X-Men (3rd series) #37

Issue Date: 
December 2012
Story Title: 
Human Being 2 of 2

Brian Wood (writer), David Lopez (penciler), Alvaro Lopez (inker), Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist), 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: 

A pair of fighter jets are tracking a fast-moving bogey. One jet is destroyed and the other, nearly, before Pixie teleports the bogey, Gabriel Shepherd, to a remote arctic area where he can do no harm. Meanwhile, in Canada, Storm contacts Cyclops to tell him they’re heading back to Utopia soon and that she knows of his and Colossus’ secret chats. She then contacts Dr. Hunter and tells her to destroy everything she has on the proto-mutant DNA. Afterwards, Ororo visits Colossus in the sick bay, but things don’t go well. They smack each other around a bit before he begins choking her. A lightning bolt summoned by Storm brings their little fight to an end, but doesn’t stem the anger. Elsewhere, Pixie and Shepherd relocated to a tropical island where the proto-mutant makes up his mind to leave this existence. Before disappearing, he tells Pixie he trusts her more than anyone to safeguard his people and asks her to protect them if anyone else tries to exploit them. Afterward, Pixie heads back to the site where Gray unearthed the proto-mutants and contemplates the future of her team.

Full Summary: 

restricted airspace

Two fighter jets are in flight tracking an incoming bogey. Once they confirm their target with control, they’re told it should be coming up on screen shortly. Raven One sees it on radar and confirms with his partner. Raven Two confirms, replying it’s 22 clicks ahead.
Raven One requests permission to engage the target, but control wants the wily aircraft escorted to the nearest military air field. They are, however, given permission to engage if fired upon. Raven One copies the last transmission and tells Raven Two to close the gap.
The target is only 15 clicks away and is not responding to radio hails. Raven One puts the incoming bogey on a target lock to try and gain its attention. As soon as that’s done the target changes its heading and flies right between them, practically imperceptible. Raven One sees this as a provocation and orders his wingman to link his sidewinders and fire.
Four missiles are released and headed straight for the target. Raven Two hears a voice in his mind saying, “I don’t want to hurt you.” He loses focus, and Raven One starts yelling over the radio for him to evade. The missiles he fired are no longer following their original target, instead, they’re rerouted and heading back toward him.
Raven Two explodes into a tremendous fireball. Raven One reports his wingman’s demise to control and requests permission to kill this thing. Permission is granted, but seconds later control says they’ve picked up a second fast mover incoming. It’s recommended that Raven One break off and wait for reinforcements, but he’s not listening. He gets a solid lock and deploys two missiles.
It’s not an aircraft, but a person the missiles are targeting. It’s about three seconds to impact and Gabriel Shepherd is about to pull the same stunt as before and blow Raven One out of the sky. Just then, the other fast moving target, Pixie, catches up with Shepherd and grabs him by the shoulders. She teleports him away before he can kill again.

Pixie and Shepherd reappear over Antarctica and crash down into the snowy banks with a WHUMP. When Gabriel questions Pixie as to the location she chose she says it seemed like a place where he couldn’t create an international incident. This gives Shepherd pause, then he cocks his head to the side and says, “You outflew me.”
Shivering, Pixie agrees, adding she outflew the missiles too. Then she says, “You’re welcome.” He tells her she’s an asset to her team and welcomes her to stay with him. He holds out his hand for her to take it.
CFB Petawawa, Ontario

The X-Jet is under repair, the hull nearly repaired. Ororo is in the comms room putting a call into Scott. Cyclops is caught off guard when it’s Storm who appears on the other side of the monitor. Storm doesn’t look happy, herself, having just discovered his and Colossus’ private line.
Scott defends his mole telling Storm Colossus was only doing as ordered. She knows he was and plans to deal with that, but wants to tell Scott she’ll be in Utopia in about six hours. He asks why, and she says she’s only doing what he told her to do, come home. This seems to surprise Scott for a moment, but he regains his composure quickly and tells her to have a nice flight.
Meanwhile, in the cockpit, Psylocke and Sabra are trying to work out their psychic transponder problem. For some reason, they all went out and they are unable to get a fix on Pixie. It has Psylocke really worried as she’s never had trouble locating the transponders.
Sabra, with a Xavier Institute coffee mug in hand, suggests the cause is sabotage. She sees no other reason 170 worldwide psychic transponders would just go dark. She believes Pixie can probably find them, despite the transponder problems. Psylocke agrees she could do just that… if she were able to. Sensing Psylocke’s thoughts turning for the worse, Sabra suggests they run another system restart and see if that works.

The frozen tundra of the arctic has been traded for a more tropical island feel for the two wayward mutants. Pixie stands at the edge of the beach looking out over the ocean. Gabriel, who’s standing a bit behind her, asks what she’s thinking.
You don’t know, Pixie asks. Shepherd says he prefers not to use his telepathy and hear people in their own voices. Pixie turns her head back toward Gabriel and asks what exactly he is. He says he’s exactly what she thinks he is, a “proto-mutant” is as good a term as any. Shepherd adds that he has the misfortune of being omnipotent, so he was forced to watch his entire race die and live with that for the past 700 years.
Reaching into the wet sand in front of her and watching it slip through her fingers in globs Pixie says she knows a few over-powered omega level mutants like Gabriel and says some of them are real jerks. She then brings up how he threw Colossus out of their plane. Shepherd apologizes, saying he was frightened. He says he preferred the quiet life he made for himself, hiding in plain sight. It seemed like it was all going away when he had soldiers trailing him at airports and super-powered agents detaining him. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, her teammate Psylocke was barging into his thoughts and then he found out about David Michael Gray.
Gabriel turns around, cupping his hands together behind his back. He looks at the ground solemn, remembering his friends again, one of them his lover. He says the X-Men are fighting over vials of their remains like it means nothing to them. Pixie argues that’s not true, that it means a lot to them. She exasperates that this has been tearing their team apart, that they’ve done a lot to keep his friends from being exploited. She says the proto-mutants are part of their history.
Taking a sidelong glance at Pixie, Gabriel says the world wants them dead. “Tell me about it,” Pixie responds, “but you get used to it.” When Shepherd asks how, Pixie says he just has to find people who accept him for who he is no matter what, and then make them your friends.

Storm is in the comms room again rubbing her forehead in frustration. She appears deep in thought, her eyes closed. Then they open, determined. She takes out her cell and punches in a phone number. On the other end is Dr. Hunter. Storm tells her to destroy her sample, all her data, paperwork and backups. She tells Hunter they are done.
Dr. Hunter seems regretful and Storm apologizes. She tells the good doctor she’s been more help than she could ever explain, but tells her it’ll be the last time they speak. Then Storm ends the conversation abruptly with one click of her thumb.
Storm sits back to ponder what just transpired and is psychically interrupted. Storm doesn’t want to hear from Betsy, but Psylocke insists, saying Piotr has woken up and is not very happy. This is as Storm figured, but she heads to see her friend anyway. Psylocke warns her she’s getting a lot of hurt and betrayal off of him, but Storm assuages her saying Piotr is an old friend. Psylocke suggests Ororo should start off by telling him that.
sick bay

The armored X-Man is sitting up in his bed, his legs stretched out in front of him, a bandage swung around his shoulder and waist. He looks sullen, his head drooped, his eyes angled downward. Storm enters and asks how he feels. She starts off trying to apologize for letting things get this far.
Colossus doesn’t want to hear it. He complains about all the injuries he’s piled up since joining her team. He tells Storm he’s not some mindless battering ram as some people have come to think. Storm tries to put him at ease, but he feels like he’s being patronized. He gets up from his bed and tells her to talk to him like an equal, a friend.
After lecturing Storm on the choices she’s made recently Colossus says he’s done with her. She places a friendly hand on his arm and asks how she can make things right. He glowers at her hand and angrily responds, “I said I’m done!”
The former Wakandan queen does not take Colossus’ tone lightly. She chastises him for his nasty attitude and slaps his outstretched hand aside. Piotr growls and knocks Storm into the sick bay wall.
Storm appears groggy at first, wiping the blood from her nose. She knows Colossus is struggling with his powers, but tells him not to take this further than he can handle. Colossus looks down on her and says it has nothing to do with his powers. It’s that they’ve been chasing test tubes across the globe and now have a missing teammate, he lectures. “If you had only allowed Scott to handle this from the start…,” he starts, then his temper flares up again. Colossus turns on Storm and gets in her face. He yells at her about not liking lying to his friends.
The fearless X-leader has had enough of the sulking powerhouse. She kicks him square in the face and asks if he’s questioning her leadership. No, he replies grim faced, just her loyalty. He stalks closer and Storm smashes a piece of equipment across his face.
This does not seem to affect Colossus in the least. He grabs Storm by the throat. Then he shoves his index finger in her face with his free hand and says he’s not the only one on the “team” to question it either. He then adds that that should give Storm enough reason to question herself. He suggests she carefully consider her next steps.
Both of Storm’s hands are tugging at the hands clenched around her throat. After a few weak coughs she tells Psylocke to shut down all electronics in the plane. Her eyes light up and Colossus realizes what she’s about to do, an apprehensive look crosses his face.
Seconds later, a lightning bolt strikes the X-Jet where it sits. The two X-Men are separated by the attack and Colossus is forced to his knees. He groans in pain, but no longer has Storm by the throat. Storm yells at him for making her do that, making her hurt him. She asks Colossus if he knows how much she cares about him. He doesn’t answer.

Gabriel Shepherd walks along the water’s edge of the tropical paradise they’ve relocated to. Pixie is following him, about fifteen steps behind. He apologizes for taking down her teleportation beacons, but she’s says it’s no big deal as he can help her get back. Shepherd turns around to face her. He tells her he can’t, that he’s been fooling himself making this fake life. He doesn’t want to stay anymore.
What do you mean, Pixie asks. Shepherd doesn’t answer, but instead asks her to make a promise. He doesn’t want his people misused again and feels she’d be his best proponent out of everyone on the team. He asks her to treat any remains they may find with respect, to protect them and to give them the dignity they deserve.
Again, Pixie asks where he’s going. “To a new and better world,” he says before disappearing right in front of her. “I’m already there,” he says to her in a faraway voice. Pixie sits down in the sand, confused. She says goodbye to Mr. Shepherd, and then gets a psychic call from Psylocke.
The transponders are back online and Betsy asks Megan if she’s ok. Pixie says she’s fine. Psylocke is glad to hear it and says they’re looking forward to hearing what she has to say, adding that things are really tense back there.
Pixie takes to the air and tells Psylocke she’ll catch up in a bit. When Psylocke asks where she’s going Pixie responds, “To see some friends,” and then teleports away.

Muttering to herself, Psylocke says to let her know if she finds some and she’ll come right over.
Kuryk Kazakhstan, off the Caspian Sea

Pixie heads back to where it all began, the place where David Michael Gray dug up the remains of the proto-mutants. There’s barely a trace that anything was once there, just a few faint marks in the ground. Pixie places her gloved hand on the surface, contemplating how things have changed, including herself. She wonders aloud why Mr. Shepherd didn’t let her stay with him like she said. She hopes wherever he is it feels like home for him, because they’re all feeling pretty lost.

Characters Involved: 

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

Gabriel Shepherd
Raven 1, Raven 2 (military pilots)
via monitor


Story Notes: 

While it can be assumed the pilots are Americans, the Sidewinder missile is used by other countries as well.
CFB Petawawa is a Canadian army base.
Cyclops must have let Dr. Hunter go off-panel. He had her at Utopia as of the last issue.
Colossus’ power problems- In Uncanny X-Men #542 Colossus took on the power of the Cytorrak to battle a Serpent-empowered Cain Marko and has been struggling with the Juggernaut aspect ever since. He will eventually have the Juggernaut’s power cleansed from his system via his sister, Illyana, in Uncanny X-Men (2nd Series) #20.

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