X-Men: The Hidden Years #19: Broken Promises

Beast finds himself in a strange forest and is attacked by a giant insect. Cyclops appears in time and his optic blast drives the insect away. Marvel Girl stumbles upon them while Beast examines the flora. Beast concludes that the plants might date back to the time of the dinosaurs. Cyclops questions if they had been “transported through time”, but on closer observation, the growth of vegetation above them follows a domed ceiling. Cyclops’ blast also uncovered a foreign metal floor beneath the soil. Iceman finally rejoins his three team mates. Unknown to them, they are being watched by Mole Man.

In Illinois, Xavier is awakened and alarmed that his telepathic bond with his X-Men has been broken, “as if the X-Men are...no longer on earth”.

Meanwhile, Cyclops is attempting to destroy the metal floor with his optic blast, but to no avail. Marvel Girl is unable to telepathically detect any other presence except her team mates. Suddenly, a mental projection of Tobias Messenger appears before them, contacting them telepathically.

Messenger explains that he is a leader of a group of mutants not unlike the X-Men. Born in 1859 and deaf by the age of nineteen, his mutation manifested when he was thirty. Messenger travelled the world in search of mutants, and formed a group at age fifty. With their combined powers, they helped shorten a war. But death consumed his team, and Messenger thought of placing himself in “suspended animation”, “emerging once each decade to monitor the progress of the world” and form a new group of mutants. The plan was going smoothly, until the existence of Xavier’s X-Men and Magneto’s Brotherhood, hindering his efforts to recruit mutants to his cause.

Failing to enlist the X-Men, Messenger cuts telepathic contact with the X-Men and rejoins his group to prepare to go back into suspended animation. Messenger believes that a war “between humans and mutants is rapidly approaching” and after when mutants are victorious, it is his mission to help rebuild the world.

Back in the chamber, Cyclops has managed to blast a crack in the ground. With Iceman’s help in freezing the metal and expanding the crack, Cyclops succeeds in blasting through the floor, revealing a tunnel below. Iceman suspects that it might be the doing of their old nemesis, Mole Man, but Beast feels that this stretches simply beyond Mole Man’s capabilities, and Messenger might have planted other obstacles. Marvel Girl is still unable to sense anything telepathically, and Iceman de-ices due to the lack of moisture.

Cyclops discovers a platform leading to a vertical shaft that possibly contains transportation of some kind. A “gigantic fan” circulates the air from above. As the X-Men make their way across the platform, the fan suddenly speeds up. They find themselves at a dead end reaching the vertical shaft. Marvel Girl is desperately trying to use her telekinesis to hold them down, but she loses her hold and they get sucked up. Beast suggests Cyclops blast the fan. While it doesn’t destroy the fan, a mesh closes over the blades (to prevent debris from getting sucked into the fan and damaging it). As they cling onto the fan and make their way towards an opening leading to another chamber, the fan sustains damage from Cyclops’ blast and jams, causing the X-Men to fall into the depths below. Marvel Girl uses her telekinesis to hold them together. They fall through the metal tunnel and into a natural “subterranean vault”. They are attacked by Mole Man.

In the meantime, one of Messenger’s followers, the woman who was insistent that they keep Angel, comes out of suspended animation and frees Angel. She demands that Angel help her escape so she can return to her life she had been taken from. Angel wants her to free Lorna and Havok and the rest of the X-Men, but she tells him she can’t free Lorna or Havok without killing them, and that the rest of his team mates are someplace else.

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