X-Men (2nd series) #46

Issue Date: 
November 1995
Story Title: 
They’re Baaack…

Scott Lobdell (Writer), Andy Kubert (Penciler), Cam Smith (Inker), Kevin Somers and Malibu’s Hues (Coloring), Richard Starkings and Comicraft (Lettering), Bob Harras (Editor)

Brief Description: 

Gambit and Bishop spend a night on the town at a seedy gambling club that Remy has frequented in the past. The uneasy companions discuss Bishop’s suspicions that Gambit may be the man who ultimately betrays the X-Men and leads to their death. Their night is disturbed when they jump in to save five of Mojo’s X-Babies from an angry mob at the club. The miniature versions of the X-Men are fleeing from Gog and MaGog, who are scheduled to terminate the young remnants of Mojo’s former rule. Meanwhile, Iceman and Phoenix discuss Bobby’s concern that Emma Frost may still be lurking in his mind while they shop at a bookstore. Jean tells him that she’s probably not there, and broaches a conversation about the healthy nature at which his powers are slowly developing. Yet their night is also interrupted when two more X-Babies show up at the bookstore. Out in the Midwest, Senator Kelly investigates some mysterious disappearances at a Sentinel research facility, only to discover that Onslaught was the perpetrator. In an unknown location, an amnesiac man resembling Magneto finds himself alone in a barn.

Full Summary: 

Gambit and Bishop, dressed in their casual evening best, stand in a grungy New York City alleyway. While Gambit raps on a door, Bishop comments that he is not surprised to see that such a sty is one of Remy’s old haunts. A man peers out from behind the door, recognizing “Monsieur LeBeau” immediately. Light rushes out as the door swings open and Gambit lifts his arms, announcing that he is ready for an exciting night of women, alcohol and gambling. The man from behind the door, ReNeau, gives Gambit a body search while his tuxedo-clad associates aim guns at Bishop’s head. While ReNeau warmly welcomes him, Gambit jokingly suspects that he doesn’t trust him anymore. The bouncer confirms that he never trusted the Cajun. One of the other bouncers informs Bishop that, if he moves, he’ll be a stain on the wall. “Clever,” he replies. “Did you write that yourself or steal it from an old movie?”

Once Gambit is instructed to go in, he tries to convince the bouncers that Bishop is clean. ReNeau is about to reply that there are no exceptions to the club’s policy, when he finds that Bishop is holding a gun to his head and his fellow bouncers are lying on the floor. Needless to say, Bishop goes in, informing Remy that he is not his “mon ami.” Gambit laments that Bishop promised to let down his guard for an evening, but the future-born X-Man replies that he simply consented to Storm’s wishes for him to get some down time to clear out his conflicting thoughts. They sit down at a bar, where the bartender instantly recognizes Remy. He teases her while Bishop marvels at the tabletop dancer. Remy asks him to let his hair down and enjoy himself, but Bishop remarks that they’d have to be leaving for that to happen.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the city, Jean Grey sits on the floor of a Manhattan bookstore amid a pile of children’s books, contemplating how she is one of the world’s premier telepaths but is unable to pick out a birthday gift for her niece and nephew. Bobby Drake arrives with refreshments – an Earl Grey for her, an iced coffee for him. Standing up, Iceman wonders why he can’t ask Jean one simple question, even though they’ve been friends for years. Jean thanks Bobby for accompanying her, citing Scott’s hatred of shopping. Iceman tells her it’s biological for men to avoid shopping. “I only came along because, well, you know, right?” Sipping her tea, Jean tells him that she has no idea what he’s talking about, recommending he finish a sentence. Iceman tells her that he just figured she would just know, being a telepath. Laughing heartily, Phoenix informs him that she dampens her psi powers to avoid having everyone’s thoughts coming in and out of her mind like a 7-11. Kneeling back down to her level, Bobby concedes that he understands, but decides that it is an appropriate time to brooch the subject of mutant powers. Meanwhile, two shadowed figures watch them from within a bookshelf. They affirm that Bobby and Jean are X-Men before devolving into an argument over who noticed first.

Somewhere in Middle America, a farm complex seems still as the night which surrounds it. Yet inside, the walls are lined with video screens and advanced computer stations fill the room. Armed to the teeth and encased in technological body armor, an elite military group, led by Senator Robert Kelly, investigates the dark, quiet base. While they cautiously enter, flashlights scanning the area, the colonel relates that they still know nothing about why the operation mysteriously shut down thirty-seven minutes earlier. They pass by phones off the hook and uneaten donuts while the Senator informs the Colonel that the facility was researching Sentinel augmentation when the fifteen scientists disappeared. Suddenly, the power returns to the building, and one word flickers to life on every surrounding screen. The words reflected on his helmet, Senator Kelly urgently asks, “who -- or what… is Onslaught?”

Back in New York, Bishop solemnly informs Gambit that he is not comfortable at the club. Remy admits that he isn’t entirely at ease in his old stomping grounds either. Unexpectedly, Bishop asks his teammate if he needs to talk about anything. Remy brushes off the offer with sarcasm as they ascend an escalator into another section of the club, causing the future X-Man merely sighs. Serious again, Gambit states the obvious; Bishop has never liked him very much. “That is difficult to say,” he replies. Bishop proceeds to recount how the man called the Witness in his future was said to be the last person ever to see the X-Men alive, rumored to even be present when they were betrayed. The Witness was also called LeBeau. Placing his hand on Bishop’s heart, Gambit is incredulous, wondering how his teammate could still believe that the Cajun was the traitor after all of the battles and sacrifices he has experienced for the cause. Bishop does not immediately reply. Looking out over the club’s balcony, he tells Remy that there is little he would write off as impossible since his return from Israel.

Down on the club’s floor, a stout man called Augie shoves his girlfriend for distracting him by playing footsies under the table while he’s gambling. Bishop continues on, musing that they themselves are proof that anything is possible. Gambit chastises him for avoiding the question, posing it once again. “Do you still t’ink I am de one who betrays de X-Men?” It takes a moment, but Bishop sips his soda, looks him in the eye, and says, “Yes.” His teammate is too stunned to reply, but Bishop tells him that he can never really be sure of anything; otherwise he would have killed Gambit long ago.

Back on the floor, Augie threatens a man adjacent to him for grabbing his other leg. The man doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but returns Augie’s threat of violence. The two X-Men notice, but Gambit says it’s none of their business. The two men have drawn guns from their jackets when Augie’s girlfriend is harassed from under the table as well. The two men kick over the table and aim their firearms at the mysterious assailant. They are shocked to find five costumed little kids – the X-Babies. Cyclops lisps an apology, while Rogue is upset that they’ve gotten in trouble and Archangel tumbles to the floor. The miniature version of Gambit suggests they introduce themselves, and the child-sized Bishop proceeds to do so. “We’re the X-Babies, so there!”

Augie and the other man angrily recognize them as mutants, mistaking them for their life-sized counterparts, and they both place their guns to Cyclops’ forehead. Lisping heavily, the young boy pleads that “violenthe ith not neththethary!” They initially can’t understand him, so he repeats himself, adding that the exception is self-preservation. To that end, he and the young Bishop promptly blast their two assailants, culminating in a high-five. The bouncers immediately circle the children, and one suggests that they “plug ‘em.” Mystified, Rogue asks, “Why? Are we leakin’, suh?” Up on the balcony, Bishop’s hands glow with stored bio-energy, and Gambit produces his bo-staff out of nowhere. They eagerly leap down from their perch, Bishop informing the people below that they have until the time the X-Men hit the floor to drop their weapons.

Back at the bookstore, Jean wonders what Bobby is asking her to do. Nervously, he manages to spit out that he had hoped she could go into his mind and check to see if any traces of Emma Frost were still there. Jean tells him that she definitely can, but doubts that Frost is actually there anymore. She supposes that Bobby is merely preoccupied with the White Queen because the incident showed him that he doesn’t have as much control over his powers as he thought. Before she can continue, Iceman cuts her off, a little perturbed that she seems to be channeling the Beast or his father. Phoenix apologizes for lecturing him, instead opting to get her point across by psionically altering his perceptions of a children’s book she’s paging through. A kindly bus driver transforms into Professor Xavier and a girl stepping up into the vehicle morphs into a young Jean. Telepathically, she tells Bobby about her first visits to see Xavier as a patient, before the X-Men even existed. He had to put in mental barriers to the part of her mind that dealt with telepathy because she wasn’t ready at that time. Similarly, Bobby has always moved at his own pace.

Turning the page, she recounts that, sometimes, you can push yourself too far. Bobby is surprised to find the page blank. “Phoenix was the ultimate extension of my abilities, Bobby, who knows what could have happened to you?” Iceman draws his teammate into an embrace as they sit on the floor. He begins to ask her if she can keep an eye on him, but he’s cut off by a load of books tumbling to the ground from a nearby shelf. The two X-Men are shocked to see two X-Babies fall out after them. The young Storm and Iceman are still arguing, pulling at each other’s hair and using their mutant powers against each other. They both fault each other for making a scene, Storm using a contraction in the process. When the small Iceman points out that the real Storm doesn’t use contractions, they begin fighting all over again.

In an unknown, rural locale, a young woman picks tomatoes from a field. A man with flowing white hair lays dazed in a barn beside her. He struggles to remember what and who he is. He knows that he is from someplace different, a place of cold metal and colder stars. He can also recall the fire of planetfall and the presence of a man made of metal, impossible as it seems. Yet the man once known as Magneto can’t figure out the answers to the important questions still elude him. Why is he there?

Back at the club, the X-Babies marvel at the short work Gambit and Bishop have made of the bouncers and clubbers. A little put-off, Remy informs them that they usually try not to beat up on normal people without knowing what’s going on. The X-Babies eagerly volunteer to explain. Cyclops begins by telling the X-Men that they are from the Mojoverse, named after its former ruler. Impatient, Gambit tells them he is aware, since he was there when Mojo died, and wonders why that’s relevant. “New regime. New policy,” Rogue replies. Cyclops sadly informs them that they’re literally about to get the ax. Gambit asks who is doing the axing, but Bishop is two steps ahead of him. He points to two large creatures that have just torn their way into the club. Gog and MaGog loom over everything; large, red and hairy, clothing adorned with skulls. They inform the X-Men that they are here to cancel the X-Babies. Nothing personal; it’s strictly business.

Characters Involved: 

Bishop, Gambit, Iceman, Phoenix IV (All X-Men)

Archangel, Bishop, Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman, Rogue, Storm (All X-Babies)

Gog and MaGog


Senator Kelly

unnamed Colonel and other soldiers

ReNeau and other bouncers

Augie and other clubbers

Story Notes: 

First appearance of Joseph. The man in the field is actually a clone of Magneto, as revealed by Astra in X-Men (2nd series) #86. His vague memories stem from Magneto’s escape from Avalon with Colossus in X-Men (2nd series) #42-44.

7-11 is a popular convenience store noted for being open 24 hours a day.

Emma Frost possessed Iceman’s body in Uncanny X-Men #311-314. During that time, she manipulated his powers in ways the X-Men had never seen before, including freezing an entire river and repairing gunshot holes to his ice form.

Gambit was a member of the Blue Team, which assisted in bringing about Mojo’s demise in X-Men (2nd series) #11.

Bishop’s “return from Israel” was a result of a mission in which he and several other X-Men traveled to the past to stop the insane Legion in X-Men (2nd series) #41. The failed mission resulted in the Age of Apocalypse, which was eventually averted, but left Bishop’s “conflicting thoughts” in its wake.

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