X-Men: Omega Point

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.



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