Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #429

Issue Date: 
October 2003
Story Title: 
The Draco - part 1

Chuck Austen (writer), Philip Tan (penciler), Avalon Studios (colorist), Rus Wooten (letterer), Annie Thornton (assistant editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Nightcrawler steals an X-Jet early in the morning and heads for the Isla Des Demonas. Before the X-Men go after him, Iceman’s secret of having a secondary mutation is revealed when one of the school staff finds him in the freezer. The X-Men prepare to go search for Kurt, Xavier revealing that Kurt may not be the only teleporter to go missing recently. As Havok and Annie say their good-byes, Xavier brings Polaris to the infirmary where he is going to conduct a probe to see if anything is wrong with her mentally. Lorna teases Annie until Juggernaut arrives and requests to talk to Xavier. The brothers get into an argument over whether or not Cain can go to Canada to see Squidboy, which turns into a big fight about their past and what Cain’s father did to them both, and how they both reacted wrong. After much discussion, Charles grants Cain permission to go, but only with Northstar. On the Isla Des Demonas, several of the X-Men have an argument, and as the see Kurt, they also get the attention of several deadly looking mutants.

Full Summary: 

Early morning hours at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, home of the mutants collectively known as the X-Men, who have dedicated their lives to protecting those who hate and fear them. Scott Summers, a.k.a. Cyclops, whistles as he walks down one of the lower-level corridors. He doesn’t notice as his teammate Kurt Wagner, a.k.a. Nightcrawler suddenly appears via his teleportation powers outside the hangar bay. Kurt enters his authorization code and the doors open. For some reason, Kurt is naked and seems slightly incoherent. He stares up at the X-Jet and suddenly he doesn’t act like himself, almost like he is trying to resist something, he clutches at his head and struggles with his own actions.

The X-Jet rises up from beneath the basketball court, and startles Wolverine, a.k.a. Logan, (or James Howlett, depending on who you ask and when) who is sitting on top of the roof drinking beer – as one does in the early hours of the morning -. Logan notices Kurt is in the X-jet alone and not that Nightcrawler could hear him, Logan shouts out for him to come back.

In the kitchen, two of the staff are preparing the food for the day. Sanji, a mutant with an animal appearance, asks Hannah, a large overweight woman with four arms, where she is going, reminding her that Xavier wanted ‘some of those puff-pastries’ with the school lunch today, the ones they get from the vendor in Vermont. Hannah tells Sanji that she knows, but is just getting her coat on because she is going to the back of the freezer, reminding Sanji that it is very cold in there. Sanji calls out to Hannah, asking her to bring out two twenty-pound bags of hamburger while she is in there. ‘What am I, your slave? Hannah shouts back at him. Opening the door to the freezer, Hannah gets a shock when she sees Bobby Drake, a.k.a. the attractive young X-Man known as Iceman, suspended in the deep-freeze, which is now filled up with ice he created.

Later, in the office of Charles Xavier, the founder of the X-Men and sometime-headmaster of the Institute, Xavier sits at his desk, surrounded by Warren Worthington the third, also known as the high-flying Archangel, Alex Summers, the recently returned X-Man Havok, Carter Ghazikhanian and Alex’s girlfriend, and Iceman himself. Charles tells Bobby that he should have mentioned his condition to someone sooner, especially as it is a secondary mutation, which is converting his entire body into ice. Bobby protests that he did not want anyone to know, and Warren suggests that nurse Annie should have said something, if she was aware of it.

Bobby tells his best friend to ‘back-off’ as he has a right to privacy. Arms folded across his chest, Warren points out that this is not a “right-to-privacy” issue, which causes Alex to but in and tell Warren it is, as Bobby has a right to decide who knows what about his body. Warren tries to put up a defense, but cannot find anything decent to say. He then tells Bobby that he is sorry, before mentioning that he has gotten a little too used to telling other people what to do. Iceman accepts Archangel’s apology, before quietly adding with a small smile that sometime he needs to be told. With that, Wolverine bursts into the room, and loudly asks if anyone sent Nightcrawler on a mission. Charles Xavier is as shocked as the rest of the X-Men.

Joined by the two “X-girls” Jubilation “Jubilee” Lee and Paige Guthrie, a.k.a. Husk, the X-Men march down a hallway as Charles explains he had been trying to find and assist Nils Steiger, the young mutant who calls himself “Abyss” after he disappeared with Mystique inside him sometime ago. Charles adds that he had been hoping to offer Nils assistance. Getting to the point of his story, Xavier announces that while searching for Nils he discovered several mutant trails from around the globe, all converging on a single point.

Running alongside the X-Men is young Carter Ghazikhanian, Nurse Annie’s mutant son. Havok tells him to go back to the infirmary and be with his mother. Carter protests that it is boring in the infirmary, and Alex insists again that he go to be with his mother. Continuing with his story, Charles explains that the unusual thing about many of the trails is that they are discontinuous, broken lines, which indicates ‘teleporters’ Logan asks. Charles tells him he is correct, and Alex adds that if they find Kurt and the direction he was heading in, then the chances are that there is a connection and that all the mutants are being summoned.

