X-Men: The Hidden Years #13

Issue Date: 
November 2000
Story Title: 
Blood And Circus

John Byrne (writer), Tom Palmer (pencils), Greg Wright (colors), Jason Liebig (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

At their hideout, the Blob has Mastermind use his illusion powers on Jean, in an attempt to make love with her. However, Jean quickly sees through the illusions and starts to fight back. This leads Blob and Mastermind to get into an argument with each other, causing Jean to wonder how humans and mutants can ever live in peace at this world, since so many mutants can’t even live with themselves without fighting each other. Elsewhere, while trapped in their cages, Scott and Warren explain to another what happened recently, and Warren can’t help but wonder what happened to Avia as he hasn’t heard about her since the Brotherhood bought him from Kreuger. Blob and Unus release the X-Men and Candy from their cages, and have them fight in a circus, against animals and clowns. Scott soon realizes that part of the circus are all about Mastermind’s illusions, and he and Warren start to fight back, but they have no clue about how to figure out what’s real and what not. Not having Mastermind near her, Jean manages to free herself from her cell, but ends up defeated by a surprise visit from an angry Kreuger! At Dunfee, the Professor and Beast start to panic, as an angry Ashley uses her powers to restore the Sentinel she just tore apart again! Xavier uses his telepathic powers to enter Ashley’s mind in an attempt to calm her down so she stops being a danger, and succeeds. The Sentinel also breaks apart again. Meanwhile in the Savage Land, Iceman, Havok and Lorna find the ship the other X-Men had left behind and, after flipping it over after the crash it had, they finally head home again. Later, they arrive back at the school, but find nobody there, causing them to panic a bit. Suddenly, they hear Cerebro go off: the machine has detected another new, powerful mutant, who is this time in the Himalayas! Also, at the Worthington Estate, Kathryn, Angel’s mother, is pleased to marry her beloved Burtram, but only wishes that Warren could be at her wedding.

Full Summary: 

At an unknown location, in a bedroom…

Cyclops desperately tries to wake a sleeping Jean up. He succeeds, and Jean immediately wants to know what happened, and where they are. Scott claims that he’s happy they are finally alone, and that the other “losers” are on their own business. Jean senses that something is wrong, and wants to know why Scott is talking like that. “Scott” doesn’t understand what Jean is talking about. Scott moves closer to kiss her, but Jean tells him to stay away.

Unfortunately, Scott doesn’t listen, and she can’t push him away, and not even her telekinetic powers seem to work. “Scott” smiles that’s because Jean wants him as much as he wants her. Jean confirms that she wants the real Scott. Her telekinetic powers might not work, but her telepathic powers work just fine, and she realizes that the Scott she is seeing isn’t the real one!

In reality, Blob is standing into a cell together with Mastermind. Mastermind reminds Blob that he told him his plan to impersonate Cyclops wouldn’t work. He confirms that his power of illusions has its limitations, and telepaths are on top of that list. It would take a long-term strategy to create an illusion in Jean’s mind that she wouldn’t be able to pierce. Blob doesn’t want to hear the lecture, and smiles that it was worth a shot, though he believes that Mastermind didn’t do his job properly. Mastermind angrily defends himself that he did just the thing Blob asked him to do. Also, he reminds Blob to keep a civil tone when he’s talking to him. After all, he was one of the first charter members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

Blob slaps Mastermind into his face, shouting that he has said enough. He reminds Mastermind that it was Magneto who ran the old version of the Brotherhood, and that Mastermind was just along for the ride. Mastermind would still be hanging captured into that Sentinel base if it weren’t for him.

Jean looks at the two mutants fighting each other, and finds it to be pitiful. She thinks it’s no wonder that Professor Xavier’s dream of a utopian dream seems always so elusive. She wonders how mutants and humans can ever live together in peace when so many mutants can’t even breathe the same air without ending up at each other’s throats.

Dunfee, Illinois…

Seeing Ashley powering up her mutant powers, Xavier is starting to panic and attempts to calm her down. However, Ashley defends that she has every reason to be upset, and claims that everything was fine until Xavier came along and messed everything up. Nearby, Ashley’s mom can’t handle all this, as, ten minutes ago, she thought her daughter was just a very bright ten-year old girl. Xavier apologizes for all this, explaining that, when he and Hank came there to make contact with the new mutant they detected, they had no way of knowing Ashley had fallen into the hands of a Sentinel, which she now completely tore apart.

Ashley’s mom suddenly feels weird in her head. Xavier explains to her that the tingling she is feeling is the manifestation of Ashley’s psychokinetic powers. But he finds it odd, as her powers only work on non-living matter, so he wonders what’s going on. Beast looks up and warns the Professor to look out, as Ashley is using her powers to repair the Sentinel!

The Savage Land…

Iceman, Havok and Lorna are checking out the ship the X-Men left behind. Bobby finds it a good think Alex mentioned the ship was still there, because the Professor would have hated it if they had to come back here for it. Lorna wants to know what Bobby can do about the ship, because it has crashed upside down. Bobby jokes he can see that, and checks out the controls. He explains that the ship is build out of Sentinel technology, and that the ship is as though as it can get. Bobby presses some buttons, and manages to flip the ship over! Both Lorna and Alex are impressed.

Bobby tells Alex and Lorna to head back home into their ship, as the natives informed them that the other X-Men had already left the Savage Land more than a day ago, so they better do the same thing. As they leave, Bobby can’t help but wonder what kind of trouble the X-Men have gotten themselves into in the meantime without him.

The Brotherhood Hideout…

Cyclops, Angel and Candy are all trapped in cages. Warren explains what happened to him. He fell out of the sky, chasing after Avia, and thinks he was picked up by this fishing trawler. One of the crewmen persuaded the captain to skip sending in a report about what they had found, and instead offered to sell both Warren and Avia to a freak show. They ended up getting bought by Blob and his teammates, who paid thirty thousand dollars just to get him. However, they weren’t interested in Avia, so Warren has no idea what happened to her. Scott reveals to Warren that they found Avia aboard the Teratos freighter ship, who were the fishermen who sold Warren. As far as they know, Avia is still there, and might be in grave danger.

Warren thinks that’s an extra, added reason for them to get out of there. He also mentions, perhaps along the way, Scott can explain why Candy is with him and wearing one of Jean’s Marvel Girl costumes. Candy confirms it’s really she under that mask, but the story she has to tell can wait until the X-Men figure out how to pull out this escape. Suddenly, Blob and Unus enter the room, with Blob mentioning to Candy that escape is impossible.

To his surprise, Scott notices that Jean is standing close to the Blob, and demands to know what the villains did to her. Blob holds his arm around Jean’s shoulder, claiming that they didn’t do anything to her she didn’t want herself. Unus sarcastically jokes that Scott’s girlfriend has a bit of a wild side to her. Scott promises to make Unus pay if he has done anything to Jean to harm her. Unus laughs at that, reminding Scott that none of the X-Men’s powers work here, unless the Brotherhood want them to. And the only time they want that to happen, is during showtime!

A moment later, the X-Men appear in the center of a circus area, now released from their cages. They are surrounded by angry animals, with hundreds of people in the stands, cheering the action. Without delay, the animals attack the X-Men, and Scott orders Warren to get Candy into safety. Warren wishes that he could, but Unus wasn’t kidding: his powers are really not working and he can’t get his wings to bring them airborne! Scott thinks this is insane, knowing that the Blob and Unus are just punks. They don’t have the power to do a thing like this.

To make matter worse, circus clowns holding guns start heading to Candy and Warren, and Candy warns him about it. Warren can see that, and jokes that this is probably not the kind of thing Candy expected to do when she found out about his secret identity. They start running away and Candy mentions that, given the circumstances of that discovery, she doesn’t see how she could have expected much less. They are quickly quickly surrounded, and Warren calls Scott for help. However, Scott has his own share of problems, as more animals and clowns start attacking him as well, including the Blob.

The Blob backhands Scott in his face and, seeing it coming, the X-Man tries to roll away. However, it doesn’t work – almost seeming if the impact was coming from the other direction. He reminds himself that he has to concentrate and to find a way to strike back. He tries to fire his optic beams, but it’s no use; they just don’t work.

Grabbing the helpless X-Man, Blob hurls Scott toward Unus. Of course, Scott bounces against Unus’ force field, feeling like he’s bounced off a wall. The Blob puts his feet onto Scott’s head, thinking he always knew the X-Men were nothing but talk. He promises Scott will feel pain before he dies.

Helpless, Scott remembers that Jean could do this. She could mess with their heads using her telepathy. Suddenly, he realizes something: someone really is messing with their heads! It has to be. He wonders what if his powers were really still functioning. What if it only seems like they can’t work? Scott gets up, and… he was right. He walks right through the Blob. It just seemed like he was stuck under the Blob’s foot, but he really wasn’t. Scott realizes that Mastermind must be behind all of this, and warns Warren and Candy about it.

The illusion broken, Scott sees the Blob sitting in a crater. He realizes that his beams have been working just fine. Mastermind’s illusions just didn’t let him see. When he fired earlier, he hit the ground, instead of the Blob, creating the hole the Blob is now lying in. Climbing out, the Blob confirms Cyclops’ theory, but points out that knowing he’s up against illusions doesn’t hlp him tell what’s real and what isn’t!

Suddenly, Mastermind uses his powers to transform the animals into monsters, which press the attack. Candy panics, but now that Warren knows he can still fly, he lifts them both up into the sky, into safety. As Scott keeps fighting, he wonders where Jean is, and if that really was her standing with the Blob and Unus a while ago.


Beast is impressed by Ashley’s power, seeing she is only ten years old. Ashley is manipulating the shattered hulk of the Sentinel like it’s nothing but a marionette. Climbing up the Sentinel’s arm, the Beast apologizes to the Professor below, saying that there is nothing he can do to contain all it. Is there anything he can do? Xavier replies that he can, but he dreads the consequences.

Hearing this, Ashley shouts at Xavier that she has had enough of him. He has been nothing but trouble since he got there. Lying nearly prone on the ground, without his wheelchair, Xavier thinks to himself that he’s got no choice. Ashley’s undisciplined intellect is still that of a child. If that is left unchecked, her rage can destroy the entire Earth. However, Ashley’s immaturity makes what the Professor is about to do all the more dangerous.

Xavier enters Ashley’s mind, and she freezes. Beast notices this and wants to know what the Professor is doing. Xavier tells him to be quiet, as he can’t have any distraction right now. He explains that he is reaching deep into Ashley’s brain, into the very core of her intellect and personality. But he has to concentrate for this operation, or else he could kill her. Ashley’s mom panics, but Hank holds her back, trying to calm her down.

Telepathically, Xavier starts to talk to Ashley. He tells her not to be frightened, and to feel his thoughts as they mingle with her own. She has to feel his mind as it becomes one with hers. Now comes the delicate part. He must sever those areas of Ashley’s conscious mind, from all connection with the mutated part of her brain. But in doing so, he must avoid at all cost any alteration of the rest of her cognitive self. The strain of Xavier’s own mind is almost unbearable to himself. As fine as his telepathic control may be, this is like trying to mend a Swiss watch with a sledgehammer! Xavier succeeds, but Ashley starts to collapse, and the Sentinel breaks apart again.

The Brotherhood hideout…

As Cyclops keeps fighting, he thinks that the worst part of all of this is that he has no way of knowing what’s real and what not. He wants to know if he’s in a real circus with a real audience. The circus is real, and Mastermind uses his powers to make the audience see the X-Men as clowns, and they laugh at them. Blob mentions to Mastermind that this isn’t working, and that this whole tussle should have been done by now. Mastermind reminds the Blob that he told him his illusions can’t actually hurt anyone. He depends on hurting people himself, as a reaction to the illusions.

Angel manages to find a platform for Candy to hide on. Candy doesn’t want to be left alone, but Warren defends this is the best he can do now. He joins the battle again and hits one of the clowns, and the punch felt like he hit something real. Something that felt like flesh and blood. Scott orders Warren to see if he can sweep through the monsters, as he needs a real target for his beams. Warren does as told, but flies through the monsters instead of hitting them. Scott suspected as much. Mastermind is messing with his perceptions, making them seem like he’s blowing the heads of these things without stopping them.

Warren thinks it’s a good thing the monsters aren’t real. Scott thinks so too, but it doesn’t make their job any easier. They still have to be careful, since they still don’t know what’s real and what not. And the last thing they want to do is to kill anybody!

Meanwhile, Jean is trapped in locked room, which no longer seems palatial without Mastermind’s illusions. She also believes that, without Mastermind’s illusions at work, her powers still work, so she uses them to open the room’s locked door. Once she telekinetically picks the lock, she exits into a hallways of cold, dark brick and stone. She looks around the dungeon-like hallway and, seeing it’s so old and dirty, she thinks she can safely assume Mastermind has nothing to do with that.

Suddenly, she feels dizzy and… faints. Appearing from behind a wall, Kreuger reveals himself!


Bobby, Lorna and Alex have made it safely back home. However, to their surprise, no one is there to welcome them. They find that odd, because normally the mansion’s detectors would have noticed their return. They check the house around, and notice that not even the Professor is there. And, they also notice some scorch marks. Alex realizes there has been a fight in the mansion recently.

Hearing a beeping sound, Lorna asks what it is. Iceman recognizes the sound coming from Cerebro, so they head to the room the machine is in. Bobby thinks Cerebro must have found a new mutant, though the signals are like nothing Bobby has ever seen before. Lorna thinks they should go check it out or something. Iceman wants to go find the others first, as he informs Lorna that the signal is very powerful. Also, it is coming from the other side of the world, from the Himalayas!

Meanwhile at Centerford, Long Island. The Worthington Estate…

Burtram offers his beloved Kathryn another cup of tea. She thanks Burtram for it, and mentions she can’t tell him enough of much she appreciates his comfort. She doesn’t think it is any wonder she has fallen in love with him. Burtram confesses he feels the same way.

She reminds Kathryn that he has been in love with her since the moment Warren introduced them to another, as she knows. Kathryn doesn’t want to talk about that. When she thinks about her late husband, it all becomes too painful. She thinks they are rushing things. Burtram disagrees with that. After all, his dear brother wouldn’t want her to suffer forever. She is still a young woman, and has a lifetime ahead of her. With him. Kathryn smiles and realizes that. She only wishes that her son could be at their wedding.

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Lorna Dane, Iceman, Havok, Marvel Girl, Professor X (all X-Men)

Blob, Mastermind, Unus (all Brotherhood of Evil Mutants)

Candy Southern


Ashley Martin

Mrs. Martin (Ashley’s mother)

Kathryn Worthington (Angel’s mother)

Burtram Worthington (Angel’s uncle)

Circus audience


Marvel Girl

Animals / monsters


Story Notes: 

Chronologically, before this issue, the first group of Brotherhood of Evil Mutants were last seen in X-Men (1st series) #60.

The X-Men left the Savage Land before Havok, Lorna and Iceman did in X-Men: The Hidden Years #5. Angel and Avia were captured by the freighter ship in X-Men: The Hidden Years #6. The scorch marks Iceman, Havok and Lorna find at the mansion are from the battle between the X-Men and the Fantastic Four in X-Men: The Hidden Years #7.

Angel’s father was killed in Ka-Zar (1st series) #2 by agents working for the mysterious villain known as the Dazzler. Kathryn doesn’t know at this point that Dazzler and Burtram are one and the same person. Warren revealed to Candy that he was Angel in Marvel Tales #30. This issue spells Warren’s mother’s name as Kathryn, though other, older comics also have it spelled as “Katherine.”

Issue Information: 
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