X-Men (2nd series) #105

Issue Date: 
October 2000
Story Title: 
Killing Angels!

Chris Claremont and Leinil Francis Yu (Script), Mark Morales and Norm Rapmund (Inks), Liquid! And Hi-fi Design (Colors), Richard Starkings and COMICRAFT (Letters), Mark Powers (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

Betsy and Warren are attacked in Warren’s NYC penthouse, which is left in ruins. The two telekinetically jettison themselves from the building and crash land in a construction site in Hoboken, New Jersey, where they are attacked by the Twisted Sisters. The five sisters have been hired to kill one of them, but they do not specify which one they are after. Betsy and Warren assume it is Warren they are after and do their best to escape, but are easily defeated. Rogue and the other X-Men pick up the energy spike when Betsy jettisoned the two from the penthouse and help the lovers fight and defeat the Twisted Sisters. After the Sisters are taken by the NYPD and everything cleared up, Warren and Betsy leave, not knowing that the man who hired the Sisters is watching them. In truth, Betsy was the real target, because the telepathic villain who hired the Sisters has a vendetta against her. Meanwhile, Mystique discovers that Cable has infiltrated Senator Kelly’s political campaign team. As she wonders where Cable’s loyalties lay, she quickly morphs into Moira MacTaggert before Moira’s daughter Rahne picks up her scent. For her own, unknown reason, Mystique has infiltrated Muir Island and is using it as a base of operations for her latest scheme.

Full Summary: 

(moments earlier)
In Warren Worthington III’s penthouse in Manhattan, Betsy Braddock was enjoying the night of her dreams. For the first time, when Warren lifted her into the air to dance, she was able to join him on equal grounds thanks to her telekinesis. They could finally dance together. When they returned to his penthouse, it was an expectation of things far better to come. Their first kiss as delectable as the champagne they drank. Unfortunately, the two never got a chance for a second kiss.

Warren and Betsy both saw the flash of the explosion at the same time. Warren’s mutant ability is that he has wings. Betsy’s is that she has telekinesis. Since speed of thought is as fast as the speed of light, she was able to grasp what was happening and execute an escape simultaneously. If she were slower, neither of them would have survived. Before Betsy’s consciousness even registered that there was an explosion in the penthouse, she was already moving to escape. She gathered her sweetheart into a telekinetic bubble with her and flung them out of the building. They were propelled so fast that they landed on the Jersey shore of the Hudson River in a construction site.

(the present)
The landing is not perfect, but the two survive. Betsy makes a joke about a good landing being one that you walk away from when suddenly a voice from above interrupts her. Above Warren and Betsy are five women, all superhuman and all ready for battle. The leader tells her sisters that this hunt may be decent after all. She turns her attention to the two below and tells them that the Twisted Sisters have a contract on one of their lives. However, she does not specify whether it is Warren or Betsy they have been sent to kill. Betsy asks Warren if the name “Twisted Sisters” is familiar. Warren says the name does not ring a bell and then asks if it makes a difference.

Warren asks his lover if she can fly, but Betsy says that she can barely stand. Warren takes their safety unto him and tells her to hold on to him as he tries to fly them to safety. Warren, however, is too cocky when he thinks that he can out fly a quintet of flyers. Especially when Gyre’s fist comes right into his jaw, which makes sure the two heroes won’t escape. Betsy is astonished to learn that the woman is as fast as Warren, who has spent the majority of his life training in the art of flying.

The punch sends Warren right into the elastic arms of Coil, who uses her arms to wrap Warren up tighter than a mummy. Betsy realizes that it is up to her. This is not the first time she has faced impossible odds. The third sister, Ringlet, throws lariats of energy towards the telekinetic woman, who twists her body around in the air to avoid being slashed by the energy. The lariats that miss Betsy hit a pillar instead. The pillar is sliced into two, which shows Betsy why she cannot get caught by Ringlet.

Betsy, however, can manifest some powerful energy of her own, in the form of a psychic katana. Possibly, the katana can cut through anything since it is backed by Betsy’s will. Ringlet’s lasso doesn’t stand a chance against the katana, but one problem that Betsy faces is that the Twisted Sisters are a team. Where one sister may lack in one skill, another sister is ready to pick up the slack. A prime example is Torque, who is the muscle of the group.

