X-Men (2nd series) #76

Issue Date: 
June 1998
Story Title: 
A Boykie and His Dinges

Joe Kelly (Writer), Mat Broome (Guest Artist), Sean Parsons with Aaron Sowd (Guest Inkers), Liquid! (Colors), Richard Starkings and COMICRAFT (Letters), Mark Powers (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

As Cecilia gives mandatory physicals to all the X-Men after their ordeal with the Ru’tai, Wolverine searches for Maggott and finds him hiding in Storm’s attic. Wolverine confronts Maggott about his recent odd behavior, including why he doesn’t eat. Reluctant at first, Maggott explains his origins. He was one of five brothers living in Transvaal near the town of Ottoshoop and his name is Japheth. He, however, was not growing properly and his family was starving to death, as his parents paid for his medical costs and special food he needed to eat. When he was twelve, he heard his mother pray to God to end their suffering, so he took the jeep and drove as far as he could, which was the Kalahari Desert. It was there that he discovered his brother, Daniel, sleeping in the back. The two continued walking until they were found by Magneto, who used his powers to cure Japheth by pulling out two slugs from his stomach, which were the source of his health problems. These slugs were his digestive system given form and could enter and leave Maggott’s body without harming him. Magneto brought the boys back home, but found that the Afrikaners destroyed it and murdered Maggott’s eldest brother, Lot, which prompted his father to head to Ottoshoop to get revenge. Magneto and Maggott followed and Maggott told Magneto to stop the white men. Magneto killed them all to the horror of Maggott, but much to the glee of the Africans. Disgusted, Maggott refused to join Magneto, who left assured that one day Maggott would see the true way. Maggott explains his powers to Wolverine and adds that the story gets worse, but Wolverine tells him that they have plenty of time to talk about the rest later. Storm returns from the post office with a package from her mother, Ainet, who tells her that Ananasi threatens the world and Storm must return home.

Full Summary: 

In the Medical Lab of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, Marrow complains to Dr. Cecilia Reyes that she is cold. Marrow sits atop a bed, dressed in her normal pants but with a hospital gown covering her top. Cecilia, dressed in the usual green doctor’s uniform, tells Marrow to hush for a moment before telling Beast, who is behind some curtains to give the women some privacy, that there is another fully ossified bone on Marrow, this one being fifteen centimeters and on the eighth rib on the left.

Cecilia asks Marrow if they hurt when they pop put. Marrow, still uncomfortable, tells the doctor to use her imagination. Beast tells Cecilia that Marrow’s physical is now finished and asks for her assessment. Cecilia pulls off her gloves and tells Beast that the Ru’tai didn’t harm Marrow in any way that an aspirin and band-aid couldn’t fix. Cecilia smiles and tells Marrow not to let the door hit her on her coccyx when she leaves.

Rudely, Marrow rips off the hospital gown and tells Cecilia that it is about time she finished. She has stuff to attend to. Really, says Cecilia, like more redecorating of the basement. If Marrow needs help, then she should let her know. Marrow flicks Cecilia in the face, but of course is stopped by Cecilia’s force field, and tells her that she tolerated the probing and physical curiosities, but Cecilia should mind where she sticks her nose or she may lose it. She then orders Cecilia to move out of the way. Cecilia doesn’t move and tells the wild girl that she was just making conversation. Annoyed, Marrow tells Cecilia that all she is doing is making her mad. Beast peers from behind the curtain and tells the women to calm down, for this is a place of healing. He then stops and tells Marrow to put something on at least, as he sees Marrow is still shirtless. Cecilia tells Marrow to take her best shot, to which the Morlock replies that Cecilia better be careful what she wishes for.

Cannonball flies into the room and tells the doctors that he looked all over the mansion, but he couldn’t find Maggott. At that moment, Sam sees Marrow’s exposed chest and comes to a complete halt by Beast. He covers his eyes and cannot believe that, after living with two teenager sisters his whole life, he could forget to knock before walking in. Beast smiles and tells Sam that they are adults and he is sure there is nothing here that he hasn’t seen before. Beast immediately takes that back and changes the subject to what Sam was talking about before. With his eyes still covered Sam explains that he told Maggott that his physical was next, but he disappeared. Disappointed, Cecilia points out that, after what Maggott went through with the Ru’tai, he should have been the first one checked.

Marrow stands in front of the men and spreads her arms open, telling Sam to open his eyes. Cannonball flatly says no and Beast, who also looks away, tells Marrow that she is going to cause Sam to have a seizure. Cecilia sighs at the incompetence around her and asks if someone would go find Maggott or at the very least just go to their rooms or something. Marrow refuses to cover herself and asks Beast for help, as he cannot leave the room without uncovering his eyes. Beast tells Cannonball that he is on his own. He just works here.

In the attic of the school, Maggott has his ears pressed to the floor and tells Eany and Meany that it sounds like Marrow is keeping everyone busy, which is good, since Storm is out on errands, so they should be able to skip the medical tests. Maggott leans up against the wall and admits he is a little “dwaal” from their recent adventure, but he refuses to let anyone examine him. However, he cannot hide for the others will notice that he keeps on avoiding Cecilia and keeps skipping meal. Suddenly, a voice mentions that he shouldn’t keep on talking when he is hiding. Wolverine descends from the skylight of the attic and tells Maggott that they already noticed the things he mentioned and hopes this doesn’t blow his timing. Maggott asks Wolverine how he found him, to which Wolverine reminds the boy of his heightened senses.

Maggott assures Wolverine that he wasn’t hiding, but just wanted privacy. Wolverine openly admits he doesn’t believe him. Maggott has his room for privacy, but he is hiding from something in the attic. Maggott questions what it matters even if he is. Wolverine explains that a new addition to the X-Men shouldn’t carry himself that way, which will lead the others to doubt his integrity and they already went down that road. The man takes off his mask and tells Maggott to fess up. Why is he skipping Cecilia’s exams?

Quietly, Maggott tells Wolverine that he just doesn’t like doctors and that’s all. Wolverine tells Maggott that normally he would be inclined to believe him but, given how Maggott cannot even look him in the face and the sudden tone shift in his voice, he needs something to get off his chest. Maggott declines the offer to spill his emotions out, but Wolverine advises the boy to trust someone in the mansion, because there will be a time in their business that secrets will get people dead. Maggott doesn’t have to tell Wolverine first, but he is here and free. Wolverine lights a cigar and tells Maggott to decide fast, because Storm hates it when he smokes up there and he doesn’t want to risk a lightning bolt up the butt for nothing.

Maggott thinks for a second and then begins to ask Wolverine if he has ever been to South Africa, northwest Transvaal to be specific. The view enough is to die for there, especially where he grew up near a small town named Ottoshoop. He still cannot believe that five children and two parents were able to live in his house, but they still managed to thrive. They were an hour’s walk from town and an hour’s drive from the closest source of Apartheid aggression. His brother, Lot, was the oldest and yearned to be a photo-journalist. He would always take pictures of everything with his camera. Next to his dad, Lot was the closest thing Maggott had to a hero. His youngest brother was Daniel, who had such a bright smile. He was the sweetest child in the world, but also had a weird taste, as Daniel idolized him the most; the lame one, the sick one, the burden.

When Maggott was twelve, an outsider would swear that he was younger than Daniel. He couldn’t keep a solid appetite anymore and even juice starting tasting bad to him. The doctors didn’t know what was happening and assumed it was stomach cancer. Sometimes Maggott wishes he were that lucky. His father was solid as a rock. Maggott never heard him complain a day in his life. His mother did not say anything either, or at least not with her mouth. Her eyes, however, spoke volumes. At the same time in the United States, people were just learning that South Africa was more than a diamond mine. It was full of corruption and was being eaten by the cancer that was Apartheid. Maggott’s family was under a similar attack, but he was the cancer.

His father worked like a dog in the gold mines to support the family but, by the time he paid for the doctors and the medicine and the special protein gruel that was the only thing he could eat anymore, there was nothing left for any of the other family members. Maggott was killing them. One day, he snuck out of bed and went to his parents’ room and saw his mother pray to God not to think of her as evil, but please take him soon as the family cannot suffer any more. Maggott then figured that four boys were just as good as four boys and a cripple, so that night he decided he was going to leave.

The next day, Maggott woke very early and got into the family jeep. Luckily, he remembered the old trick to get it started. He then drove off to answer his mother’s prayers. That wouldn’t be the first time he would go try and kill himself and it wouldn’t be the last time that he would mess up the job. The jeep had enough petrol to take them to Pretoria, but his father never used it except for emergencies and this definitely counted as one. The jeep took him as far as the middle of the Kalahari Desert before it ran out of gas. This was far enough, though, to fry to death without hearing his mother cry. However, in his haste to leave he didn’t say goodbye to his family and he didn’t bother to check the back of the jeep, which was Daniel’s napping spot. Sure enough, as soon as Maggott stepped out of the jeep to trek by foot across the Kalahari, Daniel woke up in the back. “Oh Sherbet,” said Maggott in despair.

Daniel did not complain the whole time. He thought he and Japheth were just having another adventure, but Maggott knew it would be their last. As they walked across the hot desert, he knew that he has ruined the perfect child, and he wanted to cry. The sun robbed him of all water, though, and it took only one hour for the two of them to come to a complete stop in the middle of a sandstorm. As blisters rose from Maggott’s back, he realized that he would go to Hell for killing Daniel. What he didn’t know, as he looked across the desert at the coalescing sand before him, was that he had sinned so badly that the devil was making a trip to Africa just to get him.

Elsewhere, in Salem Center, Storm heads to the post office where she picks up a large sack of mail that had been piling up in the office. An employee jokingly asks Storm if she was sleeping on the job and then advises her to change the name of the school to Rip Van Winkle Institute of Higher Snoring. He then asks Storm what kind of school Xavier is running where no one picks up the mail. Storm quickly tells the man that they have been on break between semesters, during which the school was closed for renovations. The employee reminds her that they will be closed for a long time if Xavier doesn’t pay these bills.

Storm looks at the pile of letters that have fallen to the floor and sees how something as banal as mail puts things into perspective. Here she has a bundle of mail with names, real names, meant to be read by real people, not outlaw mutants. Some of it is addressed to friends on leave, such as Scott and Jean, and to those long gone separate ways such as Kurt, Piotr, and Kitty. Storm picks up a letter addressed to Remy and thinks of how his name has been banished from their language, but even though she has difficulty forgiving him, she does miss him. As Storm wonders how everything changed so drastically so fast, the employee hands her over a beat-looking package that seems to have been to Hell and back. Storm thanks the man and is shocked to see the package is from her homeland.

Back in Storm’s attic, Maggott asks Wolverine if he wants him to go on, because this part starts to get wicked. Wolverine admits that he probably doesn’t want to hear what comes next but, with a cliffhanger like that, how can he resist? Maggott continues and recalls how Daniel called the man an angel, a really ticked off one at that, who had decided to dress up like the devil. All Maggott can recall at the time about that man were his eyes, which looked not at you, but through you. Wolverine probably heard of the man, who goes by the name of Magneto. Terrified, Maggott dragged Daniel away, but got three feet before he was stopped cold when Magneto began to speak. Magneto asked what children of all things are doing in such a godforsaken wilderness. Daniel pulled away from Maggott and warned Magneto to stay away from his brother.

Magneto then looked at Maggott and either knew what he really was, or saw a child in pain. Either way, he came to Maggott’s side and touched him. Suddenly, he didn’t feel scared anymore. Maggott began to plead for the stranger to take Daniel home and to let him die. Magneto shushed him and told him that such thoughts are not good for one so young. A magnetic flare surrounded the two and, for the first time in ages, Maggott’s stomach did not hurt. Shocked, Maggott asked Magneto if he was an angel. Magneto paused and then told him that he is no angel, just a man who has eased his pain. He then told Maggott to relax and assured him he would help. Maggott would later realize that Magneto was using his powers to stop his nerves from registering the pain, which made what came next easier. Suddenly, Maggott felt as if he was watching a horror movie as two giant slugs burst out of his stomach with crystal clear sound and the splattering of his inner juices. All three of them were put off by the event of giant slugs popping out of him and the fact that they closed the hole behind him and kept him alive.

Wolverine lights another cigar and tells Maggott to hold on so he can register what he just heard. After a moment, he tells Maggott to go on. Maggott tells Wolverine that he doesn’t remember much about that night, because he fell asleep. All he does remember is that Magneto whispered many things to him, but some of the words he remembered were “mutant,” “Homo superior,” “persecution” and “domination.” The term mutant especially sunk in. He woke up the next morning to hear Daniel yelling about something. He almost didn’t realize that he skin had turned blue. Before he could question his savior, he saw what Daniel was yelling about. Those slugs had eaten an antelope to the bone. Magneto understood Maggott’s powers and stayed up all night to watch the slugs. Whatever they were, their only function was to eat. When they ate, he became stronger. At first, Maggott was terrified of them, but Magneto soothed his worries and explained that the slugs were his birthright.

Maggott didn’t know what to do, so he accepted the slugs and that is how this love-hate relationship started. They waited for a few hours for him to recuperate and he even turned back to his original skin color. Magneto then ripped out a piece of the Earth for Maggott and his brother to sit up as he lifted them back home. Along the way, Magneto spoke again of “their kind” and how he could enjoy true freedom. All Maggott had to do was follow Magneto’s lead. There was something in his voice, though, that sounded similar to the Afrikaners, who would always look down upon Maggott. Soon, the boy began to suspect that there was more to their savior than met the eye.

When they got home, the two boys found their place on fire. The revolts against Apartheid got violent and spread. Troops looking to end the resistance started attacking Ottoshoop, and they started with their home. Maggott’s mother was relieved to see her boys, whom she began to hug. She had thought that the Afrikaners had taken them. She was so shocked she didn’t even notice Magneto. However, she did have bad news. As Maggott looked around, his mother explained that Lot was dead. Being the oldest and armed with a camera, the soldiers condemned him to death on the spot. His mother continued, but Maggott did not hear the rest except for how his father, a holy man, went to town for revenge. Magneto looked at him and asked if he was going to cry or do something about it. Maggott did not need to answer as Magneto scooped him up and they flew to Ottoshoop.

Upon reaching town, Maggott soon realized that those “monsters” who killed his brother were just men. He just learned his first lesson in hate and he was about to learn another one, as he saw his dad in battle with a disarmed white man. For God’s sake, help him, screamed Maggott to Magneto. No, Japheth, said Magneto, not for God’s sake, but for your own. Magneto asked the boy if he wanted him to save his father’s life, not matter how. Worried, Maggott told him that he didn’t care what the man did to those jackals.

Magneto welcomed him to the struggle and showed Maggott the most abhorrent thing in his life. Men were lifted in the air, first confused and then screaming, as they realized they no longer controlled their bodies. Then the popping noises started as Magneto forced the iron in their blood to a central point. Bones were crushed and organs burst. That wasn’t the worst of it. Magneto told Maggott to look at the crowd. This was humanity and this is why they need to rise above it. Maggott saw what Magneto meant. The revolting men cheered on the slaughter of the whites. As Maggott’s father came near, Magneto explained that humans are animals.

Terrified, Maggott told Magneto he isn’t like him. Magneto could have easily stopped the men, but he chose to kill them and is no better. Magneto called him foolish and reminded him that he was weeping for animals. Maggott stood up to Magneto and told him that they weren’t animals. Magneto explained that time and experience taught him otherwise and he knows one day they will teach Japheth. He would forgive Japheth this time, but assured him that those who cheered him that day would turn on him the next. When they do, he should seek out Magneto and together they will overcome. After that he was gone. The noise of the victory left Maggott wondering if he should laugh or cry. All Maggott wanted to do at that moment was to be in his dad’s arms. Suddenly, his slugs crawled back near his stomach and the following sound out of his mouth wasn’t even human but, in the crowd, no one noticed.

What didn’t they notice, asks the confused Wolverine. Maggott explains to him that the X-Men didn’t notice why he never ate with them or how the sight of food makes him wince, or why he runs to the bathroom five times a day. That is because he has nothing to eat with except Eany and Meany. They are his powers, his digestive system given form. As Maggott turns blue again and the slugs near his stomach, he explains that when it is time for Eany and Meany to pass their nutrients on to him, they go back in the way they came from. Maggott is overcome by pain as Eany and Meany tear their way in.

As it ends, Maggott explains that, somehow they close the door behind them, but it still hurts like there is no tomorrow. He can feel them inside all the time and that is why he doesn’t want to see the doctor. Maggott face is covered with sorrow as he explains that there is much more and it gets worse. Wolverine tells Japheth to save it; they’ve got plenty of time.

Later that day, as the night falls, Storm returns and is surprised to find her skylight open. She is also surprised to see Maggott and Wolverine in her room. Maggott tells Wolverine that he was right. If they just waited, it would rain beautiful women. Wolverine tells Maggott to watch his tongue. Storm questions the men on why they are in her room, besides stinking it up with tobacco. Wolverine quickly puts out his cigar and pretends that he doesn’t realize that he was smoking. Wolverine explains that it was just “guy stuff.” Storm has a worried look, but Wolverine reminds her that Nightcrawler was in charge of the panty raids. The two just needed a place to talk.

Wolverine asks about the package and Storm explains that it is from her village. Interested, Maggott comes nearer, as Storm opens the box. Wolverine tells Maggott to give Storm some space, as she pulls out a clay statue, which immediately begins to speak and tells Storm that she must come quickly, for a great evil has come to their village; one that threatens the world. Her people are dying. She must come home, for only she can stop Ananasi! The statue falls about into sand, as Storm stands shocked at the message from Ainet, her mother.

Characters Involved: 

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

Post Office Employee

Statue of Ainet

Maggott’s Flashback:
Da and Ma

Daniel, Japheth, Lot, two unnamed brothers


Various Afrikaners

Various Anti-Apartheid protestors

Story Notes: 

The X-Men battled the Ru’tai in X-Men (2nd Series) #75.

Apartheid was the policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against Africans, mostly in the country South Africa by white colonists, so that the white minority had more power than the non-white majority. Apartheid is now illegal, but the social and economic disparity still exists.

Afrikaners were a group of white settlers who had emigrated mostly from the Netherlands and settled in South Africa during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Great Britain often engaged in long wars with them over the gold supply. The British believed the Afrikaners were weak, but knew that the Germans were sympathetic to their cause. In 1899, war broke out that lasted longer than the British expected in the Boar War. On April 1902, the Afrikaners surrendered.

Readers were first aware of a relationship between Magneto and Maggott in Uncanny X-Men #350, the same issue of Gambit’s trial.

The full nature of Maggott’s symbiotic relationship with Eany and Meany is still unexplained. Maggott is believed to have been killed in Weapon X (2nd Series) #5, though it appears that his slugs can live without him, as seen in Weapon X (2nd Series) #14.

Ainet is not Storm’s biological mother. She was Storm’s “adoptive” mother when Storm lived in an African village.

Issue Information: