X-Men (3rd series) #5

Issue Date: 
January 2011
Story Title: 
Curse of the Mutants part five

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

Brief Description: 

The battle is on as the vampires assault Utopia. They have the air, ground and sea covered; their numbers seemingly limitless. Cyclops leads a small contingent of X-Men outside Utopia he dubs the “tough-skins” (X-Men whose skin is, or can be transformed into, a hardened substance). The vampires come in fast and the X-Men are pushed back. For seemingly no reason they halt their attack. Then an airship comes hovering overhead and Wolverine leaps out onto the ground, threatening Cyclops’ life while trying to convince the rest of the X-Men to join the vampire ranks. Before Logan can act on his threat Scott clicks a button on a remote in his hand and Wolverine drops like a sack of potatoes. It turns out Cyke had Wolverine injected with nanobots prior to his journey to Xarus’ lair. These nanobots turned off his healing factor allowing him to get turned. The push of the switch essentially killed the nanobots. Logan’s healing factor kicks back in and when he gets to his feet he’s his old self again helping the X-Men turn the tide in the battle. Namor also arrives and assists his undersea comrades against the Aqueos vamps. This throws Xarus into a hissy fit. He wants Cyclops and Wolverine dead and he wants no excuses. During Xarus’ tirade Dracula walks in and reclaims his title as lord of the vampires. He forgives everyone for their betrayal and offers them amnesty, all except one… Xarus.

Full Summary: 

Xarus’ lair

Jubilee enters Xarus’ command center. There she finds the lord the vampires sitting in his captain’s chair watching the progress of his vampire nation on the multitude of screens adorning the room. A few of the sect leaders, and what looks like a blonde, female prisoner are also present for the festivities.
Acknowledging Jubilee’s presence Xarus calls her over for a front row seat. Jubilee smirks, saying their hairy little friend will make sure it’s a show they will never forget.
Second-in-command, Brad, tells Xarus the Legate is reporting Krieger landing craft coming in on final approach with Charniputra covering the landing from the air. He puts it up on the big screen and it’s such a moving image that Xarus stands up in awe. He puts a hand on Jubilee’s shoulder and wonders aloud whether Alexander the Great or Xerxes felt the way he feels now. Jubes asks what it is in particular he feels. Triumph and pride, he responds.

The X-Men’s two techno-wizards, Madison Jeffries and Cypher, are at the holographic computers running various calculations. Jeffries reports 600 airborne units and 150 hovercraft with 40 troops each incoming. Cypher double-checks and confirms then questions if Cyclops is reading them.

Cyclops reports a good copy back to Cypher and orders a complete lockdown in 60 seconds. Dr. Nemesis approaches Cyclops with a remote-control-looking device in his hands. He hands it over calling it Cyclops’ ace in the hole. Cyke thanks him and tells him to get back inside with the lockdown team. He says he only wants the “tough-skin” crew up top. Emma, already in diamond-form, takes umbrage with the term “tough skin”, but as Scott turns around to look at his gathered band of X-Men (Colossus, Mercury, Rockslide, Bling!, Dust, Magma, Husk, Armor) he tells them no matter what they’re called the vampires are going to have a hell of a time biting them.
Emma verbally notes Scott’s presence with the team despite his easily bitable skin. Scott calls it leader’s prerogative and then radios to Cypher for a location on Warren. Warren, already flying up high overhead, intercepts the message and tells Cyclops he’s there. Cyke asks if he’s willing to provide air support. Willing and able, Angel reports back as he instantly transforms into the grittier Archangel.
After checking Utopia’s status Scott asks Cypher why the lockdown has not been completed yet. Cypher asks for another 60 seconds as Bobby isn’t ready yet. Emma, who hears the relay of messages, says she smells a special project brewing. Scott says he’s just thinking outside the box, that the idea came to him when he was thinking of Kurt, whom he thinks would have approved.

Iceman kneels, head bowed, before a priest. Although the father can’t guarantee it will work he blesses Iceman in the hopes his ice power will act like holy water against the vampires.
Meanwhile, in the control center, Jeffries picks up multiple blips on the sonar. He tells Cypher to alert the Atlanteans.
Pacific Ocean depths

Jian tells his fellow Atlanteans to form ranks, that the vampires will be coming into view any minute. A bald soldier reports a sighting, though there aren’t many to be seen. He quickly recants his statement as more and more become visible through the murky depths. Jian tells them to hold fast, for if they die there today it will be a death that will live in legend.

Meanwhile, the rest of the vampire hordes make their landing at Utopia. Legate orders the first units to lay down fire as soon as they reach the top. He tells the flanking units to keep up.
Nearby, Blade wants to know what Cyclops’ master plan is now that the vampires are at their door. Cyclops tells him his planning is over and now it’s time to execute. With that, the X-Men jump into action. The tough skins along with Blade and Cyclops leap into the fray against the large vampire assault.
Colossus grabs two vamps by the neck with either hand and snaps them like twigs. As bullets ricochet off his steel body he remarks how the vampires swarm like army ants. Emma punches a Nosferatu in the face while telling Piotr to keep swatting away at the ants. She sarcastically reminds him they’re the tough skins after all.
Overhearing the conversation Cyclops realizes they’re too out in the open and orders his troops to back up toward the wall so they can’t be attacked from the rear. The X-Men do as told with Husk staking a vampire with her wooden hand during the retreat.
Then the unexpected happens. Legate orders the thousands of vampires to hold their attack. Emma is as confused as the rest of the X-Men and questions why they stopped. Blade jokes they may have been intimidated by their slick fallback moves.
Their answer arrives via a hovercraft flying into view. Xarus, from his headquarters, tells Brad to scroll through the shoulder cameras for a better view as this is the moment they crush the X-Men’s spirits. Sure enough, a lone passenger leaps from the ship and onto the ground at the front of the vampire ranks. That passenger is Wolverine.
Logan lands with a FWUMP, knocking Bling! and Armor to the ground in the process. Colossus tells Husk to take him low while he goes high, but Wolverine easily knocks her aside while his newly faster, stronger self manhandles the veteran powerhouse Colossus and throws him back into Rockslide.
Wolverine then smiles and thanks Slim for arranging this little reception for him. He wants them there as witnesses for what he’s about to do to him. Calmly, Scott tells Logan he knows it’s not him and that it won’t be personal when he deals with him.
Bling! and Armor creep up on Wolverine again only to be knocked down. He doesn’t miss a beat as he suggests Cyclops is using the tough talk for the benefit of the sheep he’s leading to slaughter. He then asks Cyke if he gets off on being the dictator, routinely deciding the fate of an entire race, the stone-cold tyrant of the worlds’ smallest empire. He tells Scott Jeannie wouldn’t even recognize him.
Wolverine then addresses the X-Men standing behind him, giving them the choice to join the vampire ranks. He tells them they can be more powerful than they’ve ever imagined and won’t have to worry about Scott Summers leading the mutant race off a cliff. Wolverine then pops his claws and tells Cyclops he won’t be getting a chance to choose.
Nemesis’ remote from earlier in hand Cyclops clicks the bluish button. Logan’s face draws back in utter shock. Then he drops to his knees and lets out a pained growl.
Xarus headquarters

Xarus, along with the rest of his staff, stare at the large screen stupefied. “What?” Xarus questions quietly, unsure and troubled by what is happening.

Scott stands over Wolverine and begins to tell him what’s happening to him. He reminds Logan of the day Nemesis checked his healing factor against vampirism and explains he had the good doctor insert some nanobots that would shut down his healing factor at the DNA level. Scott says he had to assume he might be bitten and turned, and in fact was counting on it. He then explains the little gizmo in his hand turned his healing factor back on.
Growling again, body positioned as if he’s about wretch, Logan tells Scott they’ll need to have a little talk when this is over, but for now he wants the bloodsuckers off his island. With that he gets to his feet and decapitates a nearby Krieger soldier.
Xarus’ headquarters

“No! This is… impossible,” Xarus cries out.

Cyclops tells the troops this is where they turn it around. “Rip ‘em apart!” he orders and they eagerly follow his command. As the X-Men turn the tide in the battle Brad reports to Xarus they’ve lost the beach, the air and the sea, and most of their commanders, including Legate, are incommunicado.
Scenes from the battlefield show Iceman vaporizing vampires with his holy ice attack, Archangel up in the sky slicing and dicing, and Namor finally joining his Atlantean soldiers and taking it to the Aqueos.
Xarus’ headquarters

Brad’s doing his best to raise communications, but nothing’s working. Xarus tells him it’s impossible. Then Wolverine comes through all hazy-like on the video screen and tells Xarus he’s coming for him and to wait right there for he won’t be long. He goads Xarus by saying the X-Men are going to do to him what they already did to his pals. He then shuts off the shoulder-cam ending the transmission.
Brad thinks if they can reestablish communications they can manage an orderly withdrawal to minimize casualties. Alyssa agrees they need to regroup. Instead, Xarus orders the second wave sent in. Brad tells him there is no second wave. He reminds Xarus he wanted to send in everyone so quick that they didn’t have time to organize one.
In a fit of rage Xarus grabs Brad by the collar and tells him he doesn’t want any excuses. Instead, he wants them to return and crush Cyclops and his mutants now. He says it’s going to happen because he’s lord of the vampires. Xarus even boasts that they’ll see him on the big screen standing on Wolverine’s bones and drinking Cyclops’ blood.
Then, suddenly, none of that matters for in walks the newly resurrected Dracula. Everyone is caught off guard, including Xarus who lets out a meek “Father?” Not skipping a beat the real lord of the vampires tells those present he will grant them amnesty, saying they all will be forgiven for being led astray. He then points a finger at Xarus and tells him he, on the other hand, will not receive forgiveness.

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Armor, Bling!, Colossus, Cyclops, Cypher, Dust, Emma Frost, Husk, Iceman, Madison Jeffries, Magma, Mercury, Namor, Rockslide, Wolverine (all X-Men)
Doctor Nemesis (X-Club member)

Jubilee (former X-Man)

Jian (Atlantean soldier)
Utopia priest


Alyssa (Siren sect leader)

Brad (Mystikos sect leader)

Highlord (Aqueos sect leader)

Klaw sect leader

Legate (Krieger sect leader)

Nosferatu sect leader

various vampires of the Aqueos, Klaw, Krieger, Nosferatu and Charniputra sects

Cyclops, Wolverine

Doctor Nemesis


Story Notes: 

In this issue Xarus refers to the Krieger sect leader as “the Legate” when previously he, and everyone else, just called him Legate. This is most likely because the original Legate was killed in the Death of Dracula one-shot, yet at the beginning of X-Men (3rd series), which takes place just after, they’ve been calling the similar-looking Kreiger sect leader Legate too. Whether this was a goof up and the original Legate was mistakenly shown alive in the X-Men series or “Legate” was always meant to be the title for the Krieger sect leader we will probably never know.
Alexander the Great and Xerxes were both powerful rulers and excellent military campaign strategists known for their conquering of various lands.
Doctor Nemesis injected Wolverine with the nanobots back in the early pages of X-Men (3rd series) #3. An unsuspecting Wolverine was bitten and turned by Jubilee at the end of issue.
It’s quite possible the Kreiger vampire Wolverine decapitated when he returned to his old self was the Legate, but the vampire’s face not seen on-panel.
Dracula was killed in a coup led by Xarus back in the Death of Dracula one-shot. Seeing few alternatives to keep Xarus at bay Cyclops had his X-Men collect Dracula’s body and decapitated head and put him back together, returning him to undead life. This took place during issue #3.

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