X-Men: The Hidden Years #3

Issue Date: 
February 2000
Story Title: 
On Wings Of Angels

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

Brief Description: 

Havok and Lorna are on their way to the Savage Land, to rescue the missing X-Men. They enter in the same turbulent weather their teammates have, but luckily Professor X telepathically informs them how to bypass it safely. Elsewhere, a wounded Angel wakes up and finds himself surrounded by locals. After he tries to figure out what happened and how he managed to escape the heavy weather, the locals want to prepare Warren for his upcoming journey. Cyclops and Beast manage to escape from the giant cage, but are attacked by a winged creature. Beast hops them both into safety, and starts climbing up a huge wall where they can be safe at the top. In the citadel, Jean gets locked up and left alone. She notices the guards didn’t know about her telekinetic powers and uses them to open her cell. However, as she scouts the area, she finds that her jailors pray in front of the ghost of… Magneto?! He is furious, and even gets angrier when his servant, Amphibius, comes to inform him about the X-Men’s presence, but that he can’t find them anymore. Back at the jungle, Alex and Lorna have safely landed and are approached by Ka-Zar and Zabu, who offer their help in rescuing the X-Men. Meanwhile, Jean tries to figure out if Magneto is still alive, but senses that something weird is going on. Warren gets transported to a haven, and introduced to the winged creatures that are actually called the Nhu’ghari. They are actually evil people enslaving local tribesmen, but some have seen the error of their evil and now try to help them out. Warren also gets to meet his rescuers: a beautiful, female Nhu’ghari with whom he falls in love with. Hank and Scott make it inside the citadel, but find a huge, mysterious weapon in there. Unfortunately, Jean is spotted by Magneto, and he takes her down!

Full Summary: 

High above the frozen wastelands of the Earth’s most Southern continent, a sleek, silver craft bears Havok and Polaris on a mission of mercy. While Alex controls the craft, Lorna notices the signal they were looking for, but it’s so faint and she worries how they are going to pinpoint it. Alex thinks it’s going to be tough without triangulation, but he remembers the Professor had a good fix on the other X-Men’s course before they vanished. And, Alex mentions, they are following that course directly.

Professor X telepathically intervenes, correcting Alex that he’s almost precisely over the spot he had in mind. Lorna panics when she notices the Professor in his astral form, not thinking she’s ever going to get used to that. Xavier reminds Lorna that she’ll have no choice but to get used to it, if she is going to become an X-Man someday! He warns Alex to be careful, reminding him that, the last contact he had with the other X-Men, he found out they had some serious trouble with turbulence. And so, as the craft moves closer to that spot, Alex and Lorna’s plane also gets caught in the same turbulent weather!


Angel wakes up after being struck down, but his head still feels a bit dizzy. As he tries to get up, Warren feels pain, too. A man tries to calm him down, explaining to Warren that he ran into some severe injuries, and claims that, in the house he’s in now, there is no miracle that can make him whole again. Angel doesn’t understand a word the man is saying. He wants to know who the man and his friend are, and where he is and how he got there. The last thing Warren remembers is Professor X sending him and his teammates to the Savage Land to make sure Magneto really died there during their last confrontation.

Their jet crashed on landing, and the natives who found them claimed Jean had died, and only her uniform was left. But the X-Men soon discovered that the natives were just talking about some kind of cultural metaphor. They learned that the aged and infirm were sent by ferry to some paradise beyond the mountains. While Cyclops and Beast tried to follow Jean that way, Warren tried to fly over the mountains. It was like trying to fly through a hundred hurricanes at once, and the heavy winds that ruled there smashed Warren against some rocks. And that’s when the lights went out for him. Yet, Warren feels like something else was there, too. It was just a brief impression, before he lost consciousness, but he can’t pinpoint what that was.

The other man hesitates, and claims that Warren must be mistaken. He claims that nobody ever goes to the High Mountains, because everyone knows that means certain death. And yet, as busted up as Warren is, he realizes there’s no way he could have traveled this far without help. The man again hesitates, claiming that Warren shouldn’t involve himself in such matters. They want him to save his energy for the journey that lies ahead. Warren doesn’t understand what journey the man is talking about.

Nearby the High Mountains…

Beast and Cyclops have been captured and locked into a giant cage. Still, Beast mentions that if this is a trap, someone had better drop a lid on it, because he has no trouble of jumping out of it, since the cage isn’t closed down on top. Cyclops warns him to be careful, realizing that so far, nothing about this place turned out what they expected it to be. He believes that a good case in point might be this cage springing up out of the canal around their boat. Hank agrees with that. He jumps up the cage anyway, and notices more winged creatures attacking them.

Scott recognizes them from before as well and fires his optic blast at them, but misses. Hank states that they look like the priests did back at the native village, and they look like they want to be enemies as well. Scott keeps firing his optic blasts at the creatures, but misses at every turn. Hank has a better idea. He picks Scott up, and jumps on some bricks and towards a bridge of a nearby city! Scott does hope they will find Jean soon.

In the city’s citadel…

Jean is still unconscious. Weird-looking creatures in white dresses are pleased Jean is still asleep, and don’t think she is as dangerous as he made her out to be. But, another creature does dislike the fact that they haven’t put Jean to work yet. Still, they realize they’d best follow their master’s instructions if they want the plan to work. They close the door of Jean’s cell, and leave her alone.

Jean quickly wakes up, as this is the moment she has been waiting for ever since she arrived in this place. She was only faking her being unconscious, in the hope to be better able to escape. She uses her telekinetic powers to lift up the nearby hanging keys to her door, and succeeds. She opens the door and walks out, happy about being able to use her powers like this. She first rips of the bottom of her ceremonial dress so she can run faster. Jean thinks she’d better finds out where she is, where the other X-Men are, and what that dead spot is she can feel all over the place.

Not much further, people like Jean’s captors meet up with the ghost form of… Magneto! He’s furious that the other X-Men escaped, and doesn’t think his followers understand how dangerous the young mutants are. He reminds them that they are the people who killed him. The poor followers beg for mercy, defending that they were unprepared for the X-Men’s strange powers. Magneto shouts that preparation is the key to this entire operation. He explains that like his followers have been preparing their escape for generations, he wants to prepare the same way in order to have his enemies defeated. A panicking Amphibius jumps in, warning his master about the fact that Cyclops and Beast have been spotted inside!

Beast and Cyclops sneak around the citadel, and notice several slaves working. Scott doesn’t think this place is as much a paradise as they first thought it to be. However, Hank also notices that Scott’s wounds seem to have been completely healed. He was hit in the middle of his chest by an arrow, and now only a small rip in his costume remains. Scott feels as good as new, and thinks there’s something about this place that causes immediately healing, even wounds that threaten an entire life. He wonders why Ka-Zar never mentioned this place existed. Hank suspects that, since the Savage Land is huge, it’s possible that not even Ka-Zar, the Lord of this Jungle, knows about this place’s existence. Scott agrees, or Ka-Zar might be keeping it a secret, in the hopes strangers won’t exploit it.

Elsewhere in the Savage Land…

Ka-Zar and Zabu stand in a tree, and having noticed Havok’s and Lorna’s craft crashing nearby. Ka-Zar recognizes the smell of the other X-Men on the craft, but can’t help but wonder what has them return there so soon after their last meeting, which wasn’t such a long time ago. He goes to take a closer look at Lorna and Havok, but doesn’t recognize them.

Lorna congratulates Alex for the nice landing, as their craft is still intact despite the heavy turbulence it went through. Alex thanks Lorna, but thinks he might have gotten themselves out of it even without Professor X telling them what to do. Lorna spots the other X-Men’s jet. It’s still intact but there is no sign of the others.

Ka-Zar intervenes, wanting to ask some questions and demands to know who the two new visitors are. Alex stands in front of Lorna, protecting her, and introduces himself as Havok. Lorna introduces herself as… Magnetrix, of the X-Men! Ka-Zar claims he doesn’t know where the other X-Men are, since he hasn’t been in this part of the Savage Land before. But about two weeks ago, he began hearing whispers of a new evil rising up in his home, so he and Zabu began investigating it. He invites them to tag along on his journey. The two young mutants agree, and along the way, Alex jokes about Lorna’s new codename. Lorna tells “Havok” to come up with something better, if he can. Alex gets the point and they move on, following Ka-Zar and Zabu.

