X-Men: Smoke and Blood

Issue Date: 
November 2010
Story Title: 

Simon Spurrier (writer), Gabriel Hernandez Walta (artist), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Clayton Crain (cover artist), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

During the vampire infestation of San Francisco, the X-Club uses a captured vampire, as well as a group of infected civilians, in an attempt to find a cure for the vampire’s behavior-altering virus, as well as vampirism itself. After little success, Emma Frost suggests that they try using a less scientific approach but Dr. Nemesis, a firm nonbeliever in magic, refuses to listen. When the captured vampire escapes, Dr. Nemesis seals Utopia’s science complex shut and, together with Dr. Rao and Madison Jeffries, attempt to protect the civilians as the vampire hunts them down. After Jeffries and Dr. Rao’s parvodrone-filled serum fails to cure the vampire, the vampire comes back in a new technological form. The X-Club realizes that Jeffries has been infected by the virus and has unknowingly been helping the vampire the entire time. The vampire is finally stopped when Dr. Nemesis reflects on Emma’s advice and reluctantly asks the telepath to overload Jeffries’ pain center after realizing the virus isn’t viral but psychic. Although the vampire is defeated and the infected cured, the X-Club is no step closer to curing vampirism and begins to accept the fact that some things are beyond science.

Full Summary: 

Emma Frost, left in charge of Utopia since Cyclops is out hunting vampires, requests a meeting with Dr. Nemesis to ask him about the X-Men’s Science Club’s latest vampire projects. Dr. Nemesis says that Emma may be an expert in “Bedroom Ceilings of the World” but is not intelligent enough to comprehend anything the X-Club does. Emma informs him that she may not be scientifically minded but she is “in charge minded” and asks about the X-Club’s “lab guest.”

Dr. Nemesis admits the vampire that the X-Men captured is “cranky” and reflects on the incident that occurred upon the vampire’s arrival. Wolverine had decided to take off the vampire’s light-bending necklace before it was safely inside, causing the vampire to begin to disintegrate.

Dr. Nemesis describes Dr. Kavita Rao’s attempts to reverse vampirism by tackling the changes that occur at a nucleic level by locating the RNA sequence behind the physical effects. Madison Jeffries has created parvodrones, tiny robots, and has trained them to go into the body and release a serum that with will go into the cell to silence the RNA code found in vampires.

Content with their progress, Emma moves on to ask about Dr. Nemesis’ progress with curing the virus that was released when a vampire exploded all over Union Square after exposing himself to sunlight. The civilians who were exposed to the vampire’s “splatter” found themselves infected by a behavior-altering bug, one of them being Jubilee who found herself overcome with the desire to join the vampire’s ranks.

Dr. Nemesis informs her that it’s been challenging and, even after numerous tests on the six infected civilians that they have chained up downstairs, he can find no trace of the mechanism that’s affecting their minds. They are increasingly becoming more predatory and desire the company of vampires more than anything.

Emma switches to telepathy as she tells Dr. Nemesis that “not every problem can be solved in a lab” and suggests he opens his mind up a bit more. She uses her telepathy as an example of things that are unexplainable and beyond science. Dr. Nemesis shrugs her off and proclaims that he and his colleagues are geniuses and “Nothing beats science.”

Meanwhile, a small fire starts in Utopia’s science complex and Dr. Rao and Jeffries discover that the captured vampire has escaped! Jeffries immediately rushes to protect the civilians as Dr. Rao gathers the serum.

After Jeffries informs the six civilians of the situation, most of them seem more thrilled than frightened. When the vampire approaches the group, they begin to flee as Jeffries attempts to fight it off. One of the female civilians gets in his way and willingly sacrifices herself to their “noble guest.”

As Jeffries and the remaining civilians watch in horror as the vampire devours the girl, Dr. Kavita Rao arrives and shoots the monster with the serum. The serum fails to work and the group continues to run.

Arriving at the laboratories, Dr. Nemesis realizes what’s going on and tells Emma that he’s going to seal the complex to prevent a “catastrophic superpandemic biohazard.” Emma agrees with his decision and inquires whether Dr. Nemesis will be sealing the complex from the inside or out…

Jeffries, Dr. Rao and the remaining civilians arrive at the machine room. There, Rao questions how the cure failed, as the civilians cryptically tell her that the she cannot stop the “dusk-masters” with science. Jeffries seems to think he can kill the vampire by exposing it to UV rays.

Unfortunately, the power grid becomes overloaded and the whole complex loses power. As Dr. Rao grabs flashlights, Jeffries explains that the vampire managed to fry the entire electrical system by feeding the power surge back to the core. Dr. Rao doesn’t understand how the beast managed to do such a thing, since tests showed it to be a simple-minded creature. Jeffries tells her that she can ask it as the vampire begins to approach them.

The civilians are horrified but one young man tries to console himself by considering horror film clichés, including “seniors dying first,” which upsets the older black lady among them. They begin to slowly move away but one of the civilians calls out to the “glorious lord of the dark,” revealing their location. The vampire quickly finds them and kills the apologetic loudmouth as the rest of the group flee as the infected young man once again brings up horror film clichés, suggesting the vampire takes the “ethnic chick.”

Dr. Nemesis arrives and exclaims, “Those are my lab rats,” as he shoots the vampire with a high-grade weaponry, causing it to flee. The immediate crisis passed, the group settles down and Nemesis informs them that he is the only person with the codes to unseal the complex and that nobody is leaving until the “hammer reject” is dead and the human infection is cured. Dr. Rao suggests contacting Emma for help, resulting in a very bitter and grumbling Dr. Nemesis. Emma uses Cerebro to attempt to find the beast but claims only to detect human and mutant psyches and adds that the situation seems to be making her powers “fuzzy.”

As the group decides what to do next, Jeffries informs them that the fire has reached the chemistry lab. When Dr. Rao cries out that they can’t let her research burn, Dr. Nemesis agrees and decides to accompany her to the lab. Since Dr. Nemesis is the only one with the codes to the doors, Jeffries tells him to stay safe with the remaining civilians as he goes with Dr. Rao to the labs.

When the vampire reaches Dr. Nemesis and the remaining three infected civilians, Dr. Nemesis decides that logic has taken a vacation and decides to try out the magical “stake-in-the-heart” approach by slaying the vampire with a chopstick. His plan fails and he realizes the vampire has transformed himself and now has a techno-organic appearance...

The infected young man again reminds himself out loud of horror movie clichés as the vampire moves closer. As he suggests the idea that he and the remaining young girl will be survive and become romantically involved, the virus overcomes her thoughts and she kills him by tossing him into the vampire’s mouth.

As Dr. Rao desperately tries to save her research notes from the fire, Jeffries comes to a realization. He informs Dr. Rao that he must have become infected when the vampire was exposed to sunlight upon arrival. Jeffries believes that he’s been unknowingly helping the beast all along including its initial escape and the power loss. Dr. Rao is horrified, as she begins to wonder about the machines that Jeffries made for the serum…

Dr. Nemesis realizes the truth as well and rushes to where Jeffries and Dr. Rao are.

The virus takes over Jeffries’ mind as he pulls a gun out on Dr. Rao. He manages to fight the infection and, instead, turns the gun on himself. However, since his mutant powers seem to have sided with the infection, the gun falls apart. He tells Kavita that she will have to kill him herself.

As the remaining two infected civilians succumb to the virus and attack Dr. Nemesis as the vampire approaches, the doctor reflects on Emma’s early advice as well as her failure to detect the beast. He realizes that the infection is not viral but is actually a psychic signal and hastily tells Emma to target Jeffries’ parietal cortex and send a “psychic spike” to the pain center, which she does effortlessly.

Jeffries and the two infected civilians cry out in pain and Dr. Nemesis watches as the pain overloads the vampire, causing the psychic signal to cease.

With the voice in his head gone, Jeffries destroys the vampire using the parvodrones that he placed inside it. The two cured civilians embrace each other as Dr. Nemesis expresses relief that the situation is finally over.

Emma demands to know what the hell just happened and Dr. Rao informs her of Dr. Nemesis’ hypothesis that the infection was actually a telepathic broadcast, which they overloaded with feedback thus breaking the link and curing the infected. Emma asks why Dr. Nemesis isn’t explaining it to her himself and Dr. Rao delights her by saying that he’s cranky.

With the infection crisis solved, Emma inquires about the cure for vampirism. Dr. Rao admits that, although the cure is perfect, it just doesn’t work…

As Dr. Nemesis and Jeffries burn the vampire’s body, Jeffries expresses his thoughts that these creatures are beyond science. Dr. Nemesis cuts him off and states that he refuses to “believe in a state of being that doesn’t obey the laws of nature.” Jeffries explains that it doesn’t matter whether he believes in it or not, since the vampires do believe in it and they’ve been around longer… so it might be their opinion that matters in the long run…

Characters Involved: 

Emma Frost
Madison Jeffries, Dr. Nemesis, Dr. Kavita Rao (all X-Club)

Captured Vampire
Unnamed Infected Civilians

Colossus, Wolverine (both X-Men)
Madison Jeffries, Dr. Nemesis, Dr. Kavita Rao (all X-Club)

Union Square Suicidal Vampire
Civilians at Union Square

Story Notes: 

This issue is part of the Curse of the Mutants crossover event.

Wolverine, Colossus, Storm and Blade managed to capture a vampire in X-Men (3rd series) #2.

A vampire intentionally exploded in Union Square in X-Men (3rd series) #1, thereby infecting dozens of people, including Jubilee.

“Hammer reject” refers to the Hammer Film Production Company, which was responsible for many of the classic gothic horror films made in the 1950s to 1970s.

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