X-Men Unlimited (2nd series) #3

Issue Date: 
August 2004
Story Title: 
I’m just a poor boy (1st story), Brothers (2nd story)

First story:
Jal Nitz (writer), Georges Jeanty (penciller), Don Hillsman III (inker), Tom Chu’s Color Dojo (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Pat Lee (cover artist), Cory Sedlmeier (assistant editor), Stephanie Moore (editor), Mike Marts (supervising editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher) with special thanks to Teresa Focarile

Second story:
Mike Raicht (writer), Staz Johnson (penciller), Livesay (inker), Kanila Tripp (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Pat Lee (cover artist), Cory Sedlmeier (assistant editor), Stephanie Moore (editor), Mike Marts (supervising editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher) with special thanks to Teresa Focarile

Brief Description: 

First story:
In New Orleans, Gambit visits Mr. Green, who has a job for him. A government accountant has cleaned out a dummy corporation’s funds and headed to the Bahamas. He has two million plus some discs. Remy can keep the cash and Mr. Green will take the discs. Remy heads to Paradise Island in the Bahamas and locates the accountant, Tyler Wynn, in a casino. He also spots a CIA assassin and takes him out as he heads to set up his kill zone. He then checks out Wynn’s safe and all he finds is seventy grand and the discs. Wynn appears and, as they discuss his future, more CIA agents attack the suite. Despite having no cards on him, Remy manages to take on the armed agents by charging chips, each valued at ten thousand dollars. He takes the fight outside and finds more agents waiting for him. Handling them, he goes back inside but finds the original assassin has a gun to Wynn’s head. After Wynn explains what the discs are actually for, helping third world countries balance their budgets better, Remy figures he deserves a chance to live and takes out the assassin with his last remaining chip. He tells Wynn that a headmaster in Westchester will take care of the discs for him. Returning to New Orleans, Remy tells Mr. Green that there’s no cash and no discs. What he does have, though, is an accountant who needs a job. Mr. Green asks Remy what he got out of all this. Remy replies that he simply got a good time for his money.

Second story:
It is early evening at Xavier’s and Jay Guthrie isn’t in the best of moods. A group of kids ask if he fancies going outside to meet the girls, but Jay heads to his room. The death of his girlfriend, Julia, clearly plays on his mind a great deal and he is having a tough time getting over it. He lies down and drifts off to sleep, but his brother, Cannonball, arrives through his window and tells him to get dressed. Sam’s been asked to look in on him. Before long, they are flying through the woods, towards the lake. Jay proves his flying skills are already pretty advanced, so Sam takes him to New York City instead. Sam tries to show he understands how he feels about Julia’s death. He’s lost friends he loved too. Jay doesn’t feel Sam has the right to know how he feels. He’s barely seen him since he and Paige gained their powers and left home. Jay spots a fire in the distance and the brothers head over to help out. Sam takes the lead and asks Jay to wait outside the burning building and take anyone he brings. The first person is a little girl, whose father is still inside. Jay takes the girl and Sam heads back. Jay is concerned, but knows his brother is a hero. He’s been doing this all his life, he tells the little girl. As the building explodes, Sam rockets through the flames carrying the girl’s father to safety. They don’t hang around for any gratitude, but head to a rooftop nearby. The brothers chat, and Jay gradually realizes that he’s being a little selfish about his feelings. Sam tells him he’ll make a great X-Man someday.

Full Summary: 

First story:
(New Orleans)
Gambit is taking some time out to handle some of his own affairs. One evening he visits a pawnshop, where Mr. Green resides. He is the biggest operator in the Gulf states. Most law enforcement agencies think he’s a myth, but he’s known Remy’s family since he was eight. A phone call from him could mean a million dollar job. They call him Mr. Green because he knows where the money is.

He enters the shop and turns the open card over to read closed. He then approaches the back door and says it’s him, and Mr. Green should open up. He replies by asking how he knows it’s him. Remy charges a card and explodes the door. Entering, Mr. Green says he was joking. Now he has to replace the door. Remy replies that he should know better to make him wait. Time is money. Green says he knows. His accountant bills him a hundred and ten bucks an hour to launder all the money he pays Remy. He then asks him to take a seat.

Mr. Green is sat behind his desk, using a large magnifying glass to check on a consignment of rubies. Remy asks him about the job he mentioned. Green informs him that a guy named Tyler Wynn, a government egghead working for the CIA at Langley, wants out of the Company. He handles slush funds for covert ops. All hush hush. Remy figures the suits won’t allow him waltz back into the real world; too much of a risk. Exactly, replies Nr. Green. Wynn also knows this, which is why he cleaned out the CIA’s dummy account and took off for the Bahamas. He unloaded a safety deposit box with over two million in cash and some computer discs.

Remy thinks this could be lucrative if the legwork is already done. He asks if he knows where he might be. Mr. Green informs him that he does. If Remy finds him, he can keep the cash, but he wants the discs. Deal, says Remy. Green warns him that it wasn’t the local loan shark he ripped off; it was the CIA. He should leave Tyler be when he finds him and the CIA will sort him out. He hands over air tickets to Nassau.

(Paradise Island, Bahamas)
Remy checks into the most expensive casino resort on the island, but fails to bag the biggest suite. It’s booked for a month, so he figures Wynn got there first. At $5000 a night, that’s $150k down the drain already. He heads inside the Casino Royale but doesn’t spot Wynn anywhere. He goes into the high roller’s area, but the doorman removes his playing cards as he enters.

It doesn’t take him to locate Wynn. He is sat at a table, shoulders drooped and hemorrhaging cash. The middle-aged man’s slouch is a dead giveaway to Remy. It means he never had two nickels to rub together. He feels kinda sorry for Wynn, but then he knew what he was doing when he took the CIA’s money. He’s lost half a million already, meaning Remy’s take is dwindling fast. Behind Wynn, Remy notices a CIA assassin stroll past, offering a casual glance at his target. His hardened face is that of a professional killer and, as he leaves the room to set up his kill zone, Remy follows.

He dashes straight past the doorman, leaving his precious cards behind and jumps into the lift after him. By the time the door opens again, the assassin is out cold. Remy drags him into Tyler Wynn’s room and immediately cases the safe in the wall. He figures that two million, minus the suite, Wynn’s bad gambling and Remy’s expenses should still leave him with around half a million. Still worth his time.

He peers into the safe but all he finds is seventy grand in casino chips and a jewel case containing discs. Without turning, he asks the man behind him how long he was gonna stand there before he said something. He turns to see Tyler Wynn, a frightened, lost soul, asking if he’s gonna kill him. Remy motions to the assassin unconscious on the sofa and tells Wynn that he’s there to kill him. He is just there to rob him. Remy can’t believe he’s come all this way and all he has left is seventy grand. It’s guys like Wynn that gives thieves a bad name, he tells him.

Wynn asks if that’s it. Is he just going to rob him and then leave? Remy figures that saving his life pretty much makes them square. Besides, he knew what he was doing when he stole the money. He warns Wynn that he should get outta there. The CIA already sent one guy and there'll be more along shortly. Right on cue, a gas canister drops into the suite and explodes, throwing the two men to the ground.

When the smoke clears, the Cajun is sprawled on the ground and he looks up to see several armed operatives aiming their pistols at him. He can’t hear a word they’re saying, as he’s still deaf from the flashbangs. His head is swimming and what he does next breaks his heart. He charges up a ten thousand dollar chip and tosses it as he leaps into the air. It distracts the agents long enough to grab one of them. They begin shooting, but Gambit’s agility and close combat fighting skills make them take each other out. He figures their body armor will ensure they survive this, but he needs to get out of there in a hurry. The close quarters favor him, but he doesn’t want anybody getting killed.

A second charge later and another chip makes its way though the window, shattering it. Remy steps onto the balcony, only to find three more agents hanging from ropes. He leaps onto the nearest one, who drops his weapon and punches him in the face. The other two shoot but Remy hurls a third charges chip at their ropes, slicing them in two, dropping them to the ground. He swings on the first agent back against the wall and jumps the balcony railing into the suite. Then, his luck runs out.

The original assassin has recovered and is aiming his pistol at Tyler Wynn’s head, demanding from Remy the whereabouts of the discs. Remy plays dumb, but the assassin warns him not to get cute. He wants the discs and the money, now. Remy asks what he gets in return. He’s not walking away from this mess with nothing. The assassin aims a second pistol at Remy and tells him he can have the money, but he’s taking the discs. Remy produces them, but asks about the egghead. The assassin tells him he’ll get what he deserves and tells Remy to put the discs on the ground.

Tyler pleads for Remy not to, but Remy slides the discs to the assassin. The discs are worthless to him and leaving with one last chip has become a thing of pride. Wynn explains that they were gonna kill him before he robbed them. The accounting matrix he designed made him obsolete. He could either sit there and wait for them to dispose of him, or he could do some good. He continues to tell Remy that the discs contain a budget-balancing program that could help third world countries get out of debt. It could help keep thousands of little guys from being taken advantage of by bigger governments with deeper pockets.

The assassin tells him to shut up, and pistol-whips him in the jaw to prevent him from talking. Remy, however, has heard enough. As much as it kills him, he charges his last remaining chip and puts the assassin down for the count. He picks Wynn up from the floor, who can’t believe he isn’t dead. He asks Remy what will happen to the discs. He replies that he knows a school headmaster in Westchester who will take care of them. Wynn then asks what will happen to him.

(New Orleans)
Back at Mr. Green’s pawnshop, the owner asks how the job went. Remy informs him that there’s no money and no discs. Green can’t believe it. All that time and effort and what do they have to show for it? Funny you should ask, says Remy. He explains that Tyler Wynn needs a job and he needs an accountant. Wynn works under the table, so Green won’t leave empty handed. Now they’re square. Mr. Green asks what Remy gets out of all this. As he leaves the shop, he replies, “Oh, a good time for my money.”

Second story:
(The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, evening)
A bunch of female students are hanging outside the mansion next to the Phoenix memorial. It’s only 8.30 pm, and the guys are going out to meet them. Greg asks Jay Guthrie if he fancies it. Becky will be there, and Nancy, and Julie… Jay isn’t in the mood and mopes off to his room, head down. As he walks away, one of Greg’s friends says Greg’s such a dope, as Guthrie’s stuck on himself. Greg replies that he isn’t; it’s just that his girlfriend died before he came here. His friend says he heard she killed herself, but Greg tells him to shut up and get going. Jay overhears the banter, which doesn’t lighten his mood any.

Jay falls into a phone conversation with his mother. He just wants to go home, and just because Sam and Paige went to school here, that doesn’t mean he needs to. He knows how to fly and he can heal; there’s not much more to it than that. His mother wants him to learn all about his mutation, but Jay looks at a press cutting of Julia’s death and asks why he can’t just come home. She asks if he blames himself for her death, but he doesn’t - not completely. He says goodnight and lies on his bed.

As he drifts off, Cannonball rockets through the night sky and enters his room via the window. He picks up the cutting and Jay wakes, asking Sam what he’s doing here. He says that Paige talked to mom, and she thought it might be a good idea to check in on him. “You know how women get.” Jay rises and rubs his neck, replying that she’s overdoing the concerned sister role, so is Sam here to overplay the big brother? Or, is he, Cannonball, the big X-man hero, coming to save him from himself? Sam doesn’t rise to that, but asks Jay to get dressed; something to fly in.

Minutes later, Jay joins Sam on the grass and asks where they’re going in the middle of the night. Sam takes off and tells Jay that he’ll race him to the lake. He’ll take it easy on him. They both head skywards and fly past the forest. Sam says he used to have a hard time maneuvering when he first got his powers. He ran into things; through them, actually. As Jay follows using his wings to propel him at speed, Sam adds that he was lucky, because his blasting power kept him invulnerable during flight. Jay doesn’t have that, so he has to take it slow through the trees.

Sam makes it through the forest, telling Jay he’ll get the hang of maneuvering eventually, but is more than surprised to find Jay waiting for him in the clearing. He informs Sam that he already knows how to fly. He’s actually pretty good at it and doesn’t need any lessons. He takes to the air again and Sam says they should check out the city. Still unimpressed with the whole scenario, Jay says fine and heads after his brother.

(New York City)
The city beckons, and Sam mentions that Jay’s been pretty quiet. Jay says that it’s almost 4:30 in the morning, and they’re just flying around out there. Sam thinks it’s a pretty nice night though. He loves seeing the city at night like this. He used to sneak out and do this all the time when he was at Xavier’s. They fly over the high buildings, with Sam telling his brother that his wings look amazing. “Why didn’t you tell me about them before?” he asks. Jay answers sarcastically by asking when he was supposed to do that. The one time he called two months ago? He doesn’t even know where he is half the time.

The guys land and Sam ponders the response. He admits he hasn’t been around, but he’s worried about Jay. Paige told him about what happened back home in Kentucky; about his girlfriend dying. She said he tried to hurt himself. He places his hands on Jay’s shoulders, and tells him that he knows he doesn’t think he can understand, but he’s lost people he cares about too. Jay turns his head, and says he has no idea what he’s talking about.

He pulls away from Sam. He is upset that everyone always thinks they know what’s best for him. “Mom made me come to Xavier’s. Paige is calling you because you’d understand what I’m going through? What a joke!” He runs and tells Sam that he doesn’t know anything about him. He doesn’t even know Julia’s name. “Thanks so much for taking the time to come to see me. I’m going back to Xavier’s.”

Jay suddenly halts before taking off. He’s spotted a fire in the distance. Sam can’t see it and wonders if his eyesight is enhanced too. Jay points to a plume of smoke rising from the city. Sam realizes his error and immediately heads towards the source of the smoke. Jay asks if they should call the fire department, asking what they can possibly do. Sam can hear the sirens already, but they can get to the top floor faster and get people out of there.

Jay asks if he won’t just take out the wall by blasting in there, but Sam replies that he’ll shut his powers down before he gets there and smash through the window. Jay is concerned his blasting power therefore won’t protect him, but Sam says he has to do something, right? “Won’t you get burned?” Jay asks. Sam tells him there’s no time to talk; he should just follow his lead. He’ll hand out anyone he finds to him, so he should stay close.

As they approach the building, Sam switches off his power and crashes through the window, landing perfectly amongst the shards of glass. There is smoke everywhere, and an orange glow of flame surrounds him. He calls out and a little girl answers. Sam finds her hiding underneath her bed. Her dad won’t answer her and there’s a lot of smoke in the hallway. Sam grabs the girl and assures her that they’re going to get her out of there. He takes her to the window, where she sees Jay. She thinks his wings are cool. Sam agrees, but asks where her parents are and if anyone’s on the top floor. She informs him that her dad’s down the hall and her mom is at grandma’s. Jay takes her and tells Sam that the fire’s spreading quick, and there’s a lot of smoke coming out of there.

Bravely, Sam heads back inside, much to Jay’s concern. He flies the girl to the ground and she asks if he’ll get her dad out. Jay gives her to a waiting fireman and tells her that his brother’s been doing this his whole life. He’s a super hero. He’ll get her dad out of there in no time. He asks the fireman to inform his colleagues that they’re up there and trying to help. He flies back to the window, but the whole area is covered in flame. Suddenly, the building explodes with a burst of flame, and Sam anxiously calls his brother’s name. As the cloud of smoke billows upwards, he sees Sam blasting out of the building, carrying a half-dressed man to safety.

He lowers him to the ground, where firemen are tackling the lower floors. The man hugs his daughter with enormous relief. Sam doesn’t wait around for any acknowledgment. He takes to the air and joins Jay. “C’mon, let’s get going.” Jay smiles. They soon land on a nearby building and Sam asks Jay if he’s okay, as his wing is smouldering. He is, and Sam tells him he did good back there. He adds that being part of the X-Men… well, he’s lost family too, people he loves. He tries to empathize with Jay, but Jay still doesn’t understand.

Jay asks what he knows about being part of a family. He and Paige left them. They got their powers and went and lived their lives without worrying about what was going on at home. The pathetic thing is, he continues, is that he wanted to be just like them, and now he is. He would give anything to give these stupid wings back and go home again; to have Julia live again. He lowers his head. Sam says there’ve been hundreds of times he’s wanted to quit the X-Men, quit this life, but he had a responsibility to use his gifts to help others like him, like them. Jay asks if that responsibility was more important than being at home with them. Sam didn’t say that, but tells Jay that what you’re responsible for and what you want rarely have anything to do with one another.

They perch on the edge of the building. Sam eventually asks what Julia was like and if they were together long. Jay replies that Julia was beautiful. They knew each other when they were younger and she cared about him for who he was, he thinks. He tells Sam that he isn’t sure he can handle this. He doesn’t want to be a mutant anymore. Sam knows, but sometimes things happen that they have no ability to change, no matter how amazing their gifts might be. The only thing you can control is what you decide to do with these powers. Sam puts his hand on Jay’s shoulder again. He knows one thing for sure: if he decides it’s his path, he’s going to make a great X-Man someday. “Really? You think so?” Jay replies.

The brothers stand and prepare to head back to the mansion. Sam jokes that they’ll think the Hellfire Club took him during the night or something. Jay hasn’t heard of the Hellfire Club. Oh man, Sam thinks; he never told him about the Hellfire Club? He begins to inform him, but Jay interrupts, and simply says, “Sam - thanks for coming to see me.” Friends again, Sam replies, “Anytime, Jay, anytime.”

Characters Involved: 

First story:

Mr. Green
Casino Royale doorman and croupiers
Tyler Wynn

CIA Assassin
CIA tactical assault team
Paradise Island residents and holidaymakers

Second story:
Josh ‘Jay’ Guthrie
Sam Guthrie

Several students at Xavier’s including Greg
Young girl and her father

(in photograph)
Julia Cabot

Story Notes: 

Second story
Paige Guthrie is Cannonball’s sister and fellow X-Man, Husk.

Julia Cabot’s sad story is told in the ‘She Lies with Angels’ storyline, running through Uncanny X-Men #437 – 441.

Sam mistakenly thinks Jay’s eyesight might be enhanced, presumably because Archangel’s is.

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