|X-Treme X-Men (2nd series) # 4|| || |
Issue Date: November 2012
Story Title: untitled
Staff: Greg Pak (Writer), Paco Diaz (Pencils), Dennis Crisostomo and Paco Diaz (Inkers), Jessica Kholinne and Chris Sotomayor (Colourist), VC’s Joe Sabino (Letters), Kalman Andrasofszky (Cover), Jeannie Schaefer (Editor), Jennifer M. Smith (Assistant Editor), Nick Lowe (Group Editor), Axel Alonso (Editor in Chief), Joe Qeusada (Chief Creative Officer), Dan Buckley (Publisher), Alan Fine (Executive Producer)
In a wild-west town in Arizona, Xavier uses his psychic powers to cheat at a card game with Sabretooth. Angered by this, Sabretooth starts a fight that ends when Xavier psychically blasts him and most of the town. One year later, Dazzler and her X-Men teleport in and immediately get drawn into helping a woman and child from getting robbed. The child, Jamie, turns out to be a younger version of Howlett. The X-Men teleport away but leave behind Howlett, who is captured by the gang of men. Dazzler is taken back to the woman’s farm, where she reveals her husband has been taken by the boss of the area. Howlett wakes in a prison cell and meets the alternate version of his father, who is gravely ill and in prison because he stood up to the boss. The man begs Howlett to help him but the boss, Xavier, shows up and shoots Howlett in the head to reveal his adamantine skull. Later on, Dazzler is singing at the saloon and uses the sound from a ukulele to echolocate the prison in the building next door. Kurt teleports her in but they find Howlett missing. They rescue the man and take him back to his wife and son on the farm. Dazzler tries to convince them to run but they demand to stay and fight as Xavier sends his own team of mutants, Howlett among them, to kill them.
(Graymalkin, Arizona. One year ago)
A horse and cart rides through a wild-west town that is adorned with metal steam-punk style architecture. From the saloon, a voice asks if Mr. Creed is in or out, to which the answer is given with a growl. Inside the saloon, people are drinking and socializing, whilst in one corner two men are playing cards. Creed stands up angrily and slams down his cards and says he folds. He suddenly sits down and looks at the cards he threw down, confused as to why he would do that. His cards show he had four aces with a king kicker and would have most certainly won the hand. His opponent, Charles Xavier, is holding his card with all their faces pointed towards Creed. He smiles and points a finger to his head and tells him that he simply can’t imagine why but thanks.
Xavier is thrown through the window of the saloon and out into the street. Creed towers over the begging Xavier and holds an old stove high above his head, ready to slam it down. Before he can do anything, though, a red beam hits the stove and sends it flying out of Creed’s hands. Cyclops addresses his as Victor and tells him there is only one sheriff in town. Cyclops is wearing a cowboy hat and his visor is made of metal and leather and strapped to his head.
Cyclops looks down at Xavier and calls him “New York Charlie.” He says he thought he told him to hit the road. Xavier calls him sheriff, tells him he is much obliged and he is on his way. An angry Creed tells Cyclops that Xavier cheated. Cyclops says they will collect the cards to see where he marked them but Creed tells him it isn’t like that… he got up in his head. Cyclops seems confused by this, so Xavier says Creed is exaggerating; he was merely using parlor tricks. But Cyclops punches him in the face and says he can’t abide mentalists. Creed urges him to take him out but Cyclops tells him to hush as he ain’t hurting anyone now.
Lying on the floor and bleeding from his head, Xavier becomes enraged and says they’ll see about that. Cyclops suddenly starts bleeding from the nose and Creed grabs his head in pain. Xavier puts two fingers to his temple and all the residents of Graymalkin start clutching their heads and crying in pain. As blood gushes from their noses and eyes, Xavier stands up and replaces his bowler hat and smiles sinisterly whilst commenting that that was new.
The team materializes about 10 foot off the ground in the Arizona desert. After they fall to the ground below, a sore Dazzler asks the bodiless Xavier if he minds bringing them to a new dimension at ground level. Xavier says that he would argue that ten feet above ground is better than ten feet below. Kurt says he will give this one to the head and points out that he’s running sixteen million separate calculations within a span of seven seconds; he’s bound to have a certain margin of error. Dazzler rescinds her gripe and asks where they are. Howlett tells her he smells horses, cheap liquor and cheaper cologne… his kind of town. They look out to see Graymalkin in the distance.
As they approach the town, they take some clothes off of a clothesline. After they dress, Xavier tells them that they have to deal with this world’s evil Xavier, so no running off half-cocked until he’s located. They are suddenly distracted by a cry of distress. A woman and young boy are in the street and are being accosted by a group of men led by Creed. One of the men, Toad, tells the woman that their boss isn’t going to like hearing that she’s been back-talking to them.
The woman says she doesn’t have any money but Creed tells her she had enough for shopping. She says it was just flour and a little sugar. Toad tells her he’ll take some sugar but she lowers her head and tells them good day. As she goes to leave Toad trips her up. Her son Jamie helps her off the floor as she bleeds from the cheek. She tells him it’s alright but he turns around and says that it isn’t. With that, he pops two sets of bone claws from his knuckles and slashes Toad across the face.
An amazed Howlett stares at the boy as Xavier tries to remind what he just said. Creed smacks the boy across the head and says if the little boy wants to be a man, then it’s fine by him. He raises his clawed hands above his head, ready to attack the boy. Howlett unsheathes his claws and runs towards the group. As the rest of the team follows, Dazzler says she isn’t a psychic but even she saw that coming. Howlett lunges at Creed and asks how many worlds he is going to have to kill him on.
Some of Creed’s gang, who were also watching the scene, leap into action and start firing their guns at Howlett, but Dazzler shoots light-bullets from her fingers and knocks the guns out their hands. As she blows one of her fingers like a smoking gun, Kurt jokes that she’s the glammest gun in the west.
Suddenly, the whole street erupts into a gunfight with more men coming out and firing guns. Dazzler and Kurt take cover behind some barrels as shots ring out around them. Howlett, in the midst of the fight, yells for them to get the woman and boy out of there. The team grabs the woman and boy and Dazzler turns to Howlett and calls for him to come too. Xavier says that he can’t hear her but, if she listens to his thoughts, he seems to have a plan. As he brawls with the men, he says he has a feeling he knows who’s the boss around here. He will cover their escape and get captured so he can take a peek up close. Kurt asks if he is sure and Howlett tells him to get them out of there and not to worry… the idiots can’t hurt him… much. As Kurt teleports the gang away Howlett’s attention is suddenly caught by Colossus, who slams a huge hammer down on him.
Through multiple jumps, Kurt gets the team away from the fight and to the farm belonging to the woman. The woman is amazed and asks who they are. Dazzler says that’s a bigger question than she could possibly imagine. Looking at his own claws, Jamie comments that Howlett had claws just like him and then says that they have to go back and help him. Xavier tells him no, as Howlett is on reconnaissance and he is the only one who can succeed at that task. Jamie’s mother asks what they are going to do, as they don’t want any trouble. Jamie says that they do but his mother turns to him and says that, as long as the boss has him, then they have to do what he says. Dazzler asks who she is talking about and Jamie says his “pa.”
Lying half conscious on a stone floor, Howlett starts to remember things from his past. His remembers his father comforting him after he woke up from having a bad dream. When he says it feels so real his father hugs him and says he’s right here and he won’t leave him. Howlett suddenly regains his senses and tries to sit up. His arms are pulled behind his back and held in place with a metal bar twisted around them. He is locked behind bars in a jail cell.
He yells in anger but a man tells him to calm down and he is a prisoner just like him. Howlett looks at the man and stutters an apology and says he looks just like his father. The man says he is a little young for that but Howlett says he died young. The man, chained to a wall, says that they may have something in common, and with that shows Howlett an infected wound on his stomach. Howlett asks what they did to him and the man doubles over in pain and says they are just a few untreated wounds left to fester for a couple of years. That’s what you get when you stand up to the boss.
The man looks at Howlett and tells him to look at himself. He thought he was dead when he came in here but now look at him. He suddenly pauses and then guesses that Howlett has a touch. Howlett questions what he meant and then says he has had a few. With that, he pops his claws to show the man his golden weapons. The man grabs Howlett by the scruff and says he has a son called Jamie and, if he gets out he wants him to tell him… but before he can finish Xavier walks in.
Dressed in a full black leather coat and a pistol strapped to his waist, he tells them that no one is going anywhere. Howlett growls and lurches forwards towards him but Xavier shoots him square in the forehead and says he is just as fierce as the boys said. Xavier bends down to the body of Howlett to see what’s keeping him from reading his mind. As he turns the body over, he sees Howlett’s skull is golden beneath the hole the bullet made. Howlett, points to the gold within the wound and tells Xavier that it adamantine, metal of the gods. It protects him from tampering devils like him. As Colossus and Danger come up behind him, Xavier smiles and says that they will have to do something about that then.
(Meanwhile, in the saloon)
Dazzler is sitting on stage, dressed in a revealing, black corset and tights. She is singing and playing a ukulele instrument that is plugged into a primitive version of a speaker. All the patrons of the saloon stare at her in awe. As she sings, Xavier telepathically tells Kurt she is locking him out of her mind. Kurt says she is and so is he. He tells Xavier he’s listening to Dazzler’s first ever ukulele performance, so shut up and enjoy it.
Xavier begs with him and says that he cannot probe for Howlett or Jamie’s father without revealing himself to the evil Xavier. But Kurt simply says “exactly.” When Xavier asks what he means, Kurt tells him to let the gentlewoman do her thing. As Dazzler continues to sing, Kurt says that she’s using echolocation. The mutant sound mistress knows what she is doing. As Dazzler sings, she uses the sound from the ukulele as a kind of radar to reveal what lies in the rooms around her. She “sees” the faint outline of a man lying on the floor of a room with bars on one wall. Kurt explains that the bosses headquarters are next door and his prison is probably somewhere in the lower levels.
Having found what they were looking for, Kurt teleports himself and Dazzler inside the prison cell, much to the surprise of Jamie’s father. Realizing that Howlett isn’t there, she asks Jamie’s father where he is. The man replies that he is Howlett so Dazzler specifies she meant the guy with the golden claws. As he tells her that the boss took him, Dazzler notices a large pool of blood on the floor. Kurt examines the ill-looking man and tells Dazzler he is hurt bad and they have to take him. However, before he can finish, both he and Dazzler suddenly cry out in pain and start bleeding from their noses. Dazzler realizes that it’s the evil Xavier’s doing.
Kurt quickly teleports them back to the farm, where they are greeted by Jamie, his mother and the bodiless Xavier. With blood still on his knuckles, Jamie apologizes to his father, who tells him it’s alright as he’s right there now. Wiping the blood from her nose, Dazzler says there’s no time; the boss of theirs is real strong. He’s going to come for them, she’ll cover for them but they have to run.
Jamie says to hell with that and Xavier agrees, if they move his father then he’ll die. Getting a little exasperated, Dazzler tells Kurt to take Jamie and his mom. But Jamie, his mother and Kurt all say no in unison. When Dazzler objects, Jamie pops his bone claws and says he ain’t moving and he ain’t dying. Jamie’s father, who is very weak, asks if those are claws. His wife says that they are and he solemnly accepts it. Dazzler summarizes their plight. Two kids, a dying man, a farmer’s wife and a head in a bottle and… they won’t know what hit them.
Elsewhere, Howlett, Cyclops, Danger, Sabretooth and Colossus are charging across the landscape on their steeds.
Dazzler, Kid Nightcrawler, Howlett, Xavier (all X-Men)
Sabretooth, Cyclops, Xavier, Anole, Broo, Toad, Colossus, Danger (all residents of Graymalkin)
Unnamed residents of Graymalkin
Jamie’s mother and father
(In Howlett’s memory)
Echolocation has never been part of Dazzler’s power set before. Dazzler merely absorbs sound, she can’t manipulate it.
Issue Summary written by: Gremlin