X-Man #45

Issue Date: 
December 1998
Story Title: 
Blood Brothers Prelude: Crossing Borders

Terry Kavanagh (writer), Mark Pajarillo (penciler), Bud LaRosa (inker), RS/Comicraft/EM (letters), Mike Thomas (colors), Glenn Greenberg (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief), Alan Davis (special thanks)

Brief Description: 

Nate Grey is having a nightmare in which he is responsible for half the world being destroyed. After encountering a Tech-Gnome, he and Madelyne Pryor travel to a small island in Philippines, the base of the mysterious Blaquesmith who appears to be the creator of the Tech-Gnomes. When Nate and Madelyne finally meet him, he explains that he gave Nate all those visions and nightmares about the end of the world, quite possibly because it may happen soon – if they don’t prevent it from happening. Nate and Maddie are then teleported by him to Latveria, where a strange pyramid crashes down from the sky. Elsewhere, Ness asks his cousin, Slaine, to tell him what he knows about the technology of the Tech-Gnome, before they’re attacked by the Hellbent, intent on slaying Ness for betraying them. Slaine dies during the fight but not before killing one of the Hellbent, which flee.

Full Summary: 

Doomstadt, capital of Latveria.

Even at the absence of its ruler, Doctor Victor Von Doom, Latveria is still a country where peace and order rule the day, unlike many of its neighboring countries. Unbeknownst to all, from with a strange pyramid sitting atop the moon high above, emanates a malicious laughter.

Macaleer’s Bed ‘n’ Breakfast, on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland.

Staring out his room’s window, Nate Grey ponders on his recent battle against Nemesis. He is thinking that one of the villains is down, who knows how many more left to go. It took his and Madelyne’s combined strength to defeat Nemesis. However, he is not the only villain that has escaped in this world from Nate’s home reality; Dark Beast and Sugarman are on the loose for many years and have possibly corrupted others in their path, increasing the potential number of foes Nate will have to fight in the future.

His attention now diverted from the view outside, Nate ponders that he must find a way to prevent the apocalyptic vision he saw from coming to fruition. He has to find some way to keep himself from overloading on his own psi-energies and destroying half the Earth along with him. Still, he is determined to do whatever possible to keep the world clean from the rest of the villains that escaped from his home reality. The fact that he recently lost his telepathy complicates matters, though.

Suddenly, a shocked Nate realizes that the moon is falling down, heading straight for Earth – Dublin, in particular! Nate quickly flies upwards and starts unleashing his psionic forces against the moon, destroy it before reaching Earth.

For all his power, though, Nate is but a boy. His telekinetic impact shatters the plummeting satellite savagely, scattering multi-ton fragments of every size across all Europe, parts of Africa and Asia. In an instant, a quarter of the world’s surface is gone, another quarter is in flames and what’s left of the earth begins to shudder in response.

Suddenly, Nate wakes up from his nightmare screaming one strange word: “Tramahoi.”

A small robotic creature is standing above Nate, releasing some energy blasts on him. Nate realizes he is still on his bed in Macaleer’s B’n’B and Maddie is asleep next to him. Based on Maddie’s description, he also realizes this must be one of the Tech-Gnomes. Enraged, Nate uses his blasts to destroy it. Burned into the wall behind the wreckage, Nate is amazed to see a silhouette he can definitely recognize. As Madelyne wakes up, Nate assures her that this is nothing but a real, live recurring nightmare.

New York, New York

Nighttime. Deep in the sewers of the city, Ness and his cousin, Slaine are having a small discussion. Ness has shown Slaine the head of the Tech-Gnome he found, demanding to know more about it. Slaine replies that there are no records of anything like this; this is a technology the Hellbent have never encountered before.

All of a sudden, Slaine gasps and falls down, his back fatally slashed by someone. Behind them, a horrified Ness can see three members of the Hellbent: the Manx, who just slashed Slaine with his claws and the Shadow Sisters. One of the Sisters coldly states that brother Slaine has served his purpose: he has led them to his fellow traitor, Ness, who has defected from his tribe, the Hellbent.

Ness addresses her as Dusk, telling her not to do it. Undeterred, the other Sister opens her cape and unleashes a burst of light beam against him. When the blinding light dissipates, the Hellbent realize Ness has vanished. Dusk states that the coward has fled, abandoning his own blood.

They are wrong, however. Ness jumps from high above and lands on Dusk. As he keeps her head underwater, he threatens the other Sister, whom he calls Dawn, to call off the throwback or he will snap Dusk’s neck. The Manx, however, replies that he answers to no one and is about to jump on Ness anyway.

Suddenly, though, the dying Slaine uses his spiked wings to pierce right through Manx’s chest, killing him in the process. As Manx’s body collapses, Slaine urges Ness to kill Dusk. Too late, however. The Shadow Sisters benefit from the distraction and teleport away.

As Ness holds the increasingly weak Slaine, he praises him, telling him that, thanks to him, the Manx shall threaten none of them ever again. With his last breath, Slaine pleads Ness to go while he still can. He insists that the Tech-Gnome’s technology is unknown to him but seems to have grown from terrestrial materials, volcanic ash in particular, which is unique to one place on Earth: a small island in the Philippines… known as Tramahoi.

Tramahoi, Philippines

Madelyne has just teleported herself and Nate around the crater of a volcano at Nate’s own request without knowing exactly where – or what – they are looking for there. She asks him if his dream can tell him anything more than the name of this place, to which Nate responds negatively.

Ahead of them is an area of lush vegetation. Nate believes he can see something far ahead and starts flying towards it. Madelyne pleads him to slow down for a minute: they should be careful and take their time to find out who or what they are up against. Nate replies he knows exactly who he will find at the heart of this mess: the arrogant freak that set those Tech-Gnomes against them, the man that has given him nightmares and now owes him answers. Blaquesmith.

Despite Maddie’s protests, Nate starts flying, only to soon find himself on the exact same spot he was standing with Madelyne moments ago. A puzzled Nate explains that he found himself all turned around somehow while flying above the greenery. Apparently, the vegetation is so dense and strange that he could barely even tell up from down. Nate and Madelyne decide to try crossing the expanse together, this time on foot and leaving tracks behind so as to know where they’ve been.

As they progress inside the expanse, Nate reminds Madelyne this isn’t her problem, to which she agrees but also expresses her view that it is personal. Nate has already informed her of Blaquesmith being behind this and Maddie has good reason to expect some sort of “family reunion,” hinting at Cable’s connection with Blaquesmith.

Nate warns her to be careful of what she wishes for. Blaquesmith had previously tried to get Cable to kill Nate. Eventually, Cable ended up saving Nate’s life but that doesn’t necessarily mean the latter likes the former.

The duo starts following some strange glittering path they see on the ground. Finally, though, Nate states he has had enough of this and unleashes a gigantic psi-scythe to open some way through the countless leaves. The psi-scythe, though, ricochets out of control and Nate and Maddie fall on the ground to protect themselves from the scythe’s impact.

As the psi-scythe sears through the bark and leaves, it exposes some sort of strange techno-organic “trees,” obviously used for the production of Tech-Gnomes. Madelyne notices the trees have been somehow psi-sheened to reflect their own telekinesis back at them, seemingly in order to protect a single ship they can see ahead of them, behind a thicket. Madelyne, though, notices they still have a long way to go now that they’ve woken the locals. Upon finishing her phrase, she unleashes a bolt against an attacking Tech-Gnome.

As the duo starts fighting the Tech-Gnomes, Nate pleads her to teleport them inside the ship. Madelyne refuses. Due to all the reflective psi-ware around, she could end up bouncing them from here to eternity.

Suddenly, the twosome find themselves surrounded by countless Gnomes, who constantly pop up left and right, cutting off Nate and Maddie’s main route. Nate realizes that Blaquesmith has his defenses covered well. They can’t risk taking the route to the air out of fear they might lose it again. Thus, he decides to do the next best thing: he and Madelyne fiercely use their telekinesis to blast a route underground thus finally reaching Blaquesmith’s base.

