X-Men (2nd series) #75

Issue Date: 
May 1998
Story Title: 
Anatomy of a Monster

Joe Kelly (Plot), German Garcia (Art), Art Thibert w/Panosian, Hanna & Holdredge (Inks), Digital Chameleon (Colors), Richard Starkings and COMICRAFT (Letters), Mark Powers (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

At the Xavier Institute, Wolverine goes out into the woods, even though he is still suffering from his wounds that won’t heal, due to magic. Storm, Cannonball and Rogue head to Salem Center and find the town in a lockdown. The only people out are the feds and the killer, who has been dissecting people alive. They find Maggott, who tells them that he thinks Eany and Meany are killing people, but Storm tells him otherwise. Beast and Cecilia, who is horrified over her new costume, find Wolverine and the real murderers, who aren’t the N’garai that Wolverine suspected were behind this. Marrow joins them in fighting the demons, but they are all captured and taken to the N’garai home world. Eany and Meany spot some demons and hop to them, but Maggott thinks they are escaping and gives chase. The X-Men are then transported to Ukraine, where they encounter many dead bodies and another cairn to the N’garai home world. Suspecting that Maggott traveled through this portal, Storm and the others follow. The X-Men encounter Pilgrimm in the other world and discover that the demons are the Ru’tai, who were inspired to overthrow the slave laboring N’garai after Wolverine came and slaughtered many of them. Wolverine is distraught over how he could let this happen. The X-Men attack Pilgrimm and the Ru’tai, but it is Cecilia who finally defeats the demon by accidentally cracking his Eye of Kierokk with her butt. The world falls apart as the X-Men escape with the civilians. They appear in Las Vegas. However, unbeknownst to them, Pilgrimm has traveled to their world in the disguise of a human student. Maggott is cleared of all charges while Marrow and Cecilia become more confident in their roles as X-Men.

Full Summary: 

A seriously injured Wolverine lifts himself out of bed. He is partially dressed in uniform, but his shirt is off. His chest is a mess of scars and open wounds from his recent attack while he was en route to the mansion. He looks up ferociously and tells Cannonball and Storm that he does not have time to ask again. “Where…is…Maggott?” he questions one more time.

Storm is dressed in her purple nightgown and looks out the window to the night sky. Cannonball, in his boxers and shirt, nervously tells Wolverine that he knows he is angry, but he has been running a fever all night. He cannot just get up. Storm tells Wolverine that he will not get up. His healing factor cannot cope with his injuries. Wolverine grabs his shirt and tells the two to fawn over his wounds later. He orders them to wake everyone else up and to get into uniform, because things are going to get messy.

Wolverine puts his shirt on and starts for the door, but Storm rushes past Cannonball and orders him to stop. The two of them have kept watch over him for eight hours. He cannot expect them to let him leave without – Wolverine cuts her off and apologizes, thanks her and Cannonball, then tells them to get dressed.

Storm tells Wolverine that he will not find Maggott on the grounds. They have already looked. Maggott disappeared a little bit after they found Wolverine on their front steps, barely conscious and muttering about monsters and murder. Storm pleads to Logan to explain what is happening. Wolverine pulls his mask over his face and pauses for a moment. He then tells Storm that, if he takes the time to explain, then it may be too late to save Maggott. He tells her to gather the X-Men and find Maggott, because if they don’t he is going to die and a murderer is going to go unpunished.

Down in Salem Center, Maggott sits in an alley with a newspaper. The headline says, “Murder in a Small Town – Curfew Enacted.” Maggott looks at Eany and Meany and wonders if they could learn to read, because if they could he wonders if they would be proud of what they have done to the folks of Salem Center. Maggott turns away and wonders how things turned to bad. The three of them traveled around the world in search of peace and finally had a chance to gain it with the X-Men, but in one moment Eany and Meany did the unthinkable. He suddenly turns violent and kicks the two slugs away, screaming that he hates them.

As darkness falls on the alley, Maggott tells the girls that now they have nothing. He suddenly feels a rush of immense pain and collapses to the ground. Red lights light up the alley and Maggott looks up to see several police cruisers parked nearby. Maggott looks at the cruisers and tells Eany and Meany, who are now gone, that he will finish this once and for all.

On the street, armed federal agents come out of a van. A detective comes out of a cruiser and tells the guards to make things quick and clean. The locals are locked in for the night, which means that the only living beings out are they and the killer. By morning, he just wants it to be them.

At Xavier’s mansion, Cecilia Reyes and Beast get into an argument in the kitchen. Beast hangs from the ceiling. In front of the two on the counter are tons of medical books. Beast sarcastically tells Cecilia that it pains him to do so, but he must give her a quarter so she can go out and buy herself a clue. She is clearly wrong. Cecilia tells Beast that he may have fifteen degrees in “theoretical cake baking,” but she is the resident medical expert and she says that Maggott’s slugs did not attack Wolverine. Beast smiles and tells her to enlighten him with her understanding of “precocious tissue amelioration” in mutants.

Cecilia agrees that she knows nothing about healing factors, “mutie” anatomy, or Wolverine, but if Beast would look with his eyes instead of his mouth he would notice that the scar tissue on Logan’s body is consistent with post-mortem exploration. She continues and says that unless Eany and Meany are diehard “Quincy” fans she doesn’t think they know how to perform an autopsy. Beast pauses and realizes that Cecilia is right. He tells her to continue. Cecilia smiles with victory and asks him if he knows anyone in the area who likes to dissect a live person in the name of science.

Elsewhere, in an unknown place, a Russian man lays strapped to a table. He wakes up and, in Russian, he calls out to anyone. He realizes he is strapped and becomes more confused. Suddenly, machines above him activate and begin to hum. Several knives and scalpels come out of the machine as it slowly lowers itself towards the man. He screams as the knives pierce and begin to dissect him. A sinister figure smiles in the shadows.

Outside the mansion, Storm, Cannonball, and Rogue, all in uniform, streak through the forest. Rogue tells the others that she knows Logan was always cryptic, but wonders if he said anything else. “Find Maggott, tell him he didn’t do it,” says Storm, repeating Logan’s message. She tells Rogue that Wolverine jumped out the window and disappeared into the woods. Cannonball tells Rogue that he was loopy and doesn’t understand why they let him leave.

Storm tells Sam that Wolverine’s instincts have proven to be correct in the past. She would trust him with her life. Cannonball asks if that even means when he has horrible wounds that shouldn’t even exist because he has a healing factor. He tells Storm that it was dumb to let him call the shots and mutters that no one asked him what he thought. Storm looks at Cannonball, surprised, but before she can say anything more he excuses himself and takes off for higher altitude now that they are far enough from the mansion.

Rogue and Storm land. Rogue rubs the back of her head and asks Storm if the tension between her and Sam just shot through the roof. She asks what happened while she was gone. Storm tells her that she and Sam are having a disagreement with what they should do with Marrow. He does not understand that the X-Men cannot allow a reckless terrorist in their midst. Rogue reminds Storm that she was once pretty reckless and still is. Storm tells Rogue that she never took a life. As Rogue takes off back into the air she agrees with Storm, but says that she permanently borrowed a few lives, which is worse.

Nearby, Wolverine leaps down from a tree to the forest floor. He thinks to himself that he has always fought with monsters both inside and out and has always bounced back. Not this time, though. As soon as Wolverine touches the ground, he is overcome by pain from his gut. He collapses to the ground. He grits his teeth and bears the pain. He doesn’t want to keep the team in the dark, but it is embarrassing to have a healing factor and still to be able to seep fluids from his injured body that just won’t heal.

Whatever did that to him shouldn’t have been able to, so that is why he wants every one else far away. Logan reaches his destination. In front of him is a towering monument; the N’garai cairn. The cairn is a dimensional gateway to the home of the demons known as the N’garai. Usually the cairn is covered in sensors to let the X-Men know if the gateway opens. Thanks to Bastion, though, it no longer is. The N’garai demons have come through a couple of times. Once after he joined the X-Men, another time when it was only Shadowcat in the mansion and, more recently, a few short months ago.

The N’garai are killing animals. If they staged an invasion of Earth, Earth would lose. The N’garai need to be met with savagery and with the rest of the team worrying about the new recruits it is up to him. Logan ponders over why the N’garai are killing people, their interest in Maggott, and how they hurt him. Unfortunately for them, they are not going to live long enough for him to find out.

Wolverine pops out his bone claws and prepares for action when a voice comes screaming through the forest. Cecilia Reyes screams at Beast and tells him that what he is doing to her is demeaning. She changed her mind; Logan can freeze out in the forest for all she cares. Wolverine looks up to see Beast swinging through the trees with Cecilia hanging on for dear life. However, Cecilia is different. Instead of her usual clothing, she wears a green uniform with a large gold ‘W’ on the chest, as well as hip boots. Beast laughs and tells Cecilia that he is appalled at her behavior. Cecilia tells Beast that she is going to swear a “blue streak” if he does not drop her immediately. Beast says that he can only oblige her, but is disappointed that she won’t hear his impression of Carol Burnett’s Tarzan.

Beast holds Cecilia with one arm and lands on the ground with a great thud. He tells the doctor that they reached the ground floor full of moss, lichens, and belligerent X-Men. Cecilia gets away from him and immediately starts to scream at him. Beast covers his head as Cecilia yells at him for the horrible outfit and asks if it is some sort of “depraved initiation rite?!”

In an innocent voice Beast tells her that she did not have a uniform so, when he went to see the Avengers, he borrowed a uniform from the Wasp’s closet. Of course, he did not remember what it looked like exactly. Cecilia turns her attention to the surprised Wolverine and asks him if he is a moron or just stupid. She tells him that he has massive trauma, but still runs off into the woods. Beast looks at the hip boots and the giant ‘W’ and decides to cancel his subscription to Vogue.

Cecilia starts to examine Wolverine right there in the woods. She raises his arms to see his sides. Logan asks her if she is done. Cecilia, in a calmer yet still belligerent attitude, says no. She sees guys like him all the time in the E.R. She tells him to take deep breaths. Beast turns around and is startled at the sight of the cairn. He asks Logan how long it has been there. Cecilia comes up with another thing to yell at Wolverine about, but puts his hand over her mouth. He tells Beast that when he was jumped the cairn was only a foot out of the ground. Beast rephrases the subject of the question and asks how long “they” have been there. Above the cairn, four creatures materialize.

In Salem Center, Officer Barney and his partner, Miller, lean against their cruiser and drink some coffee. Barney asks his partner if he has any family. Miller says he does, but they are upstate. He bought them a house alarm last week. Barney says he left his backup piece with his wife and then asks Miller if he is scared. The officer says no, but this is his first murder case. Barney tells him not to worry; the killer is only hitting isolated targets.

Miller asks Barney if a killer ever just gave up. Barney sips his coffee and asks Miller if he means like if the killer just turned himself in. He wishes that would happen. He would make sergeant in a month. Behind them, Maggott comes up with the newspaper of the murder held out and tells them to prepare their cuffs. He is the killer and is turning himself in.

Barney spills his coffee and the two turn around, but no one is behind them. Annoyed, Barney starts to clean his shirt and says the wind is always carrying weird noises, especially when is blows down from the school. Miller agrees and asks Barney to accompany him to the bathroom.

On a nearby rooftop Rogue carries Maggott up to Storm. Jokingly, she tells Storm that he looks a little scrawny and that only a dog likes a bone. Storm points to Maggott and tells him that she has a message from Wolverine. A few moments and a quick explanation later, Rogue, Maggott, Cannonball and Storm sit on the roof of a building. Rogue asks Maggott if he was worried why he didn’t say anything. Maggott says that there was no way he could tell them that he thought Eany and Meany were eating people when they already didn’t trust him. Sam says he thought Maggott could control his powers. Bitterly, Rogue reminds Sam that not all powers can be controlled. Maggott also bitterly agrees.

Maggott tells them that he couldn’t believe it at first, because Eany and Meany had always been perfect angels. However, he found them at Wolverine’s side and the looks of them told him all he needed to know. He didn’t know what to do. Storm consoles Maggott and tells him that they all have their moments of doubt. The Xavier Institute is just more than a school, though, it’s a family. Storm offers her hand to Maggott and invites him back to the school where the X-Men can help him regain control of Eany and Meany. Maggott turns down the offer and tells Storm that they are going straight to the police. She does not know what Eany and Meany are capable of when they start to act up. Even if they didn’t cause the deaths they were still at the murder scenes and cannot be trusted in the mansion.

Eany and Meany crawl to the edge of the roof. They look down to an alley. In the shadows of the alley are several creatures. The two jump off the roof and right for the alley. Maggott thinks they are trying to escape and jumps off the roof after them. Cannonball, Rogue, and Storm fly after him with Sam in the lead. As Sam flies down he wonders if Maggott was lying and Wolverine was wrong. Could Maggott be trying to escape?

Maggott tells Eany and Meany to stop, but the two begin to eat up the ground as soon as they reach it. Rogue is amazed at the sight. Storm asks if anyone is on the streets. Rogue tells her that they are clear, but not to worry because Cannonball will get Maggott. Sam reaches Maggott, but before he can grab him a brilliant flash of colors escapes from the hole and pulls everyone in.

Cannonball, Storm, and Rogue hit the ground roughly. Sam slowly gets up and tells Maggot that he did a neat trick. He looks up to find a limp hand dangling in front of him with blood dripping from it.

Back at the Xavier Institute, the four creatures materialize without a sound. Wolverine notices that he cannot pick up a scent. One of the creatures begins to chuckle, letting free the smell of death. Wolverine tells Beast that it is time to fight, but Beast stops him. Hank tells Logan that the creatures are studying them with their eyes. They are not the beasts he read about in the reports; they are not N’garai!

Wolverine says that he does not care. These are the things that are dissecting people and that is all that matters. Beast continues to hold him back and tells him that they need to coordinate their attack and not to rush in with brute force. Beast turns to Cecilia to give her an order, but the woman only looks at the demons in horror. She prays to Santa Maria for protection and screams as she runs through the forest.

The creatures above the cairn leap off the structure over Beast and Wolverine and into the forest. Wolverine tells Beast to let Cecilia go. Her force field will keep her safe. Wolverine slices a demon and tells Beast that this is no fight for a doctor. One demon hits Wolverine, who staggers. He then realizes that there is some sort of sorcery in their claws that is retarding his healing factor.

Horrified, Beast realizes that if the creatures can negate Logan’s healing factor, then they can negate Cecilia’s force field. Wolverine tells Beast to go after her. Beast argues that he cannot leave him, but Wolverine tells him to go get Cecilia safe and come back with the others. Beast leaps over a demon and swears to Logan that he will be back. The demons surround Logan, who already knows that Beast will not be back in time.

Cecilia runs through the forest. She is a strong woman who knows much about the world. She pays little attention to pain, because it is something she is used to. Dying does not scare her nor did the Prime Sentinels sent to kill her. However, demons are another matter. They are the things her grandmother told stories to her about when she did bad things. Demons scare Cecilia to death.

Cecilia’s foot gets stuck under a root and she falls to the ground. Right in front of her is a sleeping demon. She looks up as the demon wakes up and roars right into her terrified face. However, the roar is not coming from the demon. Cecilia looks up and finds Marrow sitting on top of the dead demon, holding its mouth open by pulling back on its long hair. Marrow is covered in purple blood and begins to laugh at Cecelia. She tells her she should learn to look ahead instead of her feet when she is running. Marrow explains that the demon was going to ambush Cecilia and eat her, but luckily she got there first.

Unexpectedly, Cecilia gets up and hugs Marrow. Marrow tells her to get off, but Cecilia can only start babbling in Spanish about demons, teeth, fangs and blood. Marrow pulls her back and slaps her in the face. Cecilia gasps and is shocked that Marrow slapped her. Marrow says she needed it. Cecilia looks behind the girl and says she might need it again.

Marrow turns around just in time to see another demon burst through the trees. Except, this time, Beast is riding on it. The beast raises its mouth to eat Beast, but narrowly misses the X-Man’s face. Marrow sarcastically mentions to Cecilia that she could never imagine the doctor leaving a fellow mutant behind. Marrow wonders why she bothers with Cecilia sometimes as she pulls a bone off her back. She stabs it into the demons throat, killing it. Beast is surprised that Marrow killed it with one strike. The Morlock asks him if he expected her to use a rolled up newspaper. Beast says no, but is more surprised about her return than her technique. Marrow pulls her bone out of the demon and tells him to join the club.

Beast goes over to Cecilia and asks her if she is injured. The doctor tells Beast that she does not panic. She has no problem with blood and guts. She even held her father when he bled to death when she was six. This is something that shouldn’t happen to her. Beast consoles her and tells her that it is normal. If she didn’t panic she wouldn’t be human. Beast tells her that he needs her courage to save Wolverine.

Marrow tells Beast to let Cecilia panic. Bravery is not going to do Wolverine any good any more. The other two turn to where Marrow is looking and see three demons, one of which is holding the remain of Wolverine’s costume covered in blood. Another has two of his bone claws in its mouth. Cecilia is terrified to think that the demons took down Wolverine, who is the toughest of them. Beast orders Cecilia to focus on her force field as the demons leap at them with their mouths wide open.

In Ukraine, Storm and the others sit. Storm tells the others that something under the asphalt transported them to their current location, though she wishes it hadn’t. Sam closes his eyes and covers his nose. He asks where they are. Rogue thinks that the victims are Russian.

The three look at the bodies, all hanging from their feet from pipes above. The three X-Men are outside of some sort of plant or factory. Rogue points out that the victims were all dissected like Wolverine. Weakly, Sam says that he has seen bad things since he came to the school, but it doesn’t get easier. Storm consoles him and tells him to pray that death never becomes easy to them.

Rogue interrupts them and points to a cairn in the distance and asks if that thing is responsible. Storm takes to the air and is surprised that the N’garai cairn is there. Sam is confused and says that he thought the N’garai only lived in their backyard. Rogue tells Sam that they must have moved, but Storm corrects her, saying that the N’garai are expanding. The demons have found other weak points between their dimension and the X-Men’s. Storm begins to wonder how many gateways have already been open and how many demons walk among them.

Sam asks her how the X-Men defeated them last time. Storm explains that the N’garai can only exist on Earth as long as the cairn exists. If the cairn is destroyed then they cease to exist in their world. However, the cairns always come back eventually. Their solution is only temporary.

Storm raises her hand and calls down lightning. She tells the others that they will destroy the cairn, bury the dead, then return home to do the same. Rogue grabs Storm’s arm and tells her to stop. She asks where Maggott is. Storm and Rogue stare at the cairn as Cannonball realizes that Maggott may have traveled through the gateway. The three fly towards the gateway above the cairn. Rogue asks Storm if they can travel back once they get in. Storm tells her that if they cannot destroy the cairn from within then it will not matter. Sam tells them to remind him to ring Maggott’s neck when this is all over. The three then travel through the portal.

In the home world of the N’garai, Maggott finds himself on the steps of a building. He weakly walks, but he feels as if he has no skin on his bones. He accepts the fact that he is going to die. He always knew that being separated from Eany and Meany would kill him. However, he did not know it would hurt so much. He collapses into a puddle, but hears several hisses. He looks up expecting to find Eany and Meany, but instead finds three demons. Maggott taunts them and tells them to kill him, because if he dies at least he knows Eany and Meany will die too.

Blood splatters on Maggot’s face. He looks up and tells Wolverine that he is the “god-ugliest guardian angel” he has ever seen. Wolverine stands on top of the dead demons. His shirt is gone and his face is covered in face paint. He wears several pendants and green flashes of energy appear around his wounds. His left hand only has one claw, the other two still have not regenerated from when the demons broke them off. Logan asks Maggott if he is having fun yet.

Elsewhere, Beast begins to mutter to himself in his sleep. In his sleep, he appears to mutter the cure for the Legacy Virus, but wakes up and is sad that he lost it. His eyes widen at the sight before him. Beast is tied to a wall by a strong white substance. In front of him is a large machine with dissecting tools at the tip. A demon is operating it. Beast notices that there are others in the chamber, many of whom are not from Salem Center or even the United States. Beast looks at the machine and deduces that no savage race could use it, which means that the N’garai not only have been busy, but they have also evolved.

Next to him, Marrow begins to laugh and is happy that Beast has awakened. Beast asks her what she is laughing for. Marrow tells him that there are two reasons. The first, she says, is that she runs from the mansion to avoid the big bad monster Wolverine, only to return to be overcome by worse monsters. Beast agrees, but points out that at least she did return. He tells her that it means a lot, but Marrow says it will only mean something if they survive. Beast asks her what the second thing was. The demon below looks at them and hisses. Marrow tells Beast that the demons are trying to kill Cecilia.

Below, Cecilia is strapped to the machine that is used for dissection. The machines try to dissect her, but are met by her force field. Cecilia screams and tells the demons that she won’t be dissected. She then realizes that her force field is holding. The demon becomes aggravated. Cecilia closes her eyes to concentrate. She opens her eyes and screams at the demons. She will not be afraid anymore. She tells the N’garai that she will deny them. The angry demon stops the machine.

Cecilia is surprised that the N’garai gave up. She smiles and is proud of her accomplishment and tells the N’garai that the Bronx is in the house. A voice calls to her and pulls back the machine. A towering demon with many red eyes stares at her while stroking his chin. He wonders why she called them N’garai. He tells Cecilia to explain it to him: Pilgrimm.

Somewhere else, Wolverine walks while supporting the weak Maggott. Maggot asks Wolverine about the necklace and face paint. Logan explains that time is different in the N’garai world, but right now is not the time to talk about it. Maggott asks him if he thinks he is stupid for trying to be the big hero instead of going to the X-Men for help. Wolverine tells Maggott if he dies, then he is stupid. If he doesn’t, then he was just shortsighted. He puts Maggott down so he can clear a path for them. Wolverine tells them that they have to find Kierokk, the leader of the N’garai. Maggott tells Logan that he would help if he could, but without Eany and Meany he is useless.

Logan tells him that they all bear their own crosses. All they can do is kick butt and get by. Maggott comments that Logan always has it under control. Wolverine pauses and then tells Maggott that he talks too much. He helps Maggot climb through the path he cut. Maggott asks Logan if he thinks any more demons made it to the surface. Wolverine tells him that he took care of a lot of them on his way down, so probably not.

Back at Salem Center, Miller asks Barney if he has his gun. Barney says it got heavy so he left it in the car. The two look at three demons that are tearing up their cruiser. Miller wonders if they can use their nightsticks. Barney tells him to shut up.

In the N’garai world, Pilgrimm looks closer at Cecilia and wonders how she knows of the N’garai. Cecilia notices Eany and Meany sitting on Pilgrimm’s shoulders. Hesitantly, she asks Pilgrimm if he is N’garai. Pilgrimm lashes out and destroys the table Cecilia is on. He screams that Cecilia is speaking profanity and tells her to never say it again. Beast screams at Pilgrimm. Marrow looks over to him and wonders if the Beast has fallen for the beauty.

Cecilia rolls over on the ground and wishes she could just wake up and find out that this is all a dream. She asks Pilgrimm what he is if he is not the “n-word.” Pilgrimm happily decides to show her. He snaps his fingers and creates blue energy, which he makes wider. He tells Cecilia that the N’garai once ruled this world until his people, the Ru’tai, took it over. The blue energy begins to show images of how the Ru’tai took over as Pilgrimm narrates the story.

The N’garai Empire was built on the back of the Ru’tai. Humans would call the Ru’tai the slave caste. The N’garai were stronger than they, but they did not have the vision or the understanding of life the Ru’tai knew. The energy of the universe was channeled through them. They knew that one day they would ascend. While the N’garai prepared to attack the human world, the Ru’tai gained power through secret practice and prayers. By the grace of Mai’keth the Undying One, the Ru’tai rebelled and took over as the scions of the universal design. Kierokk was deposed and his knowledge became that of the Ru’tai.

Kierokk had discovered a new dimension: the human world. It is full of life, energy and mystery. He, Pilgrimm, was chosen to serve the Ru’tai as an explorer. As a reward, he gained individuality and the right to a name. He came to Earth with the “Mongrels,” as Beast calls them. He had studied human, starting with the meat. “It has been very…enlightening.”

Pilgrimm stops the images and asks Cecilia to never speak of the N’garai again. Cecilia stands up and says no. She tells the Ru’tai that they learned nothing. They claim they are enlightened, but they are murderers just like the N’garai. Humans are vital living beings just like the Ru’tai and are just as unique. Pilgrimm picks her up and tells her that there is little difference between humans. He wonders why Cecilia is so angry when a massive gust of wind hits him in the back. Behind him, Storm orders him to let her go.

Lightning flares around Storm’s hand. She tells the Ru’tai that she knows nothing about them, but they have trespassed into her world. Rogue tells them that they started it, but the X-Men will finish it. Cannonball tells Pilgrimm that the cavalry has arrived. Pilgrimm welcomes them. From the eye that hangs from the chain around his neck an intense blast of power engulfs the X-Men.

The three collapse to the ground. Pilgrimm lets go of Cecilia and she runs over to them. She checks Storm’s pulse and hopes that she is not dead, because they need her. Wolverine and Maggot come up behind her. Cecilia is surprised. Wolverine asks her if they are all right. Cecilia says that they are okay. Eany and Meany look at Wolverine in bewilderment. Pilgrimm pets one of them and asks her if she recognizes him. Pilgrimm explains that there was a human that looked like “him,” but he did not believe it until now. Maggott looks at Eany and Meany and asks them what they are doing with Pilgrimm. Eany and Meany innocently look at their master.

Pilgrimm bows before them and asks for forgiveness. Sometimes his enthusiasm makes him forget the Ru’tai customs. Cecilia wonders to whom Pilgrimm is talking. Pilgrimm says that he can have some of the humans as gifts; two of them specifically are special. The bonds holding Marrow and Beast break open and the two fall. Beast catches Marrow. He smiles and jokingly says that no creature of Hades has ever complimented mutants. He asks Wolverine if he knows what is going on.

Logan has not clue and does not care. Right now, his blood is boiling. Angrily, Logan tells Pilgrimm that he is going to stop this now and orders him to call of the mongrels and to let everyone go. Pilgrimm asks if he has offended him and explains that he would rather surrender the Eye of Kierokk than abandon his duty of unlocking the world’s secrets. Pilgrimm believes that he is being tested like Wolverine once was. Storm stirs and starts to get up.

A beam of blue energy appears behind Pilgrimm and when it dies out there is a statue of Wolverine. Logan is shocked. Pilgrimm explains that they worship him, because he is the one who showed the Ru’tai the light and taught them that the N’garai had to be overthrown. Logan gave them the spark and killed off the N’garai without dying himself. After he left the Ru’tai took over. Wolverine is Mai’keth, the Undying One.

Cecilia asks Wolverine if it is true. Logan is shocked, but believes that it is. When he last came, he was not in control of the beast within and was happy to let go and kill the N’garai. Logan collapses to his knees and mutters that so many are dead because he became more of a monster than a man. Maggott asks him if he is all right, but Wolverine says that he is not. Storm flies into the air and tells the X-Men that they must end this. Pilgrimm tells the X-Men to stand down, as he sends the mongrels to take them down. The X-Men attack.

Cannonball and Rogue go for Pilgrimm while Storm, Marrow, and Beast go for the mongrels. Cannonball hits Pilgrimm and warns Rogue to watch out for his magic. Pilgrimm casts a spell to cause more bonds to appear. They grab Rogue, who suddenly feels cold. She wonders what would happen if the magic touched her skin. Rogue is thrown into the dissecting machine. Maggot shakes Wolverine and tells him to snap out of his trance, but Logan keeps on muttering that it is his entire fault. Maggott reminds Logan about what he said about everyone having crosses that they bear.

Pilgrimm watches the battle, but keeps an eye on Wolverine. He is impressed that the X-Men fight on, even though there is no point. He notices that Wolverine is not fighting and decides that he is not Mai’keth. Beast tells Storm that he believes Pilgrimm’s power comes from the Eye of Kierokk. He tells Logan to do a fastball special on the eye. Marrow goes to Maggott and tells him that Wolverine is not coming to mind yet. Maggott asks what a fastball special is. Marrow tells him to forget it and asks if he has any power left. Maggot says he has no more, but Marrow tells him to find some.

Maggott concentrates and he begins to grow bigger and turns blue. He asks her what he needs to do. She tells him to throw her at Pilgrimm and he does. Rogue and Cannonball try to get to the eye, but cannot get a clear shot. Rogue distracts Pilgrimm for Sam. Pilgrimm tells Rogue that he will take time to examine her, because there is something about her skin. Rogue punches Pilgrimm and tells Sam to attack, but Marrow flies past her. She cuts off the eye with a bone and it goes falling to the ground.

Cannonball catches Marrow and tells her that she does crazy stunts. Marrow says that they are daring, not crazy. Sam laughs and agrees. Maggott collapses and cheers on Marrow. “She did it…” says Cecilia, “the little psychopath did it…” However, Cecilia goes on and says that it does not matter because Pilgrimm is going back for the eye. She wonders how they are gong to stop them. Maggott tells her that they are not “they” anymore. There is just “us.” Behind Cecilia a mongrel sneaks towards her.

Wolverine leaps up behind Pilgrim with his claws out. Maggott cheers Logan on too. Cecilia takes in Maggott’s words and realizes that she is an X-Man too. Cecilia runs to save the day just as the mongrel behind her was about the slice her with its claws.

Cecilia runs and tells her father in heaven to watch, because she is going to make him proud. Pilgrimm thinks Mai’keth is behind him, but is disappointed to only see Wolverine. Wolverine stabs him and says that he is the undying one, the bearer of the cross Pilgrimm gave him. He is going to teach the Ru’tai how special life is. Cecilia rushes past Pilgrimm, as the floor below her starts to break up and flow like waves. Cecilia realizes that she is not going to reach the Eye. She prays that she does not blow this as she is flipped into the air. She lands on top of the Eye and cracks it with her butt.

Pilgrimm screams and asks what “it” has done. Logan tells him that he shouldn’t call Cecilia “it,” because she just kicked his butt into oblivion. The bonds holding the prisoners begin to dissipate. Beast tells Storm and the others that, without the Eye, Pilgrimm cannot maintain the dimension anymore. He recommends that they find the nearest portal out and get to Earth. Storm tells the X-Men to get the civilians and get out. Storm uses her winds to keep the cavern from collapsing for a moment. Pilgrimm tells Wolverine that it took eons for the Ru’tai to create their home.

Beast asks Marrow how she likes being a good guy as they grab civilians. She points out that it is less bloody and more upworlders live. So, all in all, it isn’t necessarily better. Cecilia grabs Maggott by the arm and tells him to get up as the cavern starts to collapse. Wolverine rushes over and asks what the hold up is. Maggott tells Logan to leave him. They just don’t understand. He cannot go. Wolverine tells him that he can, with the help of his friends. Wolverine slings him over his shoulders. Eany and Meany see Maggott and leap into his welcoming arms.

