X-Men (2nd series) #27

Issue Date: 
December 1993
Story Title: 
A Song of Mourning a Cry of Joy

Fabian Nicieza (writer), Richard Bennett (penciler), Bob Wiacek & Scott Hanna (inkers), Joe Rosas (colorist), Bill Oakley (letterer), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

In an alleyway in Los Angeles, a girl named Threnody cries out in pain. Sadly for the two officers that are trying to investigate her cries, the pain comes to its climax, erupting in an energy display that it kills the two officers in its wake. Running away from the accident, Threnody passes by a hospital; the very same hospital that a mutant named Infectia is dying in. Three X-Men, Rogue, Beast, and Iceman, surround their one-time enemy, as they all wonder about how long Infectia has left to live. While they pondering their own thoughts on her, a doctor named Milbury walks in to take a blood sample from the mutant in question. Milbury tells them that his goal is to see a cure to the Legacy Virus that is killing Infectia. Hank asks why Infectia was even in the Los Angeles area to begin with. Milbury explains that she was here to see a man doctor named Gordon Lefferts. Lefferts was a mutant himself and, apparently, was the first mutant to die of the virus. After he leaves, the X-Men find out that Dr. Milbury was not a doctor at the hospital and leave to find Lefferts’ lab, in hopes of finding more about his work. In the meantime, back at Xavier’s mansion, Psylocke attacks Revanche in order to find out if her reflexes and training has been hindered since she has contracted the Legacy virus. Around 4:10 A.M., Hank and his friends finally arrive at the door to Gordon Lefferts’ lab. As they walk in, they scare a young woman; it is Threnody. Rogue tries to calm her down but to no avail. Minutes later, as Hank and Bobby search through Lefferts’ computer files, Rogue finds Threnody at the feet of Mr. Sinister. Sinister is trying to convince Threnody to join his cause and to help him find a cure for the Legacy virus. She agrees but Rogue has different planes. As she knocks Sinister back, she tells him that she will not allow him to use her powers for his twisted goals. Wracked with more pain, Threnody’s powers rise again, causing an explosion, which knocks everyone around her to the ground. Luckily for Rogue and Threnody, Hank and Bobby arrive in enough time to save them. After a brief tussle with Sinister, Hank agrees on Threnody leaving with him; Sinister, a scientist without morals, has a greater chance of helping her. The decision made, Hank leaves to be by Infectia’s side. An hour later, Hank picks up Infectia to remove her from the hospital and allow her one last chance as she dies to see the sunrise before she passes.

Full Summary: 

In Los Angeles, along an alleyway off Crenshaw Boulevard, a young woman lies against a wall, crying for the pain in her body to stop. However, like the times before, it does not. She has been living in the area for around three weeks and a woman, named Mary Bakerman, has given her the name of Threnody, due to her intense crying in the streets.

Two police officers arrive on the scene, having received a disturbance call about her. The cops talk about how this is the third time in the same week that they have had to respond to a call, due to her crying. Threnody tells the police officers that she cannot stop crying because she is in pain, due to the deaths she feels inside of her. The officers ask her who is dying but, as Threnody responds incoherently, her mutant power flares up plasma, blasting the two officers and disintegrating them to their bones. Crying out for their forgiveness, even though they are dead, she tells them she is sorry. Threnody runs down the street, crying and trying to comfort herself by telling herself that she cannot help what she does.

From a window at the Los Angeles Hospital, under which Threnody has just run, Rogue asks the other X-Men in the room with her if they heard a noise on the streets. Rogue turns around to see Bobby Drake standing over the hospitalized Infectia. Responding to Rogue, Bobby tells her that while he worked for the Champions a few years back he heard sirens more then even in New York. Changing the subject, Rogue asks how Infectia is doing. Bobby tells Rogue that she is sleeping, as he plops a few ice cubes in Rogue’s drink telling her to cool off. Rogue, walking towards a houseplant, dumps her drink inside the pot, telling Bobby that she personally likes her coffee hot.

Apologizing, Bobby turns his attention to the other X-Man in the room and asks Hank how Infectia is truly doing. Hank, hanging from the ceiling by his feet, tells the two of them that the doctors don’t have a clue about the disease they are dealing with, but the readings he sees from her charts seems extremely similar to Illyana’s! Bobby turns to Infectia and tells the others in surprise that Infectia really did need their help when she asked them to come to her aid. Hank, falling from the ceiling and landing on his feet, tells the other two that if Infectia has contracted the Legacy Virus left by Stryfe then they can do on more to help her than they did Illyana.

Infuriated, Rogue tells the other two that, all of her life, she has hated her mutant powers and now, because of them, she could die at any moment. Hank trying to calm her down, but getting excited himself, tells her that since he is a bio-geneticist and he cannot find a cure he is also frustrated with the virus. Interrupting their discussion, a man calling himself Nathan Milbury walks in, telling McCoy that he is also frustrated by the disease.

When Dr. Milbury addresses him as Dr. McCoy, Hank jokingly replies that every time he heard himself being called by his formal title, he fights the urge to shout out, “He’s dead, Jim.” Shaking the hand of the doctor, who seems to be very confident about himself even around so many mutants, Hank tells him that he is surprised to see a normal human trying to help save a mutant. Picking up a syringe, Dr. Milbury tells the three of them that mutant or human does not make a difference when they are his patients; he wants to help them all. Anyone who thinks such people should not be treated should be referred to Doctor Kevorkian.

Walking over to Infectia, Dr. Milbury calls her Josephine, surprising Iceman who, until now, knew her only as Infectia. Milbury tells the three X-Men about how Infectia would be dead by now, if it weren’t for her mutant powers protecting her. Milbury also tells the three companions that if her power was to go haywire, she could affect the entire hospital with her pestilences. Iceman questions Milbury about Infectia’s decision to come to Los Angeles for help. He tells him that Infectia came to the city to find a scientist named Gordon Lefferts, a mutant as well, but found him dead of the very same virus she is infected with. Apparently, Milbury informs them, Lefferts was the first victim to die of the Legacy Virus. Excusing himself, Milbury leaves, with his blood sample.

Left alone in the Hospital Room, the three X-Men try to console the dying woman. For Hank, the waiting is made twice as difficult, not only because of what she once did to him, but what he can’t do for her now. Hank turns to Infectia as he sees Bobby pressing his hand towards hers and against the plastic that separates the two of them. He asks her where Gordon Lefferts lab was located and she replies the answer: three forty five Alameda Street in Compton. With that said, she asks Hank and Bobby if they could get he out of that room. She wants to see the stars, the moon, and the sunrise one last time. Hank replies to Josephine’s question by telling her that she cannot get out of her containment bed or she may risk infecting everyone else with her powers.

Interrupting Hank, a nurse walks in and Bobby quickly moves his hand from the surface of the plastic dome surrounding Josephine. The nurse tells the three of them that it is time for her blood sample to be taken and, surprised, Bobby tells her that it was already taken. The nurse questions Bobby’s statement asking who took the sample? Hank replies with a description of Doctor Milbury, but the nurse just blankly stares back at him. Outside the hospital room strands of black cloth, almost like a shredded cape, wave in front of the door as, inside, the nurse tells the three X-Men that there’s no one on staff by that name… or description.

At Xavier’s School for Gifted Children, a crisp autumn breeze blows across the campus as Revanche jogs laps around the mansion. Unknown to Revanche, a shadowy figure is hiding in the trees waiting to strike at her unsuspecting target. As the hunter falls from the tree, Revanche cries out to her assailant… PSYLOCKE! Instinctively, Revanche defends herself chopping Psylocke across the face and knocking her to the ground. Jumping on Psylocke, Revanche tells her that she could have killed her and asks if she is ever going to be able to find solace at Xavier’s mansion?

Psylocke tells her that she had just wanted to check her reaction time, to see if she was still okay. Pulling down her shirt Revanche reveals the blisters from the Legacy Virus and tells Psylocke that, though the virus has spread over her body, she can still kill if called upon to do so. Psylocke tells Revanche that Elizabeth Braddock would have never killed. Revanche replies that if Elizabeth Braddock does not want to miss her opportunity, she had better hurry before the Legacy virus steals her only chance away. Grimacing after Revanche’s words Psylocke just watches as Revanche walks away.

Back in Los Angeles, at 4:10 A.M., Hank, Bobby, and Rogue have made their way outside of the lab that was once owned by a Gordon Lefferts, a man who apparently died form the very same virus that Infectia now suffers from. Hank tells the others that they have arrived at the right place, as Iceman ices over the door handle, giving Rogue the opportunity to break it open. While Hank and Rogue enter first, Bobby comes in behind them, complaining about their recent run-in with a fake Dr. Milbury. Hank tells Bobby that right now they have more important things to worry about as they see three homeless people running away from the their impromptu entrance. One of the three is Threnody.

Hank tells Rogue that she is the most human of the three of them, so she should try and calm the runaway people down, before they cause a commotion that may let others know that they are there. Rogue flies over to Threnody, trying to calm her down first. Threnody, however, is unable to calm down, as she runs from the room, telling them that they are like the “bubble man,” so she wants nothing to do with them. As the girl continues to babble incoherently, Rogue allows her to leave and watches her disappear into the darkness.

Meanwhile, Hank and Bobby try and piece together Gordon Lefferts computer systems, as to allow them access to his files to see if they can find his data on the virus. Rogue worries aloud that the lady she had just met seemed to know about Lefferts, calling him the “bubble man”. Hank tells her that it may take another hour, just to find the files he needs to download, so she can occupy her own time any way she chooses. As Rogue flies off to find Threnody, Hank tells Bobby of the fascinating find he has discovered on Lefferts computers. Lefferts was well on his way to identifying the causative agents in the breakdown of proteins in the blood cells caused by the Legacy Virus.

Flying near the ceiling, Rogue tries to find the scared woman she had just met only a few minutes before, telling herself that the woman could have not gotten far. Nearby, Threnody hides behind a wall, crying from the pain building up in her body. Doubling over from the pain, Threnody falls to her feet. Landing at the feet of a blue booted stranger, she tells herself that the pain in her body makes her hurt and others around her to hurt too. Looking down upon the child, as he calls her, Mr. Sinister tells her that, if she would help him, he will help her deal with the pain. He tells her that her mutant ability to feed from the energy release inherent in the break down of mutant powers may be a curse to her but her curse may be able to save hundreds of lives if she will help him. Answering his statement, she reaches out to his outstretched hand and she tells him that she will help him.

Angered by Sinister’s actions, Rogue flies in, striking Sinister in the face hard enough to disfigure his body, almost removing his neck. Sinister, congratulating Rogue for her forceful blow, tells her that her attack was useless. Sinister may be many things, he tells her, but the one thing he is not is a victim. Rogue tells him that she wants him to shut his mouth, because he will not get to this girl like he did to Infectia. Calling Sinister “Dr. Milbury,” Rogue flies between he and Threnody, separating the two of them.

Threnody, behind Rogue, tells her that she doesn’t understand. She tells her that only the pain gets to her and, right now, she and the pain have got each other good. Threnody’s eyes light up as her body causes an explosion that is so horrific it leaves the alleyway they were standing in, in rubble. The explosion knocks not only Sinister but also Rogue to the ground. Luckily for them, though, Hank and Bobby arrive just in time to save all three of them from disaster.

Hank pulls Rogue from the rubble as Iceman moves the temporary shield he had created over Threnody’s body full of rubble to a safer place. Bobby tells Hank that they should have listened to Rogue in the first place when she told them about her concerns over the mutant lady that caused all this mess. Sinister, who was the least scathed in the explosion, begins to walk away. He tells the three X-Men that they have always been best served by following their instincts. Thanks to their morals and their ethics, he goes on to say, they are always too preoccupied to even listen to their own instincts.

Hank, angered by Sinister’s words, jumps at him, throwing him into the wall nearest to them. Hank asks Sinister what his “game” is. Sinister replies that he had already revealed his “game” to them earlier, when he had told them that he wanted to see an end to the virus. Sinister tells them the reason he wants to see the virus come to an end is because it was unsuspected and he does not like those kinds of things. Hank tells him that life is full of surprises and that, just maybe, he may have to get used to the fact about people unsuspectingly dying. Sinister stands to his feet and tells Hank that he wants to cure the virus even more than anyone in this world does.

Interrupting Sinister’s speech, Bobby asks him if it is because of Scott and Jean he wants to stop the spread of the virus? “Partially yes,” Sinister relies to the question. Rogue, pointing to Threnody, asks Sinister what she has to do with finding the cure for the virus. Sinister tells the three X-Men that the woman in front of them is known only as Threnody and she is a mutant. She is an empathic emotion absorber, though it appears she can only absorb pain. He tells them that it seems also that the only pain she can draw on is the pain suffered by the mutants dying from the Legacy Virus and he plans on using her as his bloodhound.

Rogue, trying to argue with Sinister, tells him that she knows how it is to be used by someone who promises you the control over your powers and how it is wrong to use anyone in such a way. Biting back, Sinister asks her is he is referring to him or Xavier? Sinister asks Hank if he knows that Xavier would never be ale to use Threnody the way he can for the greater good of mutants everywhere? Hank stares into Sinister’s eyes and turns around to leave. Bobby, surprised by Hank’s actions, calls out Hank’s name only to hear a reply that he thought he would never hear from Hank. Hank tells Bobby to let Threnody go with Sinister. He finishes by saying that Sinister is willing to do something the three of them are not; and that is to damn parts of his soul to complete the task!

“Admitting it and despising the choice are the first step towards changing the indecision that has ruled Xavier’s roost of late,” replies Sinister to the two X-Men remaining. Rogue, questioning Sinister, asks him why Threnody flared up earlier when there was no one around that had the Legacy Virus or at least no one she knows of. Finishing their meeting, as Threnody clutches to the side of him, Sinister replies that it is a mystery that he has now intentions of sharing with them, now or ever. With that said, Sinister teleports away, leaving the X-Men to contemplate his words.

One hour later, back at the hospital in Los Angeles, Hank removes Josephine from her containment pod. Rogue questions Hanks decision, but Hank tells her that he wants to do this for her. As the two leave through the open window, Hank allows Infectia one last look towards the sky as she passes away into death’s arms.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Gambit, Iceman, Psylocke, Rogue (all X-Men)

Revanche (X-Men Ally)

Mr. Sinister, as "Dr. Nathan Milbury"



hospital nurse

two cops

two homeless people living in Gordon Lefferts old lab

Story Notes: 

This is the first appearance of Threnody.

A threnody is a poem or song of mourning or lamentation.

The Champions was a short-lived hero team, based in Los Angeles, of which both Iceman and Angel were members.

Hank’s joke about fighting the urge to say “He’s dead, Jim” after hearing his name, Dr. McCoy is a reference to the character Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy from the original Star Trek television series. Invariably after diagnosing someone’s death, Dr. McCoy, the ship’s chief medical officer, would turn to Captain James Kirk and say the phrase. Many fans came to expect the line, as it soon became the character’s catch phrase.

Dr. Kevorkian was an American doctor who championed the idea of the “right to die” and doctor-assisted suicide. Kevorkian was eventually convicted of second-degree murder and delivery of a controlled substance in 1999 after a taped assisted suicide was aired on the news program “60 Minutes” in 1998.

Gordon Lefferts, the first mutant to die at the hands of the Legacy Virus, was the scientist who opened Stryfe’s canister for Sinister in X-Force #18.

This issue contains the first mention of Infectia’s real name, Josephine.

This is the first time, from the readers’ chronologically view, that Sinister has used the alias Milbury. Sinister will use it again, on occasion, but it will not be until the Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix miniseries that it will be revealed as the name of the manor he lived in prior to his transformation by Apocalypse.

Revanche was revealed to have contracted the Legacy virus in X-Men (2nd series) Annual #2.

Issue Information: 
Written By: