X-Man #20

Issue Date: 
October 1996
Story Title: 
The Mourning After

Terry Kavanagh (writer), Steve Skroce (penciler), Bud LaRosa (inker), Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s DL (letters), Dan Morehead (colorist), Malibu (enhancement), Jaye Gardner (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Threnody has been saved from the Marauders by the Abomination and taken underground to the ‘last lair.’ This is where the Abomination lives alongside the Forgotten, a group of people no longer welcomed by society. She wakes up later, only to find herself having nothing in common with her former friends. The Abomination allows her to take whatever she requires from what has been scavenged, but then she must leave. As she tries on a jacket, she is attacked and rounded on by the Forgotten. Nate Grey traces her to the underground lair and demolishes the wall in order to reach her. He stops the Forgotten, but is smashed by the hulking Abomination. The Abomination is furious that she has led a stranger to their lair, and Threnody has to stall him as Nate Grey recovers and returns. He uses his telekinesis to pin the creature against a wall, and Threnody wishes for him to finish him off. Nate isn’t so blood hungry and, instead, he accesses the Abomination’s memories to discover the truth. He realizes that he and the creature see Threnody quite differently. The Abomination manages to free himself, and proceeds to pummel Nate into the ground. Once he’s finished, he departs, leaving Threnody to ask Nate what on Earth just happened. Nate replies that the whole fight was just a psi-projection. He’s learning not to fight the fights he doesn’t need to. Meanwhile, Selene returns to New York with a surprise for Sebastian Shaw.

Full Summary: 

(flashback - New York City)

Threnody is a young woman sitting in an alleyway; hungry, tired and in tears. Adolescence has hit her hard. With her mutation comes a genetic deviation of particularly explosive proportions and, in Threnody’s case, it’s beyond her control. As she sits there, a large figure appears in the alleyway and whisks her away.


The large figure carrying her now is the same as it was then. It belongs to the Abomination, also known as former saboteur and spy Emil Blonsky. He was the mechanic of his own mutation, and long ago fell victim to his own twisted politics and pride as well as his own worst instincts. With a searing shower of glowing green gamma radiation came a metamorphosis into the creature he is today. He sees Threnody for what she is, perhaps more so than most. He knows there is no hope for mutants or monsters… no real rest for the weary, or the wicked.

Threnody wakes up after passing out and orders the ‘freak’ to let go of her. Emil carries her into his chambers underground. A sofa and framed photograph hanging on a column are the only noticeable aspects of anyone living there. Her anguish is picked up by Nate Grey, whose telepathy is his most powerful weapon. He realizes she’s still alive, and still in trouble as usual. He figures she can take care of herself, considering how she slipped away as soon as they hit the city, and the things Sinister implied about her being a deliberate plant to enable him to get to him. He thinks again. There’s no reason why he should believe Sinister so easily. He can’t take his word without hearing Threnody’s side of the story. He doesn’t want to be left alone again, not like in Paris, when Madelyne Pryor ran off without him.

Above the city, glowing in the morning sunrise, Nate cannot but help how the city still takes his breath away. Nothing compares to its beauty. There’s just so much life. He can experience it through the eyes and ears of those living in it, though it might be a little overwhelming reading so many minds at once. First things first, he needs to find Threnody. However, the city’s still in chaos following Onslaught’s devilry. The people are confused about the loss of their heroes, and in their minds it was the mutants who were the cause of this. He manages to finally lock on to Threnody and flies into the city.


Threnody informs the Abomination that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. She’s gaining more control over her power every minute. Really? he replies. He reminds her that it didn’t seem that way when he rescued her from those mutants. He informs her that those around him still come first, though. Nothing has changed. Seated around the sofa are around a dozen people who he calls ‘The Forgotten.’ They are the unwelcome and unwanted from the streets above, and they live under his protection.

Threnody recognizes Cole and Watts, and Emil introduces her to the newest additions to his family, the twins Roust and Joust. They are two small men wearing flat caps. There are more of the Forgotten that there used to be; indicative, thinks Emil, of the way so-called civilized society treats its people. Threnody congratulates Emil on still wallowing in the sewers as he has for a long time now. Emil warns her, telling her that she can take what she needs from the scavenged goods when the others are done. Then she can leave. She is no longer welcome in their world.

Threnody puts on a brave show, but she feels deep down that something’s amiss with Emil. He isn’t the man she once knew; the man who saved her from the Marauders. She notices a leather jacket next to a photograph of a guy sporting an eye patch and a burning candle. She likes it and quickly slips it on. ‘Mourning black - just my color,’ she thinks. It’s just her size. As she becomes comfortable with the jacket, Roust and Joust see what she’s doing, and one of them attacks her. He complains that they’re Jimmy’s leathers. He was one of them, right to the end. He died in that jacket, scrounging food from the high gangs for them.

Threnody is much larger than him, and grabs him around the neck. She threatens to drag him down to the same bottomless pit, but his friends back the little fella up. One warns her that she won’t hurt them again.

Suddenly, one of the walls shatters and Nate Grey emerges through it. He tells the Forgotten that the party’s over, and he’s going home with the girl. One man suggests that they get him, but Nate reminds them that his telekinesis just sheared down through a hundred and thirty feet of dirt and rock, smashed through four more feet of solid brick and mortar and pulverized it all in mid-air right before their eyes. He asks them to take a minute to imagine what he could do to them.

