Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #15

Issue Date: 
October 2012
Story Title: 
On the Eve of Battle

Jason Aaron (writer), Jorge Molina (penciler), Norman Lee (inker), Morry Hollowell (color art), Chris Eliopolous (letterer), Stuart Immonen & Grace Martia (cover), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Before the last battle with Cyclops and Emma Frost, Avengers and X-Men both have gathered at the Jean Grey School. Iron Man, Beast and a few others try to make sense of the reading of Hope’s battle with Cyclops and they get some invaluable help from Broo. The school has also taken in the students from Utopia. Hope admits to Wolverine that he was right to be skeptical about her, as she wasn’t ready to face the Phoenix, but she believes she is now. Kitty and Iceman discuss their upcoming date. Quentin Quire challenges Professor Xavier, who retaliates by nominating Quentin to become class president. Gladiator orders his son Kid Gladiator to return to Chandilar with him but fires Warbird, as he believes she will be happier on Earth. Angel is promoted from student to assistant teacher. Finally, the Avengers, Hope, the adult X-Men (save for Kitty) and Xavier leave to face the Phoenix.

Full Summary: 

Wolverine and Hope Summers walk the grounds of the Jean Grey School. Hope admits she owes Logan an apology. Back on the moon, when he sold her out to the Avengers, she may have called him some pretty awful names. Nothing he hasn’t heard before, Logan assures her. Hope admits he was right though. She wasn’t ready. Skeptically, he asks if she thinks she is now.

They end up in the X-Men’s graveyard. Hope knows now there is no such thing as being ready for the Phoenix. That’s the smartest thing anybody’s said through this whole damn mess, he agrees. But that doesn’t mean he approves of her walking into battle. He still thinks she is too young for this.

If she sat this one out, there wouldn’t be a school to go back to, she retorts. He tells her she is too young to be a martyr. Is that what she was? Hope asks, looking at the statue of Jean Grey A martyr?

She… was a whole lotta things, Logan replies evasively. He loved her, didn’t he? Hope asks. They all did, but him most especially, he replies. Well… him and another guy. If she was still here now, none of this would be happening. But she’s not here and they are stuck with her on this one! Hope replies sharply. This ain’t on her no more, Logan replies. This time around, they will all be there. X-Men and Avengers.

In Beast’s lab, Beast, Iron Man, Iron Fist and Beast’s girlfriend, Commander Abigail Brand, are studying the energy readings from Cyclops’ and Hope’s battle in K’un L’un. Beast is awed. Iron Fist points out now they at least know how to hurt the Phoenix. Maybe they can hurt it, Brand states bluntly, but they sure can’t kill it, so the question becomes where the hell do you put it? Iron Man has a few ideas about that. Somewhat bothered by the Bamfs, he points out they have a pest problem here. They don’t bite, Henry assures him. Not very hard.

Broo joins them, announcing he finished running the simulations. Given the new data, the Phoenix now destroys the Earth only 83% of the time. He calls that a marked improvement. And he’d call him a refreshing optimist, Beast replies.

Brand criticizes that Stark’s figures don’t add up. There are gaping holes in his logic here. Did he start drinking again? Iron Man replies those aren’t holes. That’s just where the Kung Fu power comes in. She thinks it’s great he went to the Himalayas and got in touch with his inner Bruce Lee and all that, but how exactly does one quantify Kung Fu power? Kicks per minute? Iron Fist suggests.

They are all about to march into battle with nothing less than the fate of the world at stake and they are hanging their hopes on a bunch of mystical nonsense! Sorry, no offense there, Kwai Chang! Just because you say “no offense,” doesn‘t mean you can go right ahead and be offensive, Iron Fist snaps.

He knows his figures aren’t perfect, but he’s telling tem the answers are all in front of them, Stark insists. Brand again reminds them that even if they manage to take down Cyclops and Emma Frost the Phoenix power cannot be destroyed, only redirected - but to where? Missouri? Iron Man suggests. Is there even anything in that state?

Iron Fist disagrees with Brand. If they don’t figure out how to take down the renegade X-Men, the rest of this doesn’t matter. You can’t defuse a bomb by kicking it, Crouching Tiger, Brand retorts. For a woman with green hair, she is remarkably close-minded, Stark remarks.

Beast suggests a break and Broo suddenly shows them a new idea he has. Impressed, Brand remarks the boy is not only better looking than Stark, but smarter too. Beast and Iron Man are impressed as well, while Iron Fist is out of his depth. It’s a helluva good start, Stark praises Broo and asks if he needs a summer job or an unpaid internship. Would he like to be adopted? Anything he wants, just tell his Uncle Tony!

