X-Men Unlimited (2nd series) #9

Issue Date: 
August 2005
Story Title: 
Dead Man Walking (1st story), Resignation (2nd story)

First story Matt Fraction (writer), Sam Keith (penciler), Sotocolor (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Warren Simons (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Second Story Damon Hurd (writer), Mark Brooks (penciler), Jaime Mendoza (inker), Sotocolor’s J. Rauch (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Warren Simon (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

First Story:

Wolverine rides on his motorcycle to attend the funeral of his friend Johnny. Along the way, he recalls his many brushes with death, from being eaten by a dinosaur to Blackbird crashes. He also thinks about when he first met Johnny and their adventures, drinking and fighting together. Logan remembers how his friend unnecessarily took a bullet for him, which disabled Johnny. After the funeral, Johnny’s wife, Grace, tries to give Logan his friend’s cane, but he tells her Johnny had already given him enough.

Second Story:

Iceman composes a letter to Cyclops, resigning from the X-Men. He writes of his first encounter with Scott, and how that inspired Bobby to become an X-Man. Bobby notes all the changes to his teammates and the tragedies and obstacles they have faced. The brutal beating of his father at the hands of Graydon Creed’s men had almost made Bobby leave the X-Men permanently before, but now he has to leave to make a normal life for himself. Bobby signs off on his letter to Scott and places it in his desk drawer, where many other resignation letters sit, unsent.

Full Summary: 

First Story:

Wolverine travels across the Mojave Desert on his motorcycle, en route to his friend Johnny’s funeral in Barstow. As he rides, he thinks about death, and how is makes no sense to him. Logan’s view of death may be a little skewed, however, as he thinks about how hard he is to kill.

He recalls being eaten by a dinosaur in the Savage Land and numerous tussles with ninjas. Logan had even been trampled by horses trying to escape poachers - he still likes horses, but killed the poachers.

He’s been scorched by Phoenix’s fire, incinerated by a Sentinel’s blast and fought the alien Brood. Wolverine has survived gunfire from Nazis and more Blackbird crashes than he can count.

Taking a break from his ride to sit by a campfire, Logan remembers his bloody battles with Sabretooth and his first encounter with the Hellfire Club. Another first encounter, with the Hulk and Wendigo, reminds Logan that it’s good to have friends.

Johnny loved to hear about Logan’s adventurous encounters. He was in the merchant marines when he and Logan first met. They were drinking buddies, first and foremost. They also made plenty of money, fighting together in paid matches.

Logan arrives in Barstow and settles into a trashy motel for the night. He thinks about a particular night with Johnny, when they were celebrating with some local girls after winning another fight.

In an alley, they were confronted by a group of men who think the fight was fixed and one of them pulls out a shotgun. Logan denies that they cheated and the man fires at him.

Johnny leaps in front of Logan, taking the bullet in his back. As Johnny collapses, Logan unsheathes his claws in rage and slashes at their attackers.

He returns to Johnny’s side and berates him for taking the shot, as Logan would have healed from it, and asks Johnny what he was thinking. Johnny tells Logan he wasn’t thinking anything, it’s just what you do for a friend.

The shooting disabled Johnny, and he had to use a cane. Although the cane slowed him down, it was his wife Grace that got him to stop and put all the bad days behind him.

After the funeral, Logan talks with Grace and tells her he goes to too many funerals these days. Grace tries to give Logan the cane Johnny used, but he tells Grace that Johnny has given him enough already.

Logan leaves on his motorcycle, saying “Goodnight, Johnny”.

Second Story:
In the icy confines of his room, Bobby Drake jolts awake. He turns on the light and trods across to the thermostat and turns it down, although everything is already covered in icicles.

After a freezing-cold shower, Bobby sits down at his desk. Pulling out a sheet of paper, he starts to write a letter to Scott Summers, tendering his resignation from the X-Men.

Bobby writes that although he has always been loyal to Scott, that loyalty is all that is keeping him with the X-Men.

He recalls the night he first met Scott, years ago. Bobby was walking his girlfriend, Judy Beasley, home when a group of teenage boys started throwing rocks at him because he was a mutant. Scott arrived on the scene, blasting the ground with his optic blast and scaring the teenagers away.

Bobby remembers seeing past the image of a skinny kid with weird glasses and seeing a hero and a leader. A yearning to be like Scott is why Bobby joined the X-men.

Recalling the practical jokes he’s played on his teammates during the years, Bobby is sure most of them think he hasn’t matured much over the years. The Institute is full of kids now, and Bobby can’t tell if they’re getting younger or he’s getting older.

A memory of playing videogames with Angelo Espinosa, who was later crucified on the school’s front lawn, makes Bobby shy away from getting to know any of the students.

When his powers first manifested, Bobby hated the cold chill and the feeling of ice coating his bones. Now he welcomes the cold and the ice, as he feels the ice protects him.

Bobby looks at a picture of the original five X-Men and thinks of how they all have changed, except him. Archangel and Cyclops suffered at the hands of Apocalypse, Jean died, Beast has regressed to his cat-like form and Professor Xavier spawned Onslaught.

Realizing that he has changed as well, Bobby writes that the X-Men have been his family for as long as he can remember, which makes it so hard to leave. He knows what can happen when you’re not around when your family needs you, recalling the attack on his father by Graydon Creed’s men.

William Drake was attacked because Bobby was an X-Man, and that almost made Bobby leave the team to lead a normal life where his father would be proud of him.

Bobby hopes Scott and the others can forgive him, but he just can’t be an X-Man anymore. He has to try and find a normal life for himself and resign. Bobby signs the letter and puts it in his drawer, where it joins a huge stack of previously written resignation letters.

Leaving his room, he encounters Hank, who has eaten the last of Bobby’s cereal. Peeling down the hall in pursuit of his friend, Bobby begins another day as an X-Man.

Characters Involved: 

First Story:

In flashbacks:
Johnny (friend of Wolverine)
Reese, Cole and Macon (Hellfire Club guards)
The Hulk
3 local women (unnamed)
Mob of angry men (unnamed)

Second Story:
Beast, Iceman (X-Men)

In flashbacks:
Archangel, Beast, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Psylocke, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Skin (Generation X)
William Drake (Bobby’s father)
Judy Beasley (Bobby’s girlfriend)
Group of bullies (unnamed)

Story Notes: 

First Story:
Barstow is located in the western Mojave desert in California.

The U.S. Merchant Marine is a fleet of privately owned, U.S.- registered merchant ships which provide waterborne transportation for cargoes moving in domestic and international commerce.

Wolverine and the X-Men first encountered the Hellfire Club in Uncanny X-Men #133.

Wolverine’s first appearance was with the Hulk and Wendigo in Incredible Hulk (1st series) #180-181.

Second Story:
Damen Hurd’s version of how Iceman and Cyclops first met differs slightly from the origins of Iceman told in Uncanny X-Men #44 & 45. In that story, Bobby is attacked by bullies while walking Judy home and uses his powers to defend himself, thus revealing his mutant status. He is put into protective custody by the sheriff and meets Cyclops when Scott arrives to break him out of jail.

The Church of Humanity crucified Angelo Espinosa on the Xavier Institute’s front lawn in Uncanny X-Men #423.

Warren was transformed into Apocalypse’s horseman of Death after his faked suicide, but was eventually able to shake the villain’s influence (X-Factor (1st series) #15 & 25).

Cyclops was merged with Apocalypse and presumed dead during The Twelve Saga. He was later discovered to be alive and was separated from Apocalypse by Phoenix and Cable during The Search for Cyclops.

The Magneto imposter killed Jean Grey with a lethal electromagnetic pulse, in New X-Men (1st series) #150.

After Charles Xavier had mentally shut Magneto’s mind down, a portion of Magnus’s dark ego began to grow within Xavier’s mind, eventually manifesting itself as the being known as Onslaught (Onslaught crossover).

William Drake was brutally beaten after Graydon Creed discovered he was the father of “Drake Roberts”, who was Bobby in disguise to infiltrate Graydon’s campaign staff (Uncanny X-Men #338-340).

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