X-Men Children of the Atom #1

Issue Date: 
October 1999
Story Title: 
Childhood's End

Joe Casey (writer), Steve Rude (pencils), Andrew Pepoy (inks), Paul Mounts (color) Jim Novak, Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Wes Abbott (letters), Matty Ryan (assistant editor), Mark Powers (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Disaster hits Middletown, Missouri when a kid named Michael Thompson manifests his mutant powers killing himself, many others and also destroying most of the town. The media is bringing mutants out in the open with constant coverage. It is also giving Anti-mutant militia leader William Metzger plenty of air time to spread his words of hate. With the rise of mutant tension F.B.I. Agent Duncan has been assigned to look into the mutant epidemic. Duncan is visited by Charles Xavier and is given a choice to help Xavier with his project. At the same time a new masked vigilante has appeared. Criminals never see him until it is too late because he swoops down and attacks from the sky using his bird-like wings. Charles Xavier is also in the process of trying to convince the parents of Jean Grey, a teenage girl with telekinetic powers whom Xavier has been teaching control, to allow her to come to his new school. Freeport High School is chock full of colorful characters such as Bobby Drake, a shy freshman who is always cold, Henry McCoy, the new football hero with enormous hands and feet, and Scott Summers, the mysterious quiet new guy who always wears a pair of red sunglasses. F.H.S. also harbors a few would be soldiers of the Anti-Mutant Militia in Chad, Starkey, Mikey and Ruben. Xavier uses his new friend Agent Duncan to get him an alias as Charles Alexander to become F.H.S.’s new guidance counselor. Metzger’s A.M.M. rallys bring many people to his cause and drives to commit acts of violence, including a certain four F.H.S. students. After Duncan is informed about a man named Trask who is offering the F.B.I. a mutant solution he contemplates what moves to make while Chad, Starkey and Ruben meet with an A.M.M. recruiter named Arthur. While the new bird-man super hero is patrolling the skies he is attacked by an enormous flying robot. When the hero thinks it’s over the robot suddenly explodes. The hero flies away not knowing what happened or that he is being watched by a caped man in the shadows.

Full Summary: 

Scenes of a burning town are shown on a TV set as a news reporter describes what has happened. A teenage boy named Michael Thompson manifested mutant powers, killing himself many people and destroying most of the town. The scene cuts to a civilian saying they lost everything and she knew something was strange about the teenager.
The scene was footage shot in Middletown, Missouri three weeks ago. A reporter describes how this event has brought the mutant issue to the public. It is igniting reactions from people such as William Metzger, leader of the Anti-Mutant Militia and publisher of the underground newspaper “The Militia Press”.
Metzger is making a statement that the A.M.M. is not a hate group but a revolutionary group standing up for human rights. He says that mutants are a menace her to destroy. His words and group has inspired violence in regular humans as some believed-to-be mutants have been violently killed.
The reporter segues from Metzger to show that mutants are the result of mutated cells. She shows that at a certain development stage cells in the body become mutated creating the potential for the being to become super-human. The development stage usually occurs with teens around puberty. Ironically this demographic is the primary target for the A.M.M. Teens rush to join the group not knowing whether they will become a mutant themselves.
After Metzger makes the statement that the lines have been drawn and what happens next is inevitable the tv is turned off by an F.B.I. director, Agent Cain. He asks the agent he was showing the news report to if he is convinced. Agent Duncan responds by saying the media is blowing things out of proportion. After a brief discussion over the matter Cain assigns Agent Duncan to investigate mutants.
As agent Duncan walks into his office he talks into a tape recorder saying he is not sure how he feels about the situation. As he says “Maybe it is inevitable” he is startled by a voice saying, “Let’s talk about inevitabilities, Agent Duncan.” When Duncan demands to know who is there, the voice repeats part of the conversation Duncan just had with Cain. Duncan demands an explanation. The man wheels himself to the light and introduces himself as Charles Xavier, a college genetics teacher at Columbia. Xavier explains that Duncan is about to be brain washed into thinking mutants are the enemy. Xavier knows Duncan is not like that and would like to offer him a choice. Duncan asks “What’re you… a mind reader” Xavier smiles.
Elsewhere… Shots of papers and magazines are shown with Captain America, Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four in them as a shadowed winged man gets dressed. He flies off in a mask and costume with a halo on his chest. He sees a woman being mugged for her purse. In the blink of an eye the mugger is gone and the woman’s purse drops from the sky. Later the mugger is dropped on a police car tied up and gagged.
Xavier is at the home of John and Elaine Grey. He is trying to convince them that their daughter, Jean, needs more help with her mutant powers than he can give by visiting her at her home. He wants to enlist her in a school he is trying to start. He tells them he has made a contact in the F.B.I. and that he will be using his father’s estate as the campus. He also informs them that he will be approaching another potential student soon. He says he is an orphan and shows them a picture of a young man in red sunglasses. They say they will have to think about it. Xavier says, “Personally I don’t think she has any other choice”. Outside Jean is sitting, making flower petals float telekinetically.
A news reporter starts talking about problems at Freeport High School such as gang violence and financial debt. In the school announcements are read over the inter-com, especially one about there being no air conditioning. Chad, Starkey, Mikey and Liza are students at F.H.S. They are picking on another student and going through his locker while talking about going to an A.M.M. rally to see Metzger speak. They also talk about meting a man named Arthur. Liza says Metzger is a whacko. Chad claims Metzger is “da Man” and shows them a copy of the Militia Press. They turn their attention to watch Hank McCoy walk down the hall. They call him a freak due to his huge hands and feet.
The school principal is interviewing a new guidance teacher. A bald man in a wheelchair named Professor Charles Alexander. The principal wonders why such a accomplished professor wants to work at his school. Alexander says that just because the school is troubled does not mean it does not deserve a good guidance program. Alexander explains he wants to help the ones who need to be helped. “Out to change the world, Mr. Alexander?” the principal asks. “You have no idea,” Alexander replies.
A skinny teen in baggy clothes and red sunglasses walks into the school with his head down. He runs into a football coach and falls down. The coach scolds him and asks his name. The boy replies “Summers…Scott Summers”. The coach tells him to get to class and that he “…ain’t winnin no fashion points with those shades…”.
In a classroom Chad is talking with another student, Ruben, about whether the freshman named Drake is a mutant. The school is so hot due to no air conditioning and Drake is sitting behind them in a sweater shivering.
In the lunch room Hank McCoy’s friends are marveling at how much he can eat. One of them asks if he can help them understand his biology homework. Hank looks at the book for a minute but the hands it back and says its over his head too.
Starkey, Chad Liza and Ruben are talking about stomping mutants. Ruben points out summers and says his sunglasses are weird. McCoy walks by Summers and notices that Scott is reading Beyond Good and Evil and says: “Nietzsche. Good book. Read it when I was nine.” He walks out with two cheerleaders.
In a stairway a boy sits crouched on the steps with his books and lunch scattered. His lunch is frozen solid.
On TV on “America’s Most Contemptible”, a police officer is blinded and hospitalized by a teenage mutant joyriding without a license. On 24 hour video, host Tabitha interviews controversial lead singer Charlie Munroe about being a mutant. He says if he was he wouldn’t be shy about it. On Terry Dingler a teen comes out to his dad that he is a mutant. On Empty Minutes, a profile on mutants and William Metzger will be shown. Some people are criticizing Metzger. His A.M.M. is a sparking violence across the nation. A shot of people being hanged is shown.
Xavier returns to his mansion. He comes to a metal door, presses a button, wheels into Cerebro and turns it on.
Chad, Starkey and Ruben are at the A.M.M. rally. Metzger is telling them that humans will not got the way of the dinosaur. That humans will fight for their existence and that mutants are a plague and it is humanity’s right to destroy that plague. Watching on a hill in the shadows is Charles Xavier.
Agent Duncan’s superior is telling him about a man named Trask who wants to pitch them an idea about a robotics solution to the mutant problem. Duncan talks into his tape recorder. He says things are escalating on both sides. He is playing on both teams and he doesn’t know who to trust, or if he should trust anybody.
At a night club Chad, Ruben and Starkey are introduced to Arthur. The huge man asks them what they would do if a mutant was in the room right now. Chad said he would kill him. Arthur says that’s not enough. You have to kill his family and burn the ground they died on, to get rid of all contamination. The boys say they want in. Ruben says they have to go through initiation, to see how much they hate. He says he’ll be in touch.
The TV shows teen socialite Warren Worthington III at a charity event. Then it cuts to coverage of the mysterious winged man.
Later the winged man is shown flying above the city. He sees a building start to shake. Suddenly a huge robot bursts out of the building. It starts chasing after him. Just as it is about to get him something stops him and he explodes over the water. The winged man looks down and then flies away unaware that he is being watched by a caped man wearing a red helmet.

Characters Involved: 

Professor Charles Xavier

Warren Worthington III/Avenging Angel

Jean Grey

Henry “Hank”McCoy

Scott Summers

Robert “ Bobby” Drake
John Grey, Elaine Grey (Jeans’ parents)
Agent Duncan, Agent Cain
William Metzger (Founder of the Anti Mutant Militia)

Arthur (Member of the AMM)

Chad, Starkey, Ruben, Mickey, Liza (mutant-hating students)

Story Notes: 

This is another retelling of the original X-Men’s origin though it takes several liberties:

Jean’s parents originally didn’t know about her powers.

Bobby, Hank and Scott didn’t attend the same high school.

There was no man named Metzger involved.

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