A+X #13

Issue Date: 
October 2013
Story Title: 
(1st Story) Captain America + Cyclops; (2nd Story) Black Widow + Emma Frost: Crash & Burn in Black & White!

(1st Story) Gerry Dugan (writer), David Yardin (artist), Andres Mossa (colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer)
(2nd Story) Howard Chaykin (writer/artist), Edgar Delgado (colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer)
Mike Deodato and James Campbell (Cover Artists), Jordan D. White and Nick Lowe (editors), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

(1st story)
A Skrull named K’Thron abducts Captain America and Cyclops and requests their help in stopping Cadre K, a group of mutant Skrulls once trained by Professor Xavier and who K’Thron believes have come to Earth on a revenge scheme. K’Thron is shocked when the two heroes immediately start fighting, destroying his Skrull detector and causing his spaceship to fall out of orbit. K’Thron manages to bring them to safety but Captain America refuses to work with Cyclops and places him in handcuffs for the murder of Xavier.

(2nd story)
Emma Frost enlists Black Widow’s help in tracking down the person who’s blackmailing her with a sex tape. After numerous dead-ends, Black Widow uses her S.H.I.E.L.D. connections to find the culprit. They destroy the files, humiliate the culprit and make it so that he projectile vomits whenever he sees bare breasts.

Full Summary: 

(1st story)
Somewhere in the southwest, a family is driving along a dusty, desert road. A young girl sits in the back, listening to her headphones, complaining about boredom. Suddenly, Captain America drives up to the car on a motorcycle and gives the young girl a salute. The young girl screams with excitement and quickly takes out her phone to get a picture but Captain America inexplicably vanishes before she takes it, leaving just his motorcycle behind…

Somewhere else, a Skrull named K’Thron stands in a dark room and speaks to two captives. He tells the captives that he will allow them to move once he finishes telling them what they need to know. He warns them that a group of Skrulls called Cadre K have returned to Earth. Cadre K consists of an impure segment of the Skrull population and are the equivalents of what mutants are to humans. Like mutants, they are born with strange abilities and K’Thron believes that they have come to Earth seeking revenge for the Skrull’s last defeat. K’Thron failed to convince them that such endeavors would only bring more hardship to the Skrull Empire, which is already scattered.

Since Cadre K once received training from Professor Xavier, K’Thron tried but failed to locate him and so he brought his two captives together to discuss the matter. He also advises them that their mutated physiology might make Cadre K immune to their Skrull detectors. He tells them that the Skrulls could be anyone but he scanned them both so they could trust each other.

Having said all he wanted, K’Thron releases his two captives from their forcefield confinements. Both Cyclops and Captain America fall to the ground. Apparently abducted in the middle of cooking, Cyclops is wearing an apron and holding a frying pan. K’Thron expresses his desire for there to be no violence, expecting that the heroes might desire to attack him.

Catching him by complete surprise, Cyclops and Captain America immediately attack each other! Cyclops tries to hit him with his frying pan but Captain America blocks it with his shield and sends Cyclops over his shoulder. Captain America tells a confused K’Thron that he’ll help with the situation once he subdues this wanted murderer.

Cyclops is thrown against the wall but manages to balance himself and lifts his glasses, sending an optic blast that knocks Steve on his back. Cyclops accuses Captain America of not doing enough for mutants while Captain America defends himself by bringing up the fact that he asked Cyclops’ brother to lead a united team to be shining example to all. K’Thron tries to stop the fighting but his shouting falls on deaf ears.

“Murderer!” Captain America says as he flings his shield. “Hypocrite!” Cyclops shouts as he emits a powerful optic blast. Captain America’s shield hits Cyclops in the back of the head causing his optic blast to stir wildly out of control, damaging the infrastructure of K’Thron’s spaceship. As all three of them begin to float, K’Thron tells them that they’ve destroyed the ship’s artificial gravity system.

The ship begins plummeting towards Earth. Cyclops and Captain America work together to get K’Thron to the controls by kicking and grabbing him. K’Thron begins expressing regret for trying to help humans at all while he takes over the controls and stops the ship from crashing. Back on their feet, Cyclops and Captain America help K’Thron off the floor. Captain America is still adamant about taking Cyclops to jail and tells him that he should let a jury decide if he’s innocent. K’Thron says they have bigger problems and points to his destroyed Skrull scanner.

K’Thron asks if they can at least help him find Charles Xavier so he could help in locating and stopping Cadre K. Captain America tells the Skrull that Cyclops murdered him, shocking K’Thron, who says he’ll never understand humans. “As Cyclops is fond of pointing out, his humanity has always been an issue,” Captain America says as he begins to handcuff Cyclops. Cyclops tries telling him that he’ll need his help in stopping Cadre K but Captain America accuses him of looking out for himself, thinking that Cadre K may want revenge with Cyclops for killing his mentor. “This is a good day. I caught the murderer of a friend, and now I get to stop a terror attack,” Captain America says as he tightens the liquid metal handcuffs around Cyclops’ wrists.

(2nd story)
“Took you long enough, Natasha,” Emma Frost says as Black Widow approaches her at a trendy bar in New York City. “That’s mutant for thanks?” Natasha fires back. The two establish that Natasha is more curious as to what Emma wants than empathetic and that the two are far from friends. Emma admits that her telepathy is completely trashed and that she called Natasha in because she’s legendarily discreet. “One bitch to another,” Emma says as she tells Natasha that both of them have found themselves on the wrong side of right throughout their careers. Natasha tells her to get to the point and Emma admits that there’s a sex video of her out there that was made years ago and someone is blackmailing her. Without her powers, she’s at a loss.

Later, in a high-rise penthouse adorned with sexually stimulating superhero art, Natasha throws a young man named Earl against a window. Earl swears to not know anything but, when Emma and Black Widow agree that one more throw could crack the window in the tower that Earl’s father built, he points them to a pair of men in Long Island City, who would have such a video.

In Long Island City, explosives line a room filled with servers as two men on their knees ask Emma and Natasha if they’re out of their minds. “We run around half-dressed making the lives of guys like you a living hell,” Emma responds. “Do you really have to ask?” The two swear that they never saw the video. Black Widow believes them, saying that smut peddlers never lie but, not wanting to waste explosives, decides to blow up the building anyway. As Emma and Natasha casually walk away from the exploding building, Emma tells her that her blackmailer is still out there, threatening her.

Later, on a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, Emma is patched in with Black Widow as Natasha speaks with Maria Hill. Natasha says she was hoping going to S.H.I.E.L.D. wouldn’t be necessary but admits that they’re a useful connection. Maria Hill hands over a S.H.I.E.L.D. device that she says should do the job that Black Widow wants and tells Natasha that she owes her. Black Widow says they’re even, since she’ll be doing some on-the-job field testing with the device.

That night, in an abandoned S.H.I.E.L.D. building, a man named Frank asks the two heroes how they found him. Emma says that Black Widow figured that the only way to get a video off the Hellfire Club database was to use Stark technology. They explain that, since Frank was a washout at S.H.I.E.L.D. and unwanted by both A.I.M. and Hydra, the trail led to him, and to Emma’s horror, the small town of Passaic, New Jersey.

Frank, middle-aged with a beer belly, is tied upside down in a typical White Queen outfit, apologizing to Emma as Black Widow destroys the servers. Black Widow confirms she’s done but agrees when Emma tells her that she isn’t convinced Frank is sorry enough.

Emma concentrates and puts aside all the shame and frustration and uses it to find her telepathic gifts. For one moment, she is the White Queen again. She smiles and tells Natasha to flash Frank. “You’ve clearly got something nasty in mind,” Black Widow says. As Frank sees both Emma and Natasha’s breasts, he vomits uncontrollably. The two heroes laugh and Emma explains that every time Frank sees a pair of bares breasts, he’ll projectile vomit.

The two walk outside to the car and Emma says that she owes Natasha one. Natasha tells her, while she’s working on her powers, to double check her math skills because she figures Emma owes her more than just one. Black Widow suddenly turns around and goes back inside the building. When she comes back out, Emma asks what she forgot. Black Widow smiles and says that some things just never get old as vomit noises are heard.

Characters Involved: 

(1st story)
Captain America

Z’Cann, Fiz, Goroth, Nuro, R’Tee, Spunje (Cadre K)

Professor X

(2nd story)
Emma Frost
Black Widow

Maria Hill
S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents


Story Notes: 

(1st story)
This is the first appearance of Cadre K since the Maximum Security crossover.

Captain America still wants to bring Cyclops to justice for his role in Xavier’s death, which took place at the end of the AvX crossover.

The Battle of Earth that K’Thron speaks of is a reference to Secret Invasion.