X-Men (6th series) #27

Issue Date: 
December 2023
Story Title: 
Road Trip

Gerry Duggan (writer), Phil Noto (artist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer & production), Tom Muller & Jay Bowen (designers), Joshua Cassara & guru-eFX (cover artists), George Perez & Frank D'Armata (variant cover artists), Martin Coccolo & Jesus Aburtov (Stormbreakers variant cover artists), Paolo Rivera (X-Men 60th Anniversary variant cover artist), Peach Momoko (New Champions variant cover artist), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Shadowkat infiltrates an Orchis containment center where she discovers not only the Juggernaut being held prisoner, but Cyclops, too – and she can't free Juggernaut because he is connected to Cyclops via a booby trap. Shadowkat is able to free Juggernaut from his restraints and asks him to break out tomorrow. Shadowkat returns to the Morlock tunnels where the resistance X-Men are operating from, and with her she has a damaged Cerebro unit that she found in Orchis' evidence locker. Shadowkat thinks that the device can be used to restore the knowledge Xavier took from the mind of Reed Richards. Using Rasputin's telekinesis, to fly to Arizona in an old car, the X-Men arrive at the farm where the Fantastic Four reside. An altercation immediately takes place between Rasputin and the Thing. Rasputin then finds Mr. Fantastic and informs him that they require the information that Xavier and Magneto took from him. Mr. Fantastic reveals that he thinks on this every now and then, and that one day he will work out what that information was – but Rasputin points out that they don't have time for “one day” and will take that information now. Ms. Marvel arrives and Mr. Fantastic agrees to allow Rasputin to use the Cerebro unit to enter his mind. But she finds the information completely hollowed out by Xavier. Mr. Fantastic assures the X-Men that he will find the information of how to mask the x-gene, and when Ms. Marvel talks to him about the how the Terrigen Mists masked her x-gene for some time, Mr. Fantastic realizes that he used the Terrigen Mists, which in higher concentration can kill mutants, but at the right level merely masks the x-gene. Mr. Fantastic offers to work on the Terrigen Mist mask, and even suggests to Ms. Marvel that he can help her unlock her x-gene, but she wants to take that slow. After Mr. Fantastic promises to contact the X-Men when he's worked on the Terrigen Mist mask, the X-Men depart. Firestar joins Dr. Stasis for dinner and learns that the Juggernaut broke free of his restraint, but that Nimrod apprehended him – and now Dr. Stasis plans to extract the magical gem from inside his body.

Full Summary: 

While you slept, the world changed. There are secret prisons growing like tumors across the world – like this one, the Henry Gyrich Re-education Center on Randall's Island in New York. The rain beats down as Kate Pryde arrives at the facility. She has vowed that before this war is over, she is going to see all the prisoners freed, and is going to take her time with that bronze statue of Gyrich our front. Maybe she will slag it, maybe she will sink it into the ground. Kate has been tasked with taking a census of mutants, because they are all X-Men now. She phases into the facility, and sees several agents walking down a corridor. She is wanted for crimes against humanity that she did not commit, which is why she is sneaking around using an old alias, Shadowkat. It takes a lot to surprise Kate these days, but today is her day. 'Y-youre alive!' Kate gasps as she phases through a wall and finds herself in a cell where Cain Marko a.k.a. Juggernaut is being held captive.

'Jiminy Tap-dancin' Cricket!' Cain calls out, surprised at his new cellmate. Kate tells him to be quiet. Cain has a restraining collar around his neck and Kate tells him that they all thought he was dead. 'Glad we were wrong' she adds, before Cain explains to her that he is told this adamantium col around his neck is a noose around his neighbor, motioning to the wall behind him, where the coil that is attached to the collar goes through the wall. 'On it. Don't go anywhere' Kate tells Juggernaut as she phases through the wall into the next cell – and discovers Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops being held captive on a large X. The day's pleasant surprises are over. Kate wants to scream, but she stifles it. She isn't sure whether Cyclops is sleeping or drugged, but he seems to be alive – although his eyes have been sewn shut. Kate puts her hand to the collar around Scott's neck, she is about to free him – but then something stops her. She takes a look inside Scott's body and discovers that he has been booby trapped.

'It's Cyclops' Kate informs Juggernaut as she returns to his cell. 'I'm glad I didn't do my impression of the Kool-Aid Man' Juggernaut responds, before asking Kate if she is going to get him out of here. Kate reveals that she can't at the moment, as he is on a dead man's switch – he's a living trigger for some kind of bomb. 'These bastards in Orchis knew we'd be working to spring you all, and they're not making it easy' Kate adds. 'Don't tell me we're gonna rot and you're just floating away out of here?' Cain asks. 'No' Kate assures him as she phases her hand into the adamantium collar, disrupting it, she pulls it from Cain's neck and tells him that she needs her to buy him some time, and asks him to break out of here tomorrow. She explains that if he leaves right away, she won't be able to continue her head count.

Kate then tells Cain that she is glad to see him, noting that last time she laid eyes on him he looked bad. Cain smiles and thanks Kate, telling her that he is tougher than he looks, and explains that the gem that magically heals him is literally coursing through his veins. He then asks Kate if any of the other X-Men survived. Kate pauses, and tells Cain that he will let him know everything when he is out, but that right now, they are all X-Men. 'Resist' Kate declares as she vanishes through a wall.

Later, in the Morlock Tunnels where the resistance X-Men have gathered. Kate stands with Everett Thomas a.k.a. Synch, Laura Kinney a.k.a. Talon, Kamala Khan a.k.a. Ms. Marvel and the chimera from the future, Rasputin IV. They all look at a heavily damaged Cerebro unit which Kate reports that she liberated from an “evidence locker” where Orchis was storing it. She isn't sure where Orchis got it from, and suggests it might have been the Cerebro unit from Legacy House. She adds that if anything is capable of delving into a mind to recover memories, it is this. She tells Synch that she thought it might help with his next mission. Synch points out that the major question remains: 'Will Reed Richards even cooperate with our efforts to restore the knowledge that Xavier took from his mind?'

'Ironic, given that the ability to mask our X-Gene would give us a tangible tactical advantage against Orchis. But she's too busy with Stark' Talon remarks, before telling Rasputin that the plan had been to use Emma Frost's gifts, and ask her if she thinks she's up for it. 'I will succeed' Rasputin responds. Kamala admits that she doesn't understand why Professor Xavier wiped Reed Richards' memory. 'Aren't they friends?' she asks. 'Yeah, well, Ms. Marvel. Running a country was harder than it looked' Kate mutters, before wishing the others good luck in Arizona. Kate turns and starts to walk away, to which Talon asks her if she doesn't think she should be on this mission, especially given her history with the subjects. Kate glances back at the others and declares that she  has no interest in revisiting history at the moment, and doesn't want to traipse down memory lane with the Richards right now. Rasputin suggests that they get on with it, and announces that she has procured an automobile. 'Wait – we're driving?' Kamala asks.

Since being forced underground literally and figuratively, the X-Men have had to get creative. Rasputin has “rescued” this Lincoln vehicle, and after ripping out the engine, Rasputin now uses her telekinesis to fly to Arizona. After the disaster in New York, the Fantastic Four quit social media and headed west to Ben Grimm's family farm. Kamala tells Rasputin that they are getting closer, before announcing that they have gone past it. She apologizes, explaining that she is not used to looking at the maps on her phone while flying around. 'The Thunderbird was cool, but this is way cooler than the jet' Synch remarks, while Talon suggests that they take it slow when they arrive, as the Fantastic Four are not expecting them, and they don't want to alarm them. After landing the car, Rasputin gets out and strides across a clearing on the farm. 'Compliance is not a prerequisite for success. If there is information we need here – then  we will have it!' she declares.

'Even if we have to hold this Fantastic person down and -' Rasputin continues, before Ben Grimm the Thing appears, wearing overalls and carrying a fishing rod. 'Hey, hey! I don't like the sound of that' he remarks. 'I was not addressing you. Now be on your way, golem' Rasputin states. 'Why I oughta! Dunno who you are, but -' the Thing begins, putting a hand on Rasputin's shoulder. 'Watch your hands' Rasputin warns him, before she smacks him backwards. 'Dammit' Talon mutters. '$#&%' Synch complains, throwing his hands behind his head. 'It seems we've activated their defenses' Rasputin points out. 'Ben!' Talon calls out as she and Synch rush over to him. 'There's been a misunderstanding!' Synch exclaims. Ben groans, while Synch instructs Ms. Marvel to babysit Rasputin. 'Matters are escalating. They need not. I'm simply here for information' Rasputin announces, as Johnny Storm the Human Torch appears and surrounds her with a ring of fire.

'How is your vision under all those flames? Surely you see my skin will be immune to your powers' Rasputin remarks. 'Not sure who you are, but we've been through a lot, and we were kinda hoping to take the night off, but that's over now' Johnny calls out, before telling Rasputin that, as for her skin, he has never met skin he couldn't get under. 'And frankly, you don't look so tough – and did you steal that sword from Magik?' he asks. 'Enough prattle!' Rasputin declares as she leaps over the flames and swipes at the Human Torch with her sword. 'Whoa, hey! I promise – you're not going to pay a hand on me!' the Torch responds. 'I don't need to' Rasputin boasts, before she telepathically commands the Torch to fall asleep, and Johnny falls to the ground, snoring.

Mutants aren't the only ones “going through it” at the moment. The Fantastic Four are reviled for the events in Manhattan that made the Baxter Building disappear along with their children. Like mutants, the Fantastic Four operate best with their backs to the wall. Reed and Susan Richards emerge from the farmhouse, with Reed eating potato chips from the packet. 'I could've sworn I heard Ben get punched' he remarks, while Susan agrees, and adds that it is a sound you never get used to – like rocks being driven into meat. Susan announces  that she is going to look around, and switches to her invisible form. 'I am too. Hey phone – scan the area' Reed instructs his phone, while wiping his chip-covered hands on his t-shirt.

Reed's phone picks up a scan of Rasputin, and notes the abilities she has, comprised of various other mutants. 'Well, aren't you interesting? A chimera of several mutants' Reed remarks. 'Wait! Please!' Ms Marvel calls out to Rasputin, who leaps away from her, and lands near Reed. 'A mutant mash-up? You're a creation of Mr. Sinister? Or perhaps Beast is farther gone than I thought?' Reed wonders. 'You are “Mister Fantastic”?' Rasputin asks. 'I am. And I hope for your sake that my family is unharmed' Reed responds, before asking Rasputin what she is here for. Rasputin shoves the end of her blade into the ground, and states that they do not seek conflict, but require information. 'What X and Magneto took from you' she adds. Reed smiles and tells Rasputin that he will figure it out, as he noodles on it every now and then. 'I don't need your help' he adds. 'You're misunderstanding. We don't care if you retain it. We require it' Rasputin announces, putting a hand on Reed's arm.

'I think you are the one who is misunderstanding. My mind was entered without my consent. That will never happen again' Reed declares, as Rasputin suddenly finds herself surrounded by a force field. Reed turns to Susan, who becomes visible once more, and tells her to keep her guard up. 'She's possibly time-displaced and seems to be a genetic descendant of at least four, or possibly five, mutants' Reed notes. 'Five' Rasputin announces as she phases through the force field. 'Ah. Yes, indeed. Five. You also have Kitty's ability to phase' he realizes. As the Thing lumbers up behind Rasputin, Rasputin states once again that they do not seek conflict. 'Well, usually I don't care for hitting dames, but -' the Thing begins, only for Rasputin to punch him aside with ease. Reed tells Rasputin that the only reason she is currently conscious is because Ben enjoys a good brawl. 'But if you insist on -' he begins, before Ms. Marvel arrives, 'Stop! Rasputin! We're all friends!' she calls out as she extends a large hand between Reed and Susan and Rasputin. 'We're all just really good friends, right?' Kamala exclaims.

Rasputin looks at Kamala and tells her that she doesn't understand: 'If they are out friends, why did the Great X take his knowledge, and if they were really our friends, why did they not assist us in our hour of need?' Rasputin asks. 'Reed saved the world twice last week' Susan snaps. 'Three times, but last week is ancient history to this young woman, isn't it?' Reed remarks, before suggesting that there has been enough mistrust. 'Maybe things would be different if we'd worked together instead of plotting alone' Reed suggests. He states that what Charles and Magneto did was wrong, and tells Susan that perhaps his fear of their own son in Charles’ and Magneto's care colored his own judgment about what he would share. 'I understand that this information can help you now' Reed acknowledges. 'Honey, are you sure?' Susan asks. Reed extends his neck to move his face closer to Rasputin, and warns her that if anything untoward occurs, his wife will be right here beside him. 'And then I'll be in your head. Courtesy of the stroke I'll give you by expanding a force-field in that metal dome of yours' Susan announces. 'I like your wife' Rasputin responds. 'See, we're friends' Kamala utters.

Synch and Talon join the gathering, and, holding the Cerebro unit, Synch reports that the Torch is fine. 'He's pretty tired though' Talon notes. Synch then thanks Dr. Richards for taking this leap of faith. He places the Cerebro unit on Rasputin's head, and Rasputin announces that they will go together, and see what is true. Within Reed's mind, the threat remains, but little else of the encounter. 'I want you to remember. This is not a game to us. This is our right to survive' Professor X spoke to Reed. Within Reed's brain, Rasputin, Reed and Susan are “standing” where the knowledge should be. 'We're right where it should be. Even I can't recover it' Rasputin utters. Reed looks up, and tells the others that this is as he suspected, but that the brain can mend and change, it is malleable. 'I will work around this. I will find a way' he declares.

'It's impossible. The secret of how the Fantastic Man masked the mutant gene has been removed and quite thoroughly' Rasputin announces as she removes the Cerebro unit and turns to Synch. 'Dammit' Synch complains, before deciding that it was worth a try, he then thanks everyone. Kamala then remarks that it is funny, as Charles used that word with her on the night of the attack. 'He said that the Terrigenesis that gave me my Inhuman gift “masked” my mutant one' she adds. Reed narrows his eyes, then bursts into laughter. He and Kamala both extend their hands and high-five each other, as Reed announces that it was the T-Mists, he knows he used them. He reveals that in higher concentrations, the mist can hurt and even kill – but in lower targeted doses, they can camouflage the X-Gene.

As Reed accompanies Kamala back towards the X-Men's car, he thanks her for her contribution to science and invites her to call upon him again later. He adds that he thinks he can help her to unlock her mutant gift – if she wants. Kamala tells Reed that she appreciates it, and informs him that Emma Frost offered also, but she is taking it slow. Reed shakes Kamala's hand and tells her that he understands. Kamala smiles at Reed as he adds that it goes without saying, he is glad that the mutants caught her after what happened. 'I've been hard on Krakoa – but they righted that wrong' Reed remarks, before informing Kamala that he will get her a message when he has a working X-Gene mask. 'Please get in the vehicle. There is no further purpose in being here' Rasputin calls out.

'Sorry about the new recruit!' Synch calls out to the Fantastic Four who watch as the X-Men's car is lifted into the air. 'It happens!' the Torch grins, while the Thing waves up at the X-Men and remarks that he wants a rematch. 'Not a fan' the Torch adds as he looks to the Thing. 'Me beither. It's always touch and go with the X-Men, but they were bums tonight' he decides. Susan looks at the others and reminds them that the X-Men have suffered a great loss – again – so they need to remember life is chaos and they should be kind. 'We all have an Orchis problem...they are the real monsters'.

Elsewhere, Dr. Stasis and Firestar sit opposite each other, sharing a meal. Dr. Stasis informs Firestar that he has decided what to do with the monstrous Juggernaut. 'Oh?' Angelica asks. Dr. Stasis informs her that the Juggernaut somehow escaped his adamantium collar, but luckily, Nimrod was on site and beat his head in again. 'Cain Marko is too dangerous to try and pacify. Rather than execute him, I've realized that magic gem of his is inside his body. I'm going to extract it surgically and then ingest it' Dr. Stasis boasts, adding that he hopes the world is ready for Dr. Juggernaut, and informs Firestar that he has scheduled Juggernaut for surgery in the morning. Firestar begins to cough as she swallows her wine. Then, nervously glancing sideways, excuses herself, claiming that the wine went down the wrong way.

Characters Involved: 

Ms. Marvel IV, Rasputin IV, Shadowkat, Synch, Talon (all X-Men)

Dr. Stasis, Firestar (both Orchis)

Human Torch II, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Thing (all Fantastic Four)

Orchis agents

(in Mr. Fantastic's memory)
Magneto, Professor X

Story Notes: 

Professor X removed information from Mr. Fantastic's mind in X-Men/Fantastic Four #4 after Mr. Fantastic developed a device to mask the mutant gene, preventing his son Franklin from becoming involved with Krakoa.

This issue includes a one-page diagram containing information about Rasputin IV's powerset.

The Fantastic Four relocated to Arizona after the events of Fantastic Four (7th series) #4.

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