X-Men Unlimited (2nd series) #4

Issue Date: 
October 2004
Story Title: 
Testing Times (1st story), Mutual Secrets (2nd story)

First Story: Lee Barnett (Writer), Travel Foreman (Penciler), Tim Townsend with Travel Foreman (Inkers), Danimation (Colors), Dave Sharpe (Letters)
Second Story: Ted Naifeh (Writer), Greg Tocchini (Penciler), Don Hillsman II (Inker), Transparency Digital (Colors), Dave Sharpe (Letters)
Both Stories: Pat Lee (Cover Artist), Stephanie Moore (Editor), Mike Marts (Supervising Editor), Teresa Focarile (Special Thanks), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

First Story:
Juggernaut asks Cyclops if he can become a gym teacher but, after easily invoking Cain’s temper, Scott is not sure. He decides to give Cain a test that will be administered by Wolverine the next day. That night, Cain finds Sammy in the kitchen, studying for his math test. Sammy learns that Juggernaut never understood quadratic equations either and thinks that if his idol doesn’t know them then he doesn’t either. Juggernaut convinces Sammy that taking tests are important, as a person is able to prove himself to others. Juggernaut is unaware that Scott is watching the conversation, though. The next day, Wolverine puts Juggernaut through two trials, which he fails miserably. Annoyed, Cain asks Wolverine to give him his best shot. Wolverine then runs a program that shows Cain all those injured when he was a villain, including an eight-year-old who has a punctured lung and heart, thanks to Cain. Horrified, Cain realizes that he isn’t ready to be a teacher, but Scott comes and reveals that he wanted to see if Cain was going to take this responsibility seriously. Now that he has proven himself to Scott, Wolverine and himself, Cain can now become a faculty member.

Second Story:
Emma is invited to the wedding of her old college crush, Doug, and her friend who stole Doug from her, Maddy. Emma takes Logan with her, as she does not feel that Scott needs to know about Doug. At the wedding, everyone is shocked to see Emma, including Maddy, who pulls Emma aside at the reception that Doug invited her out of pity and that, if Maddy knew about it, she wouldn’t have allowed it. Wolverine learns that Emma and Douglas had an affair once, but decided to keep it a secret to save embarrassment. During the best man’s toast, Emma learns that Doug did not keep his end of the bargain and told everyone about how she almost broke him and Maddy up. Drunk and angry, Emma takes the stage and reveals to the crowd that Douglas is actually a mutant. She and Logan then leave, though Logan is disappointed in Emma for ruining Douglas’ life. In the end, Emma realizes that she is disappointed too.

Full Summary: 

First Story:

As Cain Marko’s angry face reflects on his ruby red shades while he sits, Scott Summers asks the former villain if this is an example of him not losing his temper. Scott then waits for an answer from Cain, who stands over the remains of Scott’s desk with his fist still in it and many papers strewn every where.

Cain, realizing that he has made his situation worse, begins to plead with Scott to give him what he wants. What does he have to give him, Scott asks, as he wipes some splinters and such from his suit jacket. Should he really put Cain in charge of a gym class full of mutant teenagers? Cain has to be kidding. Scott points at Cain and reminds him that, until recently, he was one of the X-Men’s deadliest enemies and of the worst order with a really bad temper. How could he possibly put Cain in charge of a class?

Looking down at the remains of the desk he shattered in anger, Cain explains that it cannot be his fault, as Scott was the one who needled him. Scott looks at the mess and informs Cain that if he though those comments before the destruction of the desk were needling, then wait until he has to deal with a teenager. Cain assures Scott that he can handle the situation, but the man still does not believe him. How is Scott to know if the first kid that talks back to the Juggernaut won’t get thrown through a wall? Annoyed, Cain tells Scott that he won’t hurt the kids. If he doesn’t believe him then a test should be in order so he can prove that he can keep his temper when it counts. Scott gets up and looks out the glass wall into the night. He then turns around with a smirk on his face, which worries Cain.

Scott rests his hands on his chair and tells Cain that he will be tested. Cain smirks this time and tells Scott to bring it on. Of course, says Scott, Cain knows that he won’t lose his temper a second time with him now. Cain thinks that Scott doesn’t know his tricks well enough. That is why Scott isn’t going to test him; he is. Cain turns around, as Wolverine bids him good evening. Cain leaves the room to go find some beer in the kitchen. As soon as he leaves, Wolverine asks Scott what he should do in the Danger Room. Should he program it to display a bunch of teens at the height of puberty? Scott tells Logan that Cain will expect them to do something like that. They have to be creative now.

