Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #451

Issue Date: 
December 2004
Story Title: 

Chris Claremont (writer), Alan Davis (penciler), Mark Farmer (inker), Chris Chuckry (colors), VC’s Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Stephanie Moore & Sean Ryan (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

As the terrified crowd continues stampeding out of Wannabee’s club and nearly tramples Marvel Girl, a wounded Wolverine attempts to confront X-23, the mutant girl suspected of the murders of several humans and the kidnapping of Jade Parisi, baseline daughter of a local mob boss. X-23 thoroughly trounces Wolverine and makes her escape. Nightcrawler pursues her, while Storm and Bishop tend to Logan's and Rachel’s wounds. X-23 exits the club and pursues the group of Bacchae that opened fire in the night club until she is apprehended by the X-Men. Logan and Kurt watch over X-23 while the remaining X-Men defeat the Bacchae gangsters on their own turf and rescue Jade Parisi’s boyfriend Matthew. The X-Men learn from X-23 and Matthew that Jade had been on her way to meet Matthew when she was attacked. As X-23 informs the others that Jade is quite safe, Geech (an enforcer for the mob) drops from the sky and begins throwing the X-Men around like paper dolls and demanding to know Jade’s location. Just as the X-Men gain the upper hand, Kurt appears with Jade and calls Geech off. After things have cooled down, X-23 leaves.
Sage watches the events of the evening through her communicator lenses, cuts contact with the X-Men and makes her way back to the Hellfire Club.

Full Summary: 

The terrified partiers at the Wannabee’s Night Club stampede across the club and for the exit doors. They are terrified because of gunfire from a group of female cyborgs called Bacchae, and the ongoing brawl between Wolverine (Logan) and a mutant girl called X-23. The riotous crowd proves too much for Marvel Girl (Rachel Grey) as she falls to the floor and begins to be trampled. Bishop (Lucas Bishop) forces his way upstream through the crowd to reach Rachel as Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner) scales the ceiling toward her.
Storm (Ororo Munroe) watches in fear as X-23 removes her claws from Wolverine’s gut and turns toward her. X-23 hurls a table at Storm and attempts to escape, but Logan grabs her ankle. Without slowing X-23 pops a single claw from her left foot, turns, and with a single slash tears through his face nearly cutting his head in two. X-23 quickly leaves the club with Wolverine bleeding on the floor. Storm and Nightcrawler rush to his aid, but he pushes them away reminding them that his healing factor will deal with the wound if given enough time. He urges Nightcrawler to continue after X-23 which he does.
Storm summons a small rain shower and uses the hem of her cape to gently cleanse Wolverine’s head wound. She and Wolverine are amazed at the ease with which the girl bested him.
Bishop has finally reached Marvel Girl, who, after regaining her wits, uses her telepathy to calm the crowd and help them see the costumed adventurers as nothing more than police officers and partiers like themselves. As the X-Men leave the club, Wolverine confirms Marvel Girl’s discovery that this girl is indeed the person responsible for the District X murders.
Outside, just a few blocks away from the club, X-23 continues to hunt the cyborg Bacchae. In her determination to track them, however, she fails to realize that she is being pursued by Nightcrawler. Kurt gets the drop on her and manages to evade her every attack by teleporting and overpowering her superhuman sense of smell with his sulfurous stench. As he evades her swipes, he comments that he has used this technique on Wolverine many times over the years. It is just then that the remaining X-Men, including a healed Wolverine, arrive and take the girl down quickly.
After some effort, Marvel Girl is able to enter X-23’s mind and realizes that both this girl and this case are not what they seem: X-23 was an engineered mutant created and trained solely for the purpose of battling Weapon X, Wolverine. She is trying to save someone and is chasing the Bacchae because they hold they key to this man’s whereabouts.
Bishop, Marvel Girl, Storm and Nightcrawler head directly to Tartarus, Wall Street’s own cozy little den of iniquity. It is here that the criminal Bacchae not only host some of the more “divergent” of the world’s business elite, but also manage one of the largest criminal organizations in the hemisphere. The four X-Men make a dramatic entrance and quickly defeat the cyborgs.
Outside and across the street, Wolverine and Nightcrawler keep guard over X-23 as she stirs from unconsciousness. Wolverine begins questioning her immediately, but her only response it to attack. He brushes her attack aside and reveals his claws. There is no point in fighting, he says: they’ll both heal from any wounds they can inflict on one another. He attempts to convince her that he does not want to be enemies. X-23 refuses to accept that. When Wolverine tells her that his name is Logan, she refuses to share her name stating only that her designation is X-23. Wolverine attempts to establish a camaraderie by hinting at their similar backgrounds, but X-23 claims not to know what he means. As the conversation stalls, Nightcrawler comments on X-23’s strong similarity to Wolverine: in physical appearance, demeanor and fighting style. Wolverine indicates that Sage (Tessa) may be able to find some answers. His past is such a mess, he admits, that he prefers to just live in the present.
X-23 rushes to meet the remaining X-Men accompanied by a flying chef named of Matthew that they rescued from the Bacchae. Matthew knows X-23 and is able to calm her. He asks X-23 about the location of Jade Parisi. They were supposed to meet earlier to work on some things regarding the new restaurant he and Jade were opening.
Before the conversation goes much farther, an enormous mutant named Geech falls out of they sky, shrugs off Marvel Girl’s psionic attack and proceeds to smash local architecture using X-23 and Wolverine as the wrecking balls. He has been sent by Jade’s mob boss father to find out what X-23 has done with Jade. The X-Men get their act together and distract Geech long enough for Wolverine to get in close and plant his fists under his chin. Wolverine tells Geech that he is highly unlikely to survive if Wolverine pops his claws through his head.
Just then, Nightcrawler ‘ports in with Jade Parisi safe and unharmed. Jade scolds Geech for attacking the people who rescued her and for threatening her boyfriend, Matthew. It seems the Bacchae had kidnapped Matthew as part of a plan to control all mutant-owned businesses in District X: in classic gangster style, they wanted to scare him into cooperation. When Matthew didn’t show for their date, Jade was attacked by mutant-haters who were cruising District X looking for trouble. The problem was that they did not count on X-23 looking out for both Jade and Matthew.
Domenic Parisi isn’t thrilled about his daughter’s relationship with a mutant, but accepts it. X-23 takes off on her own, although Wolverine hopes that she might someday consider enrolling at the institute.
Wolverine checks in with Sage, describes the outcome of the case, and asks Sage if she will consider doing some research regarding X-23’s origin. Sage agrees and breaks contact with the X-Men. In a surprising move, she drops her cloak to reveal the classic Hellfire Club uniform she wore while working as a member of that organization. With a glance at a Hellfire Club membership card bearing her name and a personal note from Sebastian Shaw, Sage steps into the club. “Once more, the darkness calls to me. Once more, I choose to embrace it…alone.

Characters Involved: 

Bishop, Marvel Girl, Nightcrawler, Sage, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)
Jade Parisi

Domenic Parisi

Matthew, Jade’s mutant boyfriend


Partiers at Wannabee’s

Attendees of the Bacchae’s Tartarus club
Various members of the Bacchae
in flashback

Two unnamed scientists

Story Notes: 

X-23 wears a uniform very similar to one that Wolverine once wore after taking it from a feral opponent named Fang (UXM #107-108). Presumably she wears it for her job in Wannabee’s as all the staff as well as most of the guests seem to wear superhero uniforms.
In Claremont’s “The End” series, X-23 has been identified by first name as Laurie.
Since last issue’s title, was “The Cruelest Cut, part one”, one would assume that this issue would be titled “ part two”. For reasons unknown, the staff titled this issue “Impediments”.
In mythology the frenzied followers of Dionysos, the Bacchae shown here are a gang allied with underworld god Pluto. They showed up before in Fantastic Four (3rd series) #21, also written by Chris Claremont.

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