New X-Men (1st series) #117

Issue Date: 
October 2001
Story Title: 
Danger Rooms

Grant Morrison (writer), Ethan Van Sciver (penciler), Prentiss Rollins (inker), RS and Comicraft’s Saida! (letters), Hi-Fi Design (colors), Pete Franco (assistant editor), Mark Powers (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

The world now knows the Xavier Institute’s secret: It’s a home and training ground for mutants. The school opens its gates to them worldwide, accepting over one hundred new students, and the X-Men cope with sudden responsibility and public scrutiny. While anti-mutant protestors shout at the gates, the Xavier Institute forges ahead, determined to be a safe haven for homo sapiens superior. One student in particular, the Beak, has trouble fitting in and Beast tries to ease his anxiety. Beast experiences anxiety of his own when Trish Tilby, unable to deal with his feline-like mutation, breaks up with him. Jean seeks comfort from Wolverine due to her marriage troubles, but she asks for more than he can give. Cassandra reveals her deception, having taken over Professor Xavier’s body. She viciously attacks Beast and forces the Beak to beat him senseless. Ignorant of the infiltration, the other X-Men proceed as usual while Cassandra plots. Through Professor Xavier, Cassandra organizes a trip through space with Empress Lilandra in a Shi’Ar spaceship, eager to cause destruction from the stars.

Full Summary: 

In the Xavier Institute’s Danger Room, Beast helps Barnell Bohusk, a young mutant, learn to fly. Barnell resembles something of a human birdman, complete with feathered wings. He lacks confidence in his flying skills even though Beast tells him he’s improving. After the lesson Beast escorts Barnell into the hallway with dozens of other students and announces Barnell’s new codename, the Beak, and many of the students laugh.
Outside, the Xavier Institute abounds with new enrollees as protesters swarm outside of the school’s gates, picketing and rallying against the school with anti-mutant propaganda.
In an office inside, Beast and Professor Xavier discuss the Beak’s situation. The Beak feels isolated and Beast wants to make him feel better. Beast mentions that the Beak plans on entrusting him with a prized titanium baseball bat. Professor Xavier agrees that the Beak needs help and notices Beast’s pleasant disposition. Beast says he has a date later that night and Professor Xavier mentions that he has one too.
Later, in his lab, Beast talks to Trish Tilby on the phone while he prepares for their evening together. Trish tells Beast that their evening is cancelled because dating him, with his animal-like appearance, might ruin her career as a news broadcaster. She apologizes for hurting him, but his heart is broken.
In the woods near the Xavier Institute, Jean seeks Wolverine while he meditates. Wolverine tells her he needs to meditate after the damage he suffered from battling with Cassandra Nova, despite his healing factor. Wolverine spots a spaceship near the mansion, which Jean says belongs to Empress Lilandra. She says Professor Xavier plans on taking a vacation with Lilandra through the Shi’Ar Galaxy. Jean also tells Wolverine that she’s happy her telekinetic abilities have returned, but she feels lonely with the distance Cyclops puts in their marriage. She kisses Wolverine in the heat of passion, but he pushes her away, saying a relationship between them would never work.
Outside the mansion, Cyclops and Emma gaze at Lilandra’s spaceship in the sky, although they may have noticed the interesting activity in the woods.
Inside, Beast expresses his concern over Professor Xavier’s recent decisions. The Xavier Institute houses many established X-Men and over one hundred young mutant students, and Professor Xavier told the world. Those details used to be secret and Beast thinks exposing them could prove unwise. Professor Xavier tells him that mutants are done hiding from the world and that public outcry will wane with time. When Professor Xavier inquires about Beast’s date, Beast mentions that he decided to study Cassandra Nova instead. Her body resides in deep freeze, but Beast made a virtual computer model to examine and probe. Beast wonders why Cassandra and Professor Xavier have the same DNA. Beast is attacked telepathically when Cassandra Nova assaults his brain, having possessed Professor Xavier’s body. As Cassandra menaces Beast, she tells him that she and Professor Xavier are genetic twins who share a “unique psychic frequency.” She also admits that she took over Professor Xavier’s mind. Cassandra subsequently tortures and abuses Beast mercilessly. When the Beak enters the lab with his titanium baseball bat to present to the Beast, Cassandra takes control of his mind. She forces the Beak to beat Beast with the bat repeatedly.
Inhabiting Professor Xavier’s body, Cassandra leaves the lab to come outside with the X-Men. She leaves Beast bleeding on the lab floor as the Beak kneels beside him in agony over what he’s just been forced to do, holding his torn feathers in his hands. Without knowing of Cassandra’s deception or Beast and Beak’s fate, the X-Men and several students marvel at the spaceship hovering near the mansion. While everyone thinks she’s Professor Xavier, Cassandra entrusts Jean with the school, leaving Jean as the headmistress while she vacations in space with Lilandra and the Shi’Ar. Cassandra waits outside the mansion, ready to journey through the stars while pondering on the limitless destruction that she can cause with her own spaceship.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Phoenix IV, Wolverine, Professor Charles Xavier (all X-Men)
The Beak, a new student at Xavier’s school
Cassandra Nova
Trish Tilby’s voice on the phone
Gladiator and a few more unrecognizeable members of the Imperial Guard

Story Notes: 

First appearance of the Beak.

Written By: