire to manipulate others. She waited for the right time to break away, and that time is now.

As they continue wandering through the labyrinth of tunnels, Nate mentions that he heard her call out earlier, and asks how she knew who he was. Threnody replies that she was aware of him the moment he landed on Earth, as she was aware of all things. Nate asks if Sinister knows he is here. No, she replies. He doesn’t know exactly who he is, as she kept all knowledge of him hidden. Why? asks Nate. Threnody tells him that she didn’t want to see him fall into anyone’s hands; to be used as he has used so many others including herself. Nate smiles with the knowledge that he at least has the element of surprise over Sinister.

The Marauders come to an opening themselves, with several offshoots heading in several directions. Prism wonders if they should split up into teams but, before an answer is forthcoming, Scalphunter feels some unseen force pull the trigger on his gun. He warns Riptide and Prism to get out of the way, but only Riptide makes it. Prism is killed instantly and Scalphunter is also killed in an explosion. Nate and Threnody watch from a dark recess. She asks if he did that, and Nate asks her to speak with her thoughts so they don’t hear them. All he used was a little telekinesis; then he blew Scalp’s cartridge case.

The Marauders are reeling. Three of their number lie dead, and Vertigo doesn’t plan on being next. Nate appears out of nowhere and asks Arclight if she’s looking for anyone in particular. She aims a punch at him, putting her whole body into the punch. Nate, it seems, is simply a telepathic mirage,and Arclight’s punch instead finds Blockbuster’s chest on the receiving end. The power of the punch sends him flying backwards, smashing the giant against a tunnel wall. Vertigo deduces that it must have been a telepathic trick, which means Nate’s playing games. He has to be in visual contact somewhere nearby. She stands and unleashes her own powers into the darkness. The result does indeed confuse Nate and Threnody, and their hiding place is discovered.

Now in the open, the Marauders close in for the kill. Nate struggles to his feet. He informs them that knocking him down isn’t knocking him out. As much as he would rather not do this, they leave him with no choice. He takes telepathic control of Riptide and forces him to spin uncontrollably; his shurikens rocketing outwards with every turn. They slice their way through his two comrades with ease. With only Riptide left, Nate bends down and takes hold of him. Threnody now realizes that Nate’s power is so extraordinary; it’s no wonder Sinister is so keen on looking for him.

Nate tells Threnody that he’ll allow Riptide to live. He’ll send him back to Sinister with a psychic implant. From this day forth, Riptide will not truly recall what happened here. What he will believe has happened is that the Marauders found Threnody alone. The others were lost in battle and only he survived. As far as Sinister is concerned, the woman known as Threnody no longer exists. If he should fight the implant even for a second, Riptide’s mind will explode, destroying him instantly.

It’s all over. With their opponents finished, they are free to do as they wish. Threnody asks Nate what his plans are and he says he’s going to find a friend of his who is greatly missed. “Mind if I tag along?” she asks. “Suit yourself,” replies Nate.

A short time later, another mutant travels along the fetid labyrinth, searching for the young man that has unmistakably passed through the tunnels. Cable comes across Vertigo’s body and recognizes his psychic residue. He’s close, real close. For the sake of Charles Xavier and the X-Men, for the sake of the entire world, he won’t stop until he finds him.

Characters Involved: 

Nate Grey


Arclight, Blockbuster, Prism, Riptide, Scalphunter, Scrambler, Vertigo (all Marauders)

Madelyne Pryor





Construction worker

(In flashback)

Nate Grey



Mister Sinister

Dark Beast

(In Nate’s memories)


Dr. Moira MacTaggert

Madelyne Pryor

Dark Beast

Nate Grey

Professor Charles Xavier

Story Notes: 

Nate met Excalibur in Excalibur (1st series) #95.

Threnody met the X-Men and Mister Sinister in X-Men (2nd series) #27.

Although most of the Marauders died, as they were simply clones of the originals, they would be back.

This story is continued in Cable (2nd series) #30.

Issue Information: 
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