Generation X (1st series) #52

Issue Date: 
June 1999
Story Title: 
Secret Identities

Jay Faerber (writer), Terry Dodson (pencils), Rachel Dodson (inks), Kevin Pinsley (colors) RS & Comicraft (letters), Jason Liebig (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Tristan Brawn blackmails Generation X: he knows that they are mutants! He reveals how he discovered the fact, but promises not to tell anyone unless Paige goes out on a date with him. Not wanting to go deeper into this because they have classes, the kids promise to continue the conversation later. Sean splits up the group and has Jubilee, Chamber and M attend a guest lecture from Colossus, who has dropped by to teach all the students about art. At the same time, Synch, Skin and Husk are introduced by to old friend of Sean, none other than Tom Corsi! From now on, Tom will teach the kids how to better use their mutant powers outside battle. His first class spotlights Paige, and he successfully teaches her how to turn her body into a full glass form. When the class is ended, Tom gets called to Emma’s office, where he, Emma, Sean and Adrienne have a meeting about the kids. Tom thinks they are great, except for Angelo, whom he thinks might be a troublemaker. Suddenly, Adrienne freaks out when she suddenly sees cartoon versions of Spider-Man and Dr. Doom! Emma soon understands what’s going on and visits Artie and Leech, and lectures them that the image inducers she gave them earlier are not toys. Sean gets a phone call from Cannonball, who reports that Siryn has been injured and Sean leaves to San Fransisco to be with his daughter. After class, it’s been announced that there’s going to be a school dance soon. Jubilee hopes that Everett will ask her. Later that day, Tristan promises that he’ll keep his word, and Paige agrees to go out with him. A few hours later, Jubilee goes out to jog a little, and in the woods finds a heavily injured Paladin! And he wants to see Adrienne.

Full Summary: 

Tristan Brawn has arrived at the school, and has learned that Jono, Paige, Jubilation, Monet, Angelo and Everett are all… mutants! Tristan confronts them about his discovery. Everett tries to deny it, but Tristan knows the truth: he has seen them in their red and yellow costumes and, even more, he has seen them using their powers! The kids are startled.

Meanwhile, Emma enters the attic, which Artie and Leech have transformed into a huge playroom. Emma mentions that she just came to check on them, knowing how frustrating this new situation might be, as with all these new human students, she thinks that Artie and Leech probably don’t like the fact that they have to live on the attic. Leech corrects Emma, as they wouldn’t know why they would ever leave the attic, where they can play all the time.

Emma smiles and understands, but knows that Leech and Artie are probably going to get cabin fever soon and, when that day comes, she thinks they better be prepared so that the human students don’t get scared of them. Therefore, Emma has thought of a solution. She takes two image inducers out of her bag, and promises Artie and Leech to show how they work, but makes it clear to them that the inducers aren’t toys. Leech and Artie smile.

At the same time, Tristan explains himself. He reveals that he didn’t have many friends when growing up, and spend most of his time alone. So he wandered off in the woods around the school, and that’s where he found both Chamber and Synch, talking. Synch remembers. He had synched Jono’s powers, and showed them how easy it was to fly with them. Everett was confident that, with a little practice, Jono would be able to fly as well. Jono doesn’t think so, recalling that Everett didn’t have the little incident when he blew off half his face when his mutant powers manifested themselves.

Everett suggests Jono that he just needs to concentrate on providing a downward thrust through his hands, which will lead him into the air. Jono thinks he’s got it. However, when doing that, he just blows a hole into the snow! Jono finds it humiliating that Everett is using his powers better than he is. And, Jono mocks, they are supposed to learn to use their powers better, which he clearly isn’t doing. Everett tries to cheer Jono up, and promises that they are in this together and will keep practicing. Synch asks Jono if he can teach him how to play the guitar. Jono thinks that just sounds patronizing.

Tristan stops his story, but tells Jono and Synch that they should have been more careful, and that he saw the whole thing. Tristan admits that he has been watching the mutants, and has seen them training their powers when they thought they were alone. Jubilee gets angry and smacks Everett on his head, shouting and wanting to know why they didn’t just use the Danger Room. Everett remembers her that Sean won’t let them use the Danger Room unsupervised. Paige tells them to knock it off, as they’ve got more immediate problems at hands. Everett agrees, and apologizes.

Monet tells Tristan that, if he has saw them use their powers, he knows that she could just as easily prevent him from spoiling their secret by dropping a train on his head. Tristan is confident that M can’t do that, but she claims she can. Angelo wants to know why Tristan told them he knows their secret, but Jono thinks he just wants to blackmail them. Tristan smiles that he won’t; he promises to keep their secret under one condition: that Paige goes out with him on a date!

Paige explains that she won’t be treated like someone’s trophy, and prefers her company honest. Tristan tells her that they don’t have a choice but to trust him, and he doesn’t see the harm of getting a date with a pretty girl out of this situation. Chamber gets angry and starts defending Paige and almost attacks Tristan, but Paige has heard enough and holds Jono back, having had enough of him, claiming that her welfare isn’t Jono’s business anymore. Everett changes the subject and draws Paige away, telling Tristan that they’ve got classes coming up, but promise they’ll have Paige consider his request.

Some time later, the kids are in class, where Colossus gives a guest lecture in art. One of the students, Randall, doesn’t understand it. Peter smiles and mentions that art isn’t about thoughts, but about emotions. And, in order for someone to tap their emotions, they must become invested in the piece they are creating. While Peter continues lecturing his class, Jubilee, Jono and Monet are talking telepathically to each other, with the help of Monet’s powers. He has noticed how much Paige has changed recently, and thinks she is only interested in Tristan because he’s rich. Jubilee agrees, and thinks that Paige is more interested in boys nowadays than in doing her homework, like she used to be. Jono suspects that Paige is only doing this out of spite because of him.

Monet tells her friends to knock it off, as she didn’t connect them telepathically just to hear them whining about Paige. Jubilee corrects M, and telepathically shouts at her that this isn’t about Tristan and Paige, but about their secret that hangs on the balance. Peter overhears the kids, and stops his lesson. He walks over to them, and mentions that he didn’t come from Westchester to give this lecture just so that this school’s “star pupils” can ignore him. Jubilee tries to defend herself, but Peter gently silences her. He reveals that during his time with the X-Men, he has spent a lot of time around telepaths, and knows when someone is “mind-speaking.” He suggests that, in the future, the kids show a little more respect for their teachers.

Meanwhile, Sean has gathered Paige, Everett and Skin in the Danger Room, and would like to introduce them to their new physical development instructor, namely Tom Corsi. Like Sean, Tom is an ex-police officer and even helped out the New Mutants back when they were little kids at Xavier’s school. Sean mentions that he and Tom met each other after a battle on Muir Island some time ago and, during that time, shared some war stories with each other. They had kept in touch ever since.

And since Sean and the two other headmasters have to spend more of their time with the other, human students now, they thought it might be a good idea to bring someone in who is specialized in the development of mutant powers. Tom will also make sure that the Danger Room capabilities will remain secret. Sean adds he split the kids up, because Tom wanted to get to know them in smaller groups, so he could spend some quality time with them and meet the other members of Generation X after their classes. Sean mentions he’s got a meeting to attend and leaves. Tom cuts to the chase, and tells the kids that they can think of him as a cross between Magneto and a drill sergeant, and asks them if they’re ready to start working.

Later, Jubilee, Jono and Monet have finished their class. They notice a group of kids hanging around the same spot and staring enthusiastic to a wall. Jono is surprised to what’s going on, so Jubilee goes to check it out. She rushes through the other kids, and reads on a poster there’s going to be a dance at the Proudstar Hall. Jubilee dislikes the idea, but wonders what Everett will look like in a tuxedo.

Suddenly, all the girls notice Jono and think he looks cute, but notice his scarf around his mouth and think he had a motorcycle incident or something. Jono, unable to talk himself out of it, begs Monet for help. She giggles, but helps him out anyway. One of the girls think that Jono uses sign language, like a mute, and tries it out. Jono, unable to do so, does some sign languages, but ends up putting his fingers like Spider-Man does when he fires his webs. The girls believe that it’s real sign language and find it romantic. Monet cuts in, explaining to the girls that Jono just signed that he must go now, and has to go scrub down the pus-filled sores under his bandages. The girls think that’s gross, and aren’t that much in love anymore. Jono shouts at Monet that she wasn’t of much help! She laughs.

Meanwhile, Tom tests out Paige’s powers, and wants her to shed her skin on his mark. He tells her to begin. Paige does it, but Tom wants her continue shedding her skin over and over again, without a break. The sheds end in different colors, and Paige tells Tom that she can’t go on like this without a break, as it hurts. But Tom asks her not to give up, and to just concentrate. Paige listens, and continues shedding her skin. Tom is pleased and thinks they’re almost there.

Paige is startled: she has shed her skin into glass! Tom explains that he read about Paige’s powers, and realized she probably never tried this out before. Everett congratulates Paige. He doesn’t know what use the glass body will be in a battle, but likes the thought of having the option. Paige corrects Everett that isn’t the point, as she knows that Tom is only trying to develop their powers. She knows that there is more to their powers than to just use them in battles, though it rarely seems like that.

Tom fully agrees with that statement. He reveals that, when Sean filled him in on how each of the kids has developed in their time at the Academy, he has to admit to be kind of shocked. Tom came to the conclusion that, with the short time that the kids have been there, they have experienced more growth. Skin thinks that’s more than normal, and doesn’t see how a non-mutant like Tom makes him an expert on mutant powers. Tom admits that Angelo has got him there. Tom mentions that during his time on Muir Island, he studied a lot on Moira MacTaggert’s research. So, he guesses one could say that Tom is self-taught, and Tom jokes that he could give most field experts a good run for their money.

Afterwards, Tom is called to a meeting with Sean, Emma and Adrienne. His first impression with the kids was great, but he thinks that Angelo is kind of a troublemaker. Sean corrects that that was just a first impression, and defends that Angelo is a good kid, but just a little bit harder than the others, as he has had a rough life. He explains that being a mutant is hard enough for a kid, but it’s even worse when their family disowns them for it.

Suddenly, Adrienne notices a cartoon character version of Spider-Man outside, and it stands behind Sean! Surprised, Sean turns around, but doesn’t see anything and doesn’t know what Adrienne is talking about. Adrienne calms down, thinking it was nothing and writes it off as being a headmistress is tougher than she thought it would be. Adrienne asks Tom if he really thinks that Angelo is going to be a problem. If so, they maybe need to talk about installing disciplinary measures. Sean remembers that he and Emma always disliked that idea, but realizes they might have been too soft about that.

There it is again! Adrienne shouts that she just saw another cartoon character, this time looking like Dr. Doom, and it ran across the lawn! Emma hears her sister mentioning the cartoon characters, and has an idea about what might be going on. Meanwhile, “Spider-Ham” and “Ducktor Doom” are running upwards the attic. Unfortunately, they are not alone, and panic a bit. Emma has been waiting for them. She tells the boys that she thought they had an understanding. The two push on their image inducers, and transform back into Artie and Leech!

Adrienne tells Sean that she just thinks that their aversion to actual discipline could very well be the cause of why students like Angelo have attitude problems. Suddenly, the phone rings. Adrienne picks it up, and it’s Sam Guthrie, who asks for Sean. Adrienne recalls the “Guthrie” name, and wonders if he’s related to Paige. Tom remembers Sam and that he’s Paige’s older brother, and part of X-Force. Tom is also aware that Sean’s daughter, Siryn, is part of said group. Sean hangs up the phone, and looks upset. He explains that Theresa has been hurt, and that he has to go to San Francisco to be with her.

Some time later, the kids meet up outside with Tristan. He wants to know what’s going on. Jubilee explains that they won’t let Tristan blackmail them. Sure, today he wants a date with Paige, but how can they know that Tristan wants more tomorrow? Tristan explains to Jubilee that he has been attending private schools like this one for all his life, except they didn’t tutor mutants. And they had all one thing in common: an honor code. And that is not just something Tristan believes in, he embraces it. His word is his bond and he gives the kids his word that they have got nothing to fear from him.

Paige is impressed, and… she will go out on a date with Tristan! What?! Jubilee thinks that Paige has gone nuts, since they don’t even know who Tristan really is. Paige jokes that they have fought the Sentinels, Emplate and Gene Nation together. She doesn’t see the harm in one date. While the girls talk, Everett, Angelo and Jono drag Tristan away, wanting to have a word with him. While the boys go, Jubilee mocks Paige that she’s finally interested in someone besides Jono, and it turns out to be in someone who’s blackmailing them!

Chamber tells Tristan that, though he would like to, he can’t stop Paige from going out with him. But, he promises Tristan this: if he hurts her or even gives Paige the slightest discomfort, Jono will demonstrate his powers on him!

Later that night, Jubilee jogs. She is really thrilled about the dance, as, with Gaia now gone, there’s a good chance that Everett might ask her out. She smiles at how jealous that would make Monet, as Jubilee is certain that Monet likes Everett, seeing how they took off together the other day in Boston. Jubilee continues her jogging, until a voice calls out for help, and… wants to see Adrienne!

The badly injured, and costumed man collapses, and is revealed to be… Paladin! Adrienne sure has got some explaining to do…

Characters Involved: 

Banshee, Chamber, Emma Frost, Husk, Jubilee, M, Skin, Synch (all Generation X)

Adrienne Frost

Colossus (X-Men)

Artie Maddicks/Spider-Ham
Leech/Ducktor Doom

Tom Corsi


Tristan Brawn
various other human students including Randall (others unnamed)

Story Notes: 

Tristan Brawn arrived at the school last issue.

Also the first appearance of the human student called Randall, but his surname is never revealed.

There are quite a few telepaths among the X-Men, as for example Professor Xavier himself, Jean Grey and Psylocke, and Peter did spend a lot of time with each one of them, so his logic of knowing when someone is speaking telepathically is sound.

This is Tom Corsi’s first appearance in the title. He was contacted by Banshee to become a teacher at the school, as seen in Generation X (1st series) #50.

The “Muir Island” battle Banshee mentions during Tom’s introduction, is “The Muir Island Saga,” a huge battle with all the X-teams at the time, who fought the Shadow King together. The Shadow King had created an army of slaves of former allies and friends of the X-teams, and Tom Corsi was one of the King’s victims. Luckily they were returned back to normal after the Shadow King was defeated. However, it was never shown that Sean and Tom spent time talking to each other later, apparently happening off-panel, most likely when the other X-Men were trying to bring Professor Xavier back to reality.

Tom originally agreed to work together with Xavier’s to deal with the fact that his body was transformed into that of a Native American Indian, as seen in New Mutants (1st series) #16. To fill his time, he agreed with Xavier to spend his time among the faculty staff and teach the young New Mutants to train their powers. However, during the Morlock Massacre, a lot of Morlocks ended up badly injured, and Tom helped heal them. With the Morlocks unable to stay at the X-Mansion, Tom agreed to help transfer them to Moira’s medical lab back on Muir Island, and stayed there until the Shadow King battle. After said battle, he apparently withdrew as faculty staff or nurse, and acted as a school bus driver, but resigned that job after an attack of the Acolytes. Tom was not seen again until this issue.

On one panel, Paige incorrectly addresses Everett as “Angelo,” Skin’s real name. However, when he makes the remark of Paige being able to change her body into glass and not being sure what good it will do in a battle, does sound more than what Angelo would say then Everett, so the text balloons are probably accidentally switched, making this an editorial mistake. And on another panel, Chamber is seen talking in a “normal text balloon” and not with the telepathic one like usual.

The Artie and Leech imitations of both Spider-Ham and Docktur Doom are joke references to an old ‘80’s Spider-Man title, namely Peter Porker: the Spectacular Spider-Ham! Those were comedic stories with anthropomorphized animal versions of standard Marvel characters, with the main character always being Spider-Ham, an alternate version of Spider-Man. Each individual also had an extra long nose (really a snout), which was the common use for the universe. Even Magneto had an appearance once, under the name of “Nagneto” and the X-Men were referred to as “the Uncanny X-Bugs.” [Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham #2-3]

Banshee meets up with Siryn in X-Force (1st series) #91, though in that issue it’s incorrectly stated that Warpath contacted Sean, and not Sam like said in this issue. Prior X-Force (1st series) #91, Feral severed Theresa’s vocal chords during a battle, making her lose her sonic scream powers, and remained mute for a while. The solution to the problem was eventually found by Deadpool, who made a deal with the terrorist group called the Watchtower, who used Wolverine’s healing powers to restore Siryn’s powers, as seen in Wolverine (2nd series) #154-155.

Sam Guthrie is of course Cannonball, the leader of X-Force, and indeed Paige’s older brother like Tom mentions. They met when Sam was still a New Mutant, a team of mutants Tom used to teach.

The “Proudstar Hall” which is described on the poster for the upcoming school dance, is probably named after the Proudstar brothers. John Proudstar was the first Thunderbird, who died on his second mission with the X-Men, and James used to be one of Emma’s former Hellion students, who much later also became a member of X-Force and had a love interest for Siryn.

Gaia left last issue. When she and Everett first met, Everett fell in love with her, seeing how they could use their powers together, but he was always too afraid to make his move. He and Monet separated from the other kids when they visited Boston together, and almost kissed. But they never had the chance, as on that moment, Gene Nation attacked, as seen in Generation X (1st series) #50.

Paladin is a mysterious mercenary, sometimes hero and private investigator. His real name and origin are still unknown today, and his major enemies are King Cobra and the Midnight Sons. In the past, he has also clashed with heroes such as Daredevil, Moon Knight and the Punisher, though he also met Excalibur, as seen in Excalibur (1st series) #36.

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