X-Men: Omega Point

Issue #25
The Mutant Problem, Part 2

X-Factor intervenes at an anti-mutant rally being attacked by Sabretooth. The Right shows up again to fight off Sabretooth and Warren Worthington III, who arrived on the scene before his comrades and was taken as an attacker by the anti-mutant mob. Scott Summers and Kitty Pryde help defend mutant school children from the mob and force it to disperse, while Hank McCoy and Warren focus on the Right, who try to escape with a comatose Sabretooth.

When they return to X-Factor headquarters, the building explodes. Frank Castle and the Right infiltrated the building while they were gone as AC repairmen, rigged the building with explosives and a device that electrified the building’s skeleton, which disabled Kitty Pryde’s ability to walk through walls. Captain America (Steve Rogers) joined the fight. Warren convinced Frank to give up his war on mutants. But the X-Factor Headquarters was destroyed.

Captain America recruited Frank to join the Avengers as a sniper with the codename “Hawkeye.” X-Factor organized a massive rally with speakers including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Muhammad Ali, and John Sinclair, sparking a grassroots pro-mutant movement to match the growing anti-mutant sentiment.

Issue #24
The Mutant Problem, Part 1

Frank Castle makes his first appearance as the Punisher after his family was killed by the Juggernaut. Having already sealed the Juggernaut in a block of adamantium, he begins his war against the X-Men, blaming them for not destroying the Juggernaut when they had the chance. He begins by torching Bobby Drake with a jet engine and sends a tape of it to X-Factor. Scott Summers recognizes it from his file on how to kill each member of the team should they go rogue, which he finds Punisher has stolen. Hank McCoy, realizing that Bobby must transfer his consciousness each time he changes to ice, works with Charles Xavier to form a new body for Bobby’s consciousness to inhabit. Hank reveals that Bobby isn’t really human anymore, and is effectively immortal.

While Scott responds to a letter left by the Punisher inviting him to come die in Alaska, X-Factor is attacked by an armored anti-mutant militia called the Right. Scott manages to survive his encounter with the Punisher, though Frank escapes. Kitty Pryde saves Warren Worthington III when he’s nearly taken by the Right.

Issue #23
Amazing Grace

Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News on Monday, April 27, 1970:

From the CBS news headquarters in New York, this is the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, with Charles Kuralt in Washington and George Natanson in Anchorage.

Walter Cronkite: Good evening. King Namor relinquished control of Washington, D.C. back to the United States in a ceremony today at the National Mall.

Switch to footage of President Nixon’s speech: My fellow Americans, we have passed through a dark moment in our history, but our steadfast courage and resilience as a people have seen us through it. We are thankful to all of our allies, including the Atlanteans, for helping us in our hour of need.

Back to Cronkite: Meanwhile, the Soviet Union continues to threaten to veto a measure before the United Nations to recognize the restoration of the United States federal government unless their claim to Alaska is recognized. The Red Army continues to occupy that state, while diplomats from France and Great Britain continue to pressure the Kremlin to reconsider their course of action.

Cut to statement from Piotr Rasputin:

Piotr states that his comrades in the Soviet Union would never have unscrupulously taken advantage of a crisis that threatened the entire world. He promises that the Soviet Army took only such actions as were necessary for world security and that Alaska will be returned soon.

May 1970: Bobby & Rogue get ice cream.:

Bobby expresses his concerns about Rogue’s upcoming extended training trip with Logan and cautions her against casually risking her own life. Rogue replies that this is anything but casual. She plans to work hard to learn the skills to defend herself and perhaps even make some progress on controlling her powers.

May 1970: Super-powered football game:

There are four players to each side. Scott Summers leads a team with Kitty Pryde, Warren, and Mimic. Bobby leads a team with Piotr, Hank, and Blink. Scott’s team executes carefully planned plays while Bobby is content with tossing the ball down the field and trusting each team member to know how best to use their own powers to make touchdowns. The merry atmosphere is briefly disrupted when Scott loses control of his eyebeams and accidentally blasts much of the field.

May 1970: Logan’s personal scene:

As Logan and Rogue arrive in Japan, a stranger accosts Logan and tells him something in Japanese. Rogue can’t understand the conversation, but she sees Logan nearly driven into one of his berserker rages with no battle or apparent threat to trigger it. Clearly there is something more than her training that has drawn them to the land of the Rising Sun, though Logan refuses to speak to her about it..

June 1970: Friends of Humanity begins its campaign to sweep out every politician who yielded to Apocalypse in the upcoming mid-terms. Graydon Creed is interviewed by George Herman on Face the Nation on CBS. Creed explains that mutants are a menace who will inevitably come to rule over non-powered humanity if left unchecked. He admits that his own parents were mutants and his father is the deranged killer known as Sabertooth. It was when his parents tossed him out on the street like garbage for not being a mutant that he learned mutants have no empathy. He thanks God that the curse has not been passed on to him.

Herman asks what about mutants like the X-Men, who stopped Apocalypse? Creed points it that it was mutants alone who stopped Apocalypse. The X-Men are not humanity’s saviors. It was a power struggle between those who would rule humanity. He promises that if elected, the Friends of Humanity will work to strengthen the Mutant Registration Act, forcing mutants to publicly post notice to all their human neighbors of what they are.

June 1970: Kurt’s personal scene:

In Madagascar, Nightcrawler has become a labor leader. He takes the role of a negotiator, ensuring that mutants receive appropriate compensation for their powers but also that humans have a chance to display their talents in those areas where they can compete.

When the Blob’s ego causes him to lord it over and abuse humans, Kurt slips him Ipecac serum to make him throw up as punishment. Wanda questions him about this and chides Kurt when he admits it. Is he also going to poison every non-mutant who mistreats his fellow humans, she asks? Does he really think this is going to improve Blob’s behavior? Kurt is unrepentant, though he admits that he’s pinning more hopes for change on his labor efforts then on such pranks.

July 1970: Frank Castle’s family is killed by the Juggernaut in Central Park. The Juggernaut didn’t intentionally target them; they were merely obstacles beneath his notice as he engaged in one of his unstoppable charges. For Castle, this makes it all the worse.

July 1970: Piotr’s personal scene:

Following the Juggernaut’s trail of destruction, Piotr pauses briefly to rescue a kitten from a tree and return it to a young boy, assuring him that everything will be all right.

August 1970: Frank Castle is dressed in a skull head shirt. He confronts the Juggernaut in a factory in Pittsburgh. When the Juggernaut charges the “ant” who dares get in his way, Castle hits a switch to dump the Juggernaut into a vat of molten adamantium. It quickly begins to harden even as the Juggernaut attempts to escape, solidifying into a solid block with one of the Juggernaut’s hands escaping the block. Seeing the hand still twitching, Castle realizes that the invincible monster’s mutant life force is keeping him alive even inside a solid metal cube. The strain weakens the Juggernaut’s powers sufficiently, however, that Castle is able to carve off a finger as a souvenir. He puts it on a necklace, still twitching, still alive. The Cain Xavier may well be literally unkillable.

The Juggernaut has been punished, says Castle. Now it is the X-Men’s turn to be punished. They were the ones who kept the Juggernaut as a pet in their mansion instead of disposing of him permanently. They are the ones who allowed him to escape, to rampage, until Frank’s family paid the price.

August 1970: Kitty Pryde’s personal scene:

Kitty visits the X-Factor laboratory and is given a personal tour by Hank McCoy. Her phasing powers, however, allow her to poke into a corner that Hank had intended to keep sealed off and see his attempt to build a new Cerebro. He tells her he is attempting to build it so as not to need a telepath since the only telepath he really trusted is now dead. When asked if Xavier knows, Hank is successfully able to put her off with assurances that Xavier will be brought in “when the time is right”. It’s unclear how much Kitty, a shrewd teenager, is fooled by the adult’s half-truths.

September 1970: Reverend William Stryker preaching on his TV program, the Stryker Crusade.

I cannot tell you if this Apocalypse is the Devil or merely his servant, but we know that he has wandered for thousands of years, as Satan said to the Lord, “going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.” He deceived many pagans to worship him as a god, as demons do. He proudly calls himself “the First Mutant,” and claims that all mutants are his progeny. In this, at least, he has tempered his lies with truth, for man is made in the image and likeness of God, and therefore any aberration from that divine template, any corruption, any mutation, comes not from God, but from the Devil.

“But reverend,” I hear some say, “what of the so-called ‘X-Men’? Did they not defeat Apocalypse? Was it not our mutant brothers and sisters who saved us, too?” I am reminded of Christ’s warning when he said, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” He warned us, “there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Demons are ambitious and fractious. Do not mistake the infighting of powers, principalities, thrones, and dominions for the intervention of the angels.

September 1970: Hank McCoy’s personal scene:

Hank is chatting with a female reporter who has been interviewing him over a period of months for an in-depth article. Sensing chemistry between them, he attempts to move their relationship to something more personal. She quickly pulls back and turns him down, implying that she will turn over future contact to a colleague before departing. Hank holds his mutant appearance responsible, convinced that she must have rejected him because he is a blue-furred mutant. He goes back to his lab and trashes several hundred dollars of equipment in a rage before calming down and swearing to stick with the mistress who has never disappointed him: science.

October 1970: Warren meets with his old college roommate, Cameron Hodge, who’s an account manager at Ruder Finn now. He offers to help X-Factor with its public relations. In an excellent mood, Warren agrees. Everything seems to be going well and it’s a great year to be Warren Worthington III.

October 1970: October Crisis in Canada, as FLQ kidnaps politicians in Montreal. Old contacts of Wolverine’s in the Canadian military call upon him to help, and he makes a visit back from Japan to hunt down and kill the terrorists. Though Logan does not get (and does not want) any public credit, a grateful government makes sure that his Canadian passport and citizenship are still valid. Just in case the United States were to become an unwelcome place….

October 1970: Scott’s personal scene:

Scott argues with Lorna about her carelessness with schedules messing up their plans to go out. He mutters under his breath that it never used to be like that and does not need to specify when “used to be” was. Lorna yells back right at him, telling him he needs to relax and get the stick out of his ass.

Rather than escalate the argument, Scott clutches his head and talks about how much pressure he’s under. He tells her that of the two leaders of mutantkind, one is setting himself up as a dictator on the other side of the world and another is a ticking time bomb with an evil alternate personality. He’s worried about everything, about the direction the country is going, and about how they were all fools to follow Xavier and submit to the Mutant Registration Act.

Lorna asks him who declared that those two are the leaders of mutantkind? Scott at first takes this as a nudge that he should be more of a leader, but Lorna tells him that he shouldn’t shoulder such responsibilities. He should smoke some marijuana with her and take a trip with her to San Diego to meet all her old friends. Visibly exhausted, Scott agrees to the trip and checks out in the weeks leading up to the mid-term elections, believing there is nothing he can do.

November 1970: Midterm elections. In the Senate, there are 35 seats up for election. Friends of Humanity wins 29 of them, leaving the Senate with the Friends of Humanity with 29 seats, the Republicans with 32 seats, and the Democrats with 39 seats. Friends of Humanity won 96% of the House, with 417 seats, leaving 10 for the Democrats and 9 for the Republicans. Graydon Creed describes it as an overwhelming mandate to throw out all of the politicians responsible for handing the country over to Apocalypse, and that the Friends of Humanity’s top priority will be strengthening the Mutant Registration Act by adding provisions to post public signs on mutants’ homes and inform neighbors of their residence and powers.

November 1970: Hank & Bobby go on a double date with Vera and Zelda at Coffee a Go-Go. Zelda works as a waitress there. She’s started dating Bobby. Bobby’s attracted to her intelligence and sophistication, while Zelda is attracted to his youthful exuberance. Zelda got Bobby to hook Hank up with her roommate, a librarian named Vera. There’s a beatnik poet named Bernard performing there, whom Zelda and Vera seem to enjoy. (Mostly Zelda, though.) Somebody throws a brick through the window and runs away.

Hank is defensive about being a mutant who cannot “pass” as human and at first brushes off any romantic prospects with Vera. She impresses him, however, by talking about how the ability of mutants to change in response to their environment brings back the old discredited theory of Lamarckian evolution. She also flirts after hearing the story of his lab accident, calling him truly the “most evolved” man she has ever known. Despite himself, Hank finds himself drawn to her and they agree to keep seeing each other.

November 1970: Rogue’s personal scene:

In Japan, Rogue finds her training put to the request as four men try to kill her. She tries to defeat them without using her powers to drain their memories but finds the odds too great. In those muddled memories, however, she learns they are members of the Yashida Yakuza clan sent to kill Logan. Further investigation on her part reveals that the yakuza are aligned with right wing elements in the Japanese government. The rise of Madagascar has eclipsed Japan’s own nascent economic miracle and the right wing and organized crime have partnered in a movement to bring back the samurai, the emperor, and most of all Japan’s old militaristic glory. They are also radically anti-mutant.

Wolverine is in love with the daughter of the family, Mariko Yashida. She was married off to one of the clan’s allies to cement the alliance, but has been suffering abuse at her husband’s hands. Wolverine has been trying to find and rescue her. Rogue confronts Logan with this information and demands to know if this is why he decided to train her in Japan. He is evasive at first, but admits that Mariko was part of the reason they came. Unable to keep up his gruff façade, Logan asks for Rogue’s help and she agrees. They plunge into Japan’s underworld together even as Rogue’s training continues.

December 1970: Piotr displays some of his art at a gallery show. His focus is on Russian landscapes. Anti-mutant protesters demonstrate outside. Piotr meets them with kindness instead of anger, admitting that he as a lot to learn about painting and refusing to accept their hatred. Other X-Men attend the show.

Bobby admires Piotr’s talent. Beast (accompanied by Vera) comments on the technical aspects of the paintings, then shows unexpected insight into their soul and meaning, proving himself to be truly a Renaissance Beast. Kitty is admiring. Warren shows up accompanied by Candy and buys a picture for the X-Factor lobby.

Scott and Lorna show up an hour late, Lorna obviously high (it is difficult to tell with Scott). He comments on the protesters and tells Piotr that it is fortunate he’s such a powerful mutant or they would have done more than yell and wave signs. Seemingly dispirited by the results of the mid-term elections, he brutally tries to force Piotr to “face reality” about the harsh treatment of mutants even in the Soviet Union. Perhaps realizing he’s being an ass, Scott cuts off his own tirade and congratulates Piotr on the show.

December 1970: Warren’s personal scene:

Warren takes Candy flying in the southwestern deserts, showing her the world as only he can see it. They picnic at the top of an inaccessible mesa, and he proposes marriage to Candy.

January 1971: Kitty runs away from the school to join a counter-demonstration against the Friends of Humanity in Washington when their congresspeople are being sworn in. She holds a glitter-painted sign saying, “Mutants are the friends of humanity!” Her sign is overshadowed, however, by the demonstration organized by Scott Summers. It’s a tableau that paints the Friends of Humanity as Nazis herding helpless mutants into ovens.

Jewish herself, a shocked Kitty asks Scott how he can justify turning the Holocaust into a tool of political protest. Scott refuses to back down, telling Kitty that he believes this is exactly the fate that the Friends of Humanity have planned for mutants and that nothing is being exaggerated.

January 1971: Bobby’s personal scene:

On the National Mall, Bobby engages in his own protest by putting ice mustaches on Apocalypse’s frozen diamond form. Perhaps remembering Piotr’s art show, he continues to whimsically create ice statues, first of Nixon and Captain America, then ice reindeer in honor of the recent Christmas season. He ends up creating an entire skating rink out of ice, and local children come and play on his creations even as grim politics happens not so far away.

February 1971: Warren takes Candy out to Barbetta for Valentine’s Day. The roasted rabbit is moist, the tiny shrimp risotto is creamy, and the wine list is as extensive as it is expensive. On the street afterward, however, Warren is attacked by anti-mutant bigots. They are disgusted by seeing an open mutant with a human woman. Warren tries to fly away with Candy, but the bigots grab his ankles and pull him to the ground. They brutally beat both Warren and Candy, overwhelming the X-Man with numbers before his can bring his superior strength to bear.

February 1971: Kurt Wagner’s bachelor party. It’s in Madgascar, attended by Bobby, Piotr, Hank, Warren, Quicksilver, and Logan. Hank unwisely challenges Logan to a drinking contest and ends up so wasted that he wakes up the next morning in bed with a mutant stripper with animal-like features. Quicksilver drags the gang from strip bar to strip bar. Piotr is at first uncomfortable, but Kurt plies him with long island ice teas until he’s too drunk to recall he’s supposed to be a nice boy. Logan has a mock swashbuckling duel with Kurt using pool cues, and he merrily calls Kurt “elf” the first time after being defeated. The night culminates with Quicksilver unveiling an entire ship full of strippers, who fight an ice ship and ice pirates created by Bobby.

March 1971: Wedding of Kurt & Wanda in Madagascar. They have a traditional Catholic ceremony, with Erik in a white tuxedo and cape giving away the bride. Quicksilver is the best man and in the best man’s toast promises to be friends with Kurt… so long as he makes Wanda happy.

Rogue attends, but Wolverine is too much of an emotional cripple and finds himself fighting Sabertooth out on the beach, each marking time until the wedding is done. Rogue is toned and fit, obviously a new and more confident woman. She catches the bridal bouquet. Later Kurt presents her with a gift, a rapier perfect for a swordswoman her size.

Scott attends with Lorna. Warren helps him with his bow tie, and he confides how surprised he is that Kurt is the first of them to get married, though he acknowledges that Warren will be up next. They have all changed a lot. He quietly confesses his fears that the United States may become so anti-mutant they will all be forced to flee to Madagascar. A shaken Warren touches the lingering bruises from his beating.

Later he breaks in on a conversation between Xavier and Erik. He repudiates Magneto’s philosophy that humans are ‘ants’ but also turns on Professor Xavier, saying that they haven’t been doing enough to stem the tide of anti-mutant bigotry. After Erik leaves, he quietly inquires after Xavier’s mental health. Xavier tells Scott that he has people who give him the help he needs and he does not look to the X-Men for it since he knows they can’t see him that way.

When Polaris stands next to Magneto, the family resemblance becomes apparent. Some discussion between the two of them quickly establishes that it is highly likely that Erik is Lorna’s mysterious, long-missing father. Wanda is overjoyed to have a new sister.

Bobby breaks in on a dance between Scott and Lorna and is surprised by Scott showing some humor. “The stick is coming out one inch at a time,” Scott promises. Taking the opportunity to question Lorna, Bobby is surprised to find out she pays little attention to politics and barely seems to know who Magneto is, much less pay attention to Scott’s political activities.

Warren is surprised when Magneto gives him a large check in support of X-Factor. That they go too easy on humans goes without saying, but Erik believes that X-Factor will be an important force when the war between humans and mutants finally happens.

March 1971: Rogue training with Logan in Japan.:

Logan casually blocks attacks from Rogue’s rapier while challenging her to touch him skin to skin. She is able to do so, grazing him briefly in the middle of combat without taking his memories or powers. She can’t yet reliably repeat this, but the breakthrough demonstrates that it is possible. Logan declares her ready to return home.

April 1971: Charles Manson sentenced to death.

April 1971: The Malagasy government brutally suppresses a rebellion by the National Movement for the Independence of Madagascar. Erik Lensherr makes an announcement that he cannot be part of a government that would commit such an atrocity, and that he will protect the protesters from further violence. Kurt joins him in defending the protesters. The mutant immigrants follow his lead. Emboldened by this power shift, the rebels seize the government, and insist that Erik became acting president while they form a new government.

April 1971: Scott and Alex spend some quality time together. They go mountain climbing in the Rockies and fill each other in on the missing parts of their lives. Scott discovers that Alex has been isolated by his SHIELD work, kept away from the day-to-day of mutant prejudice as he leads a squad to take down mutant criminals. Havok is SHIELD’s most powerful mutant agent outside the Avengers.

Last scene: As dawn breaks on the one year anniversary of Apocalypse’s defeat, the light finds two mutant children hanging from Apocalypse’s arms, blue paint smeared across their lips.

Issue #22
Revelation, Part 6

In Madagascar, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm, the Proletarian, and Magneto lead an army of mutants against 200 Sentinels. They meet at the beach, trying to push back the Sentinels at the border. Apocalypse uses a S.H.I.E.L.D. satellite laser to terribly injure Magneto, and Wolverine is thrown into the ocean where the metal in his bones causes him to sink out of sight. The mutants fight together to defeat one Sentinel. Magneto gets back up and pulls the satellite out of orbit to take out another Sentinel with it, the mutants fight together to take out another Sentinel, Magneto helps mop up the remainder. There are some casualties among the defending mutants, but the sentinel invasion is stopped. By leading an army against an unprovoked invasion, Magneto has cemented his reputation as the hero of Madagascar and the savior of its mutants.

Elsewhere the Soviets launch an invasion of the United States through Alaska, halted only by the actions of Steve Rogers. There is intense confusion in the United States’ political and military structure as some obey the President’s order to submit to Apocalypse, others rebel, and the remaining Hydra agents foment chaos.

Emma reveals that Professor X was taken out by the amalgamated personality of his shadow, Cassandra Nova, formed when Scott, Jean, and Hank left. Nova has chosen this moment to strike when Xavier is needed the most. Scott proposes a dangerous plan. Rogue will absorb Xavier’s telepathy and use it to attack Apocalypse’s self-image when he shapeshifts to use different powers in response to the X-Men’s attacks. But in order to get past Apocalypse’s defenses, the mental damage will be equally inflicted on Rogue’s own mind as she suffers with him. Bobby protests sacrificing Rogue in this way, but she volunteers to carry out the plan.

Rogue absorbs Xavier’s telepathy and at Scott’s insistence also Polaris’s magnetism to give her a power to protect herself in a physical fight. Something that conveniently excuses Polaris from combat… Curious, Rogue peeks into the minds of those around her. She sees Xavier’s struggles with Cassandra Nova, Iceman’s concerns about her well-being and doubts about the plan, and Beast’s spirit of scientific curiosity. When she looks into Scott’s mind, a bird made of flame lunges at her and shocks her out of the psychic realm.

In Washington, D.C., Apocalypse carves out the Lincoln Memorial to make a throne for himself as he awaits the X-Men in the National Mall. Cyclops, Rogue, Beast, and Iceman confront him, with Iceman’s irreverence giving the others courage in the face of such power. The city has been evacuated… or rather, Apocalypse has allowed the ants to flee.

Before battle can begin Namor the Submariner, called by some the First Mutant (however inaccurate that is now known to be), makes a dramatic appearance and steals the initiative with a great punch to Apocalypse. Rogue establishes a link with Apocalypse to make him lose his sense of self, enduring constant assaults and taunts from his powerful personality as she throws the collective worst of the world against him. Beast uses a prototype power-canceling net to inhibit Apocalypse’s abilities and slow his shapeshifting.

As per Cyclops’s plan, Iceman and Cyclops combine attacks of ice and fire to catch Apocalypse in an explosion that Rogue uses to weaken him. Apocalypse first tries to energy blast everyone, but realizes that the X-Men are used to such tactics. So instead he grows to giant size, in the process shrugging off Namor’s attempts to pin him. Ripping the Washington Monument out of the ground, Apocalypse uses it as a giant club to sweep the entire mall. Rogue mostly manages to evade with the magnetic powers she took from Polaris, but is clipped hard enough to knock her out. Iceman is crushed, and even Namor is hurt. Beast manages to avoid the blow by riding the monument as it swings, and Scott draws deeply on the Phoenix power to transmute the very rock of the monument to water and push it out of his way a split second before it impacts him.

Beast rushes to Rogue’s side and injects her with a massive shot of adrenaline, determined to bring her back on her feet long enough to complete the plan no matter what. Apocalypse seems unstoppable, shrugging off all damage and winding up for another swing to kill them all.

Inside his mind the strain is beginning to tell, however, as Rogue continues to search for the core of Apocalypse’s self-image. She finds it in the center of the horrors she has conjured, a lost and neglected child in the desert who has only one thought- I will survive. As Beast rams a car into Apocalypse, he transforms himself into diamond to take the impact. Rogue seizes the opportunity to shelter the child from the dust storm and promises not to abandon him, taking away Apocalypse’s core imperative that he must survive alone. Unable to transform any longer, he is left as a giant diamond statue dormant in the National Mall.

As Madagascar is repaired, Kurt becomes engaged to Wanda and decides that he can no longer overlook what he considers to be the violent and evil members of the Brotherhood. He confronts Erik, promising that if the Brotherhood’s leader does not purge psychopaths like Sabertooth and Azazel, Kurt will call upon the X-Men to force the issue. X-Men like the violent murderer Wolverine, asks Magneto?

Believing he is coming ever-closer to understanding the source of mutant powers, Beast begins constructing his own version of Cerebro. He is still uncertain how to overcome the need for a powerful telepath to operate it but confident that he will find a way.

Receiving the thanks of the world from her hospital bed, Rogue asks Professor X to lock away the fragments of her mind and give her relief from the voices she has accumulated. Professor X tells her the tragedy that will unfold, how she will inevitably grow curious and seeks out for herself what has been sealed away restoring all the old problems and blaming Xavier for it. She asks for it anyway. After she leaves the hospital, Logan takes her away for a long training trip to teach her how to protect herself without powers and perhaps develop the mental discipline to control the personalities she absorbs.

Scott talks to Professor X, having come to understand why he did what he did, and how Scott came to the same place in his own life. Scott manipulated everyone in order to take down Apocalypse and used Rogue as a tool and he does not regret any of it. Xavier tells Scott that he is proud Scott has learned to see the big picture and that it should never be easy. If they ever stop hating themselves for it, then they will truly be lost. Bobby’s opinion on the matter is best communicated by the giant block of ice encasing Scott’s car.

Elsewhere, the various organizations that Apocalypse manipulated find themselves being brought under the control of a new group emerging from the shadows. It is a group that controls great wealth and power, from the wealth and clout of America’s richest social elite, to the technological secrets of the world’s most advanced nations, to the secrets hidden in the head of the powerful, to the armies of Atlantis and strength of a mutant who went toe-to-toe with Apocalypse. A group calling themselves by a name from old conspiracies… the Illuminati.

The last scene is Rogue walking in the desert in her dreams, hand-in-hand with a toddler En Sabah Nur.

Issue #21
Revelation, Part 5

In the X-Mansion, repairs are beginning to take place after Deadpool’s assault and the freeing of the Juggernaut. Many of the students have been sent home temporarily, and the mansion seems empty.

Bobby Drake talks with Professor Xavier about the danger to students now that the X-Men’s enemies are taking the fight home. Xavier suggests that perhaps the formal combat team should be more separated from the school aspect of the X-Men. Perhaps X-Factor could take on more of the combat responsibilities. Bobby then switches topics to the source of mutant powers and how powers seem related to the self-image of the mutants involved. Worried about Rogue’s sanity, he pushes for the Professor to use this theory to help Rogue. Perhaps by helping her alter her self-image they can alter her powers to a state that is not slowly destroying her mind. He is frustrated with Professor Xavier’s response- that while they may understand the basic concept, the details of how self-image and mutant powers interact is still poorly understood and they cannot use unproven techniques on Rogue no matter how great her need. Behind Xavier’s usual imperturbable manner, the frustration at fraying ties with his sole remaining original student is beginning to build….

Nightcrawler pushes himself in the Danger Room, nearly flying as he spins from one item of gym equipment to the next and executing dizzying acrobatic maneuvers. He’s trying to share off the effects of Strucker’s death spores and clear his own head.

Elsewhere, Rogue confronts Wolverine during their morning training. She tells him she hates him for denying her the chance to destroy all of earth’s nuclear weapons by forcing her to kill him if she wanted to take his healing powers. She talks passionately about what it is like to grow up under the constant looming threat of nuclear war. Wolverine then reveals that he was trying to protect Rogue. He did not believe that mere temporary copied powers would be enough to save her life if she strained herself by pulling at every nuclear missile on Earth simultaneously with Cerebro. In his opinion, Magneto was willing to sacrifice her to see the event through and only by stealing Wolverine’s powers permanently would she be guaranteed to survive.

Scott Summers is meeting with the other members of X-Factor; Beast, Angel, and Ororo Munroe (who joined during his leave of absence). He thanks Hank and Warren for their patience in allowing his long leave of absence following Jean’s death and states that he is ready to rejoin the team. He then reveals that some of Jean’s Phoenix Force seems to have passed to him, radically changing the nature of his abilities and rendering them more unstable. Beast is overjoyed to see his old friend return, but Angel is more skeptical and asks that Scott be thoroughly examined, including a psychological examination. Before they can debate further, a massive explosion sends up a cloud of smoke in the center of New York.

Investigating, X-Factor tracks the explosion to the New York HQ of SHIELD where the Avengers base themselves. On the scene they find Loki, the Juggernaut, and the Absorbing Man standing over the defeated Avengers. The villains leave, tracked by Angel and Storm from the air. Beast provides medical attention to the downed Avengers and SHIELD agents, while Scott calls the X-Men to inform them what has happened. Scott explains things to Bobby, then realizes that his brother Alex Summers was also in the headquarters and runs off to find him leaving the phone dangling from its hook. Bobby runs to alert the Professor, only to find him slumped over in his office unconscious.

Then there is a knock at the mansion door. Samuel Guthrie and Autumn Rolfson show up at the Xavier Institute to kill the X-Men, with Guthrie politely requesting the X-Men come to fight outside in order to avoid further harm to the innocent students. Iceman, Nightcrawler, and Rogue emerge to meet the challenge. Magneto is left to take Xavier to safety, and Wolverine is absent. Confident that two mutants are no threat to them, Rogue challenges Guthrie about why he is willing to work for a monster like Apocalypse. He bitterly responds that after the X-Men left him to rot in the Raft, he concluded that everyone is equally terrible. Iceman is outraged that Autumn is blatantly ignoring the boundaries of Guthrie’s designated “fight area” when she attacks him.

Back in New York City, Loki turns and waves at Angel and Storm before teleporting his team away… to the Xavier Institute. Loki then announces that he’s done and departs, leaving the X-Men facing off against the combined might of Juggernaut and the Absorbing Man. Oh, and Guthrie is still there too. (Autumn had already been knocked out by an annoyed Iceman.) Despite the gravity of the threat Rogue is still reluctant to absorb more powers, knowing that each time she does she is slowly driving herself insane.

In New York, Scott is using telekinetic eye beams to lift rubble off Havok. Ozymandius appears, accompanied by a man in a wheelchair. They tell Scott he is needed and teleport him to the fight at the Xavier Institute. Scott assesses the situation and transform the ground to mud to bog down the Juggernaut, already trying to understand the situation to formulate plans to defeat the enemies. Then Apocalypse himself appears on the scene, and the X-Men understand that there will be no more intricate schemes, no more shadow games. He has decided to kill them all. A single blast of energy nearly does the job, but the X-Men pull through. Iceman puts up ice walls to hide behind. Magneto finally appears on the scene, but the the X-Men still have little hope against three of the mightiest beings in existence. And Guthrie was there too.

Giving up all hope of a tactical solution, Cyclops gives himself over to the Phoenix Force and unleashes a wide beam of burning red fire against all the enemies on the ground. He transforms the flying metal that Magneto brought into the battle into a shell of exotic unobtainium metal surrounding Absorbing Man, Magneto, and Apocalypse sufficient to hold them for a few moments. He calls a general retreat, and Magneto scoops everyone up on a flying disk of metal and carried them away while Scott holds the metal cocoons in place. Just as Apocalypse bursts free and is about to strike down Cyclops, Nightcrawler appears to teleport him away.

They regroup at the Massachusetts Academy and find it locked down. Professor Xavier remains stubbornly unconscious. Emma Frost emerges after some prodding and explains the the Hellfire Club is in the middle of a civil war, as those not controlled by Apocalypse fight those who serve him. Ozymandius teleports in with the man in the wheelchair, who he introduces as Frederick Slade the leader of Clan Akaba. Slade is possessor of two rare mutations- teleportation and empathy. It is the latter that is driving him to lead the Clan in rebellion against Apocalypse at this crucial juncture. Ozymandius believes that in the X-Men, he has finally found a force capable of fighting Apocalypse.

Other missing mutants such as Polaris and X-Factor arrive at the Academy as a rallying point as they are discussing what to do next. Then a radio broadcast interrupts. President Nixon is announcing the surrender of the nation to Apocalypse, who has escalated by arriving in Washington DC and conquering the United States. Apocalypse has ordered 200 Sentinels to attack Madagascar. Magneto, Storm, and many other mutants announce they will go to defend Madagascar. Angel leads a few to try and assist the rebel factions in the US government. Finally, Scott will lead a last desperate team to confront Apocalypse in DC.

Ozymandias and Frederick Slade tell the X-Men that Apocalypse is a psychopath, and that his weakness is that he fundamentally doesn’t understand people working together. This may be their only hope for victory…

Issue #20
Revelation, Part 4

In Paris, a team of mutants attempts to protect the emergency peace talks designed to deescalate the tensions driving the US and USSR to nuclear war. Their aid is turned aside by the human soldiers guarding the talks, but they set up to monitor the area anyway. Magneto tells them that they should not think like humans. Apocalypse will surely use the mightiest weapon available to him- a mutant. He is soon provide to be correct when Chinese mutant the Radioactive Man arrives to detonate himself in the city, convinced that the US and USSR going to war will advantage China. Quicksilver attempts to carry Radioactive Man outside of Paris but is hindered by the strong resistance of the Chinese mutant. As Radioactive Man prepares to detonate, the Proletarian grapples him. This enables Magneto to lift the both of them into the stratosphere where the detonation will be harmless (or at least not city destroying). The Proletarian proves to be more durable than anyone could have imagined and survives atmospheric entry without damage. With no one wishing to give Magneto credit, he will be known as the hero who saved Paris… and therefore the world.

In the United States, the X-Men respond to Sabertooth’s tip-off that Apocalypse is going to attack the mansion with Weapon X members. The attack announces itself when Deadpool uses a rocket launcher on the mansion. Iceman and Rogue attempt to evacuate the students inside while Wolverine and Nightcrawler fence with Deadpool outside. Wolverine taunts Deadpool, drawing the mutate madman into a discussion about employment conditions until he is in a position to stab his claws through Deadpool’s stomach. “You got me!” admits Deadpool, though he doesn’t sound very defeated. That’s when the mansion explodes from the inside.

The fight had merely been a ruse to draw the X-Men’s attention while the Weapon X teleport Kestrel got the telepath Aldo Ferro to Cerebro, which boosts his telepathy enough to free Marcus Xavier. The Juggernaut breaks out of the mansion, and the X-Men are forced to fight him. Rogue is able to absorb some of his invulnerability, but not enough to stop the Juggernaut. Furious at the danger to the students he is trying to protect, Iceman coldly attempts to kill Juggernaut by freezing his blood solid, but the unnatural vitality of the Juggernaut’s mutant power mostly throws it off.

Scott Summers shows up in the middle of the fight, having also been tipped off by Sabertooth. His eyebeams help force the Juggernaut into the lake by the mansion, temporarily slowing him down. Wolverine uses the opportunity to bluff the Juggernaut. He taunts Juggernaut that Rogue has drained his power and Scott’s eyebeams will nullify his force shield, allowing Wolverine’s adamantium claws to cut Marcus. Rattled by long captivity, the Juggernaut decides to flee rather than call Logan’s bluff. The X-Men allow him to go, knowing that a fight might not end in their favor.

Logan proposes to Rogue that he could teach her combat skills and mental discipline that might allow her to better control her powers. Rogue agrees, eager not to depend on powers that kill her just to be able to defend herself.

The X-Men join S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s assault on Hydra’s secret Antarctic base. To help distract from he attack, Scott Summers, Storm, and some other mutants with very public and flashy powers hit some of Apocalypse’s other forces so that his attention will be distracted and he will not move to reinforce Hydra until it is too late. Before leaving, though, he makes a request of Nightcrawler. He is sure that Apocalypse will use the remote location of the Hydra base to conceal some ace in the hole, and Kurt must find it during the attack and ensure it is retrieved or destroyed.

On the way there, Magneto makes an intriguing proposal to Rogue. Cerebro magnifies his powers as well as those of Xavier. Using it, someone with Magneto’s abilities could destroy every nuclear weapon on earth before the human governments could react and end the threat of nuclear war forever. However, Magneto himself could not do so as the strain would kill him before he could complete the job. If Rogue were to absorb Magneto’s powers and Logan’s healing ability, she could survive to carry the action through.

The attack on the Antarctic base goes well, with Wolverine releasing a giant cloud of steam to help shield the team from Hydra bullets while Iceman knocks many of them out with snowballs. Nightcrawler teleports ahead to fight their leader, Baron Strucker. Strucker’s body is host to a unique bacteriological poison called Death Spores that will wipe out all life on earth if he is killed. His teleportation abilities exhausted by bamphing continually to find Strucker and poisoned by Strucker’s spores, Kurt loses a battle of swordsmanship with the old Nazi. Before Strucker can kill him, however, Magneto arrives with the other X-Men. Magneto covers Strucker in metal and throws Baron von Strucker into the earth’s mantle where his Death Spores can harm no one.

Sickened and weak, Kurt explores the rest of the base and finds the ace that Scott had predicted was there. It is Steve Rogers, the Captain America who served during much of World War II. He had been held captive in suspended animation at Apocalypse’s command, yet another destabilizing factor for Apocalypse to release when it would cause the maximum conflict.

Back at the X-Mansion, Rogue approaches Logan about Magneto’s plan. He is dismissive, telling her that if she thinks she’s qualified to decide something so big for the entire world then she doesn’t need his permission and he refuses to give it to her. She takes Magneto’s abilities with his permission and then returns to steal Logan’s powers by force. However he rips his own body apart to hold her close, ensuring that if she wants to take his healing ability she will have to take it permanently and kill him. Broken and unwilling to kill her mentor, Rogue thrusts Logan away and releases his powers (not something she is ordinarily cable of doing). A shaken Logan reminds her to show up for training the next morning. Rogue cries in her room, rebuffing attempts by Magneto to talk to her. Logan watches the sun set in his cabin and thinks about world peace.

In Paris, the Proletarian approaches the Soviet Premier, troubled by some of the things he has seen and heard during the crisis. Worried that the Proletarian might become too popular after his latest display of heroism, the Premier proposes that the Proletarian go on exchange with Xavier’s school and take the chance to demonstrate the power of Soviet Communism to America… also neatly taking him out of the Soviet Union for a while.

Issue #19
Revelation, Part 3

The Proletarian, Rogue, and Nightcrawler track down Wolverine, who’s being tortured by Omega Red in Siberia for a crime he no longer remembers. They are assisted by Thunderbird, temporarily on loan from the Hellions to aid in efforts to track down Apocalypse. Afraid to use her powers after the revelation that they are killing her, Rogue unsuccessfully attempts to bluff Omega Red. Thunderbird crashes down through the roof and executes an ambush that nearly disables Red, before the Proletarian finishes the job with a Colossal punch.

While they are recovering, they achieve a signal from SHIELD that Apocalypse has been tracked to a village near the Chinese-Russian border. With no time to secure Omega Red and reluctant to try to restrain him while facing a fight, the Proletarian throws Omega Red into a glacier that it will take him some time to escape from.

What they discover upon arrival is a Chinese village devastated by a missile attack and the Black Widow leading a S.H.I.E.L.D. team in a fight with the People’s Defense Force. There is a pitched battle in while the Chinese team proves itself tough. Radioactive Man contaminates the Proletarian with enough radiation that he has to flee the village so that he does not accidentally poison the villagers or his own allies. Wolverine, Rogue and the Black Widow are knocked out of the fight in a devastating area attack from the Lady of the Ten Suns.

However, Thunderbird disappears into the blasted village and executes a cunning ambush on Radioactive Man, using his mutant strength to knock the other mutant out. Then he jumps off a roof to slam the Lady of Ten Suns and cause the suns to set. Nightcrawler teleports to catch the Lady before she slams against the ground and makes an appeal to the Collective Man to stop the useless battle. The Collective Man agrees to let everyone else go if he can arrest the Black Widow as the responsible party for the attack. Nightcrawler agrees, intimidating the SHIELD agents into standing down. However before she is carted away, Black Widow whispers a message to the Proletarian. “It is confirmed.” She also rebukes the Proletarian’s naiveté. A village of Chinese peasants… or for that matter Russian peasants… would be a small price to pay if they could catch Apocalypse in a missile strike.

In the aftermath Wolverine offers Thunderbird his respect. He comments that if the Apache mutant wants a true resolution between them, they should make time to go into the desert after all this is over and have a contest to count coup on each other. Satisfied with having twice rescued Wolverine (as he sees it), Thunderbird agrees to this proposal to put an end to their rivalry.

The X-Men take the Proletarian to Moscow, where he delivers the message. The Russian general he delivers it to threatens to arrest the X-Men, stating the the Black Widow’s message confirms the United States is planning to launch a first strike nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. The X-Men protest that they are not agents of the US government and promise to intervene to stop any attack. At the Proletarian’s urging (and implied threat) the Russians release the X-Men. Some rapid investigation reveals that both the US and the USSR are being fed information through SHIELD suggesting the other side is planning an attack. Nixon and the Russian leader are planning to meet in Paris for a last attempt to lower tensions and negotiate out of the situation.

Then they receive notice that the Absorbing Man is breaking mutants out of the Raft. The X-Men realize that Apocalypse set Omega Red and Absorbing Man on their missions to distract them while he antagonizes a nuclear conflict between the United States and the USSR; and they reluctantly decide to ignore the Raft breakout while the concentrate on the greater threat. They agree to ally with the Brotherhood in send a team to Paris while Mystique leads an infiltration mission into the Triskelion. There they discover that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated by Hydra; led by an analyst who is secretly. Madame Hydra. Overcoming her reluctance to use her powers, Rogue steals Madame Hydra’s memories. Rogue realizes that Apocalypse has been tutoring Baron von Strucker, leader of this secret organization that has been in hiding for the 25 years since the end of WW II. The Nazi mistake was to try to take freedom from people. Instead, show them why freedom is terrible; make them so afraid they’ll be desperate to hand over their freedom. Apocalypse uses Hydra to provoke nuclear conflict through S.H.I.E.L.D. Hydra expects to unite the remnants of humanity in the aftermath under their new world order. Apocalypse thinks if they can survive, they deserve it.

The plan was not yet ripe, but Apocalypse ordered it set in motion anyway due to the X-Men exposing him to the world. He thinks a nuclear war will erase him from history. Nightcrawler delivers Made Hydra to Nick Fury’s desk, telling him he should clean up his house.

As the X-Men prepare to depart, Wolverine receives a call from Sabertooth on the Blackbird’s phone. Apocalypse is sending Weapon X to attack the Xavier Institute….

Issue #18
Revelation, Part 2

Nightcrawler’s incredible solo effort has defeated the Marauders, and the X-Men hold all of them (save Sabertooth, who was swept away into the sewers) as prisoners. They decide to split up to conduct an interrogation. Rogue engages in a battle of wills with (that guy who disintegrates what he touches) threatening to use her power on him again. Iceman has a verbal struggle with Harpoon, as Harpoon claims that non-natives deserve nothing but exploitation and death in return for their ancestors’ conquest of America. Iceman attempts to point out the hypocrisy of this position. Nightcrawler alternates kindness and lurking menace on (that guy he was trying it on). But it is Wolverine who strikes a deal with Scalphunter, promising to introduce him to Wilson Fisk as a potential employee if he turns on Sinister. Recognizing the weakness of his negotiating position and having no particular loyalty to Sinister, Scalphunter agrees. He reveals the location of Sinister’s secret laboratory and offers his keycard. At Wolverine’s insistence, he has the earthquake-generating member of his team collapse the secret base Sinister has been constructing.

Unhappy with the deal but not trusting the district attorney’s office that the crime lord might well own, Nightcrawler dumps everything he has on Fisk on the desk of Matt Murdock. Due to the Worthington defense team’s investigation a year ago, Murdock is one of the few people in New York with no obvious connection to the X-Men that he is sure isn’t in Fisk’s pocket.

Based on the information they got from Scalphunter, the X-Men track Mister Sinister to his secret base beneath the State Home for Foundlings in Omaha. Bobby, the only one of the original X-Men present, is disturbed to realize this is the same orphanage where his friend Scott Summers grew up. That surely can’t be a coincidence.

They decide to call in assistance from the Brotherhood, and to Nightcrawler’s great distaste the one sent is Azazel due to his ability to arrive quickly and teleporting prowess. Using Scalphunter’s key card they take a secret elevator to levels beneath the orphanage. Azazel pushes Nightcrawler to test the limits of his teleportation ability, moving down the elevator shaft to locations he cannot see. Inside the lab at the bottom of the shaft, they confront Dr. Essex (Mr. Sinister as he is known to some) for the first time. His blueish, metallic skin speaks of his connection to Apocalypse.

Essex explains that he and Apocalypse wish for the same end but are pursuing it by different means, making them both allies and enemies. They are pursuing the Omega Point, a time of change when the entire world will be remade. Essex is following up on a breeding project that has been in existence since ancient times and whose modern product is Scott Summers and his brother is Alex Summers. Essex believes that by crossing their line with that of Jean Grey, the host of the Phoenix, he can produce the being who will bring about his promised salvation. Jean’s death seems to phase him not at all. He offhandedly offers to tell them where Apocalypse is so long as they do not bring Scott along. He believes that Apocalypse will destroy them all.

Frustrated and tired of dealing gently with monsters, the X-Men attack. Rogue steals some of Sinister’s power, and Wolverine literally cuts him in half. It seems to have little long term effect though, as Sinister transform into a liquid form and flees down the lab’s drain. His flight has eft them in possession of many of Essex’s scientific records and secrets, and they take them back to Hank McCoy for analysis. Hank is disturbed at their origin, but excited and tempted to learn so much about the secrets of life and the origins of mutant powers.

The X-Men ponder what to do next, asking Xavier for his opinion. He advises caution but is reticent about his own plans for dealing with Apocalypse. Then Ozymadius arrives with an invitation to have an audience with Apocalypse in Wakanda. He has heard they were seeking them as is willing to meet. Logan, Rogue, Iceman, and Nightcrawler travel to hear what the ancient evil has to say.

Apocalypse tells them that he has lived since ancient Egypt and has survived all who attempted to kill him since that time. His philosophy is of promoting conflict as a means of increasing the strength of the survivors. If you are strong enough to survive, you deserve to win. When asked why he cares, why it matters for him to try to make the world stronger, he explains he is the herald for the entity the X-Men know as the Phoenix. When life itself grows to a certain strength, the Omega Point will appear and the Phoenix will transform the Earth into a glorious new state that those on this side of the Omega Point cannot even imagine. The meaning of “Apocalypse” he tells the X-Men, is not doom or the end of the world. The name he has chosen means “Revelation”. He is the revealer of the way.

This all sounds like a big bucket of crazy to the X-Men. Apocalypse allows them to leave, but he warns them that if they do not serve him he will kill them. They know that they will need the most powerful mutants in the world if they hope to stop him. That means Magneto.

To free Magneto, but also to strike a blow against Apocalypse by doing the opposite of what he wants, the X-Men launch a campaign to warn the world about Apocalypse. They go on television and give newspaper interviews warning about the ancient mutant, detailing his methods, and attempting to unite the world against him. They ask that Magneto be freed to fight, and public opinion forces Nixon to agree. He releases Magneto to the X-Men’s custody, promising a pardon if Magneto can help defeat Apocalypse.

In the aftermath, Rogue asks Professor Xavier about the increasing jumble of memories she is accumulating. He explains that it is like mercury poisoning, where the more she uses her powers the more the toxic memories accumulate within her, slowly destroying her. When she asks for a solution, Xavier can only look helpless and advise her to use her powers as little as possible. Rogue’s powers are killing her, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

As Bobby walks the streets are one night, Scott appears and confronts him. He has heard something of what happened in Sinister’s lab, the talk about the Summers bloodline and how the laboratory was underneath the orphanage where he grew up. When Bobby tells him the full story of what Sinister said and what Apocalypse said about the Phoenix, Scott is driven into a frenzy, He is tormented at the thought that his entire life, even his relationship with Jean, might be a manipulation. That the Phoenix Force might have survived somewhere. He reveals to Bobby that some of Jean’s Phoenix power still resides in him and has changed his powers, then disappears into the night. Bobby’s entreaties to stay and talk things out fall upon an empty street.

Issue #17
Revelation, Part 1

The X-Men arrive in London, seeking to follow up on the Alliance’s information that their contact there was with someone called Chamber from Clan Akaba. Clan Akaba is one of the ancient conspiracies that Apocalypse has nurtured and controls. However they have little information to follow up on them and stand in Trafalgar square, uncertain what to do next. They resolve to split up and investigate. Wolverine infiltrates the local Hellfire Club branch with some help from Warren Worthington. Bobby Drake looks for records of unusual mutants in the local newspapers. Nightcrawler investigates the local sewers and some mutants believed to live underneath London. Quicksilver begins searching the city at random. And Rogue investigates the local mutant youth scene.

Logan and Bobby learn that Chamber is a mutant whose power burned out his thoracic cavity, leaving him literally hollowed out and kept alive only by his mutant flame power. He is also an aristocrat with an estate outside London. Nightcrawler finds that the sewer mutants have been massacred. A survivor tells him that Chamber and Clan Akaba are responsible. They all meet back up in Trafalgar Square, and Rogue does not join them.

Rogue has met the clan as a young mutant in one of the local mutie bars, and taken them up on the offer to be tested to see if she is a descendent of Apocalypse. They take her back to Chamber’s estate and ask her to disrobe for the test. However when one approaches her with a knife, she rebels and struggles to escape. Anyone not a descendent of Apocalypse will never be allowed to leave alive.

The remaining X-Men arrive at the Starsmore estate just in time to help her and fight off the Clan members. Chamber is there but seems uninterested in fighting. He cares little for anything anymore. The X-Men are preparing to ‘discuss’ things with him when a figure appears out of swirling sand. It is Ozymandius, Apocalypse’s chief servant and herald. He informs the X-Men that he will be happy to arrange an audience if they wish it and disappears again. Chamber warns them that they should not confront Apocalypse on his own terms. They decide to allow him to make up for his crimes and role in the slaughter of the London sewer mutants by helping them against Apocalypse.

Seeking avenues to investigate Apocalypse further, the X-Men learn that the Marauders have appeared in New York City carving out a criminal territory for themselves and coming into conflict with New York’s Kingpin of Crime, Wilson Fisk. They appear to be building something down in the sewers and are acting in the name of Mr. Sinister.

At Fisk’s behest and using his information to know where to go, the X-Men descend into New York’s sewers and find the half-constructed headquarters of the Marauders. There they are confronted by the Marauders and fight them. They score an early victory, but then Sabertooth takes out Wolverine and Rogue and Iceman are dropped. Nightcrawler stands alone against the Marauders. Pushing his acrobatics and swordplay to the limit, Kurt gives the fight of his life. Even his teleportation ability becomes burned out from the strain, and he proceeds on pure grit and determination, felling the Marauders one by one until only Sabertooth remains. They tumble together into the sewers, Kurt taunting Sabertooth from the shadows until the enraged mutant stumbles and falls over a drop to be carried away by the swiftly rushing sewer waters. Though Sabertooth’s words right before he falls imply a disturbing fact… that he was in fact infiltrating the Marauders on behalf of the Brotherhood.

Issue #16
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Part 3

The Black King, Sebastian Shaw, visits Warren, asking him to sell Worthington’s interest in the Sentinel program. He points out that Warren may be CEO, but he still has to answer to the shareholders. The revelation of the Nazi experiments behind the technology might be enough to justify backing out, but not enough to justify losing money on the deal. A furious Warren accuses Shaw of killing his father, but Shaw disclaims responsibility, claiming that it was others within the Hellfire Club’s white court, the one that is supposed to deal with non-mutants, acting to punish the failure. Fuming, Warren agrees to sell out to Shaw. He justifies it that it will be better to use political pressure to shut down the program in the fullness of time, allowing Shaw Industries to be ones holding the bag at the program’s cancellation.

When Wakanda decided to open its borders to black nationalists from the United States, making a notable exception to its normal policy of isolationism, a rebel group called the Revolutionary People’s Front of Wakanda, led by N’Jadaka, used it and widespread contempt for African-Americans across Africa generally and Wakanda specifically to fuel his insurrection. Fearful that Ororo Munroe’s interest could bring her and other mutants to the country, N’Jadaka hired a group of mutant mercenaries called the Alliance to act as his personal bodyguards.

With Ororo’s help, Rogue, Warren, Logan, and Hank were brought to Wakanda by its king, T’Challa. Their own interest is to rescue Nightcrawler, who was captured by the Alliance when he attempted to investigate them for their connection the Apocalypse. As they arrive and begin the battle, Wolverine rescues Kurt and finds him help by a mutant restraint collar. The technology that Beast invented is already seeing widespread usage.

The X-Mens’s attack helped balance the scales against the Alliance, allowing the Wakandan military to attack the rebel camp. T’Challa engaged N’Jadaka personally, but the rebel leader defeated him, throwing him over Serpent Falls. Having defeated the Alliance, the X-Men attacked N’Jadaka. He speared Angel in the air handily. Ororo rose up in the sky, carrying T’Challa’s unconscious body. The remaining X-Men pressed N’Jadaka, forcing him to dive from the falls to save his life. Without their leader, the Wakandan military destroyed the rebels.

In the aftermath of the battle, Ororo agreed to join X-Factor. The X-Men spoke with Kurt Wagner, who’d been captured by the Alliance when he’d come following up on Mystique’s information. The Alliance was organized by a mutant called “Chamber” in London. “Chamber” is associated with Clan Akkaba, a group dedicated to the service of Apocalypse. Through the Hellfire Club on one side and Mister Sinister on the other, and the Alliance in Wakanda when all else failed, Apocalypse stoked the flames of conflict for its own sake. Apocalypse has lurked behind most of the threats they’ve faced, a shadowy presence constantly driving the world towards turmoil and strife. The X-Men and the Mutant Brotherhood agree to unite against the greater threat.


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