X-Men (3rd series) #35

Issue Date: 
November 2012
Story Title: 
Subterraneans 2 of 2

Brian Wood (writer), Roland Boschi w/ David Lopez & Alvaro Lopez (pencilers, inkers), Dan Brown w/ Jim Charalampidis (colorists), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), David Lopez (cover), Jennifer M. Smith (assistant editor), Jeanine Schaeffer (editor), Nick Lowe (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

With the Loving Elder having sent out a press release stating his intentions with human mutations the international community becomes extremely agitated. The area around the Heavenly Path’s ship becomes a demilitarized zone with jets circling overhead. The Elder is not concerned, confident his newfound powers will protect them. The X-Men, however, are not. Once Psylocke realizes the Elder drank the proto-mutant sample Domino is charged with finding a medical kit and extracting a blood sample. That’s not their only worry as a Tomahawk missile is deployed from a military base in Guam and headed straight for the ship. Pixie springs into action and intercepts it. Minutes before impact she teleports it away to an isolated psychic transponder. Meanwhile, Psylocke gains the upper hand on the Elder and Domino extracts the sample. After some discussion on whether or not to destroy it Psylocke decides the benefits outweigh the consequences. And although the mission is a success, Storm has a nagging feeling it isn’t over.

Full Summary: 

The Mediterranean

A news broadcast is being played out all over the world concerning the Heavenly Path. The Loving Elder has made it known that he has his hands on some mutant toxin that can mimic mutant abilities in normal humans. He admitted to ingesting it himself and is well on his way to total transformation. World leaders were quick to condemn the Heavenly Path, mostly concerned with what they perceive as possible biological terrorism.
Some fighter jets circle above the cruise ship at around 45,000 feet. The Loving Elder watches them from the open deck, surrounded by his security. He openly questions who the real terrorist is with these jets surrounding his home and his people.
His new “friend” Psylocke is nearby and suggests this is exactly what he wanted after sending that press release. The Loving Elder, whose face is getting worse, tells Betsy she’s a smart woman, she seems to know exactly what he’s thinking. “It’s no wonder I chose you,” he comments.
Despite the flattery Psylocke says she’s not drinking whatever that stuff is he keeps talking about. The “Solution” he corrects her. A solution to what? she asks. His reply is, “Everything.” He tells her they can be so much more. All Betsy really wants to know is where Storm is.

Psylocke gets into mental contact her team leader who says they’re a couple hundred miles away. Ororo explains the area has been militarized and they were forced to back away. However, she has Pixie shadowing them in nearby airspace.
On top of that, Colossus adds that the bio-weapon talk has a lot of people anxious. The international community may just decide to blow the whole ship up with a missile strike, he warns her.
Heavenly Path’s ship

As the Loving Elder tenderly caresses Psylocke’s cheek she jokingly responds that a missile strike is sounding more and more like a better option. She then connects with Domino who admits things are going slower than she would like. Psy tells her to do what she has to, but to keep it quiet. Then, using her mutant prowess, she connects everyone together into one big telepathic loop.
Hoping to verify he has the actual sample Betsy asks the Elder where he got the solution. He tells her it’s nothing for her to worry about. She starts to question its authenticity, but he says he is living proof that it works.
Reminiscing over mankind’s past the Elder remarks that what he’s doing isn’t new. For centuries men have used the essence of creatures to enhance their bodies, such as rhino horn, snake venom, and even the bile of bears. He says what he’s doing is no different, his creatures being the most evolved of all, the mutants who begat mutants. He tells her it’s very rare and very, very pure. “I am going to live a thousand years,” he declares maddeningly.

A look of urgency has swept over Storm’s face. She tells Psylocke the U.S. military base in Guam has just gone on alert. They’ve fired a missile, she cries.
approximately two miles away

Pixie is given the command to track the incoming missile. “On it!” she replies, and kicks it into high gear.
Heavenly Path’s ship

While in the sub-levels Storm tells Domino to get to Psylocke immediately. After cold-cocking a security guard Dom says she’s “going loud.”
Up above, Psylocke gets more details on the missile. It’s a Tomahawk cruise missile and is estimated to be arriving in twenty minutes. “Copy that, Storm,” Psylocke says out loud. The Loving Elder hears this and asks what’s going on, wondering who this “Storm” is, his face and neck looking even worse than minutes before.
20 miles from Guam

Pixie teleports to within view of the missile and reports back to Storm. Storm says it has appeared on their radar and according to their G.P.S. tag on Pixie she’s way too close. She tells the Celtic mutant to keep her distance in case they decide to abort and detonate it mid-air. Pixie tells her not to worry and to keep her focus on Psylocke and Domino.

Storm tells Colossus to keep monitoring Pixie’s signal then tries getting into contact with Psylocke. However, Psylocke isn’t answering. Instead it’s Domino who responds.
Heavenly Path’s ship

Outside, about six decks below, Domino can see Psylocke who has a weapon trained on her by the cult leader. Storm tells Domino to stand down, but as she puts a magazine into her pistol she tells Storm she could make the shot easily. She takes aim and places her finger on the trigger. Before Domino can squeeze Psylocke lets everyone know the Loving Elder has the sample.
Once again, Storm orders Domino to stand down. She then asks Psylocke if she knows where it is. Psylocke answers in the affirmative, “He drank it.”
near the incoming missile

“Oh that is just gross…” Pixie chimes in.
Heavenly Path’s ship

Domino still has her sights set on the Loving Elder. She wants to take the shot figuring if she kills him she also destroys the sample. Psylocke reminds her they don’t kill indiscriminately and that there may be other samples.
The Loving Elder is furious. He demands to know who she’s talking to. He wants to know who’s with her on his ship.
As Psylocke stares up at him, the gun pressed to her forehead, she says the Elder changing, disfiguring in real time. She asks Storm to ask her geek friend if she knows anything about this.

Ororo says they don’t have time, but since the DNA stores narrative memories, she posits ingesting the sample could be affecting him on a cellular level. Storm wonders how they could be sure. That’s when Colossus tells Psylocke to get a sample of his blood. “Pardon?” Psylocke responds, a bit shocked by the idea.
sixteen minutes to missile strike

Pixie adds her two cents to the mix, saying they came all this way to protect the sample, why not try and save some of it. Pixie wonders if a sick mutant were to drink this DNA would it help them. Domino interjects to point out David Michael Gray or even this cult leader may have proliferated the sample.
After hearing everybody out Storm tells Domino to get to Psylocke and stabilize the situation. She wants the man alive and speaking of which, once again tells Pixie to back off from the missile. Pixie argues the order once again, telling Storm that as long as it’s aimed at her friends she’s staying with it.
Heavenly Path’s ship

Doing as told, Domino makes her way through the different levels of the ship taking out any security that gets in her way. She must have changed her ammunition from the ballistic rounds because the guards are sleeping like babies. As she makes her way closer Dom tells Storm they still have to do something about the missile as most of the people on board are innocent, though dumb, civilians.
Storm says she’s working on it, trying to get Sabra to use her connections to get into contact with the base on Guam. Having no luck so far she asks if Domino has any suggestions.
Meanwhile, up on the top deck, one of the Loving Elder’s security team approaches his boss speaking in another language.
Elsewhere on the ship, Domino receives another mission from Storm. She tells her to secure some medical equipment for that blood sample. She says to look for anticoagulant tubes and syringes. “This is beyond nasty…,” Domino replies, but before their conversation can go any further Psylocke tells her she needs to get topside immediately.
Up top, the security member is done telling the Loving Elder of the cruise missile heading their way. This doesn’t deter him. Instead, he embraces the fact. He leaves Psylocke and heads over to the rail pumping his fist into the air. He calls it a gift saying he will swat it from the skies like a gnat or burn it mid-flight with the power of his thought, using its energy to become even more powerful.
His thoughts suddenly cease as the forgotten Psylocke creeps up from behind and jabs him with a psychic dagger in the back of his head. She tells the psychotic cult leader he will become sashimi if he even moves a muscle. She then puts him in a chokehold and spins him around, a human shield to protect her from his security team.
As the men with automatic weapons move in closer she orders them to stop. She tells them the ship is about to go down and they have a choice to either live or die. Betsy tells them to choose, but before they can Domino makes her appearance and lights up the security team with tranqs.
twelve minutes to missile strike

Domino makes her way quickly to Psylocke with a med-kit in her hand. She looks distastefully at the Loving Elder and comments he’s being very quiet. Psylocke admits she’s doing terrible things in his amygdala.
That being said, Domino gets down to business. She crouches down and opens the med-kit. She mentally connects with Storm and tells her everything is under control and that they need a ride off the boat.
Pixie picks up on the chatter and says she’s still there, just trying to match velocity with the missile. She says she’s currently in its slipstream and then asks Colossus if any of the psychic transponders he dropped were in very remote locations. Sure, he admits, saying he put a few over the solar caps and at least one in the upper mesosphere.
Storm warns Pixie those types of missiles are super sensitive and once it recognizes it’s off course it will self-detonate. So I have to be fast, she quips. “…supernatural,” Storm replies. This doesn’t seem to deter Pixie who continues riding behind in the cruise missile’s path.
nine minutes to missile strike

As Domino retrieves a sample of the Loving Elder’s blood she asks Psylocke to shut down their open channel. Psylocke puts the others on “mute” and tells her to go ahead. Domino suggests dumping the solution into the ocean as she foresees a lot of missions in the future where she’s shooting people to get this vial back. Psylocke admits she understands where she’s coming from and then asks if Dom means to lie to Storm.
“She lied to Scott,” Domino points out, and they “backed that because it was the right thing to do.” Dom figures this would just be taking Storm’s plan to the next logical step and depriving their enemies of this material.
This doesn’t sit well with Psylocke who’s holding the vial in her hand. She accuses Domino of leaning toward Colossus’ point of view. Domino emphatically agrees and asks Psylocke what she’s going to do. She doesn’t answer at first, but brings everyone back in on the telepathic loop. After that, she tells Storm they’ve had no problems and are ready for extraction.
That sums up where Psylocke stands in the controversy and Domino is not happy. Psylocke tells her she’s tired of the infighting of their team. She thinks the DNA can be helpful to their people and that the benefit outweighs the risks in her opinion. She trusts this team is up to the task of protecting the sample.
four minutes to missile strike

cruise missile

Pixie is asked how she’s doing and she tells them to stand by. They try contacting her again and she tells them to shut up and stand by. Then, she makes her move and touches the outer shell of the missile. “Whoa, cold,” she comments before teleporting away where the missile detonates in a grand explosion.
Heavenly Path’s ship

Continuing where they left off, Domino tells Psylocke she better be right. Psylocke points out Dom just went through a ship of cultish goons with a dart gun. “My money’s on you,” she finishes.
Storm butts in with a telepathic update on the missile. She says the missile detonated over a polar ice cap and Pixie’s back safe and sound drinking some tea. She asks about the target and Domino tells her Psylocke is giving him the deluxe psychic package and he will be out for hours.

Storm says she’ll contact the Coast Guard to pick up the passengers, then sits back in her chair with a satisfied look on her face. “We did it, team. Well done,” she proclaims. Colossus, who’s sitting in the co-pilot’s chair cautions her to keep her congrats in check until the proto mutant DNA is actually back with them on the ship.
Storm contacts Psylocke to ask if the sample is secured. “Not letting it out of my sight, Storm,” she sends back. Storm copies, and says she’ll be sending Pixie as soon as she’s well enough to handle the journey. Then she tells Piotr to cheer up, that they won this one.
Later that night, Storm heads to the comms room and connects with Cyclops in Utopia. She tells him it’s done. He asks if he needs to hear the details, including her incursion into a militarized flight zone and the premature detonation of a Tomahawk cruise missile that was mysteriously thousands of miles off course. He tells her the Joint Chiefs are starting to complain about mutants and missing military hardware.
Storm feigns ignorance, saying she bought their plane off E-Bay and has the pink slip to prove it. Hilarious, Cyclops sarcastically replies, and questions if Storm will be heading to Utopia. Storm looks at him sideways and says that’s not going to happen. “Scott Summers, I love you, but I’m not coming back to Utopia just yet.” She then disconnects from their teleconference.
The call ended, Storm seems to be deep in thought. She then dials up Sabra. She assumes Ororo was successful in her mission. Storm agrees, but wonders just how successful she was. She then asks Sabra to extend the parameters of the search she initially gave her.
Sabra asks how far and Storm tells her everything. That is a big favor, Sabra replies, and then asks what she’s looking for. Storm says she’s not sure, but as she stares at the vial now in her hands, she says she has a nagging feeling she’s missing a piece of the puzzle.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Domino, Pixie, Psylocke, Storm (all X-Men)

Loving Elder (Heavenly Path leader)
via monitor

Cyclops, Sabra

Story Notes: 

According to the recap page the missing samples from David Michael Gray’s lab were sent to the Heavenly Path. The only sample actually seen on panel being sent to them was the one stolen from the Mutantes Sans Frontieres.
The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is an all-weather, long range, subsonic cruise missile used for land attack warfare, launched from U. S. Navy surface ships and U.S. Navy and Royal Navy submarines.

- taken from http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=2200&tid=1300&ct=2

The amygdale is the part of the brain that processes memory and emotional reactions.
word balloon errors

When Psylocke and Domino were discussing what to do with the DNA sample a word balloon that obviously belonged to Psylocke was pointed in Domino’s direction. Then a few pages later, a balloon that should have been spoken from Domino comes from Psylocke (unless she started referring to herself in the third person).
During Psylocke and Domino’s argument over destroying the blood sample they failed to recognize that the Elder is a living sample ready to be abused if placed into the wrong hands.

Issue Information: 
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