Blaquesmith instantly welcomes the two, immensely pleased by the fact Nate received – and more importantly understood – his warnings and invitations and sought out for him, undeterred by his necessary security measures. “Your tests, you mean” replies Nate. He tells the mysterious being from the future that his tests have failed: Nate cheated and went around them all so Blaquesmith ultimately lost. “And you, Grey, may have finally passed” says Blaquesmith.

At his words, Madelyne and Nate become furious. They can’t believe Blaquesmith risked all those lives in Clifden, causing one disaster after the other just to test Nate. Nate releases a psionic fist to grab Blaquesmith but the misshapen being has already vanished from that point and materialized behind him.

Blaquesmith clarifies to them that his Tech-Gnomes were bred to be as proficient at controlling and containing destruction as they were at causing it. Thus, no innocents were ever seriously endangered in Clifden.

Nate insists that they could still get hurt inside his huge “garden” right there in the island. As he says that, he unleashes another psionic fist against Blaquesmith. However, the latter has already materialized next to Nate and replies that how much damage could have been done was entirely up to them. Nothing attacked them that they did not attack first. The only true threat to Nate has been his own power; they will have to work on that. The good thing, though, is that Blaquesmith never expected him to make it that far.

Amazed by Blaquesmith materializing here and there, Maddie asks him whether he is employing teleportation, time-slipping or holograms. Blaquesmith just states he is not what he appears to be. He is not, however, their problem or solution. Behind him is a screen, showing several scenes from all around the world, one being policemen in arms, the other terrorists demonstrating a hostage.

Blaquesmith cryptically mentions that there are signs of his coming and time everywhere, without bothering to identify to whom “his” refers. Patterns of chaos and carnage are spreading across the globe. The Askani’Son is unavailable at the moment, Blaquesmith explains, so they will have to deal with it on their own, although all may already be lost.

Nate retorts that he has no reason to believe anything Blaquesmith told him and, furthermore, does not have to spend another second there listening to some freak. Before he can finish his sentence, though, he and Maddie find themselves teleported on the roof of a building by Blaquesmith. There seems to be some fuss, as people have crowded the streets. Madelyne guesses they must be in Europe, judging from the countryside and architecture.

Blaquesmith has also teleported with them. From inside his ship, he alerts them they are in Latveria, actually. Maddie and Nate are watching the crowd who seem to be looking up at something. Indeed, the Latverians discuss with each other that it has been silent and immobile for hours, “it” being a huge pyramid floating above the Latverian capital.

While the Latverians believe this may signify their master’s return, Blaquesmith’s voice heard from the ship admits to Nate that he has come to find a humanity and soul in him he can’t deny. This is why he opened Nate’s mind to all his recent dreams and nightmares, to warn him to prepare himself for what could be the beginning of the end.

At that exact moment, the giant pyramid crashes down, on top of Doom’s castle.

Characters Involved: 

Nate Grey

Madelyne Pryor


Dawn, Dusk, Manx, Ness, Slaine (all Hellbent)

Latverian citizens


Images on screen:


Terrorists and hostage

Story Notes: 

This is the prelude to the “Blood Brothers” crossover. It continues in X-Man #46.

Doctor Doom seemingly died in Onslaught: Marvel Universe, sacrificing his life to defeat Onslaught. Actually, Doom and several heroes were transported in a pocket universe created by Franklin Richards, where they lived slightly modified versions of their lives. They all finally returned to the main universe through a dimensional barrier, although, just before passing through it, Doom was kicked out of the traveling spacecraft, following a fight with Thor. He then returned to the pocket universe, also known as Counter-Earth (Heroes Reborn: The Return #4).

Dark Beast and Sugarman, like Nate and Nemesis/Holocaust, crossed over to the 616 Marvel Universe after their home reality, dubbed the “Age of Apocalypse”, was seemingly destroyed. [X-Men Omega]

Nate and Madelyne fought Nemesis (Holocaust) in X-Man #44.

Issue Information: 
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