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Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) # 70

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When the X-Men were turned into toddlers by Mojo, the New Mutants took up the role of the X-Men, dressing up with their intended graduation costumes. [Uncanny X-Men Annual #10]


Fan created, Comic related, Fun



Runaways



X-Nation 2099 # 3

Issue Date: May 1996

Story Title: Vertigo

Staff: Tom Payer (writer), Humberto Ramos (pencils), Jimmy Palmiotti (inks), Jon Babcock (letters), James Brown (colors), Malibu (separations), Joey Cavalieri (editor), Bobbie Chase (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description:
The Sisterhood of the Howling Commandments wants to go rescue Willow in their cool car, but are stopped by lawyer Lucius Drayn, who doesnít want any useless destructions like last time. The Sisters are held back, and thus also is the search. The disappointed kids return back to their shelter, where December informs the team how she met Willow and why he wants her so desperately back. After some hesitating from Twilight, who eventually changes her mind after hearing a conversation between Shakti and Sister Nicholas, the team agrees to go rescue Willow by themselves. They steal the Sisterís car and leave. However, they are quickly spotted by Avian and he sends out his goons, who destroy the car. He captures them and installs power inhibitors onto their heads. Nostromo is able to disarm his inhibitor and fights back, but the guards are well prepared and shoot him! Meanwhile, Shakti pays her old teammate, Xiían, a visit and asks him to help her train X-Nation, like he did with the X-Men. Xiían isnít interested and, without further discussion, sends Shakti back. Shakti does as told but, on her way, receives a powerful telepathic message. When the man responsible for it reveals himself, he introduces himself asÖ Exodus!

Full Synopsis:
The exact words of the X-Nation kids: ďYou have got to be kidding me!Ē Startled, they lookÖat the cool car of the Sisters of the Howling Commandments! The Sisters are ready to go. Uproar jokingly asks them to bring back a souvenir. Sister Nicholas tries to make Uproar understand that this isnít a game they are playing. Enemies took Willow away, and they have to get her back, no matter what. The Sisters want to leave, but a man comes running after them and orders them to wait.

He is Lucius Drayn and, while using his powers to prevent the car from moving, the lawyer says that he has the authority (given to him by Halo Cityís Ministry of Bureaugracy and Deligation) and wonít allow the Sisters to leave to avoid unwanted destructions. Nicholas calls Lucius names and commands to let them through, but he wonít allow it. Lucius tells the Sisters to be nice to him. He reminds them that their service to X-Nation is allowed, but they donít want to push their luck. December defends that the Sisters came looking for them and not otherwise. Lucius simply replies that maybe itís time for the kids to look for someplace else to hide them, and no longer in Halo City.

Some time later, the kids have returned to their shelter. December cries over Willowís loss and destroys the soda machine. Uproar jokes about it. Clarion tells the idiot to stop it since itís obvious to see that Decemberís feelings are hurt. He reminds everyone that they are all in this mess together and, as long as the Sisters are keeping tabs on them, Clarion feels like they should take the initiative and help Willow out themselves. He asks Twilight if sheís in. She doesnít want to, but changes her mind when Clarion reminds Twilight who helped her out during Avianís attack: it was Willow.

Twilight uses her powers and begins the transport. As it will take a while, the gang asks December how Willow got into all this mess. December recalls how it all began at the Million Palms Center in Florida, a few years back. She led tours to familiarize the guests with the parkís facilities. It was a pretty cushy gig at the time. December earned a lot of money and had great amenities. For once, you could actually see people enjoying themselves.

She thought of the place to be so much like a storybook. Million Palms even had its own king and queen. Avian, the Falconer, was the king and his beautiful Peregine was the queen. Still, even royalty gets thrown a curve every now and again. And they were not an exception: Peregine ďdisappearedĒ one day. People searched and searched but came up empty handed until they dredged the Tunnel of Love, where they found her body. And thatís the day when Avianís heart broke.

And from that day on, things changed in Palms Center. Everyone who visited the place had to undergo a genetic scan for anomalies, and it was only a matter of time before they came looking for December. For the next two weeks, she was perused, poked, prodded and probed. To this day, December doesnít think that those scientists didnít even ask her one single question during the examination.

Meanwhile, on the surface, December later on heard that business was as usual. Every day was still a ďcaring dayĒ but underground there was a growing corner of hell. Having completed their ďtests,Ē people were fitted with power inhibitors and left to rot in the parkís subterranean labyrinth when discovered. And thatís where December met Willow. She immediately saw that the scientists must have done a number on Willow, because a couple of days after her arrival Willow got a real shock. December did everything she could to help Willow, but knew that she was going to die.

Then, for some reason December didnít know at the time, Avian had Willow taken away again. She was the only friend December ever had, and she wasnít going to let anyone Ė not Avian, not even Doom himself Ė add further insult to her friendsí already fatal injuries. December remembers how she tried to escape from an inescapable prison, but she tried anyway. She climbed over some walls, but was busted maybe ten minutes later.

December was even surprised it took that long before Avianís goons found her and brought her back. But it was only to put her under public execution! It was the ultimate humiliation. December was to be put to death in front of everyone, from the lowest of Million Palmsí low to its king and queen themselves. And thatís when it all hit December: she was convinced that she had gone insane and that images from her life were flashing before her very eyes - but when the queen turned to look at her way and December saw the crazy new markings on her face, she knew that she wasnít crazy: the new queen was Willow! <{P> All of a sudden, Willow used her powers to change into Avian, surprising the shock out of him at the same time, and began fighting him. And in mere moments, they literally flow their way to freedom. The end.

