X-Men Forever (2nd series) #3

Issue Date: 
September 2009
Story Title: 
The Cruelest Cut: Love—and Loss: Part 3 of 5

Chris Claremont (writer), Tom Grummett (penciler), Cory Hamscher (inker), Wilfredo Quintana (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Tom Gurmmett and Moose Baumann (cover artists), Jordan White & Charles Beckerman (assistant editors), Mark Paniccia (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

A trio of mysterious figures monitors its agent within Xavier’s School—the same agent who killed Wolverine earlier that night. Meanwhile, at Xavier’s, Sabretooth accuses Storm of murdering Wolverine. Professor X confirms this accusation when he probes the mind of the comatose Jean Grey—who was connected with Wolverine at his time of death—and sees Storm commit the treacherous act. The mere memory of the attack knocks Xavier out, but wakens Jean, who confronts Storm via astral projection before fainting again. Meanwhile, the rest of the X-Men confront Storm. She lashes out and tries to kill them. Storm flees and locks the team in the Danger Room, but Shadowcat easily phases through the door and confronts her in the hallway. Despite enduring the full extent of Storm’s powers, Shadowcat closes the distance between them and slashes Storm across the face using a single adamantium claw she absorbed from Wolverine!

Full Summary: 


Three silhouetted figures observe the events in New York as they transpire on their monitors. One man asks for a status update; another informs him they’re still gathering information on the event in Central Park. A third figure asks what they know so far. The figure in front of the screen informs them their agent engaged the mutant knows as Wolverine at the 5th Avenue residence earlier that evening. Apparently, Wolverine’s fabled luck has run out. He asks for their agent’s status. Pointing to the physiological readouts of a female, the other figure reports the agent is okay, despite her heightened anxiety levels. Should they extract her? No, another figure says; they will shut down the safe house and leave the X-Men to deal with their overzealous spy.

The Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. The Danger Room…

The X-Men face Sabretooth, one of their oldest, deadliest adversaries. This time, it’s Sabretooth who has suffered the worst of their confrontation. As smoke pours out of his charred eye sockets, Sabretooth announces he’s now blind! He holds his claws in front of his face, but cannot see even those.

Horrified at the actions of his colleague, Nightcrawler asks Storm why she did this. She offers a weak apology; Sabretooth was in their home and was ready to attack. After reminding her she almost killed him, Cyclops tells Storm they can discuss it later. For now, he intends to get Sabretooth the proper medical attention.

Gambit asks his teammates what they think Sabretooth meant by his remarks about Logan. As far as Gambit knows, Sabretooth had no love for the man; wasn’t he always trying to kill him? “Every year, Gambit—on Logan’s birthday,” Rogue confirms. “But we never knew why.” Sabretooth takes the opportunity to enlighten them. He claims his annual attacks were his way of making sure Wolverine remembered his place in the world—one step behind Sabretooth.

Scoffing, Storm claims Sabretooth’s babbling must stem from shock and advises no one take him seriously. Cyclops disagrees. Sabretooth came for a reason; perhaps the answers he provides will help them find Logan. However, Sabretooth suddenly falls unconscious, much to everyone’s surprise. Gambit checks his pulse. He still lives, but his signs of life are weak. Cyclops orders Nightcrawler to grab a medikit so they can stabilize Sabretooth before they take him to the infirmary. Incredulously, Storm asks her leader if he means the infirmary—or the brig.

As she phases up through the floor behind Storm, Shadowcat wonders what is wrong with Storm. She’s never seen her act this way. Meanwhile, the conversation continues. They’re going to ensure Sabretooth survives, if only so they can interrogate him later, Cyclops tells Storm. She reminds him that Sabretooth is dangerous. Cyclops reminds her they have handled Sabretooth in the past and admits he doesn’t understand Storm’s current attitude. Perhaps she tires of fighting the same adversary over and over again, Storm says.

While watching this argument proceed, Kitty strokes her right arm, which just won’t seem to stop hurting.

Cyclops counters Storm’s most recent point by saying they need information. Storm asks from whom—a creature who would just as soon slaughter them for fun? Whether she likes it or not, Sabretooth is their only lead, Cyclops tells her. Storm asks how they can follow leads when they’re dead. Besides, she asks Scott to consider whom Sabretooth will strike next; will he be able to shoulder the burden when Sabretooth claims his next victim? Deflecting this question, Cyclops tells Ororo he refuses to be part of a firing squad.

Nightcrawler teleports back into the Danger Room with a medikit in his hand. He asks for an update on Sabretooth’s condition, at which point Gambit informs him that, oddly enough, Sabretooth’s pulse has almost returned to normal. Rogue reminds him that, like Logan, Sabretooth is a fast healer.

The infirmary…

Dr. Hank McCoy observes the unconscious Jean Grey with unease. He doesn’t like the readings. Although her vitals are normal, her EEG is off the charts. Basically, her body may be at rest, but her mind is fully active. He adds that the readings look unsettlingly familiar. Professor X understands the implication, but assures Hank that he’s monitoring Jean telepathically and senses no alien presence. “From your mouth to God’s ear,” Beast says.

Xavier recounts that Jean called out Wolverine’s name before she fell. If they were psi-linked, whatever happened to her must have started with him. Beast concurs. Xavier concludes Jean must have acted as a firewall, absorbing the brunt of the impact, while the rest of them received a mere taste. Even so, the strike was sufficient to knock them all unconscious, leading Xavier to wonder what happened to Logan at the source. Hank asks if Xavier intends to try to get through to Jean, to which Xavier admits he sees no other choice. He must try.

Initiating the psi-link, Xavier informs Hank he wants to maintain an open psionic link between the three of them so Hank can monitor his progress. It will not be easy: Jean sealed off all normal points of access to protect herself. Xavier must find another way. He adds that he hasn’t reached out to Jean like this since her childhood, when her nascent telepathy overwhelmed her mind. As the professor moves into Jean’s psyche, Beast advises him to be careful.

“I must. This could be dangerous to us all,” Xavier says telepathically. As soon as he enters Jean’s mindscape, he sees Jean making out with a shirtless Logan and emits a gasp. Hank asks what he sees, but Xavier informs him he is not sure; it could be either fantasy or reality. Regardless, he informs Hank that he’ll allow Jean to keep these thoughts private.

“You’re the professor,” Hank says. Xavier wishes it were that simple. He senses an awareness around both Jean and Logan—a deeper, more primal intimacy than he ever sensed around Jean and Scott. The conflicted nature of her emotions breaks Xavier’s heart; how could she have kept these thoughts hidden? Why didn’t she trust Xavier?

Finally, Professor X begins to sense the Cortez mission. He sees the Blackbird as its right wing explodes. Still, his thoughts linger on Jean’s connection with Logan. He had no idea she was psi-linked with him like that. Hank asks if he means psi-linked as in how Jean was linked with Scott. Much deeper, Xavier informs him, still astounded she kept it a secret. He watches as Jean’s memory of the events of the Cortez mission unfold. He sees Shadowcat phasing both Jean and Wolverine out of the doomed airplane and listens as they converse on the ground. However, the arrival of Cortez cuts short their conversation. That’s when they got the readings of power levels in the region that rivaled those of the Phoenix, Hank adds. “Exactly,” Xavier confirms. These events culminate in Wolverine’s departure from the team. Profess X had rarely seen him so angry. That was the last time any of them would see him…

What Xavier sees next catches him completely by surprise. Somehow, he sees Logan’s memories, independent of Jean. He deduces Jean must have been communicating with Logan while she was sitting in Xavier’s office. Essentially, their thoughts merged as one. Hank asks the professor how he didn’t sense this at the time. Xavier has no idea. There must be depths and dimensions to Jean’s abilities he never suspected.

The astral form of Charles Xavier follows this memory of Wolverine as he picks a lock to an apartment. What is he hoping to find? Xavier has seen Logan on the hunt before—but never with such intensity. He thought Jean and Logan trusted him as much as they did each other; why didn’t they trust him with this too?

As Xavier follows the memory of Logan into the apartment, Beast informs him his pulse is racing and recommends he take a break. Charles insists he is fine; he needs to continue, while the images remain fresh. Xavier notices something peculiar about the scene and asks Hank if he had a chance to examine Logan before he left. Regrettably, Dr. McCoy informs Xavier that Logan stormed off before he had the chance. Why? Xavier tells him that, according to these images, Logan was short one claw. Hank cannot believe it: Logan was missing one of his claws? Although admittedly not his area of expertise, Xavier doubts people just lose adamantium claws.

The surveillance continues. Xavier asks the memory of Wolverine what he hopes to find in the apartment. He begins picking up Logan’s old thoughts. “Huh… everything looks normal,” Xavier hears Logan thinking. “But I’d bet a month’s worth of Lockheed cleanup duties that this place is loaded with active sensors.” In addition to hearing Logan’s thoughts, Xavier now detects some of Jean’s as well. He hears her tell Logan that Cyclops is worried about him, as is she. She adds she doesn’t like lying for him. Wolverine tells her Cyclops will get over it. Jean claims she won’t, though. She tells Logan she doesn’t know what she would do if she lost him. She knows he feels the same way.

Xavier admits to Hank that he has never seen Wolverine behave so nervously, and with such precaution. Hank asks if he can tell yet whom Wolverine hoped to find. No, Xavier says—but asks his colleague to hold on a moment. He watches as Wolverine continues his conversation with Jean. The trail Logan follows leads him to a closet. Jean comments on the scent Logan is following, but Logan doesn’t think it makes sense. He opens the closet doors. Xavier can’t believe what he sees.

“What’ve they done to you?” Logan whispers to the person hiding inside the closet. “Don’t worry, I’ll get you out of here.” He asks Jean to look through his eyes and see what he sees. However, Jean begins shouting for Logan to leave immediately. Suddenly, Logan’s eyes widen; so do Xavier’s. Jean shouts Logan’s name one last time, just as his assailant—who appears to be none other than Storm—fries him with electricity.

Xavier, still fully linked to Logan by way of Jean, screams as he suffers the psionic backlash of this attack. It knocks him out of his seat and across the room. Beast gasps as this psionic force overtakes his mentor.

Having heard the screams, Nick Fury rushes into the infirmary and finds Professor X lying unconscious on the floor. What happened? Beast says he doesn’t know; Charles was mind-probing Jean when he screamed and passed out. “Whatever he did, McCoy,” Fury says as he looks across the room, “—I think he got her attention.”

Beast and Fury watch as Jean jerks forward and snaps back into consciousness. She screams just one word: STORM!

The Danger Room…

The X-Men watch as Sabretooth, now wearing a makeshift blindfold, slowly comes to his senses. That man can take some serious voltage, Gambit observes. Cyclops asserts that his healing power must be nearly as powerful as Logan’s. Nightcrawler points out that his eyes have yet to heal, however. He remains blind. “Good,” Storm says.

Now that he’s coherent, Cyclops asks Sabretooth why he came to Xavier’s at all. “Just stopped by for a friendly visit, ja?” Nightcrawler asks. Sabretooth tells him to can the sarcasm; he’s not Logan, and they’re not friends.

Still, the X-Men demand to know why he came. “My son’s dead. I want his killer,” Sabretooth says. The X-Men let out a collective gasp; Logan’s dead? Storm tries to put a stop to this line of questioning, but Cyclops tells her to shelve it for now. He tells Sabretooth that he should keep talking now that he has his attention. “Ask the weather-witch. She was there,” Sabretooth says. “She did it.”

Storm calls these accusations absurd. Sabretooth, however, insists he can smell Logan’s fried flesh all over her body. She asks why they should believe him. He’s a less than reliable source, and he’s been their enemy since the very beginning! Why should they treat the current situation any differently? She turns to Cyclops and states that every word out of Sabretooth’s mouth is a lie and a threat. If he will not silence him, she will! Cyclops advises Storm to calm down, while Nightcrawler tells her she’s only making things worse. Storm refuses to submit. She is done with Sabretooth’s lies and threats! Since he seemingly believes himself impossible to kill, she offers to put that to the test! Nightcrawler, his face filled with worry, grabs Storm by the shoulders and asks what’s going on with her. He’s never seen her like this!

Suddenly, Cyclops receives an incoming telepathic message from Professor X. He doesn’t have time to explain, but he informs Scott things are not what they seem! He orders him to detain both Sabretooth and Storm, and to let neither of them out of his sight! Scott asks why, but Xavier promises to explain later. For now, he must do as he’s told!

Snapping back to reality, Cyclops once again orders Storm to calm down and says they must bring Sabretooth to the brig. “And give him time to fully recover?” Storm asks. “Scott, are you mad?” Sabretooth turns his head toward Storm and bares his teeth. He can handle whatever she can dish. He knows what it takes to survive on his own. He doubts that she can, however. What would she do without her precious team? They trust her, which is probably why none of them have asked why she was the only one missing from the mansion during Logan’s murder.

“He’s right!” Rogue exclaims. Gambit agrees, but reminds Rogue it doesn’t prove anything. Even so, it raises a few questions, Kitty says. Nightcrawler, meanwhile, asks his teammates if they hear something.

Back in the infirmary, Jean rises from the table and shouts “I’m coming for you, murderer!” Projecting herself into the Danger Room, she appears as an enormous, menacing, crimson-hued manifestation and reaches out for Storm. “You killed Logan! You burned the flesh from his bones, you stole away his future, you brought the life of the man I love to an end,” Jean shouts. As Logan fell, Storm merely laughed. Well, Jean doesn’t hear her laughing now! In fact, now, she wants to hear Storm scream!

The suddenly spike in her powers quickly saps Jean’s remaining energy. Unable to hold the astral projection for long, she grows faint and, back in the infirmary, collapses into Beast’s arms.

Meanwhile, back in the Danger Room, the X-Men encircle Storm, their thoughts filled with questions. Cyclops wonders what the heck just happened; Jean called Logan the man she loves! He advises himself to worry about that later, however, and in the interim, focus on the two pressing threats in the room. He orders his team to stand down. Either they don’t hear him or they don’t listen, because Rogue continues closing in on Storm from one side while Gambit approaches from another. Rogue knew something was wrong with Storm! She sensed it after she absorbed her memories during the Cortez mission, but couldn’t decipher what it meant through all the chaos in her mind. Gambit, clutching his quarterstaff, tells Storm he doesn’t know who she is, but that she’s in some hot water.

Storm grows exasperated. “Gambit—my friends—you do not believe,” she begins to say. Suddenly, Cyclops unleashes his optic blast at her. They are not her friends! Storm vaults over the optic blast and takes to the air. If they want her, they’ll have to take her, she says.

Gambit hurls a dozen charged playing cards at Storm as she rises. Amidst the flurry of explosive projectiles, Rogue charges at Storm, telling her the challenge she presented is just fine! Telling her to dream on, Storm whisks Rogue away in a jet-stream. Down below, Nightcrawler worries Storm may destroy the Danger Room, while Cyclops orders Shadowcat to guard Sabretooth. Sabretooth insists he can take care of himself. Cyclops doesn’t doubt this, but refuses to let him out of the team’s sight, even for a second.

Up above, Storm’s fury channels itself into the wrath of her weather patterns. They are all fools to challenge her, she declares! Their utopian naivety will always make them vulnerable. Besides, they know nothing about the forces they’re challenging. Their ignorance will cost them everything!

Rogue penetrates Storm’s cyclone and decks her in the face. They can take care of themselves, Rogue insists. Storm, however, counters Rogue’s attack by grabbing her and enveloping her in a deep chill. She easily seared Sabretooth’s eyes from his face with lightning. Shall they see how well Rogue handles ice? With Rogue subdued, Storm casts her off and sends her falling toward the ground. She advises her to mind the fall—the cold has made her bones more brittle than they once were.

Thankfully, Nightcrawler teleports beneath Rogue and catches her before she hits the ground. Storm takes the opportunity to soar out of the room and into the corridor. Cyclops fires at her with his optic blasts, but misses. The doors to the Danger Room slam shut as soon as Storm leaves. Enraged, Cyclops tells Kurt he needs to follow her! Kurt regrettably informs him that Storm activated a field-dampener; he’s stuck in the Danger Room just like the rest of them. “Leave it to me,” Kitty says as she pushes her way forward. Cyclops commands her to stop; following Storm is too dangerous. As Shadowcat phases through the door, however, she tells Cyclops he can relax; she’s only going to fix the locks. She isn’t looking for a fight.

Emerging from the other side, Kitty tells herself to keep repeating that mantra until she believes it: she is not looking for a fight. She keeps repeating it until she comes upon the control panel to the door, which Storm totally fried. As a backup plan, she decides she can just phase every member of the team through the door, one by one.

Suddenly, she sees a figure standing in the distance. “Storm!” Kitty shouts. Storm orders her to yield. Incredulous, Kitty asks how Storm could do this to them. They’re her family! Storm claims she has no family, but Kitty challenges this. What about Professor X? What about Wolverine?

Storm scoffs at the mention of Logan’s name. He was the only one of them smart enough to suspect her, she says! And yet, his hesitation upon seeing someone he considered a friend cost him his life. Now, that same hesitation will cost Kitty hers! She thrusts forward, sending hurricane-force winds down the corridor toward Kitty.

“You’re not Ororo,” Kitty says as she pushes forward, phasing through the debris Storm sends her way. Storm insists she is—and that Kitty is no match for her. “Wanna bet?” Kitty asks.

Shadowcat’s right arm twitches and makes a familiar noise: SNIKT! Kitty then lashes out at Storm, dragging her arm across her former friend’s face. “Nobody messes with my family,” Kitty says. From her right arm protrudes a single, blood-soaked adamantium claw. Storm, meanwhile, clutches her bleeding face and eye in shock. What has Kitty done?!

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cyclops, Gambit, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Shadowcat (X-Men)

Professor X

Nick Fury (S.H.I.E.L.D.)



Three silhouetted figures

Story Notes: 

Both the narration and some of Storm’s dialogue in this issue imply that Sabretooth is one of the oldest foes of the X-Men, when in fact he didn’t appear on the team’s radar until UNCANNY X-MEN #212.

Sabretooth’s tradition of attacking Logan on his birthday was first seen in WOLVERINE (2nd series) #10.

Jean’s EEG (electroencephalogram) spike looks unsettlingly familiar to Beast because it resembles those of the Phoenix Force, the cosmic entity that replaced Jean Grey from X-MEN (1st series) #101-137.

As first told in BIZARRE ADVENTURES #27, Professor X entered the young Jean Grey’s mind to help her deal with her burgeoning, overwhelming telepathic powers.

Wolverine’s death scene that Professor X observes in this issue was first shown in X-MEN FOREVER ALPHA #1 and again X-MEN FOREVER (2nd series) #1.

Rogue absorbed Storm’s memories in X-MEN FOREVER #1.

Shadowcat must have absorbed Wolverine’s middle claw when she accidentally phased her arm through his while caught in Fabian Cortez’s power-enhancing circuit in X-MEN FOREVER (2nd series) #1.

At this point, it is unknown how Shadowcat phased through the Danger Room door after Storm activates the power-dampeners.

First appearance of the Consortium

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