147 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center. Westchester County, New York.
The day before.
He loves it, Charles Xavier enthuses as he looks around Logan’s office in the latest iteration of the school, now called the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Logan explains that Hank designed and built it all. He’s the only one who knows how to turn anything on. Place still needs a lotta work. But the first day of school is the next day. They got inspectors coming from the state. So they are just hoping everything goes smoothly. He’s sure it will, Xavier replies as he strolls through the busy hallways full of students and construction workers. Just as it always does in a school full of teenage mutants.
Logan asks him to reconsider. Xavier’s newfound sarcasm aside, he could really use his help. He isn’t sure he knows what he has gotten himself into. Xavier agrees, but Logan won’t want an old man like Xavier looking over his shoulder. This is their time now. He always hoped one of his X-Men would someday open another school here. He must admit though he never imagined it would be Logan. That makes two of them, Wolverine agrees.
However, Xavier admits, that now it all makes perfect sense. He is exactly the sort of guiding hand the youngsters today need. Whatever blessings or well wishes he has to bestow on him, hereby consider them bestowed.
Logan appreciates it but would prefer a few extra million dollars. This place has already cost him every cent he has. If he is expecting this job to make him rich, Xavier smiles, he’s found it best to start out extremely rich and work his way down from there. And they haven’t even been blown up yet. He suggests Logan keep the number handy for a good debris removal company. This place is bound to blow up with an alarming frequency.
He remembers that part, Logan agrees. Any more bits of advice? Xavier suggests he keep the fraternization to a minimum. It can get a bit out of hand. He remembers the time he caught Wolverine in the Danger Room with… Interrupting, Logan asks, any other bits of advice? And please don’t say “baseball.”
He’s a headmaster now. He’d best accept the fact that he will never again seem remotely cool to any of his students. And he hasn’t even started losing his hair. Which he will, by the way. It’s not too late to change his mind, Logan threatens.
The day of.
As he gets ready for the day, Logan muses that he never went to school, unless you count being raised by wolves. Never much cared for kids, not even his own. And he’s certainly not qualified to teach anything that don’t involve significant bloodshed. He downs a shot of whiskey and walks out, unaware that his bottle is grabbed by something small and blue with a tail…
“Wish me luck, Jeanie!” he asks as he walks across the school grounds and passes a statue of Jean Grey. He meets Kitty Pryde dressed in a red business suit and addresses her as “Madam headmistress.” Don’t call her that, she babbles nervously. Are people actually going to call her that? She’s already thrown up three times today. First of these kids who talks to her the way she used to talk to the professor, she’s nailing him to the wall as a warning to the others.
She didn’t sleep at all, she complains as a car drives up the driveway. The ground outside her room kept rumbling. Wolverine informs her that when he flushed the toilet it shot fire. Beast has built them a giant deathtrap, Kitty complains. No way do they pass these inspections! It’ll be a miracle if this place hasn’t killed them all by third period!
While still wondering whether to just run, Kitty plasters a broad smile on her face and greets Mrs. Marigold and Mr. Clud, the school inspectors and introduces Logan as headmaster.
He’s the one with the claws, right? Mr. Clud asks. He’d prefer not to have his fingers lopped off, if he doesn’t mind. Mrs. Marigold adds that the New York State Department hasn’t sent them here to exchange pleasantries but to see how much of a danger this “school” poses to the peace-loving non-mutated portion of their population.
Of course, Kitty agrees, still trying to smile, and points at the buildings, some of them futuristic, some not wholly constructed yet and some covered with ice. Welcome to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning! Welcome to the future! Mrs. Marigold harumphes. The past, more like it. Unless they grant them approval today, this entire place will soon be a distant memory.
He assumes all of this outlandish construction is covered by the proper permits? Clud asks strictly. Kitty assures them that their bookkeeper Mr. Robert Drake can provide them with all the necessary paperwork. She begins the tour and apologizes in advance for things seeming chaotic. It’s their first day of classes. From what he understands, chaos seems to be a rather common state of affairs with “their people,” Clud replies. Kitty and Logan are taken aback.
