Generation X (1st series) #40

Issue Date: 
July 1998
Story Title: 
Pride & Penance !

Larry Hama (writer), Terry Dodson (penciler), Rachel Dodson (inker), RS/Comicraft/LA (letters), Felix Serrano (colors), Ruben Diaz (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

The critically wounded Synch is now in the hospital being checked over by a physician. The doctor tells them it wasn’t a car accident, as they expected, but that he was brutally beaten. Everett, while in a coma, unconsciously synchs up with Emma as she walks in the room, displaying massive telekinetic abilities. Everyone in the room is affected accept the autistic twin Claudette, who negates the effects of his borrowed powers with her own unknown abilities. Then, Everett synchs up with the twins, which unexpectedly brings him out of his coma. Chief Authier comes in with Dorian and Weasel to show them what they had done to the boy, but Synch strangely denies that they were the ones to beat him up. After they leave Synch tells Nicole that she has to tell the rest of the team the secret about the “real” Monet, as he had found out when he synched with them. Later, back at the school, Nicole tells the story of how her brother Marius, better known as Emplate, turned Monet into Penance as punishment for her not wanting to be partners with him to conquer a reality. Nicole and Claudette walked in the room after the transformation, and banished Emplate to another dimension. Penance followed along since he was the only person who could change her back. To make up for her older sister’s disappearance, the twins merged and took her place. After this touching story Nicole is determined to make things right with her older sister, and after joining with Claudette, they merge with Penance, releasing the real Monet. Now free, the real Monet feels guilty that her little sisters are now trapped in the form of Penance, since only her brother can reverse the terrible curse. In space, a long time enemy of Emma Frost materializes on an alien ship, using her mutant powers to transform the life forms into her dwarf slaves. She orders the ship to go to Massachusetts so that she can settle a score with Emma for imprisoning her in another dimension.

Full Summary: 

In a quiet hospital room in Massachusetts, Dr. Singh examines the comatose body of Everett Thomas, better known as Synch of Generation X. Some of his concerned teammates surround his bed, talking under their breath about recently made decisions. Husk tells Sean that they shouldn’t have left Synch in the other dimension, but he tells her that they had no choice. Dr. Singh analyzes Everett’s condition, telling the team through a series of medical terms that he hasn’t sustained much internal damage, but he is still in a coma. Sean asks the doctor what kind of a person would run down a child and leave them in the road, but the doctor quickly quells that theory. She tells them that his injuries are not consistent with a car accident, but with that of a beating. Everyone in the room gasps in shock. Just then, Emma enters the room with Jono and the twins. She asks if she had heard the situation correctly, and Sean tells her that it is so and perhaps she should take the twins outside.

Before she can react, Everett’s unconscious mind synchs up with Emma’s abilities. Sean and Emma become worried because Everett can now utilize Emma’s psi-powers in his coma state. Dr. Singh, while watching the brain monitor, notices a mysterious spike in Everett’s brain activity. The activity increases sharply, spiking off of the graph. Suddenly, the clock and plant located on Everett’s bedside table explode. A flower of energy blossoms on his forehead as everyone in the room is levitated off of the floor; everyone except one. Banshee asks Emma if she can stop what Everett is doing, but she tells him that it is too risky to muck around in someone’s mind when they are in such a delicate state as Everett; she could accidentally kill him.

The only unaffected person, the autistic twin Claudette, silently walks over to Everett. She places her hand on his forehead, neutralizing the psychic energy. As an immediate effect, everyone plummets from the ceiling, landing harshly on the floor. Dr. Singh gets up with amazement in her eyes; she has just witnessed a true telekinetic and it must be reported immediately. Emma, now on her feet, psychically influences the doctor. She orders the doctor to forget what she has just seen and to go into the doctor’s lounge to read the latest issue of Lancet.

Husk and Jubilee question Claudette on what she did to Everett and why she wasn’t affected by the telekinetic display. Her sister Nicole answers for her, reproaching the girls for the silliness. Don’t they remember that Claudette is autistic and can’t answer any questions? Before Nicole can finish her sentence, the comatose Everett strikes again with his synching power, this time copying the twins. Jubilee sarcastically says that this turn of events is fantastic, since they don’t even know what the twins’ abilities are yet. Everett answers her, saying that he knows not only what their powers are, but also a lot more to boot! The team marvels at his miraculous recovery. He tells them that he has a pounding headache, and that it must be the residual effects of using Emma’s psychic abilities after they were intensified and distorted by the twins’ mysterious powers; even though he isn’t concentrating, he is picking up everyone’s thoughts.

Sean and Emma are worried about what information he received from poking through their brains, Paige and Jubilee are concerned about the unknown powers that he received from the twins, and Jono and Skin are wondering who beat him up and what they are going to do about it. But through this flood of information Synch wants to know one thing; what happened to Gaia. Several of the team wonders of whom he is talking about, so he explains that Gaia was the girl chained to the Universal Amalgamator in the other dimension that they just returned from.

