Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #41

Issue Date: 
April 2014
Story Title: 

Jason Aaron (writer), Pepe Larraz & Todd Nauck (artists), Matt Mila (colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Nick Bradshaw and Israel Silva (cover artists), Frankie Johnson (assistant editor), Tom Brennan (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

The X-Men fire Toad because he betrayed them to the Hellfire Club. An amnesiac Husk, who is feeling better, wants to learn why she fell in love with him and asks Toad to meet her later at a coffee shop in Salem Center. In the meantime, the two Hellfire kids, Max Frankenstein and Manuel Enduque, have escaped and are terrorizing Salem Center with drones. The X-Men and Toad independently give chase. Toad confronts the boys and Manuel finds he cannot shoot him. Being at the Jean Grey School has given him a conscience. Toad beats him up on Max’s order and accompanies Max because he wants to be gone before Husk realizes he isn’t good enough for her. Manuel later talks to Paige, who is now counselor and tells her what happened.

Full Summary: 

The Jean Grey School:
Couldn’t he at least clean the toilets before he goes? Toad pleads. For old times’ sake? The senior members of the faculty (Storm, Beast, Rachel Grey, Wolverine and Iceman) strictly look at him. They can’t allow him to work as a janitor any longer, Beast announces. Iceman adds he fought to help their students when they were prisoners of the Hellfire Academy, and they thank him for that. But he also helped lead them there in the first place, Rachel continues. He betrayed the X-Men’s trust and spied on them for the Hellfire Club. They gave him a chance to be one of the good guys. Wishes he could say he was surprised it didn’t work out, Wolverine grumbles. Storm tells him he can say anything in his defense, but their decision is final.

All he did, he did for love, Toad mumbles under his breath. Whoever the next janitor is, they might wanna tell him Roxxon brand industrial strength paint stripper is the only thing that gets Bamf poop off the wall. And Krakoa doesn’t like to be mowed on Sunday. Krakoa grumbles and Toad tells him not to cry. He leaves the janitor jacket and heads outside.

Iceman wonders if they should have given him another chance. He is what he is, Logan shrugs. It’s their fault for thinking he was something different. Storm reminds him the same thing was once said about him. They want Toad as her headmaster, just say the world. He’s been trying to retire. Rachel psi-scans and announces they have a bigger problem.

Krakoa still cries and Toad tells him he’ll miss him too. Maybe he could visit some time. He’ll be sleeping in the woods for now, until he gets another job. He tried calling Cyclops, even Magneto, but they must not have gotten the messages because they never answered back. It’s okay; he can live a long time off flies and swamp water. He’s done it before.

Husk shyly addresses him and apologizes. She is still somewhat beaten. Mortimer assures her she looks beautiful. She continues that it’s not fair he is getting fired while she… it’s all her fault what happened. That isn’t true, he assures her. She was sick. Not exactly, she reveals. Dr. McCoy says her personality swings, her blackouts, were part of a secondary mutation. When she husks out now, it doesn’t just affect her body but her mind as well. Beast is helping her to learn to channel it and put it to good use. She’s doing well enough that she’s able to take some classes at Empire State. They even gave her a new job here at the school that better suits her abilities.

Mortimer tells her he is happy for her and that nobody got hurt. Nobody but him he means, she continues. She apologizes but doesn’t remember what happened between them. Or what she must have felt.

He tells her not to. He isn’t stupid. He always knew things between them were too good to last. He ain’t the kind of Toad that turns into a prince when a beautiful lady kisses him. He just stays a Toad. She sure gave him something to remember though, if even if she doesn’t. He thanks her for that. He better get going now. He wants no more trouble with the X-Men.

She asks him to wait. She may not remember falling in love with him, but it must have happened or a reason. She was crazy, he replies. Ask anybody. Well, she’s not crazy anymore, Paige announces. There’s a little coffee shop in town. She’ll be there after work around 4. If he’d like to get to know her when she’s not so crazy. And maybe she can start to remember what she liked so much about him. He asks if she is serious and not just turning crazy again. Four o’ clock, she smiles and leaves. Come and find out.

Toad wonders what to do when a red alert goes off. Students are ordered inside and an X-jet takes off. Krakoa informs Toad that the Hellfire kids escaped again. He sees the option for a second chance, to show the world who he really is and asks Krakoa to throw him as hard as he can.

Salem Center is under attack by several flying self-replicating energy bots. Wolverine announces they never should have let the Hellfire kids take shop class. The X-Men attack the robots.

Not far away, Toad rescues a woman and her child by destroying a bot with his tongue. She thanks him and calls him an X-Man. He’s not an X-Man. He just scrubbed their toilets, he corrects her.

Some distance away, Max Frankenstein cobbles together some more tech. Manuel Enduque tells him the bots won’t hold the X-Men long. They need to be moving. Jetpack will be ready in three minutes, Max promises. What’s wrong with wheels? Manuel decides and breaks in a car window. Max agrees he can reprogram the ignition system and then Manuel can drive them out of here. They realize they both can’t drive.

They won’t be driving themselves anywhere, Toad announces. They know who he is. So he’s guessing they know why he’s here. They sent the janitor after them? Max wonders.

Manuel trains the gun at Toad. He’s not going back to that damn school! Then shoot him, Toad replies. Manuel assures him he’s shot janitors before. He’s not the janitor anymore Toad reveals. What the hell is he then? they ask. Pull the trigger and find out, Toad goads.

Manuel finds he can’t. What did that school do to him? They put weird thoughts in his head! Made him feel things he never… He’s not going back! Toad hasn’t come to take them back, Max ventures. Has he? Toad says nothing, then asks if they believe in second chances.

Nearby, an uncertain Husk is first trying to convince the drones to leave her alone. She then husks into a fire form and destroys them.

Toad tells the boys he believes today he was given a second chance to show who he is. He aims to take it. What would he be willing to do to make this second chance happen? Max asks. Toad replies that he believes he knows. Max still demands he show him. With a scream, Toad attacks.

Paige sits alone in the devastated coffee shop and cries.

Later, guidance counselor Paige listens to an injured and bandaged Manuel, talking how the Toad jumped at him and beat the hell out of him. Did he say anything at all? Paige asks. He never shut up! He made Manuel swear to remember what he said. He said he had to leave while he could still remember what it was like to be something other than a Toad. Because if he stayed, then some day she’d wake up and see him for what he really is.

Manuel doesn’t know who “she” was or what the hell he was talking about. He just knows Toad beat him up, while Max stood there and watched. Then they left Manuel for the X-Men to find.

Paige begins to cry. She tells him to go on. Manuel suggests maybe she needs help. She apologizes and then husks into a calmer happier version of herself. Now let’s talk about why he couldn’t pull the trigger, she suggests.

Outside, normal life at the Jean Grey School goes on. Iceman complains he doesn’t know how to get Krakoa to eat. Anybody know how to get Bamf crap off the wall? Logan groans.

On the road:
Where to now, Dr. Frankenstein? Toad asks. “You tell me,” Max replies, still tinkering. Toad replies that he just wants to go someplace nobody can hurt them. Max knows of such a place, but it is along bloody climb to get there. Is he up for something like that? When do they start? Toad asks crying. Max tells him to pull over; they just did. And they take off with the jetpacks Max finished.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Iceman, Rachel Grey, Storm, Wolverine (X-Men and senior staff)
Broo, Eye-Boy, Genesis II, Kid Gladiator, Oya, Rockslide, Sprite III, Transonic (all students)
Krakoa II

Manuel Enduque
Maximilian Frankenstein

Story Notes: 

The blonde girl on the cover who appears to be Husk was originally colored as a brunette and was probably supposed to be Kitty Pryde.

Written By: