Young X-Men #6

Issue Date: 
November 2008
Story Title: 

Marc Guggenheim (writer), Ben Oliver (artist), Jose Villarrubia(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: 

Danielle Moonstar recaps recent events involving the Young X-Men to their former classmate, Anole in an attempt to recruit him for the team. After the revelation that the team was duped by Donald Pierce and his murder of Wolf Cub, the team is in rough shape emotionally. Rockslide lashes out at Cyclops and continues to question Ink’s motives and presence on the team. The former New Mutants involved in the team’s conflict with Pierce offer Ink a chance at redemption. Cyclops, Emma and Wolverine convince Moonstar and Sunspot to serve as trainers for the group. Beast discovers that Graymalkin is an ancestor of Charles Xavier and over 200 years old. Nightcrawler gives Dani and Roberto a tour of the cathedral that will serve as the Young X-Men’s home and training center. Rockslide and Cyclops have a heart-to-heart and Santo gives in to the emotions he’s been holding in regarding his friends’ deaths. Dust pays a visit to Donald Pierce while Ink says good-bye to Blindfold. She tells him his “path continues” and again that he is not what he thinks he is. He tells her that he’s going to try to be better. Dani tells all of this to Anole to help him understand that his friends need him. She then notes that the X-Men have relocated… to San Francisco!

Full Summary: 

The Young X-Men stand amidst the ruins of the Xavier Institute. Rockslide punches Cyclops… the real Cyclops and not just Donald Pierce in disguise. Cannonball crouches down to check on Scott’s condition. Sunspot, Magma and Moonstar are there also. Anole comments glibly “That sounds like it could have gone better.” Dani tells him that she should have seen that coming. The entire group is likely suffering from a form of post traumatic stress and he’s expressing himself through a form of residual targeting. Anole says that he’s heard of post traumatic stress disorder and sometimes thinks that he has it and maybe they all do at this point. Dani says that he could be right and that Santo and the others watched their friend killed by someone they thought they could trust implicitly. She adds that realizing that they were duped so easily and completely isn’t easy to deal with.
Victor asks how Cyclops is doing after being pummeled by Santo. Dani reports that his jaw was broken in several places but is fine now thanks to a nanotech healing device applied by the Beast. Anole focuses back on Santo and says that he must be feeling completely lousy. Dani confirms this. “He’s hurting, that’s a fact. They all are more or less.”
At the X-Men’s new San Francisco home, Santo begins to confront Ink about his connection to Donald Pierce. Sooraya cuts him off and tells him this isn’t the time. Rockslide shoots back at her that it wasn’t the right time at the Hellfire Club either but maybe if they’d sorted this outthen, Wolf Cub might still be alive. Ink stands up and is shocked “You’re blaming me for that?” he asks. Santo stands up and peers down at Ink. “I just did, yeah.” Ink asks how many more people Santo plans to punch out today. Santo says that he is sure yet. He then asks Ink how he managed to find Pierce. Blindfold and Dust step in and remind Rockslide that Cyclops has asked them all to back off of this issue. Dust adds that they’ve already confronted Ink about this.
Earlier that day, Cannonball, Moonstar, Magma, and Sunspot confronted Ink about his involvement with Pierce. Dani tells Ink that Blindfold had accused him of subduing her and turning her over to Pierce. Roberto adds that the fact that he knew where to find Pierce adds some weight to Ruth’s story.
Amara chimes in and says that they may also have gotten the truth from Pierce himself. Ink is quiet for a moment before he says simply “I was working for him.” Sam asks for clarification, did he know he was working for Pierce or was he merely duped into it like the others. Ink admits that he was working for Pierce knowingly and being paid a quarter of a million dollars for his services. He adds that he was unaware that Pierce was masquerading as Cyclops. Sunspot begins to power up and asks Ink why he shouldn’t “cave in your chest right now”. Magma adds “Or why we shouldn’t let Santo do it? He really seems to want to.”
Ink stands his ground. He explains that he normally doesn’t go in for “mutie politics” but that in the end, he tried to make it right. Roberto tells him that that isn’t a particularly good answer and is still very much in his face. Cannonball tells his best friend to stop and reminds them that he started out working for Pierce as well. Dani and Amara point out that his case was different as no one got killed as a result of his choices. Sam says that it was still a bad choice and suggests that Ink may be a bad guy but is he any worse than Rogue was when the X-Men took her in. Or Mystique or Sabretooth? Sunspot snidely remarks that he doesn’t see the X-Men extending an invite to Ink.
In a meeting a short while after, Cyclops, Emma Frost and Wolverine meet with Dani and Roberto to discuss the situation with the Young X-Men team. Cyclops states that they need to do something for these kids. Emma coldly points out that they are no longer a school. Scott agrees and reminds her that he’s the one who decided to close the school. Logan adds that having the institute demolished didn’t help. Cyclops says that the point is that the lack of a place for younger mutants left a void that Pierce was able to manipulate to his advantage. Logan asks if he intends to reopen the school then. Cyclops immediately says no. He feels that putting the youngest and most vulnerable mutants all in one place again is asking for trouble. In addition, he feels these kids need to know how to defend themselves properly more than they need to know algebra or a foreign language. He concludes with “They need instructors” and turns to Dani.
She tells him that she’s been down that road before. Cyclops tells her that this will be different. She won’t be a teacher in a school, she’ll be training a fighting unit. Logan chimes in and asks if they’ll be sending these kids out on missions. Scott says that they’ll pull them in when needed, the rest will be left to Dani and Roberto.
Dani asks the obvious question, “Why me?” and Roberto is wondering the same. Scott tells them that the two of them have a lot to teach and offer. They also both need a place to be and a new purpose. Cyke tells Bobby that he should not be the Lord Imperial of the Hellfire Club and that it just makes him a target. He then tells Dani that she needs to be reminded that just because she doesn’t have her powers any longer doesn’t mean she’s not still a hero.
Dani is shown for the first time in the “present” having this recap conversation with Anole, who is unseen thanks to his mimicry powers. He says that Cyclops’ little sales pitch obviously worked and asks if she’s there to do a sales job on him. Dani says that she obviously is. Anole asks what happened with Ink and Dani asks if it is important. Anole asks if she means to him joining this team and she says yes and asks him again if it is important. Anole sarcastically replies “Important whether a traitorous mercenary’s gonna be on the team with me? Not terribly much.” Dani informs Victor that Santo and Ink (who’s name is Eric, she adds) have reached an agreement . Basically, Santo accepted that he doesn’t get to decide whether Ink was on the team or not but made it clear to Ink that if he so much as twitches funny, he will turn him into paste. Rockslide pointed his finger into Ink’s shoulder to emphasize the point. Ink said he got it and that Rockslide should know that assuming he doesn’t “twitch” that will be the last time Santo touches him. “You feel me?” he adds grimly.
Anole snidely comments “Sounds like that went well” to which Dani replies “The X-Men do the internal squabbling thing pretty well.” Victor says that even after M-Day you’d think the X-Men wouldn’t have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to fill a team roster. Moonstar tells him that Ink isn’t all that bad… “just lost”. Anole tells her that’s poetic and points out that Ink isn’t the only “fox you’re talking about letting into the henhouse.” Dani asks if he’s referring to Graymalkin. Victor points up that this guy pops in out of the blue and suddenly he’s an X-Man? He asks his name again and Dani tells him it’s Jonas Graymalkin. Anole points out that the street the Institute was on was called Graymalkin. Dani says that’s true and Anole asks if that’s why he was instantly given membership. Dani says no and explains what they’ve learned about Jonas.
Earlier in San Francisco, the Beast ran some tests on Graymalkin and shared the results with Cyclops. Hank had concluded that Jonas was indeed a mutant but found something else along with the proper X-gene. Scott cynically comments that there’s always something more. He also scanned to be certain that Graymalkin is not a clone, impostor, Skrull or someone back from the dead. Cyke asks which one he is. Hank replies “None of the above”. What he did discover is that Jonas is a relative to a known mutant: Charles Xavier. An ancestor of his, to be precise. Scott corrects him and says “You mean descendent, right?” adding that Jonas can’t be more than seventeen years old. Hank replies that he is considerably older and that carbon-dating suggests he’s over 200 years old!
As these tests were being discussed, Nightcrawler escorted Dani and Roberto to their new base of operations – an old cathedral in San Francisco. He explains that the site is nearly 100 years old and was established by the Episcopal Diocese of California. Sunspot points out that none of their team are Episcopalians and Kurt says that the Episcopalians have long been an open-minded sect of Christianity. Dani points out that the kids won’t be there for religious study “No offense.” Nightcrawler responds “None taken” and explains that there is a rectory for living quarters. Roberto asks if they really expect them to live in a church. Kurt points out that it is a cathedral and asks where Roberto would have them live “A bunker?” ‘Berto reluctantly admits that he hadn’t given it much thought. Dani explains that Warren plans to customize the cathedral to meet their needs, including outfitting the belfry with proper training facilities. Kurt assures him it will be a secure place for the kids. Sunspot asks if Warren bought the place and Kurt implies that it wasn’t purchased but that the Diocese received some sizeable financial donations for its use.
Rockslide pays a visit to Cyclops who insists he call him Scott when they are not on missions. Santo sheepishly tells Scott that he’s there to apologize. Scott immediately accepts the apology. Scott admits that given what happened with them and Pierce, he should have stayed behind in San Francisco and let the others collect them from New York. Santo admits that he should have noticed his new costume. “So there you go” Scott concludes casually. Santo tells Scott that it’s hard for him to know who to trust now. Cyclops gives him some sound advice “Trust your friends.” Santo turns away, clearly upset and points out that his friends keep dying. Scott tells him “It’s okay. You can, you know.” Santo gives in to his overwhelming feelings of grief and begins to cry. Cyclops embraces him as he weeps.
Meanwhile, Dust is grappling with issues of her own. She goes to visit Donald Pierce in the X-Men’s holding facility. For a long while, she just sits and stares at him. Pierce tells her that she may not have learned in her “backwards country” but it’s rude to stare. Sooraya glibly replies “Yes, please. Lecture me on etiquette.” Pierce, his flesh still stripped from his face revealing the robotics underneath asks “What do you want?” Dust says “To look you in the eye.” Pierce replies that she’s too late as he hasn’t had organic eyes in years. She adds that she wants to tell him that he failed and that he didn’t ruin them. He snidely remarks “Dog boy might disagree.” Sooraya glares at him and says “Wolf Cub reminded us all that we’re not like you.” Pierce replies that they are not. They are mutants, perversions and that she is in particular given her oppressive, unholy religion. Sooraya is not easily baited by Pierce’s words. She tells him “I enjoy talking to you, Mr. Pierce” because his hatred, prejudice and lack of understanding of Mohammed’s teachings reminds her of home.
Ink pays a visit to Blindfold who is packing her things. She tells him “His path continues” and he asks what she means. She explains that this is what she has told Rockslide about him. “That you have more left to do” she adds. Ink is clearly confused by her cryptic comments but thanks her anyway. He then asks her where she is going. In typical fashion, her reply is less than direct “We’re all going somewhere.” Eric clarifies that he was asking why she’s packing her things. Ruth tells him that she’s leaving the group and doesn’t belong here. He asks if she’s sure and she responds simply that she is “sure for now.” Eric reluctantly tells her that he came to apologize for what he did to her while under Pierce’s employ. Ruth tells him “You’re not what you think you are.” He tells her that she’s said that before but adds that he thinks he’s going to try to be better. Ruth answers “I know.” Ink says “You do?” Blindfold tells him again “I know your path continues.”
Anole is still invisible during his talk with Dani Moonstar. He asks if Ruth is gone and Dani replies that she won’t be with the team day-to-day and that she really isn’t combat material anyway. Anole notes the distinction and asks if this team she’s assembling is going to be a combat team. Earlier, Dani and Roberto had a similar discussion with the team members themselves. Sunspot explains that they are going to be a team that can defend themselves and others. Dani adds that Pierce was right about one thing: They are X-Men. Rockslide asks why they don’t get their own costumes then. Dust chides him for being rude. Ink asks if this is the whole team. Santo asks why he cares. Eric replies “maybe I’m just hoping the jerk ratio’ll improve.” Rockslide says back “Well, that’s easy. Just leave.” Ink’s response is “How ‘bout you make me?” Santo pulls back his fist, more than ready to oblige. Someone calls out his name to stop him and he stalks off after saying “Screw this” and suggesting that Ruth might have the right idea in leaving.
Dani tells Victor that she’s worried about Santo. Victor tells her that he’s worried about all of them. Dani senses his hesitance and adds “But?” to which Anole replies that he thinks they should be joining him rather where he is and away from all this craziness. Moonstar asks if he thinks forming this team with these kids is a mistake. Victor tells her bluntly that he thinks they are making a mistake by not letting them just be kids. Dani is equally candid and tells him that she doesn’t get to decide how the world works, none of them do. Victor begins to become more visible and says “Yeah, I’m getting that feeling.” Dani continues with her sales pitch and says that they can make a difference in the world. “With great power, comes great blah blah blah?” Victor says back at her. Dani casually replies “It’s been suggested.” Victor counters her argument by asking about a person’s responsibility to themselves and trying to live a normal life. Dani says that she isn’t sure that that’s an option for any of them. She points out that she’s now powerless and it still isn’t an option for her.
She adds that as far as “quality of life” goes, she hasn’t even had a chance to mention the X-Men’s new location. Victor assumes New York or maybe Long Island. Dani tells him to try three thousand miles due west. She describes the X-Men’s new home as one of the country’s most densely populated cities, one known for “its tolerance of mutants … and other minorities.” “Oh, yeah?” Victor asks as he becomes fully visible and is revealed for the first time. “So what’s the name of this city?” Dani replies “San Francisco.”

Characters Involved: 

Anole, Blindfold, Dust, Graymalkin, Ink, Rockslide (all Young X-Men)

Beast, Cyclops, Emma Frost Nightcrawler, Wolverine (all X-Men)

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

Donald Pierce

In flashback:

Charles Xavier, Sunspot, Karma

Story Notes: 

Note: Throughout this issue, a conversation is taking place between two unseen persons. The final pages reveal the speakers to be Danielle Moonstar and Victor Borkowski AKA Anole. They are discussing the recent events that have transpired involving the Young X-Men and their transition to San Francisco following the revelation that the team was formed by Donald Pierce while disguised as Cyclops. This is used as a framing device with the artwork depicting the story being told.

According to the Mental Health America website, “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a traumatic event. A traumatic event is a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood.” The core cast of YOUNG X-MEN has lived through a pretty horrific series of events since M-Day. This includes the depowering of their friends and classmates, witnessing the mass murder of dozens of these friends, being stranded in the hellish realm of Limbo, having their school and home destroyed and now being manipulated by a villain into committing crimes and watching yet another friend murdered before their eyes.
Cannonball was employed by Donald Pierce in his very first appearance in MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #4. He attacked Professor X and Wolfsbane under Pierce’s orders but refused to take part in killing them when Pierce ordered him to do so. He was then offered a spot among the New Mutants and eventually, the team forgave him for his past deeds as Pierce’s henchman.
Ink’s affiliation with Pierce and subsequent choice to leave his employ is clearly paying homage to Cannonball’s situation among the original New Mutants team. This parallel plot was used in the second NEW MUTANTS ongoing series as well. Josh Foley AKA Elixir started out as an anti-mutant recruit among Pierce’s Reavers organization. After his mutant powers manifested, he joined the New Mutants training squad at the Xavier Institute as shown in NEW MUTANTS (2nd series) #5-6.
The X-Men have a history of taking in mutants who have committed crimes in their past. Rogue joined the team in UNCANNY X-MEN #171 after a lengthy stint as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The X-Men have tried to rehabilitate both Mystique and Sabretooth on various occasions. Both were part of the X-Men’s active team rosters just prior to the Messiah Complex story arc in which they betrayed the X-Men once again to pursue their own agendas.
Pierce refers to “Dog Boy” in his conversation with Dust. He is clearly referring to Nicholas Gleason AKA Wolf Cub who he killed in YOUNG X-MEN #5.
Danielle makes reference to San Francisco’s history of tolerance for “mutants… and other minorities.” By “other minorities” she is clearly alluding to the city’s reputation as a mecca for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. This is clearly meant to be a “selling point” in her pitch to Anole given the fact that he is gay. San Francisco has been shown to embrace mutants as well on numerous occasions when the X-Men have visited.

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