His warning goes unheeded, and they attack him with clubs, spears and a shopping trolley. Once they are within a yard of him, they all stop, smashing their faces against an invisible telekinetic field. Threnody is surprised and glad that Nate has come for her, but the Abomination is less welcoming. He swipes Nate clean off the ground, and castigates Threnody for betraying them. Nate goes clean through a nearby brick wall in to the next room.

The Abomination looms large over Threnody, and he snarls at his one-time friend. He tells her that she’s led a stranger to the last lair; the only haven left to the Forgotten. He knows the price to be paid...! Thoughts go through Threnody’s head of the words Sinister recently said to her. “It’s only beginning. The boy has yet to completely trust you.” Now, those words speak louder than most.

She asks him to stop, telling Emil that they only wanted him to help them. They’ve been running from the Marauders for so long now, and they still can’t escape them. They’re everywhere now. That’s why she came down to the sewers and brought Nate Grey with her - for protection. She’s really stalling for time, hoping for a miracle, but she’s really scared. She’s terrified of ending up like Malice, or worse, maybe. Before she needs to speak again, the wall Nate was knocked through explodes and he floats through the swirling dust with his hand outstretched. “Come, girl, we’re outta here.”

The Abomination runs for him and leaps, only to be caught in a telekinetic bubble that holds him where he is. Nate then slams him back against another wall, which gives partially under his weight and the force of Nate’s thrust. Emil struggles but cannot move anything but his mouth. He says that the shrew shows her true colors to be chameleon. He guesses she’s playing Nate like she always played him. Threnody asks Nate why he’s listening to this monster. What is he waiting for? “Finish him already, finish him.” Nate apologizes to Threnody, but he isn’t finished. He places his finger on Emil’s forehead and winds his memories back a while. He wants to see the truth.


Emil is sitting with a few of the Forgotten. Threnody lies on an old mattress, asleep. Emil tells the others that it’s been weeks since he found her up top. She’s finally eating and drinking, and even talks between moans to some of the children. An elderly couple offers Threnody some food as she begins to wake up. The old man says the girl still won’t tell them her name, and the old woman tells Emil that she and pops have been calling her Threnody, like this banshee’s song of hers. It started off almost pretty, if he listened real close; an angel’s keening, sad but soulful. They wish they could do something for the pain she’s in.

Threnody suddenly comes to life, her eyes opening wide as if emerging from a nightmare. She screams, inadvertently killing the elderly couple. She scurries into a corner, repeating the word no over and over again.


The Forgotten were horrified then, and Emil would have killed her if not for the kids. But, that was then… this isn’t. Threnody is anxious, not knowing what Nate has learned. Emil tells him that he can’t keep denying the truth which stares him dead straight in the face. Nate turns to Threnody and asks him if it’s true what he saw in his head. Two innocents died trying to help her; vaporized by her mutant death-purge? She admits that it is true, but she swears she never meant for it to happen. Nate knows, but he just needed to hear her admit it to herself.

Nate points his finger at Emil, still helpless against the wall. He reminds Emil that there’s no way a memory can lie; anyone’s memory about anything. It’s all right there in full color, and not so black and white as Emil chooses to see it. He is well aware that Threnody hurt others in her time, with and without her powers. He’s known that since day one. But, he’s only now getting to know her, and where Emil sees another threat, he sees a scared kid, trying to understand and cope with powers beyond her control. They see the same tragedy in his memories, only they see it differently. Emil has been loosening the bricks behind him as Nate spoke, and he replies that obviously, Nate would forgive and forget. He, meanwhile, knows better!

He swipes at Nate, slapping him on the side of the head with a handful of red brick. Nate knows the creature thinks of himself as being fast for his size, but he is faster. Nate bounces into a pile of bricks and the Abomination leaps on him, pounding him into the ground. He then grabs Nate’s leg and slams him down hard, before landing punch after punch on the young mutant. He gives him a real going over whilst he taunts Nate over how Threnody appears to have run off again as soon as he looked the other way. She’s compromised the location of the lair, and left him in the dust, with the fate of the Forgotten. With Nate thoroughly beaten, the Abomination claps the dust off his hands and leaves his bedraggled body where it lies.

As he ambles away, Threnody asks Nate what just happened. Nate informs her that he used psi-projections to allow Emil to see what he wanted to see. The whole fight was a fantasy. Nate figures Emil can remain the pauper-king, defending his kingdom, protecting his poor people and his precious throne. For all Nate’s power, he is just now learning how to avoid the battles he doesn’t need to fight. Nate can’t do much more to help Emil, but he decides that he and Threnody will do no more running. They’re going to find a place to stand their ground.

(somewhere over the Atlantic)

A plane is carrying Selene, Trevor Fitzroy, Madelyne Pryor and Ella to the United States. Selene is reveling in the fact she is taking Madelyne to Manhattan. The island hasn’t seen the likes of her before. She hopes her new friend, Trevor Fitzroy, will understand why a certain Sebastian Shaw deserves to be the first to welcome her home again.

Characters Involved: 

Nate Grey


The Abomination

The Forgotten, including Watts, Cole, Roust and Joust

Ella, Trevor Fitzroy, Selene (all Hellfire Club)

Madelyne Pryor

(in flashback)


The Abomination

The Forgotten

(in photograph)


Story Notes: 

The Abomination is Emil Blonsky. He first appeared in Tales to Astonish (1st series) 90. He was a communist spy at Gamma Base in New Mexico, where he activated Bruce Banner’s machine, receiving a greater dose that Banner had taken. This transformed him into the large green creature known as the Abomination, becoming one of the Hulk’s perennial foes.

Issue Information: 
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