X-Men (3rd series) #7

Issue Date: 
March 2011
Story Title: 
To Serve and Protect part 1

Victor Gischler (writer), Chris Bachalo (penciler), Tim Townsend (inker), Chris Bachalo (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer) Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson (cover), Chris Bachalo, Terry Dodson, Marko Djurdjevic and Paulo Rivera (variant covers), 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 X-Men are out and about in San Francisco helping those in need. From suicidal teens to cats stuck in trees, the X-Men are there to save the day. This is good news for Kate Kildare, the X-Men’s publicist, but she has grander plans. She wants the world to know that the X-Men are the good guys. Not much later at Utopia, Scott and Logan discuss Cyclop’s recent ploy of basically tricking Wolverine into becoming a vampire. Logan actually commends Cyclops on the bold move. Their talk is interrupted by an alert from the new computer program Scott has running. He radios Cypher for the info who tells him they have an unusual case in New York City. Scott sends Ororo and a team to investigate. Emma wants to go along in the hopes of a city shopping expedition. So a few hours later Emma, Gambit, Storm and Wolverine arrive in New York City and proceed to enter the sewers searching for something sinister and alligator-ish. Eventually they find the lizard-like creatures who turn out to be numerous and quick. Storm sends them scurrying with a lightning blast and Wolverine goes off in search of one to bring back and question. What he finds instead is Spider-Man who’s down there looking for his old pal the Lizard.

Full Summary: 

Golden Gate Bridge 9:41am

A young woman with pink shoulder length hair struggles to keep her hold on San Francisco’s landmark bridge. She originally climbed up to the top of the suspension cables to commit suicide, but is now having second thoughts. The police are down on the street level trying to talk her out of it, not realizing she’s already changed her mind and losing her grip.
An officer on his cell phone tells his bullhorn-billowing sergeant they’re sending someone over to talk her down. The sergeant is relieved, citing heartbroken, suicidal teenagers as above his pay grade.
Meanwhile, the young girl who is running out of options decides that if she backs down slowly she might be ok. She’s wrong and slips almost immediately as she tries shimmying down the cable. Seconds pass as the distance between the girl and death grows closer. Then, out of nowhere, a gloved hand snatches the girl by the wrist.
It’s Angel. He flips the girl onto his back and tells her he hopes this is the last time she tries anything like that again. The girl stammers a bit, trying to say she won’t, but is completely in awe of the flying man with wings who just saved her.
The crowd of looky-loos on the bridge cheers at Angel’s timely save. The sergeant hands over the bullhorn to one of his men and breathes a sigh of relief. “Gotta love those X-Men,” he says.
First National Bank 11:09am

A bunch of hoods dressed up in clown outfits bust through the front doors of the bank carrying overstuffed bags of money. Their leader, pistol in hand, yells at the wheelman to get going before the cops get there. The driver of the “clown van” takes off down the street, but then the vehicle stops suddenly. After getting thrown from his seat the ringleader asks the driver why he braked. The driver quickly yells back it wasn’t him.
That’s when the van gets flipped upside down much to everyone’s surprise. This is followed by a metallic crunching sound, the rear doors being ripped open. Then they go vertical and the clowns are dumped out onto the road like dice in a Yahtzee cup. When they look around they see the hulking form of Colossus staring down at them. He “asks” these “gentlemen” to return the money.
Goldberg’s Convenience Store 2:54pm

It’s another situation for the police, this time a hostage crisis. A man inside the convenience store has a woman and her child hunkered down by an ice cream freezer. The police try to calm the man down, but he yells back that he’s not going back to prison and threatens to murder his hostages if any cop comes in close. He tells them to figure out a way that he gets out of there scot-free.
He begins to tell the police they’ll be responsible for what happens if he doesn’t get his way, but then Wolverine walks in through the back entrance and pops his claws. “Easy or hard?” he asks with a grimace. The eyes of the hardened criminal roll back into his head as he collapses into unconsciousness with a loud thunk.
Kate Kildare’s office

Scott and Emma look over some black and white photos of the X-Men committing random acts of kindness and bravery throughout the city. Scott holds one in his hand of Iceman having just rescued a cat from a tree via his ice slide and handing the kitty over to a little girl.
Kate, meanwhile, is singing the praises of the X-Men. She tells the couple how happy she is to be working with them and adds that her team has put something together to show them.
Running through some slides Kate basically says the X-Men are to San Francisco what the Avengers and Fantastic Four are to New York City. However, she wants the world to know what they know, that the X-Men are not only kicking butt, but doing it for them. Her last slide is a nighttime photo of a tall building with a giant “X” lit up in the sky.
Emma mulls over the proposal. She’s not sure how she feels about being packaged like a beer commercial for a halftime show, but is intrigued by a possible photo shoot, which would mean buying some new outfits.
Kate busts out laughing and tells Emma it’s not about reinventing the X-Men to the public, but getting an effective mechanism for getting out the truth so regular citizens will know what it is they do for them every day. She goes on to explain that her people did some research and stories featuring the X-Men benefiting the community only topped four percent. Kildare wants to stay ahead of the curve and mentions Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and blogs as the primary means of information for the youth demographic.
While Emma looks intrigued by this, Scott seems confused. Emma smiles and says she looks forward to filling out the “Twenty-fived surprising facts about me” survey on Scott’s Facebook profile. Kate backs off a bit admitting it sounds kind of silly, but says it’ll be her team’s job to handle all that stuff and not theirs. She tells Scott the X-Men are now her firm’s number one priority.
Realizing she’s been rambling Kate shuts up and asks Scott what it is he wants exactly. Looking down at a picture of Warren being congratulated by the police after rescuing the suicidal girl he says he wants the world to love them.

Logan steps into the lounge and is surprised to find Scott there plugging away at his laptop. I thought you were spending most of your time in the new communications center, Logan tells him. Scott says he has Cypher and Warlock taking shifts in there since they can sort the data stream better, but he still wants to keep a feel for the news feed.
Cuing in on Scott’s last comment Logan says he heard about the P.R. initiative they have going with them chasing two-bit criminals around the city. Wolverine sarcastically asks if they’ll be writing parking tickets next. Rather pointedly Scott reminds him they’re supposed to be heroes and asks Logan that if he has a hero’s handbook to please share.
Emma, standing behind the bar, pops the cap off a beer and pours the frosty beverage into a glass. She then hands it to Logan who remarks to Scott how sometimes a leader makes decisions others don’t understand. Scott asks for an example and Wolverine brings up Cyclops’ decision to let him be turned into a vampire to spring a trap.
Scott tells him to spit out whatever he’s got to say. Logan does, and it’s actually a compliment. He tells Scott he made the right call and that he’s happy their leader has the stones to pull off something like that. Then Logan lifts his beer, tips back his head and drains the glass in three large gulps.
bing bing bing, Scott’s communicator goes off. He answers and it’s Cypher on the other end. He says the computer’s found a situation that fits the parameters he laid out. It’s pretty freaky stuff, he adds.
Communications Center

The team is assembled and en route. After hearing the mission details Wolverine jokes they’ll be going after Bigfoot next. Gambit smiles and says back home there was a gator in everyone’s backyard. Storm points out nobody said anything about alligators, just reports of reptilian creatures, which could mean anything… or nothing at all.
Even with her face buried in a fashion magazine Emma doesn’t skip a beat and points out Scott wouldn’t have sent them on this mission if he didn’t like the odds. Wolverine turns back to look at her and says Cerebra’s going to get jealous of Scott’s obsession with his new machine.
The Blackbird nears the city and Ororo diverts the plane toward a helipad already cleared by Warren. Gambit looks out the window at the sprawling metropolis below and jokes they have nothing but good times ahead of them.
New York City

Not much later and the optimistic Gambit is peering down an open manhole into the putrid darkness below. He wonders aloud why they’ve never been dispatched to French Polynesia to capture a Tahitian beach monster. Wolverine pushes past him. As he begins his descent down the ladder he says the sooner they get down there the sooner they get out.
Once the four-man team is ankle deep in sewage Wolverine switches on his shoulder light and leads the way. Emma looks down at her black-stained boots and laments over her future dry-cleaning bill. Storm is quick to remind her she volunteered for this op. Emma says someone had to bring style to the group, though she doubts anyone will see her down there.
Emma then stops short and tells everyone to wait. She says she sensed a momentary flash of human thought. Wolverine adds that the scents down there are all mixed up and hard to sort out.
Then Emma picks up something from a nearby tunnel. She peers inside and loses the signal completely. Storm bends over behind her and looks into the small opening. “It looks a bit tight in there,” she notes apprehensively. Emma smiles nastily at her and says if her little phobia bothers her she can wait up top while the rest of them continue on. With a little bit of an attitude Storm assures her that won’t be necessary. Gambit finally intercedes and says he’ll take the lead, having earned his sewer crawling badge long ago. Storm isn’t having any of it and is the first one into the tunnel.
When they reach the other end it’s just another empty section of sewer. Storm’s thankful for the higher ceilings though and asks Emma if she’s picking up anything. Emma likens it to a scrambled cable channel, that sometimes she almost sees something.
Wolverine spots some movement in the shadows of a nearby tunnel. Whatever it is comes in quickly knocking Gambit off his feet into the fetid water. Quickly to his feet Remy whips out two Aces and readies to charge them. Storm offers him some caution wanting to know where the creature came from and at the same time prevent the tunnel from coming down around them. The ever smarmy Gambit assures Storm he’s careful when he makes things go boom. Wolverine tells them to cut the talking and follow him in the direction the thing went.
The team comes across an opening in the floor and follows the trail ever deeper. Storm says the schematics Cypher downloaded don’t match up with the tunnels they’re in. Emma stops them again saying she’s picking up scattered thoughts all around them, something new this time. Storm asks if she can locate it, but Emma says it’s not sentient, just confused images and surges of emotion… like a desperate hunger.
“Hunger, huh?” Wolverine echoes as he steps through a large opening into a chamber filled with rotted and skeletal human remains. Wolverine inspects a nearby victim and notes he’s been chewed and shows signs of claw marks too. Gambit is grossed out, despite his love of eating crawfish.
A look of concern crosses Emma’s face. She tells her teammates the images and emotions are rushing in faster now and intensifying. She curses herself for not being able to lock on to anything. Emma then tells them all to brace themselves for they’ve arrived.
Sure enough dozens of lizard-like creatures barrel down on the X-Men. Wolverine comes out with the claws while Gambit and Emma use their hand to hand combative skills. Wolverine wants a sit-rep and Gambit says they sure aren’t alligators. Emma notes the one she just kicked in the gut is wearing Banana Republic.
Ororo levitates into the air, her eyes turning an electric white. Whatever they are, she declares, several thousand volts should take care of them. Lightning then fills the area and the creatures are knocked for a wallop. However, they recover quickly and scatter to safety.
Storm says they need one to examine. Logan says he’s on it and hunkers down popping his claws. He enters the dark tunnel in front of them. A few moments later and the sounds of a big brawl come echoing back to the other three. Wolverine is then sent flying back out through the tunnel opening and lands at the feet of his teammates. “Son of a-- YOU!” he growls as he eyes his opponent stepping out of the tunnel toward them.
It’s Spider-Man who jokes he would have baked a cake if he knew they were coming. On a more serious note he tells the X-Men that if they want to go after his pal the Lizard they’re going to have to go through him first.

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Colossus, Cyclops, Cypher, Emma Frost, Gambit, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Kate Kildare (publicist)
Lizard kids
suicidal teenager

police officers
bank robbers

hostage taker
in photographs

Angel, Colossus, Gambit, Iceman, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Story Notes: 

During the 1st arc of this series (#1-6) Cyclops sent Wolverine on a mission into vampire headquarters to rescue an infected Jubilee, but secretly had him injected with nanobots that would block his healing factor and allow him to be turned into a vampire. When vampire Wolverine participated in an invasion of Utopia Cyclops turned off the nanobots and Wolverine became his old self again, helping to turn the tide in the battle and, later, give Cyclops valuable intel on the vampire headquarters.
When Storm was a young girl a plane crashed into her home killing her parents. She was trapped beneath the rubble, her mother’s arm poking out of some wooden debris nearby. It is because of his tragic event Ororo suffers from claustrophobia (revealed via flashback in Uncanny X-Men #102).
Banana Republic is a clothing brand run by Gap Inc.

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