X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #15

Issue Date: 
June 1997
Story Title: 
Second Contact

Howard Mackie (writer), Duncan Roleau (penciler), Rob Hunter (inker), Shannon Blanchard (colorist), Richard Starkings / KF & Comicraft (letters), Kelly Corvese (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Chris Bradley’s home has been torched by mutant-haters and he angrily goes roaming the streets. His parents turn to Iceman for help, as for the brief time Chris was at Xavier’s mansion, he and Chris seemed really close. Chris however searches out Maverick, whom he first met when He and his parents were attacked while trying to get into the only clinic that treats Legacy infected patients. Iceman finds Maverick and Chris in a hotel room, but they are also discovered by some anti-mutant militia, who throw a grenade in the room. In the confusion, Maverick and Chris give Iceman the slip, who then enlists Wolverine’s help in tracking them down. Wolverine tells Bobby that this was the right decision, as he never would have been able to find Maverick alone. He also tells him about how years ago, Maverick killed his own brother just to save his teammates Creed and Logan, to show what kind of person Maverick is. All the while, Chris fills in Maverick about his experiences with the X-Men, how they openly welcomed him and taught him control of his powers, how they offered support when he was diagnosed with the Legacy Virus and how they forgot all about him when they were too busy battling Onslaught and other menaces. Maverick is rather unimpressed and tells Chris to stop blaming others for his own problems. Right then they are again attacked by the anti-mutant group, and hopelessly outnumbered, but the two X-Men arrive in time and defeat them with ease. Afterwards Iceman offers once more to help Chris, but he refuses, having been let down by Bobby and the X-Men before. Bobby even considers to force Chris to accept his help, but Maverick points his weapon at Iceman and tells him to let go. He then realizes that he can offer the boy what he really needs – friendship. Logan understands that Maverick is telling the truth, as the X-Men are always kept busy by one menace or the other, and tells Bobby that this is the right thing to do. While Logan gets back to the X-Men and Iceman returns home to take care of his injured father, Maverick uses his contacts to relocate Chris’s family and get them new identities.

Full Summary: 

The Legacy Virus-infected Chris Bradley is at home tonight with his family, who do their best to protect him by keeping him sheltered at home, away from the cruelty he would face as a mutant and a virus-carrier in the outside world. Unbeknown to the Bradleys, several mutant-haters are plotting something right outside their home at the moment.

On the other hand, Maverick, another infected with the virus, prefers to face the virus like he has with every other adversary - alone. As he reaches his apartment, a couple of thugs approach him, and he easily deals with them and moves on.

Elsewhere, Iceman, currently on leave from the X-Men, is outside his parents‘ home, using his ice powers to perch himself high above the houses and get himself some fresh air. The phone rings, and he quickly returns to his home and powers down to answer the call before it wakes up his father. His mother advises Bobby to get some sleep after answering the phone, and tells him to clean up his ice sled as well, as she just cleaned the floor.

The call is from Mrs. Bradley and she informs Bobby about their situation at the moment, as she feels Chris was closest to Bobby during the short time he was with the X-Men. Standing among the ruins of their home and, Mrs. Bradley tells that Chris‘ health is really good and at first kids were accepting him at school. However after the Onsluaght incident and Graydon Creed’s death, mutants were blamed for everything, in fact it became that bad that they had to take Chris out of school. Even then the harassment, the obscene phone calls and the threats did not stop. Chris tried to call Bobby and the X-Men but never got through, and now it’s too late, as the mutant-haters who drove Chris out of school have just set fire to their home, leaving Chris angry and blaming himself. Iceman agrees to come over before Chris does anything rash.

Chris has been walking the streets for some hours, and now he passes an office of the Friends Of Humanity. He stares at the posters in their windows with hatred that threatens to consume him. This is the organization founded by Graydon Creed to end the “mutant menace“. This group embodies all of the anger and pain which has engulfed Chris’ life. Chris intends to do something about them, and he powers up, his eyes crackling with electric energy. However he suddenly hears a voice behind him.

It’s Iceman. Bobby points out that this won’t do any good. They burned down his house and he wants to lash out with his powers and burn down their office, is that it ? Chris confirms it. Bobby asks, what then ? Electrocute them ? Kill them ? How may ? Two ? Ten ? A Hundred ? Chris says whatever it takes to make them stop and to leave him and his family alone. Iceman points out that these are just excuses; her just wants to feel better – less than a kid, but more like the big bad mutant who won’t be pushed around. Chris retorts that it’s too late for Bobby to try to be his “mutant big brother” as he wasn‘t around when he really needed him, and that he can take care of himself now. He then lashes out with his powers and sends Iceman crashing backwards into some trash.

Iceman picks himself up and gives chase to Chris, who now runs through a crowded street and yells that a mutant is coming to kill them all. Having no other choice, Iceman retreats and decides that he’ll stick to the rooftops and try to catch up with Chris later on. Thinking he’s given Iceman the slip, Chris approaches an old and run-down hotel looking for Maverick. Iceman is still on his trail however, and he spies on Chris uneasily as he enters the hotel. He wonders what the boy is doing in a place like this.

At the same time, some voices in a suspicious black van parked in a dark alleyway across the hotel street proclaim they have got a bonus – the kid, the other one and an ice-guy. One of them notices that it’s Iceman from the X-Men. They start to ready their weapons, after all they want to be home for Xena.

Inside the hotel, Chris knocks frantically on a room door. When it finally opens up, he is greeted by a giant gun pointed to his face. He identifies himself to Maverick, who asks him what he was doing there. Chris tells Maverick he’s in trouble and asks if he could come in, as he is afraid he might have been - “Don’t tell me you were followed“, Maverick angrily exclaims. As Chris hesitates, Maverick flings him into his room in disbelief, and after checking the floor once more, he closes the door.

Maverick says that he can’t believe Chris would come to him when all he wanted was to die in peace and alone. He tells Chris he doesn’t have much strength to get out of bed every morning, much less help him. Chris then pleads that he’s the only friend he has that really understands. Maverick finds this awkward and tries to tell him they’re not friends as they barely know each other, and the only thing they have in common is the fact that they’re both dying of the Legacy Virus. Chris refuses to believe this and says he believes they are really friends. Maverick is the only one who knows what it’s like, he could tell when they met for the first time, at the clinic.


The Bradleys are persuading Chris to brave and all will be fine, however he panics when he sees the crowd of anti-mutant protesters and refuses to go into the clinic. His father says that they have to as the doctors inside are the only ones in the state willing to help him with his disease. Chris protests that it is not his disease and refuses to walk through the crowd. His parents then decide to find another way in and together they walk around the building until they find a back entrance in a deserted alley.

Unfortunately, they come across three hoodlums who are in the midst of planting a bomb to blow up the “mutie-loving” clinic and it doctors. When they see the Bradleys, one of them pulls a gun, and decides that they’ll kill these three along as well, as they are probably mutants too. If they are lucky, it will even look like the “muties“ blew up the clinic themselves. Weasel, how the leader of the three calls himself, tells the other one who is preparing the explosives to hurry up. Chris tells his parents to run and powers up, intending to stop them, but the third guy points another gun to his forehead, forcing him to power down.

Maverick hits the scene and tells Jumbo that he does not want to do that. Calmly he tells Chris to bring his parents out of there, while he and “these gentlemen need to discuss the inappropriate use of explosives and nicknames“. Maverick brings out a gun of his own and points it at the anti-mutant trio. While the Bradley run away, Chris asks Maverick if he’s a mutant too. Maverick begins to reply but ends up coughing. Jumbo takes the opportunity to grab Maverick’s wrist and force him to drop his gun, but Maverick swiftly replies with a fist to his face and takes out Weasel, as well.

He then continues his reply to Chris and tells him that he is a mutant but he lost his powers a few years ago but still contracted the virus due to his mutant gene. Chris exclaims that he’s got the virus too and Maverick welcomes him to the club, before he says he has to leave for his doctor’s appointment. Right then Head Case starts to panic, as he realized that bomb will go off any second now. Maverick orders him to disarm it, but he runs off screaming that it’s too late.

Examining the explosive rig, Maverick advises Chris to leave as he probably has some more months to live than himself, but Chris insists he wants to help and proves it by using his electrical powers to short out the bomb.


Chris reminds Maverick that was when he told him that he could always turn to him if he needed help, but Maverick replies that he was only joking. Chris points out that maverick told him this address, though he answers that he thought he ‚d be long gone from here by now. Chris again pleads that Maverick is the only one who understands him, but Maverick says he does not even understand himself.

Suddenly Iceman knocks on the door, cutting their debate short. Alerted, Maverick asks Chris who followed him and Chris reveals that it was Iceman. As Iceman calls for Chris from outside the door, Maverick peers out the window and discovers the men from the black van aiming a surface-to-air missile at his room. Iceman meanwhile, has waited outside long enough and shouts that he’s going in, when Maverick bursts out of the room with Chris hanging on to him. Maverick calls for Bobby to meet them in the lobby after the explosion. Upon hearing this, Iceman is left stunned and is thrown off his feet by the explosive impact of the missile.

(sometime later)

Iceman is with Wolverine, who is sniffing around the rooftops for Maverick’s trail. Iceman has enlisted Wolverine’s help in tracking down Maverick, and Logan tells him it was a good thing he did, as there is no way Bobby could have found Maverick by himself, unless he wants to be found. Logan quickly picks up Maverick’s trail and asks Bobby how they want to proceed. From the way Iceman described it, he doesn’t think that Maverick was trying to kidnap Chris, besides that would not be his style anyway. Iceman explains to Wolverine that he’d promised Chris’s mother that he’d return Chris to his family nonetheless. Bobby asks Logan if Maverick would really want to fight them if it came down to it, seeing as Wolverine’s his old buddy. Wolverine then relates a story about Maverick to Iceman.

(flashback, years ago)

During the Cold War, while Logan, Creed and Maverick were still part of Team X, they were once on a mission to retrieve a foreign national. Things went slightly sour when Logan and Creed suffered some heavy injuries, leaving them practically crippled. Despite standing orders to leave all casualties behind and end their lives instead, North (Maverick) still decided to drag both of his injured comrades back with him. He was soon cornered by a group of soldiers however, but he was offered an opportunity by the leader to leave alive if he surrendered Logan and Creed to them. Without hesitation, North started to fight, and after taking a few hits himself he killed all opponents and managed to bring both Logan and Creed back home alive.


Iceman deduces that Wolverine and Maverick are really close, and Logan somewhat agrees by saying he’s like a brother to Maverick. However that was not the point of the story. He then finishes his tale of the past by revealing that the mission took place in East Germany, Maverick’s native soil, and the leader of the opposing team was Maverick’s own brother, yet he killed him to save his teammates. That’s the kind of person Maverick is.

Only a short distance away, Maverick and Chris are resting on another rooftop after their hasty retreat from the hotel. Chris is concerned about Maverick, who is visibly winded. Maverick explains that he’d just returned from a round of drug therapy for the Legacy Virus, as he volunteers for all the latest trials, believing he has nothing to lose. He then encourages Chris that he still is looking very healthy, so it will be many more months before he reaches that stage of the infection, and by then there might already be a cure. He then asks Chris what the deal is between him and the X-Men, and the boy answers that it started a few months back.

(flashbacks, mainly to X-Men Unlimited #8)

Chris’s mutant powers were manifesting themselves, and Chris was unable to control them. Around that time, Phoenix and Gambit paid his family a visit to offer him a place in Xavier’s. He accepted, and went to the mansion to stay for a few weeks. He was amazed and scared at the same time, as he had never seen another real life mutant. All of the X-Men helped him to fit in, but Iceman was the one who really helped Chris to figure out how to control his powers. Just as he was beginning to embrace his role as a future X-Man, he was told that he had contracted the Legacy Virus. The X-Men gave him their assurance that they would be there for him no matter what. However all of a sudden the Onslaught incident happened, and the X-Men no longer seemed to have time for him. He needed them, but apparently one dying kid didn’t matter when the fate of the world was at stake.


As he ends his story, Chris forms several shapes with his powers and they float on in the night sky. From a distance, the men from the black van, who are revealed to be the same trio from the clinic incident, spot his display and ready themselves for another assault on Chris and Maverick, however this time with back-up.

Meanwhile, Maverick strongly makes a point to Chris about getting over his woes and learn to count on himself, and not others. Chris retorts that he can take care of himself, to which Maverick replies that he should just do as he claims and stop dragging him into his problems. The boy is taken aback by the statement, but Maverick turns to leave anyway. Chris says he won’t let another one walk out of his life, but Maverick doesn’t care and proceeds, as suddenly a grenade tumbles onto the scene. Maverick yells for Chris to get down as the grenade goes off. Chris gets caught in the explosion, but the grenade is only a stun grenade, and Maverick administers a breathing mask to Chris, and tells him to breathe slow and deep and he’ll be fine. The boy wonders about Maverick, but he explains that he is unaffected by the stun grenade due to the many drugs he had been taking recently.

Weasel, Jumbo, Head Case and about a dozen other members of their anti-mutant militia soon arrive, armed with plenty of firepower. Maverick tells Chris to escape, but he runs right into a couple of guns pointed at him. Just as the mutant hater wants to pull the trigger, he discovers his hand is covered in ice. The anti-mutant gang realizes who’s just arrived on the scene - Iceman and Wolverine. The two X-Men quickly disable the thugs and send them scattering, as Chris watches on with Maverick.

After they’re done, Iceman tells Chris that it’s time to go home: He knows Chris is going through some rough period, but they can help him. However the boy tells him no. Iceman grabs his arm and says he was not asking him. Chris warns him to take his hand off, and powers up to make him do so. It was Bobby who taught him to control his powers, but right now he doesn’t feel like keeping his electric abilities in check. He then berates Iceman and tells him about how lost and lonely he felt after he discovered about his Legacy Virus infection, and how no one was there for him. Iceman begins to apologize to him, but Chris tells him he just wants to be left alone and takes off. He knows he will make mistakes, but they will be his mistakes.

Bobby is about to chase him when Maverick levels his gun to the side of Bobby‘s head, stopping him. He tells him to not even try to freeze the gun and his hand, as he can pull the trigger faster than that. Wolverine comes to Iceman’s aid and menaces Maverick with a set of claws across his face, leaving the trio in a classic stand-off. Maverick is undaunted, since he is doing to die soon and doesn’t have much to lose. The important point is that Chris doesn’t want their help. Wolverine gets sarcastic and sneers that Maverick’s no protector of the young and innocent himself, but Maverick reasons that he can offer Chris the one thing the X-Men, whilst busy with their world-saving adventures, can not - friendship. Still within hearing range, Chris observes all of this.

Wolverine gruffly accepts his explanation and tells Iceman to back off. Iceman refuses and claims that he’s not about to leave an impressionable young man like Chris with someone like Maverick, prompting Wolverine to question the difference between that and Jubilee and him. Wolverine advises Iceman not to pursue the matter anymore, but Bobby reminds him that he promised Chris’ parents he would return him to them. Maverick says that he will take care of them, that is if Chris agrees. Addressing the boy, Maverick explains that he has certain friends and connection and he could get his family relocated and protected. Chris compares it to the witness protection program, and Maverick confirms that it will be similar. The family would be away from the mutant haters. Chris asks if he’ll be there when he needs him. Maverick begins to reply but Chris says he doesn’t want him to promise him anything, just to do it.

As the two walk off Logan tells Iceman that he tried his best, but this is the right thing, and he doesn’t know if he could have done the same for Chris. Soon afterwards Chris and his family move out of their old home after accepting Maverick’s offer. Iceman returns to his father, ensuring he keeps his promise to care for him this time, while Wolverine returns to his extended family in the X-Men. Maverick, on the other hand, has no one to be with, and stays by his lonesome in a dark hotel room.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cannonball, Cyclops, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Iceman (former X-Man)

William and Madeleine Drake, Iceman’s parents


Chris Bradley

Bill and Marion Bradley, Chris‘ parents

Cathy Bradley, Chris‘ sister

Head Case, Jumbo, Weasel and other members of some anti-mutant militia

In several flashbacks :

Chris Bradley

Bill and Marion Bradley, Chris‘ parents



Head Case, Jumbo and Weasel, three mutant haters

Victor Creed, Logan, David North (all Team X)

Andreas Nord, Maverick’s brother


Bishop, Cyclops, Iceman, Gambit, Phoenix IV (all X-Men)
Chris Bradley

Bill and Marion Bradley

Cathy Bradley

Story Notes: 

The issue also contains a game where you have to name which characters are romantically linked to each other and a few preview sketches for the second Alpha Flight series.

Chris Bradley manifested his mutant powers and was contacted by the X-Men in X-Men Unlimited #8, entitled “First Contact“. In the same issue he was diagnosed with the Legacy Virus.

Maverick’s Legacy Virus infection was revealed in Wolverine (2nd series) #87.

Iceman left the X-Men to take care of his father in Uncanny X-Men #340.

Presidential candidate Graydon Creed was killed during a public speech in X-Factor (1st series) #130.

Xena is a TV show starring Lucy Lawless in the lead role as a warrior woman in ancient Greece.

After leaving his native East Germany, Christopher Nord (Maverick) changed his name to David North. “Nord“ is the german word for “north“.

Issue Information: 
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