X-Men: Manifest Destiny #5

Issue Date: 
March 2009
Story Title: 
<BR>Kill or Cure, part 5 (first story)<BR>Nick’s (second story)<BR>Dazzler: Solo (third story)

First Story: Mike Carey (writer), Michael Ryan (penciler), Victor Olazaba (inker), Chris Sotomayor (colorist)

Second Story: Frank Tieri (writer), Ben Oliver (artist), Frank D’armata (colorist)

Third Story: Kieron Gillen (writer), Sam Pickelli (artist), Christina Strain (colorist)

Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Daniel Ketchum (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonzo (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Humberto Ramos & Brian Reber (cover artists)

Brief Description: 

(first story)

Iceman finally tracks Mystique down in San Francisco, and attempts to talk her down from where she sits on a bridge platform, ready to blow it up. They discuss the recent goings-ons with Mystique trying to kill Iceman, and their short-lived relationship, before Iceman gives Mystique a lecture on what life is really like. They have a brief physical battle, in which Iceman prevents Mystique from pressing the detonator to blow the bridge up. However, Mystique escapes by leaping from the bridge and into the water below. Later, Iceman meets with some of his teammates, after Mystique’s body could not be found. Iceman explains that he is cured, and warns everyone that Mystique will be back.

(second story)

Avalanche has set up in San Francisco, “retiring” from mutant activity and now runs a bar, called Nick’s. Several of the X-Men pay him a visit, just to let him know that they are keeping an eye on him, which annoys Avalanche, who claims he has gone legitimate.

(third story)

On a flight back to the States, Dazzler recalls her recent music revival in England. Also on the flight is “celebrity” Man Mountain Marko, who is drunk. He gets into an altercation with a stewardess and another passenger, which Dazzler quickly helps to end, with her singing. One of the passengers offers to help Dazzler revive her music career back in San Fran, and Dazzler accepts.

Full Summary: 

(first story)

San Francisco, where Police have cordoned off the Bay Bridge as a drama unfolds. A newsreader announces that the bridge has been evacuated with the tailbacks now stretching right into the downtown area. ‘For an update, let’s go to Sue Martin, who’s on the scene.’ Standing at the edge of the bridge, Sue reports that the situation is tense, and tells the newsreader, David, that the bomber’s initial warning suggested that the device is attached to the bridge’s central span. The camera pans from Sue to the arch on the bridge, as Sue announces that the bomber is still up there, and threatening to detonate if anyone approaches him.

Sue reports that the X-Men have been called, and are on their way. ‘In fact I think they’re here. They’re here now!’ she announces, declaring that it is hoped the X-Men will be able to talk the terrorist down. ‘If anyone can - seeing as he’s one of their own!’ Indeed, sitting up on the arch of the bridge, slumped over, is a solemn Iceman.

A Police Officer approaches the lone X-Man who has arrived, and exclaims ‘We called the X-Men. Who are you?’ the handsome hero steps forward - ‘I’m one of them’ Bobby Drake exclaims. ‘This one!’ he reveals as he uses his mutant powers to shift from his human form into an ice form. ‘Okay. Now I’m confused’ the Officer replies, to which Bobby tells her that doesn’t matter, and that the X-Men said he could talk to her first. ‘Her?’ the Officer asks. Bobby just tells her to keep looking for the bomb, and takes to the air on an ice-sled, declaring that he will see if he can end this without anyone getting hurt.

Bobby arrives at the arch atop the bridge, and asks his apparent duplicate if there is any chance they could look like someone else for a while. ‘Talking to yourself is said to be the first sign of madness’ Bobby adds. His doppelganger shifts back into her true form - Raven “Mystique” Darkholme, who tells Bobby – calling him Robert, as she always does – that she doesn’t think they need to talk, as his options are the same as they always were. ‘Ready when you are’ Raven adds, to which Bobby tells her to give that stuff a rest. ‘Robert -’ Raven begins, but Bobby interrupts, telling her that she had her turn and that he is sick of listening.

Bobby quotes Raven: “Kill or cure” and asks her which one of them is sick, reminding her that she impersonated his ex-girlfriend, crashes a Blackbird, nearly kills dozen of people, and somehow, it is all about him. ‘Except that it’s not, is it?’ Bobby asks, switching to his human form. Mystique continues to sit on the edge of the arch, and Bobby informs her that Wolverine told him what happened when he caught up with her. ‘That’s why you’re here, right? That’s why I suddenly matter enough for you to come after me’ Bobby tells Raven. Raven replies that Wolverine told her she would die alone because she lived alone - because she never let anyone get close to her. ‘It sounded like the truth’ Raven adds.

Mystique holds up a small device and informs Bobby that it is a detonator and that it has a dead-man switch. ‘Just so you know.’ Bobby replies that he figured it would, and tells Raven to stick to the subject. ‘You know what you’re really doing?’ Bobby asks Raven. ‘All these murder attempts that leave other people’s bodies on the sidewalk, never mine? You know what they’re for?’ Bobby asks Raven, before telling her that she is trying to reinstall an earlier version of herself. ‘Mystique 1.0. The anal-retentive, OCD shape shifter. Untouchable, all-powerful’ Bobby declares. ‘But here comes the punch line!’ he adds. ‘I don’t think she ever even existed.’

‘You love Rogue. You loved Destiny. And do you know what I think?’ Bobby remarks, standing behind the silent Mystique. ‘I think you lied back in the hospital. I think you love me.’ When Mystique doesn’t reply, Bobby asks ‘What? No snappy retort? Could Bobby Drake, P.I., be onto something? I think he is, ladies and gentlemen. He’s figured it out. He’s uncovered the crime…and it’s a pity party.’ Raven closes her eyes, and remains silent. Bobby throws his arms into the air, exasperated, he mocks Raven: ‘Oh, woe is me. Life sure is hard and nobody loves me. My daughter hates me. My son is a stranger. The guy I manipulated and almost killed doesn’t want to be with me’, Bobby exclaims, before telling Mystique that it’s tough all over.

‘You’re not even that special, Raven. This stuff is standard issue. The people you love don’t always love you. Things don’t always work out the way you plan them’ Bobby tells Raven, who has begun to cry. Bobby turns his back as Raven stands up. ‘Why do I even need to tell you this? You’re, like, a hundred years old. You should know by now!’ Bobby exclaims, before Mystique snaps: ‘That’s enough, Robert!’ But Bobby doesn’t think so, and tells Raven that it’s not even close. ‘Do you ever wonder why people don’t love you?’ he asks. ‘It’s because you’re crazy!’ he exclaims.

Bobby tells Raven that she shows her feelings for Rogue by systematically ripping apart everything she cares about. ‘And when you want to make a pass at me, you do it by trying to kill me. That’s not normal!’ Bobby exclaims, to which an angry Mystique warns Iceman to shut his mouth. Bobby ices-up, and replies ‘Not a chance! We’re finally getting somewhere!’ he exclaims, before telling Raven that if her plans for kick-starting a relationship were more “take out to dinner” and less “blow up a bridge”, she might actually score from time to time. ‘But we’re past that point now. Aren’t we?’ Bobby adds, before blasting Raven with an ice-beam, freezing her hand which holds the detonator.

‘Dead-man switch means it blows if you take your finger off the plunger, right? Not gonna happen!’ Bobby exclaims. ‘Oh, Robert -’ Raven begins, but Bobby interrupts, and announces that the cavalry is coming, which means they found her bomb. ‘There’s no need to spin this out any longer. We’re done!’ Bobby replies. ‘Then you’ve made your choice. I’ll see you one more time, Robert. Just briefly’ Raven declares. Bobby tries to interrupt, but Raven continues, slowly walking towards Bobby, she tells him that she will get in close to him and finish this without any noise or complication. ‘I won’t be wearing this face, of course. Or this body. But you’ll love me. I promise you that!’ Raven boasts as she smashes her ice-covered fist into Bobby’s face.

Knocked to the ledge, Bobby braces himself so that he doesn’t fall off, and spins around ‘NO!’ he shouts as Raven steps back to the edge of the arch - then dives, backwards, from it. ‘RAVEN!!!’ Bobby screams, but it’s too late…

Later, patrol boats search the river underneath the bridge, while Iceman stands on a nearby dock, accompanied by his teammates Cyclops and the Beast. Cyclops reports that there is nothing, but points out that the current is strong here. ‘If she drowned, her body could easily be carried way out into the bay’ he points out. Bobby quickly replies that Raven didn’t drown, and that she didn’t die when she hit the water, as she is too tough for that.

The Beast asks Bobby if he still needs his professional services, to which Bobby thanks his friend, and states that he feels great, that his powers are stronger than they have ever been. ‘And I feel more confident about using them’ he adds. ‘Kill or cure. I should probably thank her’ Bobby remarks, looking at his ice-covered body. The Beast asks. Walk away, Bobby replies that he is doing better than Mystique right now.

(second story)

On a cloudy day, inside an establishment called Nick’s, which is situated on the ground floor of a two-story building, a middle-aged man sits at the bar, and exclaims ‘Nick, I just have to know… what’s your secret?.’ Holding up an empty glass, he says to Nick ‘I mean, really. If you don’t make the best Bloody Mary’s in San Fran, I don’t know who does!’ Nick, a handsome younger man wipes the bar down with a cloth and replies ‘You never quit, do you? He calls the other man Lou and tells him that he will give him a hint, but that’s it, and reveals that he puts a pinch of sugar in it.

Lou looks up from the paper that he is ready and replies that he will take what he can get, before declaring that he thinks he will switch to beer. ‘Meanwhile… how about them Niners, huh?’ he asks, looking at the sports pages of the newspaper. Nick replies ‘I know. They couldn’t even beat Arizona, for crissakes. Me, you and two of my waitresses could beat Arizona!’ Nick pours Lou a beer as Lou agrees, and remarks that Nick has only been here for a few months, so may not know this, but this was quite a formidable sports town back in the day. Nick doesn’t realize that the beer glass is overflowing with beer as he hasn’t turned the tap off. ‘Hey!’ Lou exclaims, getting Nick’s attention.

Nick apologizes to Lou and tells him that the bill is on him and not to worry about it, while clutching his head. ‘Nick… is everything all right? You look -’ Lou begins, to which Nick replies that he is fine, but he has to go, and rushes out the door. ‘Geez… I wonder what the Hell that was all about?’ Lou mutters to himself, while looking down at the front page of the paper, the headline reads: Go West Young Mutants.

Nick rushes outside, along the street, pushing past people, he races up some stairs into an upper floor, ‘Damn it. Damn it. Damn it,’ he thinks to himself as he bursts into an apartment and grabs a briefcase. He prepares to leave again, but the entrance is suddenly blocked - by the arrival of Colossus, who greets Nick - but by his other known name - Dominic. ‘Or is it “Nick” now?’ Colossus asks, adding that it doesn’t matter. Nick throws the briefcase at Colossus, as Colossus tells him that he is still just Avalanche to him now.

Suddenly, Nightcrawler teleports up behind Avalanche, and Beast bursts through a window. Colossus and Beast try to grab Avalanche, but the former member of various incarnations of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants strikes back with a seismic energy blast, knocking the X-Men over. Avalanche turns and runs towards the door – which suddenly slams shut, by Wolverine, who was hiding behind the door. ‘Aw, c’mon now. Ya ain’t going anywhere, are ya, Dom? Party’s just started!’ Wolverine snarls. Avalanche backs into the room, while the four X-Men close in on him. Wolverine tells Avalanche that he made a smart move hiding out here in San Francisco. ‘A fella like you could use his powers here if need be and no one would be any the wiser. Just another notch on the ol’ Richter scale!’

Avalanche replies that he hasn’t had a need to use his powers, that he has been as clean as a whistle. ‘I run my bar, and that’s it’ Avalanche declares. ‘We know’ Wolverine replies. ‘You know? Then what are you -?’ Avalanche begins to ask, before Wolverine interrupts, telling him to spare them all the innocent “babe in the woods” routine. Wolverine remarks, before agreeing that Avalanche may have been clean the last few months, ‘But what about all that stuff you did before? That supposed to be swept under the rug cause you’re slinging buy-backs at happy-hour now?’ Wolverine asks, before popping his claws and telling Avalanche that, in the old days, he knows full well how this would have gone. ‘I’d be here doing my talking with my claws instead of my mouth!’

Wolverine presses his claws into Avalanche’s throat and exclaims ‘But now here’s the thing… this ain’t the old days no more. There ain’t too many of us left now.’ Avalanche looks slightly concerned as Wolverine continues: ‘And because of that, it means we gotta throw the old rulebook out the window. It means, providing ya do keep your yer nose clean just like you’ve been doing…you’re getting a pass.’ Wolverine sheathes his claws, while his teammates stand around him. Wolverine smirks as he tells Avalanche that, is he does eventually get any bright ideas about putting on funny underwear and getting back into the game, then the X-Men will be stopping by Nick’s for more than Bloody Mary’s.

Wolverine announces that he thinks they are done here, ‘Sorry about the mess’ he tells Avalanche, waving as he, Beast, Colossus and Nightcrawler exit the apartment. Avalanche looks around at the destruction the X-Men caused, before beginning to clean up ‘Sorry about the mess, he says’ Avalanche mutters. ‘@#$%ing X-Men!’

(third story)

‘I can’t tell what’s worse. That he’s wearing that old tee at all. Or that he’s wearing it for irony points’ Alison “Dazzler” Blaire thinks to herself as she sits in her seat aboard an airplane, watching the steward take people’s tickets, while wearing a t-shirt with a illustration of her old “disco” style outfit and hair on it. She wonders if the steward doesn’t recognize her. ‘Maybe I should get extensions’ Dazzler wonders. ‘Maybe I should shave it all off. Maybe I just…oh, I don’t know.’ As the sun shines in the sky, the airplane takes off, Ali thinks ‘Goodbye rainy old England and hello slightly-less rainy San Francisco. And a life of subsisting on cheap mission burritos while I scramble to make rent. I’m as broke as I’ve been in a decade. Last of my money went on this ticket.’

Dazzler’s mind flips backwards to recent events, about how newspaper reviews said things like “In another plagiarific moment the budget-brand mutant Madonna moves to England.” ‘That got old quick. I had to get out’ Ali thinks to herself, recalling how her manager was not pleased. ‘We raced to see if he could quit before I could sack him. He won.’ And now, Dazzler is between labels, with no representation and barely a sequined catsuit to her name. ‘Maybe I’m finished. At least it’s my finished’ she decides. ‘And if the future’s up in business class, I’m kinda glad that it hasn’t got a place for this burnt-out old disco diva.’

Sitting up ahead, Dazzler sees Man Mountain Marko, a small-time, big-guy super crook who has gone legit, turning his talents to bellowing at audiences all across Europe, now taking it to the U.S., to explore the ever-lucrative lowest common denominator. ‘Favorite lyrical subject? As far as I can make out, how super heroines’ faces feel when they break beneath your knuckles.’ Empty liquor bottles lie on the table in front of Marko and on the airplane floor, where a stewardess is busy sweeping up the mess. ‘So, good at beating girls, less good at hitting notes. Doesn’t need to. He’s just an exciting threat, that thug-chic thing gone meta’ Ali cannot recall if she has ever disliked someone more.

‘I’m sorry, Sir, but the airline’s policies…’ the stewardess begins after Man Mountain Marko asked her for another drink. ‘Hey! I’m Marko. I’m Man Mountain Marko. If I want a drink, you get me a drink!’ he exclaims. Another passenger sits up behind Marko and tells him to calm down, pointing out that they will be in San Francisco soon. Marko shoves the other passenger backwards, telling him that he doesn’t want “soon”, he wants now. ‘And nobody says “no” to me and walks away!’ he boasts.

Suddenly, Dazzler appears, ‘Hey, big guy. Sorry to butt in, but from one performer to another – you only get to be unreasonably brutal to stage-invaders now’ she tells him, suggesting that they just sit back and catch up with some movies. ‘Sit down, girl. Marko will be breaking your legs next,’ Marko replies, scowling. ‘Marky – babe! How did I know you wouldn’t go with the Pixar option?’ Ali replies, before casting her dazzling light powers upon him, while thinking that, with a big boy like this threatening someone, she would normally go straight for the laser. ‘But I spent all my charge last night. I wanted that last show to be as apocaly-tastic as I felt. That dull drone of the plane is only enough for a flare’ Ali realizes, leaving old-school super hero flair to try and finish it.

After Marko smacks the stewardess in the face, Ali kicks Marko in the back, before deciding ‘Oh, what the Hell. An encore’, and she unleashes more dazzling light on him. ‘Marko ain’t that easy, girl’ Marko exclaims, taking the stewardess as a hostage, he asks ‘Who’s in charge now?’ Dazzler tells Marko that she knows how this works. ‘You’re the star. You make the rules’ she remarks. ‘Yeah, I do… sing for me’ Marko orders. ‘You kid, yes?’ Ali replies to which Marko proceeds to break the stewardess’ arm.

Shocked, Dazzler begins to sing before she realizes it. She doesn’t even know what she sings – something to play for time. ‘A Capella with an audience other than a showerhead? It’s been a while’ Ali tells herself, as she notices the other passengers are all staring at her. Ali begins quietly, the song a threat. ‘Don’t you dare hurt her, Marko’ Ali stares at Marko, unable to maintain the flare, she turns to the stewardess. ‘You don’t deserve this. It’ll be okay.’ Dazzler sings, sings for the stewardess.

Colorful lights fill the cabin of the airplane, and Dazzler thinks that everyone else here is just eavesdropping, while she sings for the stewardess. However, part of Dazzler knows that this is the most attentive audience she has had in years. It is a part she barely remembers – the better, biggest part of her is with the music. ‘The music’ she thinks to herself. ‘It fills me and completes me, makes me feel connected with everyone and everything. I don’t want the song to end. I never want the song to end’ she tells herself, while the other passengers continue to watch her.

The final chorus rises Ali up before her like a tombstone. She cannot see a future beyond it – but Ali doesn’t care – she just sings. Marko begins to sing, mocking her, but Dazzler doesn’t think he hit’s a single note, and it doesn’t put her off. ‘We could be falling, screaming from the sky and it wouldn’t put me off’ Dazz decides, before she suddenly stops singing, and clutches her head. ‘Always liked that one’ Marko mutters, rubbing his head, while still holding onto the stewardess. ‘Yeah, me too. So, Marko… you going to let my captive audience go?’ Ali asks. ‘What do you think?’ Marko replies. ‘I’m leaning towards… no?’ Ali asks, to which Marko frowns.

‘Yeah. Thought so!’ Dazzler declares as she casts forth a burst of sold light, smacking Marko in the face, and knocking him out. Dazz tells herself that she could never do anything with her own voice, but other people’s is a different story, and although Man Mountain Marko cannot sing, he makes a laser-ific holler. The stewardess is free and rushes to safety.

The passenger that Marko smacked over earlier steps forward and tells Dazzler that he had no idea she could still do that. ‘No, I got through M-Day intact’ Ali replies. ‘Not the powers. I meant the singing’ the man explains. ‘Thanks’ Ali replies cautiously. The man tells Dazzler that she was amazing, and reveals that he has a friend who runs a club in San Francisco. He tells her that his request is probably way out of left field, and asks how she would feel about some kind of residency - a show for a week for a month or something. ‘Just you, a stage and an audience,’ he tells her, asking if that is the sort of thing she is interested in. ‘Yeah. I think it is’ Dazzler replies, as the flight continues towards San Fran.

Characters Involved: 

(first story)

Beast, Cyclops, Iceman (all X-Men)


Sue Martin, a reporter

David, a newsreader

Police Officers

(second story)

Beast, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Wolverine (all X-Men)



(third story)


Man Mountain Marko

Flight Crew


In Dazzler’s memories


Dazzler’s Manager


Story Notes: 

(first story)

Mystique impersonated Opal Tanaka in X-Men Manifest Destiny #1 (1st story).

Mystique’s comment about no one ever getting close to her is a bit odd – Destiny and Mystique shared their life together until the latter’s death in Uncanny X-Men #255.

(second story)

Avalanche last appeared in X-Men (2nd series) #164, though he was confirmed as retaining his powers in the X-Men: 198 Files, this is his first post M-Day appearance.

Avalanche clearly takes his new nickname - “Nick” - from his true name, Dominic / Dominikos.

(third story)

Dazzler was in England, as recently seen in the New Excalibur series.

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