X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain #1

Issue Date: 
February 2010
Story Title: 
X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain

Fred van Lente (writer), Dennis Calero (artist & colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letters & production), Michael Horwitz (assistant editor), Nathan Cosby (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

In order to get money, the Angel, Logan, Cyclops and Judd steal the mysterious gem of Cytorrak from a temple for Tommy’ old friend, Cain Marko. However, Marko double-crosses them and they have to flee Madripoor and search shelter in Tokyo. There, they learn that Marko was murdered and found on the grounds of the controversial jail, Genosha Bay. Tommy plans to find out what happened to Marko and allows the police to catch him, knowing they will send him there. Already waiting there is the released Professor Xavier with a new group of X-Men to train.

Full Summary: 

The News of the Now:

In Washington DC, the Senate hears of the Genosha Bay horrors. The anchorman tells the viewers that the Senate judiciary committee heard testimony after tearful testimony about the inhuman conditions at the US extraterritorial prison in Genosha Bay. Beatings, sleep deprivation, even water torture. Lawmakers’ calls for the prison closing have intensified along with the rhetoric from its defenders, including Senator Robert Kelly, Republican, of New York.

Kelly explains that the prisoners in Genosha Bay are not typical criminals. Eugenics has determined these men – and a few women – to be the worst of the worst international sociopaths captured on foreign soil. Science says these psychos must be kept in strict isolation, else they “infect” the regular prison population with their degenerative criminality.

The anchorman continues that Genosha Bay’s fate may prove a moot point, since even lawmakers for its closing will not allow its inmates to be transferred to prisoner in their districts. “Not in my backyard, eh, congressmen?”

And, while the controversy rages, Genosha Bay remain open for business, with no shortage of genetic psychos to fill its cells.

Dateline: New York, NY:

“Professor of crime” released. Another prison is shown as renegade psychiatrist Charles Xavier, who ran a reform school that taught kids how to be better criminals instead of reforming them, was released today from Riker’s Island jail. The district attorney was forced to drop all charges against the leader of the so-called “X-Men,” since anyone who could testify against him was dead. The people’s primary witness Chief of Detectives Eric Magnus was slain at the bloody massacre on Welfare Island a few months back.

The professor of crime has maintained his innocence throughout, even going so far as to swear that he and Magnus worked together on many difficult juvenile cases and became close friends. With Magnus’ daughter Wanda standing behind him, Xavier swears to the public that he will not rest until he has brought his killers to justice. If the so called “Angel” and his gang are listening to this, wherever they are, he is on their scent. He will find them, no matter where in the world they are trying to hide!

Said Angel, aka Tommy Halloran, is not so much hiding as on a trek through a jungle along with Captain Logan. They have reached the outskirts of a temple of sorts and Logan asks if Tommy has any idea what the inscription on the base of that thing says. Tommy identifies it as Vedic Sanskrit. Gesundheit, Logan replies. „You approach the mighty temple-slash-city-slash-tomb of the God-king Cyttorak.” This fellow here, he refers to the statue is Achala, the immovable one. He warns them that trespassers and grave robbers are most unwelcome. Violators who ignore him will be “crushed” – he’s quoting here – by the Unstoppable One… a fierce avatar of Krishna… the lord of the universe Jagganath. “The Juggernaut,” he translates.

He doesn’t know why he even bothers asking anymore, Logan sighs. “Angel” knows everything. Except, whether they took the right fork on this path, Tommy replies, studying their map.

Logan reminds Tommy that his buddy, Cain Marko, said he traded a pound of opium for that ratty map. It could be leading them off the edge of the Earth for all they know. Again with the map, Tommy replies impatiently. Cain’s been a mercenary here in Madripoor through three colonial uprisings and a world war. He knows this island better than any white man has. And he’s know Marko since he was a kid, growing up on Welfare Island. He taught Tommy and his twin brother how to handle themselves in a fight. He’s the only reason he’s managed to stay alive so long. He points out that Cain was in the stir for bootlegging. To Logan he should be a kindred spirit.

Of course he is, Logan agrees. Why does he think he doesn’t trust him? If Marko’s info is so good, why didn’t he come along on this hunt? Need he remind him they are broke? Tommy replies acidly. When he negotiated their price for the job, he wasn’t in the position to interrogate the man.

Logan looks up, seeing naked men in the trees ready to attack them. At least they know they’re going in the right direction, Tommy remarks.

Logan raises his hands in a pacifying gesture. He doesn’t know what they have heard, but they are most definitely not looking for the priceless Crimson Gem in their sacred Temple-Tomb of Cyttorak. Not them. No siree bub!

In response, one of the warriors blows arrows with a blow pipe at them. Logan fends the arrows off with his clawlike knives and remarks he hopes Tommy remembers everything Marko taught him. Fortunately, they have one good eye watching over them, that of Cyclops, marksman supreme, who fires at the locals.

Cyclops’ Remington ’03 don’t impress the locals too much, Logan remarks. Then they’ll have to, Tommy retorts with a smile. A warrior gets ready to strike him with an axe. Tommy recalls Cain Marko’s lessons.


Somebody comes at you, big, hopped-up, crazier than Lizzie Borden with a bigger axe—All you do is – when the guy comes towards you – It don’t matter Tommy. you step forward – and greet him. “Even if he is as tall as Mr. Marko?” young Tommy asks. Especially if he is. My old man, way he laid into my stepbrother and me when I was your age—we coulda used lessons like this to cut him down to size… or… at the very least… we coulda used somebody in our corner. Like you got with me.


Tommy uses the lesson disarming the warrior. In the meantime, their Ox has gotten inside the temple area. In a large carrier on its back, Logan’s first mate, the dwarfish Eugene Judd has been hiding. He gets outside and picks up the giant ruby gem. You must be “cyttorak,” eh? Pleasure doin’ business with ya.

Later, all the men are gathered in a city front of a temple-like Chinese style pagoda with gaudy lighting. Tommy begins his spiel. The Kunlun special amusement center is the most famous landmark in Madripoor City’s “lowtown” district, he informs the others. Its five levels of attractions represent the ladders scaling the center of the universe to the palace of Huang D, emperor of Heaven. They say peasants come here on any day and go higher and higher, spending more and more on each new temptation… until they reach the top. Then, their life savings spent away… they hurl themselves down to the street below.

Better that the World Book Encyclopaedia, this one, Eugene remarks about Tommy. World Book shuts up once in a while, Cyclops shoots back.

Nearby, Cain Marko expects them. They greet as though they hadn’t expected to meet. Whispering, Cain asks if they had any trouble. None worth mention, Tommy replies. Good, do they want him to stick around while they count it? Cain asks. Not necessary, Tommy replies. They exchange the jewel and a suitcase of money. Cain remarks that Tommy’s friends don’t seem quite as trusting. They don’t know him like he does, Tommy explains. Though he wouldn’t mind knowing who Cain’s mysterious buyer is. They risked a lot for that rock just to hand it off into the ether.

Can surprisingly replies he wants him to know the only reason he agreed to this is because he knows Tommy could get out of it. He taught him good. What is he saying? Tommy asks confused. Cain orders him not to try and find him. It ain’t worth it. These are some bad people he is messing with. He knows… after today it’ll be hard… but please he’s gotta trust him.

A moment later, cops shout: Halt, in the name of Prince Baran! They are under arrest for crimes against the Kingdom of Madripoor!

Cain has disappeared and the “money” turns out to be old newspapers. A cop points a gun at Cyclops. Does he go quietly? Who, him? He shows off his weapons. He’s more the “come loudly” type. Cyclops ad Logan fire while the cops want Angel who is said to have the Crimson Gem.

Tommy announces that they want the bag. He’ll lure them away from the others. Meet him back at the ship. After this fiasco, he is not sure he wants to see his face again, Cyclops snaps. Hard to blame him, Tommy admits and disappears inside Kunlun.

He jumps up to the second floor (Gambling dens, acrobats, fireworks demonstrations), the third (jugglers, herbal medicines, ice cream parlors, studio photographers, sleazy whores…)… Fourth floor (storytellers, mask makers, acupuncture, massage parlors, shooting galley). Top floor finally. Tightrope walkers, shooting gallery, wheel of fortune, peep shows, sleazier whores.

He coughs exhausted and reaches a window where a young man is about to jump. Tommy advises him not to do it. That’s the funny thing about life, see. No matter how grim and hopeless things are now, and much it seems like things will always be that way, you never know when something will come along and surprise you.

He evades his chasers by jumping, revealing his Angel costume. He flies off, dodging their bullets.

Nighttime in Tokyo, two weeks later: under the fake name of Mr. Gabriel Tommy gets a bunch of American newspapers at a news vendor and returns to the others who are grouching. Two &%$ weeks in %$§% Tokyo, Scott groans and not even a proper hotel like the Marunouchi! No, stuck in this leaky dump with them rats, living off rice that tastes like it was steamed in a sewer!

Logan reminds him that Prince Baran has got a long reach. Best to lay low until the heat is off.

Tommy returns. Scott addresses him, asking why they aren’t out looking under every rock and gutter in the Far East for his best friend Marko. For starters, Tommy replies, somebody beat them to it. He holds out a newspaper. The headline: mysterious death in Genosha Bay:

The senate judiciary hearings on Genosha Bay prisoners erupted into alarum early yesterday when news reached Washington of the discovery of a corpse in the “No-Man’s Land” between the prison and the adjacent Army Air Force grounds by a dawn patrol of GI’s. The body had been crushed beyond all recognition. Documents in his billfold identified the deceased as Mr. Cain Marko, 37, with a current address of Madripoor in the Far East. Prison records show Mr. Marko was not an inmate at Genosha Bay and no explanation has been forwarded as to what he was doing on the island.

“Crushed beyond all recognition” Eugene repeats agitated. It’s the Juggernaut, isn’t it? Cyclops orders him to shut up. They’ll notice what the article doesn’t mention, Tommy remarks. The gem, Cyclops states. Where’s their goddamn gem?

Oh sure, Eugene Judd snarls. They can just laugh it off. But he’s the one who actually went into the temple – he’s the one who picked up the goddamn thing with his own two hands. And he mocked Cyttorak… he just looked right up at him and mocked him! He moans that he’s dead! All over some piece of &%$ he didn’t even get any scratch for!

Logan orders him to grow a pair. He asks Tommy what he’s thinking. He doesn’t believe this Juggernaut crap, does he? No, Tommy replies curtly. But whoever whacked Cain certainly thinks somebody will. They know the legends, Logan agrees. That means whoever killed him has got the gem. So what’s their play?

Is he nuts?! Scott snarls. This idiot just got them ripped off and nearly pinched to boot and he still wants to follow him! That’s all right, Tommy tells him. He’s not asking any of them to follow him anywhere. He got them into this mess, he’ll get them out. By himself.

He just wants to cut their losses and go home, Cyclops replies. No, Tommy, disagrees, he owes it to Marko to find out who killed him. Is he serious? Logan asks. When he said Cain’s training saved his life many times over, he meant it, Tommy explains. He’s not going to turn his back on Cain, just because of the one time he betrayed him. He’d do the same for Logan. He’d never ask him to, Logan replies gruffly. Marko didn’t ask him either, Tommy points out. He’s a piece of work, Logan admits. Please, Cyclops sighs, he’s just stubborn. Logan smirks.

Genosha Bay is the highest security prison in the world. Next door to an army base, it’s locked down tighter than a prison’s &%$&. How does he plan to get in there exactly? Tommy says nothing. Logan grins. /%$&, Thomas Halloway… you are one crazy son of a bitch!

And so, a little later, the Tokyo Thought Police storms their room. The officer introduces himself as Lieutenant Kenuichio Harada of the Shiso Keisatsu. They have received an anonymous tip. Is he Thomas Halloway? The criminal also known as the Angel? Sitting there alone in his Angel costume, Tommy replies he can’t say the name rings a bell…

They handcuff him, listing his crimes as being wanted in the USA for the murder of Chief Detective Eric Magnus, Detective Frederick Dukes, Detective Mortimer Toynbee, Anne-Marie Rankin, Robert “Bobby” Drake, Angelo Unuscione…

From not too far away, Logan, Cyclops and Eugene watch.

Later, an elegant blonde dressed in a white suit welcomes Tommy. She is Warden Emma Frost. As he was apprehended on foreign soil and the heinousness of his crimes render him too dangerous to be incarcerated with the domestic prison population he will be her guest. Without trial. Without appeal. Indefinitely. Welcome to Genosha Bay.

Another room in the prison. Wanda Magnus announces he is here: The man who killed her father and her brother is here. What does Xavier plan to do about it?

Behind Xavier stands a tall, black woman with a white Mohawk, a colossal strongman and a thin agile man wearing a dark-blue mask that covers his whole face. Something new, Xavier muses, something different.

Characters Involved: 

Thomas “Tommy” Halloway / Angel

Scott “Cyclops” Summers

Captain Logan

Eugene Judd

Cain Marko

Professor Xavier

Wanda Magnus

Piotr Rasputin

Kurt Wagner

Ororo Munroe

Emma Frost

Kenuchio Harada

Other Tokyo Policemen

Story Notes: 

The story directly continues from the first X-Men Noir Limited series.

The ongoings at Genosha Bay are a thinly veiled reference to Guantanamo.

Issue Information: 
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