X-Factor (1st series) #218

Issue Date: 
June 2011
Story Title: 

Peter David (writer), Emanuela Lupacchino (pencils), Guillermo Ortega (inks), Matt Milla (colors) VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), David Yardin with Sonia Oback (cover), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Jody LeHeup & Nick Lowe (editors), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Having been shot by Ballistique, Guido is in shock and is bleeding profusely. Horrified, Monet first tends to Guido but then turns her attention to Ballistique, who is still intent on killing Mayor J. Jonah Jameson. Ballistique fires a bullet at Monet, only for Monet to grab it and throw it back to Ballistique with super-strength, effectively shooting her in the head. However, Ballistique quickly recovers, despite the apparent mortal wound, only to be hurled away by Banshee’s sonic scream. Further assistance seems to arrive in the form of two Mandroid units but Ballistique’s cohort Syl unleashes her power in the form of an EMP, rendering them inert and in freefall. Immediately, Monet takes to the sky and catches one but is unable to do so with the second. Fortunately for the Mandroid operator and the crowd below, Guido manages to summon the strength to catch the Mandroid, only for the exertion to further exacerbate his wound and strain his weak heart. Despite the instructions of Mayor Jameson to follow up with his would-be assassins, Monet picks up Guido to fly him to the hospital. On the way, Guido finally professes his love for Monet, just before feinting in her arms. Meanwhile, the Black Cat follows the tracker she placed on Rocky’s body during their fight, intending to follow her to her friends. Unknown to the Cat, however, the tracker has been discovered and Syl intends to use it to their advantage. Later, at the hospital, Madrox arrives, having returned to New York from Virginia via Shatterstar’s teleportation. To his, Monet and Theresa’s horror, they are informed by Doctor Castillo that Guido has died. However, sadness turns to ecstatic confusion when Guido turns out not only to be alive but fully healed. As the group takes in this apparent miracle, Layla Miller watches secretly, wishing to avoid the implication of her presence.

Full Summary: 

Propping himself in a pool of his own blood, Guido clutches the gaping wound in his stomach and weakly surmises to Monet that this is kind of messed up right here. Fretting feverishly by his side, Monet urges him to stay with her. To this, Guido weakly quips that he ain’t in shape… t’go anywhere right now…

Meanwhile, up on a nearby roof, Rocky looks through the scope of her sniper rifle and reports to Syl that she’s got Jameson in her sights. No worries. A moment later, however, Rocky is startled as the Black Cat, previously believed to be knocked out, pulls the handcuffs locked to her wrists over Rocky’s head and pulls back like a garrote.”Well… one worry,” the Black Cat quips. To this, she then adds that in case Rocky is wondering how she got the cuffs around when they were locked behind her back… tricks of the trade.

Before Rocky can react further, the Cat uses the leverage from her stranglehold to flip Rocky over. Her advantage regained, the Black Cat presses a toggle on her wrist. The noise does not go unnoticed by Rocky, who asks what it was. Emergency signal device, the Cat replies, if Rocky must know. A squad of Mandroids is on the way.

Suddenly, a voice comes over Rocky’s headpiece, instructing her to pack it in. Rocky begins to protest, noting that Syl can handle Mandroids but Syle replies that, while they both know that, she’d rather keep that tidbit under wraps for now. She should fall back to the rendezvous point. A short distance away, unaware of the exchange, the Black Cat notes aloud to Rocky that the cuffs broke off. Bad luck for her.

Down below, as Mayor Jameson is ushered away to safety, Monet finally draws her attention away from Guido and to the cause of Guido’s condition, the mysterious blonde. However, Monet quickly realizes that she remembers her and tells Ballistique that she’s that girl… Noelle! The one with… Turning away from Monet and toward the fleeing Jameson, Ballistique interrupts that she can’t relive old times right now. Extending her fingers, Ballistique fires several rounds from them, shattering the windows of the mayor’s limousine. Reeling at the destruction, Jameson notes that the windows had been bullet-proof. Do tell, Ballistique remarks.

I’ll kill you!” Monet exclaims, causing Ballistique to divert her attention from Jameson. Seeing Monet race toward her, Ballistique raises a finger and tells Monet to that she’s sorry for this and follows it with a blast. However, moving faster than the eye, Monet catches the bullet and replies that, while Ballistique is sorry, she is not. With this, Monet hurls the bullet with her hand toward Ballistique, hitting her squarely in the center of Ballistique’s forehead.

As the blonde falls to the sidewalk in a pool of her own blood, Monet returns her attention to Guido. She quickly informs him that she’s dead; she killed her. Barely coherent, Guido is confused as to about whom she is referring. Looking around, Monet then spies Banshee still being held by the police and yells to Jameson to tell his idiot cops to let her up. What kind of operation is he running here… that his people can’t even tell the heroes from the villains.

So focused on the police and trying to raise the bulk of Guido as to get him to the hospital, Monet does not see the wound in Ballistique’s forehead disappear, her eyes open or her raise her outstretched finger toward the two of them. However, now freed by the police, Banshee does see and foregoes an attempt at a warning, instead letting loose a sonic scream. The resulting SHREEEEEE not only bowls over the half dozen officers nearby but knocks Ballistique off her feet and down a flight of stairs to the subway terminal below. Muttering from the bottom of the steps, Ballistique notes that now she’s pissed.

Back on the roof, the Black Cat decides to press her luck against Rocky. Tossing two grappling claws, she suggests to Rocky that they see just how tough that skin of hers is. As the two cables twist around her arms, Rocky hears Syl over her headpiece ask if she is out of there. Trying, Rocky replies. A cat crossed her path. Still oblivious to Rocky’s conversation to a third party, the Black Cat electrifies the cables and thus Rocky. As the electricity flows, the Cat asks her what she thinks of her little taser claws. A moment later with the power subsided, Rocky replies “needs work.” With this, she grabs the cables and uses them to fling the Black Cat off of the roof.

This done, Rocky reports to Syl that she’s out of danger… but halts in mid-sentence as she spies something in the sky. Down below, James spies the same thing and laughs. This is how a mayor guarantees his people are safe! Viewing the two arriving Mandroid units high above, Jameson notes that they don’t need super-powers or masked vigilantes. Good old-fashioned technology gets the job done every time.

A short distance away, Syl steps from her SUV and likewise grins at the Mandroid units. However, hers is more of a maniacal grin. Declaring it fantastic, she interlocks her hands and states that this is going to hurt like hell. A moment later, powerful blue energy blast erupts from her interlocks hands, pushing her backward with enough force to nearly tip her van over. High above, the Mandroids are immediately affected by the energy, both reporting a total systems failure from a possible EMP. So affected, the two armored men begins to plummet to the pedestrian-filled street below.

Acting quickly, Monet takes to the sky, yelling back to Guido that the crowd’ll be crushed if… “Go! Go!” he yells as he attempts to get back to his feet. A few moments later, Monet has grabbed one of the Mandroids by its heel, but finds it difficult to catch the second. She calls out to Banshee to slow him down but she is too far away. Luckily for Monet and everyone else, most of all the Mandroid operator, Guido returns to his feet in time and catches the armored man. However, a moment later, Guido collapses with the inert Mandroid lying atop him. As blood continues to pour from his wound, Guido pleads no… not the heart… not now

Within moments, Monet is by Guido’s side, tossing the Mandroid off of him. She calls out to Banshee, ordering her to call Doctor Castillo and tell her to meet them at St. Vincent’s. Already adjusting her headset, Banshee replies that she’s on it. She then informs Monet that that woman… she’s the one who killed Ryan! Madrox has a positive ID!

Hearing this, Jameson approaches Monet, who seems to be picking up Guido’s massive bulk in her arms. Pointing his finger at her, he tells her that she has a job to finish before she… Interrupting, Monet tells him to hell with his job and to hell with him! There’s something going on he’s not telling them… and so help her God, when she comes back… she’s going to rip it out of his mind! With that, Monet takes to the air, carrying Guido with her. Taking in Monet’s words as she disappears into the skyline, one of the protestors tells the others that he told’em they were terrorists.

Passing over the city below, Guido finds himself being carried by someone a fraction of his size. Speaking weakly, he tells her that the guys in the old neighborhood… they’d be laughing their asses off… Ignoring the jest, Monet tells him to just hang on. It’ll be fine, she promises.

Replying weakly, Guido tells Monet not to be making promises... she can’t keep. Never had… the world’s best ticker… Although… when all’s said and done… mebbe he shouldn’a gotten that haircut… Yeah… that was the mistake. His mistake, Monet counters, is that he’s not saving his strength. To this, Guido replies that he just has strength enough… fer this… I love ya, M. Sure, she rejoins, she loves him too. No, Guido counters, lifting his hand to Monet’s cheek, he means… he really… Never mind, he says, seemingly defeated. Wusn’t… important… As Guido passes out, Monet bites her lip and tilts her head to hide the tear streaking from her eye.

Watching this from a rooftop, the Black Cat notes that there goes a young lady who she wouldn’t want to have angry with her. Then again… she falls into that same category. Now producing a handheld device, the Black Cat remarks that, as for her erstwhile opponent… it wasn’t about tasering her. It was about tagging her so she could find her and her little pals. For a moment, the Cat curses her device as she examines its screen, waiting for it to work. If tracing devices are good enough for Spider, she tells herself, then they’re good enough for… Bingo, she states, seeing a dot appear on its screen. With this, the Black Cat leaps from the roof, announcing that this cat’s got a scent.

At X-Factor headquarters, a gigantic, luminescent “X” erupts into existence on the roof. Emerging from its center with Longshot, Rictor and Longshot, Madrox is pleased that the trip was productive. They have a visual of the woman who killed Jameson’s buddy. Now it’s just a matter of finding her. To that end, he asks Rictor if he thinks he can tap the FBI’s database. Replying that he doesn’t know, that it’s pretty secure, Rictor adds that it could take him a whole ten minutes. Asked by Shatterstar who can such important material be so easily accessed, Rictor replies that there was a soldier in Vietnam who, every night, would insert each bullet he had, one by one, into his rifle. When asked why, he said “cause government SOP means these were made by the lowest bidder. He wants to make sure they fit. When Longshot then asks what his point is, Rictor explains that the feds get what they paid for.

Just as the group reaches the door to the stairwell, Rahne appears. Immediately, Madrox can tell that something is wrong and asks if it’s the baby. Is she…? In tears, Rahne replies no… it’s Guido.

Elsewhere, Syl, Ballistique and Rocky make their escape in their van. Well, that couldn’t have gone more wrong, Ballistique mocks. Behind the wheel, Syl tells Noelle not to get down on herself. She’s rusty, is all. To this, Rocky adds that she’s not the only one. She can’t believe she let that platinum blonde throw her off her game. Cocking her head, Syl adds that what she can’t believe is that Rocky let her get a tracer on her.

Taken aback, Rocky begins to question, but Syl explains that she can sense the pulse coming off her. Speaking to Noelle, Syl tells her to run a debugger over her. A few moments later, Ballistique curses as her wand’s LED flashes, exclaiming that Syl’s right. Enraged, Rocky curses that floozy! It must have been built into her claws when she… Rocky tells Noelle to destroy it, only for a grinning Syl to tell her not to be absurd. Why do that… when they can use it to their advantage? Such as framing her for the murder of their old friend, Doctor Pak?

In the waiting room with Theresa, Monet curses that she feels like she’s spending half her life in hospitals these days. To this, Theresa replies to Monet that he’s going to be all right. Doctor Castillo is the best, and Guido… Hell if anyone is strong enough to…

An expletive stops Theresa in midsentence. In tears, Monet glances up to Theresa and states that it’s her fault. It was a fight, Theresa replies. Things go wrong. She can’t… Resolute, Monet counters that she doesn’t understand. That woman… She…

Monet’s explanation trails with the arrival of Madrox, who immediately asks how Guido is. He’s going to be fine, Theresa explains. She prayed for him. She can’t remember the last time she did that. Madrox replies that he hopes someone was listening. He then asks if they got the shooter, to which Theresa explains that she fell down into a subway station. By the time she got down there after her, she was gone.

Changing subjects, Theresa tells Madrox that Monet’s blaming herself for this and asks that he tell her it’s not… Theresa’s voice trails as her eyes go wide, looking at something over Madrox’s shoulder. Turning around, Madrox regards Doctor Castillo, who looks sorrowful. She tells them that she’s sorry. They did everything they could. The damage… and his heart, it was just… She’s so sorry. Monet, still sitting in her chair, grabs her own neck as she lowers her head, while Theresa buries her head into the chest of Madrox’s, who silently curses.

The silence of the moment is broken by Doctor Castillo’s pager. Before looking at it, she asks the group if Mr. Carosella had any family, but finds something of more importance upon reading the pager’s screen Visibly taken aback, she declares that it’s… impossible.

A few moments later, the four find themselves at the bedside of the still very much alive and smiling Guido Carosella. When the doctor informs him that they thought he was dead, Guido replies that he knows. Elvis says “hi.” Andy Kaufman too. Bummer. Thought for sure he faked it.

Not amused, Doctor Castillo tells Guido that this is nothing to joke about. Guido begins to reply that he ya can’t joke about life and death… however the doctor interrupts. This is more than life and death, she tells him. His wound is completely healed. His heart restarted, apparently on its own. What can he tell her, Guido tells the “doc,” it’s like his mom used to say. “Bless my soul, it’s a miracle.”

Unnoticed by all, a nearby door cracks open, through which Layla Miller tries her best to watch the exchange without being noticed.

Characters Involved: 

Banshee II, Butterfly, M II, Multiple Man, Rictor, Shatterstar, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane (all X-Factor)

Black Cat


J. Jonah Jameson
Mayor’s security detachment

Protestors & bystanders

Doctor Castillo
Hospital staff & visitors

Story Notes: 

Monet met Ballistique weeks before when she showed up to X-Factor under her imposed fake identity of Corporal Noelle Blanc seeking assistance for her PTSD. Monet agreed to help remove a memory, which inadvertently erased the imposed fake identity and resurrected that of Ballistique. [X-Factor (1st series) #210]

Guido has had a long history with heart trouble, starting with his first heart attack in X-Factor (1st series) #111.

Doctor Castillo is the super-hero specialist doctor, who is currently the obstetrician for Wolfsbane.

The Black Cat’s reference to trackers being “good enough for Spider” refers to Spider-Man, who has employed tracking devices keyed to his spider-sense since his early days. [Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #11]

“SOP” is an acronym for Standard Operating Procedure.

Syl references a “Doctor Pak,” who will be seen in the next issue. In that appearance, his name is spelled Pock instead of Pak.

Andy Kaufman was an actor and performance artist known for his deliberate attempts to misdirect his audience into questioning what was real in his performances and what was not. This culminated many to question his death in 1984 as being another performance piece, wondering if he would eventually announce it was a gag.

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