Ringlet gets out of the way as Torque slams her fists into the ground. A shockwave hits Betsy and sends her flying into the cofferdam, which cracks and breaks down. Unfortunately, since the construction site is beneath water level, the river begins to flood the area. Betsy gets up and realizes that Torque does not care that the water is spreading in the construction site. Betsy knows she has the advantage in speed and agility, so when Torque comes charging at her Betsy falls to the ground, sticks out her leg, and shoots a blast of telekinetic energy at Torque, knocking the gargantuan woman down.

Betsy takes her free seconds to lift up the piece of the dam that fell and then she puts it back in place to stop the water. However, the fight and the repairs to the dam have left her weak. Torque gets back up and starts to try to punch Betsy. The X-Man has enough strength left to parry the blows, but not enough to force Torque back. Betsy slips up and Torque’s fist grazes her forehead.

As Betsy continues to fight Torque, she is unnerved when she realizes that the fifth sister and leader of the Twisted Sisters has just been standing there, watching her fight Torque. The leader is taking measure, which is something Betsy does not approve of. So far, the Sisters have been attacking one by one. If they had charged, she and Warren would have been done.

Betsy decides she has to even the odds if the Sisters do decide to charge, so she musters all her strength and delivers a finishing blow to Torque. Betsy continues her barrage of punches to the woman when the leader raises her sword and tells Betsy she is done. The leader grows metal wings to Betsy’s surprise. She then realizes the leaders abilities are that she can adapt to any combat situation.

The leader, Helix, shoots pinions at Betsy, much like how Warren was able to when he had metal wings. The pinions are charged with energy and shock Betsy when they hit her. Her necklace is shattered and she screams in pain. She falls and Helix goes in for the kill. Coil accidentally loosens her hold on Warren, who then breaks free and grabs the woman by the neck. He then throws Coil into Helix before she can kill Betsy.

Ringlet immediately goes for Warren, but he dodges the lassos. As Warren dodges Ringlet, he realizes that he has been played when Gyre slashes Warren in the face with her claws, who then claims the right to finish him since she drew first blood. Torque grabs him by the back of the head and slams him hard, face first, into the ground. Suddenly, a blast separates Warren and Betsy from the Twisted Sisters as the rest of the X-Men enter the scene.

Rogue introduces herself, Wolverine, Thunderbird, Colossus and Nightcrawler as the X-Men. She tells the women that they don’t like it when people beat up their friends. Rogue gives them a one-time offer to stand down before the X-Men kick their butts. On the contrary, Helix and the other Sisters get ready for the scrap. Warren helps Betsy up and asks the team how they knew the two of them were in danger. Rogue tells him that Cerebro picked up the energy spike when Betsy used her telekinesis to jettison the two of them from the penthouse. It also gave them a fix on their location. Wolverine tells them that they figured there was trouble and that they could help.

In the busy streets of Chicago, Senator Robert Kelly, who is now running for president, greets the city’s citizens happily. He quotes Carl Sandburg’s famous line that Chicago is a city of big shoulders and its people helped to build the nation. Kelly tells the people he hopes that, come Election Day, he and the people can work to safeguard the future. A reporter asks Kelly what policies he plans to implement regarding the “mutant menace.” Kelly tells the reporter that he will announce his plans election eve.

Elsewhere, in an undisclosed location, the shape shifter Mystique watches the speech of Senator Kelly on some sort of hologram display. All around on her desk are articles about Kelly and pictures of him. Mystique tells Kelly that she admires his nerve, because he is risking everything on one night. If the people do not like what he says, he has no hope of becoming president. However, Mystique worries that in a race so tight that if they do listen to Kelly…

Mystique is suddenly aware of something wrong with the projection before her. She tells the computer to isolate the hologram on Kelly’s chief aide. Mystique notices the aide is enjoying the moment as much as Kelly and has the computer run a pattern search. The computer does so and brings up a picture of Nathan Christopher Summers, a.k.a Cable of the X-Men.

Mystique wonders if Cable has abandoned the foolish quest of Charles Xavier and has returned to the cause they once shared. She also wonders if Cable is there to protect Kelly. Mystique notices the irony of how Senator Kelly devoted his whole life to stop mutant terrorists, but now has one working in his chief political staff. Mystique tells Cable that they should be allies; who else knows the future better than they? Cable is the product of a holocaust; she knows what is going to occur in the future.

Mystique begins the think about Destiny and Wolverine and wonders if Destiny is laughing at her from beyond the grave. She thinks of how Destiny and Wolverine both tried to warn her of the cost if she continued on her chosen path. She did not care back then. Mystique had been friends with them for what felt like a lifetime, but that did not matter. She wonders if it is wrong if innocent lives are sacrificed to make sure the world does not have war. Wolverine thought it was wrong.

Mystique continues to think of how Wolverine tried to stop her before, but has apparently forgotten. She never will. Outside the building, the mutant known as Rahne comes to the door in her Sunday dress and calls in to her adoptive mother, Moira MacTaggert and asks why she has not slept in her bed the night before. Mystique quickly shape shifts into Moira and tells Rahne that she has worked through the night. She tells Rahne to go back to the house and that she will be there soon. Mystique reminds herself that she cannot run the risk of Rahne picking up her scent.

Mystique begins to secure the diary in her hand and puts it with the other volumes she has. On the shelf are the diaries of Destiny; volumes 2, 5, 7, 10, and 11. Mystique tells herself that she will safeguard the future at any price, whether that means she must kill a United States Senator or those who were once her closest friends.

Back in Hoboken, the X-Men stand ready as Helix fires her wing spikes. The spikes hit the X-Men and even penetrate Colossus’ armored skin. Wolverine realizes that Helix is adapting to their powers like she did with Warren and Betsy. Warren jumps in front of Betsy to protect her, but Betsy tells him that she can bat the spikes away. Rogue orders Thunderbird to burn the spikes before they reach them.

Helix tells them that she has their measure. The first attack was merely to cripple them. All that is required to finish them is the slightest scratch. Nightcrawler teleports behind Helix and reminds her that what she said is true only if they allow her to fire. He then punches her in the face. Rogue is attacked by Ringlet who hits her head on with the lassos. Rogue is put in immense pain, but she bears the burden.

Rogue keeps Coil and Ringlet busy as she allows the other X-Men to regroup after Helix’s attack. Below her, Colossus is in a wild frenzy as the spikes attached to him put him in pain. Thunderbird tries to hold him still so he can burn the spikes off without scorching Colossus himself. Rogue is about to take down both Coil and Ringlet when Torque attacks from above. She shoves Rogue’s face into the ground and tells her that the Twisted Sisters are as much as a team as Rogue and the other “muties.” Torque also tells her that the Sisters know how to look out for one another.

Colossus comes to the rescue and picks up Rogue, who orders a fastball special. He obliges and Rogue is sent in to Torque, who goes flying back. Gyre attacks Colossus and slashes his chest. He realizes that Gyre’s claws are coated in some sort of acid that begins to burn right through his armored skin. Wolverine tells him to take a deep breath as he pushes Colossus into the water.

Behind Wolverine, Helix sprays him with webbing that immobilizes him. The webbing is her latest adaptation. It absorbs his healing factor. The more the healing factor struggles the stronger the webbing grows. Logan will ultimately be his own doom. Nightcrawler teleports to Wolverine and tells Helix that he likes the man the way he is. He touches Wolverine and teleports Logan out of the webbing.

Rogue and Torque continue their fight, but find themselves evenly matched. Rogue is more concerned, however, about the amount of damage the sea wall is receiving from them trading blows. Rogue realizes that if the battle continues the wall will collapse. Nearby, Warren is still helping Betsy recover when Gyre heads towards them, saying she has the target open. Betsy says that she will get the target over hear dead body. “That’s the idea!” exclaims Gyre as the hits Betsy in the back of the head.

Ringlet tells her sister not to hog all the run as she sends more lariats at the couple. This time, Betsy protects Warren as he is too weak to handle the lariats. She uses her telekinesis to disrupt the energy and then begins to hope she can withstand whatever slips through her shields. Something does slip through and Betsy screams.

Torque tells her sisters to finish the battle, as she punches Rogue into Warren and Betsy. With all the X-Men grouped in the middle, the Twisted Sisters stand before them, their backs to the seawall. The Sisters each attack as a group in any way they can to collapse the construction site on the X-Men. They are elated over their victory, but find their joy fleeting. The Sisters watch with their eyes wide open as the X-Men break through the wreckage, all of them alive.

Rogue tells the girls that, if that was their best shot, then they are done fighting. She then tells them that she hopes they can swim, because the seawall seems to have taken as much abuse as possible. Behind the Sisters, the seawall does collapse and the Sisters are caught in the waves. Colossus picks Ringlet and Coil out of the water. Rogue swoops down and pulls Torque out as well, but then asks where the last two are. Gyre and Helix climb on to a piece of wreckage, but above them they hear a “snikt” sound. They look up to find Nightcrawler and Wolverine.

Sometime later, after the X-Men have secured the Twisted Sisters and left he scene, the authorities arrive. Up above them, Betsy, wearing the remains of her tattered dress, finishes repairing the seawall. She comments on how her fine motor control is lacking, but her brute force is of little concern. Below, the head of the construction team blames the whole incident on mutant kind and asks who is going to pay for the repairs to the site. He also orders the police to arrest Warren, Betsy and the X-Men.

The officer tells Mr. Perry that he does not like the mutants either, but he is not sure if they even committed a crime. Warren sits in a police cruiser with a towel on his back and with a warm cup of coffee. He is also using his image inducer to give him white skin. Warren tells the authorities that he and Betsy were attacked by terrorists in some type of assassination plot against him. Those “muties” saved his life and Worthington Industries is willing to pay the construction team restitution.

The NYPD haul off the Twisted Sisters. Coil turns to Warren as she is taken away and tells him that there is no prison that can hold them. The Sisters will remember what he and the X-Men did that night. Then, they will even out the score. A detective smoking a cigarette tells Warren that Coil is probably right and that this is just the beginning. He goes on and tells Warren there would be a lot less grief in the world if mutant kind did not exist. Obviously angry, Warren reminds the ignorant man that someone named Magneto says the same thing about the human race.

On the site, someone watches Betsy, scrutinizing her every move with animosity. Telepathically speaking to himself, the mysterious man tells Betsy she has much to learn about telekinesis, but she is a quick study. An adversary would underestimate her at his own peril. On the other hand, the mysterious telepath continues, it is clear she no longer has an iota of telepathy. The man thinks it is tragic for someone who once immersed herself in other people’s minds is now headblind.

He wonders if it hurts for Betsy. He wonders if she wakes up at night empty inside and screaming, wishing with all her soul that things were different. He hopes so. Betsy flies down to Warren and the two kiss. As the couple leave the construction site grounds, the mysterious man finds it amusing that everyone just assumes the millionaire man was the target of the Twisted Sisters. Even Betsy herself has no clue that she was the one the Twisted Sisters were after.

The man watches Betsy leave, his eyes watching her every move. He tells her to enjoy her few moments of peace, because very soon he intends to reduce her life, her world, and the X-Men to ruins.

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Cable, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Psylocke, Rogue, Thunderbird III, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Coil, Gyre, Helix, Ringlet, Torque (all Twisted Sisters)
Mysterious villain

Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane)
Senator Robert Kelly

Various reporters
Mr. Perry
Various police officers and construction workers

Mystique’s Flashback:

Story Notes: 

Psylocke and Phoenix switched powers sometime during the Six-Month Gap.

The mysterious attacker is unknown, because Psylocke was soon killed in X-Treme X-Men #2 before the plot could be developed. However, Chris Claremont said that he planned on having the man be Stryfe, who was seeking vengeance after Psylocke easily defeated him in X-Men Annual 2000.

Carl Sandburg was an American poet and biographer, known for his unrhymed free verse which uses precise and vivid images to portray the energy and brutality of American urban industrial life. Sandburg also wrote what is generally considered the definitive biography of United States president Abraham Lincoln. In 1913, Sandburg moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he worked as a journalist, writing editorials for the Chicago Daily News from 1918 to 1933. In 1914, Sandburg’s poem, “Chicago,” was published in the magazine Poetry and he was awarded the magazine’s Levinson prize that same year. Sandburg’s first full-sized volume, Chicago Poems (1916), established him as the poet of that industrial city.

In thinking about Destiny, Mystique referred to her as her “beloved,” one of many clues to their much theorized but never confirmed intimate relationship.