X-Men: Blue #10

Issue Date: 
October 2017
Story Title: 
Toil and Trouble, part 1

Cullen Bunn (writer), Giovanni Valletta (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), Guru-eFX (colorist), Virtual Caligraphy's Joe Caramagna (letterer), Arthur Adams & Jason Keith (cover artists), Jay Bowen & Anthony Gambino (graphic designers), Christina Harrington (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

The Beast meets with Gazing Nightshade, where he reveals to her that in this time, he feels like he has hit a cognitive brick wall, and is looking for others avenues away from technology to explore – like magic. Gazing Nightshade detects that the Beast feels guilty about the secrets he is keeping from his friends, but he tells her that he can't turn back now. As he walks down an alley, the Beast is approached by the Goblin Queen, whom he has been communing with lately. The Goblin Queen tells the Beast that he needs her, and that she will help him cope with what she has in store. Iceman is training with Danger, who thinks that he is distracted, more concerned with his relationship with Romeo, than his training and place with the X-Men. Iceman fights Danger, and attempts to prove himself in combat. Magneto and Polaris sit in a living room, where Polaris reveals she isn't sure she is going to stay here in Madripoor. Magneto tells her about the dangers they face, and explains that he needs someone to challenge his strategies, to which Polaris decides that she is the right person for that. The Beast works with magicks within his quarters as the Goblin Queen watches over him – and he transforms into a furry white demonic beast. The magicks increase, and a portal opens, where several beings step into this reality. Iceman, Danger, Polaris and Magneto realize something is going on and rush into action. Cyclops and Marvel Girl are outside, discussing their newfound permanent psi-link. Cyclops is upset that Jean has feelings for Jimmy. Jean tries to tell Cyclops that she  thinks he is cute – but that she thinks all of their teammates are cute – only they don't mean to her what Cyclops does. They are about to kiss, when the mansion erupts with magickal energy. They rush into action, and after taking out some demons, are confronted by the Goblin Queen. They see several demonic beings with her, while Iceman, Polaris, Magneto and Danger have been rendered unconscious. The Goblin Queen then sets the transformed Beast on them, and Jean detects no trace of Hank McCoy within the creature!  Meanwhile, Angel flies Jimmy Hudson to Colorado, assuring Jimmy that he wants to help him learn about where he has come from. They meet up with Sheriff Kira Lee, who tells them that something strange is happening, and she thinks figuring out where Jimmy came from might be the clue to figuring out the mystery – and she knows where to start looking.

Full Summary: 

Lowtown, Madripoor, where the time-displaced Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast sits in a nearly empty restaurant. 'Do you... want to talk about it?' the young woman called Gazing Nightshade asks. 'When we first met... your powers... they made me feel things... made me doubt myself' the Beast remarks. Gazing Nightshade, who has bandages over her eyes, tells him that she regrets that. Hank assures her that it is all right, nothing new, as since he has been here, in this time, he has known nothing but doubt. 'Forget mutant abilities. I've always considered my mind to be the thing that set me apart from everyone else' Henry adds, explaining that he was more than “The Bouncing Brute” because he could outthink anyone. Hank tells gazing Nightshade that she presents him with a problem, he will come up with a solution, show him a bit of technology, he adapts it.

Hank admits though, that since they came to this time, he can't seem to catch up. He points out that he understands plenty more than the average person, but he still feels lost, like he has hit some sort of cognitive brick wall – so he looks toward other avenues to set him apart.

Gazing Nightshade remarks that she has only known him for a short time, and asks him to forgive her for speaking out of turn, but that when it comes to coping with a crisis of faith, he is not as smart as he would like to think. 'That's not a nice thing to say considering my -' Hank begins but Gazing Nightshade takes his hand and interrupts him, telling him that when she looked into his eyes, into his heart and mind, she could feel what he was feeling – and it was not doubt – it was guilt, for the things he has done – and for the secrets he keeps from his friends.

Hank stands up and tells Gazing Nightshade that she is right, and that he wishes he could say otherwise – the X-Men wouldn't understand what he has done, wouldn't approve. 'I don't like myself. But I can't turn back now' Hank declares, revealing that he is too close to understanding something – to unlocking secrets that can make him important again.

Hank leaves the restaurant and makes his way down an alleyway, where a voice calls out to him: 'I'm not so sure I like your little girlfriend, Henry'. The Beast glances around, and calls back 'Are you following me now?' The voice tells Henry 'I don't like how she's implying that I'm a bad influence on you'. But the Beast hangs his head and tells the voice 'She doesn't know anything about you. And – for the record – you are a bad influence on me. But you are also – unfortunately – necessary'. A shadow appears on a nearby alley – a horned shadow – and tells Henry that it is good to be needed. 'And you, Henry – you need me, oh so much... whether you want to admit it or not!'

The Goblin Queen steps forward out of the alleyway. Putting a hand on Hank's shoulder, she tells him that she can help him become the man he wants to be. 'Well, why didn't you say so?' Hank replies, frowning. 'If it's that easy, I'd really like immense wealth and a life of not getting pummelled by killer robots on a regular basis' Hank declares, adding that he would like to keep his chiselled movie star looks. The Goblin Queen leans into Hank and tells him that she is glad he has not let the drudgery of this world strip all his sense of humor away. 'It will help, I promise. It will help you cope with the lessons I have in store'. She then tells Henry that they should go home, the two of them, as they have much work to do.

'Shall we begin?' Danger asks Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman from within the Danger Room in the young X-Men's Madripoor home. 'Begin? We've been training for hours! I thought we were finished!' Iceman exclaims. Danger tells Bobby that he will be done only when she says so, and adds that Magneto has asked her to train him, to make him ready for the threats he will face. 'And judging from what I have seen from you of late...there is a great deal of work ahead of us' Danger remarks.

Annoyed, Iceman points  at Danger and tells her that he liked her a lot better when she was just their Blackbird, before telling Danger that he doesn't think she has a clue about his capabilities. 'I've been, like, one of the team's MVPs' Bobby exclaims, an icy mist starting to rise around him. Bobby tells Danger 'I don't know who you think you're dealing with... but I'm way beyond slippery floors and snowballs'. As Danger shifts one of her arms into a chainsaw and the other into a large gun, she tells him to prove it.

'You asked for it, lady!' Bobby exclaims, shifting to his ice-hulk form.  Danger admits that Iceman's powers are expanding, his strength is growing, but that he is distracted, and that makes him weak – makes him a liability. Iceman tries to punch Danger, but she dodges his fist, while pointing out that he worries more about some boy who is not returning his calls, an Inhuman boy, than he does about his own well-being and that of his teammates.

Iceman creates a sort of ice-stream, blasting his hand across the room towards Danger and grabs her, telling her that she can't talk to him that way – and that she can't talk about Romeo that way. 'Maybe the other Iceman would let you get away with that, but not me!' Bobby exclaims, encasing Danger in a block of ice. Danger tells him that is better, but they are still not done.

'Is it always so quiet?' Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris asks Magneto as they sit across from each other in a living room. Lorna remarks that she doesn't remember Xavier's Mansion ever being this peaceful. 'Charles Xavier never valued soundproofing the way I did' Magneto points out. Magneto adds that he thinks it was because Xavier was more naturally trusting than he, before assuring Lorna that they have their share of loud moments, too. 'You'll see' he remarks. 'I'll see. You mean if I decide to stay' Lorna replies. Magneto tells Lorna that he thought she had already made up her mind, but, calling Magneto “Dad”, Lorna tells him that she is not sure she can trust him, and that she doesn't know why the young X-Men trust him. 'You would have installed soundproofing in the X-Mansion, too' Magneto tells his daughter, before announcing that is why he needs her help – he doesn't want thoughtless followers, he doesn't want a Brotherhood of Evil Mutants – he wants someone to help him guide these children. 'Yeah, dealing with kids isn't your strong suit' Polaris points out.

Magneto ignores that comment and announces that the White Queen, Bastion and Miss Sinister – their enemies are numerous, while refugees from another universe walk among them, and they are getting reports of sudden secondary mutations manifesting among a number of mutants. 'You're afraid it's all going to spin out of your control' Polaris remarks. 'It has already done so' Magneto tells her, adding that he is concerned about the steps he might take to regain some sense of order – he wants someone to challenge his strategies. 'Well, in that respect, Dad... I'm your girl' Lorna announces, raising her cup of coffee.

Outside, in the gardens, Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops and Jean Grey a.k.a. Marvel Girl walk side by side under the night sky, and Scott asks Jean, simply by thinking what he wants to say, whether she can hear his thoughts now. 'Technically, Scott, I could always hear your thoughts. You know, if I wanted' Jean replies telepathically, to which Scott tells her this is different. Jean looks at him and agrees, remarking that something changed when she tried to free him from the White Queen – they formed some sort of permanent psychic rapport. 'You're always in my head' Scott tells Jean, who points out that is kinda what permanent means. They stop walking and Jean asks Scott if he is all right with that. Scott carries on walking – he isn't going to lie – it's weird. 'Jean – you're my best friend. But there are things I would never tell you' he remarks.

'Scott' Jean calls out, actually speaking with her mouth as he carries on walking. He stops and Jean goes over to him, assuring him that he can trust her with his secrets, that she would never betray his confidence. 'I didn't think you would' Scott replies. Jean tells him that it works both ways, and whatever happened to them, she is in his head, too. 'I know' Scott remarks, before switching back to thinking, where he tells Jean that, like he said, it is weird. 'I guess this means...I guess you know...' Scott begins, his voice trailing off. 'I guess we both do' Jean points out. Scott tells Jean that he is glad. 'You are -' Jean begins, to which Scott explains 'No. not about that. I'm just glad he's not here right now'.

At that moment, Warren Worthington a.k.a. Angel soars on cosmic wings of fire over the snow-covered mountaintops of Arrow Ridge, Colorado, carrying the reality-lost Jimmy Hudson by his arms. Angel asks Jimmy if he is all right, admitting that he knows this isn't the most comfortable way to travel. Jimmy assures Angel that he is fine, and tells him that he appreciates him coming with him. 'Don't get sentimental. I needed some time away from the others. I needed to clear my head' Angel explains. They drop to the ground, in a forest, and Jimmy tells Angel that it is all right that he doesn't trust him. 'Trust's got nothing to do with it. I don't know you any better than you know yourself' Warren points out, adding that, just like Jimmy, he would like to figure out where he came from and how he got here. 'Plus, I guess I've got a soft spot for Wolverines' Angel smiles.

'Nice of you to show up' a voice calls out. Jimmy and Angel look over and see Sheriff Kira Lee standing on a hillside nearby. She adds that if she knew it was going to take them so long, she would have brought an extra thermos of coffee. The young mutants go over to her and Warren tells the Sheriff that they are just glad she agreed to meet them, adding that it means a lot to his friend that she would be willing to help them. 'And me, I'm just glad you're here' Warren remarks. 'Wow. You never stop, do you?' Kira tells him, before turning and walking down a path, she admits that she doesn't know much about mutants or other worlds, but that she knows that something strange is happening and it is just a little too close to home for her taste – and she has a feeling that figuring out where Jimmy came from is a step to figuring out every aspect of this little mystery. 'Lucky for you, I think I know where to start looking' Kira smirks.

Within his room at the young X-Men's home, Henry McCoy sits on the floor, magickal energy dancing around him, while the Goblin Queen stands behind him and tells him that he is doing well, that he is an excellent student, adapting to her lessons with ease. 'We stand at the vista of something amazing' she exclaims, and tells him that once he has completed this ritual, he will have moved into a greater realm of understanding. 'I... I don't think I can. It's too much' Hank tells her, concentrating, he explains that these forces are like boiling water slipping through his fingers. 'It's not supposed to be painless. It's not meant to be easy. This is a rite of passage' the Goblin Queen declares, putting her hands on his shoulders, she tells him that the Henry McCoy she knows is not a quitter. 'There's a doorway...more than one... opening before me... oh, my... stars and garters...' the Beast utters, before his human form suddenly transforms into something white and furry!

'What is – some sort of attack?' Polaris calls out as objects in the living room start to float around. 'We're X-Men, Lorna. Of course we're under attack' Magneto points out.

'Would you just look at you!  All of you! So much more majestic than I anticipated!' the Goblin Queen exclaims as energy crackles around her demonic form.

Danger and Iceman rush down a corridor as energies spark around them, and Danger tells Bobby that she hopes he has been paying attention – because she believes he is about to put his training to use.

'Step forward, my friends… out of your worlds of darkness and torment... and into the light!' the Goblin Queen announces as four figures appear in a cloud of magicks and emerge from a portal. '... where we can wreak some real chaos!' the Goblin Queen exclaims.

Back outside, Jean and Scott walk over a bridge, and Jean tells Scott that what he is feeling – the jealousy – it is for nothing. 'Come on, Jean. I'm not proud of how I feel. But don't try to belittle it' Scott replies. 'You like him' Scott remarks as they stop on the bridge, and lean on the railing. Jean admits that she likes Jimmy, and tells Scott that this mental rapport between the two of them is going to take some getting used to. 'And you're reading the signals all wrong' she adds. 'Really? Because the “he's cute” message seems to be broadcasting loud and clear' Scott snaps. 'So what? He is cute' Jean snaps back. 'Ugh' Scott thinks. 'So is Warren' Jean adds. 'Ugh' Scott thinks again. 'And Bobby!' 'Ugh' 'And Hank' 'UGH!' the conversation continues, as Jean puts a hand on Scott's arm and tells him that doesn't mean she is in love with them. 'It's never been the same as...' Jean begins, her lips moving closer to Scott's, when suddenly – their mansion is torn apart by magickal energies that erupt skyward. 'We really have terrible timing' Scott remarks. 'The worst' Jean agrees.

Cyclops and Marvel Girl rush back towards the mansion, with Jean telling Scott that she can't reach anyone inside, but isn't sure if it is some sort of interference. 'Scott – demons!' Jean declares as they come to a stop near the mansion, where several demons are awaiting them, hissing when they see the young X-Men.

'Hank did this. He was playing with magic and he did this. You know that, right?' Scott tells Jean as he opens fire on the demons. 'You know what I'm thinking, Scott. You already have the answer to your question' Jen replies as she knocks several demons back with a telekinetic surge. Cyclops blasts back another demon, when suddenly a voice calls out, 'There you are! Two of my favorite X-Men! Come on in!' And Cyclops and Marvel Girl see the Goblin Queen standing over the motionless bodies of Iceman, Polaris, Magneto and Danger, with several demonic beings at her side – Pixie, Colossus, Bloodstorm, and a creature called Nightcrawler – the Bamf Dragon. At her feet is  the furry white creature that the Beast has become.

The Goblin Queen tells Cyclops and Marvel Girl that she was feeling a little lonely, and a little green-eyed because Henry had all his little time-lost friends here to keep him company, so she had Henry invite a few friends to the party. Icey mist rises from Bobby's body, while the demons gather around him, and sparks charge from Danger's motionless form. 'I call them the Hex-Men. Get it?' the Goblin Queen jokes.

'Are they -' Scott asks Jean telepathically, but Jean tells him they are alive, before looking at the demons, and remarking that they took them out like they were nothing. 'What chance do we have?' Jean wonders. 'We're about to find out' Scott replies, before the Goblin Queen tells them that she almost considered giving them the chance to surrender – but then she realized how very much she loathes them both. The transformed Beast growls, while Jean asks Hank if he is in there – if that is still him. 'Jean – get behind -' Scott calls out as hhe prepares to release an optic blast, as the transformed Beast lunges towards him. 'Careful, Scott! I can't find any trace of Hank in his head!' Jean calls out 'He's just – the Beast!'

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all time-displaced original X-Men)
Jimmy Hudson

Sheriff Kira Lee
Gazing Nightshade

Bamf Dragon, Bloodstorm, Colossus, Goblin Queen, Pixie (all Hex-Men)

Story Notes: 

The title is a reference to the three witches from Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.

The Beast met Gazing Nightshade in X-Men: Blue #6.

The Goblin Queen and the Bamf Dragon (a transformed Nightcrawler) are characters from the Battleword domain Limbo from the “Secret Wars” event. Her story was told in the Inferno mini series, and issues of Secret Wars. She and her demons attempted to break through to the 616 reality in All-New X-Men (2nd series) #12. So far it is unknown where the rest of the Hex-Men are from.

Marvel Girl and Cyclops formed the psychic rapport after an encounter with a shard of the Cosmic Cube last issue.

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