Shyly, Broo asks if he knows Nova. He is his favorite superhero. He is a close personal friend, Iron Man replies, and now by extension one of Broo’s friends as well. Broo is awestruck. Stark takes Broo on his shoulders and orders Henry to brew some of his awful coffee. They’ve got a fresh set of eyes on the case.

Some distance away, Kitty Pryde asks Iceman when they are leaving. Soon as the big brains over there finish their powwow and tell them the plan. She will tell him the plan. The plan is for him to come back in one piece, she orders. That’s sort of always the plan, he agrees.

Jokingly, Kitty suggests that he can stay and run the school and she’ll go fight the big firebird. Face one of his best friends gone mad with cosmic power or a school full of angst-ridden mutant teenagers? Bobby considers. If it’s all the same with Kitty, he’ll stick with the Phoenix.

Kitty welcomes the new arrivals over the intercom, the homeless mutant teenagers from Utopia.

Idie Okonkwo shows around her fellow Lights Primal and Velocidad, warning them the bathrooms sometimes try to kill you.

Quentin Quire tries to hit on the disgusted Stepford Cuckoos with predictably little success.

So how are their refugees from Utopia fitting in? Kitty asks. Right now they are just trying to find room for them, Bobby reports. Thankfully, Henry made the place adaptable. And by that he means there are sections of this school that he doesn’t think even Henry remembers building.

Pixie and Surge run into Deathlok, who gives out information where everything is and warns them not to feed the Bamfs. Access to the Morlock Tunnels, the Siege Perilous and Dr McCoy’s time machine are strictly prohibited, except with the proper hall pass. Do not taunt the Bamfs! Their living quarters are just ahead. What follows is a list of the entities most likely to demolish this wing of the school in the next three months: the Phoenix, the Hellfire Club, miscellaneous mutant hate groups. Quentin Quire.

Martha Johansson telepathically tells Evan she thinks he is cute and Angel introduces a smitten Krakoa to Dust.

Assuming they survive the next 24 hours, where does she wanna go on their first date? Iceman asks Kitty. Some place that doesn’t allow children, she sighs. The strip club it is, he decides.

Rachel and Professor X walk the hallways, conversing telepathically. Rachel admits she doesn‘t know what scares her most: how Cyclops has lost control or how part of her still wants to be there with him. Xavier is optimistic Scott can and will be saved. He refuses to lose another student to the Phoenix.

Atlantean mutant student Crosta approaches them, beginning a question. Before he can finish, the two telepaths tell him where the bathroom is.

Rachel muses they may be the two most powerful telepaths on the planet, but even they can’t make the Phoenix disappear. The two most powerful telepaths on the planet? Quentin Quire butts in on their telepathic conversation. He demands a recount.

Xavier remarks that Quentin’s thoughts are still as predictably surly as ever. Still trying desperately to convince everybody he is some sort of revolutionary? He had hoped he’d have grown out of that phase by now.

Good to see Chuck too, Quentin sneers. The inside of his head is just as stodgy and pretentious as it was back when he actually seemed to matter. Shouldn’t he be off somewhere on the sidelines, being forgotten and utterly irrelevant?

Rachel is about to go medieval on him, by Xavier points out that detention is exactly what Quentin craves. Such punishments only serve to reinforce the pseudo-insurrectionary image he so longs to build for himself. He suggests a different approach…

And so, Xavier telepathically informs all students that Quintavius Quirinus Quire is running for the office of student council president and he officially endorses this very promising student. Vote Quire; that is all.

He will kill him for that, Quentin seethes. Xavier replies the world won’t wait much longer for him to grow up before it decides to simply pass him by. He would consider that a great shame. Best of luck in the election!

Toad leads Husk through the cavern system below the school. He wants to show her the underground river but had forgotten that you have to climb the ceiling part of the way. He apologizes. He wanted to find a place where they could be alone without crazy kids running around, puking on things. Maybe he should just go back to his janitor closet.

She tells him to wait. She husks into a forms similar to Toad’s to enable her to scale the walls. Touched, Mortimer cries. Happily, they continue their trek.

In the med-lab’s recovery room, Gladiator informs his son that they are leaving to return to the Shi’ar Empire. What about the Phoenix? Kubark asks. Earth’s problem, his father announces. All he cares about is getting Kubark to Chandilar safe and sound. His son stammers he taught him never to run from a fight. The Phoenix kicked their butts and now they are going to—

He also taught him never to disobey his father, let alone his emperor, Gladiator snaps. He is coming with him! Under his own power or not, and that is final! Say goodbye to his classmates if he likes. He will never see them again. Chances are no one will. He steps away.

He can’t do this! Kubark protests to Warbird, who reminds him the Majestor’s word is law. What if he doesn’t want to go home? the boy sulks. To hear him, one would almost think he liked it here, she mocks gently.

Don’t be ridiculous, he scoffs. Of course he hates the place; it’s just that— Gently, she tells him this time there is no running away. Not from his father. Best say his goodbyes…

Furiously, he clenches his fists, then uses his x-ray vision to see into a classroom where his classmates are laughing at a joke. With no one to listen, he says ‘goodbye’ in a small voice and is teleported aboard the Shi’ar ship.

Warbird informs Gladiator that his son is aboard and she awaits his orders. She will receive no more orders from him. She is not coming with them, Gladiator announces. Warbird doesn’t understand and worries that she failed him. She is not being punished, he tells her. He sees what’s in her heart. It is not the heart of a Warbird. She was meant for greater things than what she will find in his service. He wishes her well in doing them here. He teleports away.

In Wolverine’s office, Iceman admits this is awkward but it’s better to come right out with it. Logan was right, Bobby was wrong. Can he have his job back now?

Opening a cabinet, Logan points out, he isn’t Scott. A lecture, Bobby sighs. Great! All right, he deserves it. Go ahead, give him the full-on berserker! Logan fills two glasses with whiskey. This was never meant to be a dictatorship. When he put together the team he wanted people who would stand up and tell him when they thought he was full of crap. And that’s what Iceman did. Keep it up. He hands Bobby a glass and they clink glasses.

Keep it up? Bobby asks, wiping his mouth. Okay, he asked for it. He’s missing far too often to be an effective headmaster. He stabs people way too much. He makes him drink things that burn holes in his stomach, and still with the blue and yellow? Really? That’s enough for today, is Logan’s reply. Save some for after they save the world.

Idie and Hope are sitting outside beneath the Jean Grey statue, eating ice cream. Idie urges Hope not to go. They won’t let any of the other kids get involved in this Avengers versus X-Men stuff. She should stay with Idie, she would like it here.

Hope asks she heard Idie actually has been smiling for a change. Which is great. She meet any cute boys? No, Idie replies. There’s a Brood who is really nice though. Flesh-eating aliens are fine, Hope jokes, as long as Idie promises to stay away from that Quentin Quire person.

Idie tells her she prays for Hope. She goes to a church in town almost every night and asks God to watch over her. She can take care of herself, Hope replies. Idie should make sure she does the same. Idie sighs, she just wishes there weren’t so many temptations out there. Is the Brood a good kisser? Hope asks. She couldn’t see how, Idie points out, what with all those teeth.

Is he being expelled? a shocked Angel asks the staff. Is it because he likes to fly around naked? No, Kityt calms him. Well, actually that is something they need to talk about. But the real problem is that Angel is already smarter than most of his teachers. And she’s heard from Iceman how he handled himself in the field. Basically, they have nothing left to teach him. She congratulates him. He is the first official graduate of the Jean Grey School. Beast still has a lot of tests to run on his new powers. But as of now he is no longer a student. They are bumping him up all the way to graduate assistant. Assuming he’s interested, of course. Whooping happily, Angel takes off his shirt and shoes and flies into the sky.

Henry looks wistfully at a picture of the original five X-Men. It’s time, Xavier tells him. He watches everyone say their goodbyes and agrees.

And so the grown X-Men (sans Kitty), Avengers and Hope leave for the fight with Kitty and the students silently watching. As does Kubark from space, who wistfully looks back at Earth.

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Beast, Husk, Iceman, Kitty Pryde, Rachel Grey, Wolverine (all X-Men and staff at the Jean Grey School)
Warbird II
Professor Xavier
Anole, Armor, Blindfold, Broo, Genesis, Glob Herman, Hellion, Kid Gladiator, Kid Omega, Match, Mercury, Oya, Rockslide (All students at the Jean Grey School)
Crosta, Dust, Martha Johanssen, Pixie III, Primal, Stepford Cuckoos, Surge, Velocidad (students from Utopia)
Krakoa II

Iron Fist, Iron Man (Avengers)
Commander Abigail Brand (Commander of SWORD)
Shi’ar soldiers

Story Notes: 

This is part of the Avengers versus X-Men crossover.

This story takes place after the events of AVX #10.

The battle at K’un-lun between Hope and Cyclops occurred in AVX #10.

Brand’s tactless remark refers to Iron Man’s past as an alcoholic.

“Kwang Chai Caine” was the hero of the 70ies show Kung Fu starring David Carradine.

“Crouching Tiger” is a reference to the famous Kung Fu movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

“Quire’s revolutionary phase” refers to both the “Riot at Xavier’s” in New X-Men (1st series) #134-138 and Quentin’s role in X-Men: Schism.

While it’s not explicitly stated, most of the Utopia students stay at the Jean Grey School.

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