X-Men: Red #1

Issue Date: 
April 2018
Story Title: 
The Hate Machine – part 1: Heal the World
Staff: 

Tom Taylor (writer), Mahmud Asrar (artist), Ive Svorcina (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Travis Charest (main cover artist), Mahmud Asrar & Ive Svorcina; John Tyler Christopher; Phil Jimenez; Phil Jimenez & Nolan Woodard; Rob Liefeld; Skottie Young (variant covers), Pepe Larraz & Edgar Delgado (Young Guns variant), Jay Bowen, Anthony Gambino & Carlos Lad (graphic designers), Christina Harrington & Annalise Bissa (assistant editors), Mark Paniccia & Jordan D. White (editors), C.b: Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

A car heist turns deadly when a mutant baby in the stolen car cries, emitting deadly sonic power. Wolverine and Honey Badger cannot handle the baby, but luckily the recently returned Jean Grey joins them and calms the child. Later, Jean senses the turmoil coming from everybody and wants to change things. She has talks with some of the greatest thinkers in the world and asks for help from the Black Panther, king of Wakanda, and Namor, king of Atlantis. After sharing her vision with Nightcrawler, she addresses the United Nations about her idea of a mutant nation, independent of where mutants live. Atlantis and Wakanda support her, but the Security Council, especially the British ambassador, display skepticism. Later, the British ambassador talks to her and seems friendlier at first, then suddenly threatens her, after which her head explodes. To everybody around, it looks like Jean has killed the woman. Nightcrawler teleports Jean and her friends away. As they wonder what just happened, the remain unaware that their enemy is the evil Cassandra Nova. Two months later, Jean has gathered a team operating from the underwater headquarters, Searebro, and they save a young mutant girl Heather from a lynch mob led by her own mother.

Full Summary: 

They say you can’t control what a person thinks…
Nighttime, somewhere in the US:
A young girl, Heather, sleeps in her bed, when suddenly a telepathic call awakes her. She is warned they are coming. The voice tells her to run thought her window. The girl obeys, even as the door is kicked in by a man, followed by a torch-wielding mob. Mutant! they cry as Heather slides over the awning and lands on the ground.

She runs and the mob follows. Heather slips and falls down, even as she pleads she is not a mutant. Abomination! a woman above her calls and aims a gun at her. It is Heather’s mother.

She fires but that moment Jean Grey, dressed in a new red and blue suit of armor, stands in front of the girl and deflects the bullets with her telekinesis. She is joined by Nightcrawler and the new Wolverine, Laura Kinney. Jean informs them they are shielded. Laura helps up Heather. Nightcrawler tells the child to take his hand. When she hesitates, he jokes it’s the thing at the end of his wrist. Yes, it has three fingers, but it is still a hand. Heather complies and Kurt teleports them out.

A few more teleportation jumps follow, Closer and closer to the ocean and suddenly little Heather finds herself face to face with a shark. They are under the sea, protected by a transparent dome. Gabby Kinney aka Honey Badger tells Heather it’s a Great White and can’t hurt her. She calls him Harold.

Apart from Gabby, Laura, Jean and Kurt there are also King Namor, the young Wakandan X-Man Gentle and a young Indian woman calling herself Trinary. Jean introduces them and promises Heather that what just happened is not quite what she thinks. Heather wants to know where she is. Searebro, Jean replies, three thousand feet down. She is safe. The hate can’t reach her here…

Two months earlier:
Roosevelt Island, NYC:
Two masked armed men hold a car at gunpoint and force the driver, a woman, out, unaware that her baby is still strapped in the backseat.

That quickly changes as little Toby begins to wail and then his screams take on inhuman dimensions shattering the glass in and around the car.

Laura Kinney aka Wolverine and her clone sister Gabby aka Honey Badger spring into action and run towards the car. They are surprised to find a screeching baby and Laura covers Toby’s mouth with her hand. For a moment, there is silence, then Toby protests so loudly the sound liquefies all the meat of Wolverine’s hand, leaving only the bones.

Both Laura and Gabby are thrown back by the sound waves. However they never land on the ground but are instead caught in mid-air courtesy of Jean Grey’s telekinesis. She has just been teleported in by Nightcrawler.

Laura tells Jean it’s a child. Reading the baby’s mind, Jean informs them his name is Toby and he is very scared. Telepathically, Jean calms the child and he stops crying as she picked him up and carries him out of the car. Jean hands him back to his mother, Amy, and explains that mutant powers can manifest early under great stress. She has given him a psychic suggestion to not cry so much. And she has had a psychic conversation with her associate Hank McCoy. He should be able to construct a dampener necklace. In a range of different colors. Fashion shouldn’t be ignored when nullifying deadly screaming powers, Honey Badger agrees.

Overwhelmed, the mother thanks her. Jean warns her this is only temporary. As Toby gets older, they can work with him to control his powers at the Xavier Institute. She warns Amy that there will be a fallout of this. She’s sorry and she will be monitoring. And Wolverine lives nearby if she needs help. Or sanctuary.

On the ANB network, two pundits discuss the events. The man, Harold, shouts that that was no baby. From the moment of its conception, it was a ticking timebomb. His female colleague sees things differently, insisting that of course he is a child. So what does he propose? He replies that the United Nations are already meeting to discuss the rise of mutant-related incidents and if they are a threat to their way of life. But he thinks it’s obvious that it’s time for genetic testing in utero. And if an unborn child is found to have the X-gene, what should be done? She asks. Exactly what should be done, is his grim reply. He’s sick of political correctness getting in the way of their safety.

Jean has had enough. She’s been gone too long to watch the world through a screen. She flies outside into the night sky. She reaches out telepathically hearing pain, fear and anxiety. She wants to help. She doesn’t know how, but she will learn.

So she travels all over the world, meeting people from Turkey over Pakistan to East Timor and finally Wakanda. Years ago, a world died, she tells the Black Panther, who reminds her that wasn’t her but the Phoenix. She was a part of it Jean insists and she won’t let mutantkind and this world tear itself apart. Not if she has the power to prevent it. She wants to heal the world but she doesn’t know where to begin…

Soon Black Panther has helped her gather the people she spoke to before, some of the greatest thinkers on Earth: artists, scientists, psychologists, doctors, mathematicians, authors, historians, educators, engineers, humanitarians, activists, leaders and Peace Nobel Prize winners. All of them have once in a generation minds. She’d like to borrow them.

T’Challa asks what she is hoping to discover. An idea, she replies and starts reading their minds. A way forward.

Later at the Xavier Institute, Jean telepathically contacts Nightcrawler and asks him to follow her thoughts. It leads him to a cliff, where Jean is standing somewhere in the mountains. She tells him she has an idea and telepathically shows him. Later, they watch the sunset and he agrees. It is a beautiful idea, but she’s going to upset a lot of people. She will need protection. And they won’t just take it out on her. They will need to protect the entire world. They need a team. “They?” Jean asks. Did she think he’d let her do this without him? Is she the least intuitive telepath ever?

Jean admits she was hoping he’d join her. She’d like a friend and the soul of the X-Men with her. But people fear change even more than they fear mutants, and she is talking about changing the world. Kurt assures her he truly believes she can. He missed her. Please do not die again. She promises, but only because he asked so nicely. What’s first? he asks. First, she heads into the sea…

And she does. King Namor welcomes her in Atlantis, adding they don’t get a lot of visitors. After some small talk, she tells him she is building something. She would like him to be part of it. She wants him to be an X-Man? Namor scoffs. He doesn’t have time to play the hero. He is a king. He has far larger responsibilities. Jean points out that he is a mutant leading a nation. And she is not here for him alone. She is headed to the United Nations and needs a country behind her.

And so, Jean speaks in front of the United Nations on behalf of mutantkind. She points out that every time power speaks about dealing with a minority without involving said minority in the conversation, it ends badly. There are countries represented here where it is legal to imprison mutants without charge. There are countries where it is legal to kill anyone suspected of being a mutant. Mutants need a voice in this organization.

Ambassador Mabury from the United Kingdom, a middle-aged woman, points out mutants are a species not a nation. They are stateless. Jean retorts if others treat them as one group, then they need to speak as one group, and every time mutants have come together to live in one place - Genosha, Utopia - they have simply made themselves a bigger target. Wherever mutantkind has tried to live alone, apart, they have been slaughtered.

Ambassador Mabury refers to Jean’s telepathy. They can’t expect not to be manipulated with her present. Jean points out she could be outside and still reach their minds. This is about trust. Charles Xavier had a dream. A simple dream. Humans and mutants at peace. Charles believed they could win humans over by being heroes when needed and being invisible when not. But mutants shouldn’t need to be heroes to be accepted. Some see them as evolution, she speaks telepathically: She is inviting them all to evolve with them.

King Namor stands up and announces Atlantis recognizes the mutant nation.

The Wakandan representative stands up and announces the same.

Later outside the UN building, thanks the Wakandan representative. Wolverine approaches her. She is glad she and Honey Badger came to watch. That was impressive. It was a first step, Jean replies. Gabby remarks her first step stomped a lot of intolerant nations. She can’t wait for Jean’s second step.

Ambassador Mabury joins them and asks to speak to Jean. Jean remarks she would like to convince her. Her vote on the Security Council— The ambassador tells her to ignore her posturing for the camera. It’s supposed to convey strength or some such nonsense. The UK were once a leading power but they have been pulling ever inwards. They need allies. If the world wills it, Britain will not threaten its standing further by voting against mutantkind. Of course, there is one problem. She begins to grin evilly. Jean is not in control here, she states. She is not the Phoenix anymore. She cannot rise. Not against the true power.

What? Jean asks, not understanding. The woman continues that Jean upset the status quo. Now the status quo will upset her right back. She is quite annoyed. She was working on something and Jean has ruined this ambassador for her.

Jean senses something in her mind. The Ambassador begins to scream in agony. Jean shouts ‘no’ and reaches out for her, and a moment later the ambassador’s head explodes. Cops and security turn against Jean, even as Namor gives orders not to shoot and gets in front of the shocked Jean to deflect the bullets. Wolverine disarms the cops. Nightcrawler teleports in. Jean protests that she needs to speak to them but he already teleports them away.

They say you can’t control what’s in a person’s head. They say this because they are unimaginative weak-willed sheep, Cassandra Nova muses to a Sentinel head. She is Cassandra Nova and she can control what’s in a person’s head. She can make them see red

Characters Involved: 

Gentle, Honey Badger, Jean Grey, Namor, Nightcrawler, Trinary, Wolverine II (all X-Men)

Heather

Lynch mob

In flashback:
Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Wolverine II (all X-Men)
Honey Badger
Namor
Black Panther

Toby
Amy

Ambassador Mabury

Cassandra Nova

Story Notes: 

Jean Grey returned in Phoenix Resurrection. This issue takes place after X-Men: Red Annual #1.

Cassandra Nova was last seen in Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #18.

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