X-Men (2nd series) #180

Issue Date: 
February 2006
Story Title: 
What Lorna Saw, part 1: Sign of the Times

Peter Milligan (Writer), Roger Cruz (Penciler), Victor Olazaba (Inker), Liquid! (Colorist), Salvador Larroca & Liquid! (Cover Artists) Cory Petit (Letterer), Sean Ryan (Assistant Editor), Nick Lowe (Associate Editor), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-in-Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Havok and Polaris leave the X-Men following the revelation that Lorna no longer has her powers. Iceman tries to follow them, but Cyclops and the White Queen stop him. Three weeks later, Alex and Lorna are in Puerto Benito after travelling to various other places in the world. Lorna concocts new back stories for them and they befriend an elderly couple. Alex tries to convince Lorna to come back to the Institute, but reveals that he wouldn’t be anywhere without her. In space, Gazer is sick, and something strange happens when the creature he has been watching vanishes - his companion “Phantom Torso” appears to be gone also. Back on Earth, the elderly couple are attacked by members of the Sapien League, until Havok battles them and they retreat. Alex and Lorna then begin to leave Puerto Benito, but on their way, they see something fall from the sky - and Lorna knows that it is what she saw in space. Upon closer inspection, they discover some sort of green bulbous shaped creature. Meanwhile, the members of the Sapien League contact their leader, the Leper Queen, who is visiting the grave of her daughter, Lucie Page, whom was killed by mutants at age two, and the Leper Queen orders her followers to keep track of Havok and Polaris, and that she will be there as soon as she can.

Full Summary: 

The Xavier Institute, where Alex “Havok” Summers is walk towards the exit, where his former fiancée and teammate Lorna “Polaris” Dane is waiting for him. Alex’s brother, Scott a.k.a. Cyclops, and one of the leaders of the X-Men stands, and tells his younger brother that he cannot do this. The handsome Havok doesn’t say anything, he just continues to walk past Scott. ‘I’m ordering you, Havok!’ shouts Cyclops. Alex looks at his brother, then at Lorna, who holds a suitcase and tells her former lover that she doesn’t want to cause any trouble.

Scott tells Alex that if Lorna wants to go on some wild goose chase looking for lost powers, then she can, but he isn’t going to lose him too. ‘There’s a struggle on the horizon. Maybe the biggest we’ve ever faced,’ Scott points out. He motions over to where two of the students, Elixir and Surge are standing and tells Alex that they owe it to the students to be here. Alex continues to walk on, declaring that he cannot let Lorna do this on her own, that she needs him. ‘The X-Men need you! I need you here!’ Scott tells his brother.

Alex just looks back at Scott and tells him that he is sorry. ‘This is so irresponsible of you!’ Scott tells Alex, before grabbing his brother’s arm, and asking him if it is because he rode him too hard, so now he is getting back at him. ‘Hate to disappoint you, but it’s got nothing to do with you,’ Alex reveals. Scott replies ‘In that case, I just don’t understand how you could do this’. Alex exclaims that he doesn’t understand either, but he is doing it anyway. ‘I guess that’s the difference between you and me, huh?’ he remarks, smiling, before joining Lorna.

Emma “The White Queen” Frost, Rogue and Henry “the Beast” McCoy walk up to Scott, as they watch Havok and Lorna leave, when Bobby “Iceman” Drake walks past them, also clutching a suitcase. Scott is surprised to see his fellow original X-Men teammate and remarks that he hopes he isn’t leaving too. Bobby frowns as he tells Scott that he might buy that Alex is going to protect Lorna from the big-bad mutant-hating world, but he doesn’t. Hands on his hips, Scott tells Bobby to go put his things back, as he is staying put.

‘Yeah, right! And let your brother get a clear run at Lorna!?’ exclaims Bobby, who is supposed to be Lorna’s current boyfriend. Scott tells Bobby to stop being so juvenile and star acting like an X-Man. As Emma, Scott’s lover, approaches him, he wonders what has got into everyone. Bits of ice start poking through his clothing as Bobby asks Scott how he would feel if someone tried to move in on Emma. ‘This conversation is over, Bobby, that’s an order’ Scott declares. Bobby just smirks and tells Scott that it is funny, because his orders don’t seem to carry quite the same weight anymore - as if the currency has been devalued.

Cyclops asks Bobby how long he thinks he would last out there, and points out that he can hardly control his own movements. Emma backs Scott up, informing Bobby that the part of his brain that she managed to switch on to restore his lost ice powers might need some re-adjustment. ‘Fine’ snaps Bobby, hanging his head in defeat.

Three weeks later in Puerto Benito, Costa Rica. Lorna and Alex walk side by side down a luxurious beach, with Lorna telling Alex that his family was wealthy, but messed up, as his father set fire to the old family house, built before the Civil War. Alex interrupts, asking why his father supposedly did that. ‘Oh, he went bananas after your mother left him for a politician with infamously liberal views on mutants,’ Lorna replies. ‘How could she?’ Alex asks, to which Lorna exclaims that she had a classical belief in love before convention, though luckily his sisters all became Zoroastrians, except for Becky, who is waiting for a sex change operation.

‘I thought the idea of this exercise was to pass as normal people?’ Alex asks. ‘Get with it, Alex. Abnormal is the new normal!’ Lorna smiles. The former lovers lean against a rock as the watch the beautiful sunset and Lorna suggests that they should agree on pasts, for if they get talking to people, they need to know those details that make up a life. Alex turns to Lorna and asks her what their details are going to be. Lorna replies that she thought they could be brother and sister, but Alex isn’t impressed and tells Lorna that it is perverted.

Lorna suggests then that they could be divorced, and that Alex is dying of a mystery brain disease, so she has come back to nurse him. ‘You like nurses, right?’ Alex asks Lorna if she should be taking this more seriously, to which Lorna asks him what he wants her to do - ‘Cover myself in ashes and scream for my lost powers?’ Alex tells Lorna that what he wants is for her to come home with him. ‘You mean the Institute? That isn’t my home anymore,’ Lorna replies.

Turning to Alex, Lorna tells him that it hasn’t been her home since she woke up and realized that her powers were gone - since she realized she was no longer a whole person. Alex tells Lorna that she has some strange ways of looking at things, to which Lorna replies ‘Maybe I am strange’. Alex puts a hand on Lorna’s left shoulder and asks her to tell him what she is looking for. Gazing out to the sunset, Lorna reminds Alex that she doesn’t know - but that she will know it when she sees it.

Meanwhile, in orbit around Earth, the mutant associate of the White Queen known as Gazer remarks that he does know how much radiation there is in a solar storm, before vomiting in a sink. Phantom Torso suggests to Gazer that there might still be time if he calls NASA straight away. Clutching his stomach, Gazer exclaims that he thinks it was something he ate. Phantom Torso points out that Gazer hasn’t been eating anything for two days, but living off of frozen coffee and nicotine strips. ‘It’s a toss up what’ll kill you first - the radiation or your diet’.

Gazer takes a seat and looks through a scope as Phantom Torso remarks that once they get him home, there will be a long convalescence and his leukocytes will be obliterated, so he will need protection from infection. Phantom Torso asks Gazer if he never wanted children, to which Gazer smiles and remarks that this is his baby. Whatever it is Gazer is looking at through the scope, looks back at him, then Gazer exclaims that it is shifting position.

Back in Puerto Benito, Alex and Lorna are dining with an older couple. The man, Franklin, remarks that this is a nice, normal community, and by normal, he means there is no one suddenly sprouting wings. His wife interrupts him by asking Alex and Lorna if they are married. ‘Yes,’ replies Alex, ‘No,’ exclaims Lorna. Suddenly, they both look out of the corner of their eyes at each other, and Alex quickly exclaims that they were divorced, but got married again. ‘My goodness! You youngsters pack in a lot of living nowadays,’ remarks the elderly woman.

On a ridge nearby, someone in a car remarks ‘Puerto Benito. If they ain’t here we’ll try going inland tomorrow’.

The next morning, a breeze blows leaves around Lorna as she sits cross-legged on the porch, exclaiming that she can feel the cosmic particles moving through her. Alex smiles and tells her that it will be the extra glass of local vino she had last night. ‘Cute,’ mutters Lorna as she tells Alex that she knows it sounds dippy, but that she feels connected to what she saw out in space, and that it is coming here - soon! The ex-lovers walk down to the beach and Alex reminds Lorna that she said that in Nebraska, and Acapulco, adding that they should have bought a round-the-world ticket.

‘And you’d follow me around the world too, wouldn’t you?’ Lorna declares. Alex asks her if that is a threat, to which Lorna smiles and tells Alex that she knows he hates doing this. Alex glances away as he replies that what he hates is skulking around as though they were criminals. Lorna touches Alex on the chest as she suggests to him that they stay out of trouble until she finds what she is looking for - or it finds her.

Suddenly there is a scream, and Franklin is tossed out of a nearby building. Two nasty pieces of work stand over the old man holding deadly weapons in their hands, and one of them says ‘A young man and woman. American. New in town. Maybe their stories don’t add up?’ Franklin stammers as he declares that there is no one here like that. Two other men grab Franklin’s wife, who backs up her husband, stating that there is no one here by that description.

One of the men demands the truth, or threatens to cut Franklin’s throat, and kicks him. Alex frowns when suddenly Lorna taps him on the shoulder and whispers that they don’t know they are here - so they could just walk away. Alex turns back to Lorna in shock, ‘Walk away?’ he asks. The thugs suddenly stop their tormenting as they hear a sound - but turning to the source, they are frightened, as standing before them is a very angry Havok. ‘Can I help you gentlemen?’ Alex asks, his solar energy surging around him and shredding his shirt.

Using his mutant abilities, Alex pushes the sand up at them, knocking them off their feet. ‘He’s a live one!’ exclaims one of the men as he points his gun in Alex and Lorna’s direction. Lorna points out the gun, but Alex is already on it, and somehow causes it to explode where it is, knocking the man off his feet as he cries out ‘My face! My face!’ Alex walks over to the one remaining thug, who falls to the ground and exclaims that his knife has melted into his hand. ‘That must hurt’ Alex tells him.

Later, Alex and Lorna are packed up and ready to leave. Franklin and his wife stand by their car as Franklin tells Alex and Lorna that everyone has their reasons to go into hiding - bad money, bad marriages, whatever - and that he hopes they find some place where those maniacs wont find them. Franklin’s wife smiles as she suggests to them that in the future they be sure to have their story straight and decide if they are married or not. ‘Thanks, we’ll do that,’ Lorna smiles.

As Alex drives, Lorna glances out the window, and remarks that if he had listened to her then those thugs would have killed poor Franklin. She admits that she couldn’t feel any more ashamed. Alex assures Lorna that she wasn’t herself, and asks where she wants to go next. ‘Home, I suppose,’ Lorna replies, hanging her head. Suddenly, a surprised Alex urges Lorna to look up out of the car. As the young heroes exit the car, they see a bright light streaking across the sky - and Alex points out that they may not want to go home just yet.

Up in space, Gazer remarks that whatever it was is gone, and with it, his only chance - his only hope. When Phantom Torso doesn’t say anything, Gazer glances at him nervously, ‘Torso? Why aren’t you talking to me anymore? Have you left me too?’ Still, there is no answer.

Elsewhere, the thugs that were in search of Alex and Lorna have regrouped, and one of them is on the phone, telling his boss that he thought the local hospital was okay, as some of the doctors spoke English and they couldn’t see any roaches, however, the men want to be treated in a “rootin’ tootin’ American” hospital.

The boss just happens to be the ruthless Leper Queen, who speaks to her followers on a cell phone as she lays some flowers on a grave in a cemetery. The Leper Queen tells the man that whatever the others do, he must not lose the mutants, to stay with them, and she will be there is quickly as she can. The Leper Queen then leaves the grave, which is marked Lucie Page, died aged two, my darling daughter, killed by mutants.

Back in Puerto Benito, Alex and Lorna make their way through the forest, where they come upon a cluster of trees that have been broken and are in flames due to the impact. Alex suggests that they shouldn’t get too close as it could be dangerous, but Lorna replies that it isn’t dangerous. ‘So why are you shaking?’ Alex asks. Lorna assures him that it is excitement, and wide-eyed remarks ‘This is it, Alex! This is what I saw out in space!’

‘That’s it?’ asks Alex, confused. Lorna smiles as she remarks that it looked bigger up in space. ‘Is he, she…is it alive?’ asks Alex. ‘How should I know?’ Lorna asks as they continue to look down on the green creature that stares back at them…Doop!

Characters Involved: 

Havok & Polaris (Former Members of the X-Men)

Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Rogue, White Queen (all X-Men)

Elixir, Surge IV (both Xavier Institute Students)


Phantom Torso

Franklin, his wife and other residents of Puerto Benito

Leper Queen

Members of the Sapien League


Story Notes: 

Polaris lost her powers following the tragic events of M-Day, and announced in X-Men (2nd series) #179 that she was going to find whatever it was that she saw in space, [in X-Men (2nd series) #170] as she could sense it coming to Earth. Havok quit the X-Men to go with her that same issue.

Iceman also seemingly lost his powers following M-Day, however it was revealed he somehow switched his own powers off. With the help of the White Queen, he regained his powers, but was no longer stuck in his ice-form, which was his secondary mutation. [X-Men (2nd series) #179]

Polaris’ comment about Havok liking nurses is of course a reference to the woman he left her at the altar for, Nurse Annie Ghazikhanian.

Gazer had been keeping tabs on the mysterious something in space, now revealed to be Doop, as seen in X-Men (2nd series) #178.

Doop was a member of the New X-Force / X-Statix team that debuted in X-Force (1st series) #116, though he seemingly died with his teammates in X-Statix #26.

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