Beast (Hank McCoy)
Cyclops (Scott Summers)
Appearing in "Grand Design"
- Cameron Hodge
- Senate Committee on Mutant Affairs
- Exiles (First appearance)
- Sasha Yasinov
- Major Nikoli Uzbek
- Unnamed Russians and Russian mutants
- Anatoly & Yuri, Heinrich's guards
- New York
- Mutant concentration camp (Destroyed)
Synopsis for "Grand Design"
After a week of non-stop cases, X-Factor returns home from another mission to find their public relations advisor, Cameron Hodge, eagerly waiting for them. He tells them that there are two representatives from the Russian embassy who have come to see them. As they freshen themselves up for their meeting, X-Factor all privately muse what the Russian government's interest in X-Factor could be. Soon they are introduced to diplomats Sasha Yasinov and Major Nikoli Uzbek. They learn that they have come to study X-Factor's methods in detecting and capturing mutants so that they can implement similar tactics in the Soviet Union. When Scott tries to wriggle out of offering assistance to keep their cover safe, he's told that the US State Department approved of the exchange of information. Scott tells them that his team will have to mull it over and Cameron politely escorts them from the building. With the diplomats gone, all the members of X-Factor agree that this would attract too much attention because in reality the operation they pretend to have is only a cover. However, before they can all agree to decline the offer, Cameron tells them that a friend of his called from the Senate Committee on Mutant Affairs who wants to meet with them before they make a decision as it will have an impact on the lives of hundreds of mutants behind the Iron Curtain.
While somewhere deep behind the Iron Curtain, there is a secret prison that has been specially built for the detention of Russia's many mutants. One such mutant has managed to escape from his cell and is about to use his powers to break through the wall outside when he is shot dead by the prison's head guard: The Crimson Dynamo.
Back in the States, the members of X-Factor meet with Senator Thompson by meeting in a secret elevator in the World Trade Center. Seeking privacy, the Senator stops the elevator between floors so that he can tell them of the information he's gathered. He tells the group that he knows about X-Factor's secret. While this is shocking he also reveals something even more so: That behind Soviet lines they are dissecting and experimenting on mutants in order to learn how to manipulate the "x-factor" gene in human DNA to create mutations that they can use to create super-soldiers for use in the Russian military. He provides X-Factor with all the information, telling them that their insider was killed before he could reveal the location of the camp. He tells them that the Soviets have hired geneticist Wolfgang Heinrich, born in East Germany during 1932. His father was one of Adolf Hitler's greatest geneticists and Wolfgang has followed in his fathers footsteps. Thompson asks X-Factor to accept the Russians offer and try and find the mutant prison and shut it and Heinrich down. Hank is reluctant to aid Thompson because the Senate Committee on Mutant Affairs has been hounding mutants over the years, however Thompson tells them that he's met with them in secret due to his sensitive position in the committee and that their secrets are safe with him, and he is now trusting them with his. X-Factor agrees to take the case in their mutual desire to help all the Russian mutants that are being slaughtered in the name of military science.
When X-Factor accepts the offer from the Russian government they are flown in and upon their arrival they are attacked by two Russian mutants. One of them grabs Bobby and tries to fly away, but is shot down and the other is captured. When Bobby angrily tells off the soldier for shooting the mutant, Scott tells him to calm down. While the group realizes that they might be in for more than they bargained for, Sasha Yasinov finds their reactions very interesting. X-Factor then are escorted to their hotel room and cautioned not to go out alone for their safety. Once inside their room, Scott has Bobby use his ice powers to lower the temperature in the room to freeze up any KGB bugs that might be recording their conversations so that they can discuss their mission. They talk about how they have secretly sent Warren out to scout for the location of the mutant prison, and Scott cautions them from keeping away from the mutant rebels and the importance of maintaining their "anti-mutant" charade. While out in the eastern region of Russia, the Angel flies through the air, scouting for the facility. As he searches he considers how scared he is about what can go wrong with the operation when he is attacked by two military helicopters. With his keen flying skills and some explosive charges though Warren manages to lose them and continue his search for the prison.
Meanwhile, the other members of X-Factor sit down to a dinner before their presentation to the Russian government. During their dinner they are introduced to Wolfgang Heinrich who is secretly a mutant himself. When he shakes Scott's hand he detects that Scott is a mutant and begins to wonder what X-Factor's true agenda is. After X-Factor's presentation, Wolfgang probes X-Factor for answers and finds nothing that hints what he seeks to learn. He then tricks Bobby into following him into the back room promising to introduce him to a young lady. Instead Bobby, is drugged by men in Heinrich's employ. Heinrich then uses his mutant powers to not only assume Bobby's form, but also mimic his powers so that he can infiltrate X-Factor. He then orders his men to kill him, unaware that one of the wait staff is spying on them and that he is part of the mutant resistance in Russia. When the goons take Bobby outside, they are subdued by a mutant priest who has hypnotic powers and they take Bobby back to their headquarters to see what sort of information they can get out of him.
Back at the party when Heinrich joins X-Factor, they immediately tip him off to the fact that they are seeking his mutant prison and that they intend on freeing his captives, he decides that he will allow them to find it's location but insure that they will never leave it alive. While at the secret hideout of the mutant rebels, Bobby finds himself bound and tied. When he revives he uses his mutant powers to break free, making the rebels realize that he too is a mutant. He explains to them what X-Factor's true agenda is, and he is introduced to the Exiles and it's members: Blind Faith, Mentac, Concussion, Iron Curtain and Siberian Tiger. Iceman's hopes perk up of smashing the Russian's operations, however this is quickly quashed when Blind Faith tells about Wolfgang being a mutant and how he has infiltrated X-Factor by posing as Bobby, and that they will need to rescue his friends before they do anything else.
While back at the hotel, X-Factor gets word back from Angel about the location of the mutant prison and they all sneak out of the hotel and change into their X-Terminators uniforms in order to sneak into the facility, completely unaware that they have a doppleganger in their midst. Wolfgang aids X-Factor breaking into the facility and the team is horrified when they find the main experimentation room where hundreds of mutants are being experimented on. When examining the bodies, Beast points out that they are all brain dead and kept alive for Heinrich's sick experiments. Cyclops orders them to scope out whatever records they can find. When Cyclops and "Iceman" find the file room, Heinrich breaks his cover by calling security and attacking Cyclops. When Marvel Girl, Angel and Beast find them, the Crimson Dynamo then arrives and he and Heinrich attack them. As the battle rages, Heinrich is confident that they will defeat X-Factor and if they try to escape they are too deep in Russian territory to escape.
Outside, the real Iceman and Sieberforce has arrived and with their combined powers the assault the facility, smashing through it's security with ease. Inside, Crimson Dynamo and Doppleganger have the upper hand until Bobby arrives. While Iceman and Heinrich pit their mutual powers against each other, the other members of X-Factor take on the Dynamo, while the members of Siberforce free the mutant prisoners who are still alive. Iceman is fairing poorly against Wolfgang, who is able to utilize Bobby's powers in ways he has never tried. However, his lack of training in these abilities turn out to be his downfall and when he creates a mountain of ice to stand on, it's weight causes the floor to shatter seemingly sending Wolfgang falling to his death. Bobby catches up with Beast who gives him a crash course in saying Heinrich's command codes for the Crimson Dynamo to call off his attack and send him away.
With the battle won, X-Factor meets up with the mutant underground and realize that by now the KGB will know they are missing and make a connection between X-Factor and the X-Terminators. Blind Faith comes up with a solution, and knowing that the idealistic members of X-Factor would not willingly allow him go through with it, he uses his powers to force their compliance. With a hypnotic suggestion, when X-Factor returns to their room with Blind Faith and Iron Curtain, they are promptly arrested. Their alibi: That they saw these two mutants snooping around the hotel and used their mutant hunting methods to capture them. After turning them over to the KGB, claims that the military activity is "only a drill" and escort X-Factor to the airport for their flight back to America.
On board the plane, Scott and the others watch as Angel flies past the plane and note how the passengers are reacting in fear. Unknown to them back further in the flight is Wolfgang Heinrich, alive and well and riding the flight with them.
- All terms referring to Russia as the USSR, and Cold War related dialog in this issue is considered topical, given the Earth-616 universe's sliding time scale.
Links and References