X-Men (2nd series) #54

Issue Date: 
July 1996
Story Title: 
Inquiring Minds

Mark Waid (story), Andy Kubert (penciler), Dan Panosian (inkers), Joe Rosas (colorist), Malibu (separations), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letterer), Bob Harras (editor), Gerard Calabrese (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Cannonball worries over a recent lecture he received at the hands of his mentor, Charles Xavier. His worries have to wait, though, as he is called to action on a search for Cain Marko, the human Juggernaut. On their search, Cyclops is startled to realize his psychic rapport with his wife has been severed, so he goes off to find Xavier. Underneath the mansion, Jean leads Cain Marko to the Z’nox chamber, where she can probe his mind for the answers that Onslaught has hidden. Shockingly, she realizes that the door has not been shut all the way, so the being known as Onslaught probably knows they are there. Back in the office of Xavier, he sits perturbed by the presence of Scott Summers. Xavier tells Scott that Jean is a grown woman and perfectly capable of taking care of himself. Berating his mentor, Scott tells Xavier that Jean has met Onslaught. Xavier promises to find Jean. Jean is going through the mind of Cain and commanding him to destroy the wall that Onslaught has built. Cain destroys the wall and Jean learns who Onslaught really is. Jean commands Cain to run and he does but, sadly, he runs into the arms of Onslaught. Onslaught rips the gem of Cyttorak from the chest of Cain, revealing who he truly is… Charles Xavier.

Full Summary: 

Cannonball sits in the tree, overlooking the office of Professor Charles F. Xavier, Sam is not happy. Only moments ago, the young Kentuckian walked from the doors of that office a little worse for wear. He went in there to try and get a pep talk from the man he considers a mentor, only to receive a berating, in a manner he didn’t think possible from Xavier. Sam ponders how long it will take him before he gets enough courage to waltz into the room and tell Xavier off for his rude comments. He thinks that he will probably be ready by Thanksgiving of 2005.

Sam hears Cyclops approaching and whispers down to see if Scott may have the answers he seeks. Scott asks Sam what he is doing up in the tree? Sam tells him that he is just thinking. Scott tells him that Ororo had told him that Sam had received a lecture from Charles. Scott asks Sam if it stung him like the lectures he used to get did? Sam asks Scott if he got the same lectures too? Scott tells him that he did get them when he was his age, but the hard thing was trying to figure out if they were due to a mistake he had made or if Xavier was only trying to blow off steam, because of anger over a different matter. Scott tells Sam that this lecture was probably due to blowing off steam but, no matter how he judges Charles now, Sam needs to remember that the Professor is still a great man.

Cyclops tells Cannonball that he should go to sleep. He tells Sam that he will have a talk with Charles to let him know that there is not a single X-Man that would not lay down their lives for him. Just then, a kinetically charged card passes between the two of them and Cyclops is knocked off balance by the surprise. Gambit tells Scott that Juggernaut is somewhere on the estate, so the two of them have no time for small talk. Remy informs Scott that he and Bishop were just taken out by the behemoth and, after they awoke, he was nowhere to be seen. Bishop asks what Scott thinks Marko is after. He tells them that he is probably after the same thing he is always after, his stepbrother Charles Xavier.

Bishop tells them that Xavier must be protected at all costs. Scott tells him that, even though he knows they want to warn Charles, that the man has been under a lot of strain lately and, if they can take out Cain before Charles is aware of it, it will save the man a little less strain. Scott orders them to split up into three groups and find Marko fast.

In the lowest basement of the Mansion, the mutant named Jean Grey-Summers escorts Cain Marko to a room that, up until now, was only known by two people: herself and Charles Xavier. She tells Marko that this room was built to shield against telepathic probes. She tells him that only in this place will she be able to have the power to help Cain break the psychic wall that Onslaught has formed around the memory of who he really is. She tells him that Xavier had this room built years ago when he faked his own death to fend off an alien invasion, only he was privy to knowing about its coming.

Cain tells Jean that he remembers that time. He tells Jean that he never knew Charles had that kind of savvy to be able to lie to his own students and let the world think him dead. Jean tells Cain that Xavier did not lie to them all. Cain laughs and teases Jean that there might be something else between Xavier and her. Jean screams tells him to shut up and Cain realizes that he had just struck a nerve. Jean thinks to herself about the recent revelations that Onslaught had allowed her to learn about the darker side of the man named Xavier. She remembers seeing some of his dark emotions that were directed to him and how it is tough for her to even look at the man she once considered like a father to her.

After her thoughts have finished, she tells him that he built this room to protect the world against the Z’nox and that he needs to concentrate and to leave his mind open. With that said, Jean’s eyes widen with the realization that they had left the chamber door open. She tells Cain that if the room is not fully sealed it is not psi-proof. The door shuts.

On the estate grounds, Cyclops whispers the name of his wife. Cyclops tells Cannonball and Storm that he has to go to the mansion to check on something. Sam says that they are now less one hunter. He wonders aloud why they do not just use Cerebro to find Juggernaut? Storm explains that Cain is not a mutant and, plus, his armor makes it almost impenetrable for psychics to read his mind.

Almost as if they are giving the same speech, Logan explains to Bishop and Gambit that, normally, they can hear Cain’s footsteps from yards away, because stealthy is not a trademark of his. Logan sniffs the ground where Bishop and Gambit fought Cain Marko to no avail, as it seems his scent ends in the waters nearby. Logan tells the others that they need to keep looking, because paranoia is running too high tonight, for his liking.

Iceman and the Dark Beast hunt from the air, on Bobby’s ice-sled, as Bobby talks about the first time the X-Men fought Cain. Hank tells Bobby that he was intimidated the first time they met. Bobby asks him what he means, because the first time they fought they were so far beyond intimidated by the time Cain made it through the mansions security that they were just prepared for the fight. Hank tells Bobby that his memory is clear.

At the secrete lair of the Dark Beast, the real McCoy is trying to break free of his brick coffin. He does so, thanks to a loose floor stone. Jumping through the warehouse, he thinks he is free, but sadly that is not so, as two figures approach and ask him where he is going.

Scott rushes into Xavier’s study and asks Xavier if he knows why his psychic rapport with Jean has been severed. He tells her that he has not the time to worry about her right now, due to the fact she can take care of herself. Scott, very sternly, tells Xavier that she has met Onslaught and she has recognized that he is a very powerful psychic. Xavier’s eyes widen, but another question arises, as Scott nears Xavier’s computer and sees that Franklin, Sue, and Reed Richards are pulled up on his monitor, seeming as if Xavier is studying them.

When Scott questions him about it; Xavier stutters that he really does not know why he would have been studying them. Xavier gives Scott his word that he will find this Onslaught being and Jean. As Scott begins to leave, he tells Xavier that Juggernaut has been spotted on the estates. Xavier tells Scott to lower the mansions defenses to lure Juggernaut into the mansion where Scott can take care of him, just like all the other times Cain has threatened them.

Cain tells Jean about how he gained the power of the gem of Cyttorak. He then wonders aloud if Charles is jealous of his power?

On the astral plane:

Specifically in Cain Marko’s mind, Jean commands Marko to continue his assault on the wall that is between them and the identity of Onslaught. He does so and finally breaks through the barrier. She warns him to be prepared for anything that might come out of his mind.

Back in the physical world:

Xavier does probe the psi-plane for Jean or Onslaught, but his efforts are weak at best. He cannot help but be distracted by the thunder of his failures, shouting in his mind. He thinks about his recent attempt to rehabilitate Sabretooth and the fact that it almost cost Psylocke her very life. He thinks about his brash attempt at destroying the very mind of his friend/enemy Magneto. He thinks also of his inability to help Wolverine save his body and soul. Looking down at the desk, he sees a magazine with Graydon Creed’s face on it, announcing his running for presidency. Wondering to himself, he cannot help but think that his dream may be ending.

On the television, Xavier sees the report on the murderer of young Dennis Hogan, whom Xavier just watch die only weeks before. The victim, Dennis Hogan, was a mutant, killed by young adults who acted like bigots towards the mutant community. The murderer screams into the cameras that the mutie got what he deserved and there are other people out there who will back him in the destruction of every mutant, everywhere. Suddenly, the monitor does not play anymore, as a desk lamp goes crashing through the glass.

It has finally happened. In that moment of anger, Xavier releases all his pent up anger in one burst of rage. As he holds the computer above his head, preparing to throw it, he realizes the truth about…as the psionic presence of Onslaught enters the room – or was it there already?

Jean screams that she now knows who Onslaught is and Cain must escape as fast as he can. Cain tells her that he does not know. She warns him that Onslaught is in the mansion. Cain runs for the exit but, as he walks out the door, it seems the entire mansion is turned upside down. Cain realizes that Onslaught is in his mind, but he thanks his lucky stars, as he sees Xavier’s study up ahead. Cain barges through the door and screams out CHUCK !!! Once in the room, he sees Charles’ hover-chair lying against the wall and the curtains torn, as if a terrible battle has taken place. Cain whispers, “Chuck?”

Suddenly a giant red hand is seen and Cain recognizes the being known as Onslaught. Onslaught picks Cain off the ground, as he hears Cain beg for mercy. Onslaught tells Cain that it would be impossible to kill him, because the gem of Cyttorak protects him. With that said Onslaught rips the gem from Cain’s chest and tells him that he wants to hear him whimper, because he has waited a long time for that. Above Cain Marko stands Charles Xavier, with a grimacing grin. Surrounding him, as if another skin, is the being known as Onslaught. Xavier’s psi-voice is heard, as he calls to his X-Men to stop their search for Cain Marko, as it seems they do not need to worry about him anymore.

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Beast, Bishop, Cannonball, Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman, Phoenix, Professor X, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Dark Beast



Other characters either by memory, book, or video :

Phoenix, Professor X, Psylocke, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Dennis Hogan

Franklin Richards

Graydon Creed



Youth that assaulted Dennis Hogan

Story Notes: 

The Dark Beast took the true Beast’s place in X-Men Unlimited #10

Dennis Hogan was assaulted in X-Men: Prime

Xavier tore the mind out of Magneto in X-Men (2nd Series) #25.

Wolverine became the feral mutant he is today, thanks to Magneto ripping his adamantium from this body. [X-Men (2nd Series) #25] This, in-turn, caused Logan to reevaluate his life, making him feral in nature.

Gambit and Bishop were knocked out by the Juggernaut in Uncanny X-Men #334.

Xavier faked his own death and hid even from his X-Men in the now classic X-Men (1st Series) #42 - 65.

Juggernaut first fought the X-Men in X-Men (1st Series) #12.

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