|Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #55|| || |
Issue Date: December 2012
Story Title: Untitled
Staff: Marjorie Liu (writer), Mike Perkins (artist), Jay David Ramos (colorists), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Phil Noto (cover), Jennifer M. Smith (assistant editor), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Nick Lowe (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive
Many years ago, Da’o Coy Manh’s uncle, Colonel Nguyen Coy, killed her mother in order to keep her out of his enemies’ hands. He left Da’o with an old woman for safety who put her to work. In the present, she is monitoring the X-Men and has just learned that Northstar has inadvertently killed Iceman. She calls Karma and orders the team to destroy Madripoor’s transportation hub, namely the airport and he marina. As they head to the airport, the X-Men find that their job has been done for them by a team of augmented humans dressed as X-Men, courtesy of Da’o. The X-Men defeat them, despite having had their powers suppressed, but are then arrested by Tyger Tiger and put inside a truck. However, before they go far, they are attacked by armed men and taken to a warehouse. There, they are let out of the truck and Karma sees a familiar figure walking towards them - her father, whom she believed was dead. After exchanging hellos, they are then attacked by Da’o. She has used the X-Men in order to lure Karma’s father out of hiding. She then destroys the warehouse using a rocket launcher.
(Saigon, Vietnam, before)
Da’o Coy Manh is in a room, crouching besides a bed. Her mother is speaking with Colonel Coy, who tells her that he told her to stay away. She informs him that the money ran out and she had nothing left to sell or to eat. The soldiers were coming so they had to leave. He replies that she went to his wife first. He hears there was blood. Crying, Dao’s mother say she thought his wife knew about them. He warns her not to lie to him. He doesn’t have time for lies. He points his pistol at her temple and tells her that she has no idea what is happening here and what is at stake. Everything is coming down and, if any of them make it out alive, it’ll be a miracle.
“Please, I love you,” she cries. Without another word, he shoots her dead. He then looks down at Da’o, who fixes him with a stare. He tells his accomplice to do something with the girl. He asks about the body but Colonel Coy replies that they can leave it where it is. People die there all the time and the owners will know what to do. He places his hand on the girl’s shoulder and explains that he had no choice. Killing her mother was a mercy. She would have been tortured for information about him and so would she. Da’o replies that she is going to kill him but he says that someone else will do that.
He leaves with Da’o, who asks where he is taking her. He informs her that it’s someplace no one will find her. Powerful men want to hurt her father and they could use her to do that. They come to a stop and he apologizes for her mother. “Don’t be,” she replies. “She was weak.” He introduces her to an old woman who asks if she has a family. When he tells her that she hasn’t, she asks if she’s there from the goodness of her heart. The man says no, so the woman offers him twenty dollars, which he accepts. She leads Da’o to a room where several children are seated at computers.
One of Da’o’s underlings informs her that it appears the “ice mutant” is dead. He and a colleague can see everything the X-Men are doing on several large screens. He adds that the nano-worms made the confirmation before deactivating. No brain activity and no heartbeat. She checks her phone and casually replies that one less doesn’t matter. She was going to kill them all anyway. They should start, she adds with a smile. She’s waited long enough.
Warbird is furious and she grabs Northstar, calling him a fool for killing Iceman. He assures her that it was an accident. “You disgust me,” she replies. Karma tells Gambit that they’re done there. They’ve already lost. Remy says they can’t give up yet but she asks why not. She won. She stole their lives and didn’t even break a sweat. Remy says they’ll find a way. They always do. Tyger cries out that they’re all crazy.
Karma’s phone goes off. It’s Da’o on the line, so Karma puts it on speaker phone. Da’o says they are crazy, but she does love how her X-Men work. Who needs an enemy with friends like them? After Karma asks what she wants now, Da’o replies that they are working too slowly. One might think that they don’t care that lives will be lost if they fail her. So… she is tightening her rope. She wants them to take out Madripoor’s transportation hub - the airports and the marina. They have fifteen minutes or Warbird and Northstar die. Or, she adds, Northstar could just kill them himself. Furious at her remark, Jean-Paul grabs the phone and crushes it.
Immediately the X-Men hear a large ‘boom,’ and look out across the city. There are flames all around. Tyger asks what they have brought to her city. Cecelia reminds Northstar not to put any distance between them as Tyger warns them that she’s not going to let them take Madripoor. Remy replies that there is no time for this but she tells him to screw that. She thought he was her friend. She lashes out at him but Remy blocks her attack and says he isn’t going to fight her. “You better,” she replies as she tries a right hook.
He reminds her that this isn’t their fault but she kicks out at him and asks him to tell that to all the people who are burning alive down there. She punches again and says she doesn’t care what he says. They brought this to Madripoor. The X-Men always bring trouble and people like her have to clean up their mess. As they move in close to one another, Remy charges a card and, as he asks her to do what she has to do, he taps her on the shoulder several times. Tyger glances down at the card. “We’ll be waiting,” he adds before they depart. Once they are gone, Tyger says, “Damn it, Gambit.
A voice from behind her tells her she sounds like him. She turns to see Wolverine leaning against a pole dressed in his civvies in his roles as Patch. She is surprised that, after all these years, he’s still wearing the eye patch. Doesn’t he realize that everyone knows exactly who he is? “I like dressing up,” replies Logan. Tyger informs him that her Morse code is terrible and so is Gambit’s, but she did her best to put on a good show. She asks what he thinks about this mess. Logan replies that you don’t destroy airports and boats unless you want to make people stay put. He wonders who Susan Hatchi wants to keep on the island… and why?
As firefighters try and quell the flames, the X-Men are confronted by another group of X-Men wearing their original costumes. Gambit exclaims that now he’s really offended, whilst Karma determines that they are just normal humans fitted out with tech. She tries to get inside their minds but realizes that Hatchi has shut down her powers. With no unnatural abilities to have lost, Warbird leads the charge as they figure that they’ll have to do this the old-fashioned way. Despite their augmentations, the interlopers are no matched for a team of seasoned X-Men even if they are powerless and they go down quickly.
On television, a reporter informs his viewers that media outlets were alerted just prior to the attack and told to go to the airport for a demonstration of power. They’ve just witnessed pure destruction. For those tuning in, he adds, he tells them that Madripoor airport has been destroyed by the mutant group known as the X-Men. An image of Karma appears on television as he adds that they are getting word on some of their identities now. An anonymous caller has informed his producer that the woman’s name is Shan Coy Manh. Watching this on television, a shadowy figure reaches for their pistol.
With the faux X-Men down, Karma berates Jean-Paul for relying on his powers too much in the past He doesn’t even know how to run without them. He asks why he would. They’re part of him. “Maybe your weakest part, Jean-Paul,” she replies. “Maybe all of ours,” adds Remy. They look around and see Tyger Tiger standing there aiming a pistol at them. She has three cops with her doing likewise and she asks them to go ahead. She would love an excuse to shoot them all.
As they are led into a truck, Remy tells Tyger that she knows they aren’t her enemies. If she locks them up, people are going to die! She tells him that she doesn’t want to hear it, but he takes her earpiece and says, “An’ if I force you to?” She orders him into the truck and to shut the hell up. As soon as they are inside, Tyger and her men are shocked to see two cars coming right at them with a guy with a machine gun letting loose. One car crashes into the truck. Inside, Northstar asks Gambit if he has a plan for this. He replies yes; it’s called shut up an’ see what happens.
The doors are flung open and several armed men aim rifles at them. “Sit still,” one of them commands. Karma asks Gambit to look at their tattoos. They’re local guys... the mob. Not Susan’s men. Remy says good. He was getting bored of them. Two of them look right at Karma and one of them, a bald guy with several facial piercings tells her she looks like him.
The truck is taken to a remote location and driven inside a large warehouse. The X-Men are allowed out and, as soon as Karma sets foot outside the truck, her eyes widen. Walking towards her is an old man carrying an oxygen cylinder. Northstar asks her what’s wrong. The man replies for her, informing Jean-Paul that what is wrong is that he is her father and he died when she was a child. As the windows shatter from gunfire behind him, he adds that it seems he is going to have to die again. He tells Shan that it’s good to see her. “Good to see you, too, dad,” she replies.
Outside, one of Susan Hatchi’s men hands her a rocket launcher. She takes aim at the warehouse and fires. Once the place explodes, she smiles and asks them to start digging as soon as the fire burns out. She wants to see their bodies.
Gambit, Karma, Northstar, Warbird, Wolverine (all X-Men)
Susan Hatchi/Da’o Coy Manh
Hatchi’s soldiers and comms staff
Tyger Tiger and her men
Reporter and cameraman
Five fake X-Men
Karma’s father and his men
Da’o (Susan Hatchi) and her mother
Colonel Coy and his accomplice
Saigon locals including an old woman
Children working for the old woman
Iceman, Karma, Northstar (all X-Men)
Issue Summary written by: Fantomex