X-Man #38

Issue Date: 
May 1998
Story Title: 
Nowhere to run, Nowhere to Hide…

Terry Kavanagh (writer), Chriscross & Ariel Olivetti (pencils), Mahlstedt, Bobillo, Caesar, Sosa (inks), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Kiff Scholl (letters), Mike Thomas (colors), Jaye Gardner (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Together, Nate and Spider-Man manage to take out the members of the Gauntlet, who then teleport away. Unfortunately, Nate and Spider-Man still have to work together to save the bridge. That done, Spidey hopes he could give Nate a sense of perspective and forgives him for dragging up the memories of Gwen Stacy. After Spidey leaves, Nate feels very much alone, but only for a moment as Madelyne Pryor steps back into his life.

Full Summary: 

One of the mysterious armored beings drives Nate Grey underwater and gets ready to finish what he started. Nate is dying, as usual. He tries telepathy which has no effect on his foe, causing Nate to believe there is no real mind in there. He tries a telekinetic scythe next, again to no avail. He cannot touch his foe with his psi-powers.

Instead, he psionically agitates the water molecules around his foe and hyperkinetically superheats the water. No effect.

He tries an electrical charge generated from the current of his own brain. The unexpected feedback explodes from within like a bomb. The last of Nate’s air is expelled with concussive force. His lungs begin to burn now, desperately scraping precious oxygen from their own withering cells.

Meanwhile, above on the bridge, people panic as the battle between Spider-Man and the other armored beings continues. Recalling what happened, Spider-Man swings away, followed by the two flying robot-beings. What actually bothers Spider-Man is how Nate returned Gwen Stacy, not his Gwen, but the one from Nate’s world. But somehow she recognized him just before these two flying bozos hit him out of nowhere, while a third took advantage of their diversion to ambush Nate from behind. And Gwen was just gone again.

Figuring there are hundreds of people trapped on the bridge, he knows he has to stop this. He positions himself in a corner, waits until they both attack and take each other out with their own crossed frequencies.

However, moments later, they attack again with blasters, over a populated area. Spidey sees how the third carries up an unconscious Nate from the river. Spider-Man hesitated too long and someone paid the price gain. He throws a web grenade at the flyer, pinning him.

Nate isn’t unconscious, having switched his psychics to the defense and masking his own lifesigns with a psi-screen.

Spider-Man sees for the first time that there are people in the robo-suits and one of them is already burning free of his webbing. Nate concentrates on cracking the armor, allowing Spidey to finish him off while Nate takes on the second one with a mind probe. She is a single track telepath, he senses, cyber-enhanced, trying to screen her thoughts. Something about her team… called Gauntlet.

The woman orders someone called Fontaine to kill Nate. Spider-Man warns him of the third goon behind him, still fully psi-shielded. He presses some kind of trigger on his uniforms. All three of them disappear.

An emergency failsafe, Nate reveals, activated by the one called Fontaine, according to the last thing he picked up from the other’s mind.

Spider-Man tries to figure out how to trace them, then feels the ringing of his spider-sense. He shoves Nate off the bridge and explains that those canned idiots did more damage to the structural integrity of the bridge than he thought. The suspension cables are under too much stress, the pavement’s cracking and the other side of the bridge is bucking like a bronco beginning to buckle.

A car is going off the bridge, but, united, Nate and Spider-Man save it with Spider-Man swearing nobody will die here anymore, not on his watch!

However, the bridge is still about to come down around their ears. Nate telekinetically reseals most of the fractures which will hold until more permanent repairs can be done. However, the bystanders insult them both, believing the two of them are to blame for the damage.

More than half a world away in India, Marcus Arlington, with the help of Roust and his brother, uses the power Nate has shared with him to save a patient, working one miracle at a time.

On a roof in Manhattan, Nate muses that they were probably out for him. He’ll be ready for next time. Still, he apologizes about Gwen. He didn’t mean for that to happen. Peter tells him that he opened a wound he thought had healed. With great power comes great responsibility, not great perfection. It took that bridge to give him some perspective tonight. It reminded him that the worst of tragedies can be a beginning as well as an ending. He just wanted to do the same for Nate, if he could bring some perspective to the situation. Best thing he can really do for a friend. He hugs Nate, telling him he can forgive him.

But he can’t forget, right? Nate asks. Maybe they helped each other tonight, Peter suggests diplomatically and suggests they leave it at that. Maybe they finally helped each other to see that they can’t change what happened. They can only change themselves.

Peter leaves and Nate stays on the roof, staring into the darkness, wondering where to turn to. No family. No friends. No past to ground him to his world, no future to speak of.

Maybe, someone states from the shadows, they have to make their own futures. Madelyne Pryor steps into the light. He needed her and she felt it. He called to her whether he knew it or not and she came. He hugs her tight, realizing that she is all he has.

Characters Involved: 

Nate Grey / X-Man


Madelyne Pryor

Marcus Arlington


Fontaine and other members of the Gauntlet

Story Notes: 

Nate gave Arlington some of his power in issue #34.

Issue Information: 
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