Cain enters the kitchen to find Sammy up, reading a book. Cain asks the boy why he isn’t sleeping and learns that Sammy has a math test tomorrow, but he doesn’t understand quadratic equations yet. Cain tells Sammy that he wishes he could help, but he never understood that stuff either. Sammy asks Cain that if he didn’t understand them then why he have to? Surprised, Cain sits next to Sammy and explains that he has to get his education so he doesn’t end up like him. Tests are important, because that is how a person is able to prove him or herself. Putting his arm on Sammy’s shoulder, Cain makes a deal with the boy. He has a test tomorrow too. If Sammy promises to do his best to pass the math test, then Cain will do the same. Smiling, Sammy agrees. Neither notices that Scott has been watching this whole time.

The next morning, Wolverine and Juggernaut are both in uniform and in the danger room. Wolverine walks up to Cain and asks him to bend over down to him for a second. Cain does so and asks why. Wolverine then slaps him square in the face. Confused, Juggernaut asks if that was the test. No, says Wolverine. That was for fun. Impatient, Juggernaut tells Wolverine to just get the kids that are to test him. Wolverine pulls a remote control out of his belt buckle and tells Cain that they will get to that soon enough, but first things first. Wolverine presses a button on the control, which causes the Danger Room to simulate an empty dark street in the city.

Juggernaut hears a “snikt” sound and then hears Wolverine scream his name. Juggernaut turns away from the real Wolverine to see a Danger Room simulated Wolverine, wearing his brown and yellow costume, leap at him. Not noticing movement behind him, Cain instinctively bats the fake Wolverine away and across town. The real Wolverine applauds Cain on the good attack. Too bad he hit the wrong enemy. Juggernaut rubs his head in confusion. Wolverine plays the simulation again and, as the fake Wolverine leaps, the real one tells Cain to look behind him. Cain does and notices a Brood alien behind, ready to kill him. Wolverine points out the angle that the fake Wolverine was leaping with. He was trying to save him, not kill him. Worried, Juggernaut tells Logan that it wasn’t fair, as he wasn’t testing his temper. How was he to know that the simulation was jumping at something else? You were reacting without thinking, says Wolverine. Cain pauses, which shows Wolverine that even Cain realizes what his problem is.

Wolverine tells Cain that it seems like he doesn’t like being surprised. Cain agrees and asks for a room full of kids so he can show his stuff. Wolverine presses a button again and this time the Danger Room simulates a crowded bank. Wolverine tells Cain to have patience before handing him a bag of money. Logan explains that there is a hundred dollars worth of quarters in the bag. All he has to do is get in line and then change the quarters for a c-note. Surprised over how easy it sounds Juggernaut asks if that is all and Wolverine tells him yes.

Juggernaut gets in line, which is rather long, as it is about 11:30 AM. He stands behind a couple that is arguing about the husband’s mother. This year they will stay at home, but the wife complains that he said that last year. Behind Cain, a man comes with his music player annoyingly loud. As more time passes, the couple argues about how the husband always happens to work late. The annoyed husband tells his wife not to bring that up again. Behind Cain, the man with the music begins to sing the lyrics in addition to playing the loud music. As Cain nears the bank teller, the man already there asks for ten thousand dollars in all fifties, five thousand in twenties, and the rest in tens. Twelve o’clock rolls around and Cain finally reaches the teller, who then closes the lane. He is going out to lunch. Angry, Juggernaut grabs the man from the other side of the counter and slams the bag of coins on his head, telling him that he wants to exchange the change for a hundred dollar bill.

Wolverine tells Cain to stop and remarks that he is zero for two. Wolverine thought the man was better than that. Cain complains that the tests are not fair, but Wolverine reminds him that he never said that they would be. Is he ready to give up? Give him everything he has, says Cain. Wolverine complies and presses another button, which shifts the Danger Room display to a hospital room filled with rows of injured people on beds. Cain is confused again. Wolverine picks up a nearby chart on the patients’ medical histories and begins to read. The first is Laura Wagner, who is 39 with a fractured femur, tibia, fibula and skull. That all occurred when Cain fought Spider-Man last year. The next patient is Michael Russell, age 82, who has a broken back and fractured pelvis after the last time Juggernaut fought the Hulk. The next patient is Philip Samuels, age 8, who has a punctured lung and heart. He needed a transplant. He was hurt when Logan was thrown into a car by Juggernaut two years ago. The little boy was in that car. Cain is dreaming if he thinks the X-Men will trust him with kids, says Wolverine, as he throws the medical chart at the silent man.

After a moments silence, Cain tells Logan to end the program. Why, Logan questions, so he can forget about this. Cain wipes his face and tells Logan that it is over. They are all right; he is not ready. That eight-year-old could have been Sammy or any of the rest of the kids. Cain has a while to go yet, but he knows he will get there someday. Cain heads to the door and tells Logan to tell Scott that he will be in touch, but only when he knows that he is ready. At that moment, Scott walks in the room in uniform and tells Cain that it is the team’s call to make, not his. As he tosses the remote to Scott, Wolverine says sold to him and leaves the room, while the confused Juggernaut stops.

Juggernaut asks what is going on. Cyclops reveals to Cain that he was testing the man to see if he really was taking all this serious. He wasn’t the only one who needed convincing. Three people had to know. He and Wolverine are two, says Cain, but who is the third? Recalling Cain’s conversation with Sammy, Scott explains that tests are not just to prove things to others. Sometimes they help prove things to yourself. Cain will be supervised by one of the others until they are sure he can teach alone. His first gym class with the sixth graders is scheduled tomorrow and Scott wants to see a semester’s lesson plan by next Monday. Does Cain have any questions? Happy, Cain asks Scott if this means he won’t tell Xavier about the broken desk. The two shake hands, as Cain tells Scott that he won’t let him down. Scott welcomes Cain to the faculty.

Second Story:
In Emma’s quarters, Wolverine holds up a wedding invitation she received from her friends, Douglas James Hutchinson III and Madeleine Alexander Vandervalk. Logan asks why Emma is inviting him as her guest and not Scott. Emma comes away from her window and explains to Wolverine that Scott doesn’t need to know about it. There are some things a girl needs to face alone.

Intrigued, Wolverine asks for more details. Emma explains that he has known Doug and Maddy since college. One could say she introduced them. Truthfully, though, one day she told her best friend Maddy about this guy she had a crush on and, the next day, Maddy was all over Doug. Emma admits that she knows it was long ago and she shouldn’t be involved in this nonsense anymore, but they did invite her and she owes it to them to make an appearance. With a wicked smile, she tells Wolverine that she wants to wish them happiness.

The day of the wedding, an usher asks a newly arrived couple if they are with the bride or the groom. Several of the guests turn in surprise to see Emma in one of her usually scandalous white dresses. They also notice her rather short and hairy companion, wearing a nice suit. Emma tells the usher that she is with either one; she’s an omnivore. Wolverine tells the man that a seat in the back will be fine. The two sit in the back pews of the church. Emma tells Logan that he is lucky that he doesn’t hear what the other guests are saying about them. Logan agrees, though in truth his hyper hearing can hear the comments about how no one can believe Emma dared showed up or the fact that she actually wore white. Others question if the two are mutants and someone says that they look horrible.

That night at the reception, a crowd of women surround Emma, all of them lauding the ceremony. One of the women asks Emma if she ever got married. Another compliments Emma on her tasteful wardrobe. A third asks if Wolverine is someone they should know. Finally, a fourth woman says that if must be nice of Emma to see Douglas again, despite the circumstances. A woman named Gwent spots the passing bride and groom and compliments Maddy on the lovely ceremony. Maddy thanks Gwen but asks Emma if she could spare a moment in private. As Emma and Maddy leave, the other women spot Logan in conversation with several men.

One of the men tells Logan that Emma is a heck of girl. Another tells him that he has guts, for Emma is a woman even he wouldn’t dare go after. A third man asks Wolverine how they met. Logan takes a sip from is drink and tells the men that they work together. The women nearby look at Logan and one asks what the others think. One of the women announces that he is definitely rich, but another is not so sure. He looks like he has never been in a beauty salon and, the way he talks, is not sophisticated. The first woman tells her companion that is the suit. Logan knows how to wear Armani. Besides, no one as ill-groomed as him could be poor. Maybe he is a stock market genius. Maybe a movie director, offers another woman as a suggestion.

In an empty hallway, Maddy scolds Emma for daring to show her face around her. Confused, Emma reminds Maddy that she invited her. Maddy informs Emma that it was Douglas’ idea and that she wouldn’t have agreed with it if she had known. Emma was on the news with those…those people. Emma ignores the last reference to the X-Men, as she is surprised that Doug invited her. Maddy tells her that Doug invited her out of pity, nothing else.

At their table, Wolverine tells Emma that he has never seen her so bent out of shape. Emma thinks it is funny how being back with these people turns her back into the whimpering little weakling she was in college. Wolverine pulls out a canteen and tells her to have a sip of this, despite both of them being already a bit drunk. Emma takes a sip and begins to cough. What is this? Wolverine simply tells her that it is stronger than the champagne. Now what is it between her and Doug? It seems more than just a one-way crush. Emma takes another sip and tells Logan that it isn’t his business.

The men Logan was speaking to before come to the table and interrupt. One of them asks Emma if they could borrow her man for a while. Jokingly, Logan asks his honey if she minds. She guesses not, replies Emma.

The men head outside to show Logan their friend Trevor’s new Hummer. In the parking lot Logan admires the car. One of the men asks him if he has ever driven one. Another cracks a joke about if they make Hummer’s for people Logan’s height. Logan tells the men that he thinks he can handle it. One of the men tells Logan that what really bothers him is that mutants like him think they can walk into a party and act like there is nothing wrong with them. The other men grab Wolverine and begin to punch him. Wolverine smiles and admits that he loves full contact sports. He then pops out his claws.

Moments later, Wolverine returns back to the reception hall and wipes dirt off his shoulder. He adjusts his tie, as he notices Emma with Doug. He overhears Doug mention that he is putting his past behind him and is making a fresh start. He has never told anyone, Emma asks. Did she, Doug questions. Emma walks away and tells Doug that, believe it or not, some people here know how to keep secrets. Wolverine grabs two champagnes and gives one to Emma. Emma asks him where the boys he was with are, as they will miss the best man’s speech. They must be enjoying the night air says Logan. At that moment, outside, the men who attacked Logan find themselves crammed into the trunk of the Hummer. One complains that even his hair hurts. Trevor brags that at least his Hummer has enough trunk space, but the other men tell him to shut up.

As they stand for the toast, Wolverine asks Emma why she never mentioned her affair with Douglas. Is it that obvious, asks Emma. Logan tells her that he has learned to pick these things up. As the best man taps his fork against his champagne glass, Emma tells Logan that she and Doug both promised not to tell. The best man begins his speech and admits that Douglas and Maddy had their problems too. With that said, he tells Emma that he is looking at her, which causes the whole room to laugh. Emma is embarrassed, as Logan tells her that is seems Douglas isn’t good with secrets like she is. The best man goes on and tells everyone that a couple needs more than passion, as that is short lived and, in the long run, it doesn’t count. The best man speaks some more and then toasts the new couple. Wolverine asks Emma if they should leave now, but the woman gets up and walks towards the stage.

The best man announces that the mike will be open all night if anyone wants to make a toast. Emma thanks the best man, Drew, as she takes the mike. Emma thanks Maddy for inviting her to the wedding, which is something she noticed that not even the rest of the girls had courage to do. After all, having a mutant to dinner isn’t quite done in today’s world. Oops, there is that nasty word that no one wanted to say all night. Emma raises her champagne glass and tells the crowd that Maddy isn’t just the friend of a mutant. She is now married to one. Here is to Mr. and Mrs. Mutant. Emma leaves the room with Logan, as Drew takes the stage and tells everyone that Emma sure is funny. However, the rest of the crowd looks at the embarrassed Doug with looks of disgust and surprise for the secret mutant in their midst.

In the taxi, Wolverine gives Emma a dirty look, but she asks him who is he to judge after what he did to those men in the Hummer. Logan explains that he messed up their evenings. Emma screwed over Doug’s life. Someone had to say it. They think they are so above mutants. Not Doug, says Wolverine. Not anymore. Now he can join the fight, says Emma. She struck a blow for all mutants tonight. Isn’t that the important thing? That is what Magneto used to think, says Wolverine. Emma looks out the window with a sad look on her face.

Characters Involved: 

First Story:
Cyclops, Juggernaut, Wolverine (X-Men)

Danger Room Simulations:

Various victims of the Juggernaut

Second Story:
Emma Frost, Wolverine (X-Men)

Douglas and Maddy Hutchinson
Drew, Gwen, Trevor, Various wedding guests

Story Notes: 

First Story:
Scott originally refused to accept or even acknowledge Cain’s presence among the X-Men, as seen in Uncanny X-Men #425.