The citadel…

Standing on a balcony above them, Jean can see Magneto’s ghost, but can’t detect him telepathically for some reason. Amphibius reports that Beast and Cyclops are missing again, so a furious Magneto demands them to be found again. Jean is glad that the other X-Men are here to rescue her. She also realizes that it’s not so much that she can’t detect Magneto’s ghost telepathically, it’s more like it’s displaced somehow.


Warren already feels better, but the natives warn him to keep the blanket wrapped around the wings just to be sure. Linak and Sakaa open a giant door. The guard, Nhu’abdar, is angry to see a stranger in their home. Linak and Sakaa normally would follow the rules, but since Angel’s wounds healed much faster than they anticipated, they had to make an exception. Warren enters the door, and finds a huge place. He wants to know where they are. Nhu’abdar reveals that they are in a haven, a place of momentary peace in a world of pain.

Nhu’abdar warns that the story is he is about to tell is one of cruelty and betrayal. One hundred generations ago, his ancestors discovered this part of the Savage Land, and also its wondrous secret. There is a magic in the very rocks there. An enchantment that heals all ills, and staves off the icy hand of death. But there was a price. Over many generations, Nhu’abdar’s people were changed by the magic. They became like he is now, a slender winged creature without the strength of limb needed to maintain their civilization. And so was conceived a great deception.

Passing back over the mountains from whose other face their own ancestors had come five hundred years ago, Nhu’abdar’s people appeared to the local Savage Land natives as priests and prophets. They spun for the natives the lie of a paradise to be had beyond the mountains, encouraging these natives to send their old and sick out their lives in happiness there. But instead of the promised prosperity, the new arrivals found themselves enslaved by Nhu’abdar’s people.

The magic that made the old and sick natives whole again, kept them alive for as long as Nhu’abdar’s people needed them. But it also stripped the strongest minds of any will to resist. Angel is angry that this has been going on for a hundred years. Linak claims that some of the Nhu’ghari have come to realize the evil of their ways. They created places like this haven where the slaves could come and hide, before being taken out of the city, where they can at last find the peace of death.

Angel tries to understand why people willingly go up to those dangerous mountains. But suddenly, a gorgeous, female Nhu’ghari appears. Warren’s voice trails off to silence and his eyes grow wide. He realizes that his own brief vision on the mountainside was not hallucinatory, and that even in a race where mutation has become the norm, there can be those who are different.


Beast climbs up some walls, carrying Cyclops with his feet. He eventually makes it on top, and Scott decides to search through the place. As they begin their search, they can immediately hear the sound of machines and raised voices. Beast suspects it’s slaves at work they can hear. They make it to a corner, which unfortunately gets guarded by a Nhu’ghari. Beast quickly takes it out, but Scott warns him about another danger: a gigantic weapon, but neither Scott nor Hank has a clue what it actually is!

Not far away…

Jean is not really sure if Magneto is still alive or not, but somehow he’s away from this place, and shielded from her telepathic probes. In fact, something’s not right physically about this entire place. It’s as if there is some kind of scrambling effect. She has to concentrate to be able to read even the most superficial thoughts. But on that moment, Magneto’s ghost sticks his hand through Jean’s head, and she faints!

Magneto calls her foolish, claiming that she is quite right that there is more to him than just being a ghostly phantasm! He wonders if Jean has forgotten that his is rightly called the second most powerful mutant mind on Earth, and that the power of that mind is more than enough to destroy her and her fellow interlopers!

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Havok, Lorna Dane/Magnetrix, Marvel Girl, (all X-Men)




Nhu’abdar and an unnamed, female Nhu’ghari

Linak and Sakaa (former slaves)

in astral form:

Professor X

in ghost form:


throughout Angel’s flashbacks:

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Professor X (all X-Men)

Nhu’Ghari priests (all unnamed)

Story Notes: 

The X-Men believe Magneto to be dead after their last confrontation in X-Men (1st series) #63.

Angel’s flashback quickly re-tells what occurred throughout X-Men: The Hidden Years #1-2.

First use of Lorna Dane’s “Magnetrix” codename.

First appearance of Linak, Sakaa and Nhu’abdar.

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