Young X-Men #3

Issue Date: 
July 2008
Story Title: 

Marc Guggenheim (writers), Yanick Paquette (penciller) Ray Snyder & Kris Justice (inkers), Rob Schwager (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Will Panzo (asst. editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Terry & Rachel Dodson (cover art)

Brief Description: 

The traitorous Ink delivers Blindfold and Dani Moonstar to his unseen employer, revealing himself as a mercenary for hire. He refuses to kill the two women, leaving their fate for his boss to decide. The remaining Young X-Men battle Magma in California. Magma superheats Dust’s sand form and transforms her into glass. She takes down Rockslide by dissolving his rocky body. He reforms and has her on the ropes when Wolf Cub attacks and nearly kills her. Meanwhile, Cannonball and Sunspot see the news report and realize that the X-Men are coming after them… hard. Ink returns to the Young X-Men’s HQ and reports that Moonstar has her powers back and has captured Blindfold. Graymalkin sees all this and the voices he’s conversing with convince him that he must kill Cyclops. While Ink and Santo try to find a means of restoring Dust to her human form, Wolf Cub wrestles with the moral dilemmas posed by Cyclops’ new and more vicious approach. Elsewhere, a man with an explosive tattoo identical to Ink’s breaks someone out of jail. Moonstar and Blindfold regain consciousness and Dani accosts Ruth, demanding some answers. She quickly learns that they have both been captured by Donald Pierce!

Full Summary: 

The Young X-Men’s jet lands near what appears to be an abandoned tunnel. Ink emerges and carries the unconscious Blindfold out. He delivers her to the feet of a man in the shadows and says “Special friggin’ delivery.” The mystery man places a hand on her chest and notes that she’s still alive. Ink replies that she’s out of the picture as ordered but tells his unseen boss that if he wants her dead he’ll have to do that himself. “Whatever else I am, I’m no killer.” he says before asking where his money is. His employer tells him that he has just wired it and asks where Moonstar is. Ink returns from the jet with Moonstar, who is also knocked out. He tells his boss that he should charge extra for her. The man comments that Ink is “quite the mercenary” to which Ink replies that he’s avoided “mutie politics” for this long and if he’s going to get sucked in now, he may as well get paid for it. He asks his employer if he has any more smart questions before he departs.
In Venice, California, Ink’s teammates Dust, Rockslide and Dust confront the former New Mutant called Magma. Rockslide dumbly asks “Four against one. How hard can this be?” Magma causes spouts of lava to erupt from the ground beneath the Young X-Men with explosive force, sending Santo flying through the air as he says “Okay then. So pretty hard.”
Wolf Cub orders Dust to attack and she assumes her dust-like form. As she approaches Magma, the former New Mutant notes that she always thought that the name “Dust” was inappropriate since Sooraya is actually made of sand in her powered form. As Dust surrounds her, Magma superheats the air around her causing her sand-form to crystallize into glass! Wolf Cub grabs her before she crashes into a car and shatters. Magma notes that as one of their former teachers, she’s very disappointed. Santo attacks her from behind and says “Me too.” He explains that he always wanted to hit on her and this isn’t what he had in mind as he punches her.
Magma slams into a car and as she gets up, she tells Santo that he should have read her file as it clearly states that she doesn’t date losers. It also states that she can control anything made of earth, “Or anyone”. She demonstrates this with a simple gesture that causes Santo’s rock-form to disintegrate. She strides toward the resulting pile of rubble.
Santo informs her that she should read his updated file since he can now reassemble his rocky body at will. He recreates his body and grabs her. She expresses interest in his newfound ability and wonders what might happen if she turns him into lava.
Wolf Cub attacks her and says “That so? ‘Cause I’m wondering what’d happen if I cut out your kidneys.” Nick slices through her back and she falls to the ground. He pulls back his clawed hand which is severely burned from contact with Amara’s magma covered body. Santo asks if he’s all right and Wolf Cub replies “It’ll grow back” though it is clear he is in pain. Rockslide looks down at Magma and tells Wolf Cub that he thinks he may have killed her. Nick grimly replies “That was the mission, wasn’t it?” Santo comments that he didn’t think they’d actually go that far but Wolf Cub says that he didn’t either until after what she did to Dust. Santo is reminded of his friend’s current state and rushes over to her inert crystallized body. He lifts her up and asks if she’s going to stay like this. Nick is unsure but suggests that they focus on getting Sooraya out of there and that they take Magma’s body with them.
At the Hellfire Club in New York, Sam Guthrie and the Club’s current Lord Imperial Roberto DaCosta watch the news report of the battle in Venice, which has made local and national news. Sam tells Roberto that he told him that something like this was bound to happen. Roberto replies that he did not tell him that and Sam clarifies what he meant. He knew that the X-Men wouldn’t take kindly to what he is doing with the Hellfire Club. ‘Berto asks “When did I become alone in this?” Sam informs him that Dani isn’t answering his phone and he can’t reach Xi’an either. Sunspot points out that Cannonball told him that the X-Men disbanded. Sam points at the TV screen and the distinctive yellow and black uniforms. He reminds Roberto that if the X-Men are good at anything “it’s coming back from the dead.” He adds that now they’re coming after them and they’re coming after them hard.

Ink returns to the Young X-Men’s training facility amidst the ruins of the Xavier Institute. Cyclops is eavesdropping on the conversation take place at the Hellfire Club when Ink’s X-Jet lands. He smiles in an uncharacteristic manner and agrees with Sam’s assertion that the X-Men are coming after them hard. Cyclops greets Ink and asks what happened. Ink lies and says that Moonstar has her powers back “with interest” and took them by surprise. Cyclops asks about Blindfold and Ink tells him that she was taken hostage and is probably dead by now. He describes Dani Moonstar as “one cold bitch”.
Ink asks where everyone else is. Cyclops tells him that they ran into unexpected trouble as well and lost their jet. He had to send a replacement to retrieve them. Ink asks if they are all okay and Cyke informs him that Magma is in custody and Dust is in critical condition. Ink remarks that maybe it was too early to send them into the field but then looks around at the devastation of the Institute and adds that maybe they don’t have the luxury of waiting with opponents capable of this.
Unbeknownst to Cyclops and Ink, they are being watched from above. The mysterious Graymalkin looks down at them while talking to himself. His speech is cryptic.
“I cannot do this. I am not one of them. I am not an X-Man.”
“Man-up?” he says, in response to his conscience or perhaps someone unseen. “I am not the only one. I am not the only one who can help them. There is Cypher.”
He continues this one-sided conversation. “Ruth… and the Cyclops hurt her. Regretful.” He then asks “Bull?” again as if responding to someone else. He looks sad or confused for a moment and then says “I understand what it is. Very well. I’ll kill the Cyclops.”
Elsewhere, Blindfold regains consciousness and mutters to herself, “His path continues.” As someone approaches from behind, she mutters “Ink…” but it is Dani Moonstar who answers with a very direct “You’ve got a lot of explaining to do…” Moonstar grabs Ruth by her uniform and says “I’ve got some questions, bitch, and I’m going to beat the answers clean out of you.”
Back at the Young X-Men’s HQ, Santo and Nick try to convince Ink that Blindfold isn’t dead. Ink tries to protest until Santo tells him about the future vision that Ruth had showing all of them fighting Donald Pierce. Ink is surprised to hear that he was among those fighting since he is working for Pierce. Santo adds that Blindfold saw herself fighting beside them so she must be alive right now.
As they move Dust’s paralyzed glass body to the infirmary, Ink double checks to make sure that he was in the vision too. Rockslide asks “You’re part of the team, aren’t’cha?” Ink doesn’t answer. Santo goes on to say that the vision is good news for Sooraya too since she was fighting Pierce as well. He then jokes that they could just throw her at the bad guys and call her “Glass”. Wolf Cub glares up at him and Santo asks meekly “Too soon?”
Some time later, Wolf Cub is watching Magma who is on her feet already but confined to a special holding cell. Cyclops joins him and states that Nick believed he had killed her. He replies that he cut her pretty deep. Cyclops reminds him that she was an X-Man and the X-Men don’t die easily. He also points out Nick’s obvious relief that she is not dead. Nick explains that at first he was able to justify his actions since she’d just tried to kill them. Cyclops cuts him off and states directly what must be crossing Wolf Cub’s mind: How can he ask children to become killers?” Cyclops says that he isn’t the one doing the asking, just like he didn’t ask for M-Day or Genosha or for mutantkind to face genocide. He says that what he is asking is what the last generation of X-Men is willing to do to fend off extinction. He begins to leave and tells Nick that they are moving on Sunspot and Cannonball tomorrow night. He says that he’s going to go make preparations and urges Wolf Cub to prepare as well… for what he might have to do.
In the Danger Cave, Rockslide and Ink are trying to find a medical solution for Dust’s crystallized paralysis using the holographic systems, artificial intelligence and records of the X-Men’s greatest scientific minds. A hologram of Moira MacTaggert and the X-Men circa the Mutant Massacre tries to help but states that she has no knowledge of Dust’s physiology since she was killed prior to her induction into the Xavier Institute. Ink asks how exactly the Danger Cave can help fix somebody. Rockslide, in his own simple-minded fashion explains that the Cave has artificial intelligence built in that can approximate the intelligence of the person it is mimicking. Already they have tried to find help with the Danger Cave’s versions of Nightcrawler, Beast and Reed Richards with no success. Santo suggests that they’ll need someone smarter than all of them together to help Dust, which gets Ink thinking.

Meanwhile, alarms are blaring at the state prison in Pelican Bay, California. Guards scramble to lock things down in the face of some emergency. Alone in his cell, a prisoner named Julio hears a voice out of nowhere say his name. He is surprised by this. The voice tells him to step away from the wall. A moment later, the wall explodes with incredible force. Julio looks up and recognizes the source of the explosion, a young man he calls Carlos. Carlos greets Julio who is dumbfounded and asks how he did that. Carlos raises his fist which is emblazoned with a distinctive tattoo. He tells Julio that he has the symbol for “explosive” tattooed right on him. The tattoo is identical to the one that Ink has.

Dani Moonstar punches Blindfold and demands to know why she came to her home and attacked her. Blindfold simply replies “Pierce… Donald Pierce.” Dani asks “Who?!?” just as the man himself grabs a handful of hair and yanks her to him. He tells her that it’s lovely to see her again and that it has been a long time.

Characters Involved: 

Blindfold, Dust, Ink, Rockslide, Wolf Cub (All Young X-Men)


“Cyclops” / Donald Pierce

Cannonball, Danielle Moonstar, Magma, Sunspot (all former New Mutants)

Carlos, Julio

Unnamed prisoners and prison guards

In holographic projections:

Beast, Cyclops, Callisto, Sharon Friedlander, Moira MacTaggert, Mr. Fantastic, Magneto, Nightcrawler, Storm

Story Notes: 

Magma served as a teacher and squad advisor at the Xavier Institute in the pages of NEW X-MEN prior to the effects of M-Day.
Rockslide discovered his ability to reconstitute his rocky form anytime that it is shattered or dispersed in NEW X-MEN #31, after being pulverized during a battle with Nimrod.
Graymalkin mentions Cypher. He is likely referencing Doug Ramsey, a member of the New Mutants team who died saving the life of his teammate Rahne Sinclair. Doug died in NEW MUTANTS (1st Series) #60.
The Danger Cave scene featuring Moira MacTaggert is lifted from UNCANNY X-MEN #211-212. In the original scene, it was Colossus who was frozen in his powered form following injuries he received at the hands of the Marauders while defending the Morlocks.
Moira’s hologram notes that she died before Dust joined the X-Men. Moira was killed by Mystique in X-MEN (2nd Series) #108. Dust did not join the Xavier Institute until X-MEN (2nd Series) #133.
Magma is referred to in this issue as being a former X-Man. This is not entirely accurate. Amara has been affiliated with various groups such as the New Mutants, the 198 and the X-Corporation and was an ally of Storm’s X-Treme X-Men group. She also taught briefly at the Xavier Institute. However, she has never served as an active member of an X-Men team.
Since this series’ launch, Cyclops’ presence and behavior have been suspect. Online speculation ranged from a Skrull doppelganger tied in to the SECRET INVASION storyline to guesses that he may be Donald Pierce or Sebastian Shaw in disguise. YOUNG X-MEN #4 reveals that the Cyclops who formed the Young X-Men team was actually Donald Pierce, as suspected. Readers were hardly surprised by this big reveal having guessed Cyclops’ true identity shortly after YOUNG X-MEN #1 was released.

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