|New X-Men (2nd series) #28|| || |
Issue Date: September 2006
Story Title: Nimrod - part 1
Staff: Craig Kyle & Chris Yost (writers), Paco Medina (penciller), Juan Vlasco (inker), Brian Reber (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Sean Ryan (asst. editor), Nick Lowe (assoc. editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)
Avengers Iron Man and Ms. Marvel are called in to investigate a trio of murders at Stryker’s church due to the clearly superhuman circumstances surrounding the deaths. Iron Man finds a weird energy signature and identifies one of the corpses as Jay Guthrie. Ms. Marvel recognizes the name and they piece together that Jay was the brother of the X-Man, Cannonball and a student at Xavier’s. Carol volunteers to break the news to the X-Men personally. At the Institute, the X-Men and O*N*E are dealing with the aftermath of the siege of the mansions by the Purifiers. Stryker’s death is being covered up by O*N*E. The New X-Men are struggling to deal with the attacks and the hatred behind it. They also have to contend with Elixir’s mental deterioration and the grief-stricken mother of their teammate, Wallflower. Ms. Marvel confers informs Cyclops of Jay’s murder as X-23 eavesdrops. Emma arrives to shoo the kids away and then proceeds to reveal Ms. Marvel’s ulterior motive for her visit: to ask for the X-Men’s support of the new Superhuman Registration Act. Emma lays into Ms. Marvel asking where the Avengers were, where she was when the X-Men and mutants needed help. She shows Carol the scene following the bus explosion, the funerals afterwards and wonders why none of the Avengers came to help the way the X-Men did in Stamford. She then shows Carol Lucinda Guthrie and asks if she wants to help break the news of her son’s death to her. Finally she shows her Quill’s body and asks if she wants to grab a shovel to help bury him. She sends Ms. Marvel away with a final warning: if this war is anything like mutantkind’s has been, then she’ll be needing a lot of shovels. Emma breaks down with grief while the New X-Men piece together the clues to Nimrod’s involvement in Stryker’s plans. Nimrod himself is barely functioning and confronts Forge demanding that his creator complete the needed repairs. Forge refuses and Nimrod threatens to teleport to Africa and terminate Storm if Forge refuses to comply.
A police officer nervously reports his findings at a crime scene. He explains that they were called in due to reports of gunfire and an explosion. Upon arriving, they found the dead bodies of two men who had been sliced up with a bladed weapon of some sort and a teenager who had been shot in the head. He notes the weird computers and other irregularities in this case and explains that this is why he called in for special assistance from the new “official superheroes”. Iron Man replies that the officer did the right thing. Joining him in his investigation is fellow New Avenger, Carol Danvers AKA Ms. Marvel.
Iron Man notes that the computers here are very basic and designed for downloading and displaying information and not processing it. Carol asks what could have done this and Iron Man replies that there is a distinctive energy signature that he is trying to trace. Carol notes that she hates mysteries and would rather just punch something.
Tony gets a lock on the energy pattern and compares it to those found in his extensive databases but finds no match. He does find that whatever generated it moved from the cross to the ground and made its way to the body of the teenaged boy before taking flight towards the southwest. Carol wonders why the youngest victim was shot with a gun if this thing was equipped with a disintegrator ray.
As Ms. Marvel goes to examine the body, she is shocked to find that he was just a kid. Near his hand, the letters N-I-M-R have been written in blood. Iron Man states the obvious; he was trying to tell them something before he died.
Iron Man runs a facial recognition and finds that the boy has a file with O*N*E* and IDs him as a mutant named Joshua Guthrie. Carol recognizes the name and asks if there’s any data on family members. Iron Man replies with a role call of Jay’s mother and siblings. When Carol hears Sam’s name among them she immediately realizes that this young man is Cannonball’s younger brother and a student at the Xavier Institute!
Iron Man suggests that the X-Men might have information about whoever did this and tells Carol that he’ll notify Valerie Cooper immediately. Carol asks him not to and volunteers to tell the X-Men personally, feeling that they shouldn’t get this kind of news from the military.
At the Xavier Institute, personnel from the Office of National Security clear the scene following the siege of the Institute by Rev. William Stryker and his Purifiers. The Beast is arguing with Colonel Reyes about the gauntlet seized from Stryker’s body. Dr. McCoy wants to study it but Reyes refuses, saying that O*N*E will handle it. He says he’d be a fool to hand a weapon capable of disabling his Sentinels to the X-Men.
Beast tells him that he doesn’t think he’s a fool but perhaps delusional. He reminds Reyes of how his Sentinels fared against Vulcan and Apocalypse. Beast insists that they need to identify this technology and find out if there is more like it out there. Once again, Col. Reyes insists that O*N*E will handle it and Stryker too. He then notes that this is in the X-Men’s best interests since the public would not take kindly to learning that a mutant was responsible for the popular minister’s untimely death. Reyes states that they should be thanking him since the official story will be that he died of natural causes. As he says this, one of his men zips up the body bag containing Stryker’s corpse and says under his breath, “Natural causes, my butt.”
Outside, Mercury goes to check on Hellion who is looking out over the fires that burn on the estate grounds. She states that they stopped them but Julian is clearly not in a celebrating mood. Cessily asks how his side is and he says he’s fine but it’s clear to her from his tone that he’s lying. Cessily says that she knows Ms. Frost is upset with him and that’s why she made Nori the squad’s leader. She also says she sorry for how Sofia left without saying anything to anyone. She says that they all miss Brian and the others but that they’re in this together and it’s not his fault. He interrupts and tells that he’s heard that enough. He thought they could handle it but they were wrong.
He stops talking as two O*N*E guards carry out Stryker’s body. One comments that a few Purifiers escaped and the other says “Good. They didn’t finish the job.” Julian hears this and tells Cessily that nobody could be ready for this kind of hate. Their talk is interrupted by the arrival of Ms. Marvel.
Inside, Dust, Cyclops, X-23 and the Stepford Cuckoos are inside Cerebra searching for Jay Guthrie. Mindee comments on how few mutants are left. She tells the others that she can’t sense him and that he’s either shielded or dead. Dust starts to blame herself for not going with him and X-23 assures her that had she gone she would be the one dead. Elsewhere, Colossus and a handful of students look out the window as Ms. Marvel arrives. Colossus sends a thought projection to the Cuckoos summoning Scott.
In the Infirmary, Elixir is in the throes of convulsions, his now ebony body straining against restraints. David is telling Noriko that whatever Josh did to Stryker had a physical effect on him as well and somehow altered his brain chemistry. This new condition is physical and not merely mental. They have tried calming him with sedatives with no success.
Nori is wearing her old power-regulating gauntlets and asks what they can do. David says they just have to wait and hope that his mind heals itself.
In the neighboring room, Husk is visiting Cannonball who is expected to make a full recovery. David shares with Nori that Beast told him that Sam is immortal and he admits that he wasn’t sure if McCoy was joking or not. Nori asks if he got a hold of Sofia and he replies that she’s back in Venezuela and doesn’t know what’s happened yet. Nori says that they have to do something to put an end to all this and states that forty-five of them are dead already. She starts to talk about losing Laurie too when Ms. Frost clears her throat. With her is Laurie’s mother, Gail Collins. David steps forward to try and offer some comforting words and Mrs. Collins slaps him across the face. Emma tries to comfort the woman as she leads her to Laurie’s body. David and Nori are both crying and leaning on each other for support as she walks away.
In the foyer of the Institute, Ms. Marvel is anxiously waiting for Cyclops. Rockslide is there trying to flirt with her by commenting on how great her costume is. Mercury quietly begs him to stop talking and when Scott finally arrives, Carol looks visibly relieved. As she hugs Scott she notes that she was worried that they may have already left for Storm’s wedding. He replies that given all that’s happened they probably won’t leave until the day of the big event.
Santo declares that she was clearly into him and once again, Cessily tells him to just shut up. Carol tells Scott that they should talk in private and he leads her to the headmasters’ office. Hellion wonders what that was all about and X-23 tells them that Ms. Marvel smells of Icarus and was with him. Hellion tells Mercury to go get David and Nori and the entire team assembles outside Scott’s office to eavesdrop. As Carol relates what happened to Scott, X-23 is listening and repeating each word to the others. She repeats how Carol and Iron Man were called to the scene and what they found. She hears them talk about the energy trail heading southwest and then how they found Jay Guthrie’s body.
When Laura announces that Jay is dead, the others are shocked. Dust begins to cry and Laura continues to describe the details of Jay’s condition. Hellion stops her and tells her that’s enough. David breaks down and Santo tries to comfort him. At that moment, Emma Frost arrives and tells them to return to their rooms and she will speak with them momentarily after she’s had a word with their guest.
Emma enters the headmasters’ office and immediately begins to lay into Ms. Marvel. She snidely asks how she’s progressing in her efforts to become the world’s greatest heroine and if she’s been on any talk shows lately. Scott tries to persuade Emma to hear Carol out. Emma apologizes for being late and explains that she was busy releasing another student’s body to a grieving mother. She tells Cyclops that she’s read Ms. Marvel’s mind and knows full well why she’s really there and it isn’t just to tell them about Jay’s death. Scott is surprised and turns to Carol for an explanation.
Carol admits that while Jay’s death was the unfortunate impetus for her visit, she also wanted to talk to the X-Men about the Superhuman Registration Act. Emma interrupts and sarcastically notes that the “No” she gave to Tony Stark clearly didn’t carry weight with Carol since she and the X-Men are so very close.
Carol tries to explain her position on the Registration Act. She acknowledges that the government’s track record with mutants and registration has been one filled with persecution and even notes the situation in Genosha. But she emphasizes that what happened in Stamford has changed things and she hopes that the X-Men will work with them as they did during the House of M to make things right.
Again, Emma interrupts and reminds Carol that the X-Men were there in Stamford helping in rescue efforts. She asks where the Avengers were when they needed help. She asks where she was when forty-two of her students were killed in an exploding bus. She enters Carol’s mind, drawing both her and Cyclops into the scene following the explosion. Emma notes that the youngest student killed was named Amber and was only twelve years old. Carol is appalled and Cyclops asks Emma not to do this. Emma does not relent and asks Carol why she doesn’t see the Avengers helping to pull corpses from the rubble.
Emma then shifts the scene to the mass funeral held for the dead students. She describes the simple teenage hopes that Brian Cruz had when he was alive and asks once again why the Avengers weren’t there. She then projects their minds to show Ms. Marvel Lucinda Guthrie in Kentucky. She tells Carol how she has to call her and tell her that her son is dead and another lies in critical condition. She notes that Mrs. Guthrie sent her children to be safe and educated and instead they’ve sent one child home powerless and now another in a coffin. Emma snidely invites Ms. Marvel to join her in making the call to Mrs. Guthrie.
Carol tries to interrupt this mental assault but Emma will not back down. She psychically transports Carol into the coffin of Max Jordan AKA Quill. She asks Carol where she was while zealots invaded their school and murdered the young mutant.
Emma finally returns Carol’s psyche to the office and tells her that this is what happens to mutants when people know where to find them. She tells Ms. Marvel that unless she’d like to grab a shovel and help them bury two more mutants, then they have no more business to discuss. Carol is dazed and tries to explain herself. She tells them that she just wanted to help. Emma coldly thanks her but tells her she’s a little too late.
Carol turns to Scott for support and he offers to walk her out. As they leave, Emma adds one final warning. She tells Ms. Marvel that if the war she is about to wage is anything like the one that mutantkind has endured that she’s going to need a lot of shovels. The door slams and Emma stands there for a moment. Her strong and angry façade finally cracks and tears roll down her pale cheeks. She falls to her knees, overwhelmed at the grief of losing two more of her precious students.
The New X-Men squad are together trying to comfort each other and figure out what may have happened. Mercury asks what “nimr” could be. Surge suggests that maybe Stryker brainwashed Jay somehow. David has the feeling they are missing something and asks Laura what she heard about the energy trail left behind near Jay’s body. She repeats the details she overheard and Santo says that he bets the chick from Medium could figure it out, which prompts someone to tell him to shut up. He goes on to suggest that she or the old lady from Murder She Wrote could help them figure it out. As he says this, David is recalling Stryker’s public comments about foresight, visions and destiny. He envisions the gauntlet Stryker wore and makes the connection with Nimrod.
In Dallas, the future Sentinel Nimrod confronts Forge and insists that he complete the repairs necessary to fully restore him. Forge refuses, willing to die rather than rebuild the damaged mutant hunter. Forge says there is nothing he can do to make him repair something designed to kill his people. Nimrod notes that he has sufficient energy for a single teleportation and one termination prior to total system failure.
Nimrod then points out the flaw in Forge’s statement by projecting an image of Africa, followed by coordinates as he locks onto his target. He IDs the target fully: Ororo Munroe AKA Storm and tells Forge that if he does not comply she will be terminated. Forge utters “no” at the thought of his former love in peril.
Beast, Cannonball, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost (all X-Men)
Forge, Husk (Xavier Institute affiliates)
Elixir, Surge, Dust, Hellion, Mercury, Rockslide and X-23 (All New X-Men trainees)
Icarus (deceased), Match, Prodigy, Three-In-One/Stepford Cuckoos (Celeste, Mindee and Phoebe), Trance, Wolf Cub (All Xavier Institute students)
Iron Man, Ms. Marvel (both New Avengers)
Colonel Miguel Reyes, Dr. Valerie Cooper, Larry and other unnamed O*N*E personnel (All members of Sentinel Squad O*N*E*)
Reverend William Stryker (deceased)
Unnamed police officer
Via Emma’s Telepathic Link Only:
Lucinda, Melody and Jebediah “Jeb” Guthrie
In Prodigy’s Memories Only:
Dr. Jack Abrams and other unnamed Purifiers
The police officer refers to Iron Man and Ms. Marvel as the “official superheroes”. This is in reference to the Super Hero Registration Act which was passed as part of the CIVIL WAR Limited Series and company-wide crossover. Iron Man is the lead supporter of the Registration Act among the heroic community and Ms. Marvel was one of the first heroes to back him in this action.
Beast’s comment that Sam is immortal is a throwback to a storyline in X-FORCE that revealed Sam to be one of a handful of immortal mutants known as the Externals. This was revealed by Cable after he miraculously survived being gutted by Sauron [X-FORCE (1st Series) #7-9]. Selene later countered this belief rather cryptically but the truth of Sam’s status as an immortal or how he survived Sauron’s attack was never fully revealed [X-FORCE #54-55].
Surge notes that 45 students have died since M-Day. This number does not include Icarus. Forty-two depowered students died in the bus explosion with only a handful being clearly identified. Wallflower was killed by a sniper, Hydro drowned when he lost his powers and Quill was shot and killed last issue. The following Xavier Institute students have been confirmed or are presumed to be deceased at this point: DJ, Dryad, Hydro, Network, Preview, Quill, Rubbermaid, Tag, Wallflower (plus Icarus).
Emma Frost was approached by Tony Stark to discuss the Superhuman Registration Act in CIVIL WAR Limited Series #3 and made it clear that the Xavier Institute would not be supporting the Registration Act.
The Stamford disaster happened in the pages of CIVIL WAR Limited Series #1. While filming a reality TV show about their heroic exploits, the New Warriors confronted a band of fugitive villains that included Nitro. While they were pursuing him, he unleashed an explosion that destroyed a school bus and nearby schoolyard filled with children. Over sixty children died along with several of the New Warriors. This launched a nationwide backlash against the superhero community leading to the rapid development and passage of the Superhuman Registration Act.
Emma refers to sending one of the Guthrie children home powerless. Melody Guthrie AKA Aero was one of many students rendered powerless following M-Day as shown in NEW X-MEN #21.
Rockslide mentions the TV show MEDIUM which stars Patricia Arquette as a psychic who communicates with the dead to solve mysteries. He also mentions the older show MURDER SHE WROTE which starred Angela Lansbury as an elderly mystery-solver
Storm is engaged to marry the T’Challa, the Black Panther and king of Wakanda. She and Forge have had an “on-again/off-again” romantic relationship that dates back to UNCANNY X-MEN #186.
This Issue has been reprinted in:
New X-Men: Childhood's End Vol. 3 (Trade Paperback)
Issue Summary written by: Binaryan