X-Men (2nd series) #161

Issue Date: 
November 2004
Story Title: 
Heroes and Villains - part 1

Chuck Austen (Writer), Salvador Larroca (Penciler), Danny Miki (Inker), Udon (Colorist), Rus Wooton (Letterer), Stephanie Moore & Sean Ryan (Assistant Editors), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-in-Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

A new Brotherhood consisting of Sabretooth, Exodus, Black Tom Cassidy, Avalanche, Nocturne and Mammomax attack a presentation in Philadelphia, but the X-Men are there and prepared for them - only during the course of the battle, the Brotherhood escape, and the X-Men do not learn what it is they want. At the Institute, Squidboy is looking for Juggernaut, which causes Iceman to argue with his teammates, reminding them that Juggernaut is on parole and needs to be accounted for at all times, especially as he was not with them during the mission. Squidboy’s mother also asks Sammy how he would feel if she started dating Juggernaut, which the boy doesn’t like. Rogue apologizes to the still-blinded Gambit for her part in his injuries, but when he goes off at her, she leaves. When Havok lets slip that the Brotherhood got away to Annie, she panics, and fearing the Brotherhood will come to the Institute she realizes she cannot be there anymore. Havok suggests she go somewhere safe, but what he doesn’t know is that she packs up and leaves for ever, telling only Polaris. The Brotherhood argue about how the X-Men could have known they were going to attack, when Black Tom brings in his back up plan, which he has had in plotting for quite some time - Juggernaut!

Full Summary: 

Philadelphia, a presentation is going on at Independence Hall, attended by many civilians, a presenter delivers his speech, declaring that it was in the assembly room of this building that the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4th 1776. Suddenly, someone boasts ’And it is here that the enslavement of the human race begins, on this day - the day of the new Brotherhood of Mutants!’

The civilians run and push past each other as they try to escape the barrage of the oncoming Brotherhood. The groups leader, Exodus, introduces himself as the power and the way, as he was first disciple to Magneto, and that he is here to ensure that Magneto’s dream - the end of human tyranny - shall be fulfilled. Exodus hovers a quintet of people who have not run from the oncoming brotherhood - five of the X-Men! Havok! Wolverine! Polaris! Iceman! Rogue!

‘Blah blah blah,’ says Havok, who exclaims that it is he who has the better power, and the bigger way, before declaring he is leader of the X-Men, disciple to Xavier, and here to make certain his goal and dream are fulfilled - ’By kicking your…’ Havok unleashes a blast of raw solar energy, knocking Exodus back, while the other X-Men engage in battle with the rest of the Brotherhood.

Wolverine faces off tooth and claw against his arch nemesis, Sabretooth, who asks Wolverine if he cannot go anywhere without running into him. ’No’ replies Logan as he slashes Victor Creed’s face. Logan asks Creed what it is that made him join up with these jerks, to which Sabretooth replies ’The benefits’ as he skewers Logan through the stomach. Creed is about to continue, saying ’Like stickin’ -’ when Logan cuts him off, and tells him to ‘Stick this, Creed’ as he, „sticks“ him with his adamantium claws.

Rogue flies onto Avalanche’s rock sled that he has created to move around quickly on, when he suddenly turns around and grabs her, asking her if she wants to ‘shake things up’ for old times sake. Dominic uses his vibrational abilities to shake Rogue who starts foaming at the mouth, and calling her ’Babe’ tells her that it is too bad she doesn’t hang with the Brotherhood anymore, for then he wouldn’t have to - Rogue cuts him off by kneeing him in the stomach and using magnetic powers lifting him over her heard. ‘Wouldn’t have to do what, Avalanche?’ she sarcastically remarks ‘Forget the fact that I can siphon off other mutants’ powers? Like those of my dear teammate Polaris? Rogue tosses Avalanche to the ground below, where he lands with a very loud CHUD. “Babe.“ mocks Rogue before calling him a loser. ‘And here I thought you might need help, Rogue! Silly me!’ exclaims Polaris as she and Rogue High-five each other.

Elsewhere on the “battle field“ a huge talking elephant has the handsome Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman firmly in his grasp, and as Bobby tries to freeze him, the elephant informs him that he has impervious skin. ‘You sure?’ asks the jokester X-Man, before asking if he minds if he can try anyway. ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name’ Bobby declares as the ice just snaps off the large elephant. ‘Mammomax’ the elephant replies. ‘Umm…okay. And let me guess, your mutant power is death breath, right?’ asks Iceman after falling victim to the mutant’s mouth odor when he opened his mouth. Mammomax reveals that his power is digestive acids, which Iceman mocks, before grabbing Mammomax’s large tongue and freezing it. Mammomax drops Iceman, who stands before the elephant and jokes that he obviously isn’t so impervious on the inside, before telling him he must feel stupid right about now.

Suddenly, the hideously deformed Black Tom Cassidy, who pretty much is a tree with a mouth and eyes and lots of tentacles stands before some of the fleeing civilians, blocking their paths. He declares that the new Brotherhood’s inaugural attack would not be very effective without victims, and raises a giant hand - branch-hand - to crush them, when suddenly the young blue-furred mutant from another reality, Nocturne, leaps in and pulls the three humans to safety.

Black Tom asks her what she is doing, to which the newcomer asks him if she wasn’t supposed to do that. She tells the humans to run away, quickly, but Black Tom uses his newfound abilities to leap back in front of them and he reminds Nocturne that she is supposed to be on his side. Havok comes up behind Tom and suggests to the villain that Nocturne is looking for more intelligent companionship. Trapping Havok in his mass of vines, Black Tom tells him he has done something very stupid, when the handsome X-Man calls to his teammates, telling them to get down, and unleashing a massive blast of energy, tearing Tom apart, and creating a gaping crater in the middle of the city.

‘Nice work, Alex. I bet Philadelphia is really glad the X-Men showed up,’ Bobby mocks. Logan groans that this is not one of his better days as Rogue helps him up, his costume torn to shreds after his catfight with Sabretooth. Rogue tells Logan that it was not any of their better days, to which Iceman declares that it especially wasn’t for Havok, who unbalanced the rest of them long enough for the new Brotherhood to get away - and before they could even learn what the Brotherhood’s angle is. Havok declares that he will accept the blame for letting the Brotherhood get away, but vows that they will learn what their angle is.

Later, at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, Salem Centre, Westchester, New York, Sammy “Squidboy“ Pare stops some other students in the hallway and asks them if they have seen Juggernaut. A student replies that they haven’t seen Juggernaut since last night, which is when the five X-Men return, and Iceman, who has always had it out for Juggernaut, exclaims that he also wants to know where Juggernaut is, as they just fought some old buddies of his and they could have used him. Havok asks Bobby to calm down and reminds him that Cain is not required to come on missions if he doesn’t want to, but Bobby snaps back that that is wrong, and tells Alex that he should know it, for part of the Juggernaut’s parole agreement was that he be available to this team and have his presence accounted for, at all times.

Havok asks Bobby to listen, but the hot-headed original X-Man declares that he wont and storms off, threatening to report Cain to the authorities if his whereabouts cannot be accounted for in the next five minutes. The X-Men watch Bobby leave as Carter Ghazikhanian, the son of the school nurse, rushes up to Havok, his mother’s boyfriend. Lorna watches as Alex picks Carter up, and Carter tells Alex that he is bored without him. ‘Oh brother,’ moans Squidboy.

In the infirmary, Rogue sits by her injured lover and teammate Gambit, who was blinded on their last mission in China. Rogue asks him how many times she has to say she is sorry, to which Gambit whines that he finally gets his powers back, then she goes and costs him his eyes. ‘Maybe next you could amputate a leg or two, then laugh when I fall over,’ Gambit snaps bitterly. Rogue stares at him, ‘Why, I…’ she doesn’t finish her sentence, instead she looks away from Remy then gets up an leaves. ‘Honey, you still there?’ asks Gambit.

Havok enters the infirmary carrying Carter and walking up to Annie Ghazikhanian, the school nurse and his lover, he asks her if Gambit is still mad at the world. Annie tells Alex that it is part of the healing process, and not a pleasant one, before asking him where he and his X-squad were. Havok replies that they were in a little scuffle with some bad mutants in Philly - a new Brotherhood. Annie exclaims that she hopes the authorities have them all locked up - when she realizes something is wrong. ‘Well…’ Alex begins, but he doesn’t need to finish his sentence.

Annie tells Alex that she cannot keep going through this, what with people getting hurt all the time - him getting hurt, but most importantly, Carter’s safety is in jeopardy. Concerned, Alex asks Annie if there is someplace safe she can go for a few days. She asks Alex if he is expecting the Brotherhood to come to their home, and when he doesn’t reply, she looks downcast and informs Alex that there is someplace safe she can go.

Outside, Squidboy’s mother rushes up to him and tells him that she has been looking all over for him. Sammy tells his mother to ‘get lost’ as he is looking for Cain. Mrs. Pare tells her son that she is looking for Cain too, before asking him how dare he talk to her like that. Sammy asks his mother why she is looking for Cain, and his mother tells him that she wanted to talk to him about this before she talked to Cain, so how would he feel if she and Cain went out on a date, and maybe started seeing each other. Sammy asks his mother if Cain asked her out, to which Mrs. Pare replies no, but that she might to the asking. After all, she reminds Sammy that Cain did save their lives, and he is kinda cute.

Sammy’s mother asks Sammy if it is okay with him if she and Cain started dating, to which Sammy hesitantly asks his mother not to do it, as she is going to embarrass him. Mrs. Pare tells Sammy that she will not embarrass him and asks him if he wants her to be alone for the rest of her life. Sammy doesn’t reply, and just begins to walk across the large field. His mother calls to him, telling him not to walk away from her, ‘ooh that stupid kid!’

Meanwhile, in the room of the sultry Lorna Dane, one of the most powerful mutants in existence, she sits cross-legged, hovering, in some meditation. A knock at the door, but Lorna doesn’t look up, she just tells Annie to come in. Annie and Carter enter the room, and Annie asks Lorna how she knew it was her, to which Lorna, still not physically acknowledging Annie, replies that she sensed her magnetic field through the door. ‘Oh. Right. Sure’ Annie replies before apologizing for bothering Lorna, and asking her to look after Alex for her, as she is leaving and will not be coming back.

A silence, before Lorna turns to Annie and says ‘what?’ with sincerity, Annie asks Lorna to tell Alex that she is sorry, but that she cannot stay here anymore, for the safety of her son is more important than Alex, or whatever he gets out of living at this school. Lorna tells Annie that Alex loves her, she certainly knows it, and asks Annie if she knows what her leaving will do to him. Annie replies that it will do the same thing she is doing to herself, but that her son is the most important thing in her life, and it comes down to her or the X-Men - ‘which do you think Alex would chose?’ Annie asks Lorna. Lorna says nothing, before giving a half-smile and telling Annie to take care of herself. Annie smiles back, ‘you too, Lorna, goodbye’. She closes the door behind her.

Elsewhere, the Brotherhood huddle around a campfire and Sabretooth complains to Exodus that someone tipped the X-Men off, he suggests it was Nocturne since she is the only one they know nothing about. Exodus reminds Sabretooth that Nocturne is from another dimension, and besides, she has never left his side since he brought her here. He tells Sabretooth that if no one else could have done it, then there must be another explanation as to how the X-Men learned their plans.

Black Tom Cassidy tells them that they must now see the value of his plan to attack them in their home, to which Exodus replies that he does, as they need to remove the potential threat. However he knows that the Institute is well guarded and asks them how they attack the X-Men in their own fortress without some kind of edge. Black Tom boasts that that is the beauty of working with him, for he has had a plan in motion to give them an edge for quite some time now…’Haven’t I, Cain?’ Tom asks as the Juggernaut enters the campsite grinning.

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Havok, Iceman, Juggernaut, Polaris, Rogue, Wolverine (All X-Men)
Nurse Annie Ghazikhanian

Carter Ghazikhanian, Squidboy and other students at the Institute

Squidboy’s mother

Avalanche, Black Tom Cassidy, Exodus, Mammomax, Nocturne, Sabretooth (all Brotherhood of Mutants)

Civilians in Philadelphia

Story Notes: 

No explanation has been made as to how Rogue has got her powers back, though it was hinted in X-Treme X-Men #46, whether Sage had jumpstarted them again.

Rogue and Avalanche were both members of Mystique’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, hence his comment about old times. [Avengers Annual #10]

First appearance of Mammomax.

Juggernauts parole terms were set up by Miss Ishikawa in Canada. [Uncanny X-Men #436]

Gambit was blinded in X-Men (second series) #158.

This is the first indication that Squidboy’s mother has been residing at the Institute.

Nocturne was stranded in this reality in Exiles #48. When she wanted to join the X-Men, she was instead approached by someone else, apparently a member of the Brotherhood.

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