|Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #56|| || |
Issue Date: January 2013
Story Title: Untitled
Staff: Marjorie Liu (writer), Mike Perkins (artist), Jay David Ramos & Andres Mossa (colorists), VC’s Caramagna (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 producer)
In Madripoor, Susan Hatchi wanders around an exploded warehouse in search of her father. She doesn’t find him but she does find her half-sister, Karma. She aims a pistol at her head, just as her father appears and does the same to Susan. Surrounded by Susan’s soldiers, the three of them chat about old times and about him not being there for them. Over in New York, Kyle is visited by two agents from the immigration service who want to speak to Jean-Paul. Before they leave, they hand him a parcel that was hand-delivered to his building. Elsewhere in New York City, one of Susan’s agents releases the nano-worms into the atmosphere and calls Susan to let her know. Believing that everyone in New York City is about to die, she gloats about the fact to Karma. Karma tells Susan that her games are over and Susan turns to see the X-Men gathered behind her. She orders her agent to trigger the nano-worms and presses a button on the phone which should kill the X-Men simultaneously. Nothing happens and she wonders how this is happening. When Iceman then appears alive and well, Karma informs Susan that they played her and Bobby found a cure for her virus. Northstar takes out her soldiers and desperately, Susan turns to shoot her father, only for Karma to prevent her from pulling the trigger. Karma then gets inside Susan’s mind and shows her how it’s not just her who’s suffered. They both have. Convinced that she is not alone in this world, Susan and Karma embrace, only for their father to shoot Susan dead. As he is taken away by the authorities, he tells Karma to pretend he is dead. He is old and soon will be anyway. Later, Karma heads to a hotel to have some alone time. Wolverine calls in and hands her a letter which explains that she now owns Hatchi Tech. She is a billionaire. With everything that’s gone on, Karma isn’t particularly in the mood to celebrate her unexpected windfall.
Susan Hatchi wanders through the rubble of a warehouse that she’s just destroyed, looking for her father. One of her soldiers discovers another body, though it’s just a hand sticking out from beneath the fallen masonry. She replies that it’s not him. The skin looks too young. Nearby, Karma lies against some fallen beams, thinking about how she’s been silent all this time, lost in the moment and caught up in every slam, every hit and every surprise. She’s been taking it on the chin just like she’s taken every other tragedy in her life, because good girls… good little soldiers, they never complain, do they? Mind you, what would be the point, she thinks, when they’ve been raised to believe that no one will listen or care? So, they swallow the pain and silence their voices. Sometimes they can live with that silence. Sometimes. That is until the silence becomes something else. Until it deforms them and makes them monsters.
Susan makes her way through what is left of the building and finds Karma lying there. She points her pistol at Xi’an’s face but, as she does so, a gun is placed at her own head. “Pull that trigger and I’ll kill you,” says her father, standing there with his oxygen tank by his side. Susan turns and asks if he’s still playing favorites. Karma tells her father that he won’t pull the trigger. No one’s shooting anyone. Susan asks her not to make promises she can’t keep. Not unless she wants to be just like him. She thinks about it a second and realizes that all this was for him. Susan replies that it’s not exactly. She wanted to test her weapons so that was never a lie. But, then she thought, why not see what happens. She’s been looking for him for years. She never believed him to be dead, not for a minute, but she couldn’t find him. Not with all her money or all her contacts. So, she used his weakness… her. She used Karma as bait to see if he would come for her. And he did.
Their father asks if they didn’t think he knew they wanted to find them. All this time, he knew that Susan Hatchi, weapons dealer, was the daughter he abandoned - Da’o Coy Manh. He is sorry for that. “Sorry,” replies Susan, still aiming her pistol at Karma who now holds one aimed at her father. Susan explains that she hated him for never claiming her and her mother as his family; for not protecting them like he protected them. She believes that they weren’t real to him. They were mistakes, and he cleaned up that mistake with a bullet in her mother’s head. Is that what he’s going to do to her?
Her father replies that he doesn’t want to, but she should never have come looking for him. That was her mother’s mistake, too. He assures Susan that he did protect her mother and he protected her too. He was being hunted and knew too much about his brother’s enterprise; about things going on in the government and the war. Those men would have found her and her mother. They could die quick or die slow with torture. Which would she have preferred? Susan replies that it doesn’t matter now. She’s going to kill him. She won’t feel better but it’ll be justice for her and her mother.
She turns back to Karma and asks if she thinks she can stop her. Karma replies that she’s made up her mind. But, everyone else, all those people she’s threatened to kill… can’t she let them go? She made it personal which is fine, but she shouldn’t bring innocent people into this. Susan asks why not? She’s still a businesswoman.
(New York City)
Kyle is at the apartment chatting to someone on loudspeaker when he hears a knock on the door. He answers it and tells the person on the other end that he’ll call them back. “Kyle Jinadu?” asks one of two men standing there. “Jinadu-Beaubier,” he replies, “And who are you?” One introduces himself as Agent Bowman and his colleague as Agent Dillon. They are from I.C.E. Kyle says he has no idea what that is. Agent Dillon informs him that they are immigration officers and they have questions about Mr. Beaubier’s legal status in the United States.
Kyle is surprised at this. Agent Dillon tells him that they don’t really care that he can fly or that he’s a celebrity. They need to do the same checks they do for everyone else. Agent Bowman hands him something which was at his door and Agent Dillon asks Kyle where Mr. Beaubier is and will he be home soon. “Jinadu-Beaubier,” replies Kyle, correcting him once again. “You said this box was outside? It doesn’t have a return address.”
(elsewhere in New York City)
People are going about their everyday business when one of Susan Hatchi’s men releases the nano-worms. He calls her to tell her the job is done and she smiles. She informs Karma that in five minutes almost every single person in New York City will be dead. She turns to her
father and asks, “I don’t suppose that bothers you, does it?” He asks what if it did. Susan tells him that he could put that gun in his mouth and pull the trigger. If he does that she will save all those lives. Her father doesn’t reply. “I didn’t think so,” replies Susan.
Karma tells her he’s not going to let her do this. Susan says in that case, she can kill him. She can kill their father. Karma looks behind Susan and her father and sees the X-Men gathered. She tells Susan that her games are over. Susan picks up her phone and barks an order down to her agent in New York City to trigger it, now! She then pulls up an X symbol on her phone and tells them that they can all die too. She presses it and nothing happens. “Oops,” says Northstar.
Susan asks how this is happening. Her hand is then caught up in a swirl of sharp ice and she drops her phone. Iceman appears and he informs her that it’s hard to kill someone made of water. He explains that, when he transformed, it turns out her nano-worms weren’t so hardy. Karma grins and tells Susan that they only pretended to be dysfunctional. They managed it long enough to keep her distracted while Bobby went and consulted with their people back home. They figured a way to turn off her nano-worms. Northstar then makes quick work of defeating Susan’s soldiers and tells her she doesn’t feel so powerful now, does she? “Powerful enough,” replies Susan as she quickly and aims her pistol at her father. “Goodbye,” she says.
Before she can squeeze the trigger, Karma swings out and knocks the gun from her hand. She then turns on Susan and leaps on top of her, wrestling her to the ground. Xi’an asks if she thinks she’s the only one who’s suffered. Susan tells her to get off, but Karma stares at her and informs her that it’s too late. She’s already in her mind.
(Xi’an’s and Susan’s mindscape)
Memories are brought forth of the two women as little girls enjoying a picnic, Dao’s mother being shot by her father, being captured by pirates and of Xi’an using her powers in a bar. Memories of the New Mutants are then shown. Karma tells Susan to look at her and look at
her life. Both of them were abandoned and abused. They were so alone. Susan warns her to get out of her head, but Karma says not until she’s seen and felt this. They did what they had to do in order to survive. Susan says they’re still paying for the pain but Karma replies that they’re not alone. She is not alone.
They emerge from the dreamscape in each other’s arms. Karma tells her half-sister that she’s not letting her go. When Susan asks why, Karma tells her that it’s not too late for either of them, that’s why. She asks Susan to wait and take a breath. As they embrace, a gunshot rings out and Susan falls to the ground. Karma looks up to see her father standing there with a smoking gun. “Why?” she asks. “She was your daughter.” Her father replies that she was a threat. Karma asks, in that case, what is she? He tells her that he doesn’t know what she is. After all these years, he’s barely her father. Karma snaps at him, telling him that she’s barely his daughter. Maybe it won’t hurt so much if she pulls the trigger. Gambit tries to calm her down as her father informs her that she was always a gentle child; the most gentle of all. Life changes but Xi’an, not so much he thinks.
He asks if her mother is still alive. Karma informs him that the boat he put them on was boarded by pirates. She finds it difficult to put what happened into words, and simply says that her mother didn’t make it. Police officers then arrive to arrest her father and take him away. He asks Karma to pretend he’s dead if she can. He is old and will be soon enough.
(later, the George Washington Bridge, New York City)
Northstar has flown himself, Kyle and a picnic to one of the main supports on the GWB. Kyle tells him that Shan’s lost a sister and her father, again, all at the same time. It’s incredibly sad. “Maybe,” replies Jean-Paul. Kyle is surprised by his response. He tells him that he’s not as cold as he pretends to be, but Jean-Paul reminds him that he almost lost him because of Susan Hatchi. Kyle tells him he didn’t and forgiveness is better than hate. It might not have the same rush, but it doesn’t ruin lives either.
Karma books into a cheap hotel and tells the receptionist that she doesn’t want to be disturbed. Once in her room, she removes her pants and sits down at a low table, opening up a kind of tool box. She then detaches her bionic leg and, without looking up, tells Wolverine that she doesn’t want to talk to anyone right now. Logan replies that it was either him or an attorney and he thought she’d like to see a familiar face. She looks up and replies, “Not really, Wolverine. No.” She asks if she should be running. He hands her an envelopes and asks her to tell him. She scans the letter inside and informs her that Hatchi Tech was privately held. As Susan’s only living relative, she is also her heir. Hatchi Tech is hers. She’s a billionaire. She takes a drink and Wolverine tucks into some food. “Yay,” he replies, unenthusiastically.
He informs her that Tyger called about her father. Karma doesn’t want to hear it. As far as she is concerned, he is dead all over again. It was hard enough losing him the first time, she adds, partially because she blamed him for her mother’s death. He was the one who put them on the boat. He paid for their escape from Vietnam. Later, she told herself that was selfish and that she was a bad daughter for having those thoughts. She tortured herself for years. Now, she doesn’t know what to think. Susan did terrible things but they shared the same resentment. Susan let it twist her whilst she didn’t. It’s a thin line.
Logan asks what she’s gonna do. Karma picks up a photo of Susan and replies that she’s going to waste no time hating him, that’s for sure. She’s not going to visit him, either. He asks if she’s going to tell her brother and sister. Xi’an says she won’t. She’ll tell them about Susan, a little anyway. Despite everything, she deserves that. Logan stands and makes for the door. He asks if they’ll be seeing her. She tells him it sounds like a loaded question. Like, is she going to quit the X-Men and wallow in a sea of depression and existential angst about her traumatic life and screwed-up family? Logan reckons it’s something like that. “Let me sleep on it,” she replies.
Logan departs and Xi’an looks at the photo again. “It’s not too late,” she says to herself. She then picks up the phone and calls Nga, asking if her brother is there. Nga tells her that he is, so Xi’an asks her to put him on too. She assures her that there’s nothing wrong. She just wanted to tell them that she loves them.
Gambit. Iceman, Karma, Northstar, Warbird, Wolverine (all X-Men)
Dr. Cecelia Reyes
Susan Hatchi/Da’o Coy Manh
Xi’an and Da’o’s father
Agents Bowman and Dillon
(in Xi’an/Susan’s memories)
Xi’an and Da’o’s father and his wife
Xi’an and Da’o Coy Manh
Girls in factory
Men in bar
Cannonball, Mirage, Sunspot (all New Mutants)
I.C.E. stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a department of Homeland Security with its headquarters in Washington D.C.
The George Washington Bridge, completed in 1931, crosses the Hudson River between Washington Heights in Manhattan and Fort Lee in New Jersey.
Issue Summary written by: Fantomex