X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #20

Issue Date: 
September 1998
Story Title: 
Where the Wild Things Were

Joseph Harris (writer), Ale Garza (penciler), Cabin Boy with Pepoy and Leigh (inkers), RS/Comicraft/EM (letters), Shannon Blanchard (colors), Frank Pittarese (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Three Asgardian trolls have made a home for themselves in the mountains of Massachusetts. Their main hope is to some day get back to their home in Asgard. After witnessing some crazy events at a local fair involving the members of Generation X using their powers against a runaway Ferris wheel, their leader, Munson, kidnaps Paige and takes her back to their hideout in an attempt to make her use her “magic” to grant their wish. When she doesn’t cooperate two of the trolls head to Xavier’s school to capture the rest of her friends. Unfortunately, the townspeople have been made aware of a “monster” presence thanks to a little girl named Hannah and her lost dog Maxie. The angry mob traipsing through the woods forces Paige and the third troll, Nettles, to also head for safety at Xavier’s school. Eventually the kids and the trolls broker a deal where Husk gives them a gold skin shedding in return for their agreement to never come near civilized areas again. Paige also calls the police chief who arrives and disperses the angry mob that has gathered at the school’s doorstep.

Full Summary: 

Berkshire Mountains, Massachusetts

Deep within the forest, Nettles, an Asgardian troll, lies on his back and stares up at the night sky. Hands interlaced behind his neck he asks his compatriot, Chambliss, where he thinks it is. Chambliss, cooking something on a stick over an open fire, asks what he’s talking about. Up there, Nettles responds, still staring at the sky. Chambliss pulls his grub off the stick and shoves it in his mouth, still not sure what his friend is talking about. “Asgard. Home” Nettles replies.
In between bites Chambliss points out the facts that Asgard is no more, that home is where they are now. Nettles says he knows, still staring upward. A yell from a little girl calling out “Maxieee..!” bolts him upright. Chambliss tells him to hurry and put out the fire so they’re not seen.
The two trolls hide and spy on the little girl walking along the nature trail path. With flashlight in hand the little girl continues to call out for Maxie. Chambliss chuckles as to why Maxie isn’t answering, still chewing on his food. Nettles tells him to be quiet.
They continue to watch until the little girl disappears down the path. Chambliss thinks she would make a lovely dessert, then burps and apologizes to Maxie. As he looks down on the ground he spies the ripped apart collar belonging to the girl’s dog.
Nettles thinks he hears something and tells his buddy to quiet down. Chambliss isn’t scared, threatening to grind the bones of whoever it is. There won’t be any bone-crunching this time, though, as it’s their third ally, Munson, with a large sack slung over his shoulder.
They both ask what’s in the bag, Chambliss wondering if it’s food. Munson tells him quite the contrary. He thinks he’s found a way off Midgard and back to their home in Asgard. He dumps the contents of his bag, the young mutant Paige Guthrie, onto the ground. Chambliss licks his lips hungrily.
Later, the trolls have set up shop in a small cave. Munson explains to his cohorts he saw the girl do magic, but when prodded Paige doesn’t do anything. Munson thinks she can probably fix the Rainbow Bridge so they can go home. Munson laughs greedily just thinking about the riches and the power they’ll have if they can get back to Asgard while it’s still unoccupied.
Munson moves over to the fire and ignites one end of a log. He then brings the burning piece over to Paige’s face and tells her to show them her magic tricks. He burns her and Paige in turn rips off her face. Munson gets upset and says that’s only half of what she can do. Munson sticks his gnarled finger in Paige’s face and angrily tells her to show them what she can do.
Paige looks back at him with a sour look and says she’s not “magic.” Munson points out she had friends. He then tells Chambliss to use his sniffer to find her associates and orders Nettles to stay in the cave and watch over the girl.
earlier that day

Snow Valley Harvest Festival

The Generation X crew came to the festival for a day of relaxation and fun. Skin makes an attempt to knock over three stacked milk bottles, but the baseball he throws bounces off to the left. Synch says he throws like a girl. Jubilee takes umbrage with that quip, picks up a baseball and knocks all three down with one swift throw. Holding her newly won teddy bear she tells Synch girls can do better.
Everett picks up a baseball and synchs up with Jubilee throwing the ball and causing the bottles to explode. He gets a ginormous teddy bear for his feat and tells Jubilee he envies her because hers is so much easier to carry around. That wipes the smile off Jubilee’s face.
Everett and Angelo rejoin Jono, Monet and Paige as they wait in line for bumper cars. It’s at this point Munson takes to spying on the group from a nearby bush. A trio of teenagers come through the exit and start a discussion on whether or not they think they’re real. Everett comes to the realization they’re actually in the line for the freak show exhibit. Jono checks with Paige to make sure she still wants to stay in line. Not seeming too certain Paige says she will.
Meanwhile, the little girl, Hannah, takes a tight hold of her dog’s leash for little ol’ Maxie is sure excited about something. He sniffs his way over to the bushes and Hannah gets a whiff of something awful. Munson starts backing away, afraid of getting caught.
Over on the Ferris wheel Jubilee finds herself stuck at the top with hers and Everett’s teddy bears on either side of her. Jubes isn’t too comfortable up their and accuses her stuffed friends of rocking the cart.
Back at the freak show, Jono tells Paige he doesn’t think the freaks are actual mutants. “I guess…” she responds. Everett tells her he checked, and they’re definitely not mutants. Another group of kids exit the attraction and make more comments about the freaks. Paige asks Everett if it’s really “Okay.”
Nearby, Hannah is still struggling with Maxie. Pull as she might the dog won’t give up on the scent. Then Munson stands up finally revealing himself. Maxie runs away yipping the entire time. Hannah starts stuttering, not sure what to say. Munson takes off running through the festival grounds, knocking over any kids standing in his path.
Hannah screams and Jubilee, still stuck up top, asks what’s going on. The Ferris wheel operator is fast asleep at the controls and it doesn’t look like she’s going to get any answers. But then Munson runs by and wakes the operator. He starts to fall over and grabs onto the wheel’s lever to catch himself. Unfortunately, it snaps at the base and Jubilee suddenly finds herself moving forward very fast.
The Gen X’ers look up at the Ferris wheel as it suddenly comes off its hinges. Everett swears it was Angelo’s idea to leave her alone on that thing. Jubilee screams for help as she leaps from one cart to the next.
M takes to the air and questions the value of saving her. Everyone ignores the sarcasm and Paige tells Skin to get his hands on that thing. Skin takes off and extends his fingers to wrap around Jubilee’s cart, but that doesn’t help in the least and Angelo finds himself dragged along for the ride.
Paige rethinks her plan telling Everett to Synch up with Jubilee. Everett tries knocking it off course with his pyro-kinetics, but it won’t stray from its path.
Paige decides to take matters into her own hands. “It’s clobberin’ time!” she yells, finding it hard to believe she just said that, as she transforms her skin into a rocky exterior. She dives in front of the wheel’s path, but after running her over it just keeps on going.
Jubilee finally slips off, but M is there to catch her. Jubilee asks why she didn’t just do that from the beginning. Monet smiles and supposes she could have. Jubes looks at her with a fire in her eyes and tells M to just put her down already. Monet lets her go and she falls to the ground with an unsuspecting Chamber reacting quickly to catch her.
Paige wanders off from the rest of her team back to the festival to contemplate what started the whole mess. Munson, who chose to hide in a nearby animal tent, spied on the Gen X kids and witnessed all they did. He takes a feed sack and empties it chanting the words “magic” and “home” over and over again. Munson sneaks up from behind and snatches her, stuffing Paige into his sack.
Back at the lake, Jubilee complains to Angelo that it’s his fault for what happened to her. Everett notices Paige missing from the group and asks Jono if he knows what’s up. They stare at the now deserted carnival grounds and wonder.

Paige and Nettles are in a rousing game of tic-tac-toe, with Paige already having won both games so far. She’s about to win again with X’s across the top and the not-so-bright Nettles chooses to put his circle in the bottom left corner. Paige asks him if he’s sure he wants to go there. “uh… Yes?” Nettles replies. Paige sighs, and rests her hand on her chin. With the other hand she takes her stick, draws her ‘X’ and puts a line through the row announcing yet another win. Nettles wants to play again, but Paige says no.
Nettles takes the opportunity to ask Paige if she’s really magic. Paige tells him once again that she’s not and asks why they want her to be magic so badly. Nettles tells her if she was magic then she could fix the Rainbow Bridge that leads to their home in Asgard, where they used to live and work in the mines. He asks Paige again if she’s sure she’s not magic. Paige seems to empathize with him at this point and says she’s sorry.
Off in the distance the sounds of dogs and the bright shine of flashlights fill the emptiness that once was the forest. A group of angry townsmen have formed together thanks to the intel received from Hannah about monsters in the area. With dogs in the lead they continue their search for Maxie and for the mysterious monsters.
Paige takes a peek outside the cave entrance and sees the angry mob making their way to them. Nettles asks what’s going on. Paige tells him there are men and dogs searching for something and she doesn’t think they’re looking for her. “D- - dogs...?” Nettles asks looking worried.
Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters

Chamber stares out the window of the estate looking amongst the shadows. He tells his teammates he’s going out to look for her even if he has to do it by himself. Jubilee asks where he plans on going since they checked everywhere with Everett using his aura to track her. Skin tells her to calm down. Jubes yells at him for telling her what to do and that she’s as concerned as anybody. Outside, Chambliss laughs as he and Munson stand near the window eavesdropping on the conversation.
Jubilee storms out into the kitchen to cool off. She takes a carton of milk out of the fridge and starts chugging. Jubes tries convincing herself Paige will show up as soon as things look their worst. She then notices a window left open and a horrid smell. That’s when she’s grabbed and silenced by the two trolls.
Meanwhile, the men are still searching in the woods for the “monsters”, but Paige has guided Nettles to her school. She bursts through the door and hastily introduces Nettles and explains the situation. Needless to say her teammates are shocked. Then they hear a scream coming from the kitchen.
Sure enough, Jubilee’s broken loose and is stomping and exploding her way to freedom. The two trolls ask Nettles for help, but he doesn’t budge. They ask him what’s wrong and he tells them Paige is his friend.
Meanwhile, outside, Hannah and the angry mob continue their trek through the woods. They make their way closer to Xavier’s school.
While inside, Munson chastises Nettles for being soft. He asks if Nettles can’t hear the angry townfolk outside, driving home the fact the three of them are all they’ve got. Nettles hesitates before answering, but Munson and Chambliss take the opportunity to make a run for it, but they’re definitely not going outside so they run upstairs and duck inside a closet.
The two trolls believe themselves safe, sitting there in the darkness. Then Munson feels a sharp pain digging into him and yells at Chambliss. Chambliss says it wasn’t him. They both burst through the closet and head back down the stairs. Penance peeks out of the closet and watches them go.
At the bottom of the stairs Munson smells something very familiar and turns to find Husk standing there, her body currently composed of every troll’s dream, gold. Munson stares at her in awe and tells Chambliss he was right about her magic. Husk tells him not to touch her or she’ll make it go away and there’ll be no magic for anyone. They both agree and Husk offers to make a deal.

Moments later, Paige goes over the details of their agreement. The trolls are to go back to the woods and stay way back in there where they can’t bother people or eat dogs or anything like that and as long as Paige and her friends never find them on their doorstep or looking through their garbage for food they won’t tell anyone about them and on top of that she will give them her gold skin shedding.
Munson and Chambliss are all too happy to accept and take off through the back of the school with the golden skin in tow, arguing over who gets to hold it along the way. Skin calls Husk’s attention back to the front door where the angry mob stands outside.
Skin asks what they’re going to do with “what’s his name” because those people outside don’t look too patient. Paige reminds him his name is Nettles. Jubes, arms folded in impatience, offers her unsolicited opinion that they should have kicked Nettles out with the other two, but now she reconsiders with that angry mob out there. Nettles, who’s standing nearby, says he doesn’t want to go outside. Jubes says she doesn’t blame him.
Husk comes up with a bright idea and gets on the phone. Minutes pass and outside Hannah starts regretting ever getting this crowd together. Then a police car arrives and Chief Authier steps out and makes his way to the front door. Paige tells everyone of her brilliant plan to call the police, but Jubilee doesn’t think it’s such a good idea.
Chief Authier knocks on the front door. Paige answers and asks what’s going on. Authier tells her the crowd is looking for a monster in their school. Paige tells him that’s ridiculous. Authier says he was thinking the same thing. The police chief turns around and asks if anyone knows what the monster looks like. They all look at him dumbfounded until someone remembers that Hannah saw it.
Authier makes his way over to Hannah and asks what the monster looked like. She looks a bit nervous as she describes the big, smelly creature that scared her doggie away. Authier asks if the monster was ugly too. Hannah agrees. The “interrogation” is cut short as Hannah’s mother arrives on scene. She tells Hannah to get home right away and no more monster movies for her. “But- -?!” she responds, but her mother’s not going to take it and tells her Maxie came home hours ago and that she’s been worried sick.
Chief Authier tells the crowd to go home and to think about how they acted. He then waves to Paige and jokingly tells them to keep those monsters inside. Paige laughs awkwardly and then closes the door. Skin looks at her and asks what they’re going to do about her friend. Paige turns to Nettles and offers him a chance to stay with them for a little while. Nettles thanks her, but says his place is with Munson and Chambliss. Paige watches him leave and wonders if it’s finally over. She cries for a bit, but for mixed reasons.

Deep in the woods the three trolls are back to where they were mere hours ago, Nettles resting on his back and looking up at the sky and Munson and Chambliss fighting over the gold skin.

Characters Involved: 

Chamber, Husk, Jubilee, M, Penance, Synch, Skin (all Generation X)
Chambliss, Munson, Nettles (all trolls of Asgard)
Chief Authier

Hannah and Maxie (her little dog)

festival goers

angry mob

Story Notes: 

The title refers to a famous children’s book by Maurice Sendak.
During Thor's absence due to Onslaught and Heroes Reborn, Asgard was assaulted by an aggressive, rival pantheon of Dark Gods. Odin and many of the other Asgardians were taken prisoner, and Asgard was severely damaged.
The Rainbow Bridge once formed a direct channel from Earth (Midgard) to Asgard.
It’s unclear why Paige is weirded out by the freak show attraction. She’s seen a lot of freaky things in her life.
“It’s clobberin’ time!” is the catchphrase of Benjamin Grimm aka the Thing in case you didn’t know.
In two separate scenes Chambliss hints that he’s eating the dog Maxie, plus there’s the torn dog collar with “Maxie” on it lying on the ground, and you can clearly see him chewing meat off a bone. However, Hannah’s mom tells her Maxie is safe at home. Is this a writer’s gaffe or a deceptive parental technique?

Issue Information: 
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