X-Men Noir #2

Issue Date: 
March 2009
Story Title: 
X-Men Noir

Fred van Lente (writer), Dennis Calero (artist & colorist), Blambot’s Nate Piekos (letterer), Joe Sabino (production), Mark Paniccia (consulting), Nathan Cosby (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

The Angel confronts the three male X-Men: Cyclops, Beast and Iceman. After a brief battle, he convinces them that, like them, he is trying to find the murderer of Jean Grey. After agreeing to work together, Angel shows them his HQ on Welfare Island. Listening to Xavier’s files, he realizes Marie Rankin may be the key and figures out where she is hiding, namely in the Worthingtons’ flat. Magnus, in the meantime, is ordered by Sebastian Shaw to stop the X-Men. He too figures out where Marie is staying, but the Angel is faster and rescues her. Peter Magnus is disgusted with his father’s criminal dealings, and even more so when he finds his sister Wanda roughed up by Remy Le Beau’s people. Following Marie’s hints, the X-Men and Angel are led to Captain Logan, another lover of Jean’s. Believing him to be the killer, Cyclops intends to kill him.

Full Summary: 

The Angel’s memories:

Young Tommy is sitting in the “cell” of Sean Cassidy. Sean is wearing everyday clothes instead of prison garb, was being massaged and manicured and on the whole treated more like the guest of a luxury resort than a prisoner. He tells Tommy to learn this lesson good now. ‘Cause it’s the only one he’s ever gonna need.

Suddenly, someone brings in a homing pigeon. What’s all this then? Sean asks annoyed. Can’t he see he’s meeting with his closest advisor? He reads the message and orders everyone back into their cells with their stripes on. The commissioner’s coming for one of his “surprise” inspections just after lunchtime. And Tommy had best get back to his Da.

Sean goes down on eyelevel to Tommy. But if he takes anything away from their time together, take this: This whole world’s is nothing but one stinking grift. The key is making sure youget the last trick.


The Angel ducks as Cyclops fires his shot. He only gets this one warning shot, Cyclops states. Who is he really? And why is he dressed like a &%$&? Iceman adds. Hank, calling him Bobby, tells him to be quiet. What did he theorize about Jean? Bobby shouts at him not to call him that in front of others. He’s Iceman! Iceman! Tranquilize yourself, Hank warns him.

They already know who killed Jean, Cyclops reminds Beast. It was Magnus. It’s always Magnus. When Prof X wouldn’t make them work for the Brotherhood, Magnus killed Warren to get X thrown in jail. And when they kept hitting his places and his friends, he killed Jean to frame them.

He’s inclined to agree, Angel states. Their chief of detectives has long used this town as his own personal blank check for far too long. And he’s taken more from him than they can possibly imagine. But with the three of them he may have just the gun he needs to take Magnus down. So what do they say to an alliance?

At the home of Sebastian Shaw, the Hellfire Club, house number 666, decorated with stained glass windows depicting the seven deadly sins, said Shaw is enraged. They’ve stolen everything that wasn’t nailed down, he tells the chief of detectives. If Magnus can’t catch those “X-Men,” he’ll be more than happy to appoint a chief of detectives who can!

Can he be completely sure, it was the X-Men? Magnus asks. That’s not funny, Shaw replies, looking at a model of the city (by Moses Magnum) where someone has left a scratched X-symbol. Nor has he heard an update on the Unuscione situation lately. That would be because there isn’t one, comes the reply. The Brotherhood has been too busy moving Blackie Cassidy’s mick hold into Tremont. Shaw isn’t interested in Tremont. He needs Lincoln Square for his center of the performing arts. And only Unuscione stands in the way.

They call him “Unus the Untouchable” for a reason, Magnus reminds him. Excuses, he is only excuses and bile! Shaw shouts. He wonders. How long did it take him to get that accent out of his voice? That guttural Transian drawl that made the clerk at Ellis Island hear “Magnus” instead of “Magnisky.” The willpower that must have taken, a single father, raising twins all by himself. Yet still he found time for diction lessons. Because he knew a genuine American accent would be the only thing that might separate him from every other worthless piece of immigrant trash that washes up on the shores.

Sixteen months, Magnus replies. It took him sixteen months, give or take. Cherish the product of all that hard work, Shaw tells him For it is the only thing he has he didn’t get from him!

The Magnus home; a picture of Mount Wundagore in Transia is hanging in the den. Lying on the couch, cradling a bottle, Peter Magnus hears muffled voices from outside. A woman, his sister Wanda, telling someone take his shoes off first before walking up the stars. They creak and her brother and father are asleep. She walks up ahead, telling her beau to keep it in his pants just half a minute longer. Her father has a private stash of twelve-year-old special reserve that he absolutely must…

Wanda, Peter addresses her and she exclaims startled. Was he waiting for her? she accuses him and then asks if that is Daddy’s bourbon? Their father is a criminal, he states. A common criminal. She knows, Wanda tells him and kisses his forehead and takes the bottle. Isn’t it wonderful? She leaves.

The X-Men have joined the Angel at the old Welfare Pen. He lives there voluntarily? Bobby Drake asks. He sick in the head or something? It’d explain the outfit…

They follow Angel who explains that he grew up here. His father was a warden. He couldn’t find a more proprietary place to raise him? Hank asks. Well, he wouldn’t’ say he raised him, Tom muses. They pass a stairway and a shadow momentarily appears. Bobby believes he sees something for a moment, but then it’s gone. Cyclops remarks that now he can see why “Angel” took such an interest in Jean. She practically washed up on his doorstep.

Now that he mentions it, Tom replies, where were Cyclops and his merry men, the night Jean was killed? They never should have trusted that fruit, Bobby shouts angrily. He’s gonna turn them over to the Brotherhood… Cyclops orders him to shut up. It’s a reasonable enough question. Seeing as how they’re going to be “partners” and all…

Cyclops explains that they were casing this hoity-toity S&M joint for rich weirdoes. Sebastian Shaw’s place. The Hellfire Club. Jean sweet-talked the security plans out of the doorman. She stayed behind in their hotel on the East Side. She doesn’t pull jobs directly. Strictly prepwork. When they got back, she was gone.

He stops, seeing the photos of a corpse. Are these crimescene photos from where they found Jean? he asks. Where did he get these? He’s multiltalented, Tom replies and takes up the file of Anne-Marie Rankin. Shaw… he muses. Didn’t the mayor make him chair of the city’s council of Parks and Parkways? A more precision-worded assessment would be that Shaw made the mayor, Hank corrects and the D.A. And their dear chief Magnus.

Tom listens to the Rankin file by Xavier:

Note for file: Rankin, Marie. Special case, referred by Chief of Detectives Magnus. Doctor Charles Xavier, lead alienist. Patient is to inherit Rankin Chemicals Fortune, yet was picked up shoplifting from Saks Fifth Avenue a fifteen-dollar handbag she could easily afford. Juvenile record shows this is the seventh such petty arrest for Ms. Rankin, though each time the charges were squashed by her guardian, a lady lawyer, Raven Darkholme.

Counselor Dakholme seems to think this time an introduction to the criminal justice system might teach her charge to choose better friends. Chief Magnus believes it is significant that Ms. Rankin was caught with common street urchins each time she was arrested. Indeed, when patient was brought to me, she evidenced the coarseness of the slums in her language and dress. I paired her in “Danger Room” drills with a succession of my more advanced patients. Around Mr. Worthington, she lost her vulgar bravado and mimicked his flights of fancy, even showing some skill, like he, as an artist. Then around Mr. McCoy she became very serious and studious and spoke to a variety of topics from current politics to botany, surprising even him. She even “absorbed” his less attractive qualities, such as a penchant for using large words he doesn’t quite understand the meaning of.

Hey! Hank protests.

These transformations manifest themselves within just a few moments of meeting a new person. I’ve never seen a patient so instantly and effortlessly blend in with her surroundings. Could she be what I’ve been searching for almost eight years. The “missing link” to prove all my theories. The next state of evolution in sociopathy?

Angel stops the tape. He looks at a newspaper with an article about a suicide scandal at an upstate reform school “referring to the death of Warren Worthington.

Angel suggests the three X-Men lay low he while Magnus has APB’s out on anyone with an “X” tattoo. He’s got to step out for a bit. He thinks he knows where Marie is. So who gives a&%§? Iceman asks After Magnus tossed Warren off the roof, the stuck-up little &%%§% took off while the rest of them stuck together. Right, Cyclops? he asks. Xavier thinks she is in grave danger, Angel points out. But they have no cogitation as to where to even begin scrutinizing for her whereabouts, Hank begins, she has no friends, no family. No, of course she doesn’t Tom agrees. Didn’t they hear the tape? She has somebody’s else’s.

At Riker’s Island Magnus visits Xavier. He hates talking to Charles in this place, he states. He much preferred it when they were on the same side. So did he, Xavier replies. Before he realizes which side Magnus was actually on. That hurts, Magnus replies with a smirk. Hasn’t he treated Charles well? As best as a lawman can treat a con all of the newspapers call a Professor of Crime. Got him a nice cushy prison job, didn’t he? In the visitors’ reception area, isn’t it? Now it’s time for some gratitude.

He shows Charles a snapshot. See this man? He is a very bad man. His name is Angelo Unuscione. Every pusher, numbers runner and pre-pubescent whore uptown calls him “master.” To everyone else he is “Unus the Untouchable.” He only lets a select few near him. Those he trusts. People from his old neighborhood, family etc. His one weakness? Women. He needs her. Marie. Charles’ perfect student. She can transform herself into one of “his” people. It’s the only way to get close to him.

He doesn’t know where she is, Charles replies. Maybe not, Magnus points out, but he’s sure Charles has theories. He never lacks for those. Now they can’t beat the address out of Charles They have already proven that. But the thing is… he will find her eventually. He is the Chief of Detectives, after all. And when he does… if Charles has made him have to work for it… well. He wouldn’t want another student to end like Jean, would he? P>

Evening. A young woman enters an exclusive building. A simply smashing day, wouldn’t he say? she greets the doorman. He would if she would, he replies, addressing her as Ms. Worthington.

A little later, a police car pulls up. Fred Dukes and a colleague alight. The colleague needles Fred that after one shift with him Magnus Junior is putting in a transfer to Staten Island. Lad’s smarter than he looks. Go §$%”% yourself, Dukes replies diplomatically. The doorman Horace states he has to cal up to the penthouse to let the lady know they are coming. Fred holds back his hand. No, he doesn’t.

Up in the penthouse, someone addresses Marie who is looking at a painting and she shrieks in fear. Who is he? How did he get in here? And that is not her name! He doesn’t have time to argue with her, the Angel replies. They are about to have company. Exiting the elevator, the police announce their entrance and that she is under arrest for fraud. Instead, the Angel attacks.


A lesson from Tommy’s past, told to him by Cain “Juggernaut” Marko. “Somebody comes at you,” the giant told him, “big, cut, drunk, hopped-up, pissed-off, crazier than Lizzy Borden and with a bigger axe – it don’t matter, Tommy. All you do is, when the guy comes toward you, you step forward and greet him.”


And Tom does just that, managing to make Dukes lose a tooth in the process. With a line and grappler, Angel manages and to get himself and Marie to the roof. Now where to? she asks him angrily. No way she’s jumping – Angel grabs her and jumps to the next rooftop. Dukes colleague follows and jumps after them, but doesn’t reach his goal. He can barely hold on to the roof. Please, he begs the Angel who drags him up by his tie, then disappears.

Up on the roof of Pryor Airlines, Marie, a pretty young brunette with a white streak of hair babbles that she’s never seen anything so selfless. She wants to be good, she does! This is about Jean, right? She’ll tell him whatever he wants to know.

The Worthingtons left their penthouse for the south of France after Warren killed himself, Angel starts. She passed herself of as what, a sister? Daughter? Cousin, Marie admits. She forged a letter saying she could stay there in Mrs Worthington’s hand. She copied it from a Christmas card in Warren’s things. She just had to get away from that damn school – the eternal pissing match between Magnus and the professor…

What about Jean? Tom asks. She… told her things, Marie begins, the way girls do. Cyclops… he wasn’t the only one she was with. There was a fence she used… this old bootlegger. Down in Chinatown. He was another. She’ll tell him where. But first he has to make sure she’s safe. From the Brotherhood or the X-Men? he asks. There’s a difference? comes the cynical reply.

The Magnus residence. Wanda, is that you? Peter Magnus asks as he sees someone walk down the stairs. Did she see his cab out there? He’s staying with a Princeton chum out on the island until he can find a place on Staten. What’s wrong? he asks, noticing she’s sniffling. She tells him to go away. He looks at her closely, seeing she is crying and roughed up. Who did that to her? he demands. Remy LeBeau, Wanda admits. He says… he can’t let her… keep making a fool of him… No matter who her father is. He says unless she comes up with ten large… well, he knows what he said, she laughs weakly. Peter is a prig, not an idiot.

Poor, poor Peter. She pities him. She completely corrupted herself and the world sucked her down anyway. So what hope is there for him? She steps out and he looks after her flabbergasted.

Elsewhere, Chinatown; Cyclops enters a bar. Get up, he orders a patron and repeats his order more forcefully. Get up, you sick bastard! He wanted to believe that not even he could be such an animal. Then he saw the police photos. Slash marks, in groups of three. He draws his gun. That’d be him signing his work. Why, did she wise up and leave him? She finally get sick of waiting for him to evolve?

Logan, the man at the counter, gets up, claws extending from his right hand. Listen up, bub. From where I come from… them’s fightin’ words.

Characters Involved: 

Thomas “Tommy” Halloway / Angel

Bobby Drake, Hank McCoy, Marie Rankin, Scott Summers (all X-Men)

Professor Xavier

Peter Magnus

Fred Dukes, other cops

Erik Magnus (chief commissioner)

Wanda Magnus


Sebastian Shaw

in the Angel’s memories:

Sean Cassidy

Cain Marko

Story Notes: 

“Mick” is a derogative term for an Irishman.

“Alienist” is an old-fashioned term for “psychiatrist.

Lizzie Borden was a young woman, infamous for allegedly butchering her father and stepmother.

The story continues the pulp story the Sentinels by Bolivar Trask:

Chapter two: Mutant Massacre!

Nimrod searches for his beloved Rachel in the ruins of New York devastated by the Phoenix bomb. He confronts the muties and forces them to take him to Rachel. However she refuses to return. Callisto, queen of the muties, tells him she has shown Rachel the lies the Sentinel world is built on.

Characters corresponding:

Bobby Drake / Iceman

Remy LeBeau / Gambit

Erik Magnus / Magneto

Peter Magnus / Quicksilver

Wanda Magnus / Scarlet Witch

Hank McCoy / Beast

Logan / Wolverine

Moses Magnum / Moses Magnum

Pryor / Madelyne Pryor

Marie Rankin / Rogue

Scott Summers / Cyclops

Sebastian Shaw / Sebastian Shaw

Issue Information: 
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