Pilgrimm screams at the other Ru’tai and asks them to not let him die without avenging himself. He asks them to give him one more chance.

In Las Vegas, the cairn in the pool in front of a casino begins to crack until it suddenly explodes, sending energy everywhere. Around the world, similar events happen at all the cairns. The doorways that most people never knew slam shut. Humanity is saved from the Ru’tai.

In the pool in Las Vegas, the X-Men lay piled in it. A man yells at them and asks them what is going on and where the “big rock” went. Storm asks if everyone is okay. Sam says they are and adds that he is glad to be back in the world. Maggott mumbles to Eany and Meany that only one of them is enough for now, but the others do not hear him.

A guard comes up the X-Men and demands to see some I.D. Marrow pulls out a bone claw and puts it under his neck. She tells him that is his I.D. She introduces them as the X-Men and explains that they saved his sad excuse for a world. Marrow asks him if he has a problem. Beast tells the others that her delivery needs some work, but Marrow’s heart is in the right place. The other X-Men smile. Maggott pets the one worm on his shoulder, the other is nowhere to be seen.

Back in Salem Center, Miller looks surprised and tells Barney that it is strange. Barney asks Miller that after all they saw tonight he can still consider something strange. The two look at a mongrel sitting in the back of a truck. Miller tells Barney that he is just sitting there like a pup waiting. He turns to the man closing the van door and tells him that the creature is their murderer and that they need it.

The man, who wears all black, tips his hat to the officers and closes the van door, which has Black Air printed on it. He tells the officers that they will receive their collar for the arrest. Barney interjects, but the man tells them that the world will sleep easier now. The Black Air agent gets into the van and drives away. Miller asks Barney where he thinks they are taking the creature. Barney doesn’t care. Black Air is some sort of spook organization, so they are probably taking it to some fed bunker.

Later, in Las Vegas, the X-Men depart from the city. The former prisoners of the Ru’tai are taken by the police. They tell them their stories and begin to return home. An officer takes one man and tells him that they are taking all English speaking civilians to the police station. The officer tells the man that he will be fine. The man opens the cruiser door and says that he is in good spirits. The officer asks what happened and how did they appear in the middle of Las Vegas. The man’s eyes glow red and he says that he is here to study. The officer asks if he is a student then. “No…” says the man, “A Pilgrimm.”

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cannonball, Cecilia Reyes, Maggott, Marrow, Rogue, Storm, and Wolverine (all X-Men)

Eany and Meany (Maggott’s slugs)

Pilgrimm, various mongrels (all Ru’tai)

Black Air agent

Las Vegas security guard and police officers

Officer Barney and Miller

Various federal agents

Russian man

Various dead Russians

Various people Ru’tai kidnapped

Pilgrimm’s Images:



Various N’garai and Ru’tai

Story Notes: 

A series of murders started in X-Men (2nd Series) #71. Maggott began to suspect that Eany and Meany were behind this and his conviction grew stronger when he found Eany and Meany by Wolverine’s bloody, unconscious body in X-Men (2nd Series) #74.

Rogue took a very brief leave of absence after Uncanny X-Men #354 when the others believed she had purposely absorbed Wolverine when in truth it was Sauron, but returned almost immediately after in Uncanny X-Men #355.

During Operation: Zero Tolerance, Bastion and his Prime Sentinels took over the Institute and took everything away, including the paint off the walls. The only thing he did leave was a bucket, as shown in X-Men (2nd Series) #70.

The N’garai first fought the X-Men shortly after the new team formed in X-Men (1st Series) #96. While alone on Christmas, Kitty Pryde was attacked by a N’garai demon in Uncanny X-Men #143. More recently Wolverine battled the demons in Wolverine Annual ’95.

Beast’s recent visit to the Avengers took place in Avengers (3rd Series) #1-4.

Marrow left the mansion in X-Men (2nd Series) #72 after an altercation with Wolverine. However, a run in with Angel and the Abomination, along with persuasion from Callisto, made Marrow decide to return in X-Men (2nd Series) #74.

Cecilia was attacked by Prime Sentinels in X-Men (2nd Series) #66.

One possible intent at humor is the names of the two police, Miller and Barney. Chances are that they are named after the character of Barney Miller, a police captain of a detective squadron in a television series named after the title character that ran from 1975 – 1982.

Issue Information: