X-Man #66

Issue Date: 
August 2000
Story Title: 
No Direction Home – part four

Warren Ellis (mastermind & co-writer), Steven Grant (co-writer), Ariel Olivetti (artist), Christie Scheele (colorist), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jason Levine (letterers), Jason Liebig (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Nate forces the broken man to reveal the reason for his quest to kill the Gauntlet. The members of the Gauntlet abducted his race’s children, as their adaptability would make them perfect as organ donors. Nate explains that he was the one who failed so far, not the broken man, and vows to take care of this business. He returns to Earth 616 and reveals himself to the Gauntlet. After learning that the children have been dead for weeks, he kills all the members of the Gauntlet with the exception of Helen Burnside. He reveals that Helen is the guiltiest one of all, for it was her idea to take the children. He teleports her to the Broken Man’s universe, where the members of his race can take revenge on her. Later, he vows to the dead children that the mutant race has to act more responsibly and he is there to make sure they will.

Full Summary: 

I want you to watch very carefully, Nate Grey warns the creature from the other world as he telekinetically stops the boulder the creature tossed at him after mutating it. With his powers, Nate obliterates the stone. That could have been you, Nate states calmly. He has tried to talk to the creature. All he has gotten in response is bile and ellipses. It has behaved like a mad dog. Can it give Nate a reason to believe it is something else? This is its last chance.

Nate is one of them! the creature snarls, referring to the Gauntlet. It protects them. Nate took its arm. They took their children. There can be nothing but hate and violence between them, until the last of them dies. What more is there to understand?

Considerably more, Nate retorts calmly. He has had enough. The creature and the Gauntlet are both so greedy with their secrets. All it had to do was explain things. Nate’s eye begins to glow, as he accesses the creature’s memories directly, over its protests.

(The creature’s memories)

Through his eyes, Nate sees the Gauntlet sailing down the Spiral in their scavenged spacesuits, to the creature’s world. It must have seemed a harsh world to them. Hostile and dead. It saw them coming, felt their psychic vibrations as they linked powers to scan the planet. The creature’s curiosity was too great. They sensed it, but it could read the, too. They were shocked to learn that life existed in a universe so broken, so far down the structure of reality. It was the miracle they’d been searching for. And it wondered what a miracle was.


Yes, it did, the creature replies. His race shouldn’t have survived here. No life should survive here. It has seen Nate’s world. It knows what they lack. The sunlight here is all wrong. The soil and air are too harsh for all but the toughest plants. Time moves too quickly here. Their world changes rapidly, cruelly. They adapt as quickly. They mutate. They become a whole new species within a handful of generation. And the Gauntlet took their children. They called them “bio-technology.” A source of human-compatible organs able to adapt to any conditions by mutating the host. They said there was money in it. Whatever money is. It is difficult to conceive here. Children are precious and rare. They took them.

The Gauntlet then used their powers to encase this world to make sure they couldn’t follow them. It took them four generations to evolve the ability to pierce the barrier. Five weeks in their time, Nate points out. To them more than a century of grieving over their stolen children, of starting over in a universe not designed for life. It demanded to be the one to go. While it was away, its mate has died, its child has died, his child has died. It gave up its place in the world to exact revenge and it failed. This world is no longer its home.

It can be, Nate retorts. It didn’t fail. Nate did. This is Nate’s wound to heal now. The creature demands how it can trust Nate. Because he says it can, replies Nate.

Night over Manhattan. Nate levitates over the skyscrapers, concentrating. Finally, he telepathically contacts all the members of the Gauntlet, informing them that he is back. Now that he has their attention, he needs to explain something, what a shaman does. A shaman is a miraclemaker and a healer. A priest, a mystic, a poet. An ecstatic visionary. He sees around the edges of realty. He exists outside the tribe, defending it from hat lies beyond. And from itself. Several months ago, he became this world’s shaman. He is used to existing outside tribes.

Sardonically, Ms. Yoshida informs Nate that she is fascinated. So what? Usually, Nate replies, the shaman is invited to work his healing. Sometimes he has to invite himself. Like what he did with her, Helen states. With them. Yes, he agrees and asks her where the children are. The next moment, he manifests inside her apartment.

Helen claims that she doesn’t know what he means and he clarifies that he is referring to the children the Gauntlet took from the broken universe. The children the Gauntlet took from the broken universe to dissect for their unusual organs.

Panicked the members of the Gauntlet begin to run. Nate calmly informs Helen that the others have panicked because they are afraid of him now. Not because of what they’ve done. He understands completely. They are all businessmen. It’s just economics. Something had to cover the costs of those surplus Russian spacesuits. Why not helpless creatures who shouldn’t have been alive anyway?

Is that why it came here? Helen inquires. Because they took its children? What is Nate going to do? What can he do? Nate asks as he uses his powers to check her computer rifling through all the files. He learns that the children have been dead for three weeks. Nate was too late before he started. Now all he can do is heal the wound.

Ms. Yoshida runs, ordering her driver to take her out of there. The next moment, she is enveloped by energy and her body rises. Angrily, she shouts at Nate, calling him a hypocrite and demanding he get out of her head. He has no right! Who then? he asks. They have committed infanticide, possibly genocide. “Homo superior” means they have advantages. It doesn’t mean they are beyond accountability. She explodes in a ball of energy.

No matter where they run the same fate awaits all Gauntlet members, as Nate adds that they knew what they did was wrong. They tried to hide it. They did it for no better reasons than to pad their portfolios. That sort of behavior can simply no longer be tolerated.

The only one left is Helen who has experienced all the deaths through Nate’s telepathic web. Nate informs Helen that he isn’t going to kill her. Even though she deserves it most. She looks up at him in disbelief. Nate coldly explains that the broken man was aiming for her in the elevator. He can read minds, but a mind is a big place. He has to know what to look for. Until he told him, Nate had no idea that Helen was the one to suggest the Gauntlet take the children.

The Gauntlet constitutes an infection of this society that needed burning out. Does Helene even see how vile such brutal greed is? Or does she think this is just some game she lost?

As a single tears runs down her face, Helen asks what if it wasn’t for the money? If she had a better reason? No reason could justify what she’s done, Nate simply replies. But he’s still not gong to kill her.

Energy envelopes her and Helen disappears. She falls down the spiral and ends up in front of the Broken Man and others of his race. Alive he simply states as he sees her. Good.

Two days later, Nate walks into a graveyard, where he has erected some small stones for the dead children. He knows their people have a myth of a world of peace and joy. That they could even conceive of such things is a miracle. He is sorry this wasn’t that world. They should have been cherished. A decent burial is the only crumb of dignity he can give them now. Poor children. Looking up to the sky, he announces that this must become a better world. His tribe, the mutant race, must become better. And it will. Because he’s watching.

Characters Involved: 

Nate Grey / X-Man

Helen Burnside, Ms Yoshida and other unnamed members of he Gauntlet

Creature from down-Spiral

Other members of his race

Story Notes: 

The creature tried to kill Helen (and got her colleague Rutherford) in issue #63.

Issue Information: 

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