X-Terminators #2

Issue Date: 
November 1988
Story Title: 
Speed Demon

Louise Simonson (writer), Jon Bogdanove (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), John Wellington (colorist), Joe Rosen (letterer), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Crotus and the other N’asteris bring Artie and Leech to N’astirh, who is angry that, although Artie and Leech have power, they are not infants. Artie manages to use his powers to physically project to his teenage friends where he and Leech are being kept, but N’astirh realizes that Leech cancels Artie’s powers out, so chains them together, before revealing that he has so many spells to do which are all slowed down because he is not in Limbo, so he will feed Artie and Leech to whichever goblins bring him something to that he can do his spells faster with. Crotus likes the idea of being able to eat Artie and Leech, and takes N’astirh’s special glasses when he isn’t looking. Rusty, Skids, Boom-Boom, Rictor and Taki plan to go rescue their young friends, but not without X-Factor’s help. They land and after a mishap, manage to get some coins from a vending machine, but every time Rusty tries to ring X-Factor’s phone, he either gets cut off, told the number is inactive, or someone - perhaps something - laughs at him. While this goes on, a husband and wife comment on the strange goings on in society, while their baby is kidnapped by the N’asteris. Rusty, Skids and the others decide they best change out of their pyjamas and prison clothes, so break into a store, and Boom-Boom helps everyone pick out new outfits. The four teens then decide to take the collective name of “X-Terminators”, as a tribute to their former mentors X-Factor, and because they are going to “x-terminate” the evil mutants - or goblins, they aren’t sure which - that took Artie and Leech. Taki uses his wheelchair to transfer money from his credit card to the cash register to pay for all the clothes they take, which impresses Boom-Boom. Taki informs her that it even has a spell checker, which Crotus overhears and interprets as something that can help N’astirh. While the X-Terminators continue on their journey, the N’asteris steal more infants, and N’astirh is informed the Crotus is not following the plan, but is interested in an older human. The N’asteris try to talk to Crotus, but when they see he has N’astirh’s glasses they listen to him, and he promises to give them the glasses if they help him to get Artie and Leech to eat. At the same time though, Artie spies the goblins, confirming that they are up against goblins and not evil mutants. He goes off alone to follow the goblin, but Crotus grabs him and takes him away, leaving the X-Terminators to battle the other N’asteris, who are eventually scared away when Rictor creates a seismic wave. The X-Terminators wonder what they are to do now, while Crotus presents Taki to N’astirh, boasting that he has a spell-checker, and asking if he can now eat Artie and Leech!

Full Summary: 

A cemetery, no zombies are rising from the ground tonight. Instead, goblins are dropping from the sky! ‘There below - N’astirh’s palace of the dead!’ one of the demons exclaims motioning to a large mausoleum. Another demon declares that they should get inside quickly, as the sun is rising. Two of the demons are carrying two special children - Leech and Artie Maddicks! Mutant children, formerly wards of X-Factor, now in deep, deep trouble! The demons, or N’asteris as they are actually known enter the mausoleum and call out to their lord N’astirh, who is currently standing by a pentagram of fire where he is communicating with Cameron Hodge, assuring him that he will recall his creatures, provided Hodge speaks the truth. ‘You will not die…and your organization will prosper’.

Suddenly the N’asteris collide with one another and bump into N’astirh who is knocked into the flaming pentagram. ‘Clumsy fools!’ he shouts. ‘You interrupt my communications!’ One of the N’asteris calls to Crotus, motioning to Belasco’s ancient book of spells which N’astirh has. ‘Mawthur has it!’ Crotus exclaims. ‘Master stole it!’ the other goblin corrects. Crotus asks his “Mawthur” what he needs it for. N’astirh replies that it is the template by which he will create his kingdom here on Earth, spells for the communication and acquisition.

N’astirh informs his servants that the ether of this world is dense, so magicks require more finesse, more effort, and more time. The demon remarks that time is the great enemy, he needs time to contact those who will be his allies - and those who he will exploit! N’astirh adds that to twist what his rival, S’ym, will do here and in Limbo, to further his own needs.

N’astirh then looks down at the ground, where Artie and Leech are cowering, and asks ‘And what are these?’ ‘Infants, Mawthur, like you say! Human infants…filled with power!’ ‘Little, see? But innocent eyes…and bald!’ N’astirh smacks the goblins on the head and shouts ‘No! These creatures may be human…but they are too large to be infants!’ He looks at Artie and Leech and adds that only “the green one” glows with power.

N’astirh declares that he has avoided the transmode virus that has changed S’ym into a techno-organic monster and thus rendered him unfit to rule Limbo. Shifting his form, N’astirh exclaims that he has extend his vast power to protect all that serve him - ‘And this is my reward? I am attended by incompetents and fools!’ N’astirh orders his N’asteris to take “those creatures” out - and destroy them, while at the same time, Leech whispers to Artie, ‘Go!’

But Artie and Leech cannot run fast enough, and they bump into Crotus. Crotus picks Artie up. ‘No power? But Mawthur…taste!’ he exclaims as he licks Artie. ‘Is filled with power!’ Crotus declares. Leech exclaims that he has power, but Artie has no power. ‘Let Artie go!’ Crotus tells N’astirh that this is strange, for he is certain both of them had power when he captured them. Crotus tells another goblin to take “the pink one” away from the other, and N’astirh picks Artie up, then examines him closer. ‘You are right, Crotus - he glows with power!’

Suddenly, Artie projects an image of X-Factor - Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman and Beast - all fighting N’astirh. N’astirh tosses Artie to the floor as another message is projected, depicting the location of the mausoleum. ‘What kind of spy have you brought me, here, Crotus?’ N’astirh demands. Artie’s next image depicts he and Leech been carried away by the goblins, but tossed next to Leech, it fades away, as another goblin points out to N’astirh. ‘No powers, Artie - Leech sorry!’

Meanwhile, four mutant teens and their new companion Taki see the fading image appear before them as they fly high in the air in Taki’s wheelchair which has been transformed into a jet. ‘What was that!?’ exclaims Tabby Smith a.k.a. Boom-Boom. Russel Collins, better known simply as “Rusty” remarks that it is obviously one of Artie’s projections, trying to tell them where he is, and to bring X-Factor. ‘I know that’ Boom-Boom mutters, before asking what those creatures were and where they took Artie and Leech - somewhere that looked like a cemetery.

Takeshi Matsuya reminds Boom-Boom that he already told here what they were, as he was there - they’re goblins, or perhaps demons. Boom-Boom exclaims that there is no such thing as demons - ‘Is there…?’ Julio Esteban Richter, aptly known as “Rictor” suggests that they might have been evil mutants that look like demons. Rusty remarks that whatever the creatures are, they have taken Artie and Leech to New York, for he recognized the Twin Towers.

Rusty takes control of the situation, informing his friends and Taki that they are going to New York also, though he admits that how to get there might be a problem. Rictor mumbles that unless one of them brought a map, they don’t even know which way New York is. Taki smiles and declares that it is no sweat, and motions to a computer console on the jet, showing them on a map where they are now and where they need to go.

Tabby tells Taki to “gun it”, ‘New York, here we come!’ she exclaims, ‘Gonna kick some demon - or whatever - tail!’ Rusty tells his friends to hold up, pointing out that they are hours from New York, not to mention most of them are in pyjamas and he is in his prison clothing. Rusty adds that Taki’s transport isn’t that fast will all five of them onboard, before telling them that he appreciates them breaking him out of the naval prison to lead them, ‘But where I’m leading you is to a phone!’ Rusty declares that they are going to bring in the big guns by calling X-Factor!

Meanwhile, in New York, the goblins tell N’astirh that they are hungry. ‘If human children no good for magic, we can eat them!’ Crotus exclaims. N’astirh assures his N’asteris that they can eat the children after their work is done. N’astirh chains Leech and Artie together, ‘One power will cancel out the other - and prevent their escape!’ he declares.

N’astirh turns back to his subservants, reminding them that he requires infants, thirteen of them, and points out that other squadrons even now perform their assigned duties. ‘Find me those infants of power and purity! Bring them to me!’ he shouts. N’astirh warns Crotus and the other goblins that if they take too long, then he will eat Artie and Leech himself, before announcing that he must contact the Goblin Queen.

N’astirh remarks that even a simple spell of contact takes much too long, minutes to saw the spells and more to strengthen them! Crotus picks up the glasses that N’astirh used to examine Artie and Leech and decides that he will use them for his self. Standing in front of the flaming pentagram, N’astirh exclaims that time is running out and that there must be a quicker way. He then announces that he will feed both Artie and Leech to the demon who brings him a faster way to do his magicks.

Elsewhere, the jet lands as someone points out a telephone at a gas station. Someone else mutters that they still don’t see why they have to call X-Factor. ‘We’ve got powers! We can handle this ourselves!’ someone else exclaims. ‘Besides, none of us have money, how can we call?’ another of the teens remarks. They exit the jet and Taki transforms it back into his wheelchair. Rusty exclaims that this is an emergency and asks Rictor if he thinks he can shake down the soda machine for a few quarters.

‘Sure, why not?’ Julio replies as he stands before the vending machine in his pyjama pants and exclaims that X-Factor trained him and honed his vibratory skill for emergencies just like this! Rictor cracks his knuckles as he tells his friends to stand back. ‘It’s really a matter of finesse!’ he boasts as his seismic powers are unleashed on the soda machine. The vending machine rattles and rumbles for sometime, then, finally, a quarter pops out of the change dispenser.

‘Good grief! All that to shake out a quarter? One lousy, little quarter?’ Boom-Boom complains. ‘I’ll show you finesse!’ she brags. Holding up a time-bomb, Tabby jokes that first you have to have the right currency - ‘Energy pellets - better than American Express, ya know?’ Boom-Boom inserts her plasma explosive into the coin slot, then urgently runs from the vending machine. Rusty realizes what is about to happen and urges his girlfriend Sally “Skids” Blevins to extend her force field, and quickly.

There is a mighty explosion, and Sally’s force field is splattered with sticky soda, lucky for Skids and the boys, none of them get covered in it. ‘Voila!’ exclaims Tabby as coins begin to drop from the change return slot and land in a pile of soda. ‘Quarters from Heaven!’ Tabby remarks, before expressing her disgust at the sticky soda.

Annoyed, Rictor declares that this is exactly the mess he was trying to avoid. Sally speaks up for the first time since the break out and angrily exclaims that she doesn’t know what Boom-Boom was trying to prove, or who she was proving it too. Rusty points out that the soda machine is destroyed, so the gas station owner will need to pay for it. Arms folded across her chest, Boom-Boom tells her teammates that she doesn’t know why they are yelling at her for, after all, they wanted quarters, and she got them quarters!

‘Hmmm…the Pepsi challenge!’ Taki remarks to himself, before wheeling over to the machine and using his powers to fix it, better than new, he exclaims that the real challenge is to use their inborn powers to make a contribution to society. ‘Ta-da!’ he exclaims proudly displaying the new and improved vending machine.

After using some of the quarters to buy food from another vending machine, Tabby exclaims that it is too bad Taki cannot reconfigure the Pepsi as well, as she could use a soda to wash these fruit pies down with. Rictor tells Tabby to, next time, think about that before she explodes the soda machine. Sally stands by the phone as Rusty tries to get through to New York, but he announces that the call will not go through. ‘Is it the sticky quarters?’ Sally asks, but Rusty replies that he doesn’t think so, and remarks that it almost sounded like the phone lines are laughing at him.

Shortly, the young mutant heroes are back in Taki’s wheelchair-turned-jet, and Rusty supposes that they will have to contact X-Factor from New York, before asking Tabby if she has any chocolate pies left. Taki asks the teens how they can even put that stuff in their bodies, all that sugar - ‘It’s white death, you know!’ Tabby exclaims that it doesn’t taste like white death, ‘Tastes like golden, tender sponge cake and creamy filling! It’s the cutting edge of fine taste!’ She holds one out to Taki, ‘You know you really want it!’ she exclaims. Taki pulls away, replying that what he really wants are some bean sprouts and tofu on brown rice with miso - ‘But I’d settle for granola and yogurt!’

Meanwhile, in Montebello, New York, a woman checks in on her baby, Timmy, and sees that he is asleep, which is no wonder, she thinks, as the sun isn’t even up yet, She ponders whether or not to wake baby Timmy, and take him down to see his father, but decides against it, and heads downstairs, where she is greeted by her husband, who asks her how she manages to look so gorgeous so early in the morning. ‘There’s a hideous portrait in the closet, in curlers, face cream and a robe. Want some toast?’

The woman’s husband replies that he just wants some coffee, as he is never hungry this early. The blonde woman suggests that they have coffee in the parlor, before motioning to the newspaper her husband is reading and asks how is the world of high finance. The man replies that it is more “bullish” than “bearish”, for now at least, which he thinks they can be grateful for, before remaking that the big news seems to be the weather. ‘New York continues hot and humid…and it’s going to get worse. Not a break in sight and this is barely June’ he reads from the paper.

The man jokes that you have to practically be a fire-walker to make it from the train to the brokage firms, and remarks that people are saying the darnedest things. Addressing her husband as Tim, the woman asks ‘Like what?’ Tim replies that one of the secretaries said her scarf tried to strange her, and his friend Bob claimed a manhole cover attacked him. Tim’s wife asks him if what is going on is heat-stroke induced paranoia, to which Tim replies that he thinks so, and remarks that he is thankful this house has central air conditioning so at least Timmy can sleep in comfort.

The woman leans back on the couch and exclaims that it is beautiful here, the kind of house they had always dreamed of, a perfect place to raise a family. She adds that it seemed like such a bargain - before the crash, Tim’s commissions made it all seem so affordable…her voice trails off as she asks her husband if he is sorry they bought the house. Addressing his wife as Helen, Tim assures her that they will manage, reminding her that they wanted to get away from the city so Timmy could crawl in the grass and chase butterflies. ‘But that long commute - and all the overtime you have to do!’ Helen points out.

Outside the house, Crotus and several other demons fly towards it, ‘There! Mawthur’s glasses show glow! There in that house!’ Crotus exclaims. One of the other goblin declares that there must be new power in there, and another asks if it is an infant.

Tim tells Helen that he is lucky to be making the commute, as he is one of the lucky stock-brokers who actually kept their jobs. He remarks that he will work overtime with a smile, as it won’t kill him. Helen glances sideways nervously as she reveals to her husband that she has thinking about getting a job - going back to teaching or something to help out. Tim tells Helen that is all the more reason for her to be home with Timmy.

Upstairs, Crotus and the other demons flap about outside Timmy’s window. ‘Shhh! Lift window silently!’ ‘Is cold in there!’ they exclaim.

Suddenly, Helen asks Tim if he heard something. Tim gets to his feet and remarks that Timmy probably woke up, unable to have his father leave without a hug and kiss. Tim and Helen climb the stairs to their sons room and Tim tells Helen that as he works in the city and reads the papers, he knows Manhattan is becoming a jungle, so he feels good knowing that Timmy will grow up here safe and sound - but opening the door to their sons room, ‘NO!’ shouts Tim.

Entering their sons room, Tim and Helen see Crotus and the other demons lifting Timmy from his crib and leaving in his place an effigy. Crotus hisses at Timmy’s parents, while another goblin exclaims ‘Take!’ Helen cries out for her son while Tim suddenly is attacked by a demon who lunges for his throat, drawing blood. Helen manages to poke her fingers into the eyes of one of the demons, ‘Give him to me!’ she screams, but Crotus holds her son, and flies out the window with his fellow N’asteris, leaving a screaming Helen and the wounded goblin hanging out the window.

Shortly, and not too far away, Sally, Rictor and Boom-Boom, all still in their night clothes, huddle, with Tabby exclaiming that it is freezing up here in the wind - even if it is Summer down there. Rusty holds up two flames with his hands, and agrees, pointing out that his fire isn’t helping that much, ‘Not much. Maybe we should just land and tell the cops’ suggests Skids. ‘No way!’ Boom-Boom exclaims, pointing out that Taki tried that already, and suggesting that it might help if they had some music.

‘You want music, Boom-Boom? You got it!!’ Taki exclaims as he programs the radio on his wheelchair-turned-jet, where a radio announcer reports that three mutant teenaged charges of X-Factor were kidnapped from Exeter tonight. ‘What do they mean kidnapped? You came voluntarily!’ Taki exclaims. The radio announcer adds that there is an investigation to see if this incident is tied to the escape of Rusty Collins from the Portsmouth Naval Prison, adding that the teens were last seen heading towards New York City.

‘Well, that tears it - no cops. We’re wanted by the entire East Coast!’ one of the teens exclaims, while another suggests that perhaps they should land, as Boom-Boom is practically blue, and they need clothes - if only to make themselves less conspicuous when they reach New York.

Nearby, Crotus and the other demons spot the jet streak past, and one of the demons exclaims that N’astirh’s glasses reveal power. ‘Old power!’ one of them adds. Crotus exclaims that he can smell the boy who fired at them with the magic chair!

Taki lands the jet on a rooftop and Boom-Boom exclaims that there is a clothing store right here, adding that they are better off grabbing clothes while the town is still asleep. Tabby creates a time-bomb, ready to blow a hole in the roof - until her friends stop her. ‘You want the entire town to descend on us?’ Julio asks Tabby as he grabs her. Rusty tells his friends to calm down as he uses his flame powers to apply some heat to the solder in the sky light, so they will be able to lift it off. Rusty tells Tabby and Rictor to make themselves useful while they want and help Taki to separate his wheelchair from the rest of the jet.

Tabby and Rictor do, and shortly, they lower Taki down into the shop through the skylight. Boom-Boom informs her friends that she has already checked out the shop and the clothes are downstairs. The young heroes make their way downstairs and begin going through the clothes. Rictor tells Boom-Boom that she may have been born to shop but points out that they do not have a lot of time. ‘We’re like on the lam…you dig?’ he remarks. Tabby holds up some clothes and snaps back that they still don’t have to grab the first thing on the rack.

Boom-Boom remarks that it will take as much time to put on great clothes as it will crummy ones, and takes a leather jacket with no arms over to Rictor, telling him that he will look really hot in leather. At the same time, Rictor turns to Taki and asks him what he is doing with the sports equipment. Taki replies that he is modifying it to his own specifications. Taki then holds up a customized helmet. Rictor has put on some jeans and Tabby adjusts his new jacket, ‘See? You look really hot! You know, with my help, you could almost be a hunk!’

Tabby moves over to Sally, exclaiming that they all have to look their best as she puts a blue jacket on her friend. ‘We are the newest super mutant team in town!’ Boom-Boom declares. Rusty is standing on the sidelines, not interested in getting out of his prison garb as he asks ‘Are we?’. Boom-Boom replies that they have powers right, which means they are super-mutants. Tabby adds that they are going to fight the evil mutant-goblin-whatevers and rescue their friends - ‘That’s the hero part!’ she exclaims, pointing out that working together means they are a team.

Tabby looks at Sally, then motions to Rusty, ‘He’s the sort of traditional hero-type, don’t you think? Maybe something in red?’ Tabby suggests. Sally starts taking off her boyfriends’ prison shirt and exclaims ‘Mmmmm! He would look good in tights, wouldn’t he?’ ‘No tights!’ Rusty exclaims quickly. ‘Whatever you say!’ Boom-Boom shouts as she rummages through some more clothes, telling Rusty that she hopes he understands the hallowed significance of this moment.

Boom-Boom tosses some more clothes at Rusty then tells him to hurry up and get dressed. ‘Haven’t you heard that clothes make the super group?’ Moments later, everyone is dressed - Sally in a yellow spandex one-piece with a small blue jacket, blue boots and a blue sash. Rusty has military style brown pants, red boots and a red and yellow spandex top. Boom-Boom is wearing green puffy pants with yellow suspenders and a pink top. Rictor has tight jeans and an open leather jacket with no arms. Taki has a red and gray space-suit style outfit.

Outside the store, Crotus and the other goblins look in through the window, asking what the teens are doing in there. ‘They try on clothes!’ one of them exclaims, while another remarks that they may have power, but are too big for infants, so why are they watching them? ‘I hungry - hey…maybe we eat one in bag?’ a demon asks, but another declares that they can’t, as lord S’ym needs them to bring Limbo to Earth. Crotus watches the teens through N’astirh’s glasses and exclaims that N’astirh will focus power through spells in Belasco’s book - if he can do spells faster, and adds that the boundary between dimensions already things - already Limbo’s magic begins the transformation of the nexus.

Back inside, Rusty asks his teammates if anyone has an idea how they, as “super heroes” are going to pay for all of this. ‘I got some yuck-quarters left!’ Rictor exclaims as he reaches into his jeans. Taki tells Rictor not to worry about trying to unstick his cash, as he has the answer to all their problems. ‘Wow! Dig it! Taki’s wielding plastic!’ Boom-Boom exclaims, asking him if it is a trust fund. Taki boasts that he just made it, and explains that it accesses the money from his trust fund. He adds that his Mom and Dad left him loaded. ‘Just…how loaded…?’ Tabby asks.

Taki hooks his wheelchair up to the cash register and Tabby if the word “Mitsubishi” means anything to her. Taki adds that while he pays for the clothes, he is paying for the skylight and the gas station quarters. ‘Isn’t it amazing how computers allow instantaneous transfer of information?’ Boom-Boom listens intently as Taki reveals that even before he found out he was a mutant he was always the best at computers. Boom-Boom asks Taki how he can handle that stuff, for wasn’t his school a school for kids with reading problems? Taki replies that his real problem is with writing, but his computer helps, as it even has a spell checker.

‘A checker…to check spells!?’ Crotus exclaims after overhearing Taki. Crotus announces to his fellow N’asteris that the child can transfer information - fast - and can also check spells. Crotus reminds the other demons that their master, N’astirh, has lots of spells, and no time, so the child is just what “Mawthur” needs. Suddenly, the sound of police sirens startle Crotus and other demons who fly for cover. Nearby, a police car pulls up. One of the officers asks his companion if he saw what just flew off. ‘Forget the pelicans! There’s someone in there!’ the other police officer replies.

By now, Skids, Rusty and the others are safely back on the rooftop, while the police officer shouts ‘Halt! Come out!’ Rusty tells his friends to hurry along, as they may be financially straight with these people, but they still broke and entered. As the jet flies off, one of the teens asks how the police could have known they were in there. Another suggests that there might have been a silent alarm. ‘Who’d have thought they’d have those in a hick town like this?’ Tabby grumbles.

The N’asteris watch as the teens fly off, and Crotus smiles to himself, exclaiming that “Mawthur” will give him those little humans for dinner now. Another of the N’asteris tells Crotus that he is crazy, while another exclaims that they have to go and get more babies, otherwise they will report him to the master, then the master will give them the children to eat.

Boom-Boom asks her friends what they are going to call themselves now. ‘How about Mud. We’re single-handedly muddying mutant’s name!’ Rusty exclaims. Rictor tells him not to be such a downer, before suggesting “X-Terminators”. Boom-Boom agrees. ‘Yeah, “X” for the X-factor in our genetic structure that makes us mutants!’ Rictor reminds his friends that it is also what X-Factor used to call themselves. ‘Yeah! X-Terminators - ‘cause we’re gonna severely x-terminate some evil mutant-goblin tail’ Boom-Boom exclaims.

Later, ‘I can’t believe we couldn’t find X-Factor’s Ship!’ Boom-Boom complains as the X-Terminators arrive in New York. Rusty remarks that it was out there over the ocean - somewhere, to which Sally points out that they could hardly see three blocks ahead of them in all that haze. Boom-Boom suggests they land and call X-Factor’s hotline, to which Taki remarks ‘With the accent on hot! It feels like a scene from Blazing Inferno!’ The X-Terminators leave the jet and Taki transforms the excess materials from his wheelchair as Boom-Boom tells her friends to listen to all the cars honking. Rictor reminds his friends that the radio said the traffic lights were screwed up throughout the city.

The heroic teens and Taki round a corner, and Sally motions to all the garbage on the streets, asking if there is a strike on. Rictor announces that the radio said the workers at the sanitation plant are actually working overtime, all ready collecting seven times more garbage than usual this week. ‘They said it’s almost as if it grows out of thin air!’ Taki adds.

Rusty goes over to a phone and asks Julio if he has any quarters. Taki wonders if the goblins have anything to do with it, to which Tabby asks Taki if he isn’t supposed to approach things from a scientific point of view. ‘I am! Empirical evidence!’ Taki replies, informing the others that the goblins make him feel really funny, but this whole city makes him feel funny. ‘Hello?’ Rusty exclaims into the phone, but a recorded message tells him that his call did not go through. ‘Dumb thing hung up on me - and ate my quarter!’ Rusty exclaims, before asking Julio if he has another one.

Rusty dials the number again, but this time a recording tells him that the number is no longer in service. ‘Got another one?’ Rusty asks again, and Rictor hands it to him, informing him that this is the last one. Tense, Rusty puts the quarter into the slot and asks for the operator - except she - or it - just laughs at him and hangs up. Rusty furiously rattles the receiver to try and get his quarter back, but nothing.

He slams the phone down and storms off, declaring that they do not have time to spend on this junk. Taki is shocked when the telephone box suddenly looks like it has a face and glares at him, while Rusty announces that they will do something about Artie and Leech themselves. Taki informs the X-Terminators that the phone made a face at him, to which Boom-Boom replies ‘Well, there you have it! Taki is the first to crack!’ she tells him that it isn’t his fault, that it is his inexperience and the way the sun beats down on his helmet. ‘I know what I saw!’ Taki snaps back.

Meanwhile, half and island away, a group of children are playing in a park. ‘Hey, Jermaine! Wanna play lazer tag?!’ one of the kids asks, explaining that his ‘stupid sister and her cry baby friend just split’ so they have two extra rings. Jermaine replies that he can’t as he has to watch Russel. ‘Aw, come on, man! I’m talking lazer tag!’ the boy tells Jermaine to leave Russel under the tree, pointing out that he isn’t crying. The boy hands Jermaine and another boy the lazer tag equipment and promises to help keep an eye on Russel. Jermaine replies that he supposes it can’t hurt for a minute. The infant Russel watches the older kids go onto the field to play lazer tag - when suddenly a nasty green hand grabs him.

Soon, the boy who wanted Jermaine to play lazer tag asks him where Russel is. ‘Huh?’ Jermaine replies, before turning to the pram. The boys all rush over, only to see an effigy of Russel in the pram - then, suddenly, a demon swoops down over the older boys, clutching onto the infant Russel and laughing wickedly.

Shortly, that demon flies back to the mausoleum, exclaiming that humans leave infants all alone, making them easy prey. ‘Too bad big boy not infant too!’ another demon exclaims, referring to Taki. The goblins approach N’astirh and hand him two new infants. N’astirh asks where Crotus is, to which the other goblins reveal that Crotus is being bad, hunting a big human. ‘WHAT?’ shouts N’astirh.

Another demon informs N’astirh that Crotus thinks he will help N’astirh do spells faster by giving him this older human, then in return, Crotus thinks that N’astirh will give him human children to eat. ‘Crotus is not paid to think!’ N’astirh shouts angrily. The goblins declare that they are good, brining two babies, before asking if they can eat the human children now, referring to Artie and Leech. N’astirh informs his subservants that other goblins have already brought two already, so this is only two more. N’astirh declares that he needs thirteen children and will have them. He orders the N’asteris to leave, and warns them that he doesn’t want to hear of their needs until his own have been satisfied.

Shortly, the demons N’astirh just yelled at find Crotus, peering through N’astirh’s glasses as he watches the street below him. ‘What you do down there? Where you squadron?’ the demons ask Crotus. Crotus replies that he left his squadron because they were fools. ‘Not smart like you!’ he exclaims. The green N’asteris tells Crotus to go away as this is their part of the city. The green one reveals to Crotus that there are lots of humans with babies and they have found two filled with power already. Crotus grins and hands up the glasses, ‘You find even more…with these!’ he exclaims. The goblins recognize their master’s glasses and ask Crotus where he found them, how he got them and if they can use them. Crotus grins wickedly and tells his fellows ‘Not so fast! But do Crotus’s bidding…and glasses will be yours !’

Meanwhile, Rusty tells his teammates that, this time, they are to think things through before they leap into trouble, to which Sally exclaims that the first thing they do is rescue Artie and Leech. ‘From the goblins!’ Taki shouts. ‘Whatever’ Tabby mutters, before remarking that the main thing is to figure out where they are. Rictor points out that from the message Artie sent them it looked like he was in a graveyard. Sally adds that from the angle, it looked like Queens. Taki notices a goblin flying down an alley and calls out to the X-Terminators, but none of them pay any attention to him.

Rusty declares that there must be hundreds of cemeteries in Queens, so it would take days to check them all. ‘Listen, guys! I just spotted one of those nonexistent goblins!’ Taki cries out. Still none of the X-Terminators take any notice of him. Someone suggests that they could get an aerial map of Queens, and Boom-Boom suggests they go to the library. Taki begins to wheel his chair through the traffic jam of cars muttering that since he couldn’t possibly have seen one because there isn’t any such thing, he will go and check it out himself. ‘No, don’t try to stop me. My mind’s made up, and it’s as safe crossing here as wheeling through a parking lot!’ he mumbles to himself.

Entering the dark alleyway, Taki tells himself that he will find the goblins then transform his chair to blow them away. ‘I’ll bring you back some goblin pelts - and Artie and Leech too!’ Taki boasts, before muttering that the X-Terminators are so caught up in their plans that they didn’t even hear him, they act like he is not there. He tells himself that he thought things would be different, that he would be part of the team, but now he feels that he is more alone than before.

Suddenly, ‘You not alone any more, boy!’ Crotus shouts as he and the green goblin swoop down and grab Taki, pulling him from the wheel chair and up into the air. ‘No! Get away from me!’ screams Taki. His cries startle the X-Terminators, who call out to him. Skids sees him first, ‘Over there! Across the street…down that alley!’ she exclaims while Taki reaches in vain for his wheelchair. ‘Boy wiggle! More trouble than infant! You sure you want him?’ ‘Yes. Present for boss!’ Crotus replies while announcing that the boy must not touch his chair as it is a weapon to hurt them all.

‘Holee morolee! There are goblins!’ shouts Rictor as he and the others rush into the alley in time to see Crotus flying away with Taki. ‘I told you, but you wouldn’t listen!’ Taki calls back. ‘We’re listening now!’ Boom-Boom shouts as she orders the goblin to let him go, and tosses a time-bomb which hits Crotus in the back. Crotus drops Taki and Tabby exclaims that she did her part, so now someone else has to rescue Taki before he splats. Sally extends her force field to cushion Taki’s fall, and Rusty also holds out his arms - but just as Taki is about to fall into them, Crotus has regained himself and swoops down to re-collect his prisoner - which is when the rest of the N’asteris reveal themselves and begin to attack the X-Terminators.

‘Teach worthless humans not tamper with goblin plans!’ one of the N’asteris declares. Rusty blasts them with his fire while asking how many of them there are. ‘A dozen?’ asks Sally as she pushes them back with her force field. ‘A thousand at least!’ Boom-Boom exaggerates adding that they are coming faster than she can make time-bombs. Sally pulls Boom-Boom into her force field, exclaiming that they last thing they need now is to lose her too. Sally calls out to Rictor, telling him to come in where he will be safe too, but Julio replies that there is no way he is hiding behind Sally’s force field. He tells her to keep it up though, because he is getting rid of these things once and for all.

With that, Rictor slams a fist onto the ground, using his powerful seismic powers to create a might quake, which scatters the confused goblins. The young heroes regroup. ‘There were goblins!’ Rictor exclaims. ‘And now they have Taki - and none of us can fly!’ Sally declares. Boom-Boom points out that they just made fun of him, they didn’t believe what he said. Rusty announces that they believe him now, and no matter what kind of monsters they have to face, they are going to get him back!

Back at N’astirh’s domain, Crotus tosses Taki in front of the demon, ‘Mawthur…Crotus bring you present!’ Crotus exclaims. N’astirh exclaims that he does not want presents, but obedience - that and thirteen infants of power and purity who will act as focuses for his power - and force open Limbo’s gates! N’astirh adds that by all his efforts, the wall that separates this dimension from Limbo grows thing - but he is hard pressed to complete and reinforce all spells required in the short time that is left.

Crotus informs N’astirh that he has brought him a gift, not of time, but of speed. ‘This boy got special sorcery of this dimension - he got computer…tell him boy…tell him what computer do!’ Crotus exclaims. Behind Taki, Artie and Leech are still chained together, and the kidnapped infants cling to them as Taki unwillingly explains that you program the computer and it processes information really quickly.

‘It even got checker for checking spells, Mawthur!’ Crotus give him to you, freely. But, Mawthur, Crotus hungry, Crotus need renewal, Mawthur…will you not feed Crotus mutant children?’ Artie and Leech just look at each other, frightened….

Characters Involved: 

Boom-Boom, Rictor, Rusty, Skids (all X-Terminators)


Artie Maddicks



Crotus and other N’asteris

Timmy and his parents Tim and Helen

Jermaine, Russel and other children

Radio announcer (voice only)

Police officers

In Artie’s Projection:

Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl I (all X-Factor)


Story Notes: 

The X-Terminators mini series is the prelude to the X-Men event known as "Inferno", which features in Uncanny X-Men #240-242, New Mutants (1st series) #71-73, Excalibur (1st series) #6-7 and X-Factor (1st series) #36-39.

N’astirh’s contact with Cameron Hodge can be seen in X-Factor (1st series) #34.

N’astirh’s contact with the Goblin Queen (Madelyne Pryor) takes place in Uncanny X-Men #238.

Taki tried to alert the police as to what happened to Artie and Leech, but no one believed him, despite the N’asteris leaving effigy’s of Artie and Leech, in X-Terminators #1.

Taki encountered the N’asteris in X-Terminators #1, where he tried to rescue Artie and Leech, but was unsuccessful, and the goblins did not take him because he was not small enough.

The X-Terminator’s clothes all resemble street clothes more than super hero outfits, though when they join the New Mutants they all continue to wear their new outfits. While Boom-Boom and Rictor will go on to wear many more costumes (especially Boom-Boom), Skids’ yellow and blue one is her most well-known costume and she wears it for a very long time, though she does don an X-Corp uniform when she joins the L.A. branch. Rusty will wear variations of his red one, including, yes, spandex pants.

The original X-Factor - Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Angel and Beast - posed as the X-Terminators, who secretly rescued young mutants in trouble, and taught them to use their powers and gave them a home as X-Factor. Those mutants include of course Rusty, Skids, Boom-Boom, Rictor, Caliban, Artie and Leech.

Issue Information: 
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