X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain #3

Issue Date: 
April 2010
Story Title: 

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

Brief Description: 

Still subjected to sleep deprivation torture, Angel is is lectured by Xavier and hallucinates, unable to tell apart reality and fantasy, until finally Wanda Magnus, his secret ally, frees him. She is surprised to find that he claims to be and acts like the far more brutal dead twin, Robert Halloway. Angel takes her to the meeting with Logan, Cyclops and Eugene and tells them he believes he knows where Cain hid the jewel, as Xavier mentioned how during their childhood he and Cain would be hidden by a certain lighthouse keeper’s widow. Cyclops visits Mrs. MacTaggert and gets the info an where to expect the parcel with the gem, while Angel has his M-tattoo removed. They enter the harbor at night to find Xavier’s X-Men are already there. Battle ensues. Angel and his people win and find the gem, only to be double-crossed by Cyclops who has been working for Xavier all along.

Full Summary: 

Tommy Halloway is still subjected to sleep deprivation torture. Through his haze, he hears Xavier claiming he sympathizes with him. He’s had brother problems of his own. His father died when he was a boy and his mother married a man… Kurt Marko. Classic sociopath, Xavier continues. Charming, vicious, manipulative for its own sake. He named his own son Cain, for God’s sake! Can he imagine what kind of man does that?

“Cain is his…” Tommy weakly begins.

Xavier continues. Marko made quite a show of preferring Charles to his biological offspring (while secretly berating Charles when nobody would hear it). And Cain… well Tommy knows him. Believe it or not, in his youth Charles could almost hold himself against him. Once when they were teenagers they were standing at the top of the grand staircase struggling, and well… he sees the results, the wheelchair-bound professor remarks.

When they were much younger, Cain and Charles managed to understand what their father was doing to them. They ran away from home. Fled to a lighthouse not far from their Westchester manse on the Hudson… terribly bucolic, he knows. But the keeper’s widow took pity on them and kept them safe for the weekend until she felt compelled to notify their mother to bring them home. His memories of that time are among his fondest.

He wants to be Thomas’ beacon. His sanctuary. But first Thomas needs to open to him. Tell him about his late brother. How did Robert get to be… the way he was? And how did Thomas get out of his cell?

Still, Tommy stays silent. Impenetrable by sentiment and reason, Xavier sighs. A pity. He wheels outside. As long as he denies Xavier answers, he denies Thomas sleep here in Project: Wideawake. And his years as a teacher of youth have left him with infinite patience. The door closes behind him. Lighthouse… Tommy mutters.

The door opens again and a slim female stands within the glare, exclaiming: Tommy! Oh, my God! She crouches down next to him and apologizes for not coming sooner, but it wasn’t safe. Wanda Magnus kisses him and explains that Xavier has sent his horrid X-Men off to the mainland on some errand, so she is here at last. To see him trussed up like some kind of an animal! It was all she could do to not tell Xavier she had let him out of his cell in the first place. That they have been working together all along. Just so she wouldn’t have to see him suffer! Roughly, Tommy tells her to stop her blubbering. Then his suffering will end!

Soon, he beats up the guard outside with unusual viciousness, as he belts him for watching from their tower as the big Russian squeezed the life out of him. Wanda tries to interrupt him. He orders her to kill the water works.

He phones a relieved Eugene Judd, who tells him they were just about ready to give up and sail back to Madripoor and take their chances. If they had done that, he would have found them, Halloway warns. And they would have regretted it. The drunk Logan comments “and then he woke up.”

Halloway states he’s making his way to the rendezvous point in No Man’s Land between the prison and the army base now. Meet him there. What about the gem? Judd asks. Did he figure out where it is? One thing at a time, Halloway orders.

Wanda hesitatingly tells him they need to get him to the boat as soon as possible, calling him “Tommy.” He needs some sleep. He’s gone over a week without it and he’s acting… Well—she’s worried about him. If she calls him that one more time he’ll knock her teeth out, he warns her. And stop trying to put him to bed like an infant! He’s got one eye on her at all times. And call him by his real name now. He’s Robert. Wanda just stares at him.

Suddenly, he tells her to wait. He wants to check one thing out first. He looks at the army base’s hangar. What do they have that could be that big? What does that have to do with them? Wanda asks. Nothing to worry her pretty little head about, he replies condescendingly.

Later, they meet aboard the boat, Blackbird. Angrily, Logan demands who the skirt is. Ballast for all he cares, Halloway replies She’s coming aboard. His boat, his rules, Logan retorts. He’ll leave them both here if—

Halloway gives in. She’s Wanda Magnus. She’s owed him ever since he saved her from Remy LeBeau’s muscle in Harlem. And she knows who’s really responsible for her father’s death.

Sounds like she’s another share they gotta split their take with he never bothered telling them about, Logan states. They are supposed to be partners! That means he pulls his “man of mystery” routine with the rubes, not with him! He got any more surprises, he better unwrap them now, or he’s heading back to Havana to reacquaint himself with rum-running.

Wanda hesitantly states they don’t know where the gem is exactly, but they know where to start looking.

At a lighthouse, Scott Summers speaks to the lighthouse keeper Mrs. MacTaggert, a bitter elderly woman, who states that Cain told her in his telegram someone would be stopping by, one of his gutless cronies. He said they’d have a little something for her too. Like when she hid him and his Little Lord Fauntleroy step-brother from their demon father. Cain had to swipe quite a bit from his mother’s purse to cover her risk.

Cain didn’t say boo about any payment to her, Scott points out. And she should know well enough by now that he’s not a man to be trifled with. Don’t give her that, she spits back. Cain knows she never lifted a finger for the likes of him without grease and she ain’t about to stop—now that the purses have gotten bigger!

A peerless example of Scottish womanhood, Cyclops, alone at a nightclub, later judges. One, she squeezed the C-note out of him, which they are throwing in with him, for their fair highland lass at last confessed Marko telegrammed her from Madripoor. Said he was shipping her something on a tub flying Singapore colors he wanted her to sit on. He must have been expecting a double-cross too.

He remarks the Blackbird is taking her sweet time chuggin’ to New York harbor by way of the Cape of Good Hope. They just gotta keep checking the papers till they announce… their ship has come in.

He asks Logan and Judd where Tommy is. This was his tip. He thought he’d want to hear this. He means the whack job they picked up in Genosha? Logan asks. Don’t know what that egg is… but he ain’t Tommy, Eugene finishes. Coolly Cyclops asks if they are sure. Too bad. He likes him a lot better that way.

In the meantime, at the practice of Dr. Cornelius, Halloway is having his M-tattoo removed, refusing any anaesthetics. Each cut of the knife reminds him of the pain he must repay in kind!

Cornelius remarks he has never seen such a tattoo before except in newsreels. He knows a reporter or two who would pay top dollar to chat with a man with firsthand knowledge of Genosha Bay. And a doctor or one who wouldn’t mind extra consideration to keep that same information out of the hands of the FBI. Tommy takes up a scalpel and asks him if he feels special just because he can handle a knife? If he keeps running his mouth he’ll find out how common that skill is.

Later, as he leaves with Wanda, he calls Cornelius a repulsive little worm. At least now he can’t be marked as an escapee right away, Wanda points out. Now all they need is to wait for the Blackbird to put into port, Halloway states. Then, while he makes sure the others are distracted, they are going to steal the gem for themselves. What is he saying? Wanda asks. By we he means she, he clarifies. One of her shady girlfriends she used to run with when she spent every night flushing LeBeau’s booze down her gullet and money down his tables. He’d do it himself. He’s the only one he’d really trust to, but he’ll have his hands full with One-eye, the drunk and the midget.

Logan reads the shipping news and informs the rest of the group the ship will come today. Time to get what’s theirs!

Nighttime and the four men secretly enter the port. They steal the shipping manifest and learn where the parcels from Madripoor are. But, when they reach the hold, they are in for a surprise. Xavier’s new X-Men have already opened the container with the gem.

Nightcrawler immediately attacks Cyclops, quoting Bible phrases in German. Eugene wants to help and doesn’t notice Ororo behind him with a knife. Luckily, Logan has his back as he slices her with his claws, calling this irony.

Eugene holds a gun to Kurt Wagner’s head, telling him if he moves a muscle he will cure his craziness in the most effective but messiest way.

Piotr Rasputin grabs Logan and throws him down into the water, remarking he abhors violence. A pity he is so good at it.

Wagner gets free of Eugene, shouting it’s blasphemy to touch the holy servant of--

Does a kick count as touch? Halloway asks as he kicks him in the face. In German, he addresses Kurt, telling him it is clear that he is yet another fine product of Professor Xavier’s expert psychological counseling. It’s unfathomable how Cyclops turned out so well!

He dodges Wagner’s attacks, telling him this is their second meeting and their last. Unfortunately for Wagner, since the last time they met, he has reaped the benefits of Professor X’s treatment too!

Having finished him, he shouts at Cyclops to get the gem. Rasputin remarks it is not often gets to crush a man’s ribcage twice a week. Very quickly, he lies on the ground. He wanted to do that, Logan pouts. Aw no, he mutters a moment later. Cyclops stands before them, gem in one hand, gun pointed at them in the other. Why the long faces? he asks. He did as they asked him to. He got the gem. He got them. “Let’s go see Xavier.”

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

Moira MacTaggert

Dr. Cornelius

Story Notes: 

Tommy helped Wanda in X-Men Noir #1.

“Little Lord Fauntleroy” is a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett about a saintly, well-mannered young boy.

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