X-Men Noir #4

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

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

Brief Description: 

The airship with Peter Magnus aboard explodes and only the Angel manages to save himself. During the ensuing shooting, the X-Men and Angel manage to get away with Unus, but Beast is shot. They return to the Angel’s hideout on Welfare Island. Magnus decides to takes matters in his own hands with the death of his son. He kills Shaw, then surprises Marie in Tom’s home and forces her to show him the tunnel to Welfare Island. He and his men get through the tunnel to surprise and kill Angel and the X-Men, but they are warned by Marie. In the following shooting, however, Unus and Iceman are killed. Meanwhile, Marie flees to the roof and is followed by Magnus, whom she kills in an enraged fever. When Angel comes up, she claims that she absorbed Magnus’ murderous tendencies. He confronts her with the knowledge that she is really Jean Grey, a true psychopath, who killed Marie Rankin and took her place to get her trust fund. Jean doesn’t even deny it, leading to a fight in which Angel throttles her and they both fall to their deaths. It turns out that the Angel identity was shared by twins, and the less fortunate one, Robert, died. Cyclops and the remaining twin, Tom, join Captain Logan on his ship en route to Madripoor.

Full Summary: 

The airship explodes and Angel barely manages to make his getaway. He dives through a window and lands on the ground, exhausted.

Below, Fred Dukes cries out in horror at the explosion, then screams again as something lands on the car. Chief Magnus gets out of the car, asking what the hell that was. He’s sorry, Fred says simply as Magnus sees the body of his son Peter. He’s so sorry…

Within the building, Iceman and Beast are trying to get away from the cops. Shooting ensues. Hank buys Iceman a getaway, sacrificing himself for his friend.

Bobby reaches the car with Unus. Panicked, he tells Cyclops that he thinks Hank is… Cyclops stays calm. Angel joins them. That went well, huh? Cyclops comments and starts the car.

The cops tell the chief the X-Men got Unus, and that the bloody caped acrobat was with them too. Magnus tells them he knows where they are going. Take him to the Hellfire Club!

At the Hellfire Club, Shaw is enjoying himself with two ladies and is extremely cross when Magnus enters. He orders him to get out now, or has he finally got tired of the badge Shaw bought him?

Magnus shoots him and the women. Uh Chief? Dukes asks, unsure. Magnus orders him to torch this place. The flames from Empire State will reach this block eventually anyway. He orders Wyngarde to take out all the Council of Parks and Parkways’ files. Then, only the Brotherhood will know what land to buy and sell back to the city. That was his mistake. He never quite escaped another man’s system. But all that changes. After tonight, this city will be his. And the only loose end that needs tying up… is Unus.

In a bar in Chinatown, Captain Logan looks at a picture of Jean Grey. His first mate, Eugene, tells him to sober up. Mr. Xorn’s pigeon coop on the roof brought them a message from their mustachioed angel. Says he wants to cash in that little favor Logan said he owed him.

On Welfare Island, Unus, Angel and the surviving X-Men talk. Magnus will have their pictures posted on every bridge, ferry and tunnel out of the city. So they’ll have to smuggle him out to DC all the way. FBI director Fred Duncan is expecting Unus. And he better not disappoint.

Oh he won’t, Unus assures them. Just so they understand each other, he’s only dropping a dime on Shaw and Magnus. No real crooks. Man’s gotta have his standards. Brotherhood’s gone too far this time. Gotta remind them… everybody… why he’s untouchable. They been forcing hoods into neighborhoods the Council of Parks and Parkways wants to redevelop. That lowers the property values and drives out local families. Shaw’s companies then buy up the land for nothing and sell it to the city or a huge profit. They tried to bring him in up front last year. He got plenty on their racket to put them all away.

Nighttime. Marie tries to leave Tom Halloway’s home when she is expected by Magnus and his men. Where is it? he asks. The tunnel from here to Welfare Island? She claims she doesn’t know. Come now, he tells her. Her guardian angel made the mistake of purchasing this, Mr. Cassidy’s, former house in his real name: Halloway. Do not make him do what he would very much like to do to her. Downstairs, she finally relents. She’ll show him.

She shows him the tunnel behind the shelves. The commissioner never did figure out how Sean smuggled his heroin into prison… After her, he tells her and leads her down.

Captain Logan’s ship, the Mariko is steering for the docks.

On Welfare Island, Angel tells Cyclops they can wait for Logan on the dock.

Magnus leads Marie to Welfare Pen, followed by his men. He holds her fast. Suddenly, Marie bites him and shouts a warning to Tommy. Magnus’ men fire and Unus is hit. Iceman garrottes a cop and is shot by the other.

The cop sees Angel and hesitates. Angel saved his life recently. Just get outta here, he tells him. Then they’re even. We’re not, Cyclops rejoins and shoots him from behind. Only he and Angel are left standing.

Meanwhile, Marie has run up to the roof, followed by Magnus. They’re like little children, he swears as he runs up the spiral staircase, playing at murder. Charles should have given her to the Brotherhood, like he asked. They could have used her. In their hands, her innate talents could have achieved so much. And then he really could have taken her to school. He’s reached the roof.

Yeah, teach me, daddy! Marie shouts as she hits him with a brick. Teach me! Teach me! Teach me! All her life she wanted to be just like him!

That moment, the Angel joins them. Marie calms down. Thank God, he’s all right, she announces. She knows how this must look, but he understands she was defending herself, right? She… “absorbed” Magnus’ murderous tendencies! He knows what she’s like!

Yes, he agrees. Professor X tried to tell them. “Indistinguishable from the dominant species… unencumbered by the constraints of sociability… uniquely endowed to manipulate members of society by preying upon their outmoded empathy… this is the sociopath.”

How can he say such things about her? she demands hurt. After all they’ve meant to each other.

Nothing means anything to her, comes the reply. Not Cyclops. Not Captain Logan. Not Tommy. Certainly not Anne-Marie Rankin. She begs his pardon, she states coldly. She is-- Stop, just stop, he tells her.

Narration and flashback:

He went to the city Potter’s Field on Bart Island. He dug up Jean. They say your hair keeps growing after you die; that’s not true. What really happens is that, as the flesh loses moisture, the scalp shrinks around the roots, revealing what is beneath the hair she dyed red – namely brown hair with a white streak.


She was a little too quick to set them on the path to Captain Logan. A little too distraught at the prospect of seeing the other X-men again. They might have seen through her deception. But he suspected, he thinks Professor X did too. Not too many people practice writing their own signature over and over and over again.

She just had to fool this lady lawyer Darkholme, who had minimal contact with Marie over the years, anyway. Fool her long enough for her to sign over that big fat trust fund to her once “Anne-Marie” turned twenty-one. That must have been quite an opportunity for someone like her. Impersonating someone with no fixed personality. The perfect con.

Jean points her gun at Angel. She told Marie she wanted her to become like Jean more thoroughly than she had ever been anyone else before. She told her it would be an honor. That it would be neat. She was pathetic! So desperate for attention. The very thought of her makes her want to puke! She didn’t even get it when Jean took the claws to her while the boys were out casing the Hellfire Club. Totally uncomprehending. Totally trusting. That’s what was in her eyes. Even as Jean gouged them out.

She laughs. Professor X is a fool He wanted her to say she was like Marie. Ooh, ooh, poor me, Daddy touched my /&%$ one too many times, and now I’m all screwed up. He never did get it. Nothing happened to her. Nothing perverted her. This. Is. Me This is what I am. Warren couldn’t handle it. That lovesick sap. He couldn’t live in the same world with something like her, once he understood what she was. Can he? she mocks the Angel. He wanted to know what comes next. She is. Not good, not evil. Born of the two, but not quite either. A species of one.. She doesn’t’ want to be studied or exploited, Xavier or Magnus that’s no choice. No choice at all.

But now she has the money to be free of all of it. To stop her, Tommy is going to have to kill her and they both know he doesn’t have it in him. So she guesses this is goodbye. Let’s pretend it’s been fun, huh?

He reaches for her. Jean, his name is Robert. And she has no idea what’s in him. He begins to throttle her. He’s spent his whole adult life teaching his brother the world is what they make of it. That they can overcome their baser natures. They can! He won’t let her take that from him.

She fires the gun at him. He moans. She is not taking his Tommy from him!

Locked in the mockery of an embrace, they tumble and fall from the roof to their death.


Sean Cassidy saying: If you take anything away from our time together, Tommy, take this: This whole wide world is nothing but a stinking grift. The key is making sure you get the last trick.


Tom Halloway, the other Angel, tells Cyclops he’s sorry. He didn’t want him to find out… this way. Cyclops takes of his glasses, revealing one normal eye and a red glass eye with an X-symbol. Scott. His name is Scott. Looks like the Angel… lost someone too.

He was adopted by a well-off family, a good family, Tommy explains. Robert wasn’t. He wanted to keep up the old game they used to play on the inmates, tricking people into thinking there was only one of them… He’s afraid he lost him a long time ago.

A boat is waiting for them. What the hell? Captain Logan shouts at them. We picking somebody up or what?

You coming? Tommy asks Scott. He hears Madripoor is nice this time of the year. Scott looks back one moment and then follows.

Characters Involved: 

Thomas “Tommy” Halloway / Angel

Robert Halloway / Angel

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

Captain Logan

First Mate Eugene

Peter Magnus


Fred Dukes, other cops

Erik Magnus (chief commissioner)

« Marie Rankin » / Jean Grey


Shaw’s lovers

Story Notes: 

The story includes the pulp story “The Sentinels” by Bolivar Trask:
Chapter four: E is for Extinction:

Sentinels surprisingly attack Nimrod and his allies and kill Dr. Lang and Rachel. Finding one of the Phoenix bombs, Nimrod and Callisto take it to the Hall of Experimental Evolution. Before he can detonate it, he is found by Bastion. Nevertheless, he manages to detonate it, destroying both the Sentinel and the mutie civilization, leaving him and Callisto to repopulate the ruined world.

Characters corresponding:

Bishop / Bishop

Blacky / Black Tom Cassidy

Bobby Drake / Iceman

Fred Dukes / Blob

Fred Duncan / FBI director Duncan

Eugene / Puck

Remy LeBeau / Gambit

Erik Magnus / Magneto

Peter Magnus / Quicksilver

Wanda Magnus / Scarlet Witch

Mariko (Logan’s ship) / Mariko Yashida

Hank McCoy / Beast

Marie Rankin / Rogue

Scott Summers / Cyclops

Sebastian Shaw / Shaw

Xorn / Xorn

Issue Information: 
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