X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #43

Issue Date: 
May 2003
Story Title: 
<BR>Keepsake (1st story)<BR> Lockheed, the Dragon (2nd story)

First story :
Chris Claremont (writer), Bill Sienkiewicz (artist), Jose Villarubia (colors), Randy Gentile (letters), Stephanie Moore (assistant editor), C.B.Cebulski (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Bill Jemas (president), special thanks to Lysa Hawkins

Second story :
Stephen Grant (writer),Paul Smith (artist), Jeromy Cox (colors), Randy Gentile (lettering), c.B. Cebulski (editor)

Brief Description: 

First story :

After a visit to the Metropolitan Museum with her class, Rahne Sinclair is mugged and her precious necklace - once given to her by Robert the Bruce - is stolen. Rahne awakes to find her best friend, Dani, at her side. Thanks to her amazing recuperative abilitiesm she gets up soon and decides to find the muggers – she has their scent. Dani and Rahne are quickly joined by their friends, Cannonball and Karma, who were notified by the last original New Mutant, Sunspot. They track the necklace to a member of the Russian Mafia and, when they attack, they find that Roberto was already negotiating with the gangster for the necklace. After a brief battle, they regain the necklace. Later, at Harry’s Hideaway, they discuss the past and what has become of them. Roberto admits that, if it weren’t for their friendship, he probably would have turned out like his father.

Second story :

Injured and believing his mistress Kitty to be dead, Lockheed the dragon finds himself chased by hunters in the north of England. He is saved by Regina and Martina Wolcroft, two seemingly sweet girls, with unusual powers. Though Lockheed doesn’t quite understand it, Martina and Regina use their powers to terrorize the entire town. The only obstacle is an older girl named Thorne, who has the power to undo whatever they do. Eventually, the girls plan to beat Thorne with the help of Lockheed. They challenge her to a duel and then pretend to change flowers into the dragon, trying to get Thorne to believe that her powers are failing before the dragon. Instead of being afraid of the little dragon, though, Thorne actually treats him with some empathy that the sisters were sorely lacking. Lockheed is confused until the angry sisters actually shout and throw stones at him. Angrily, he singes off their hair and they run away. Thorne then heals his wing and tells him his Kitty is alive and well in Chicago. Happily Lockheed flies to join her.

Full Summary: 

First story :

Roberto daCosta, the former New Mutant Sunspot, is a very rich, young man, who seemingly needs to worry about nothing. Worry, however, he does, when an alarm goes off on his computer. A list of names of his former teammates appears and it becomes clear that something has happened to his friend, Rahne Sinclair, formerly the New Mutant Wolfsbane.

Elsewhere, in the vicinity of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, lies the reason for his concern. Two schoolgirls on a fieldtrip were mugged. One of them, Rahne, heavily injured with a skull fracture, is being rushed to the emergency room, while her friend is in shock. The police has neither witnesses nor leads.

A few hours earlier:

Rahne and her friend Ruth are visiting the Met. Rahne gushes about the building and, even more so, about the exhibition on Scottish history: the treasures of one of Scotland’s greatest leaders - Robert the Bruce.

Ruth gently mocks Rahne’s enthusiasm as they stand before a statue of the king and claims that Mel Gibson – as Braveheart - looked ‘a lot more great.’ Rahne, seriously, answers that the Scottish people revere both William Wallace and the King. Looking at the statue, Ruth wonders about the King’s belt with its X-symbol. It doesn’t look very medieval. With a grin, Rahne tells her that she gave it to him and that, in return, he gave her the silver and emerald necklace she is wearing. Ruth calls her a liar. And that necklace is costume jewelry, isn’t it? She urges Rahne to tell her the whole story and Rahne tells her all about her trip through time with the New Mutants years ago, while they leave the museum. Hearing about her friend’s fantastic past adventures, Ruth wishes she’d been a student at Xavier’s then. The place sounds so much cooler. So how come Rahne and her friends aren’t together anymore?

Suddenly, the two girls find themselves accosted by two menacing men, one of them suggesting that they share their wealth with the underclass. Rahne tosses him to the ground with a judo move and suggests in turn that they get a job. The other man grabs Rahne from behind, belts her and grabs the necklace. While the men run off, Rahne falls and hits her head hard. Ruth holds the unconscious Rahne, shouting for help.

the present:

Rahne awakes finding not only a doctor and a cop in her room but also her best friend, Dani Moonstar, waiting at her bedside. Dani and Dr. Rusch both remark that Rahne has improved at an unusual speed. While she is no longer a werewolf, her body still heals as quickly as ever. Rahne wonders what her friend is doing here and Dani explains that, for some reason, the psychic bond between them still exists. When Rahne got clobbered, Dani felt it. Does Dani feel everything she does, Rahne asks, somewhat embarrassed, and Dani jokingly gives her an evasive answer. She urges the younger girl to rest, but Rahne refuses and demands her clothes instead. She wants to leave.

The policeman tells Dani that they may have some pretty decent description of the perps from Rahne’s classmates, but it will still take a small miracle to find them. Their best bet is to wait for the necklace to resurface as soon as it’s sold. They may get lucky. They prefer to make their own luck, Dani replies. The officer answers that he knows she is from that “mutie school” in Westchester, but this is a job for the police. If they want to make themselves useful, they should save the world or something. Dr. Rusch agrees. Rahne is in no condition to play vigilante. Rahne who has finished dressing insist that she’s fine. The necklace was a keepsake from her king and is as precious to her as her life. She won’t rest until she has it back. And how is she going to find it, Dani asks. She has the boy’s scent, Rahne surprisingly answers.

That night, downtown in a club, Carl - one of the two perps – is rather unsuccessfully trying his luck with the lady when somebody taps him on the shoulder. Impatiently, he states that he is trying to have a conversation here. Rahne drop-kicks him and tells him this’ll only take a moment. Carl runs out, panicked, shouting to his partner, Jackie, that the girl from the park has found him. Jackie asks what the problem is; she’s just a girl, after all, and draws his gun, only to get hit by one of Dani’s psychic arrows. The men try to get to their car but it gets trashed by the newest arrival – Sam Guthrie, another former New Mutant.

Sam asks what their next move is and Rahne replies that she’d like to rip out the men’s hearts. One of the men is incredulous, the other is panicking – he believes “muties” are monsters. Dani mentally grabs onto that emotion and produces fear images to scare the men out of their wits, until they talk. Rahne hugs Sam, happy that he has joined them and that Dani called him. Dani corrects her. It wasn’t her who informed him. It doesn’t matter to Rahne. They are together again and they know where to look next for their necklace.

A little later, joined by another former member - Shan Coy Manh - they extract information from the owner of a pawnshop. Slowly, the trail leads them to the current owner of the necklace, situated in a very exclusive enclave on the Connecticut shore of Long Island South. After dispatching one of the guards, the mutant bust in on what appears to be a business deal between Mister Trigorin of the Odessa Mafia and the last, original New Mutant, Roberto daCosta. Roberto was just negotiating with Trigorin for the necklace. Unfortunately, with the commotion, the others started Trigorin and his heavily armed bodyguards are spoiling for a fight. They get it, not realizing that they don’t stand a chance.

A little later, overseeing what’s left of the gangster’s mansion, Shan jokes that, just as is the case with the X-Men, you can always tell where the New Mutants have been from the destruction they leave in their wake. Sam angrily asks Roberto why he didn’t clue them in on his plan, to which the younger man answers that he didn’t think they’d get here so fast. It’s been so long since they last were together, he’d forgotten how formidable a team they make.

Later still, at their former favorite hangout, Harry’s Hideaway, Rahne shows them the necklace and what’s hidden in the secret compartment behind the emerald: a snapshot of the original New Mutants (along with the newer members Magik, Magma and Warlock). Those were the best times for her, Rahne muses. Before she joined them, she never had a family and, when they drifted apart, it broke her heart. Times change, people can’t stay the same, Roberto shrugs. Doesn’t mean one has to turn one’s back on their beliefs, Sam retorts sharply, accusing Bobby of looking “pretty chummy with that Mafia guy.” It was business, Bobby replies, defending himself. Occasionally, he does business with people like him. Is that such a problem? It is to Sam: the ethics Professor Xavier taught them apply to life as much as to their powers. Like Xavier’s the most exemplary role model there ever was, Roberto scoffs. And who is Sam to talk? Or Dani? Both of them crossed the line between ideals and reality more than once. The difference is while they did it in costumes, Roberto does it in a boardroom. Nothing turns out the way they dreamed. That’s a fact of life, he adds wistfully. That doesn’t mean they should stop trying, Rahne insists and Sam adds that, if Bobby truly believed that, he wouldn’t have called the others when Rahne got hurt. He had his plan, he didn’t need them, after all. Unless it meant something to have the five of them together again, even if only for a day.

His father had nobody, Bobby starts. Once he clawed himself out of the favelas - the slums of Rio de Janeiro - he never looked back. But he could never trust his new life or truly accept his wife’s love either. In his heart, he believed all of this was a lie, his whole life. Roberto admits his fear: that without his friends he would be the same. Knowing them as friends and family means he is worthy of anything. Miracles happen and ideals can become reality. And yet, he hesitates, he is still his father’s son. He can be his own man regardless, Dani calms him. That’s why they watch each other’s backs Sam adds. Rahne proposes a toast to all of them and to Moira MacTaggert, her foster mother who helped to shape them and gave them a legacy to be proud of.

Second story :

The North of England, months ago:

Hunters and their dogs are after the creature that has burned down Glovner’s barn, a creature they consider a monster, a creature that’s actually just a lost, little dragon named Lockheed. He became separated from his mistress, Kitty Pryde, in a battle some time ago, believing her dead, a pain that is worse than the pain of his injured wing.

Lockheed snarls at the hunters that have finally caught up with him, but refuses to kill them, because Kitty would not want him to. He tries to scare them away with a gust of flame breath, all the while knowing that it won’t be enough. The hunters shoot at him only to suddenly find that impossibly their bullets have turned into butterflies. They are accosted by two young girls, asking them if there is any trouble with their guns. “Lord help us! The Wolcroft sisters,” one of the men mutters in terror. Aye, the one girl with the black curls, Martina, amiably agrees and it’s time for the men to go home now. Anything could happen to a poor soul on the moors at night… The other sister, the brunette Regina, states that the creature is now under their protection. One of the men tries to hide his fear behind brave words, threatening that nobody would miss the girls if they were to disappear in the woods. Three are more than enough of them to handle the girls. He is unaware that his friends are already running away, until the girls tell him. In terror, he joins them.

The girls turn towards the still snarling Lockheed. Fearlessly, Martina shuts his snout and cuddles him as the girls decide to keep him and call him Dragon. Lockheed feels that, when he closes his eyes, it’s almost like being with Kitty again.

Later, at their home, the girls’ very high-strung mother asks what that is. The girls off-handedly tell her it’s a dragon and ask if they can keep it. Despite the polite question, it is very clear that they have the say in the house, not their mother. When she suggests that pets need attention and that someone may have lost him, suddenly a small storm cloud gathers over her. The girls promise that they will look after him and their mother offers that she’ll put up a bowl of water for him. The girls scoff. He’s a dragon! He must drink petrol and eat charcoals! The mother decides they should work it out in the morning and almost flees the room.

The next morning, the girls take Lockheed along to school in Martina’s knapsack. Regina wants to show him to another girl named Thorne, to make her jealous, but Martina decides to wait until the time is right.

Lockheed spends the following days hidden with the sisters, unaware that everybody lives in fear of the twins and their odd powers, from the teachers who tolerate wrong answers from them to the shop owners who give them whatever they want for free.

Lockheed does realize, though, that something is odd about the town. When a police officer scolds the twins, the next moment he is spitting maggots from his whistle. When the twins see a shop owner chiding her son, the next moment her finger turns into wood and the twins always laugh. Only in the presence of another older girl named Thorne does the twins’ joy evaporate. Thorne seems stern and unpleasant to Lockheed and he would be glad to help the twins do something about her.

One day, the girls watch one nerdy-looking boy named Andrew Frazer in the grocery. Both of them dislike him and decide to have some fun with him Before Lockheed’s eyes an apple rises and drifts into Andrew Frazer’s pockets while the boy is just greeting Martina. Lockheed comes to the conclusion that Andrew is a thief, claws open the knapsack a bit and spits fire on Andrew’s shoe. Andrew yelps and upset the apple cart. The girls take the opportunity to accuse him of theft and the shop owner intends to have a closer look at him. Andrew protests as he finds the apple: Everybody always believes the girls - he is sick of it. Suddenly, the apple in his hand and all the apples in fact turn into rats. The shop owner tells Andrew to keep a civil tongue in his head or does he think the girls can only turn apples into rats?

Something, however, does not go as expected by the girls, for suddenly all the rats coalesce into one huge rat that says “enough.” Subsequently, this rat turns into Thorne, who tells the girls to go home. Martina tells her to leave them alone and intends to blurt out that they now have a dragon, but Regina covers her mouth. She tells her sister in whispers that Thorne can turn everything they make against them, right? They didn’t make Dragon, but if Thorne thinks they did and can’t control him she’ll lose her confidence. Martina understands and commends Regina’s cleverness. Regina turns to Thorne and challenges the other girl who is not overly impressed and tells them to get it over with. She has a history paper to write. She promises not to hurt them much.

The girls stand opposite each other outside on the street and Martina, clutching her bag in her arms, orders Regina to bring her some flowers. She slips the flowers into her bag, and lets Lockheed out claiming that she changed the flowers into he dragon. Original, Thorne concedes, but what they can do she can undo. She gestures at Lockheed intending to change him back into flowers and fails. Angrily, Lockheed spits fire at her to chase her away.

Surprisingly, Thorne doesn’t run, but tells him that he doesn’t really want to hurt her, does he? She asks his name, while the sisters shout that his name is Dragon and order him to fire again or they’ll hurt him. Lockheed grows bewildered. His friends have suddenly turned mean, while his alleged enemy seems to exhibit some traits of his beloved Kitty. Thorne gently touches him and takes him on her arm and states that his name is Lockheed. The sisters grow angry, threaten him further and throw a stone at him.

That’s enough. Feeling betrayed, Lockheed fires at them, burning off their hair. Shocked, the sisters run home, claiming they hear their mother calling them. Thorne takes a look at Lockheed’s injured wing and heals it. The grateful little dragon licks her face. Thorne tosses him up in the air. She knows he’d like to stay with her and she’d love him to, but he has to know that she is alive. She thought he was dead or she never would have left him. Thorne would love to keep him, but he belongs with Kitty. She shouts after him that he’ll find her in Chicago and that she’ll be ever so happy to see him. Happily, Lockheed flies towards America.

Characters Involved: 

First story :

Cannonball, Karma, Moonstar, Sunspot, Wolfsbane (all former New Mutants)

Ruth (a classmate of Rahne’s)

Dr. Rusch

Unnamed Cop

Jackie, Carl (two criminals who mugged Wolfsbane)

A pawnbroker

Trigorin (a leader of the Russian Mafia)

Trigorin’s goons

in Wolfsbane’s picture:

Cannonball, Karma, Magik, Magma, Mirage, Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane (all New Mutants)

Second story :

Lockheed, the dragon

Martina and Regina Wolcroft


Mrs Wolcroft (the twins’ mother)

Mr McCay and other hunters

Andrew Frazer (a fellow student of the twins)


Story Notes: 

First story :

It is a little odd and sad that while the cover, Rahne’s picture and a flashback scene all depict Claremont’s original New Mutants, Douglas Ramsey AKA Cypher is absent in all of them.

Rahne lost her powers, when Mystique shot her with a variation of Forge’s Neutralizer gun in Bishop #16. From Forge’s explanation (in Uncanny X-Men #226) the weapon is supposed to take away one’s access to one’s powers as opposed to erasing the power itself, which might account for Rahne still having some sort of minor healing factor. It doesn’t explain though, why she suddenly manifests her wolfen senses in human form – something she has never been able to do before.

Rahne met Robert the Bruce and they exchanged gifts during the New Mutants’ trip through time in New Mutants #47.

As Roberto correctly states, both Dani and Sam used to work on the wrong side of the law for some time: Dani once infiltrated the Mutant Liberation Force as an undercover SHIELD agent and Sam committed what can be described as terrorist acts in the later days of X-Force (X-Force #102-115).

Emmanuel daCosta’s obsession with wealth estranged him from his wife, Nina, and his son, Roberto, and eventually led him to join the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle (e.g. New Mutants #7-12; #22-23)

There appears to be an artist’s mistake on page nine, as the first panel shows Sunspot together with the other New Mutants, although they didn’t actually meet until later in the story.

Second story :

If you disregard X-Men Unlimited #38 and X-Treme X-Men annual 2001, which both show Lockheed in Chicago, the little dragon’s last appearance was in Excalibur #125 – the series last issue - at Captain Britain and Meggan’s wedding. It is unclear what fight separated Kitty and Lockheed and led to him being injured. Either the writer and the editorial team made a mistake or this story refers to a fight that happened off-panel. It is also unclear, whether his appearances in X-Men #Unlimited #38 and the annual still count, meaning he has already joined Kitty in Chicago and was then absent again in Mekanix for some unknown reason or are to be disregarded, meaning he still has to find Kitty.

Issue Information: 
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