Wulff isnít impressed by the tale. He feels that Avian can have Wilow back, if thatís what it takes to make him not lonely and stop bugging them. Clarion reminds Wulff how he felt when he was a slave, and he agrees to rescue Willow. Clarion makes everyone agree to join the trip, except for Twilight. She wonít bring them all to Avian and stops the transport, making everyone land back at the shelter.

Meanwhile, the Atlantean warrior, Attuma, prepares his guard for war. He gives them a speech, and the troops are ready to go into the battlefield!

Cerebra tries to use Cerebro to find Willow. Morphine enters and informs Shakti that the Sisters want to have a word with her, because they believe the search is a lost cause. Shakti wonít give Willow up. Morphine asks if it might be possible that Willow can also change her psi-patterns, since she can also change forms. Shakti tells Morphine not to be stupid, since even seasoned telepaths canít do that. She leaves to see the Sisters and telepathically calls Morphine a jerk. When Shaktiís gone, Nostromo asks Morphine if she has seen Shakti. He confirms, and thinks in himself if only Nostromo knew whyÖ

At Nicholasí bedroom, she tells Shakti that Willow isnít the Messiah and wants Shakti to stop try to make her one. Shakti appreciates Nicholasí concern about the children, butÖ Nicholas cuts in and holds her gun, and tells Shakti she has no conception of the matter and that the kids arenít prepared for what lies ahead. Shakti cuts in and says that if the mutant Messiah actually exists, and she suspects that Doomís calculations are probably correct; these kids may never be ready. But Shakti wonders in herself what the kids must be ready for.

Twilight overhears them talking and thinks that they mean an experiment, and she wonít be part of it and quickly runs away, crying. Nicholas asks Shakti to stop trying, but she doesnít want to. What if the Messiah actually lies somewhere within these children? At the shelter, Nostromo quickly tries to hotwire the Sisterís car. The others want to go, but donít want to think whatís going to happen if Nicholas catches them sneaking out a second time. Twilight rejoins and tells the others that she simply had a change of mind about the shelter. She opens a gateway and the journey can begin!

Elsewhere in Halo City, a reunion of a sort is taking place. Shakti meets up with her former teammate from the X-Men: Xiían Chi Xan. She tells him that the kids remind her about how they and the other X-Men were at the beginning: raw, inexperienced, but full of life and youthful optimism. Unlike now. Xiían is mocking and cuts to the chase, asking Shakti what she wants.

Shakti hesitatingly asks Xiían to help her with X-Nation. The way he did with the X-Men: giving them a purpose. Xiían emotionlessly says that he isnít an X-Man anymore. He wants Shakti to leave. Shakti canít believe this. She tells Xiían that she used to idolize him. She gets angry and stars to cry, and says that theyíve all got responsibilities to each other. Not because they are mutants, but because they are human beings! At least, she means, some of them used to be.

Shakti runs away and along the way wonders how she will be able to bring the kids through. She knows that she canít do it alone. As she jumps over some rooftops, a telepathic voice calls her. Shakti senses that itís a powerful one and tries to reach out, but itís too painful. The voice explains thatís because he is too powerful. Shakti asks who this mystery person is.

The man steps forward, and introduces himself asÖ EXODUS!

Exodus touches Shaktiís shoulder, and in a heavy voice says that heís the future of all mutant kind. That he is the resurrection of life and he has come to reclaim what is rightfully is! Shakti looks at fear at the powerful mutant, whose eyes glow with raw energyÖ

Deep in the heart of the Million Palm Family Fun Center, Avian is busy enduring his experiments upon another new arrival. He takes no pleasure in this, but the sooner the mutant Messiah is delivered to Herod, he will... One of his scientists reports to Avian that they are under attack. Avian commands to attack them, so it is done and missiles are launched on X-Nationís stolen car, which is destroyed.

The kids all fall on the ground, but survive the fall. They get up but, before they get the chance to recover, goons with hover packs build onto their suits attack and throw power inhibitors on their heads.

Nostromo overrides the inhibitor on his head and fires away. But the guards are well prepared and shoot Nostromo! He falls on the ground, unconscious, and with a big hole into his stomach! Is he dead?

Characters:
Cerebra, Clarion, December, Nostromo, Twilight, Uproar, Willow, Wulff (all X-Nation 2099)

Xiían Chi Xan (former X-Man 2099 refusing to be active)

Sister Debra, Sister Einstein, Sister Nicholas, Sister Rose (all of the Sisterhood of the Howling Commandments)

Morphine Somers

Lord Falconer/Avian and his bird Razorwing

Exodus

Lucius Drayn

Attuma (Atlantean warrior)
various Atlantean warriors (unnamed)

throughout Decemberís flash-back:
December
Lord Falconer/Avian
Peregin (Avianís wife)
Avianís guards and minions (various and unnamed)

Notes:
Xiían isnít an X-Man anymore as of X-Men 2099 #25, after getting freed from the Theatre of Pain. He wanted to atone for his crimes when in the group and found that he didnít deserve to be a member anymore, despite the groupís disbelief.

Issue Summary written by: Homer Jay


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