X-Men (2nd series) #101

Issue Date: 
June 2000
Story Title: 
Hard Landing

Chris Claremont and Leinil Francis Yu (Script), Mark Morales (Inks), Richard Starkings and Comicraft (Letters), Liquid! Graphics (Colors), Mark Powers (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

Up in space, the X-Men do their best to guide the space shuttle, Intrepid, back to Earth. However, the space crew blames them for what happened to the space station. Shortly at JFK, the X-Men make a safe landing and return to the mansion to search for Shadowcat. At the Church of St. Michaels, the Neo bring back the body of Jaeger to Domina, who swears revenge on the one who killed her husband. Cecilia takes Kurt, recently injured by the Neo, to an illegal infirmary for criminals. Kurt consoles Cecilia about her accidental killing of Jaeger when the criminal Delgado and his boys drive a truck into the building in an attempt to kill Charlotte Jones. Delgado take out a gun and shoots Jones when Archangel saves her and knocks Delgado down. The gun is about to blow when Cecilia uses her force field to contain the explosion. Jones runs after Delgado with Archangel behind her. The crisis over, Cecilia finds some vials of rave and decides it is unsafe to leave them lying around and pockets them. Elsewhere, Delgado kidnaps Tartarus. When Archangel asks his sister, Elysia, where Delgado went, Elysia sends him into an illusionary world where past romance interests surround him. Warren knows something is wrong and breaks free through the ceiling above but loses consciousness. Following Archangel, Charlotte arrives and hears someone scream. She finds herself in a field of bones with remembrances of Delgado’s victims. Delgado has turned into a monster but Jones defeats him. However, she starts to mutate also. Nearby, the Neo ambush Cecilia and Kurt, who is helpless from his injuries. Without options, Cecilia injects herself with rave, which amplifies mutant powers, hoping to defeat her enemies.

Full Summary: 

The space shuttle Intrepid streaks towards the planet Earth. The ship approaches the re-entry point, but pieces of the ship fall off every second. This is what may be the last moment of the mutant woman known as Psylocke. As a member of the X-Men, Betsy is gifted with telekinesis. At the moment, she uses that power to keep the crippled ship together for the most dangerous part of the journey to Earth. Unfortunately, Betsy has not mastered her powers and the odds are against her.

On the flight deck, sit Rogue and Dr. Peter Corbeau. Rogue tells Corbeau that they are just overhead of Chicago and, at the moment, everything is fine. Corbeau tells Rogue not to be cocky. The ship glides at the moment, which means they have few maneuvering options. Their course allows only one possible place to land as long as they reach it. To raise spirits, Corbeau tells the others that he has been in a similar situation like this one, except he was a passenger at that time. He asks Rogue what the temperature of the hull is, which Rogue says is about to reach its maximum levels.

Rogue sends a message through the monitor to Thunderbird and the human crew in the cargo bay. Rogue apologizes to them and says that the next few minutes will prove to be a bit warm. Thunderbird tells Rogue that they will manage. He turns to a female crewmember that holds an injured friend and offers her some assistance. The women tells Neal that he has nerves to ask her that. She begins to yell at him and tells him that they are all going to die “because of you muties.” Neal, being the newest member of the X-Men, only recently learned that he was a mutant. Prejudice is something foreign to him and he feels that he will never get used to it. Neal tells the woman that it is not fair to blame the X-Men. It is their power that keeps them all alive. The woman asks Thunderbird why the station was sabotaged in the first place. She answers her own question and tells him that whether a mutant is good or bad, they are dangerous because they exist.

The ship encounters some turbulence. Pieces of equipment fall off, which Thunderbird blocks for the human crew. He calls over to Psylocke and asks her to keep the shuttle steady. Psylocke, who’s powers have been stressed to the max, tells Neal that he might as well as ask for the moon. Sarcastically, she tells him to switch powers with her so he can take care of the situation. Colossus hears this and tells Psylocke that Shadowcat guaranteed that no one would die. Would she make Shadowcat a liar? Rogue tells Piotr that they shouldn’t have left Shadowcat behind. Piotr replies that if Kitty did not make her sacrifice, all would have died. Optimistically, he tells his companions that he has hope, as X-Men are hard to kill. Rogue agrees and says that they are also good at payback. Whoever is responsible for the station’s destruction will learn this the hard way.

The Church of St. Michaels sits across the East River. Domina stands atop the towers and looks across the river at the world she means to conquer. Down below in the courtyard, Kilmer calls up to her. The Neo have recovered Jaeger’s body. Domina questions Kilmer as to how Jaeger was murdered. Below, Rax tells her that they search for the killer at the moment. With anger in her voice, Domina calls out that the hunt is her right alone. Rax boasts that he is Jaeger now, but Domina tells him that he is nothing without her permission. Domina jumps down to the ground and tells Rax that she is Domina. Her word is law among the Neo. They have come to this Church to establish a beachhead among the flatscans. Vengeance can be dealt with later. Rax complies, but bitterly thinks to himself that, someday soon, it will be his turn to lead.

Some distance from St. Michaels is Perry Street. Cecilia Reyes helps Kurt Wagner cross the street towards an old abandoned building in the middle of the night. The two approach the building and Cecilia tells Kurt that no one pursues them. Sadly, Kurt tells Cecilia that their enemies don’t seem to be the type to give up. Cecilia sarcastically says great and opens the door to the building. Kurt immediately notices that for an abandoned worn down building, it is pretty clean and set up properly inside. Cecilia tells him that it is an illegal infirmary for lowlifes who can’t risk a trip to the hospital for help. “Like us, you mean,” Kurt says. Cecilia tells him not to start busting her chops.

Suddenly, the two hear sirens go off. Cecilia tells Kurt to be still and peeks outside through a boarded up window. She tells him that the police are around and they may be en route towards Kurt’s church. Kurt prays that they are not. Cecilia takes Kurt and lays him on a bed. Honestly, Cecilia tells Kurt that things are not well for him and without proper hospital equipment, there may be little she can do. Kurt tells her that it is not the first time he has placed his life in God’s hands and asks her how she fares. Cecilia says that she is fine, but Kurt persists and tells her that as a postulant he is a good listener. Cecilia asks him is he refers to a confessional. Kurt already knows what bothers Cecilia and tells her that he has killed before. It is not a burden she shares alone. Cecilia says that she never dreamt that her force field could ever do something like it did earlier that night. Kurt reminds her that a scalpel is just a fancy knife but, in her hands, it is a lifesaver. He asks her, “Do you condemn the tool, or the one who wields it?”

Cecilia snaps at Kurt and tells him that she knows what she did and does not want to do it again. He replies that she needs to control her power. Kurt tells her that his life currently involves his journey towards priesthood, but he has prior obligations to the X-Men. He must use his gifts to help people, such as the ones in the apartment complex across the Church of St. Michael, that the Neo took over. Cecilia realizes the connection and asks Kurt if he thinks that the attacks have any relation to his mutant friends in the apartments. Kurt believes that it is a possibility, which means they need to get them out. Dr. Reyes asks if they will do it by themselves and Kurt says they will if necessary. Cecilia tells him that he is lucky that he is alive when they both hear a noise. The sound of tires on pavement rings in their ears. Cecilia realizes that someone is making a bootleg turn as gunshots ring out.

A large, armored truck comes through the side of the building. Smashed in front of it is a police cruiser. Detective Charlotte Jones fires shots at the truck from the top of her car. Below, Cecilia barely has time to pray as her force field protects herself and Kurt from the debris of the building. Five men come out of the armored vehicle and Detective Jones punches two in their faces. The leader, Delgado, asks Jones what it will take to kill her. Charlotte tells him that he will need more than what he’s got to stop her. Delgado whips out a large energy gun and asks Charlotte if she wants to bet. He pulls the trigger and Charlotte is thrown right past Cecilia and Kurt.

Across the East River, Archangel flies among the skyscrapers he calls home. As he flies through the night, Warren faintly hears the sound of a sonic boom, caused by a vehicle in decent from the Earth’s orbit. As the Intrepid, occupied by his fellow X-Men, streaks past above him, an explosion across the river catches his attention. What holds his attention is the face of Charlotte Jones, a woman who was once his lover.

Delgado is unhappy with the weapon in his hands. He was guaranteed that it would destroy anything it hit. However, Detective Charlotte Jones, who took the hit full blast, is still alive and shoots right at him. One of Jones’ bullets hits Delgado’s gun. Cecilia realizes that if the gun explodes, it could do some serious damage. She begins to contemplate whether or not her force field could contain the blast when Archangel comes and knocks Delgado off his vehicle.

Warren scoops up a surprised Detective Jones and asks if she needs any assistance. Cecilia jumps towards Delgado’s weapon and hopes the sight of an angel is not a sign of death. Kurt, Archangel, and Detective Jones look on with horror as the gun explodes. Cecilia leaps on top of it to contain the explosion with her force field and hopes that Kurt has enough strength to pray for her.

Archangel lands on the ground with Charlotte, who orders him to call ESU for backup. Warren tells Charlotte that he recognizes Cecilia, as she is an affiliate with the X-Men. Jones takes out her gun and tells Warren to just get Cecilia medical attention. She has a “rave-pushing, cop killer to find.” Warren again asks if she needs assistance, but Charlotte tells him that he is still a civilian and that he should look after his own. She then runs off after Delgado.

Cecilia gets up and rubs her head. Warren asks if she is all right and Cecilia tells him that she is absolutely unharmed. Warren tells her to look after Kurt as Detective Jones needs help whether she wants to admit it or not. Cecilia tells him to go and he does. She looks at the floor at some syringes and remembers that Detective Jones mentioned that Delgado and his men were using rave. She knows that they are a performance-enhancing stimulant and are very addictive, so Cecilia pockets the syringes so no one can find them. Kurt looks at Cecilia and asks for her forgiveness for what he is about to do. Cecilia is confused and questions him, but is cut off when he teleports them away.

At John F. Kennedy International Airport, the tower workers do their usual job of guiding the incoming and outgoing planes without any problems. In the tower, an employee asks his fellow co-worker Sidney how many planes are left to go. Sidney tells him that there are twelve flights, six of which are inbound. The other worker takes his glasses off and looks at a monitor. He then asks Sidney why he has seven incoming planes on his monitor. Sidney checks the decent profile and realizes that the extra plane is too steep and too fast. Sidney asks for anyone to radio the pilot before he kills someone. The tower personnel look out the window and realize that the seventh inbound is not an airplane, but the shuttle Intrepid. Below, emergency firefighters quickly dress themselves for the impending emergency.

The tower crew realizes that the shuttle is going to hit the plane Virgin-Seven, but suddenly the shuttle boosts up over it to the surprise of the crew. As the personnel wonder how the shuttle lifted itself, they discover that its luck just ran out as it slams into the wing of another plane. The shuttle crosses the landing runway of the airport. Other planes are knocked out of the way. On board, Psylocke uses her powers to make sure that the shuttle does not disintegrate and kill them all. As the shuttle comes to a stop into the waters of Grassy Bay, Psylocke uses her telekinesis to lift the X-Men and crew off the shuttle and into the water.

Rescuers arrive at the seen of the shuttle and are surprised that the crewmembers are alive and unhurt. While the emergency team helps the crew, none of them notice that the four X-Men swim to the other side of Grassy Bay and out of the water. Piotr compliments Psylocke on her work but Psylocke sarcastically congratulates herself and comments on how she will die happy is she never has to use her powers again. Rogue compliments Betsy on how she lifted the X-Men away from the site. She believes it is best that they stay away and disappear. Thunderbird asks Rogue if they should defend themselves, as some of the crew believes the X-Men caused the sabotage on the station. “That’s the way the world works, chum,” says Psylocke. Thunderbird refuses to accept that and tells the others that his homeland of India suffers too much from such unreasoned hatred between castes and religions. “It eats at our souls like a cancer,” Neal says, “If not fought, it will be the end of us.”

Rogue tells Neal that Peter Corbeau is a friend of the X-Men. He will vouch for them. In the meantime, they have a friend to find. Rogue tells all that if Shadowcat is alive, then they should start their search at the mansion. Rogue tells Thunderbird that she will carry Colossus and he shall carry the weakened Psylocke. As Rogue flies off with Piotr, she tells them to move. Shadowcat is one little girl and they are on an awfully big planet.

Back in Brooklyn, Cecilia and Kurt sit in the basement of the apartment complex taken over by the Neo, which is across the church that was also seized by them. Cecilia and Kurt sit atop a pile of old junk. Cecilia tells Kurt that if he were not already so weak, she would punch him for teleporting like he did. She asks him if he wants to die tonight, because if he continues to act the way he is then he will die. Kurt rhetorically points out that she is angry to the not-so astonished Cecilia. He tells her that he had to do it. Also,, he tells Cecilia, he was raised in a circus, so he guesses that he still likes to show off. Cecilia comments on how a priest would know better. Kurt smiles and tells her that he is a long way from his collar. Cecilia turns serious and tells him that he cannot afford to teleport in his present condition. He is no match for her, much less the Neo. Kurt tells her that she is more formidable than she looks. Cecilia quickly changes the subject and asks where they are. Kurt tells her that they are in the basement of the apartment complex across the church. Cecilia tells him that the complex is huge. She asks him how they will find his mutant friends who hide in the apartment. Kurt replies, “We begin with the obvious. I know where they live.”

On the fifth floor, Delgado whips out his gun and aims it at two Neo children, Tartarus and his sister, Elysia. Elysia asks her brother if Delgado is the one Domina seeks, but Tartarus tells her that he is the wrong color. Tartarus continues to say that Delgado must be involved in the altercation they witnessed outside. Tartarus turns his attention to Delgado and tells him that he trespasses Neo territory at his own peril. Delgado grabs Tartarus and tells Elysia that, if she sees any cops, she should tell them that he has a hostage. Else, he will shoot Tartarus. Delgado goes off the left side of the hallway.

Archangel enters the hallway and tells Elysia to get home. Elysia asks if he is with the authorities and is told that he gives them a hand. Elysia thinks to herself how beautiful Archangel is. She wonders if his blue skin means he is related to the one who killed Jaeger. Elysia points to the right and tells Archangel that Delgado took her brother to the right, though in truth he took Tartarus to the left. Archangel flies off to the right and thanks Elysia.

Suddenly, Archangel finds himself confused and lost. Warren emerges inside a large beautiful room with a large window that overlooks the skyscrapers of New York City with golden light radiating the whole room. As if on cue, four beautiful women walk in. The first is Candy Southern, Warren's truest love who was killed because of her relationship with him. The second is his friend, Jean Grey, another founder of the X-Men. Next is Betsy Braddock, the X-Man who currently claims his heart. The last is Charlotte Jones, the woman whom he loved before Betsy. Warren smiles at the women, whom he knows are too good to be true. He embraces all four women of his dreams.

In the hallway, the real Detective Charlotte Jones finds Elysia. Jones asks Elysia where the two men ahead of her went off. Before the young Neo can answer, a scream echoes down the hallway. Jones doesn’t wait for Elysia’s answer, but tells her to return to her home, lock the door and call the police. Jones runs down the left side of the hallway and swears to herself that she will clip Warren’s wings after this is all over. However, when she takes a turn on the corner of the hallway, she suddenly finds herself at the edge of a cliff. Jones does not realize this and continues to think of how Warren always has to play the hero. She also thinks that he would deserve to be shot. However, it would crush her if he got hurt.

At the edge of the cliff, Charlotte loses her balance as she realizes the floor is gone. She tumbles down the side of it and lands hard on the ground. Amazingly, Charlotte gets up, with her clothes in tatters. She thinks how fortunate she is that she wore her hand-me-down X-Men uniform underneath. She thinks to herself of how the uniform is the best protection she has ever had.

Jones looks around at her new surrounding at the base of the cliff. She stands by a tree in an endless pool of human skulls. She believes that since she had no protection for her head while she fell, she is hallucinating. Detective Jones picks up a locket near her and discovers that it contains a picture of Maria Soares and her husband. Soares was one of the officers Delgado murdered that night. Jones then realizes that from the tree next to her hang remembrances of all of Delgado’s victims.

From behind her, Delgado leaps at Jones. However, his body has mutated and he is pale with sharp teeth and sharp claws. Delgado tells her that he does not know how she sent him to Hell, but he will make sure she does not leave alive. Delgado slams her head against the tree, but Jones fight back and punches him right in the face. Charlotte tells him that if he is right and they are in hell, it is the least he deserves, but she still has her duty to arrest him for his crimes. She pins his hands behind his back and takes out her cuffs when suddenly her body begins to feel weird. Her hands then grow much larger and take the form of claws. Delgado kicks her off and grabs a bone. He tells her that she is turning into a monster, so it is his duty as a Christian to put her out of her misery.

Elsewhere, Warren realizes that something is wrong with the scene he is in. Candy Southern is dead and Jean would never come on to him, even if her husband Cyclops were dead. Also, he broke up hard with Charlotte. Warren tries to pull away, but realizes the more he tries to get away, the tighter the women hold him. Warren cuts loose and knocks the women away and tells them he is Archangel. No one can hold him down. Warren flies to the glass ceiling and breaks through. Suddenly, the illusion disappears and he realizes he did not break through class; he broke through the roof of the apartment complex. He loses consciousness and falls out of the air to the city streets.

In the basement of the apartment complex Cecilia helps the crippled Nightcrawler through the passages. Cecilia comments on Kurt’s ability to blend in the darkness. She also sarcastically remarks on the great pair of heroes they are; “the functionally blind leading the nearly dead.” The two reach the top of a staircase when another arrow hits Cecilia and both tumble down the stairs. Angry, Rax jumps out of the shadows and asks Cecilia why she will not fall. He tells her that he is Jaeger of the War Clan now and it is his right to bring the Neo her head.

Cecilia blocks Rax’s arrows with her shield and then uses it in the offensive mode to destroy his crossbow. Cecilia arrogantly tells him that if he still wants to fight, he will be the one to bleed. Angrier now, Rax asks Cecilia if she really thought if he came alone.
Four other Neo step out of the shadows and surround Nightcrawler and Cecilia. Cecilia is not surprised. She whispers to Kurt to teleport them, but Nightcrawler has fallen unconscious. One of the Neo tells Cecilia that Kurt is beyond helping her, but that Domina wants them both alive. Rax tells the other that he is in command and that they will kill the two, since they refused to surrender. Domina will have to deal with the corpses.

As the Neo talk, Cecilia thinks to herself how she barely managed to defend against one of them, let alone five. She knows that if she gives up, though, Kurt and his friends in the apartments will die. Cecilia reaches into her pockets and takes out the vials of rave she found. Since rave increases the powers of mutants, Cecilia injects herself with the fluid. With eyes bloodshot, she tells herself that she will worry about the consequences later.

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Colossus, Psylocke, Rogue, Thunderbird (all X-Men)

Cecilia Reyes, Nightcrawler (former X-Men)

Domina, Elysia, Kilmer, Rax, Tartarus, and various unnamed Neo (all Neo)

Charlotte Jones

Rufus Delgado, Delgado’s Henchmen

Peter Corbeau, Crew of the Intrepid

Sidney and Tower Crew (JFK International Airport Tower Crew)

in illusions



Charlotte Jones

Candy Southern

in photograph

Maria Soares and her husband

Story Notes: 

In X-Men (2nd Series) #100, Seth sabotaged the space station, Shadowcat was left behind, Cecilia murdered Jaeger, and the Neo injured Kurt.

Candy Southern, whom Warren began dating in X-Men (1st Series) #31, died while saving Archangel and Phoenix from Cameron Hodge in Uncanny X-Men #306. Archangel’s unsteady relationship with Detective Charlotte Jones began during his tenure as a member of X-Factor [X-Factor #51, 57-59] but never became serious. His relationship with Pyslocke began in Uncanny X-Men #319.

Cyclops was presumed dead in X-Men (2nd Series) #98.

Issue Information: