X-Men (3rd series) #40

Issue Date: 
March 2013
Story Title: 
Tin Man, part 1

Seth Peck (writer), Jefte Palo & Guillermo Mogorron (artists), Andres Mossa (color artist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), David Lopez (cover artist), Jennifer M Smith (assistant editor), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Nick Lowe (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Chamber, Angel and Pixie engage in a Danger Room training scenario, during which Chamber’s powers “kill” the Danger Room Sabretooth. Storm and Iceman were observing, and Storm tells Chamber that they will have to get his equipment adjusted for field work. Chamber is confused what she means about this, so Pixie explains that teams are being put together for recruiting, rescuing and restraining new mutants that are appearing around the world, and that she thinks Chamber would be a good person for this role. In Arizona, a young man and his girlfriend are driving, when he slams on the brakes so as to not run over a coyote. But the car swerves and ends up going over the side of the nearby canyon. The car crashes into the bottom of the canyon, and from the wreckage a hand appears - the young man, Owen, survived, as his mutant power kicked in, but parts of his body have been replaced by parts from the car. In Washington, Project Wide-Eye learns of this new mutant, and decide to send a new squad in to investigate. At the same time, Storm, Iceman, Angel, Pixie and Chamber depart for Arizona also, where they find Owen under attack from the police. He has barricaded himself behind a bunch of old cars, and when the X-Men confront him to try and help him he lashes out at them. He realizes that his girlfriend is dead, and doesn’t understand why he can hear cars talking to him. The police start shooting at him, so he creates a large robot made from cars to attack them, but Iceman quickly puts a stop to that. Owen collapses, and Storm decides they need to get him back to the Jean Grey School, when suddenly, the Project Wide-Eye’s team arrives - demanding that the X-Men hand Owen over to them - the new Freedom Force!

Full Summary: 

‘I love killing X-Men!’ Sabretooth snarls as he and two other villains stand ready to attack three X-Men who stand before them - Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Angel, Megan Gwynn a.k.a. Pixie and Jonothan Starsmore a.k.a. Chamber. ‘Here we go, X-Men. Be ready for anything’ Chamber warns the others, while Angel asks who these guys are. ‘The hairy one is Sabretooth, the creepy-mask-guy who won’t talk is Lord Deathstrike. And the other guys is…ok, I don’t know who that is’ Pixie replies, referring to a Reaver.
‘Bring me Tinkerbell’s wings!’ Sabretooth orders as Lord Deathstrike lunges towards the young mutant. He raises his sword overhead, but Pixie manages to tackle him at his waist. ‘Let’s get you out of the picture, Mister Tall, Dark and Creepy!’ Pixie suggests, as she tosses him over her shoulder. ’Huh. Still not a word. That’s committing to the role’ Pixie decides, as she flies away from him.

The Reaver throws some knives towards Angel, who manages to dodge them, but he grabs one of the weapons, and swoops down towards the Reaver, telling him that he regrets they couldn’t have solved this without violence. ‘My passion burns with the intensity of a thousand suns’ the Reaver replies in Spanish, before Angel reaches him, and their swords clang together, and the Reaver falls to the ground. At the same time, Sabretooth slams Chamber into a car. ‘Oh God, I think I can taste my spleen’ Chamber mumbles. He gathers himself, and prepares to attack Sabretooth, but the savage mutant knocks him aside, ‘Kid, you’re weak and you’re slow. Where does Wolverine keep finding you losers?’ Sabretooth asks.

Sabretooth looms over Chamber, telling him that he is going to die ‘And I don’t even know who the #$%& you are!’ Sabretooth laughs, but before he can use his razor-sharp claws on Chamber, the younger mutant releases his own bio-nuclear power at close range upon the villain. Suddenly, ‘Ending simulation. No-kill protocol violated’ the Danger Room computer announces. The three mutants regroup as the scenery around them disappears, while Chamber remarks that he has to get the calibration on this new getup adjusted, claiming that he really didn’t mean to incinerate Sabretooth. ‘The X-Men do not kill, Jonothan. Even Victor Creed is deserving of mercy’ Angel states. Pixie hovers over Chamber and tells him not to feel bad, as the creep probably would have regenerated - eventually.

Ororo “Storm” Munroe and Bobby “Iceman” Drake enter the Danger Room, and Storm tells the others that, regardless, they should have the Beast make some adjustments to the equipment before they take it out into the field. ‘Yeah, about that…what sort of “field work” are we talking about, and why us?’ Chamber enquires, removing his jacket. Pixie points out that with new mutants starting to pop up, Wolverine thought it might be a good idea to have a few response teams ready, and that Storm and Angel are heading them up. ‘I told them I thought you’d be a good spokesman for the school’ Pixie reveals. ‘So, what, are we recruiting now?’ Chamber asks from behind his flare of power.

‘Recruiting, rescuing…restraining, we have to be prepared for anything’ Pixie smiles. Angel points out that there are those out there who will need their help, as the sudden emergence of a mutation can be a terrifying and confusing experience for a young person. ‘You’re talking to a guy whose face blew off, mate. Twice’ Chamber mutters in response. Pixie explains that they just want to try and do right by these kids and give them the guidance some of the X-Men didn’t have. Angel announces that when the next mutant appears, they must be ready. ‘And we must be ready to go…wherever we are needed’ Storm adds.

Arizona, where a yellow jeep drives down the isolated road in the middle of the desert, the sun blazing down. ‘I’m telling you, Maddie, if I don’t get a scholarship, I’m gonna join the marines’ a young man tells his girlfriend. ‘You? No way, Owen. You get homesick on spring break’ Maddie points out. Owen tells Maddie that he isn’t working in his dad’s garage after graduation. ‘I mean, I like the work, but I want to do something more with my life’ he explains. Maddie tells Owen that he would hate the military, that there are too many rules, and he would have to wake up at, like, four in the morning. ‘I could do it’ Owen tells her, before pointing out that it might not matter, as Coach Sherman said there is going to be a scout from ASU at the game next week. ‘Really? Owen, that’s great!’ Maddie smiles.

Owen smiles and tells Maddie that the coach said they like what they have seen of him on tape, but they want to see him in person, and will want to sit down and talk to him as well. ‘They’re gonna love you. You’re talented, you’re smart. You’re handsome. You’ve got it all, sweetie’ Maddie tells Owen, when suddenly, a coyote walks out onto the road. ‘Well, I wouldn’t -’ Owen begins, before Maddie screams ‘Owen! Look out!’ as she sees the coyote. Owen slams on the breaks, and the car swerves just in time so as not to hit the animal. However the car starts skidding off the road, towards a canyon running alongside.

Indeed, the car speeds over the edge, and plummets below, smashing on the side of the canyon as it falls, Maddie slips from the car as her door comes off, before the car crashes into the bottom of the canyon. An instant later, there is a light glowing inside the car, as energy bursts forth, and a hand suddenly reaches up out of the wreckage. As this all transpired, the mutant tracking system at the Jean Grey School lights up. Owen pulls himself from the wreckage, ‘Maddie?’ he calls out nervously, he is able to stand, but he is dazed, and steam pours off him, while his shirt is gone, it is clear that some of his body has been rebuilt with parts from the car, turning him into a cyborg-mutant hybrid.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC, at the headquarters of Project: Wide-Eye, a corporal informs his general that they have confirmation of a homo superior activation just outside of Phoenix, Arizona. The general asks his officer if they have a team en route yet, but the corporal tells him that they don’t yet, but they are thinking of sending their new squad, as it would be a good chance to test them out, to see what they are capable. Of. The general points out that if they are aware of this, then they need to assume that at least one of the X-teams are as well. ‘Yes, Sir, another reason it might be advantageous to send in an enhanced team. In case there are…difficulties’ the corporal suggests. The genera gives the approval and tells his officer to keep this contained, as the mutant could be an asset, and he wants it brought in without creating a media storm. ‘Yes, Sir! You have my word!’ the corporal replies, before telling his commanding officer to just wait and see these boys in action, as he won’t be disappointed.

In an X-Jet, Chamber pilots it while Storm, Iceman, Angel and Pixie observe the situation in Arizona on monitors. Chamber asks what they know about the kid, and Storm announces that, from what they can tell, he can control machines - talk to them, manipulate them, sort of like Madison Jeffries. Chamber asks if the local cops are already on the scene, Storm confirms that they are, and that they are describing the boy as “hostile”, which likely means he is simply afraid. Storm instructs her team to go in quickly and quietly, that they will solve this peacefully. ‘Poor kid is probably terrified’ Pixie remarks, while Angel states that he looks forward to showing the boy the wondrousness of his gift. Iceman reminds everyone that scared can also mean dangerous, especially since he is likely not in total control of his powers right now. ‘Okay, X-Men, let’s get down there and do our jobs’ Storm announces.

The X-Jet hovers overhead, where, down below, a line of police cars are parked, with officers standing ready. ‘Come out with your hands up, son! We do not want to hurt you!’ one officer calls out, while Owen has piled several cars on top of each other, and stands behind them. ‘Then stop shooting at me!’ Owen calls back. The senior police officer replies that his men will cease fire, but that he must come out, now. Suddenly, ‘It’s okay, young man…we are here to help’ Storm calls out as she drops down behind Owen, the rest of her team behind her. ‘Stay away!’ Owen exclaims, and uses his newfound abilities to throw a car towards them. Iceman creates a large ice-hand which grabs the car, preventing it from landing on the others. Storm tells the young mutant not to be afraid, as they are his friends. She then asks him what his name is. Hanging his head, he introduces himself as Owen Backes.

Storm tells Owen that he needs to calm down and relax, before someone is hurt. Tears start to fall as Owen announces that Maddie is dead, and he doesn’t understand what is happening. ‘I can hear all these…voices. I think it’s the cars talking to me’ he explains. ‘You’re afraid. I get that. But I promise you, Owen, we can help you’ Chamber tells him. ‘You have a gift, Owen. My friends and I would like to give you an opportunity to learn how to use it’ Storm reveals. Angel steps forward and informs Owen that he too found himself overwhelmed and confused by his strange abilities, but the X-Men have helped him to find himself, and they can do the same for him, too.

Nearby, a sniper has Owen in his target - and fires. The bullet clangs against Owen’s cyborg components. ‘STOP SHOOTING AT ME!’ he screams, spinning around, he uses his powers to transform the pile of cars into a large robot, which lumbers forward, towards the police officers. ‘Owen, wait!’ Storm calls out. The officers start to run for their lives, and just in time, as it steps on one of their cars. Storm frowns and tells Bobby to stop that thing. ‘On it!’ Bobby replies, as he creates a large ice-giant, to match the car-robot in size. The car-robot turns as the ice-giant approaches it, then punches it backwards.

Chamber announces that the kid is burning out, that it is too much for him, as he is raw and uncoordinated. Sweat pours down Owen’s face, and suddenly, the ice-giant slams the car-robot backwards, causing it to crash around them. Owen collapses into Pixie’s arms. Storm states that they will get him back to the school, and let the Beast take a look at him. Suddenly, a voice calls out, ‘You could do that…’, as five men stand before the X-Men. One man is beefy and wears shorts and a singlet, with a cap covering his eyes. Another appears to be some sort of robot. Another man is small and thin, wearing jeans and a shirt. The fourth has artificial legs, while the fifth has a strange black costume with red accents on it, and he concludes ‘…or you could save yourselves a lot of trouble and let Freedom Force take it from here!’

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Chamber, Iceman, Pixie III, Storm (all X-Men)

Owen Backes


Brawl, Crimson Commando II, Haste, Mass, Shift (all Freedom Force III)

General Kameron

Corporate Adrian

Police officers

Story Notes: 

Psylocke, Colossus and Domino appear on the cover of this issue only.

First appearance of Owen Backes.

First appearance of the new Freedom Force members, who are unnamed this issue.

This Freedom Force is the third group to use the name.

The first group was formed by Valerie Cooper as the government’s own mutant team and consisted mostly of Brotherhood of Evil Mutants members, working as a pardon for their crimes. Mystique, Destiny, Avalanche, Blob and Pyro formed the core of the team, but they were joined by Spiral and, reluctantly, Spider-Woman II. Their ranks were later increased with the addition of Crimson Commando, Stonewall and Super Sabre. This team made its debut in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #199 and appeared frequently thereafter in various issues of Uncanny X-Men (1st series), New Mutants (1st series) and X-Factor (1st series) until their disbanding during the “Killing Stroke” storyline.

The second Freedom Force was the Initiative team for Arizona consisting of Cloud 9, Spinner, Think Tank, Challenger and a Srkull impersonating Equinox. They debuted in Avengers: The Initiative #12 and subsequently in #18-19.

General Kameron and Corporal Adrian are not named until next issue.

Issue Information: 
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