Appearing in "Relativity"
- Carly Alvarez
- Apocalypse (Mentioned)
- Sinister (Mentioned)
- Magneto (Mentioned)
- Mystique (Mentioned)
- Sabretooth (Mentioned)
- Thomas Zebulon Guthrie (Mentioned)
- Patricia Tilby (Mentioned)
- David Munroe (Mentioned)
- N'Daré (Mentioned)
- Madeline Drake (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "Relativity"
The issue opens to a hospital scene. Bobby Drake is holding the arm of his injured and hospitalized father, William Drake. His thought point out that Bobby is an X-Man and this means he has made a life choice. He chose to use his mutant abilities to help a world that would much rather see him dead. He no longer knows why he chose to live this way. Bobby is covering his eyes with one hand and may be crying.
The next scene has other X-Men arriving at the hospital room. There are two of them, Ororo Munroe and Remy LeBeau. Bobby briefly thinks about their codenames and their meaning. He knows that Ororo is called "Storm" because she has the power to control the elements. He does not know why Remy is called "Gambit", and makes a mental note to ask him at some point. Ororo asks Bobby what happened. Bobby replies that "they" tried to kill his father. Ororo next asks who was behind it and Bobby answers that it was Graydon Creed.
The scene shifts to Sam Guthrie who is still working as an assistant in Creed’s campaign. Sam is thinking that as an X-Man he typically faces costumed bad guys. He counts among them Apocalypse, Sinister, and (formerly) Magneto. But his current opponent Creed represents a less obvious threat and one they can not physically attack. He is the leader of an anti-mutant political platform and the X-Men are not fighting a physical foe. They are fighting an idea.
Sam approaches the two "huge" bodyguards of Creed, who tower over him. He has not seen them before. He tells them that he is Creed's personal assistant and he wants to see him. One of the guards grabs Sam's arm and tells him that Creed does not wish to be disturbed. Sam is thinking about starting a fight with them, but decides he should not blow his cover. He smiles and steps away.
At this moment Creed appears and informs his bodyguards that he wants to have a few minutes alone with Sam. Sam thinks of what he knows of Creed. He is a normal human who hates mutants. But his parents are the mutant villains Mystique and Sabretooth. He is currently a leading candidate for the position of Presidents of the United States. If Creed wins the upcoming election, he will kill a lot of mutants. The X-Men could "out" his mutant ancestry and ruin his political career. But they don't because they would be using fear, loathing, and anti-mutant prejudice to fight a foe who uses them as tools. Not much of a solution. Sam thinks of the advice of his father: "Ya cain't put out a fire with gasoline".
The bodyguards step aside and let Sam pass and join Creed in an office room. Creed compliments Sam on his perfect timing. Creed says he has a problem and he hopes Sam could help with the solution. Sam says he will try, but thinks that this "problem" sounds suspicious. The scene shifts back to Bobby and Ororo. They are at the roof of the hospital. Bobby has just talked with his father's doctor. He learned that if his father manages to survive the night, he will have a chance at recovery. But his survival is far from certain.
Bobby starts speaking to Ororo. He says that his father was only hurt because of trying to help Bobby. Bobby feels that if he spends the night sobbing, he would be letting his old man down. And he has already let him down too many times. He then starts explaining what happened. A flashback takes place.
Creed and his campaign staff (including Bobby) were at the John F. Kennedy International Airport at 3 A. M., attempting to catch the campaign jet for Atlanta. Bobby was discussing the campaign strategy with Carly Alvarez. Then Creed intervened with a seemingly random comment. He asked whether the sins of one generation are passed to the next one. Bobby did not understand the question and Creed offered an example. If a father behaves a certain way, will his son behave in a similar way? Bobby answered negatively, and then Creed told him that he would like "Robert" to help him solve a little problem. Creed pointed him outside to a nearby clearing, saying that his problem was there. Bobby started walking towards the clearing, alone. He then felt that something was wrong and started running. Creed's jet departed without him and flew over his head. Bobby reached the clearing and discovered his injured father. He realized that when Creed was talking about the sins of a father, he was not talking about Sabertooth. He was talking about Bobby's father. William Drake had recently taken a public stance in support of mutants, and Creed apparently found out he was Bobby's father. Creed apparently decided to severe ties with Bobby and take revenge against his father. William was seriously injured but still conscious, assuring his son that he did not revealed his son's secret to the attackers. He wanted his son to be safe. The flashback ends.
Ororo comments that William is a brave man. Bobby admits to feeling surprise at his father's recent support for him. Based on William's past behavior towards his son, Bobby thought that his father hated him. He still can't figure out what motivated William's recent change of behavior.
The scene shifts back to Sam and Creed. Their discussion has moved to an outside location and they are currently having small talk about how beautiful Atlanta looks at night. Sam pretends to be friendly towards Creed, but neither likes nor trusts the man. He think about feeling safer with a rattler for a sleeping companion, rather than with Creed as an ally. Creed switches topics and asks Sam about his father. He wants to know if Sam's father was a good man, a hard worker, a loving father. Sam feels a bit puzzled, but decides to tell the truth about his father. He says his father was an honest man who raised eight children as best as he could. He worked from dusk till dawn in the mines, trying to keep his family well fed and clothed. He loved his children and that love helped him to an early grave.
Sam then asks Creed about the politician's own father. He wanted to cause Creed some discomfort and the question clearly has an effect. Creed was holding a filled glass and he starts putting pressure to it, as if trying to crash it with his bare hand. The glass breaks and the shards injure Creed's hand. Sam offers to get him some ice, but Creed denies his help and ties his own hand. While tending to his injury, Creed starts talking about his own father. They did not have a close relationship and Creed didn't have much contact with his father while growing up. His father was "something of a disappointment" to Creed, but he still found inspiration in the old man.
The scene shifts to Remy who is still at William Drake's hospital room. A caption identifies the hospital as Mount Sinai Hospital. William regains consciousness and asks whether Remy is a friend of his son. Remy replies that he never thought of Bobby as a friend, but he does not mind being called Bobby's friend. He offers to go fetch Bobby. But William has a question for Remy. He has noted that Remy is "a good looking guy", like Bobby. They don't have any obvious physical mutation and could easily pass as normal humans. Then why do they out themselves as mutants and X-Men?
Remy points that William acts similarly to them. William has recently went against Creed and made a public stance in favor of mutants, while he could easily keep a low profile and avoid danger. William replies that his recent actions were different. Creed was threatening his family (the Drakes) and a lot of other families. This was not right and William had to take a stance. Remy then points out that this is the same reason that the X-Men choose to fight instead of hide. They are taking a stance against things that are not right.
The scene shifts to the parking lot of the hospital. There is a vehicle parked there and inside are at least four people in uniform. They are agents of Creed. Creed has instructed them to keep track of William Drake in hopes that mutants would come out of the woodwork to approach the injured man. They have located three mutants in the hospital and are about to strike at them from a distance. One of them regrets that they can't fight the mutants "close and personal". At this moment a voice calling the man "bub" offers to rubble with him ,"close and personal". The agents turn around and see Wolverine, who has already pulled out his bone claws. The scene shifts to the exterior of the vehicle, which is shaking violently. Wolverine is apparently killing the agents.
The scene shifts back to Bobby and Ororo. He is still confused about his father's recent support of him. He says that since his mutant powers manifested, the two of them haven't had a single conversation that did not end in an argument. In fact, most of these conversations started out as arguments. But William came through in Bobby's hour of need.
Ororo suggests that William genuinely loves his son. She then points out that she does not know what having a loving father is like, since she is an orphan. She lost her parents at an early age. Over the years she has wondered how would have parents have reacted to the direction of her life. Would they be proud or ashamed? She does not know the answer, and does not even know whether their opinions would matter in her decision making. She only sees them in her dreams, where they offer her unconditional love. They assure Ororo that all her pain and sacrifices are worth it. It is a comforting dream, but only a dream. She would actually give anything to get to know her real parents better, to argue with them, or to disappoint them at times. Bobby comforts her and they bond for a while.
The scene shifts to Sam who is drinking at a bar. He is mentally contacted by Phoenix, who is also at the bar in her civilian identity. They are having a mental conversation without actually looking at each other. Jean informs Sam that Bobby's cover has been blown. Sam replies that he already knew that, as Creed used it as an example of what happens to his staff members when they prove disloyal. His own cover is still safe and Creed trusts him. Jean still offers to recall him to the X-Men and abort this mission, but Sam still wants to stay in the mission.
The scene shifts back to Bobby and Ororo. He informs her that he is "not coming back". She misunderstands his intentions. She thinks that Bobby wants to spend the night in the hospital with his father, and guard him. She offers to send another X-Man to replace him in the morning. He corrects her, explaining that he is not coming back to the X-Men. He wants to leave the team, at least for a while. He has long spend time racing from one battle to another, one crisis after another. But he has avoided a significant challenge, to find something in common with his father. Now his father and mother need him more than the X-Men. Ororo accepts his resignation and steps away to leave the hospital.
The story ends with Bobby holding the hand of his father and thinking that he loves the old man.
- The mysterious bodyguards of Graydon Creed also appear in later issues, and are eventually revealed to be Prime Sentinels.
- The resignation of Iceman was supposed to be the major change of the issue, though it failed to have much of an effect. He continues to appear with the X-Men in various X-related titles of the time and joins the cast of X-Men Vol 2 with issue #65 (June, 1997). He does not appear again in Uncanny X-Men until issue #353 (March, 1998).
- Storm is consistently portrayed in this issue as having white eyes with no visible irises or pupils.
- The depiction of William Drake as a loving family man is somewhat peculiar. Previous appearances of the character feature him as a bigot with prejudices against mutants and ethnic minorities, and a verbally abusive father.
- The issue depicts Iceman and Storm bonding over a conversation about their respective parents. While they are both veteran members of the X-Men, they have rarely been depicted as friends or actually conversing with each other.
- The issue depicts Iceman and Gambit as not particularly familiar with each other, certainly not friends.
- Much of the issue deals with the emotions of Cannonball, Graydon Creed, Iceman, and Storm towards their respective parents. In several cases it fleshes out relationships barely depicted before.
- With the exception of Wolverine killing Creed's agents, this issue features no action scenes. It is mostly devoted to conversations and characterization.
- While having a mental conversation, Phoenix is pretending to read the novel "The Sword of Shannara" (1977) by Terry Brooks. The novel was a significant hit in the epic fantasy genre, though critics have pointed that several of its characters and themes are derivative and clearly based on "The Lord of the Rings" (1954-1955) by J. R. R. Tolkien.