The X-Men all enter a room, and stand on a flat map of the world, large enough for them to walk all over. Logan explains to Alex that this is something new Professor X had been working on while he was “away”, and that they are actually in a sort of conference room in Xavier’s head. Charles apologizes to Alex in case it disorientated him, and adds that he felt it was urgent enough to use instead of wasting time orientating everyone. Alex replies that he will get used to it.

Standing on the map, covered with dotted lines, Charles directs the team’s attention to a yellow triangle on the map, within the triangle is Isla Des Demonas, also where everyone seems to be converging upon. Alex reminds everyone that that is where his old professor, Doctor Havass had an archeological dig where he, Lorna and Kurt visited a few weeks ago. He tells them also that it is where Havass had discovered evidence of an advanced civilization, pre-dating all known civilizations – a mutant civilization.

Meanwhile, near the Isla Des Demonas, off the coast of Florida, a blue-skinned mutant, one that almost looks like a younger noseless version of Kurt Wagner, walks across a beach full of people, playing and bathing in the sun. Blood trickles from the young mutant’s mouth as the humans stare at him and murmur among themselves. A loud noise causes the people on the beach to look up to the sky before scattering, as the X-Jet lands almost on top of them. The ramp opens, and a naked Kurt Wagner stands at the top of it, staring down at the young mutant on the beach.

Back at the Institute, Alex is saying goodbye to Annie in the infirmary. Annie asks him how long he is going to be, and he replies that he will be as long as it takes to find Kurt. Annie looks up longingly at Alex and asks him to be careful and Alex tells her that he will. Annie smiles and tells him that when he gets back he can wear his costume just for her. Alex grins excitedly and asks her what she is going to be wearing. ‘Some of what I have one,’ she smiles back. They stare into each other’s eyes lovingly when the door to the infirmary opens, and through it walks the beautiful Lorna Dane, codenamed “Polaris” wearing a costume which apparently includes power inhibitors, and with Xavier following her she cries out to Alex, her former fiancee, and Annie ‘God, make me puke why don’t you’.

Alex and Annie separate quickly and Havok explains that he and Annie were just saying goodbye. Lorna smiles and mockingly asks if Annie is leaving them. Xavier, somewhat frustrated with one of his earliest students, explains to Lorna that Alex is going to search for Kurt with the others. ‘Wow, that sounds like real important X-Man business. Can I come? I promise I will be good – in-oh-so-many ways’ Lorna remarks viciously. Alex tells Annie he should go, and again, she asks him to be careful.

‘Bye dear! Have a nice day at the office’ Lorna calls back to Alex as Charles wishes him luck. Sternly and annoyed Annie looks at Polaris and Xavier and asks them what she can do for them. Charles proclaims to Annie that Lorna has agreed to let him probe her mind in an effort to understand her emotional problems of late. He tells Annie that he would prefer to do it in the infirmary, adding ‘if you don’t mind Annie’. Innocently, Lorna asks Charles why Annie would mind, before reminding Charles and Annie that all she did was try to kill her and her son. Lorna leers at Annie and tells her that she needs to get used to “that sort of thing” if she is going to continue hanging around at Xavier’s, adding that there is a super-villain around every corner.

Speaking of super-villains, Juggernaut enters the infirmary, telling Charles, his stepbrother, that he needs to speak with him alone. Xavier tells Cain that he is in the middle of something and asks if it can wait. Cain frowns and tells Xavier that it cannot. Xavier tells his brother that he would prefer not to leave Lorna alone with Annie, who comes to her own defense, saying that she will be fine. Lorna just stares, smirking at Annie, as Charles tells the nurse Lorna’s inhibitor devices will not allow her to harm her. Annie says again that she will be fine, telling Charles to go. Charles assures her that he will be just outside in the hall if she needs her, and Lorna, still glaring at Annie tells Charles to take his time, as ‘Annie and I will just be rekindling the embers of our chilling friendship. Wont we Annie?’ Annie Ghazikhanian says nothing.

Standing at least two heads taller than his younger brother, Cain tells him that he wants an X-plane so he can go and see Sammy. Charles tells Cain that he thought this might be the case, and tells him firstly that he is not a registered pilot so that’s why he cannot have a plane, and secondly, and more importantly, Charles reminds Cain that he is forbidden to see Sammy as per his parents wishes. ‘So? Who cares what they want?’ Cain asks. Slightly frustrated, Charles replies that the law does, and adds that he knows following the law is a new experience for his brother, and Cain gets mad.

Raising his voice and clenching his fists, Cain asks Xavier what this is all about, and Charles reminds his brother that he is a wanted criminal. Juggernaut asks Xavier if he is going to bust him on that account, and Charles tells him he is wanted by the law. Keeping his voice raised, Cain asks Charles if he is going to get “holier than thou” on him and start searching his mind to find out what he may or may not do that is “against the law?” Eyes narrowed, Charles tells Cain bluntly that he does not do that anymore, as he considers it a violation of personal space.

Cain tells Charles that it never stopped him when they were kids, just wondering through his head as if it were another room in his mansion, looking at all his thoughts as if it was a diary. Charles raises his voice to match Cain’s and reminds him that the first thing he ever did to him was punch him in the face and adds that he was within reason to use his telepathy to protect himself.

The stepbrothers get very emotional and Cain tells Charles that he just cheated at everything, using his telepathy and mind-tricks to beat everyone else in unfair competition, and then beat him. Charles defends himself by reminding Cain that all he ever did was use his strength and height against him and anyone else unfortunate enough to be smaller than him – Cain cuts Charles off and raising not only his voice but a fist, shouts at Charles, reminding him that he left him to die.

Cain’s fist goes through the wall, and Charles just stares at him. Juggernaut reminds Charles that he touched the Cyttorak gem before the mountain collapsed around them, but did not fall on Charles. Cain spits the words out of his mouth, reminding Xavier that he left him there under an entire mountain, for years, knowing he was still alive, knowing the gem had transformed him. ‘Yes I did’ says Charles before admitting to his brother that he was afraid of him, and angry with him, that he wanted him gone.

Xavier reminds Cain that they were still in their teens and both used to use their gifts to beat one another down, when really they should have been using them to help each other up, to support one another against the man who mistreated then – Cain’s father. Cain tells Charles that he knew what his father was doing to him when he read his mind, that he knew how ashamed he was, especially to think that his brother – of all people – knew about it, because his father loved Charles, Juggernaut’s father loved his stepson more than his real son. Xavier tells Cain that he may have, but reminds him that he beat him too.

Cain looms above Charles again, but before he can say anything in reply, Charles tells Cain that that is the real reason that he wants to go to see Sammy, because Sammy’s father is probably doing the same thing to him as their father did to them, right now as they speak. Cain just answers ‘Yes’ before Charles tells him Northstar is a licensed pilot and can fly him to Vancouver. Cain starts to walk away. And then turns back to his brother, telling him that he could have stopped the beating with his psychic powers. Charles folds his arms and tells Cain that he too could have stopped it with his strength. Before adding that he thought it was his fault their father loved Charles more than Cain and he thought he deserved it. Cain agrees, before walking away and saying they were both wrong.

Several hours later, and a world away, at Isla Des Demonas. Wolverine, Archangel, Iceman, Havok, Jubilee and Husk walk through the exotic forests as Alex tells them that the dig was just through the clearing at the base of the temple. Archangel asks Alex why he thinks Kurt would come back, and Alex replies that he doesn’t know. All six X-Men stare in shock at the sight before them, mutants surrounding a fire in some kind of ritual. Bobby announces that he is glad he still has hair so it can stand on end.

Warren asks the others if they have any idea as to what is going on down there, and Bobby snaps back that he keeps on asking all these questions, expecting answers that no one can give. He tells him to stop asking as Alex cuts them off, seeing Kurt amongst the group of mutants. He asks if they should get him out, when someone else alerts him to a more pressing matter than rescuing Kurt – several deadly almost prehistoric looking mutants walking from the ritual, looking very unfriendly and heading towards the X-Men!

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Cyclops, Havok, Husk, Iceman, Jubilee, Juggernaut, Nightcrawler, Polaris, Wolverine, Professor X (all X-Men)

Annie Ghazikhanian

Carter Ghazikhanian

Hannah and Sanji, staff at the Institute

Mutants on Isla Des Demonas, among them apparently Azazel

Humans on Isla Des Demonas

Story Notes: 

Havok, Polaris and Nightcrawler visited the Isla Des Demonas (or at least an island nearby) in Uncanny X-Men #422, where they not only discovered the remains of what appeared to be ancient mutants, but were attacked by agents of the Church of Humanity, which Lorna quickly disposed of.

Sammy “Squidboy” Pare, a Canadian citizen, was removed from the Institute by Alpha Flight in Uncanny X-Men #422.

Nils Steiger, the mutant known as Abyss was involved in the X-Corps debacle of Uncanny X-men #402-406, where at the end of it, Mystique (or someone posing as her, at least that’s what she claims – see Mystique #2-3)was sucked into him as he vanished.

Polaris has had a very sudden personality change since she returned to the mansion in Uncanny X-Men #416, she was found in Genosha in New X-Men #132, it has been hinted at that her personality change may have something to do with witnessing so many deaths and being one of the very few survivors of the Genoshan massacre, [New X-Men #115] however it has yet to be confirmed.

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