X-Men (2nd series) #181

Issue Date: 
March 2006
Story Title: 
What Lorna Saw, part 2: The Leper Queen

Peter Milligan (Writer), Roger Cruz (Penciler), Victor Olazaba with Don Hillsman III (Inkers), Chris Sotomayor (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: 

While Lorna and Alex quarrel over Daap, the alien whom Lorna saw in space and believes she can get her powers back from, the Leper Queen and a member of the Sapien League make their way through the forest also. The Leper Queen reveals to her associate that her baby was born a mutant with pyrokinetic abilities. The Leper Queen believes her daughter was born a mutant because when she was pregnant with her, a mutant looked at her. As a result of the girl’s powers, it seems that the Leper Queen’s home was burned down, which is how her daughter died, and how her face became so disfigured. After telling her story, she then kills him. Eventually, the Leper Queen attacks the powerless Lorna. Alex comes to her rescue, before using his powers to blow up Daap. Only it results in the discorporate form of Daap taking a hold of both Lorna and the Leper Queen and flying off into the air. At the Xavier Institute, Mystique shows up with her protégé, Augustus, and announces she is joining the X-Men after what happened last time - before making it very clear that she is going to set Augustus up with Rogue. In space, Gazer still has no luck communicating with Phantom Torso, before leaping out of the space station into open space, deciding that if he is going to die, he is going to do it out there. Meanwhile, Apocalypse shows his disgust at what has happened to the mutant community since he has been gone, and seemingly teleports his tomb to the same forest where Havok is.

Full Summary: 

‘Crick-eet?’ comes a mighty voice deep below the ground in Akaba, Egypt. A scared scientist, Dr. Foster, explains that there are two teams, eleven aside, two wickets, a cricket ball, leather, two batsmen, each bat traditionally crafted from - ‘Enough!’ booms the voice. It is the voice of the mighty mutant Apocalypse. ‘Across the world - helpless mutants, slaughtered. Massacres. Pogroms. Horror. And you talk to me of crick-eet?’ ‘Perhaps I am a little obsessed?’ utters Foster.

The eternal mutant turns away from Foster as he exclaims that something has woken him from his slumber - a sudden surge in worldwide mutant power stirred him from his sleep. ‘Now, a plummet in global mutant capacity…has opened me eyes!’ ‘I suppose you’re going to kill me?’ asks Foster. ‘Kill you, Dr. Foster? That is a distinct possibility’ Apocalypse replies, before he does something strange….

Meanwhile, in a space station orbiting around Earth. ‘Come on, Torso. Get down off your high horse and join your old pal, Gazer’ the mutant known as Gazer says to his companion, “Phantom Torso” as he gets into a space suit. The usually vocal Torso remains silent. ‘Fine, be like that. Me, I’d rather not hang around here and choke to death on my irradiated vomit’ Gazer remarks, exclaiming that if he is going to die, then he will do it out “there”. As he leaps out the hatch and into the endless void known as space, he mutters ‘I mean, who knows what’s waiting…’.

Meanwhile, in Costa Rica, the bulbous green alien lying in a ditch mutters something in its own language. Standing nearby are Alex “Havok” Summers and Lorna “Polaris” Dane, both up until recently, two of the most powerful members of the Uncanny X-Men - that is until the devastating events of M-Day in which Lorna lost her powers, resulting in both of them quitting the X-Men. Alex points out to Lorna that it is getting dark and that he doesn’t want to be stuck out here alone at night. ‘But we’re not alone, Alex. Are we?’ Lorna replies, wide-eyed as she stares at the alien.

As Lorna tries to get closer to the alien, Alex pulls her back, ‘Let me put it another way - I don’t want to be stuck out here with that thing at night,’ he remarks, before wondering if it is growing right before them. The alien mutters something, which causes Lorna to smile and tell Alex that it is asking them to stay. ‘Is that what it’s doing? All I hear is a sequence of annoying squeaks and whistles,’ Alex mutters. ‘It’s okay, Green One! I won’t abandon you!’ Lorna exclaims, extending a hand to the alien.

Alex begins to tell Lorna that they have to go, when suddenly he is swept backwards. Lorna turns to her former fiancé who asks her if she saw that - the alien blew him away. Lorna smiles as she helps Alex to his feet. ‘No, Alex. That was me! The first spluttering return of my power! Isn’t this incredible?’ Alex tells Lorna that it was not her power, and suggests they spend the night in a hotel then drive out of here first thing in the morning. ‘With any luck, your green pal here will be gone’.

Angrily, Lorna begins to ask Alex what gives him the right, when Alex tells her that he is sorry, before reminding her that he is supposed to be watching out for her. Suddenly, he is blasted to the ground again by the blinding flash of power. Lorna smiles, exclaiming that she has only been around him five minutes and her powers are already coming back, before asking Alex if she hurt him. Alex pleads with Lorna to listen to him - ‘That was the creature’. ‘You’re lying!’ Lorna snaps back, telling Alex that if he doesn’t want to believe her then it is his problem.

Lorna announces that this is what she saw in space, this is what she has been waiting for. She begins to tell Alex that he can either stay with her, when suddenly, ‘Miracles and wonders!’ Lorna exclaims as a mighty Egyptian tomb appears out of thin air. ‘See, Alex. I told you we weren’t alone!’

Nearby, Two figures make their way through the forest, not too far away from the mysterious tomb. ‘This way?’ asks the woman. ‘I - I think so, ma’am’ replies the man. ‘Call me Leper Queen. It’s what all the others do,’ replies the notorious woman known only as the Leper Queen. As she slashes her way through the forest, she mentions the fire, and how they tried to stop her going back in, ‘But when it’s your own child…’ she reveals that she hardly felt the flames, it is the smoke that hurts. She adds that she saw an x-ray of the insides of her lungs afterwards. ‘Looked like the sea of tranquillity’.

‘About the only tranquil thing about me, I can tell you’ she remarks. The slightly nervous man following the Leper Queen exclaims ‘Look, ma’am - I mean Leper Queen - you don’t have to…I mean…I know I asked, but…’ ‘Be quiet! I need to tell it sometimes!’ she exclaims, holding up the locket attached to the chain around her neck. ‘It’s like shedding skin’ she utters, looking at the photo of the young girl. ‘This is Lucia…a few months before the end’.

The Leper Queen’s companion asks her what she wants him to say - the girl is pretty and has a lovely hat. ‘But isn’t this incredibly painful for you, ma’am?’ The Leper Queen replies that of course it is painful, it kills her - burns her up all over again. ‘That’s the point - you burn wounds, don’t you? Cauterize them. Stop them being infected’. The Leper Queen closes the locket and continues onwards, slashing the shrubbery, she declares that when she buried Lucia’s poor little blackened corpse, she swore that every mutant in the world would pay for what she went through.

The Leper Queen’s companion excuses himself, before pointing out that her daughter wasn’t killed by mutants. The Leper Queen informs her associate that when she was five months pregnant, she saw a mutant. ‘This bizarre creature. This aberration. I felt Lucia lurch inside me. Felt a fire in my belly’. The Leper Queen declares that at that moment, Lucia was changed - infected - lost. The Leper Queen reveals that at a few months old, Lucia caused sparks. Then the tiny fires started. Finally, the conflagration that burnt their house down. ‘That took her life…that took my face…’

The Leper Queen removes her mask, revealing her face, burnt to a crisp. Wide-eyed, the Leper Queen’s companion stares at the notorious woman in shock. After placing her mask back on, the Leper Queen informs him that according to her strict code, she must kill him now to keep her life and trail uncluttered. ‘B-but that’s not necessary,’ he exclaims. ‘I’m afraid it is. It really is’. After killing him, the Leper Queen continues on through the woods, alone.

‘Alex! Stop being such a jerk!’ Lorna shouts. Alex puts his hands on Lorna’s shoulders and tells her that this place feels too weird and dangerous. Before he can say anything else, Lorna knees him in the stomach and rushes over to the alien while Alex gets his breath back. ‘You’re just like your brother!’ Lorna shouts as Alex catches up to her and grabs her by the arm. Lorna tells him that if he just relaxed and listened to what Daap has to say…. ‘Daap?’ Alex asks. ‘Daap is just one of its names. It has many others,’ Lorna reveals.

‘I bet it does!’ Havok declares, before telling Lorna that, for the record, he is nothing like his brother at all, pointing out that he wouldn’t have walked out on the X-Men to come looking for her if he was. Suddenly, Alex gets blasted with Daap’s mysterious power once more, this time it hurts him. Lorna motions to Daap and tells Alex that Daap can help her, which is why she saw Daap in space. ‘He can help me!’

‘It’s a revolting alien monster!’ Alex replies, adding that it can no more help Lorna than a giant potato. Alex tells Lorna that it doesn’t matter that she saw it in space because she doesn’t need it. ‘All I need is you, is that what you’re saying?’ Lorna asks. Alex frowns, telling her that she probably doesn’t need him either. ‘You don’t need me. You don’t need Bobby. You don’t need your mutant powers’. Alex then reminds Lorna that this is an alien creature, way beyond their comprehension.

Daap says something in its own language, and once more Havok is blasted across the forest. Shocked, Lorna turns to Daap. ‘Now I know that was you, Daap’ she exclaims, before telling him that if he has hurt Alex then she won’t be his friend anymore. Daap says something to which Lorna replies that he knows she has been smitten with him since she first saw him, and asks him not to make her choose between him and her friends.

Meanwhile, at the Xavier Institute, home of the Uncanny X-Men and safe haven to various mutants who have found themselves still with their powers following M-Day. Cyclops, Iceman, Rogue, Gambit and the student known as Bling gather around Mystique a.k.a. Raven Darkholme as she and her associate stand before them. Raven remarks that considering all that has gone on in the mutant world recently, she thought it was time she reported for duty. Cyclops motions to the man beside Mystique and asks who he is.

Raven smiles as she introduces her protégé, Augustus, who goes by the alias of Pulse. ‘He’s not so much a thief, he’s more a…a…Gus, how would you describe yourself?’ ‘I wouldn’t, given the chance,’ the young man remarks, frowning. ‘You’re a thief?’ asks Bling. ‘A criminal?’ remarks Cyclops. Raven declares that Augustus is a sweet man with no fear of heights, nice manners and a criminal record as spotless as his underpants. ‘Which is saying something, considering he spends most weekends robbing the rich and powerful’.

Raven claims that Augustus doesn’t rob them for money, for he is way to deep and cultured to worry about money. Her yellow eyes narrow as she declares that, in short, he is the perfect match for her beloved daughter, Rogue. ‘WHAT?’ shouts Gambit, as Rogue tells Mystique to forget it, as she isn’t interested. Raven declares that Augustus has some very special attributes which are not immediately noticeable. ‘Could be useful to a merry band like ours’.

‘”Ours”?’ exclaims Gambit to Cyclops, declaring that he wants Mystique out of here. Cyclops tells Gambit not to be so hasty, and reminds him that Mystique was voted in by the majority of the X-Men. ‘Probationary status I seem to remember’. ‘I don’t care, that evil shape shifter hates me!’ Gambit mutters. Raven smiles as she tells Gambit that it isn’t true, she couldn’t care either way about him. ‘I promise not to seduce you, I know how much you hate that’.

Cyclops apologizes to Gambit, and putting a hand on his shoulder, he announces that Mystique is in, until she steps out of line. He points out that with Storm, Polaris and Havok gone, they needed every powered mutant they can get. ‘Hands off, Summers’ Gambit mutters, turning and walking away. Raven smiles at Cyclops as Rogue watches Gambit leave.

Back in Costa Rica, ‘Oh, Daap! Beautiful traveller of the infinite spaces, you ask so much of me!’ exclaims Lorna as she stands before Daap, when suddenly, the Leper Queen lunges at her and brings a knife to her throat. ‘ALEX!’ screams Lorna. Havok gets to his feet as Lorna shouts ‘She’s trying to kill me!’ ‘You’re a mutant. You don’t deserve to live!’ The Leper Queen exclaims. Havok unleashes a small power surge along the ground, knocking the Leper Queen off her feet.

Turning to Daap, Havok remarks that he should have done this the first time he saw him. ‘Ready for you this time, green boy!’ he remarks as he begins to unleash a surge of plasma at Daap. ‘Alex! No!’ exclaims Lorna. Daap also unleashes his power, knocking Alex back against a tree. ‘Now!’ exclaims Alex as his power streams right for Daap. Lorna and the Leper Queen dive for cover as Daap is blown apart.

Alex calls out to Lorna, who replies, only for Daap’s scattered form to take hold of both Lorna and the Leper Queen, then suddenly, takes off into the air. ‘HELP!’ screams Lorna. ‘No no no…what have I done!?’ asks a wide-eyed Alex as his beloved is propelled into space with an alien and a maniac. All that remains is a solemn Alex Summers…and the Leper Queen’s mask, and locket, with a photo of a happy, smiling girl staring back.

Characters Involved: 

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

Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman, Rogue (all X-Men)

Bling (Xavier Institute Student)


Pulse V


Phantom Torso

Leper Queen

Sapien League member

Doop / Daap


Dr. Foster

In photograph

Lucia Page

Story Notes: 

Dr. Foster accidentally came across Apocalypse’s tomb in X-Men (2nd series) #178-179.

Phantom Torso stopped talking for unrevealed reasons in X-Men (2nd series) #180.

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.

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.

While on a mission in space, Lorna became very disorientated after seeing something out in space, that something, is now known to be of course, Doop. [X-Men (2nd series) #170]

In X-Men (2nd series) #179, the Leper Queen fought Outlaw and Peepers, and during the battle, her mask came off. She continued to fight them, with her hair concealing her face. However, when she takes her mask off in this issue, her hair comes to, it may be a separate wig, but it does seem to be attached to the mask.

Mystique disguised herself as a young mutant dubbed Foxx, and became a student at the Xavier Institute, with the plan of breaking Rogue and Gambit up by seducing Gambit. Her plan sort of worked, and resulted in her being granted probationary status as a member of the X-Men, however, she had left the mansion before she could learn the outcome. [X-Men (2nd series) #171-174]

This issue comes with a bonus "Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius" story.

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