X-Men: The Hidden Years #18

Issue Date: 
April 2001
Story Title: 
Promise of a New Tomorrow

John Byrne (writer), Tom Palmer (pencils), Greg Wright (colors), Lysa Hawkins (associate editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Angel is on his way back to the Xavier school. But, once he reaches Westchester, he suddenly spots Lorna… floating into the air?! Warren tries to call out to her, but she simply ignores him and drifts away from him. After following his teammate, Warren quickly contacts the other X-Men about the situation. They quickly take their plane to meet up with him. Meanwhile, Lorna arrives in a dark room. She gets welcomed by Tad Carter, who promises that she won’t be hurt. Lorna remembers Tad from their earlier meeting, and that he also was the one calling her name before, when nobody else was talking to her. As the light go on in the dark room, Lorna gets introduced to the members of… the Promise! Their leader, Tobias Messenger, reveals that they are a splinter group from the band once formed by the villain the Yellow Claw. But they aren’t evil anymore, especially because the Claw’s followers at the time only had joined him because they didn’t had another choice. Now, the Promise wishes to make the world a better place to live in. And they need Lorna’s help with that. At the same time, the X-Men have found Warren. He leads them to the building he saw Lorna floating to. An impatient Havok wants to go in, but as he reaches the building, he falls asleep thanks to the building’s sleep inducing field. The Promise notice that they aren’t alone anymore, and have their member Craig create illusions of monsters, and has those “monsters” attack the X-Men. As the X-Men battle those fake monsters, they all seem to vanish one at the time. With Cyclops standing last, he keeps being surrounded by more monsters. At first, Scott doesn’t realize that Craig is making Scott see himself fighting monsters, but instead he’s fighting and defeating his fellow X-Men. Eventually, Scott also ends up defeated and he and the other X-Men become the prisoners of the Promise. They decide to also keep Angel and Havok alive for their plans, just in the same way as Lorna. A few moments later, they place Lorna and her friends into a stasis tank, and reveal that they won’t be woken up until the dawn of the next century! Meanwhile at Dunfee, the Professor shares a discussion with Teri about her daughter Ashley. Teri admits that she doesn’t like the idea of her daughter being a mutant, but she does like the fact that she met Xavier because of this.

Full Summary: 

Nearby Westchester, night time…

Angel is finally heading back home! As he soars through the skies, Warren recalls that Candy is wrapping up the last details back at Worthington Manor. It’s about time he got his feathered wings back to Westchester and the other X-Men. As he makes it closer to the school, Warren suddenly notices that… Lorna is flying up into the air?! Warren calls out to her and asks since when she can fly, but Lorna ignores Warren and flies past him.


Inside the school, Scott asks Alex to go over the details once again. Alex doesn’t know what else he can say. Lorna just floated up into the air and drifted away! An angry Bobby wants to know why Alex didn’t do anything about it, if he saw it all happening. Scott tries to calm Bobby down, reminding him that Alex can’t fly any more than they can. And the only member of the X-Men who can really fly is a hundred miles away at Long Island. Bobby knows that, but he shouts that there must have been something Alex could have done. Alex doesn’t see what he could have done. He and Scott have variations of each other’s powers, and the best either of them could have done is blast Lorna out of the sky.

Arriving just then, Beast states that none of them would want that to happen. Scott welcomes Jean and Hank back at the school, and asks if Kraven is taken care of. Hank confirms that, like Scott suggested, they dropped Kraven off on the other side of the town. And Jean admits that she planted a… suggestion in Kraven’s brain that will make him wander to the nearest police station.

Returning to their current problem, Scott suggests that Alex has best shows them where he last saw Lorna. He has no idea how they can even begin to track her down through thin air, but maybe Jean’s telepathy can detect her. Jean hears the phone ringing, and Bobby hopes it might be Lorna.

However, on the other end is Warren, standing in Westchester in a phone booth, ignoring the frightened people staring at him. Warren explains to her that he doesn’t have his com-link with him so he had to land to make this call. He wants Jean to listen, because he thinks something very weird is going on.

Elsewhere, at an unknown location…

Lorna arrives in a dark room and, hesitant, she asks if anyone is there. A door opens, and a man greets Lorna. Confused, Lorna thinks that she knows the man. It’s like there’s some kind of shroud over her mind, but she does recognize him. Suddenly, Lorna remembers the man’s name: it’s Tad Carter! Carter jokes that’s indeed still his name. He promises Lorna that she doesn’t have to be afraid, because no harm is going to be done upon her. In fact, quite the opposite is going to happen. Lorna wants to know where she is.

In demonstration, the lights go on, revealing a high-tech room and half a dozen people in basic uniforms. In addition to this, a telepathic voice reveals that Lorna is in a place of safety in a world gone mad. The man behind the voice introduces himself as Tobias Messenger, and this is his house.

Lorna realizes that Tobias is a telepath, just like Professor X is, though Tobias’ voice sounds so much louder than Xavier’s. Tobias apologizes for that. He reveals that he was born without the ability of speech. Telepathy is his only means of communication, and he can broadcast his thoughts only at the “volume” at which he hears them in his own head. The people around Lorna promise her that she’ll get used to that. And, a man adds, a slight discomfort is a small price to pay considering what is at stake. Lorna wants to know what that stake is. A woman claims that it’s nothing less than the future of humanity.


The X-Men have taken their plane and located the airborne Warren, who waves at the team to follow him. They believe Warren must have found a place for them to land. Alex wishes Warren had been more forthcoming about Lorna. He wonders why Warren didn’t just tell them where she is, or how she was doing. Jean doesn’t think Warren was holding anything back. She thinks he really doesn’t know. Scott warns everyone to be ready, and Hank states that Angel is leading them down to a vacant lot just ahead.

The surface looks a bit rough, but Scott thinks they’ll be okay and successfully lands the plane. Iceman steps out first and impatiently asks Warren where Lorna is. Warren claims it will be a lot easier to just show it to the team than tell them. Lorna is in a building just a couple of blocks away.

Not much later, Warren has led the team to what looks like an abandoned building. He explains that Lorna floated down the front door. The door opened and she drifted in. Alex wants to know why Warren didn’t go after her, fearing what trouble Lorna might be in right now. Beast calms Alex down, certain that Warren had a good reason why he didn’t follow. Warren had the best reason and tells Alex to go just inside the building. Alex does as told, but as he does, he starts to feel dizzy and almost loses consciousness!

Warren catches Alex into his arms, telling Scott he doesn’t need to worry much about his brother, as he’ll be around in about a minute. At least, that’s how long he was out. And, Alex had the benefit of someone catching him. Beast stretches out his hand, and believes he is touching a… sleep inducing field. He wants to know how far it extends above the house. Warren isn’t sure about that. But the field bulges outward, like a soap bubble. That’s why he landed outside the wall when he flew into it.

Jean notices that Alex is coming around, and asks Scott what they are going to do. Scott isn’t sure, and asks what her telepathy is reading. Bobby wants to know if Jean can “see” Lorna inside. Jean tries it out, but she can’t. But that’s only because she can’t sense much of anything. She explains that the house and ground are like one big psychic black hole. Her thoughts go in, but nothing comes out. Just as Havok wakes up, a giant monster emerges from the ground!


Teri informs the Professor that Ashley is finally asleep. This has been a hectic couple of days for the young girl, even with what little the Professor allowed her to remember. Xavier agrees, hesitantly. He explains that, though Ashley has no memories of the sudden and dangerous manifestations of her mutant powers, she still knows a Sentinel was near this house, followed by the police and FBI! Teri now realizes that the Sentinels were build to hunt down mutants, like the Professor and his X-Men. And Ashley. But there’s one thing she doesn’t understand. If the Professor was able to use his telepathy to seal off the part of Ashley’s mind that controls her power, why did he allow her to remember any of this? Xavier believes that Teri also wonders why he allowed Teri to remember that she was visited by the X-Men.

Teri reminds Charles that she asked him not to read her mind. Xavier claims that telepathy wasn’t required to read Teri’s mind, as her concern is etched quite plainly on her face. Teri apologizes for this, but it’s just… Ashley is her whole world. Her father was in the Navy, nuclear subs. He was killed in action a month before Ashley was born. Teri has spent every day since that moment trying to be both parents to her daughter. Now, to have Ashley turn out to be a mutant, knowing the way so many people feel about mutants. Xavier understands that all too well. The reason he founded his school and his X-Men was to combat just senseless prejudices.

Still, he can imagine what Teri must be thinking, and even wishing: that all this never happened, that somehow her daughter’s mutant power could remain dormant forever. And that he had never come here. Teri explains that most of what Charles said is true, but she would be lying if she said she wished she had never met him.

At a headquarters near Westchester…

Lorna looks startled at the little Simon, finding it hard to believe that he was born in 1945! Tad claims that none of them are what they appear to be. Lorna asks Tad if that statement also counts for him. Tad confirms that, adding that for one thing, he’s about forty years older than he looks! The Messenger claims that in order for Lorna to understand what his people are, she needs to know how this association came to be formed.

It was in the early part of the 1950s that some of the members of their group were first brought together. The original core group was assembled at that time by a madman who sought to use the group member’s powers for his own purposes. The madman was a would-be-world-conqueror who exploited the fears and prejudices of the time, as the villain called… the Yellow Claw!

Lorna has heard of the Yellow Claw and asks if Tad and his friends used to work for this villain. A female member claims that she didn’t, and Tad didn’t either. The two of them are more recent recruits. And, Tad corrects, none of the Yellow Claw’s recruits worked willingly for him. Another male member reveals that the Claw’s plan failed, but when he was defeated, the remaining members were contacted by Tobias. Tobias continues to reveal that he sensed the members’ collective power, and knew at once they could be more successfully harnessed as a force for good.

If what the Messenger is claiming is true, Lorna asks, then why has Cerebro never detected any of them? A male member reveals that, when their group was last active, Professor X’s mutant-detecting computer hadn’t even been built yet. Simon adds that they put themselves into suspended animation for ten years at a time, and only come out of their tanks once a week to look around and see how much the world has changed. Tad claims that it was during one of those weeks, some forty years ago, that his own mutant powers were detected and that he was recruited into the Promise.

When Lorna asks what the “Promise” means, the Messenger claims that’s just the name he selected for this group, since that is what they represent: the promise of a more hopeful tomorrow. He reminds Lorna that she has seen the fears and hatreds of humanity. She has seen how the human race can even turn on themselves. Lorna knows that Tobias is talking about the Holocaust and its “ethnic cleansing.” Tobias claims that there can be but one final outcome of the volatile relationship between humans and mutants. He claims it’s an outcome both Xavier and Magneto refuse to see. Another member telepathically warns Tobias, without Lorna hearing it, that he has been monitoring Craig’s defense maneuvers against the X-Men, and he thinks they need to go to “Plan B.”

Above, Cyclops wonders where the monster they are all fighting came from. It’s too big to have just snuck up on them. Jean doesn’t get any psychic fix on the creature. The creature’s misshapen skull has a mind the likes she has never felt before. Iceman notices that the creature brought some of his flying demon friends along with him, as more attackers show up! Yet another creature shows up and spits fire at Beast! Jean uses her psychic powers to protect Scott from another appearing monster. Scott thanks Jean for that, as the monster looked like to appear out of thin air. Speaking of which, both Scott and Jean realize, that’s what first big monster vanished into!

On that very moment, Jean can’t see any of the other X-Men anymore! Scott gets attacked by yet another monster, and he panics when he can’t see Jean anymore. As he dodges an attack, Scott wonders what happened: he was holding Jean’s hand and suddenly she was gone, and that monster was in her place. He fires an optic blast at the creature and knocks it out. Scott states to himself that whoever grabbed Lorna must have worked some kind of teleportation switch. They must have beamed Jean out, and beamed the monster in her place.

Suddenly, another monster appears. Scott doesn’t seem the notice that the monster has, strangely enough, Havok’s energy signature emanating from its torso. Scott can only see that there’s still no sign of the rest of the team. He wonders if they got beamed away like he believes what happened to Jean, or something else. Scott and the monster fire each other’s powers at another, but the “monster” gains the upper hand and defeats Scott!

Havok, not realizing that he just took out his brother, Scott, is glad that in his eyes the monster is finally down. He wonders to where the other monsters have vanished, and he worries about his missing teammates as well. Out of nowhere, Lorna appears and tells Alex that he doesn’t need to worry about the other X-Men. Alex is surprised to see Lorna again, and she happily smiles. Alex asks Lorna if she’s okay, because she doesn’t seem like herself. Lorna wants to know what does she look like: better or worse? She gently touches Alex’ chest, and he tries to explain that this isn’t the right time for this. Lorna defends otherwise, claiming there’s always time for love, and passionately kisses Alex.

After receiving the kiss, Alex loses consciousness. Another member of the Promise reminds Grace that the kiss wasn’t part of the plan. Grace drops the illusion of looking like Lorna, smiling that she knows that, but she was just curious so she kissed the guy. The man thought that he was enough to keep Grace satisfied. He wants to drain how much power Grace drew from Havok, as he’s supposed to be one of the keepers. Grace promises that she didn’t take much, promising that Alex will wake up, though with one big headache. The man is okay with that, and suggests that Grace links with the others so that they can get all of the defeated X-Men into their headquarters.

Meanwhile, Lorna is startled after hearing what the Promise what her to do: they want her to join their group! Tad explains that they have scanned Lorna’s thoughts, and she and Havok are the least contaminated by Xavier’s indoctrination. Lorna doesn’t understand what Tad is talking about, because her Professor isn’t “indoctrinating” anyone. She defends that’s more Magneto’s style, referring to what happened to Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.

Tobias asks Lorna what Magneto did that was so different Xavier has done to his X-Men. Tobias believes that mutants are the future. In that, he agrees with both Xavier and Magneto. But where Xavier seeks ways for humans and mutants to live in harmony, and Magneto seeks ways to conquer and rule, they know there can come no resolution save all-out war. Lorna doesn’t really understand that. Tad explains to her that Tobias is talking about a war between humans and mutants. And he believes that mutants, seeing that they have superior abilities, will surely win that war. A member claims that they don’t know how soon the day of war will come, but they do know that when the war is over, there must be voices of reason.

Lorna understands that if the voices of reason aren’t there, the mutants will surely begin a war amongst themselves. She asks Tobias if he sees himself and his group as those voices. Tobias confirms that. Suddenly, he apologizes for doing this, but he has some important business to attend to. He switches the lights off again, and leaves a surprised Lorna once again behind in a dark room.

The Promise have all captured and chained the unconscious X-Men in a separate room. The Messenger reminds his people to remain focused. He jokes that the X-Men have saved them the trouble of subduing them by responding to Craig’s dreamcasts exactly as he predicted. One of the members believes that Cyclops was busy figuring out what was really happening. The Messenger admits that Beast is by far the smartest member of the X-Men, but Cyclops seems to have an incredible gift for tactics. Tobias is also aware that Scott Summers was the first student of Charles Xavier, and thus also the longest under his influence. He believes it would be too dangerous to allow Scott to join their circle.

Lucy wants to know what they are going to do about the Angel, because she finds him to be so… beautiful. Simon smirks that Lucy got a crush on Angel. He reminds the other members of the Promise to be careful, because they seem to keep falling in love with the X-Men. The Messenger shouts at Simon to stop mocking, as such talk from a boy Simon’s age is most unbecoming. Simon reminds Tobias that he must mean his apparent age. He angrily defends that he only looks ten years old and, since the teaching circuits kept them all up to date, he explains that their minds develop at a normal rate.

Tobias admits that’s something he didn’t anticipate. He knows this must be frustrating for Simon, to be a man in the body of a child. Gene explains that they all had to make sacrifices. He for instance had to watch his business fall into the hands of his competitors, and Lucy had to watch her children grow up without her and even learn that one of them had been killed in Vietnam! A bit ashamed, Lucy reminds Gene that she doesn’t like to talk about that. Tad has heard enough sad stories, and reminds everyone that they’ve got enough of extra tanks. Grace suggests that they let Lucy keep the bird-man, if she wants him. Tobias agrees with it, though he isn’t convinced of the wisdom of this action, but there is no more time left to debate: they are already behind schedule.

A few moments later, Lorna has been given a special, plastic suit to wear. She wants to know where she is and what this place is. Gene smiles that they are deep underground. Tobias reveals that he built his home deep above a vast network of tunnels he discovered many years ago. He doesn’t know who built those tunnels, but he and the Promise have been using them to move secretly all over the world.

Floating into the air, Lorna wants to know what the Promise is doing to her, Havok and Angel, as they all wear the same suits she is. She also wants to know what happened to the other X-Men. Tad promises that the other X-Men are… safe. Gene adds that the X-Men are safe in a place where they can be no further threat to the Promise. He places Lorna in a stasis tank, and tells her to relax. He explains that the hibernation process is completely painless. It’s just like falling into a deep, deep sleep. After he chains Lorna into it, Gene reveals that when Lorna wakes up again, it will be the dawn of a new century! Lorna freaks out, yelling at the top of her lungs.

Characters Involved: 

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

Craig, Gene, Grace, Lucy, Tad Carter, Simon, Tobias Messenger and many unnamed others (all the Promise)

Teri Martin

in flashback:

Yellow Claw

Yellow Claw’s recruits (all unnamed)

Story Notes: 

Chronologically, this issue marks the first time that Lorna actually flies.

Candy, Angel’s current girlfriend, is still wrapping up the mess after Warren’s uncle Burtram and his associate Dr. Stuart tried to kill him and the X-Men, as seen in X-Men: The Hidden Years #13-15.

Kraven the Hunter attacked the school in X-Men: The Hidden Years #16-17.

This issue finally reveals what happened to Ashley’s father: he was killed in the line of duty while being with the Navy.

Yellow Claw is not to be confused with Ulysses Klaw, one of the main enemies of the Black Panther and Fantastic Four. The Yellow Claw’s real name has never been revealed, but he first appeared in Yellow Claw #1. He is best known for his battles against Nova and Captain America. He is believed to have died in Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD #14.

Issue Information: 
Written By: