X-Men (2nd series) #70

Issue Date: 
December 1997
Story Title: 

Joe Kelly (writer), Carlos Pacheco (pencils), Thibert with Dell (inks), RS/Comicraft/KF (letters), Chris Lichten/Aaron Lusen/Liquid! (colors), Mark Powers (associate editor), Bob Harras (chief)

Brief Description: 

Iceman brings Marrow and Cecilia Reyes back to the mansion with him, following their adventures against the forces of Operation: Zero Tolerance. However, the trio is shocked to discover that Bastion has thoroughly stripped the mansion of everything by use of nanotechnology. Cyclops, Phoenix, Cannonball, Wolverine and Storm also return to the mansion with bad news: Cyclops was planted a nanotech bomb in his chest during the time he and the others were imprisoned by Bastion in the Hulkbuster Base and Jean is barely keeping the bomb from exploding thanks to her telekinesis. Cecilia decides to perform an operation in order to save Scott’s life – as well as theirs. Cannonball brings antibiotics from a drugstore and Storm boils some water while Cecilia uses Wolverine’s middle claw as an impromptu scalpel to open Scott up. Things are further complicated when Juggernaut shows up, together with his lawyer, and announces that he is the legal owner of Xavier’s financial estate, following Charles’ incapacitation. Juggernaut is ultimately enraged by the disdainful way the team treats him and decides to attack. However, at that moment, Rogue, Beast, Joseph, Maggott and Trish Tilby also return to the mansion. Bemused by Maggott’s slugs and amused by the overall condition of the team, Juggernaut departs. Peace restored, Cecilia extracts the bomb by use of Marrow’s bones and Rogue ingeniously tosses it to one of Maggott’s slugs, which devours it, saving everybody from certain death. Eventually, everybody goes to bed, although the current developments, including the animosity between some of the team members, the absences of Gambit, Bishop and Professor Xavier and the arrival of Maggott, Cecilia and Marrow guarantee that things are not going to be easy.

Full Summary: 

Westchester County, New York, on the outskirts of a hamlet called Salem Center…

Several feet up in the air, Iceman fervently generates his ice tramp, finally nearing his destination: the Xavier Institute. Holding tightly around Bobby, one of his two passengers, Cecilia Reyes, clarifies she’s not enjoying this! Bobby admits he got that impression from her nails digging into his neck but still thanks her for spelling it out. Cecilia asks him to put her down: she’s freezing! She can’t even feel her fingers or nails anymore. Holding on an icicle, Bobby’s other passenger, Marrow, asks Cecilia to whine less and shut up more. She urges Bobby to go faster.

Visibly amused, Bobby tells Cecilia that she’s upsetting Marrow. Cecilia keeps telling herself to take deep breaths… she’s not going to fall… Sarah asks Bobby if that’s the best he can do. She thought these X-heads had some chops! Bobby exclaims this sounded like a dare. Cecilia mumbles it wasn’t anything and implores Bobby to ignore Marrow. Unfortunately for her, though, Bobby’s ice vehicle now starts moving at an exponential rate!

As the trio finally lands outside the mansion, Bobby boasts this is how one can get from point A to point B with some style. He congratulates Cecilia: most people toss their cornflakes before the end of the first loop but she hang in there all the way to the corkscrew. Still gasping, Cecilia tells Bobby she wouldn’t go to sleep if she were him, because when he wakes up he’ll have intimate knowledge of how a catheter works!

Marrow finally sees Xavier’s big old mutant playground… the promised land. The Morlock elders constantly flooded Sarah and the other children’s dreamtime with tales of the mutant haven. Now that she’s finally there, she sees it’s just another upworlder eyesore. Bobby ironically notes it may not be the sub-basement of Grand Central Station but she’ll find all the comforts of her local sewer pipe here. They’ve got alien Shi’ar TV sets with five gazillion channels, the Danger Room, a couple of walk-in fridges… Marrow brusquely states she doesn’t eat anything she doesn’t kill. Cecilia wonders what a Danger Room is when Sarah shoves her forward. “Any room I’m in, sweets,” she answers Cecilia’s question and tells her to get a move on.

“I don’t think so,” Cecilia angrily replies. She’s spent her entire life fighting for respect and she’s not about to let a snot-nosed psychopath push her around like a slab of meat. “Interesting choice of terms… meat” a smiling Marrow remarks. Cecilia asks her what her major malfunction is. Marrow picks an easy one: self-loathing mutants like Cecilia with no spine. Bobby intervenes and exhorts the “kittens” to put their claws away. Sarah reminds to Cecilia this isn’t her safe little upworlder dream anymore. This is the reality of her birthright. Pain. Death. War. Cecilia should toughen up and deal with it or Sarah’ll test the limits of Cecilia’s force-field… slowly.

Cecilia wonders what she has gotten herself into. Yesterday she was sucking down double espressos to stay awake for a triple shift in the E.R. Today, she’s running scared with bone-throwing mutant outlaws, clinging to the last threads of her sanity. She realizes that coming here was a huge mistake. A few more days to get her bearings, figure out her next move and she’s gone. Meanwhile, Bobby does a little creative sub-zero lock picking since he doesn’t have the keys. As an official emissary of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, he is the first to say “welcome home!”

As he opens the door, though, all three are shocked to see that the mansion is stripped of everything. Nothing – not a swatch or carpet, not even a fleck of paint left to disturb the purity of bare wooden walls – has remained. Marrow represses an uneasy snicker as the austerity of the empty building reminds her of a church. Bobby focuses on the repetition of his own heartbeat until he’s sure he’s not caught in a fever dream. “Bastion. No…” he pronounces. For Cecilia, one look is all it takes, to recognize the void that has recently robbed her life of all reason and left her with nothing.

Cecilia exclaims there’s nothing here. In despair, she wonders why she followed Bobby. “For this? For nothing?” As she runs away, Bobby asks her to wait. “First class operation,” Marrow sneers at him with a smile. He really knows how to impress the ladies. She wonders… if all the X-Men are as competent as he is… how exactly did they survive this long? On second thought… she couldn’t care less.

Leaning against a wall, Cecilia realizes that when the Prime Sentinels of Operation: Zero Tolerance attacked her and exposed her as a mutant, she didn’t cry. In spite of the pain and suffering the last few hours have held for her, she didn’t yield to the pressure behind her eyes – because she still had hope. Now, against the lifeless building that once held a glimmer of hope, salt water finally finds her cheek. In despair, she realizes she has nothing left. She can’t go home; there is no home, not now that they know. She has no family to turn to. Her life is over. She’s all alone…

Several feet in the air, Cyclops, Wolverine, Cannonball, Phoenix and Storm have just left a S.H.I.E.L.D. airship behind them and fly downwards, heading to the mansion. “Incoming!” an enthusiastic Cannonball screams. “Express route to the triage unit, Sam!” Wolverine tells him, while clinging to the youngster. He tells Sam there’s not for him to be subtle – can he handle it? ‘Course, Sam replies. They’re both invulnerable while he’s blasting. He’d just hate to be the one to pick up the mess after this stunt! Logan reminds him that if they don’t make it to the med-lab, they’re going to have problems a lot worse to worry about than redecorating.

Indeed, Sam blasts through the roof and subsequently through all the floors of the mansion and reaches the ground floor. Iceman barely gets an ice shield up in time to protect Marrow and himself from the falling shrapnel. Carrying a visibly unwell Cyclops, Phoenix also uses her telekinesis to propel herself downward. She urges Bobby to get down to the med-lab and prepare the auto-docks. Scott’s been hurt and her telekinetic cocoon is the only thing keeping his insides on the… Suddenly, she pauses as she looks around and asks what’s going on; where’s everything? Storm also lands down. “By the goddess… Marrow!” she exclaims upon seeing Sarah. Marrow also greets her. “Guess who’s coming for dinner, wind-rider,” she adds.

Sam tells Jean they’ve been robbed! Logan corrects him: this wasn’t just a couple of thugs with a U-Haul. Jean asks him about the med-lab. Logan tells her it’s gone. They’ve been picked clean. The place has Bastion’s stench all over it and reeks of antiseptic nothing. Logan stretched his senses to their limit to see if he missed anything but the man was thorough. Bastion scrapped the joint down to the molecular level with nanotechs: the same stuff he used to turn Cyclops into a walking time bomb. In despair, Jean wonders how they get that thing out of him without the lab or the equipment. With a weak voice, Scott pleads them to leave him and save themselves. If the bomb blows… Not in this lifetime, Jean replies. They’re going to help him somehow. They will not leave him alone. Cecilia is moved by Jean’s words.

Meanwhile, not far away from there, in the road leading to the mansion…

A dainty man in suit reads some sort of document, while a stout man carries him on his shoulder. “In the event of the incapacity of said individual, all assets of the Xavier estate will be placed into receivership and…” The man springs up in the air, as the beefy guy carrying him probably comes across a bump on the ground. Getting his act together, the dainty man continues reading from the document: “Receivership until such time as my client is named administrator…” Another bump comes. Upset, the diminutive fellow reminds his employer that most clients in his financial class would have sprung for the car. Is this absolutely necessary? The beefy guy believes that the lawyer should have watched Perry Mason as a kid – doesn’t he know how valuable the dramatic entrance is in these types of sensitive situations?

At the mansion, Bobby can’t believe that Scott swallowed a bomb! Logan corrects him: Bastion shoved it in him. Since they’re asking dumb questions, though, he asks him what the deal with the bone chick is. Cyclops pleads them to think for themselves. Jean tells Scott he’s making it difficult for her to concentrate on keeping his abdomen from exploding so he’d better shut up.

Cecilia suddenly intervenes. She stresses that if they want to bicker while their friend fights for his life, they take it outside – the rest of them have work to do. She wants someone to tell her what happened. “Excuse me, miss, but ah…?” Sam mumbles but Cecilia cuts him short. She repeats: what happened? Wolverine asks her what she’s supposed to be – besides an obvious pain the in rear. She tells him she’s the only person who can keep their friend alive long enough to get proper treatment unless one of them happens to have a medical degree stuffed under their tights. Logan doesn’t like her attitude.

Jean reminds Logan that keeping Scott from feeling any pain is taxing her powers to the limit, so if this woman can help, he should stow the hostility and let her get to work. Cecilia is happy to hear the voice of reason. Suddenly, though, Cecilia screams, as Jean telepathically force-feeds a dense cluster of sensory information directly into her memory center. Jean explains that this telepathic stunt is a “memory dump” – quicker than a verbal explanation. She assures Cecilia that, if this helps, she can later make her forget how much it hurt.

Several images are force-fed into Cecilia’s mind – Bastion among them. Jean gathers from her thoughts she’s familiar with Bastion’s humanitarian work. He and his Zero Tolerance lap-dogs ambushed Jean and the others on their way back home from Hong Kong. The X-Men didn’t stand a chance. After their capture, Bastion had them transported to the Zero Tolerance base. But somewhere along the line, he took Scott on a detour. On the off chance, they escaped his mutant death camp. But Bastion had put something in Scott. He surgically opened him up, invaded him and implanted a device constructed of the same nano-technology that drove the Prime Sentinels – in this case, though, a bomb. They need to get it out and keep Scott in one piece.

As the “memory dump” is over, Scott admits that he knows what Jean is hoping from the psychic rapport he shares with her. However, Scott knows this is not a tenable situation. He pleads Cecilia to save his wife and friends. Cecilia thinks that all this suffering is just because they were born different. Explosive device in Scott’s guts. No surgical instruments or anesthetic. And not a single sterilized piece of equipment for miles. She thinks they’re toast. Jean confesses that she has always hoped that, when their time came, Scott and her would be lucky enough to die in each other’s arms but this is a little ahead of schedule. She can’t save Scott herself. “In your arms,” Cecilia mutters, possibly remembering how her own father once died in her arms.

Cecilia urges everyone to listen up. She needs tools and equipment. She doesn’t care what they have to do: they just have to make it happen. She tells Sam she needs gauze, tape, blades, any antibiotics he can get his hands on and a staple gun. Sam instantly departs. Cecilia tells Storm she needs water, boiling, lots of it. She also asks Jean if she can keep the mental anesthetic for a while. As long as you need, Jean replies. Cecilia asks Logan what he can bring to the party besides the scowling and intimidation thing. Wolverine replies that unless Sam finds a “Scalpels R Us” open on weekends, they should consider him their pocket surgeon. To demonstrate this, he unsheathes his middle claw, much to Cecilia’s horror.

Minutes later, after a quick scan in the woods, Ororo finds a rickety old bucket. However, the well from where this rail came has grown stagnant from neglect. She thinks that perhaps the heavens would be so kind as to share their gift with their humble daughter.

“’Lo, bright one,” she suddenly hears someone behind her. It’s Marrow. Sarah climbs down a tree and reminds her she’s down a heart; she isn’t complaining, though. Ororo tells her this is neither the time nor the place. Marrow insists it is. After all, Storm owes her a private audience, considering she nearly snuffed out her life. Storm explains she didn’t leave her any choice, though obviously she didn’t do a very good job. Marrow realizes she wishes she had, doesn’t she? Ororo asks her what she wants. Revenge? Is that why she came here? Marrow reminds her that New York City’s not safe for muties anymore. Times are tough so her pal Bobby invited her to come live in the big house where she could be safe and toasty. Sarah never thought the place would be this beautiful… safe. Grinning, she asks Ororo if she feels safe here… truly safe.

Enraged, Storm tells her she won’t allow the bad blood between them to jeopardize Scott’s condition so Marrow can keep her threats to herself. Still, she promises Sarah that as soon as Scott is out of danger, she will have her undivided attention. She suggestively adds that someone might want to seriously consider returning to the sewers before then! Saying this, Ororo hurls a thunder in the water, effectively boiling it. Sarah confesses it would break her heart to miss out on a chance to dance with her!

Inside the mansion, Cecilia pleads Scott to tell her what he’s feeling so she can get a twenty on this thing. Scott moans in response. Jean can feel the device growing and pulling together in the lower left abdomen. She can telekinetically keep the nanotechs apart but not for much longer. Cecilia feels Scott burning up and asks Bobby to use his power to bring down Scott’s body temperature a bit. Bobby complies just as Sam returns to the mansion. He anxiously asks Cecilia if he’s late; did he make it? “Barely!” Cecilia replies. She is exhilarated to see Sam has brought several stuff and asks him where he got it. Sam mumbles they can talk about that later. He has no time right now to explain he took all that stuff from a drugstore! Cecilia asks where the “sisters” with the water is.

Storm appears with the bucket and clarifies she’d appreciate it if Cecilia stopped referring to her as “sister.” Cecilia retorts they can go over etiquette during the recovery period. She tells Sam to disinfect Scott’s chest with the alcohol first and then start pulverizing those antibiotics into a powder that they’re going to use to bathe his body cavity once she opens him up. Logan asks Storm if she’s alright. He gets the smell of anger on her something fierce. Ororo believes they can discuss it later; right after Bobby and her have a little chat about his better judgment.

Cecilia asks about the scalpel. Sam replies he didn’t have time to find one; should he go back? Cecilia turns to Wolverine and informs him he’s on deck: he should sterilize his claws. Wolverine complies but is uncertain if this will do it. Cecilia believes that boiling water is the best they’ve got unless he happens to have an autoclave handy. Nope, Logan replies. He ironically asks her if they teach bedside manner in med school. Cecilia wittily replies she was absent that day: too busy saving lives. She asks him if he’s ready. Logan retorts these aren’t exactly precision tools; is she sure?

Scott tells Logan this is no time for finesse. Jean’s taxed to her limits, keeping him together and out of pain. Logan nervously asks Jean if she’s up for him to do this. Jean assures him they trust him with all their hearts. She tells Scott she’s going to put him to sleep now. She assures him she’ll be there when he wakes up. Scott tells her she’d better be… ‘cause he loves her… and is then rendered unconscious by her.

Logan admits he isn’t used to using these things for healing. However, for these two kids, Scott and Jean, he’ll try anything once. He asks Cecilia to help him get it right. Cecilia holds his wrist and directs his hand. “Good. Start here. Slow. Steady. Across to there. Deep enough to get through the muscle but don’t hit any organs…” Everyone is a bit shocked as Logan’s middle claw goes deeper inside Scott’s chest.

Suddenly, the doorbell rings! Storm urges them to continue; she will tend to this. As she rushes to the door, she thinks that the Xavier Institute is supposed to be a legitimate school. They’ve spent their lives maintaining the façade but with the Professor gone, their facility gutted… is the charade still viable? She doesn’t know. For now, though, she thinks that a rolling mist should help maintain cover from prying eyes. As she opens the door, she exclaims this had better be important.

Standing on the threshold is none other than Juggernaut, dressed in suit, carrying on his shoulder a man with a briefcase! Smiling, Cain assures Storm nothing’s more important that the power of the long arm of the people’s court! “Juggernaut?!” Ororo exclaims in surprise. Juggernaut clarifies that he’s in his Sunday’s best so he is just plain old Mr. Cain Marko for today, together with his hotshot junior attorney, Brad Perkins. She doesn’t have to say it… he knows he looks good.

Inside the mansion, Bobby is shocked to see that the Juggernaut just rang the door! Logan mumbles he could use a workout… Cecilia orders him not to move; anyone starts macho crap now and Scott dies! She orders Logan to stay put and Bobby to keep doing his cold thing and stave off the blood flow at the incision.

At the threshold, Brad Perkins reads the relevant document: with the incapacitation of Charles Xavier, the Xavier financial estate, which his fellow students draw upon as their only financial resource is hereby frozen in receivership until his client, Cain Marko, is made administrator of said funds. Storm tells Juggernaut he cannot imagine what bad timing this is. Cain insists he needs cash to help his pal Black Tom Cassidy. He figured he might as well scrape together what he’s owed as Charlie’s half-brother. He’s already been to New York City and tapped that well dry. He also got to squash that freak, Spider-Man! The best part is, he gets to screw the X-Men out of the dough legally! He asks Ororo what she thinks.

Not a thing, she replies. She asks him to call again when she has the luxury to ignore him properly and wishes him good luck walking home with the roads washed out. She then slams the door to their faces. “Washed out?” Perkins mumbles – there’s no rain. However, courtesy of Storm, a rain starts. Juggernaut admits he hates these jerks.

Inside the mansion, Sam is having a hard time pulverizing the antibiotics. Stupid pills, he exclaims – this is taking too long. If only he had more control over his power, he could just blast his hand into them. Marrow suddenly offers him one of her bones. She tells him it’s a pestle… for that mortar… he does know how to grind, doesn’t he? “Sure, miss…much obliged,” a nervous Cannonball thanks her. Nearby, Cecilia tells Logan she needs him to retract in a second; however, she first wants to have a quick peek inside Scott’s chest. “So much for the medical books,” she exclaims in shock upon seeing it. “This is the complete opposite of good.”

Juggernaut smashes his way through the front door, still carrying the frightened Brad Perkins. Enraged, Cain screams at Ororo for ruining his good suit: no one soils the Juggernaut and gets away with it! Storm insists she has no patience for this. She asks him to take his mouthpiece and turn around now or feel the fury of… Juggernaut suddenly wonders what’s going in there. He wonders where all the stuff is; by now, he’d have been hit by ten kinds of defense systems. He sees nothing in here but one of Iceman’s ice sculptures and Cyclops down for the count! He thinks this is too good. Maybe he doesn’t need to make a legal claim on Charles’ stuff. He can save himself a whopper of a fee if he just up and takes it the old-fashioned way!

As he switches to his more well-known appearance, Ororo realizes he’s going to attack. She realizes they’re all in a weakened state, without defenses and with half of the team out of commission. She asks Cain if he has any sense of honor. “Honor?” he replies. She must have confused him with that other Juggernaut, the “stoppable” on weekends one! He believes that procrastinating is for wimps. Why put off beating the tar out of them till tomorrow when he can kill them real good now? “Because the worthless life you save may be your own,” a voice comes in response.

It’s Joseph who just said that, standing at the threshold, together with Rogue, Beast, Maggott (and his slugs) and Trish Tilby. Joseph asks him to get out of their house. Beast tells Joseph he might want to try again, using a more elementary sentence structure – considering this is Juggernaut they talk to.

Meanwhile, Cecilia gazes in shock at the nanotechs inside Cyclops’ chest. She asks what she’s supposed to do with that. Why is it twirling around like it’s alive? Logan informs her that the nanotechs are millions of microscopic machines all working as one, fighting against Jean’s telekinesis to carry out their mission. Only, if Logan remembers the sci-fi from his shadow-ops days, these are breeder class nanos. They don’t come together just to explode: they reproduce and the offspring reproduces and so on. In about two seconds, everything for a three mile radius is entombed in grey goop… mouths, lungs, body cavities… Cecilia tells him that’s enough; she gets it.

Juggernaut is delighted to see the gang’s all there… except for Bishop and Gambit. He gleefully asks if LeBeau got tired playing good guy and finally showed his real stripes. Furious, Rogue assures him he couldn’t have picked a worse day or a worse opening line. She’s gonna tear him a new… Joseph grabs her from behind, urging her to wait and allow him to… “Hands off, Joseph!” Rogue screams and shoves him away with her superhuman strength, sending him flying in the air! Storm asks her what has gotten into her. She also wonders where Bishop and Remy are. Rogue explains that Gambit’s gone. Storm asks her if he’s dead. “T’me he is…” Rogue replies.

Juggernaut utters a triumphant laugh. It’s finally caught up to them, hasn’t it? After all the Onslaughts and Sentinels and the Zero Tolerances, they’ve lost it! They’re falling apart! Joseph stands up, realizing in shock that Rogue just struck him and if not for his magnetic force field, she could’ve… Suddenly, hearing Juggernaut chuckling, he furiously asks him to stop it.

Holding Scott’s head all this time, telekinetically preventing the nanos from exploding and simultaneously keeping Scott unconscious, Jean suddenly exclaims something about the strain… she’s losing… she can’t hold… She tells Scott she’s sorry. Cyclops wakes up and screams from the pain as Jean loses control over him.

Meanwhile, Joseph tells Cain this has been a traumatic week and he could use a release. He begs Cain to give him a reason to halt the flow of blood to his meager brain. Suddenly, though, Cecilia screams to them she needs a big assist: Jean lost her grip on the bomb and Scott’s awake! As the others reel in shock to hear about the bomb, Storm tells Hank that Dr. Reyes needs his medical expertise and also asks Joseph to contain that device. Beast instantly rushes to the action, however Joseph doesn’t seem so willing to leave Juggernaut, until Maggott intervenes and asks him to go do what he does best and let Maggott and his “girls” handle the light work.

Logan holds Jean, telling her he’s there and she can lean back. Jean mumbles that she can’t sustain the telekinesis at that level. She telepathically got Scott back to sleep but the nanos… Logan assures her she did her best and she can be still now and let someone else play hero.

Beast approaches and asks what’s happened. As he stands behind Cecilia, he observes Scott’s condition: autonomous nano-technology… breeder config hid out in the circulatory system until awakening, currently accumulating in the peritoneal cavity in pre-detonation phase. Cecilia is impressed by his knowledge of theoretical physics and basic anatomy. Hank believes she should see him play Pictionary. As Cecilia turns around to face him, she is shocked by his looks: he’s… an animal? Beast clarifies it’s not “animal,” it’s “Beast” – a Beast which happens to know a thing or two about the dynamic applications of nano-effusive devices. Animal is a muppet!

As Maggott, together with his strange “slugs,” approaches Cain, the latter asks him what exactly he’s supposed to be… a bait and tackle salesman? Maggott boasts he’s the last thing Juggernaut will see before he loses consciousness. Cain asks him how that’s going to happen when he leaves Maggott a few vital organs short of a full set! “Eeny… if you please?” Maggott says. One of his slugs devours Perkins’ briefcase, causing the lawyer to pass out from the shock. Maggott informs Juggernaut that they eat through everything, least of all vrot stoepkakkers like him.

Cain laughs and tells Maggott he’s got chutzpah; he can give him that. Thoroughly amused, he realizes how things are for the X-Men: no food, no cash, big hole in the roof, Cyclops on his last legs and the best and brightest new X-Man threatens the unstoppable Juggernaut with killer slugs! Carrying Perkins, Cain exclaims that he doesn’t need to spend time to beat them senseless… they’re doing it to themselves! As he leaves, he tells them they will meet in a month or two when they will be begging him to take this dump! Maggott congratulates his “girls” on their good show; Juggernaut knew he couldn’t take them.

Joseph informs the team he’s magnetically switched off Scott’s pain receptors and slowed the blood flow around the wound site but the device itself is made of ceramics and high-density plastics; he cannot pull them from his body. Beast believes it would be unwise to remove the device until the migration is complete because, if they miss even one of the microscopic buggers, it would simply take root in Scott’s system and reboot the process. Cecilia realizes the problem: this thing is going to explode once it comes together… but they can’t remove it until it’s going to explode. Hank remarks that “explode” is a misleading term – she should think more like “expand instantaneously, crushing and preserving them!”

After Trish asks Ororo how all this happened, Logan informs her that this jam happened on account of a scrub called Bastion. People like Bastion happen because of anti-mutant hysteria. Hysteria starts when irresponsible people misuse power, spread half-truths, fan flames of hate – people like Trish. He believes she’s so wrapped up in her First Amendment she can only see mutants as a scoop. Beast angrily reminds Wolverine this is hardly the time. Trish mumbles she was doing her job… the public has a right…

Sure, Wolverine exclaims, interrupting. It was her right to break the Legacy Virus story without considering the consequences, so now, what about Scott’s rights?! All he’s got is the right to bleed to death! If they don’t pull him out of this one, Trish can expect to be one of the many held accountable!

Upset, Trish insists it’s her job. She didn’t do it for a scoop. She’s not a vulture. Saying this, she runs away. Furious, Hank asks Logan what gives him the right: Trish’s proven herself. Logan tells him not to raise his voice to him: Hank’s the one shacking up with a glory hog who’d turn them all in for a headline! Cecilia asks them both to knock it off. In case they didn’t notice, they’re about to die here. They can kill one another after they get blown up or smothered or whatever!

Sam arrives, carrying two buckets and informing Cecilia he’s got the antibiotic bath ready. Cecilia is glad that somebody’s got a little focus. She uses the “bath” to ensure the site doesn’t get infected – assuming there’s a site left to infect. However, the way this thing is growing, it’s wedged itself between organs and Cecilia can’t reach it without tools. Sarah tells her she’s got one: her bones. All Cecilia has to do is pluck it out. Sarah sardonically adds that Storm could do it… if it was a heart she was looking for. However, Storm doesn’t want Marrow within a hundred yards of Scott. Hank reminds her that time is short and their options are slim. Storm insists she will make things worse. “Or. Really?” Marrow exclaims and concentrates to pull two bones out of body. The effort causes her pain. Still, she hands the bones over to Cecilia.

Using the bones, Cecilia finally manages to extract the bomb. In panic, she hands it over to Beast, who informs the others that the sound coming from the bomb means it is last call! Any insights on how to contain three thousand tons of matter?! Rogue tells him to give it to her: she has an idea. Since it will do no good to toss it through the roof, they can throw it in the “trash!” She throws it over to one of Maggott’s slugs. “You’re on it, Meany. Don’t disappoint Daddy,” Maggott tells the slug.

Meany seemingly devours the nanotechs… and a hollow sound follows just as the slug digests the exploding bomb! When Maggott then asks Meany if she’s cool, the young mutant skin’s suddenly turns blue, through his mysterious connection to the slug. “Ag, that’s a good one, luv… fixed up,” he says. He smiles as he wonders how “the newest X-Man” sounds as a phrase. Breathing in relief, Cecilia thinks they can close now… somebody should pass her the stapler.

Later, while outside it’s raining…

Cecilia still thinks they should get Cyclops to a hospital. Joking, Hank insists that the makeshift bed of leaves they’ve laid Scott on has such a cozy, “Dr. Quinn” feel to it. Cecilia believes they’ll be fine here for now if they insist on playing fugitive – assuming the staples hold. Beleaguered after his ordeal, Scott thanks Cecilia. Jean told him how she held him together like a pro. Since he didn’t have the chance before, he’d like to officially welcome her to the X-Men. “Thanks, but… I…” Cecilia mumbles. As she exits the room, she urges them not to stay long; Scott needs rest. Logan thinks that woman is a barrel of laughs… he hopes she stays.

In the bathroom, Maggott congratulates himself on a good piece of work. He thinks this place is as nice as any to start. Suddenly, he sees his two slugs entering the bathroom. As he kneels to the floor, he mutters this is a good place to call home. He moans as he starts undergoing a mysterious procedure together with the slugs. “Oh God… help me.”

The rest of the X-Men say goodnight to Scott and Jean. After they leave their room, Scott asks Jean if something is wrong. Jean assures him everything’s fine. Scott admits he expected the rest of the team to strap on a happy face for his benefit but not her. Jean admits one couldn’t cut the tension in the mansion with a ten-ton chainsaw. Marko wasn’t far off: this last year is picking them apart. Half of them are at each other’s throats, Bishop is lost in space somewhere, the Professor’s M.I.A. and Gambit… is a story for another day. On top of that, there are their ‘guests’. What do they know about them?

Scott insists that in spite of all that, the job’s done: they survived. The X-Men pulled together towards a common goal. A team just like the Professor would want them to be. He thinks that things are going to start looking up for the X-Men… he can feel it in his bones.

With Storm reprimanding Bobby for his decision to bring Sarah there, Hank and Logan exchanging glances of fury and a brooding Rogue sitting on the mansion’s roof, Marrow chooses the basement to sleep, carving a message on the door by way of her bones: “This way to a dark ride.”

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cannonball, Cecilia Reyes, Cyclops, Iceman, Joseph, Maggott, Marrow, Phoenix IV, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Eeny & Meany

Trish Tilby (X-Men ally)


Brad Perkins (Juggernaut’s attorney)

People in drugstore

Force-fed images in Cecilia’s mind:

Cyclops, Phoenix IV, Wolverine (all X-Men)


Story Notes: 

This issue is double-sized.

The cover pays homage to Giant Size X-Men #1.

First issue of Joe Kelly’s run. He will stay as the regular writer until issue #85.

Cannonball, Cyclops, Phoenix, Storm and Wolverine were captured by Bastion’s Operation: Zero Tolerance forces in X-Men (2nd series) #65. They were taken to the Hulkbuster Base, as first shown in X-Men (2nd series) #66 and escaped in Wolverine (2nd series) #115. Their OZ.T.-related adventures weren’t over until Wolverine (2nd series) #118, the same issue where Cyclops discovered he had a bomb in his chest.

Cecilia was attacked by Prime Sentinels at the hospital she worked as a doctor in X-Men (2nd series) #66. She was subsequently rescued by Iceman and together with Marrow and him they confronted Bastion and the O.Z.T. [X-Men (2nd series) #67-69]

Beast, Bishop, Gambit, Joseph, Rogue and Trish Tilby’s adventures in the Sh’iar galaxy can be seen in Uncanny X-Men #341-345. On their way back to Earth with a starship, they were caught in an explosion and Bishop was separated from the others during the commotion. [#345] The rest of the team crash-landed to Earth, where Gambit’s involvement in the Morlocks’ massacre years ago was revealed in a mock trial in Antarctica. His teammates, together with Psylocke, Archangel and the mysterious newcomer Maggott, were also forced to attend in shackles. After the X-Men set themselves free, Rogue decided to abandon Gambit in Antarctica. [#350]

Xavier came into Bastion’s custody following the Onslaught crisis, in X-Men (2nd series) #57 and Onslaught: Epilogue.

Storm seemingly killed Marrow when she plucked out her heart in Uncanny X-Men #325. However, Marrow had a second heart as a result of her unique physiology and survived.

Juggernaut confronted Spider-Man in Peter Parker, Spider-Man (1st series) #84.

Trish Tilby broke the Legacy Virus story in X-Men: Prime.

Pictionary is a game in which players try to identify a specific word from their teammates’ drawings.

Perry Mason is a fictional defense attorney, created by Erle Stanley Gardner. He has appeared in many novels and short stories and later featured in films and television.

Dr Quinn was an American TV series, set in the 1860s and centered on an eponymous female physician.

Maggott uses several expressions from South African slang, such as “vrot” (rotten), and “stoepkakker” (an old, fat, dog that snarls at you if you try to move it!).

For all intents and purposes, Maggott, Cecilia and Marrow are considered X-Men as of this issue. This is a matter of dispute, since they never officially joined on panel. Cecilia’s decision to stay with the team seems more definite in Uncanny X-Men #351 and Marrow’s in X-Men (2nd series) #75.

A catheter is a tube used in medical procedures to drain bodily fluids, most usually urine. In men, it is snaked up through the urethra – a most unpleasant prospect for most men.

An autoclave is a medical machine which uses pressure to bring liquids to their boiling point and thereby quickly sterilize medical instruments placed within.

“Animal” was the name of a character in the Muppet Show.

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