X-Men (3rd series) #1

Issue Date: 
September 2010
Story Title: 
Curse of the Mutants: part one

Victor Gischler (writer), Paco Medina (penciler), Juan Vlasco (inker), Marte Gracia (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer) Adi Granov (cover), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

The fallout from Dracula’s death hits home for the X-Men. The vampire leader Xarus has plans for the mutants, which are set in motion when Jubilee is infected by an exploding vampire’s blood. While the X-Men worry what’s happening to her other humans who were near the explosion feel the call later that night and eagerly meet up with their vampire masters. Meanwhile, Cyclops orders Wolverine to assemble a team and do some recon. He, Angel and Pixie set out and after easily defeating a large group of familiars and a vampire upstart discover a vampire safehouse filled with weapons, armor and victims. Cyclops decides it’s time to call the X-Men together to plan their next move in what appears to be an impending war.

Full Summary: 

Union Square, San Francisco

Two callous youths are out on Union Square playing hacky sack and arguing with each other over who’s mess things up. They don’t notice a large, leather clad figure walking toward them. His head is also fully enveloped in leather with a sealed zipper over the mouth and red-tinged goggles covering the eyes.
The figure lumbers onward not paying attention to the two teenagers either. He bumps into the boy with the shaved head and tattoos messing up their game. Both boys yell at the figure, the tattooed teen threatening to mess him up. After sizing up the hulking figure his floppy-haired friend reconsiders his attitude and cautions his friend to do the same.
The Square is pretty busy with music, Frisbee, dogs and babies. Sitting at a small round table beneath a green canopy are Jubilee and Pixie, the latter thanking Jubilee for agreeing to meet with her. Jubilee snarks that it was probably Cyclops’ idea to check up on her.
Pixie admits Scott had a little to do with it and explains they want to make sure she doesn’t feel left out with all that’s been happening recently. Jubilee takes a sip of her drink and admits her adjustment to life without powers has been interesting, but she doesn’t want any pity from them. Pixie says she completely understands, but wants Jubilee to know she still has friends.
Suddenly, Pixie has an epiphany. She spots a nacho cart not far away and takes off in a jog telling Jubes that the bright yellow, melty “cheese” makes everything more awesome. What she doesn’t notice is the leather-clad giant walking over toward their table. Neither does Jubilee for that matter.
The figure stops just short of the former mutant. As an uncle and his niece discuss the merits of retirement the leather clad figure unzips the mouth covering and utters, “For my people.” Smoke begins emanating from his mouth and soon his whole body as he removes his leather jacket revealing his bare upper torso. There’s a brief sizzling sound before the figure, a large vampire, explodes into a bloody fury.
“Jubilee!” screams Pixie as she rushes over to her friend’s side. Jubile was knocked out of her chair with the explosion and lies on the ground covered in blood, eyes wide in disbelief. Pixie asks if she’s hurt, but Jubilee is too stunned to tell. Pixie wraps her arms around her and tells Jubes she’ll be just fine.
nearby building

Using an advanced pair of binoculars Xarus watches from his apartment as his compatriot explodes. Alyssa, lounging on his ornate couch, asks if he likes what he sees. “It’s perfect. Exactly as planned,” he replies.

As the sun begins to set on Utopia Cyclops and Wolverine are watching the evening news, the latter sporting a cowboy hat and wearing a beater, an empty bottle of beer held sideways in one hand. The blonde-haired reporter lets the good citizens know that the FBI and CIA have no idea what caused the explosion at Union Square. Logan makes a comment about Al Qaeda in San Francisco, but Scott says it doesn’t feel right. Pixie enters the room right on cue and says it’s not, telling Scott he needs to head downstairs.
medical lab

Downstairs, Jubilee is being tended to by Drs. Kavita Rao and Nemesis in some sort of examining room. Despite the young girl’s protests to the fact that she’s fine the good doctors continue to poke and prod.
Enter Cyclops, Wolverine and Pixie. “Heard you managed to find yourself some excitement, kiddo,” Scott says. Then Pixie tells Jubilee to tell them about the bomber. Jubilee fills them in on what happened, that there was no bomb, just some guy who took his coat off and then his skin started to sizzle until he exploded. Scott hones in on the flesh burning in the sunlight and asks Wolverine if anything comes to mind. Logan says he doesn’t think Scott wants to know what he’s thinking.
Fisherman’s Wharf

The sun is almost down as two tourists look out over the water at the island prison, Alcatraz. The taller gentleman with the camera states that nobody ever escaped from there. The stockier guy with glasses tells him Clint Eastwood did. Then one of them notices a ghoulish looking head emerge from the nearby waters. At first the tall guy thinks it’s a mutant. Seeing as how the figure that emerges is carrying a large sword his stocky friend tells him to just give him some room.
Two nearby patrolmen approach the figure, Highlord, the Atlantean vampire sect leader, and begin to question him about the weapon he’s carrying. In response Highlord grabs the mustached officer between his arm and snaps his neck, then skewers the other officer through the gut. He leaves the tourists alone, who in turn dial 911.
Utopia, medical lab

Cyclops discusses Jubilee’s situation with Drs. Rao and Nemesis, the former bringing up a holographic display of Jubilee’s blood sample. She explains the “bombing” affected anyone nearby whether through an open sore, an eye, nostril or mouth. Cyclops hesitates, asking if Jubilee has been turned.
Nemesis takes the question this time. He states she has not been transformed, but states that the infection in her blood is progressing rapidly. He explains only time will tell what will happen, and alludes to a bigger picture. Cyke wants to know what he means by “big picture.” Nemesis tells him the bombing wasn’t meant to scare people, but to spread a virus.
Scott looks toward the ground deep in thought. When he lifts his head he asks Nemesis if he can cure it. In ten years with a billion dollars in funding, the ever sarcastic Nemesis replies.
In walks Jubilee who heard her name being thrown around. She asks what’s going on, but everyone there avoids eye contact with her. “Guys?” she asks as her look of puzzlement turns to worry.
Pacific Heights

The moon is full and bright in the dark, evening sky. Lisa, the niece from earlier, is outside on her bedroom balcony, clad in her white night clothes, staring into the nothingness. A voice from within the room asks her to come to bed. She says she can’t sleep, her heart is racing. Lisa explains it’s as if the night is brighter somehow and wants her.
This last part she states dreamily causing her husband to throw off the covers and get out of bed. When he approaches the open doors he finds Lisa no longer there. “Lisa,” he calls out as a mist seems to roll through the room.
secluded knoll

Elsewhere, Highlord, Alyssa and Brad wait for the infected humans to arrive. There are many and Lisa is among them. Highlord notes that she is the furthest along and draws her close to him. He strokes her chin with his thumb and asks if she is ready to give herself to them. “Yes. I… thirst,” she replies. He smiles greedily and answers, “Let us quench our thirsts together.”
Nearby, Brad counts off the humans who’ve arrived. They total 24 and Brad doesn’t seem happy, especially since the one Xarus wants isn’t there. Alyssa smiles and tells him not to worry, that the target will eventually come to them once the infection in her veins grows strong enough. Brad can only hope so, though he’s still not sure how this scheme is supposed to work. Alyssa tells him not to worry his little head about it, the master’s plan is working perfectly.
Utopia, kitchen area

Catching some of the senior X-Men mid-conversation Ororo volunteers to go on the scouting mission Scott is proposing. Logan interjects, saying it might not be a good idea considering her history with the subject. Storm argues that’s the reason she should go, she knows how he thinks.
Scott emits a resounding “No” and then asks Wolverine who he needs. Logan, arms folded across his chest, says it depends on whether he wants him to do a look-see or to break things. Scott says he just wants a scouting report, but says if it gets rough… He doesn’t get to finish his sentence as Logan ends it for him, “get rough back.” He puts on his cowboy hat and turns to leave.
San Francisco, downtown

The scouting team, which consists of Wolverine, Angel and Pixie, is downtown trolling for vampires. Warren takes the high ground scouring over the city from up high, but without any luck. He radios to Wolverine to see if he picked up a scent. Wolverine, who’s kneeling beside some police tape, says the smell is unmistakable. He turns down a narrow alley with Pixie close behind.
Angel asks if Wolverine wants him to drop to a lower altitude, but Wolverine wants him up high looking at the bigger picture. He then stops running and pops his claws. Pixie asks what’s going on and he tells her they’re not alone.
From out of seemingly everywhere people, mostly teens, come out of their hiding spots, some brandishing simple weapons. Despite the fierce-looking costumed X-Men the kids seem pretty cocky as they close in for a brawl. Wolverine resheathes his claws and starts going to town on them. Pixie does the same zapping a few with her powers.
Wolverine radios for Angel to join the party. He does so, swooping the alley at top speed and knocking about four of the combatants off their feet. The familiars are down, an easy victory for the trained X-Men. When Angel asks about their next move Wolverine turns to face a now unguarded door and tells him the hard part is coming.
The door opens into a dark warehouse. The claws are out again as Wolverine sniffs the air. He then tells Pixie to stay outside and reaches for the light. A female vampire leaps at him from up above. She loves the smell of his blood, she cries, and makes a hissing sound as she nears him.
It’s Lisa from earlier, now turned into a full-fledged vampire. Wolverine turns just in time and sinks the cold, adamantium claws of his right hand into her chest, just above her right breast. She kicks him loose and tells him it’s too bad his claws aren’t made of wood. She mocks him and boasts that the Lord of Vampires is about to change his world forever.
Maybe, Wolverine agrees, and then swoops in for a decapitory strike telling the vamp she won’t be around to see it. Her head comes loose with a SHWIK, most of the blood spurting from the front of her body.
Utopia, outside

Dr. Rao checks in on Jubilee who’s sitting outside, curled up on a coach, wearing shades and huddled underneath a canopy. Rao remarks on her obvious discomfort, but Jubilee argues she’s fine. Rao says her aversion to sunlight is but the first symptom and now her complexion is growing paler by the second. Rao moves in to check her pulse, but Jubilee snaps at her not to touch her.
Jubes quickly apologizes, rubbing her eyes while doing so. She tells Rao she just wants to be left alone for a while. Kavita accepts the request and makes her way to the nearby steps leaving the depressed Jubilee to herself.
medical lab

Cyclops and Dr. Nemesis are back in the medical lab. As they watch Jubilee through a security camera feed Nemesis explains he’s isolated the virus’ attack point, the hypothalamus. Furthermore, he explains it is affecting the psychological center of the brain dealing with cravings, combining the physical needs of a person with their mental state. Cyke doesn’t like what he’s hearing and asks if there’s any good news. Nemesis points out it’s not contagious outside the initial host so there’s no fear of an epidemic.
Bzzzz Bzzzz Bzzzz, a communiqué comes in from the field. Cyclops depresses the intercom button and says, “Speak.” Wolverine’s on the other end of the line and explains they found something, and it’s not pretty. Cyclops wants the details.
Vampire safehouse

Wolverine tells him they found a safehouse not far from the Square with weapons, heavy clothing and lots of bodies, most of them fresh. He adds that there are a lot of scents coming and going from the place. What Wolverine doesn’t say is that the bodies, all naked, are hanging upside down along the walls of the safehouse with tubes slowly draining their blood into large canisters.
“They’ve established a beachhead. Not good,” Scott radios back. Wolverine tells him there’s more. He explains that prior to dispatching a low-level bloodsucker she said the Lord of Vampires is in town.
Utopia, medical lab

Scott orders Logan to bring in his team, that it’s time for the X-Men to hold a war council. “We’ve got ourselves a Dracula problem,” he finishes.

Jubilee, still in the same spot as earlier, shields her eyes from the setting sun.

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Cyclops, Pixie, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Jubilee (former X-Man)

Dr. Kavita Rao, Dr. Nemesis (all X-Club members)

Alyssa (Siren sect leader)

Brad (Mystikos sect leader)

Highlord (Aqueos sect leader)


Lisa, Uncle Morty (all named “vampire explosion” bystanders)

Story Notes: 

Xarus is the new leader of the vampires following the assassination of his father, Dracula, at his hands. This took place in the one-shot "Death of Dracula" #1. Under his new command Xarus has united the various vampire sects, something Dracula was always against.
Clint Eastwood is an actor who starred in the film Escape from Alcatraz, which is what the one tourist is referring to. On a sidenote, so did Sean Connery’s character in the movie The Rock, but it happened off-screen.
Storm was once bitten by Dracula and nearly turned into a vampire. Her fellow X-Men did what they could, but it was Kitty who managed to break Storm free of Dracula’s influence. (Uncanny X-Men #159, Annual #6)
Letterer error:

After defeating the familiars Wolverine’s response to Angel reads: “Yep. Now comes the hard part comes.” One of those “comes” should have gone.

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