X-Men Unlimited (2nd series) #8

Issue Date: 
June 2005
Story Title: 
Wings Over the World (1st story), A Night at the Opera (2nd story)

Paul DiFillipo (writer), Cliff Richards (penciler), Norm Rapmund (inker), Transparency Digital (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer) (First story)

James Peaty (writer), Yvel Guichet (penciler), Joe Rubenstein (inker), Transparency Digital (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer) (Second Story)

Paul Smith & Laura Martin (cover artists), Sean Ryan (editor), Mike Marts & Stephanie Moore (consulting editors), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher) with special thanks to C.B. Cebulski

Brief Description: 

First Story

Archangel is approached by Scott Summers to create a charity to help improve the Xavier Institute’s public image. Inspired by one of his favorite books, Warren builds “Wings Over the World”, a dome using anti-gravity units that allows people with disabilities to use metal wings to glide through the air in the facility.

Second Story:

Kitty Pryde and Hank McCoy banter about where they will go for their weekly evening out. Hank chooses the opera, where the doorman, due to Hank’s mutant features, prevents them from entering. While they argue with the doorman, two thieves steal a wealthy patron’s necklace and shoot a young man who defends her. While Kitty questions the patrons, Hank picks up a scent on a scarf and takes off. Hank follows the scent to the thieves in their car and leaps on the roof. He smashes through the windshield, pulls the criminals from the vehicle and recovers the stolen necklace. Later, Hank and Kitty sit in a diner and Kitty tries to talk about the night’s events. Hank loses his temper with her, upset and scared about his changing physical appearance. Kitty leads Hank out of the diner, and they go to the Marx Brothers feature to enjoy the rest of the evening.

Full Summary: 

First Story:
Warren Worthington sits at his desk, reviewing paperwork and investments. He checks his palm pilot, noting appointments for lunch with the Minister of Transportation, a tour of SpaceShipOne with Rutan, and a Genoshan Survivors’ charity dinner.

Feeling the burden of his busy schedule, Warren decides to stretch his wings and glides out of his office window for a relaxing flight. He wishes everyone could feel the joy of flying, but then wonders if it would be as special to him if everyone could do it.

Later, Warren arrives at the Xavier Institute in his limousine. Several of the students greet him, asking to join his flight class or if he’s here to help the X-Men fight. He waves to Rachel, Kitty and Danielle and knocks on the Headmaster’s door.

Scott invites him in and thanks Warren for his prompt arrival. The old friends sit down and Scott asks for Warren’s help. Due to the bad publicity the Institute has been getting, Scott wants to establish a charity to project a more positive image of the school.

Warren assumes Scott wants his financial aid and tells him that funds will be transferred as soon as he returns to the office. Scott interrupts him, as it’s not Warren’s money he needs, but his vision.

Scott wants this charity to not only do good things, but also to reflect what the Xavier Institute stands for: overcoming perceived disabilities, personal transformation, empathy and cooperation.

Warren replies that is a hefty agenda, but Scott has confidence that he is the one for the task. Warren ponders the idea, but quickly agrees to helm the project.

Over the next three weeks, Warren visits many different charities but none of them help him to define what the X-Men mean to him. Longing for a flight to clear his mind, but too exhausted, Warren sits down to read a favorite book-“The Past through Tomorrow”.
While reading, Warren is inspired and jumps in excitement, suddenly struck by an idea.

Warren visits Gilblane Construction about constructing a dome-shaped building. Calar Tensiles have created metal wings attached to harness for him and Warren consults S.H.I.E.L.D. about variable gravity conditions. He also visits a hospital for people with physical disabilities.

As the project nears completion, Scott joins Warren at the site of “Wings Over the World”. Scott is very impressed and wonders where Warren got the idea. Warren tells him the idea was from the book, that the lunar colonists took advantage of the moon’s lessened gravity to fly in a giant bubble. “Wings over the World” uses S.H.I.E.L.D. anti-gravity units to achieve the same effect within the dome, allowing participants to use the metal wings to glide.

As Scott and Warren talk, Reverend Salthouse, whose organization objects to the project, interrupts them. The reverend believes they are encouraging “celestial delusions”, that for mortals to don wings and fly is almost blasphemous.

Warren asks Reverend Salthouse if he considers Warren to be one of God’s children. The reverend agrees that Warren is a child of God and Warren spreads his wings, replying that whatever God gave him, he can share with the world.

With “Wings over the World” open, participants with many disabilities flock to try it out and Warren happily flies amongst them.

Second Story:

At the Xavier Institute, Kitty Pryde is badgering Hank McCoy. She wants to know where they are going for their weekly evening out. Hank tells her it’s a surprise and shoos her away, as he’s busy working on a paper.

Kitty scoffs that he’s always busy working on a paper, but concedes that it is his week to choose where they are going. Hank reminds her that she took him to see Bryan Adams the previous week. Exasperated, Kitty tells him it was Ryan Adams and Hank asks if there’s a difference.

Still wanting to know the evening’s agenda, Kitty continues to probe Hank. She says that although rules and structure are good, sometimes you need to shake things up. Glancing at a picture of him when he appeared more human, Hank tells her not all change is progressive. Kitty asks if they could break the rules, just once, and let her choose again this week, as there is a Marx Brothers double-bill showing.

Later, dressed in an evening gown, Kitty tells Hank she hates him. He asks her if something is the matter and she complains that they are at the opera. Hank thinks it’s wonderful, but Kitty thinks “Acis and Galatea” sounds like a pharmaceutical firm.

Hank compliments her on her wit, but tells her he’s been looking forward to seeing Professor Xavier’s favorite opera for some time. Not all evenings out should involve denim and sneakers, Hank tells her, and she should know better than to close the door on new experiences.

As they try to enter the theatre, the doorman blocks their way. Hank tells the doorman that he made arrangements with the management, but the doorman tells Hank he looks like no one in the mutant database.

As a frustrated Hank lunges for the obnoxious doorman, a gunshot goes off outside the opera. Kitty and Hank rush out to find a young man has been shot trying to prevent thieves from stealing a wealthy opera patron’s necklace.

Hank sniffs a scarf left at the scene as Kitty questions the owner of the necklace. He tells her the thieves escaped in to the sewers. Kitty turns around to tell Hank, but he’s gone.

A few blocks away, the thieves are trying to take off in a car after leaving the sewers. Suddenly, there is a loud thud on the roof of the car. Hank starts to tear the roof off the car, having followed the scent on the scarf to the criminals. One thief starts screaming that Hank is a monster while the other pulls his gun.

Hank smashes through the windshield and tosses the thieves from the car. He tells them he is not a monster, at least not yet, as he recovers the stolen necklace.

At a diner later on, Kitty remarks that Hank is awfully quiet after the night’s events. She tries to talk to him about it, but he loses his temper and tells her to drop it. Hank apologizes for his outburst and Kitty tells him he has every reason to be angry.

Hank tells her he’s not angry - he’s scared. Kitty asks what he’s scared of and he tells her it is change that frightens him, as he looks at his reflection in the diner’s window.

Kitty comments that she thought she was the only self-indulgent mutant in town and phases through the wall, telling Hank to follow.

They arrive at the theatre showing the Marx Brothers double-bill and Kitty gives Hank permission to growl if he has any problems at the door. Hank thanks Kitty for bringing him and they enter the theatre, with Kitty telling Hank there is hope for him yet, as she gets him to try something new at the snack bar.

Characters Involved: 

First Story:
Archangel, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Shadowcat (both X-Men)
Moonstar (Institute teacher)

Several Xavier Institute students

Gilblane Construction employees
Calar Tensiles employees
S.H.I.E.L.D. agents

Reverend Salthouse

Second Story:
Beast, Shadowcat (both X-Men)

Opera house doorman
Opera patrons

Story Notes: 

First Story:
SpaceShipOne is an experimental air launched suborbital spaceplane, part of the TierOne private manned space program, designed by Burt Rutan.

Most of the mutant inhabitants of the island nation of Genosha were killed by Sentinels sent by Cassandra Nova in New X-Men (1st series) #115.

“The Past through Tomorrow” is a collection of science fiction stories written by Robert A. Heinlein.

S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage and Logistics Directorate) is a counterterrorism and intelligence agency.

Second Story:
Bryan Adams is a popular Canadian rock/pop artist, while Ryan Adams is an American alt-country artist.
The Marx Brothers were a team of sibling comedians that played in vaudeville, stage plays, film and television. The brothers were Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo, and Zeppo, although for the movies only Groucho, Chcip, Harpo – and for only a few movies – Zeppo remained. Beloved for their anarchic brand of humor, some of their best-known movies include “Duck Soup” and “A Night at the opera”.
“Acis and Galatea” is an opera by George Frideric Handel based on the tragic love story of a shepard and nymph from Greek mythology.

Hank McCoy’s continuing change in his physical appearance is due to a regressive mutation that changed him to his current cat-like form.

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