X-Men: First Class (2nd series) #6

Issue Date: 
February 2008
Story Title: 
The Catalyst

(1st story) Jeff Parker (writer), Roger Cruz (artist), Val Staples (colorist), Blambot’s Nate Piekos (letterer)

(2nd story) Jeff Parker (story), Colleen Coover (art)

Eric Nguyen (cover), Nathan Cosby (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

(1st story)

Xavier helps the NASA with a telepathic probe of a comet, unaware that he is attracting … something. The X-Men awake the next morning to find that their powers are gone. Worse, a Sentinel comes looking. Cyclops lures it into the Danger Room where it is destroyed. Problem is… what to do with the other 100 or that have just landed on their lawn.

(2nd story)

Marvel Girl wants to coach the Scarlet Witch on becoming a superheroine. Together, they examine what promises to be an easy case: items going missing from a museum. They witness a pale yellow creature smuggling things into a tunnel and follow it to find the culprit is the Mole Man. Jean doesn’t want to confront him openly, as the X-Men don’t need more enemies. However, Wanda has an idea. Mixing her costume with Jean’s, she introduces herself as Marvel Witch and, aided by Jean’s telekinesis, takes back the stole items. The girls are congratulating themselves for a job well done when Xavier contacts them. Apparently, the Mole Man is running amok with his monster in the streets of New York, wishing to court the woman who impressed him… Marvel Witch.

Full Summary: 

(1st story)

Xavier’s consciousness soars though space. He sees asteroids, he describes, extending as far out as he can sense. Another voice confirms this: the probe has just entered the asteroid belt. Prepare to project off the X-Y axis, onto Z. Xavier begins projection and gets close and closer, nearing the path of the comet. He enters the comet’s coma and scans for anything resembling mental activity.

Earth, the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Hooked up to a helmet, Xavier tries to sift through the radio static to find a pattern. His students look on critically. Bobby summarizes: so the professor s going to divert the comet, so it will crash into Jupiter with a sweet explosion saving all of Earth. No, that’s not what’s happening at all, Hank calmly corrects him. It’s just what should happen, Warren points out.

Hank reminds them that the comet presents no danger. It simply has an unusual quality. Very unusual, one of the scientists agrees as she checks the readouts. Something from the comet responded to METI transmitters in a very deliberate sequence. Messages of Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, Hank translates for the others.

The scientist continues that, even though NASA isn’t part of the program, they couldn’t ignore the chance to make contact with a lifeform. Especially one so close to their own solar system. Thankfully, when they contacted Professor Xavier he had the ability to amplify one of their probes for this long range metal scan. Of course he demanded to become the first “Cerebe-Naut,” another scientist gruffly adds. Still, he made some good finds along the way.

Can life exist inside a comet? Cyclops wonders. Not as they would recognize it, the first scientist replies. Hopefully, their teacher’s incredible mind will find what the equipment can’t. There’s even the possibility that what answered had a short lifespan and is already dead by now.

Xavier stirs. He can’t project any longer; it’s leaving him… and indeed the probe is drifting out of range. Suddenly, Xavier screams startled a moment before the connection is severed.

Is he ok? Scott asks worried. Charles assures them he’s fine, but found nothing that he recognized as life. Still, a fascinating endeavor. The scientists thank him.

Elsewhere in space, a small bit of energy leaves the comet and flies towards Earth.

The next morning, Hank awakes in his room. He tries to jump right into his slippers and misses, instead awkwardly landing on his knees. He heads towards Bobby’s room asking if he is awake. Angrily, Bobby mumbles that it’s Saturday and attempts to fire a snowball at him. To no avail.

Jean joins them, asking why they are making such a racket so early. Hank tosses a book (Darwin’s Origin of Species) at her. Instinctively, she tries to catch it telekinetically and can’t. All of them are nonplussed when there’s suddenly a shout of happiness. Scott rushes out of his room, asking them to look at him. His eyes have turned off! He doesn’t need the visor or glasses anymore. It’s over! Maybe the mutations aren’t forever.

Hank points out how strange it is that they all lost them at the same time. He liked his power, Bobby protests and Jean realizes Warren isn’t out there with them. She runs to his room. Is he ok? Dazed, he sits in his bed, surrounded by the feathers he’s lost.

Hank goes into the kitchen, where he finds the professor seemingly lost in deep thoughts. Is he affected as well, he asks. The professor sees Hank’s now normal-sized hands and realizes it isn’t just him. They’ve all lost their powers. Is this natural? Xavier doubts it but can’t mentally scan for the source of the problem. However, they still have one powerful weapon in their arsenal.

And so, a little later in the classroom, Cerebro informs them that other mutants such as the Maximoff twins seem to be unaffected. It’s a local phenomenon. Xavier asks Cerebro if it can determine any source that may have affected their genetics. He wants Cerebro to devote all its processors to this. Cerebro finds nothing.

Scott remarks he cannot think of any of their enemies who could pull this off. The scariest thing is it may not involve their enemies, Hank points out. No, that’s the scarier thing Jean replies, looking at the window with a Sentinel peeking in. A moment later, the robot monstrosity has grabbed Jean.

Xavier realizes there was no alert because he wasted all of Cerebro’s drive on their current dilemma. He orders it to resume normal processes and implement mansion defense. With that, Cerebro has a steel plate fall down the window, separating the Sentinel’s arm from the rest, thus freeing Jean. The Sentinel prepares for full assault and the X-Men run to escape the attack just in time.

As the Sentinel smashes the wall, Scott orders the others to get the professor to the basement through the elevator. Xavier reminds him that they all have to go to the shelter. They are all vulnerable now. They still have their training, Scott replies. That’s better than a power sometimes. He swings outside, runs past the Sentinel and goads it to try hitting a running target. It misses.

It follows Scott… into the Danger Room. Barely inside, Scott gives the order initiate full wargame scenario – all safeties off. Immediately, the Sentinel is hit from a dozen sides at once and all that’s left is a pile of junk. Jean and Bobby join Scott. He doesn’t ever say this, Bobby admits, but Scott freaking-rocks!

Is the professor safe? Scott asks. Hank informs him he is in the fallout shelter and fine. Looking up, Warren points out that they are really, really not. Dozens of Sentinels land on the Mansion grounds. This day just keeps getting worse.

(2nd story)

Jean Grey is about to visit Wanda Maximoff. Warren throws her the keys to his lucky car and Jean remarks she’s sorry it didn’t work out between him and Wanda. He should cheer up. She knows it’s tough when you’re rich, handsome and can fly. Warren agrees glumly.

A little later, Jean drives up the driveway of the Maximoffs’ current home. Wanda asks Pietro to leave as he promised. But, why does she need friends? She has him for a brother. he asks unconvinced, though obeying. Racing past Jean, he wishes her a good evening, then races back because he forgot something, then leaves again.

A little later inside the house, Wanda and Jean read newspapers, trying to find a crime they can solve together. They have to find the right one, Jean insists. They don’t want to bite off too much on their first night out. Though they are insanely powerful.

Wanda suggests that the bubblehead villain who fights the Spider-Man – referring to Mysterio – is on the loose. Jean is for keeping it simple, as Wanda is a newbie. She finds the case of a museum that’s been losing artifacts at night without any evidence of the crime. They’ll arrange to stay there overnight. With a bit of influence by Xavier, the curators believe the two young women to be FBI agents.

3.00 a.m. and the two are bored out of their minds and a lot less enthusiastic.

However, suddenly pale yellow hands lift the tiles on the ground and little subterranean creatures, similar to those the X-Men saw on Monster Island, come out. They immediately zap the security guard and grab artifacts before the girls can react.

The two girls decide to follow them down the hole. They walk through a tunnel that goes on forever, causing Wanda to exclaim that they should have gone after Mystery bubble after all. Finally, they find the true culprit… the Mole Man. Those treasure would long have been his, he shouts, if the Explorers Club hadn’t spurned him.

Jean is loath to attack. The X-Men don’t need another super-villain enemy right now. What if he sends giant monster to stomp the mansion? Wanda has an idea. She grabs Jean’s mask and demands her gloves and boots as well. After the girls have partially switched costumes, Wanda seemingly levitates before the Mole Man (courtesy of Jean’s telekinesis). Calling herself Marvel Witch, she exclaims she’s going to take the artifacts back.

When the Mole Man tries to command one of his creatures to fry her, Wanda uses her own powers to turn the creatures against each other. She grabs the artifacts with Jean’s help and the two girls quickly run for it, collapsing the tunnel behind them.

In the morning at Wanda’s place, they are still in a self-congratulatory mood until Xavier contacts them, asking whether they happened to run into the Mole Man. They seem to have made a big impression on him. He tells them to observe the news.

A news report shows the Mole Man, flowers and candies in his hands, monsters behind him, wreaking havoc and threatening that his monsters will search the wretched surface world until he finds the brave beauty who must rule the underworld by his side… Marvel Witch!

Characters Involved: 

1st story:

Professor Xavier

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all X-Men)

NASA staff


2nd story:

Professor Xavier

Angel, Marvel Girl (both X-Men)

Quicksilver Scarlet Witch

Mole Man

Story Notes: 

Warren and Wanda dated in X-Men: First Class (1st series) #7.

Jean and Wanda decided to team up in X-Men: First Class (2nd series) #3.

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