X-Men (2nd series) #160

Issue Date: 
October 2004
Story Title: 
Day of the Atom - conclusion: Forces of Nature

Chuck Austen (Writer), Salvador Larroca (Penciler), Danny Miki (Inker), Udon (Colorist), Rus Wooton (Letterer), Stephanie Moore & Sean Ryan (Assistant Editors), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-in-Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

In China, the X-Men fight off the Collective Man and the Chinese army, Iceman and Juggernaut having to set aside their squabbling as they protect Havok from danger, for Havok is protecting Xorn, preventing him from creating any more black holes. When the Collective Man becomes a giant, Iceman matches him in height, and manages to fell him. Elsewhere Wolverine fights his way through more Collective Men, as Polaris clears the base of all the other Collective Men and soldiers, before using magnetic resonance imaging to locate Xorn’s helmet and displaying her incredible powers further by bringing it to them, before flying them all back to Havok and the others. When Cain asks Havok how he ever let Lorna go, Havok replies that sometimes he wonders. Later, back at the Institute, Havok and Annie make up after their fight, Havok telling her that he doesn’t want to know if she and Bobby slept together, while Bobby himself spends the night looking at photos of him and Lorna and him and Annie. Squidboy tries to convince Juggernaut that Black Tom Cassidy is amongst the trees, but Cain pretends to not believe him, however after sending Sammy inside, he calls out to his long time friend.

Full Summary: 

In China, Alex "Havok" Summers is protecting the mysterious new Xorn, while Bobby "Iceman" Drake and Cain "Juggernaut" Marko, are suddenly confronted by the Chinese super hero known as the Collective Man. Alex informs Bobby and Cain that he cannot help them while he is using his power to force feed Xorn, which is the only way they can stop him from opening another black hole. Bobby gloatingly tells Alex that it is no problem as he and Cain has his back, and his front, before mockingly asks why there are so many soldiers and Collective Men to protect Xorn.

Juggernaut jokes that Xorn must be special, before addressing Bobby as “Popsicle”, which causes Bobby to cut him off and tell him not to call him that. Cain tells Bobby that he won’t, before asking if he remembers what it was that he did to him a few minutes ago, the little “ride”. Sarcastically, Bobby replies that it was only like three minutes ago so he cannot remember. Cain tells Bobby sarcastically that he is real funny, before asking him to do the same thing again, only this time with him facing the Collective Men.

The Collective Man points at the X-Men and informs them that in the name of Chinese authority, they are trespassers in a government installation, therefore their lives are now forfeit. He asks them if they are prepared to surrender or if they will have to kill them where they stand. ‘How about option three? We kick your butts!’ shouts Cain as Iceman pushes the non-mutant X-Man towards the Collective Man and the army with a huge ice-blast.

In the midst of the army, Juggernaut is able to best them in hand to hand combat, for his armor protects him from their weapons. Bobby declares that it was a great shot if he does say so himself when suddenly, the Chinese army opens fire on him, shattering his ice form. Havok, still holding onto Xorn, calls to his teammate, who suddenly reappears before him, declaring that it is a good thing China is humid. Creating a huge ice shield, Bobby tells Alex to remain under it as he begins to fight on the offensive.

On an ice-sled, Bobby makes his way to the army, shouting that although they probably cannot understand what he is saying, ‘Stop fighting and make nice - or Iceman will make ice!’ He jokes that it sounds lame, but as he covers them in a wave of ice, points out that he is the one making them look stupid. As Bobby’s ice wave freezes one of the Collective Men that Juggernaut was about to attack, Cain puts up a protest, causing Bobby to jibe him by asking which of them is more powerful. Cain tells Bobby to shut up, when suddenly all of the frozen Collective Men break free of their ice prisons, and all begin to link hands. In a grotesque fashion, the Collective Men begin to merge their bodies, prompting Bobby to wonder what is going on. When a gigantic Collective Man is formed out of all the small Collective Men, he gets his answer.

Nearby, at the army base, the four remaining X-Men of this squad, Logan a.k.a. Wolverine, the beautiful Lorna “Polaris” Dane, Rogue and Remy “Gambit” LeBeau have been sent to retrieve Xorn’s missing helmet. Recently, blinded, Gambit points out the obvious - that he cannot see - and asks his lover Rogue, who is keeping him out of harms way, as to what is going on. Rogue tells him to just sit down, as the two most brutal X-Men of them all - Wolverine and Polaris - work their way through a multitude of Collective Men and soldiers.

Rogue tells Gambit that Logan and Lorna are giving the Collective Men more than a run for their money, and indeed they are, for Logan battles the Collective Men as they continue to leap at him, but he fends them off. When he is attacked from three directions - both arms and his head, he seems to be in a predicament, but being one of the most skilled X-Men, Logan is resourceful, and swings his body upwards so his feet lock around the head of the Collective Man that was attacking his head. In a tricky maneuver, Logan manages to bang the two men holding his arms together, effectively knocking them all out as he is set free.

Hovering above the ground, Lorna tells Logan that he should just let her handle this, as her powers are so much more efficient and cleaner. Looking up, Wolverine sees that Polaris has cleared the army grounds off all the Collective Men and soldiers and has suspended them in their air. He grins and asks her if he has ever told her how glad he is that she is on his side.

Meanwhile, Iceman is suddenly plucked from his ice-sled by the giant Collective Man, who after grabbing Bobby runs through the forest towards a large river, and plunges Bobby into it, telling him to die - but obviously the plan backfires, as the giant Collective Man suddenly finds his arm frozen in the water. Horrified, he pulls it out of the water and begins banging the frozen part of the river with a large tree he plucked from the ground.

The Collective Man declares that his arm is burning, when the Juggernaut approaches him and as he manages to use his incredible strength to lift up one of the Collective Man’s legs, Cain declares that while he did not like Iceman much, they were on the same side. The Collective Man wails as his leg is lifted up, causing Cain to ask him if he has no more overconfident death threats. Rising from the water, Iceman is reforming his body - in equal size to match that of the Collective Man’s. Bobby leaps forward and punches the Collective Man right in the face, knocking him back more and more, until the giant Collective Man falls backwards, and knocks his head against a large tree. Stuck underneath the Collective Man, Cain admits that Bobby is more powerful than he is, before asking for some help out. Bobby stares at Cain and his outstretched hand, before turning and walking away, leaving the trapped Cain to frown and shake his fists.

Back at the army base, Lorna puts her hands to her head as she explains she can use her powers along the magnetic flow of Earth’s line of force to do a magnetic resonance imaging. Lorna’s power flows across the army base, past weapons and phones, soda cans, paperclips, kitchenware, electronics, more weapons, satellites - until she finally finds Xorn’s helmet. She announces she has found the containment helmet, to which Logan asks how they are to get to it.

‘We don’t need to get to it’ Lorna replies as she flicks her fingers and twists her hands ever so delicately, but by those small moves, she creates such large responses, for a hole is blown in part of the army base, and a scary-looking helmet comes floating towards the X-Men, courtesy of the sultry Lorna. Logan smiles, but before he can finish what he wanted to say, Lorna smiles back and tells him she knows what he was going to say, and she tells him he should be glad she is on his side, before adding she hopes there is time to save Alex and Xorn.

Juggernaut has gotten himself free from underneath the giant Collective Man, and as he is watching Alex and Xorn, he announces he felt something pulling towards Xorn’s head, like gravity. Alex believes his power must be fading, and tells Bobby and Cain that they should get away to safety. Cain asks where, pointing out that Xorn’s head could continue to eat up the entire Earth until there is nowhere left to run. ‘Comforting thought’ mutters Iceman, as Cain sarcastically replies that he is an optimist.

‘That makes two of us…going our way?’ asks Polaris as she stands on the wing of a small plane, using her powers to move it across the sky, with Rogue on the other wing, Gambit inside it and Wolverine on it’s front. Alex, Bobby and Juggernaut look up their teammates and smiles as he asks Alex how he could have ever let her go. ‘Sometimes I wonder’ replies the grinning Alex.

Later, back at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, home of the X-Men, in the medical lab, Rogue sits by Gambit as his eyes are examined, and school nurse Annie Ghazikhanian asks Alex if he is okay. Alex tells his girlfriend that physically he is fine, when Annie cuts him off, and returns to the conversation they had earlier that day, about her and Bobby. But Havok cuts Annie off and tells her that it doesn’t matter, for he had a lot of time to think while he was staring imminent death in the face - he doesn’t want to know if she and Bobby slept together. The two hug, although Alex seems somewhat unconvinced with himself.

In Bobby’s room, he sits on his frozen bed and looks at two photo’s on a small set of draws - one taken of him and Annie when they were all dressed up for Havok and Lorna’s wedding, and one with him and Lorna herself.

Outside, young Squidboy points to a tree and tells Cain that it looks like ‘that Black Tom guy’. Cain tells Sammy that it is just a weird growth on a tree, and jokes that next he will be seeing his face in the pumpkin patch. Forlorn, Sammy tells Cain that everyone else was saying that also. Sammy tells Cain he feels dumb for dragging him out here, but seeing Sammy is upset, Cain tells him that it looks a little like Black Tom, but adds that so do half the other trees around, and tells Cain to remember how freaky Black Tom looked last time they saw him.

Sammy starts to protest when Cain cuts him off and tells him to go inside and save them a table in the cafeteria, for he needs a minute to breathe after being around ‘that Icicle’ all day. Sammy agrees and runs towards the Institute, calling back for Cain not to be long, as they are serving lasagne today and he knows how fast it goes. Cain replies that he will be there, and after he hears Sammy close the door behind him, Cain looks around, before staring into the trees and saying ‘Tom? Tom are you there?’

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Havok, Iceman, Juggernaut, Polaris, Rogue, Wolverine (All X-Men)

Nurse Annie Ghazikhanian


Xorn II

Black Tom Cassidy

The Collective Man

Chinese Military

Story Notes: 

The Collective Man is one of several super heroes (including Shamrock and Blitzkrieg) that first appeared in the original Contest of Champions. He subsequently appeared in Incredible Hulk #279 and Marvel Comics Presents #55, however this is his first appearance in years.

Iceman has been able to reform his body from other liquids since Uncanny X-Men #434.

Havok and Polaris have been long time lovers since their days with the original X-Men, but Havok dumped Polaris at the altar and now dates the school nurse.

Black Tom last appeared in Uncanny X-Men #410-412.

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