X-Men (3rd series) #11

Issue Date: 
July 2011
Story Title: 
Blood Hunt

Victor Gischler (writer), Al Barrionuevo (penciler), Michael Lacombe (inker), Rain Beredo (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), David Yardin (cover), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Nick Lowe (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

It’s Jubilee’s birthday and the X-Men have planned a surprise party. She’s not in the mood and retreats outside. She’s soon joined by Professor Xavier who has a story to tell her that might help her cope with her vampire predicament. A long time ago Charles was in Kenya on a mystery hunt for whatever was behind a peculiar bull elephant massacre. Along the way he follows a group of mercenaries to another ritual animal slaughter. He’s discovered and about to be killed when an unknown player enters the field and dispatches the mercs. Xavier is curious and enters his mind, discovering that this “young man” is actually a vampire, one who looks out for his kind. He doesn’t get much information before the vampire disappears, but he tells Jubilee that just because she’s a vampire doesn’t mean she has to act like Dracula or Xarus. Her fears allayed for the time being she and Charles head back inside for some cake… and milk.

Full Summary: 


An insistent Pixie forces Jubilee toward a seemingly empty room. As the door opens and she’s pushed inside she’s greeted by a chorus of “Surprise!” Most of her friends are there, some wearing party hats and drinking punch, looking very happy to celebrate Jube’s birthday.
Jubilee is shocked, but not in the way her attendees had hoped for. She storms past Rockslide and right over to veteran X-Men, Gambit and Storm. Hands on her hips she tells them they’ve got to be kidding with their paper hats and cake. Not waiting for a reply Jubilee turns and storms out.
Megan chases after her trying to explain, saying they just wanted to show her… but Jubilee stops her right there. She knows what Megan is getting at, that if she celebrated her birthday it would be as if she was a regular person, just like everyone else.
“Jubilee!” Pixie yells in protest as her friend marches out through the door. Logan tells Megan to leave her alone, that Jubes isn’t ready yet and adjusting to becoming a vampire is no small thing.
Looking out over the railing on the upper deck of Utopia Jubilee hears the sound of footsteps approaching. She tells whoever it is to stop right there and can the pep talk. It’s Professor X and smiling brightly he says he sent himself. Jubilee turns, surprised to see Xavier.
Defending her actions, Jubilee points out every time someone tries to show her how normal she really is it’s a reminder to her that it’s not true. Charles points out that everyone on the island isn’t “normal” and she’s just “abnormal” in a way that’s new to her. A miserable Jubilee asks how this is supposed to be cheering her up.
Xavier continues, nonplussed, and says he didn’t come out to cheer her up, but to offer her some perspective. He tells her when he was younger he also wrestled with what it was like to be different and searched out those who were too, some of the journeys taking him far from home.
Kenya, 1957

A younger Charles Xavier is sitting at a folding table not far from his large tent out in the open plains of Kenya. With him at the table is his guide, Max. Xavier is in the midst of complaining about their lack of progress in tracking down the source of his mystery. He believes they’re wasting time setting up and taking down their camp every day when they could be out there tracking. Max assures Charles his people are out there searching for any sign, any clue.
As a local brings the men some refreshment Charles bluntly tells Max that if he was on vacation it would be no big deal, but he’s come a long way to find out what happened in a particular photograph and they haven’t gotten anywhere with it.
Said photograph sits at the center of the table. It was taken by a French tourist and found its way into National Geographic. The photo is of a large bull elephant, strung upside down, hoisted high in the air between six wooden beams, angled so they intersect at the top. (Xavier tells Jubilee that it would have taken ferocity and power to hoist a bull elephant up like that. The local Masai, he explains, called it the work of the night demons and Xavier’s instinct told him there was more to the story. If there was somebody different like him, someone hiding in the African bush Charles wanted to find them.)
A bit selfishly Charles gives Max a telepathic nudge, convincing Max they need to get a move on. It works and Max invites Charles into town while he picks up a few supplies. So the two hop into his jeep and are on their way. (Charles explains to Jubilee that Max’s version of a town was no more than a muddy crossroads and a few ramshackle buildings)
They arrive and Xavier makes a crack about the thriving community. Max tells him it’s the only place for fuel, ammo and gin for 150 miles. When a little boy comes up to their jeep begging, Max tells him to shove off.
As Charles hops out Max tries handing him a large pistol. He explains that every poacher, bandit and cutthroat also make their way through this town. The well-mannered Xavier politely declines saying he’ll fend them off with his good manners. “Suit yourself,” Max replies.
The local watering hole was as good a place to start as any so Charles walks through the double hinged doors and into the dimly lit place. He makes his way straight to the bar and the burly bartender is quick to greet him. He sizes Charles up and guesses he’s only been in the area less than a month. “You must be a mind reader,” he replies. The barkeep tells him they just got in a shipment of beer, but it’s warm. Xavier doesn’t care and orders one.
A couple of men overhear Charles talking and cozy up to him. The older British fellow sporting a monocle guesses he’s a Yank by the cut of his accent. He asks Charles if he’s here trophy hunting. “Curiosity hunting,” he responds and the Brit tells him he’s come to the right place, with the Masai and all their superstitions. He looks over at his Indian friend Reggie for backup and Reggie agrees.
Charles cocks his head to the side and bringing the beer bottle up to his lips suggests the older gentleman doesn’t believe in demons. “Just the ones at the bottom of the gin bottle. I’m an Oxford Man, sir. I don’t go in for hocus pocus nonsense,” he replies.
Nevertheless Charles asks them if they have any information, anything at all, in regards to the strung up bull elephant that was bled dry. Before either man can answer him a fight breaks out at a nearby card table and distracts them for the moment.
One man calls the other a liar and a cheat and draws his pistol. Before he can get off the shot the accused cheater takes the card table and flips it toward his attacker. The shot goes awry, putting the shooter at a distinct disadvantage. The “cheater” pulls out a large pig sticker and shoves it into the shooter’s belly. The tip of the blade pokes out through the man’s back and the victim slumps to the floor.
Xavier asks his new friends if it’s always so rough in there. The Briton admits that it can be and then says the murdering fellow may have the information he seeks. He works for the Russian and her team of mercenaries and they’re interested in the elephant business too, he explains. “And which of this pub’s charming denizens is the Russian?” Xavier asks, but all he’s told is he’ll know when he sees the Russian.
The pony-tailed mercenary looks around at the rest of the occupants in the bar, fresh blood dripping from his knife. He claims he defended himself in a fair fight and asks if anyone saw anything different. I didn’t think so, the cocky thug exclaims.
In bursts a woman who screams at the merc named Thorn. With a thick Russian accent the woman demands to know what he’s doing. He stutters her name, Svetlana, his confident expression turning to one of fear. Idiot, she screams, belittling him for not doing his job of supervising the buffoons loading the truck.
Along with everyone else in the place Xavier takes in the scene and presumes the woman to be the Russian. The Oxford man tells him he’s a smart one.
Svetlana, meanwhile, gives Thorn a swift kick in the butt sending him out the front doors. She tells him it will be dark soon and they need to move. Xavier moves toward the doors and watches as she starts whipping the men loading up her truck, calling them lazy no-goods.
Rightly deciding she isn’t likely to answer his questions Xavier invades her mind and plucks the information he wants. It turns out Svetlana and her crew were hired by the local magistrate, as the elephant was not the first weird thing to happen recently and the local tribes wanted protection. The mercs have been on the trail of something for the past three weeks…
Svetlana notices Charles staring at her and in her brusque manner asks what he wants. Charles claims he doesn’t want any trouble, just there to see the sights. Svetlana walks toward him and shoves the whip in his face. She tells him some sights are none of his business.
Before things can escalate Thorn comes over and warns Svetlana the local constabulary is making the rounds. He suggests it would be a good time to get a move on. Svetlana agrees and hops into the bed of the truck. She gives Charles one last piece of advice, “See your sights someplace else, little man.” (Charles explains to Jubilee he looked around for Max, but when he couldn’t find him stole his land rover as he didn’t want to lose sight of Svetlana.)
Eventually Svetlana and the boys find the trail they’re looking for, park their vehicle, and proceed on foot. Charles does the same, not worried about staying too close because their destination is obvious. Off in the distance a huge bonfire roars amongst the backdrop of the night sky.
Cut to the mercenaries who have made their way to the bonfire. This time it’s a much more elaborate setup than the bull elephant. There are huge posts dug into the ground and three large mammals strung up this time, including a zebra and a gorilla.
“Oh… hell. Look at that,” Thorn utters upon seeing the macabre scene before them. (Xavier tells Jubilee he thought much the same thing, as seeing it in pictures versus in real life can be two totally different things, the heat and smell of death for examples.)
And so Charles, who arrives shortly after, steps out from one of the giant pillars and in doing so steps on a branch, snapping it. Thorn turns hearing the sound and demands whoever it is to come out into the open. Xavier does, but using his telepathy freezes the minions on the spot. He manipulates them into putting down their weapons.
Unfortunately, the Xavier of this time wasn’t as well-versed or powerful when it came to using his powers. There was one mind he failed to capture, Svetlana’s. She comes at him from behind and buttstrokes him in the back of the head. He loses his control over the others and they quickly come out from the fog.
The men start talking about how he was in their mind, but Svetlana doesn’t want to hear that nonsense. She told them they were being followed, but they didn’t listen. Now she wants to make the curious little man disappear forever.
As Svetlana brings her automatic rifle to bear on Charles a Chinese star embeds itself into the back of her hand. She lets out a pained grunt. Thorn meanwhile, receives a kick to the midsection and while doubled over gets a staff blow to the back of the head. That leaves the other two who stand back to back, rifles raised. The nimble attacker leaps into the air between them and kicks them both in the back of the head.
Only Svetlana still stands, nursing her bleeding hand. The young man with the staff suggests Svetlana retire from the encounter as her men are no longer any help. She agrees good help is hard to find, but seeing as how the combatant has his back turned to her she sees no reason to not pull out her sai and charge him. She tells him Svetlana knows how to take care of fast, little men too.
Svet lets out a battle cry as she races toward the interloper, blade at the forefront. Without even turning around the young man lifts his staff over his head and deflects her attack, knocking the blade free. He pops her in the chin with one end of the staff and then whips it around clocking her upside the head.
The staff breaks, but Svetlana is down for the count, a trail of blood leaking from her head. The young man is upset he broke his staff, as it was a good walking staff.
Charles comes to, rubbing the back of his head. He thanks the gentleman for his intervention, but would also like some questions answered. The man, calling Charles by his name, commends him on his curiosity in this day and age. Before Charles can ask how he knew his name, the man says he knew of him ever since he started his investigation into the bleeding elephant.
This intrigues Xavier so much that he invades the young man’s mind. At first Xavier encounters some resistance, this man’s mind much older and disciplined than one would think, but then Charles is let in with an all access pass. (Charles tells Jubilee the young man’s name was Raizo Koda and he was centuries old. The man’s life flooded into his mind, a life spent searching, wanting to know, which Charles says he could understand.)
“You… You’re a…,” Charles stutters after coming to the realization that Raizo is a vampire. Raizo admits this and explains there’s a group of his people nearby, living in seclusion and he was afraid the mercenaries were going to expose them. He was merely laying this false trail to give his people the opportunity to relocate undetected.
Raizo was hoping to lead them hundreds of miles away, and had never intended on revealing himself, but felt it necessary to intervene for Charles’ sake. Looking down at his enemies Raizo says they need to be silenced permanently and there’s only one way he knows how, unless…
Charles takes the cue not. Using his telepathic prowess he wipes the minds of the foursome of all events of that night and even goes so far as to make them forget they even know each other. Raizo suggests giving them the compulsion to go back home and spend time with their loved ones, to which Xavier happily obliges. When he’s done Xavier is ready to get some more answers, but Raizo is gone, nowhere to be seen.

“I never saw him again,” Xavier finishes.
The point of this history lesson, it would seem, is that Raizo was different from the rest of his kind, somehow finding a way to overcome his nature and live life on his own terms. Charles tells Jubilee she doesn’t have to be like Dracula or like Xarus. He admits life will be different for her, and it will take time to adjust, but her friends are here for her and she’s still Jubilee no matter what.
Jubilee knows what Professor X is saying to be true, but she just can’t feel it in her. She admits there are days where she doesn’t even know how to be herself. “I don’t even know where to start.”
“A piece of cake,” Charles answers with a slight smile. Jubilee ruffles the back of her hair and tells him it’s not a piece of cake, that it’s hard, but she’s trying. “No. I mean, let’s get a piece of cake,” Charles corrects her.
Jubilee lets out a little laugh at his play on words and then turns to go with him back inside. Charles places his hand on her back as they walk toward the door. Looking at her long-time mentor Jubes adds, “And milk.”

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Anole, Blindfold, Bling!, Cypher, Gambit, Karma, Magma, Mercury, Pixie, Prodigy, Psylocke, Rockslide, Storm, Wolverine, Professor Charles Xavier (all X-Men)

in Xavier’s story.

Charles Xavier
Raizo Koda
Svetlana, Thorn (all named mercenaries)
Max (tracker)

Reggie, “Oxford Man” (bar patrons)

Story Notes: 

could’ve been Cypher or Iceman, but I chose Cypher because Gischler used him a couple of times in the previous story arc. The other was Magma. I thought she could’ve been Husk too and basically just flipped a coin in my brain. If anyone has any further insight please let me know.
Jubilee was infected with vampire blood back in issue #1. This caused vampire-like cravings and forced her to seek out Xarus and his ilk. When she arrived she gladly gave herself over to be bitten (issue #2).
This Jubilee is a departure from what readers would have expected at the end of issue #6. We were left with a grim foreboding of what Jubilee might turn into or how she would interact with the other X-Men. This issue serves as a lighthearted take on her predicament.
The Maasai (also Masai) are a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are among the most well known of African ethnic groups, due to their distinctive customs and dress and residence near the many game parks of East Africa.

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