X-Factor #27: Gifts!

Marvel Girl telekinetically transports all the students under X-Factor’s charge to meet up with X-Factor in Manhattan. Cyclops greets Marvel Girl with an embrace and a deep kiss. The kids are happy that their favourite couple is reunited.

Skids: “Dig it! Scott and Jean are together!”
Rusty: “About time. Scott’s wife died ages ago. And he only married her ’cause he thought Jean was dead but she wasn’t and--”
Artie: (Thoughts.) ♥

Skids reminds Rusty to mind his tongue about the gossip when Cyclops and Marvel Girl come over to speak to them. Artie and Boom-Boom hug their favourite mentor Iceman, and Beast tosses Rictor in the air in excitement. The media rushes over to interview the students once they are spotted with X-Factor. Cyclops apologises for dragging them into the “limelight”. Rusty speaks for the kids, saying it’s time that they showed that mutants are “not scarey or anything” The kids perform a well-controlled display of their powers. To wrap up the interview, Iceman creates a giant Christmas tree ice sculpture on top of the Empire State Building “in plae of the destroyed antenna”.

Cyclops extends the offer of a telekinetic lift off the rooftop to any member of the press. Only Trish Trilby accepts the offer to go with X-Factor. They descend onto the streets in front of the shops along Fifth Avenue so the kids can stroll and see the window decorations.

Archangel is angry that X-Factor is gaining acceptance by the public.

When Cyclops walks past an electronics store, he sees a television broadcast of the X-Men before their battle in Dallas, Texas, earlier. In the broadcast Madelyne pleas with Cyclops to find their son, hoping the message can reach him, before the X-Men seemingly perish in a blinding explosion. Cyclops is distraught and flees the paparazzi. The death of the X-Men comes as a shock, and also the revelation that his son might still be alive is too much for him to bear. Marvel Girl is upset that Cyclops has withdrawn from her again over Madelyne, as well as seeing her friends die in the broadcast. Beast is still suffering from the trauma of having his mind reduced to that of a child by Apocalypse. Marvel Girl has chosen not to inform him of the terrible news. Marvel Girl needed some time alone and she asks Iceman to take Beast and the kids home.

Marvel Girl decides to put aside her conflict with Madelyne and think about Cyclops’ son. She decides to “ help [Cyclops], if he’ll let [her]”. She also reflects on how she had not told her parents she was alive after all that had happened since her return.

On the way back, Iceman decides to take a detour through the parts of town ruined by Apocalypse and show the kids the reality of war. They wave as they pass the hospital, hoping it will cheer the children in the wards. Apocalypse’s ship had crushed X-Factor’s headquarters so they made the ship their home now. The police department had stopped by to donate and extra Christmas tree and ornaments for the kids.

Despite public acceptance, there are people who are angry over the damages and casualties caused by X-Factor during the battle. A protest surrounds the ship. Rusty feels that these people are being ungrateful. As they make their way inside the ship, Iceman lets the kids know a cool feature about the ship: only mutants can enter through the force field.

The kids go to town pressing all the weird buttons on the control panels. Iceman tries to get them to stop. Rusty asks Beast if he knows what any of the buttons mean. This aggravates Beast because he has lost his intelligence. Iceman and Rictor try to restrain Beast. Rictor raises his voice at Boom-Boom for taunting Beast. After Beast has calmed down, he calls for a truce between Rictor and Boom-Boom. He doesn’t want any fighting on Christmas eve. As they go about setting up the Christmas tree, Trish Trilby comes on the news. She reports on the loss everyone, including and especially X-Factor suffered because of Apocalypse. Beast is upset that now “the whole world” knows “how dumb [he] got”. He felt betrayed by Trish.

John and Elaine Grey are watching the news broadcast of Madelyne. Elaine gets upset because she reminded them of their daughter Jean. At this instant Marvel Girl decided to pay a visit to her parents. John and Elaine are in disbelief but overjoyed to find out that their younger daughter is alive. They chat for hours. Marvel Girl asks about her sister, Sara. John and Elaine have not heard from Sara and they fear the worst for her and their grandchildren. Marvel Girl is grieved that she might put her parents in danger by visiting them. She takes her leave, vowing to find Sara, and return when “all of this...mess...is straightened out”.

After Trish’s broadcast, an outpouring of Christmas presents are delivered to X-Factor. The kids get busy unwrapping presents. Leech is sad that they have lots of presents and the sick children at the hospital have none. All the other kids except Boom-Boom think it is a great idea to donate all the presents to the hospital instead. They set out on their own, without supervision of Iceman or Beast, for the hospital.

Marvel Girl returns to the ship in a pensive mood.

Marvel Girl: (Thoughts.) I’d hoped Scott and I would spend Christmas together. I love him so. I finally had him...we had each other...and now he’s off again, chasing phantoms. We’re all potential phantoms, who’ll be next--?

She finds the kids missing from their beds. Panic-striken, she wakes Bobby and Hank.

The kids are lost on their way to the hospital. They encounter robbers at gun point. The robbers threaten to shoot if they use their mutant powers on him. Suddenly, his gun is yanked away by a telekinetic force. Marvel Girl, Iceman and Beast have come to their aid. Iceman freezes the robbers for the police to take care of later.

Marvel Girl scolds the kids for running off like that and causing them to worry. Rusty and Rictor tell her that they could fend for themselves. Boom-Boom pointed out they did not want to wake Iceman and Beast, and then blamed Leech for starting this venture. Leech is unapologetic. Iceman breaks out in laughter. Marvel Girl cannot stay mad at the kids’ good intentions. She agrees to help the kids get the presents to the hospital.

The children at the hospital are delighted with their visit and the presents. Everyone is having a great time. Cyclops shows up at the hospital, but he brings less joyous tidings to Marvel Girl. He is leaving to go in search of his son.

Slowly but surely, the ship has fully-repaired itself. Apocalypse and his horsemen watch on in glee, waiting for the X-Men to figure out how to get into the ship now that it has shut itself.