X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain #4

Issue Date: 
May 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: 

Cyclops has been working for Xavier all along. With his help, the prisoners are brought to ONE’s dirigi-carrier, where they learn Xavier has been working for ONE and the gem was meant to help them get a foot hold in Madripoor. Cain tried to double-cross them and accidentally – or was it? – fell from the carrier to his death. Halloway reveals that the gem is a fake, which he had associates switch before. Halloway then flees, leaving Judd and Logan behind. In the meantime, Wanda Magnus and Kitty Pryde have switched the gems and wait in Wanda’s apartment. Wanda reveals to Halloway that the gem has a crack and is faked as well. Pretending a fit of rage, Halloway manages to draw out Kitty, then reveals that he knew the gem was glass all along, from the beginning. They are joined by Xavier, who is fascinated by the altruism Halloway displayed until he changed to the “Robert” persona in Genosha. Halloway makes him admit his role in Cain Marko’s death, then reveals he’s been faking the personality switch all along. More, he’s set Xavier and Wanda, who’s been working for him up. FBI agents arrest Xavier, Wanda and Kitty. Angel decides he still has to help his friends. Logan and Judd are in Genosha Bay prison but are hopeful that their Angel will rescue them.

Full Summary: 

Cyclops has the gem of Cyttorak in one hand and a gun in the other, a gun which he points at his partners. “Let’s go see Xavier,” he announces.

Elsewhere, Wanda Magnus is waiting in a limo. A slim brunette joins her. She get it? Wanda asks. She get it? the girls asks.She get it? Does a bear /&$& in the woods? Does Wanda’s father suck%’%* in hell as they speak? She walks through %$§’ walls!

Yeah, okay, Wanda interrupts Kitty with an annoyed smile. She got it. Question is, once Tommy or whatever he’s calling himself these days is done screwing over Logan and company, are they next on the “Get #$&§” list?

Hey, there’s one surefire way to guard against that, Kitty suggests. “&%$# over others as they would &%$’ over you.” Her horoscope says that every single goddamn morni—What? Wanda interrupts her over a sound. She refers to a whupping noise coming from a helicopter above them, a chopper into which Cyclops has forced his former partners.

“Hey, Cyke,” Logan threatens he’s gonna be the one that gets him. Just thought he’d like to know. Look at him, he’s trembling here, Cyclops replies, at the sight of pure distilled money in his hands. Reminds him of the old days, boosting jewelers on 47th street with his brothers, Alex and Gabe.

Has he always been loyal to Xavier first? Halloway asks. He never asked him not to be loyal to Xavier, that he can recall, Scott shoots back, calling him “Tommy.” He’s Robert, comes the reply. Whatever. Xavier’s school for delinquents taught him more techniques, made him a better shot and earned him more scratch than he ever could have outside. And even more important than that, he has friends in high places.

Outside, a huge ship carried by dirigibles hovers close by. Brought aboard, they ask what this place is. The Army Air Force calls it a “Dirig-Carrier” Xavier explains. At his side another man welcomes them to ONE, the Office of National Emergency.

Who the hell is he? Logan demands and Halloway explains he is Senator Robert Kelly, Republican, of New York. Chair of the Judiciary Committee. The pencilneck trying to keep the feds from closing down Genosha Bay? Logan asks. The one and same, Halloway agrees, and he now recognizes Kelly’s voice from when he was water-boarding him back on Genosha. What does the Senator care about their score? Logan asks confused. If he could string more than three sober hours together, he might be able to follow, Xavier replies. To everyone else, it is obvious…

Halloway continues that this is who they were working for all along, for ONE. Through Cain, that is. Xavier knew his brother’s familiarity with the Far East and Madripoor especially made him perfect for the job. But Cain knew Xavier pretty well too, didn’t he? He knew he was working for some bad guys. After he hired them to steal the gem from the natives he double-crossed them. Rather than show up with the gem in hand, he sent it to New York on a slow boat from China. And until he got paid he wasn’t going to tell Xavier which one. Didn’t turn out to be the wisest tactic.

The G-Men got a little physical with him. Cain tried to make a run for it. Except once he arrived on Genosha Bay he was hooded like everyone else. He didn’t entirely understand where he was being held until he found out the hard way and fell from the carrier to his death. No wonder his body was found in an open field looking like it had been crushed by some mythical “juggernaut.” How is he doing so far?

Passably, Xavier replies. He has an overly romantic view of his brother though. Cain was the one double-crossing Xavier. Holding out on the location of the gem until he tripled his fee. His budget is already strained as it is, training the next generation of soldiers for ONE. Science’s atomic engines of destruction will render traditional warfare not just obsolete but unwinnable. Trained, directed antisocial personalities like his “X-Men” make ideal operatives in the coming shadow struggle with the Bolsheviks. His dear brother wasn’t just defying Charles by refusing to tell him where the gem was. He was defying America!

He couldn’t give a rat’s &%$ about America, Logan snorts. What does this have to do with the gem? With the gem itself? Halloway asks. Nothing, really. More what the gem represents. When Prince Baran of Madripoor gets it back he can either magnanimously return it to the autonomous tribal regions in return for greater political influence there or he can hold the gem hostage for the same. Genosha Bay has become a political flashpoint thanks to the Congressional hearings. ONE needs to transfer its training facility to a new, even more secret extraterritorial location. Prince Baran could provide the land to the USA if they bring him the gem.

Slight snag in their plan though; while their X-Men thought they were keeping him busy, an associate of his snuck into the hold and switched the real gem for a most sensitive copy. He takes out a tuning fork and makes a high sound.

Are they supposed to be impressed? Cyclops snorts, and is one moment later, when the vibrations shatter the gem in his hand. Now he has the gem, Halloway shouts. If they want it back they’d better find him and be ready to deal! He drops his coat, jumps outside and floats downward with his costume.

Is he just gonna leave them here?! Logan calls after him. He is directing his appeals to the ether, Xavier tells him. They left Thomas Halloway behind on Genosha Bay. Under extreme duress he retreated from his altruistic façade behind a more extreme personality. He donned the behavioral “costume” of his more violent, more sociopathic and much more deceased brother Robert. On the point, he thinks, they should ask themselves which twin really died back on Welfare Island in the fight against Detective Magnus months ago. Yeah? Logan asks. They’ll see about that. They’ll just flamin’ see…

The Angel lands in the apartment where he meets Wanda, praising her for pulling off her part without a hitch. He notices her hesitation and she admits they may be having a problem. But he’s got to believe it’s not her fault. Angrily he grabs her and replies he’ll decide what is and isn’t her fault. Now tell him what she’s done and screwed up before he rips her head off!

When Kitty and she brought the gem home, they saw a crack in it. It’s a fake too, glass. Cain must have hidden the real one somewhere else.

Angrily swearing, Robert accuses her and Kitty of having hidden the original. They are trying to cheat him! As he goes for Wanda’s throat, Kitty comes of hiding and kicks him in the stomach. He knew it, he announces, hiding in the walls, like a rat! Kitty insults him crudely and tries to hit him. But now he is prepared, dodges her blows and kicks and finally takes her down.

Suddenly, he is calm again and explains that now Kitty has been flushed out and down Wanda needn’t worry about the gem. That is the original, even with the crack. The original is glass? she asks incredulous. Sure, he replies, what the hell are Madripoor tribesmen going to do with a quote-unquote precious stone in the middle of the jungle? The gem’s only true value is in its religious and political significance. Looked like glass to him when he first laid eyes on it in Madripoor but he saw no reason to advertise it. But then he knew that all along, didn’t he, professor? Though he stalled long enough for him to get here.

Xavier comes in and remarks that one day he will learn to stop underestimating Halloway. He doesn’t really care about the gem or Senator Kelly’s attempt to woo prince Baran, does he? Halloway asks This is about him. Xavier was trying to draw him out. Wanda was working for Xavier all along.

Wanda tries to deny it and is cut short. Xavier explains that Halloway’s altruism makes him as much of a deviant as the anti-social tendencies of a criminal. After their initial encounter he realized there could be a whole new pathology at work here – “heropathy” His connection to Xavier’s half-brother was something he could exploit.

Did Cain have help, going over the side of the Dirigi-carrier? Angel asks pointedly. That’s for him to know, Xavier replies. Cain was a true brute. The most use anyone ever got out if him was as a blunt instrument or in this case, bait. He can learn as much – if not more - by studying angels as demons.

But Mr. Halloway disappointed him. His hypothesis was that he was a compulsive hero and nothing Xavier could do would change that fundamental nature. Instead… he corrupted much faster than he could have imagined. Oh, he means him turning into Robert? Angel asks. Well, about that… He was faking.

“FBI, don’t move!” two newcomers announce and point their weapons at Xavier. Tommy, and it is Tommy, states that they heard Xavier confess to the murder of Cain Marko, formerly of Madripoor. That woman, Wanda Magnus, is his accomplice. Miss Pryde over there on the floor has six outstanding warrants in three jurisdictions. In order to reduce his parole violation, he imagines Professor X will want to sing to director Duncan about a secret illegal federal agency competing with the Bureau. But now, if they’ll excuse him, he as a promise to keep! He exits through the window.

Genosha Bay prison where warden Emma Frost is giving new prisoners Logan and Judd her spiel. They will have no contact with other prisoners. And almost none with the staff. They are not allowed writing materials. Or to receive visitors from the outside world. A guard will let them out in their own private exercise yard for an hour a day, weather permitting. Thus has she described the last remaining days of their life as foreign criminals interred here in Genosha Bay penitentiary. And, she must say, Captain Logan looks sunnier than most upon hearing her do it.

Oh, it’s nothin’, he tells her. He gotta kinda… providence watching over him. So has every con who ever crawled in here, thinking he was going to slither out, she replies wryly. Yeah, ‘cept he got a better reason than most to believe in his. His Angel did everything he could to bring in the murderers of a guy who trained him to fight, a guy whose last act of friendship was to betray him. He got reason to have faith in him. Faith he’s never gonna forget about him and Judd. So good luck, keeping them here ‘s all he’s saying. Good flaming luck. She’s gonna need it.

And not too far away, his Angel is flying.

Characters Involved: 

Thomas “Tommy” Halloway / Angel

Scott “Cyclops” Summers

Captain Logan

Eugene Judd

Professor Xavier
Senator Robert Kelly
Wanda Magnus
Kitty Pryde
Emma Frost

ONE agents

FBI agents

Prison guards

in flashbacks:
Thomas Halloway

Cain Marko

Senator Robert Kelly

Ororo Munroe

in narration:

Prince Maran of Madripoor

Story Notes: 

The limited series is followed by the Weapon X Noir one-shot that narrates Nightcrawler’s origin.

Gabe and Alex are the Noir counterparts to Havok and Vulcan.

“Director Duncan” refers to FBI agent Fred Duncan, who used to work with Xavier in early days.

Issue Information: 
Written By: