Appearing in "Where No X-Man Has Gone Before!"
- Bastion (Sebastion Gilberti)
- Generation X
- Gladiator (Mentioned)
- Homo superior (Mentioned)
- Homo sapiens (Mentioned)
- Sharra (Mentioned)
- Professor Xavier (Mentioned)
- Emma Frost (Mentioned)
- Mutant Underground (Mentioned)
- Lilandra Neramani (Mentioned)
- Shi'ar Empire
- Facility of Operation:Zero Tolerance.
Synopsis for "Where No X-Man Has Gone Before!"
The issue opens to the image of a comatose Deathbird and narration from the Beast. He is recording events in a "doctor's log". He and the X-Men have been in space for nearly a week, shanghaied by the Gladiator. The alien had said that they were needed to combat a force that poses a threat to the entire galaxy. Judging by the sickbay's lone occupant, Gladiator was not exaggerating. She is Deathbird, Regent of the Shi'ar and one of the fiercest warriors in the galaxy. She has been in a coma for three days. Beast continues by saying that Deathbird was the only survivor of a massacre with about 4,000 victims. Their Cruiser's automated med-station is keeping her alive, though Hank can't figure how.
Bishop, who is observing Deathbird, has heard this assessment. He comments that according to the Beast's assessment, she should have died. Beast answers that if Deathbird was human, she would have been dead as a doornail. He adds that due to the physiology of the Shi'ar, they can easily be though of as mutants (Homo superior). That is a slight variation of the classic Homo sapiens with more powers. But this would actually be a false assumption. This alien race is more Avian (bird-like) than mammalian, and they differ from humans in several areas.
While Beast was speaking, Deathbird regained consciousness. She touches Bishop's hand and asks the first thought that came to her mind: "What happened to my people?". Bishop immediately tells her that they are all dead, every living being on the Starstation A'sura Tarrel was slaughtered by an unidentified source a week ago. Deathbird recognizes her saviors as X-Men and thanks the "Terran" she has never met before for his honesty.
Bishop finds her gratitude misplaced. He points that she is the lone survivor and he finds this to be "curious". He actually means "suspicious" and indirectly accuses of being behind the massacre. She is enraged at the accusation and reacts by slapping him. Beast, still in the room with them, comments that Bishop "definitely" has to work on his bedside manner. Deathbird, still enraged, identifies herself and points that the "Terran" dares to accuse the Regent of the Shi'ar Empire for massacring her own people. She vaguely recalls that this Terran rescued her, and this is the only reason she does not kill him for his innuendo.
She is interrupted by what seems to be Gambit. He and Joseph have come to check on the patient. Beast points that the two of them are late in returning from the Starstation and asks whether they found another survivor. Gambit replies that they did not. Bishop asks whether Rogue checked in with the two of them at the previously arranged time. Gambit smiles but evades the question. He says that Bishop should not worry about Rogue who is perfectly safe "where she is". He is more interested in questioning Deathbird about what she remembers.
Bishop says that Deathbird is too agitated for an interrogation to take place but Gambit insists. At this moment, Deathbird steals Bishop's weapons. She quickly starts firing at Gambit and Joseph, calling them "lifeless, soulless, spacescum". She wants them to die in the name of everyone who suffered at their hands. Despite multiple apparent wounds, the two are still standing. They are not Gambit and Joseph at all, they are members of the Phalanx who have taken their forms. Deathbird manages to eliminate "Gambit" and Bishop eliminates "Joseph".
Deathbird then accuses the X-Men of being like blind men being led to the slaughter, having failed to recognize the Phalanx members among them. Bishop answers that the Phalanx are shapeshifters, the X-Men did not recognize their old foes. He wants to know how Deathbird knew what they were. She replies that she recognized them by the scent. All humans, including mutated ones, have a unique scent. These two lacked a human scent. Bishop wants to know what happened to the real Gambit and Joseph.
The scene shifts to a transport vessel controlled by the Phalanx, docked in the remains of the Starstation. The two captured X-Men are in station pods and are being transported by their captors. Two of the Phalanx are conversing. One of them is concerned that they could be located by more X-Men and points that they are formidable foes. The other one, Oralis, is much more confident.
Oralis points that the defeat of the Phalax expedition on Sol III was only a setback. The Phalanx collective have learned from that experience. Their subsequent invasion of the Shi'ar Empire has been more successful and is only a step in the conquest of the universe. The Phalanx are within reach of achieving their "manifest destiny". What difference could a few X-Men make?
Oralis is then interrupted by Rogue's attack. Oralis is injured, but the other Phalanx organize a counter-strike. One of them asks Rogue to surrender. She attacks again with brute strength and further injures the Phalanx. One of them warns Rogue that all of them have the collective knowledge of past encounters with the X-Men. They are well aware of her absorption powers and can counter her familiar techniques. She is hardly intimidated and points that she can use new tricks as well. She privately thinks of Professor Xavier who drilled into her the ability to adapt to new combat situations.
She questions why these Phalanx units do not resemble the ones she fought on Earth. Meanwhile, she opens a communication channel, so the reply can be overheard by the other X-Men. One of the units points out that the units active on Earth were "transient units", called Foreguardians. She is now facing the pure, true form of the Phalanx. This unit manages to immobilize Rogue and starts infecting her with the Transmode Virus.
While Rogue starts being absorbed by the Phalanx, the unit observes that her though patterns are also being incorporated into the Phalanx. He has access to her thoughts and finds them fascinating. As her former existence is ending, she grasps onto an emotional connection with an obstinate strength. He invited her to speak and express her last organic memory. She is actually thinking of Gambit, and voices how she always loved him. As is on call, Gambit appears and frees her.
He explains that while every Phalanx unit was distracted with Rogue, he escaped his restraints. Feeling it is too late for her, Rogue calls on him to get out and preserve his own life. Remy replies that without his "girl", he does not have much of a life. She tears up. An explosion arranged by Gambit destroys the Phalanx but almost eliminates the X-Men as well. The duo are helped to safety by Joseph, who has also escaped his stasis pod.
Gambit calls Joseph "Magneto". Joseph asks him to stop calling him by his former name. He says he no longer has any connection with his past life, but Gambit expresses his doubts. Joseph turns this around and asks whether "LeBeau"'s suspicion of him reflects Gambit's own guilty conscience in a "it takes one to know one" situation. In other words, whether Gambit thinks they both have a lot to hide.
A litter afterwards, Rogue recovers from her ordeal and seems to be no longer infected by the Virus. But she is still shaken by the experience. She says that for an instant she was one of them and had access to the Phalanx's thoughts. She saw what they did to Chandilar, she has seen the forces they have gathered and all the civilizations they swallowed whole. She now knows what they intend to do with the Shi'ar and their plans for the Earth.
The scene shifts to Earth, at a facility of Operation: Zero Tolerance. An aircraft arrives and several agents arrive to meet it, among them is Harper. He recognizes that the aircraft is Bastion's private aircraft and that its appearance is never a cause of celebration. Bastion himself comes out of the aircraft and says he has "hot cargo" for processing. Harper asks whether Bastion has captured a live specimen.
Bastion names his live specimen as Jubilation Lee. The girl is seen held in stasis. Bastion explains that he was investigating Emma Frost's connection to Charles Xavier's Mutant Underground and came across this young mutant. He wants her processed and then he will be taking her to the lab. Harper comments "may heaven help her" and Bastion seems to take offense at the sentiment. He says that if heaven wanted anything to do with Jubilation, they would never have made her a mutant.
The scene shifts back to the Cruiser, which is currently approaching the orbit of Arsturo 'Kle, the prime moon of the Shi'ar Throneworld. Trish Tilby asks her boyfriend whether his plan is going to work. He explains that it can't be that hard. First, they get their ship in full view of a Phalanx Cruiser which patrols the farthest port from the Throneworld. Second, their Ship gets blown up by the Phalanx Cruiser. Third, the X-Men use the ship's debris to surf their way towards a transporter hut on the moon's surface. It is a risky plan and the two lovers admit that they are scared. Trish says that if she was going to get blown up in outer space with anybody in the universe, she would like that someone to be Hank. He is flattered and then instructs the ship to go on auto-drift.
Elsewhere on the Cruiser, Gambit and Rogue are preparing a life pod for take-off. Bishop is transporting a still weak but enraged Deathbird. She wants him to unhand her and threatens to use her talons on him. Gambit tells "D" that this attitude is the reason she does not have any friends. She tells Gambit to shut up if he does not want to be next in her target list.
Deathbird insists that hiding from the enemy is the coward's way and she is no coward. Bishop is tired of hearing her protests. He expresses in no uncertain terms that the alternative would be to allow the Phalanx to feed on their organic matter. He next points that she has witnessed first hand how the Phalanx broke through the Shi'ar Empire's most powerful defenses. Finally he ties her up with a safety belt and tells her to shut up. He then secures his own safety belt. The two of them shit in silence, though they both seem frustrated. They are soon joined by the rest of the X-Men.
Aboard the Phalanx Cruiser, Vokech reports to the First Peer (apparently a ship's captain), that the Shi'ar ship does not respond to their hailing frequency, there are no life support readings on it, and no evident propulsion residue. He concludes that the Shi'ar Cruiser is derelict. The First Peer instructs him to destroy the Shi'ar ship which he feels is among the last vestiges of the Shi'ar, carbon-based life-forms that thought themselves rulers of an empire.
A beam of concentrated photon energy slices up the Shi'ar Cruiser and the rest of it is destroyed by the resulting explosion. The Phalanx start laughing, their laugh being "a scratching, hissing noise". They are celebrating their victory. The life-pod with the X-Men is mostly unharmed and hidden among other debris. Joseph starts directing the pod by using his magnetic powers. They land safely on Arsturo 'Kle, at the docking bay of an abandoned mining station. They are using information from Deathbird, who reportedly used this station as a safehouse while operating as an enemy of her sister Lilandra Neramani.
Rogue voices her distrust of Deathbird. They can not be be certain that this whole situation is not a set-up by Deathbird herself, their old foe. Deathbird points that they can not be certain of anything but invites them to find out together. The team of 7 teleports away and the story ends.
- Oralis says that the Phalanx have a "manifest destiny" to fulfill. The expression derives from 19th-century expansionist and imperialistic ideologies of the United States of America. These ideologies suggested that Americans have a mission and a destiny to expand their country, settle in previously sparsely inhabited areas, and spread their culture and agriculture in new areas. The term was coined in 1845, to describe already existing politic ideologies.
- The term as used in the 1840s referred specifically to plans to annex the Republic of Texas, the whole of Oregon Country, California, and Canada, either by war or by peaceful negotiations. It was then retro-actively applied to every territorial expansion of the United States from 1812 to 1860, the time when the country spread from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast of North America. It is particularly associated with the expansionist policies of Presidents Andrew Jackson and James Knox Polk. Polk led an expansionist war against Mexico and annexed huge areas, though some believed at the time that they should annex the whole country.
- In the 1850s, the term was associated with filibuster expeditions, privately financed military expeditions in attempt to take control of areas of Mexico, Nicaragua, and other areas of North and Central America. These expeditions were ambitious but brought no lasting results.
- In the 1860s, the term became associated with the Homestead Acts, attempts to settle a growing population of American settlers and immigrants in sparsely populated areas of North America, either actually controlled or claimed by the United States. Since these areas were typically already occupied by various Native American tribes, this triggered another phase of Indian removal and the American Indian Wars. This phase lasted until the 1890s, with the complete American control over Native American territories. Periodic skirmishes and Native American revolts lasted into the 1920s.
- In the 1890s, the United States already controlled much of North America. The phrase became associated with plans of so-called "overseas expansion" in areas of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Expansionist efforts of this period included the annexation of the Republic of Hawaii, and American occupation of Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam. These areas were re-organized in the 1900s, with some becoming supposedly independent American protectorates and the others becoming "territories" (colonies). Puerto Ricans were granted American citizenship in the 1910s.
- In the 20th century, the term largely fell out of use. From the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt onwards, the United States have ceased seeking further expansion and pursue power in the form of interventionism on the world stage.
- The Marvel Chronology Project, which tracks character appearances, has the following information on the characters who are not regular cast members.
- Bastion appears here directly after Generation X Vol 1 25 (March, 1997). He next appears in Generation X Vol 1 26 (April, 1997).
- Harper appears here following Cable Vol 1 40 (February, 1997). He next appears in Wolverine Vol 2 116 (September, 1997).
- Jubilee appears here directly after Generation X Vol 1 25 (March, 1997). She next appears in Generation X Vol 1 26 (April, 1997).
- Originally priced at $1.95 US and $2.75 Canada.
- Ads in this issue included : [inside front cover] Kenner, Subway, (2 page issue) JetMoto, UCI: Free Trial Deal, Mootown!, Thunderbolts, (1/2 page ad) The Joe Kubert School of cartoon and graphic art inc, (1/2 page ad) Dave's Comics, Charlos Pacheco Takes on the X-men, (2 page ad) Bullpen Bulletins, Ka-Zar, Heroes for Hire (3 page preview), Mile High Comics, Subscribe Today, [inside back cover] Mike and Ike & Hot Tamales, [back cover] Carnage Heart.
- Gambit and Rogue are featured on the cover of this issue.
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