They walk through the lobby, where receptionist Doop is sending two students to the school nurse for their Legacy vaccination. Kitty retorts that if they would fault the X-Men for the chaos they faced they must also fault a fireman for his frequent proximity to fire. Need she remind them, that Mr. Logan presently serves on the Avengers, the most respected superteam in the world?
Unfortunately for Mr. Logan there are no Avengers on the board of regents for the New York State Department, Mrs. Marigold shoots back unimpressed. And she did not realize a predilection for fisticuffs was considered adequate qualification for being headmaster of a preparatory school. If the principal of her granddaughter’s kindergarten should retire, she does no imagine the Hulk would be considered an adequate replacement.
Clud asks Logan where he was educated. Or dare he ask? Canada, he replies. Kitty interjects that she was one of the youngest students ever admitted to the world-renowned Xavier school and Mr. Logan was one of her finest instructors. She’s also studied abroad in England, worked in an advisory capacity for SHIELD and studied physics at University of Chicago. Mrs. Marigold points out that Kitty never actually finished her studies at one of those places.
Technically no, Kitty admits. Construction workers walk past with a steel beam. Kitty just phases through it, while explaining she’s been taking college level courses since she was 13. Mrs. Marigold informs her she does no put much faith in the intellectual capacity of someone whose brain she has just seen pass solid steel. Let’s get this over with, shall they?
Soon the two guests stare down into an empty room where three students, Idie Okonkwo aka Oya, Victor Borkowski aka Anole and Santo Vaccarro aka Rockslide as well as their instructor Rachel Grey are just standing there, staring. Before Kitty can explain what is going on, Mr. Clud sarcastically suggests they give them all A-plusses in standing still. They walk on as Rachel’s class in psychic self-defense continues. Rachel telepathically orders the kids to guard their mind or she will pillage their darkest secrets. Ah, she sees they have a bedwetter among them…
Room 414, introduction to mutant literature. Instructor Paige Guthrie aka Husk tries to get the kids, among them Cipher, Armor and Indra to calm down. They ignore her, discussing that they think Wolverine has already killed a couple of kids, the food and missing seeing Emma Frost in the halls. When they keep ignoring Paige’s pleading she husks into a monstrous form and shouts at them to sit down and shut their mouths. Oh brother, Wolverine mutters as Mrs. Marigold makes notes about what she has just seen.
Nearby in another area, Mortimer Toynbee aka the Toad, now the janitor, cleans up, mumbling he’s gotta tell him. It’s not right… just gotta tell him. When the inspectors and the two X-Men rush by, the Toad addresses Logan who tells him not now. There was all that rumbling, Mortimer whines, and he couldn’t sleep and there was lava coming out the walls. And he didn’t get a bed yet. Not now! Wolverine repeats. Normally he wouldn’t make a fuss about sleeping on the floor, but there was lava…
This is a disaster, Logan announces to Kitty. She replies they need to keep them moving and hope that Hank can save the day. He’d rather be fighting Marauders in the sewers than put up with this for another minute. This keeps up, they’ll all be living in the sewers, Kitty predicts. Before that can happen he’s going to kill them all, Wolverine comforts her.
They both notice two students – Hellion and Glob Herman – harassing another student, the new Brood child, dressed in a school uniform and glasses. What the hell is he supposed to be? the boys demand. He’s not a mutant, what is he doing here? He was invited, the Brood boy replies. Same as them, gentlemen mammals. Julian remarks he’s a Brood. He’s seen the files on them – they are crazy killer aliens! What are they called? Sleazoids. Herman hyucks. The Brood child points out that he is a mutant, He’s rather unlike any of his kind. As should be evidenced by the fact that he is not at present eviscerating, eating or impregnating them.
Hellion grabs him by the front of the shirt and hisses the school is for real mutants. Not aliens. Perhaps they should raise the issue with the headmaster, the Brood child suggests. Here he comes now.
Seeing Logan, the boys immediately let him go, wish Logan a good morning and rush off.
The Brood child tells Wolverine not to worry. He promises not to let this incident color his opinion of what appears to be a most fascinating facility.
Kitty remarks that the boys are jerks but they do have a point. He stays, Logan refers to Brood. He sees the two troublemakers enter the bathroom and speaks into a comm unit, asking how that thing works. Recognizing his voice pattern, it asks how it can help him. Tell him how to turn on the Danger Room, he orders.
In the bathroom, Glob Herman complains this place is too much like a school. Why did they ever come here in the first place? Checking himself out in the mirror, Hellion reminds him that this is where the girls are. This is where all the action is. “Attention, your Danger Room exam has begun,” a mechanical voice announces and the boys find themselves attacked by tentacles, energy rays and other fun stuff. Who put the toilet seat on fire? Herman yelps.
Hearing screams of pain from the bathroom, the two guests asks what is going on in there. They call it the Danger Room, Wolverine replies. They call their bathroom the Danger Room? Mrs. Marigold repeats incredulously. It’s a training program, he explains that utilizes hard light holographics and hidden defense systems. In the old Xavier School, it was always confined to just one room, but here they’ve been able to incorporate it into the entire school. As cries of help come from the bathroom, Mrs. Marigold makes a note and sarcastically congratulates them. Now the school is more dangerous than ever is what he is saying. Shall they continue? She can’t wait to see what’s next. A playground of peril perhaps? A lunchroom filled with rabid dogs?
Logan calls the Toad to clean up the bathroom. He’d just like a bed, is all, he mumbles unhappily.
Wolverine tries to make a positive impression by introducing Idie Okonkwo to the two inspectors who indeed seem charmed by the young girl and wonder if Idie is in the right place. Idie assures them they are being treated very well her. Better than they deserve. What does she mean? Mrs. Marigold asks. Logan tries to hint to Idie she has to go to class. Blissfully unaware though, she babbles it’s because of what they are. They are all monsters. She announces smiling. She’d rather they were figuring out ways to cure them all but, if nothing else, at least they are keeping them safe here, for which she is grateful. She’d rather not kill anyone again. “Kill anyone again?” Mrs. Marigold asks nervously while Logan suggests they move on. Lots of things to see.
Every time they write something down, her blood gets cold, Kitty mutters. Wolverine whispers back, asking where Quire is. The last thing they need is the kid staging some kind of half-assed riot. Kitty assures him she’s got that one handled.
Quentin Quire lies in a detention room guarded by Lockheed. He wrote on the wall “I’m a political prisoner!” First day of school and he already has detention. And he thought Xavier’s sucked…
Kitty and Logan, in the meantime, put all their hope in Hank McCoy’s considerable charm. They find him in basement level C, the main control room and central power station as well as his lab. Puttering away at some machines, Hank cries for coffee. If he doesn’t get some coffee posthaste, he will commence the tossing of bodies out of windows!
Kitty announces the inspectors. Undeterred, Beast mumbles about the power fluctuations he is trying to fix. Fountain of sewage spewing from the walls in the kitchen B… rerouting plumbing… structural integrity of the entire building…
The coffee is ready. Hank pours it into his flask, stating they may actually make it through a day without a single thermonuclear meltdown. Now if he could just figure out the cause of these unusual new spikes in seismic activity. He tosses the pot back, unaware he is about to hit Mrs. Marigold until Kitty phases the woman.
Hank explains that there are unexplained tremors and sinkholes. He’s even heard reports of lava bubbling up in some of the rooms. Another mystery added to the list. Did he also mention that two days ago he accidentally left a dimensional gateway open and that the entire building is likely now infested with inter-dimensional gremlins? Typical first day of school problems. And who are these lovely people? he asks, noticing the two inspectors for the first time. Seething, Kitty informs him of who they are and she mentioned they might be dropping by today… to close them forever! she adds.
Mrs. Marigold is still trying to handle the fact that a coffee pot flew through her face. Hank tries to shake her hand but she vomits.
Hank announces he has an interstellar shipment that just arrived. More Shi’ar tech? Logan asks. Hank agrees. Their dear friend, Gladiator, emperor of the Shi’ar, continues to make good on his promise to provide their fledgling endeavor with all the advanced alien technology they can use. In fact, he promised the latest shipmen would even include something extra…
“Something extra” turns out to be a tall alien teenager with a red Mohawk, ordering the unimpressed “human dogs” to make way. Shi’ar royalty coming through. He turns to the Shi’ar woman at his side. Addressing her as Warbird, he asks why his father has seen fit to banish him to such a backwoods dungheap of a planet? Perhaps it had something to do with his recent destruction of more than half the royal city? Warbird suggests. Father never lets him have any fun, the boy sulks. At least he has her, his most trusted bodyguard, to protect him from these inbred barbarians. Or protect them from him, she mutters. He shouts that Kid Gladiator hungers and orders the Earthlings to fetch food for their new Imperial overlord.
Downstairs, Kitty acidly suggest to Hank he tell their guests something about the school’s more interesting aspects, like how he built it to be self-sufficient. How they generate their own electricity, grow their own food and one of the dozen other perfectly good reasons he must have why he’d rather they not shut the school down.
There’s no shutting them down, Hank replies cheerfully. At this point he couldn’t shut the place down if he wanted to. He’s not helping! Kitty shouts.
How’s it going? Iceman asks. Logan suggests he call Scott to see if he’s rented out their old rooms yet. Bobby tells him he has a visitor. Someone at the front door asking for him. Some kid.
Wolverine drives out to the front gate where a preteen boy is standing. He has waited long for this moment, he announces. The legendary Wolverine in the flesh, at last, Very exciting. Does he know him? Wolverine asks. Not exactly, the boy replies. Kade Kilgore is the name, CEO of Kilgore Arms, the world’s largest manufacturer of things that go blam and boom. He ain’t looking to buy no guns, Logan tells him gruffly. Nor is he here to sell them, Kade replies. He also represents another organization, one Wolverine may be more familiar with. He’s the new Black King of the Hellfire Club, the boy smirks.
Wolverine warns him this just stopped being funny. Kade assures him it’s no joke and adds Wolverine owes him a great deal of thanks for this impressive new school they’ve built here. All of their troubles that led up to their recent schism were all because of Kade, he boasts. He manipulated Quire into attacking the arms conference, causing a renewed international fear of mutants. He led the attack on the mutant history museum and gave the order to destroy it. And he designed and built the Sentinel that attacked Utopia, the one that drove the final nail into the coffin of his friendship with Scott Summers.
It was all part of his plan to gain control of the Hellfire Club, which he did. And to make a ridiculous amount of money building new Sentinels for a world that hates and fear mutants more than ever, which he currently is. So, he can see his plan has been quite—
Wolverine grabs him and threatens him with his claws. He has to be either crazy or suicidal to come here and tell him this. Unfazed, Kade announces he is neither. What he is is twelve years old, fabulously wealthy and as far as the courts are concerned completely unblemished. If Wolverine so much as nicks him, his lawyers will descend on this place like a swarm of locusts.
Wolverine drops him and announces he doesn’t have to touch Kade. He has plenty of kids inside he could bring out to do it for him. Get outta here and don’t come back! he orders. About those children, Kade confesses, he didn’t anticipate this school. How could he? The very idea of “Wolverine’s school for gifted youngsters” is utterly absurd. He puts on the sunglasses he dropped. Nevertheless, here they are. As he told him, he makes a great deal of money off the hatred and fear of mutants. A school that teaches mutant children that they should live in peace alongside their human betters? That he cannot have. That’s why he’s come here today to tell Wolverine to his face he’s going to destroy everything Wolverine has built here.
Kade flies away in his limousine. A furious Wolverine returns to the school and ignores Iceman, who asks who the kid was. Suddenly, Mrs. Marigold and Mr. Clud run out screeching, beset by lots of naked small Nightcrawler lookalikes, the Bamfs. One of them is holding onto Logan’s bottle of whiskey. Kitty shouts at Logan to stop them. One day, a furious Logan thinks, as he tears off his tie. He couldn’t even make it through one single day as headmaster.
Suddenly, the ground begins to rumble, the quake damaging part of the building. Mrs. Marigold informs Kitty this is the worst, most dangerous school she has ever laid eyes upon. She promises an unpleasant call from the Department of Education. Before they can continue arguing, the quakes become worse and, under the eye of a mocking Kade Kilgore, the ground turns into a maw, intent on swallowing the school…