Chief Authier interrupts Everett’s monologue with his two suspected abusers, Dorian and Weasel. The chief says that he is glad that Everett is up and about and that he brought the boys down to “rub their noses in their dirty work.” The boys vehemently deny any involvement in the malicious assault, and surprisingly Everett backs up their claim. He tells the chief that he must have been disoriented and fallen down to receive his injuries. Dorian and Weasel storm off telling the chief that next time he should get his facts straight before he goes accusing innocent citizens.

Dr. Singh walks back into the room wondering why she had the sudden compulsion to read Lancet. She is flabbergasted at Everett, wondering when he came out of his coma and why he is out of bed. In a calm voice, Everett tells her that he is just looking for his clothes so that he can return home. Dr. Singh says that he is doing no such thing, since he has to stay at the hospital for at least three days for observations. In a very odd manner, the doctor stops mid-sentence and says with a smile that she doesn’t see any reason why he cannot go home today. It would probably ease his recovery to be in familiar surrounding with friends.

Outside of the room, Banshee tells Emma that she is getting carried away with the “mind-zappin’”, but Emma backs up her actions with the fact that they needed to get out of there. Besides, what would Sean have done, yell at her? Now in a wheelchair, Everett tells the twins that when they get back to the academy that they have something important to say to everyone. Nicole asks if Everett went in their heads and found out to which he affirmatively replies.

Later, back at the Massachusetts Academy, the team sits around in the living room, while Nicole prepares to tell her story. Everett coaxes her on, prodding her to tell about the real Monet. Jubilee is dumbfounded; isn’t the combined form of the twins the real Monet? Emma silences her so that Nicole can tell her story. The young girl tells the team that she didn’t even know most of the tale until she merged with her brother Emplate, and she was privy to his most secluded memories.

In a beautiful house beside the coast in Monaco, Monet St. Croix is paid a visit by her older brother, Marius. He sits shrouded in darkness in a chair in the corner. Monet questions his brother on his proposition as she sits brushing her hair. He corrects her that it is not a proposition; it is a favor. He is going to do her a big favor. He states that he has been to the end of time itself and opened doorways to unimaginable worlds. Then, Marius tells his sister that he knows about her special gifts, and he wants her to join forces with him. First they would conquer his alternate reality and later return and rule over their home reality as well.

Monet throws him a look of pure incredulousness, telling him that he is pathetic. She points out what he had to sacrifice to attain power, namely his looks, and how he cannot even walk down the street without making people sick. How can he expect her to give up her luxurious lifestyle to reign over a realm of freaks, and then return looking like him just to have their friends laughing at them? Monet breaks out into a spasm of laughter, angering her brother’s delicate temperament. He rises from his chair in a fit of rage yelling that he has tolerated her arrogance and superiority all of his life and he is fed up. Does she even realize how caustic her remarks can be? How her very voice unleashes hurt inside of him? Now she will pay for her insolence and she will still be his. Monet retorts with a scathing remark about her brother’s appearance and his sanity.

That comment was the final straw for Marius as he lashes out at her with a sample of the power he has attained. Beams of energy swirl around Monet, transforming her beautiful body into the razor-sharp monstrosity of Penance. With an air of superiority, Marius taunts his sister that she could have ruled with him, but now she is only fit to frighten children, or better, to serve him. He asks her if she protests to this statement, but then tells her that she cannot since she has no voice. Cruelly, he orders her to sit down, knowing fully what is going to happen. The shocked girl sits on her vanity, only to tear into it with her razor-edged fingers. Marius laughs at his demented joke, telling her that now her tongue is truly sharp and she should consider this transmutation her penance.

Just then, Nicole and Claudette walk into the room carrying a piece of glowing chalk. Nicole questions her brother on his visit, since their father has forbidden him from ever coming back to their home. She also asks what he has done to Monet and who this new creature is. Marius taunts his sisters, saying that Monet is gone forever and they will never see her smirking face again. Penance silently watches the spectacle. In her own little world, Claudette kneels on the floor, quietly drawing a circle around her brother with her piece of chalk. Marius apprehensively asks what his autistic sister is doing and Nicole tells him that she is opening a doorway to send him to a bad place forever. Claudette finishes the circle, which then begins to glow a brilliant orange. It sucks Marius into its depths, but he screams out a final sentence as he faces his banishment. He bids Penance to come with him, for only he can return her to former body. Obediently, Penance plunges through the portal right before it closes forever.

Her task complete, Claudette returns to the world inside of her mind; leaving Nicole to bear the seriousness of the situation. The meaning of her brother’s words had just had an impact upon the girl, sending her into a panic. What will they do? Monet, the favorite of their father’s children, has disappeared! He will be heartbroken! But just then an idea pops into her head on how to replace their sister.

Nicole finishes her story. That day she had decided to merge with her sister to impersonate the lost Monet, but they had no way of really knowing that their sister was by their side in the form of Penance. And since Emplate had placed some kind of mental inhibitors into her mind to keep her from talking, the secret remained. Just then, the no longer enigmatic girl walks into the room.

Nicole, in tears, talks to her older sister about the kind of pain that she must have endured. All that she suffered through, and yet she was not bitter; she even watched over the twins when they were in a coma. Nicole makes up her mind to repay her sister for all of her kindness and suffering. She grabs her twin sister’s hand, merging their young bodies into the form of Monet. Then, Monet walks across the room and grabs the hand of Penance, merging forms with her as well. For an instant, the two forms stay as one until they split apart. In the dissipating swirls of energy the real Monet stands along side Penance, marveling at her old body. The moment of joy does not last long though as Monet realizes that now her little sisters are now trapped in the form of Penance.

In the not-so-far reaches of outer space on the dark side of the moon, an alien craft is receiving fire. A crewman states that it must be from plasma weapons, but the captain quickly corrects him saying that the energy signature is indicative of an ion flux. The crewman states that such an energy signature would signify a reality warp anomaly. Sure enough, right as the words leave his mouth an ivory skinned woman materializes on board, complementing their ship. The aliens decide to shoot the strange being, but to no avail. The woman, identifying herself as Bianca Laneige, retaliates using her mutant abilities to transmute their alien bodies into those of her faithful dwarves: Warpy, Stinky, Windy, Spikey, Greasy, Brainy, and Blurry. Bianca removes the hood off of her cape, saying that now the aliens are much more useful to her. She orders them to turn the ship around. Sitting in the captain’s chair, she reminisces about her recent escape from the rogue dimension that she was imprisoned in. Brainy interrupts her mad soliloquy to ask for a heading. She replies that they are heading to Snow Valley, Massachusetts so that she can settle an old score with the woman who imprisoned her in the other dimension; her former compatriot of the Hellfire Club, Emma Frost.

In Massachusetts, Jubilee and Husk try to console Monet on the twins’ decision. They took the form of Penance because they loved their sister. Plus, now that they know how Penance came into being they can look for a way to help. Monet tells the girls that the only way to help Penance is to force Emplate to reverse his spell. Paige wonders out loud what it is like for two minds to merge into a single consciousness and whether or not they take turns being in control. Penance silently stares out the window, a trait reminiscent of the autistic Claudette.

In another part of the living room, Chamber and Skin talk to Everett about his recent lie to Chief Authier. They warn him that he better not be thinking about getting even by himself because that is a decision that the boys cannot back up. Synch reassures them that revenge is the last thing on his mind, in fact, now he is only worried about Gaia. He decides that he is going to go and ask Monet, who was in the form of Penance at the time, what became of the girl.

Sean and Emma watch the contemplative Penance as she looks at the stars. Sean wonders what is going on in the girl’s head, and Emma politely offers to find out for him. Sean tells her that they have no right to invade her privacy like that, and more than likely her thoughts are no more harmless than the falling star that has caught her attention. Little do they know that that falling star is actually the ship of Bianca Laneige.

Characters Involved: 

Chamber, Husk, Jubilee, M II / Penance I, Penance II / Claudette and Nicole St. Croix, Skin, Synch (all Generation X)
Banshee, White Queen (Generation X‘s teachers and tutors)
Leech, Artie Maddicks (wards of Generation X)

Tracy Authier
Dorian, Weasel
Dr. Singh

Bianca Laneige
Blurry, Brainy, Greasy, Spikey, Stinky, Warpy, and Windy (all “dwarfs” of Bianca)

In flashback:
Marius St. Croix

Story Notes: 

The origin of Penance was originally planned for her to be a Yugoslavian refugee, as seen in a brief scene in Generation X (1st series) #12 when Emma invaded her mind. The plan was dropped, however, due to change in writers.

Synch was brutally beaten by Dorian and Weasel (even though he denies it was them) last issue.

The twins, Nicole and Claudette, were first revealed to be portraying Monet in Generation X (1st series) #31 where they were separated into their separate parts by an enormous explosion and placing them in a coma. Later, in Generation X (1st series) #34, the twins awoke to the sound of their brother Emplate’s voice and merged with him to form the villainous M-plate. That being became separated into its three parts in Generation X (1st series) #39, which brings us to where we are now.

Emplate was revealed to be the brother of M (and therefore of Claudette and Nicole) in Generation X (1st series) #12.

Gaia was the key to the Universal Amalgamator, a weapon of unimaginable strength that could join all sentient beings in the universe into a single collective consciousness. M-Plate planned to use the weapon to create a “god-head” of which he/she would rule over, but Gaia would not comply. Later, when the Citadel was breaking apart, Synch stayed behind, along with Penance, to free the chained girl. In turn, she helped them escape from the reality via a portal that was hidden under her altar. When they returned, she ran away to explore her newfound freedom. [Generation X (1st series) #36-39]

Written By: