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Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #544

Issue Date: December 2011

Story Title: Uncanny

Staff: Kieron Gillen (writer), Greg Land (pencils), Jay Leisten (inks), Justin Ponsor (color), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Greg Land (cover), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (assoc. editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description:
On Utopia, Iceman is the last X-Man to say goodbye as he leaves for Westchester, though Beast returns briefly to gloat and once again warn Cyclops on his course of action. With their group gone, Cyclops takes down all old pictures of the school and tells Emma he feels like he has graduated. Elsewhere, Mr. Sinister speculates about the X-Men’s schism and their past and future, while downloading his consciousness into a new body.

Full Synopsis:
Somewhere, Mister Sinister takes up a book titled The Uncanny X-Men and begins to read at the beginning: “In the main study of an exclusive private school in New York’s Westchester County…” That’s right. All seems to be in order except for the last entry. Very well, delete it and continue.

The reinvigoration of the Hellfire Club led to a new model Sentinel unit assaulting Utopia a pen begins to write as Sinister dictates. Logan, Scott and the youthful mutants had to face it alone.

Previously, with Mr. Summers’ permission, the fourteen year old Idie Okonkwo (aka “Oya”) had turned herself into a young and somewhat morose murderer. The pre-existing tension resulted into a full schism within the X-Men based on whether or not these youngsters should engage. Logan believed they should be children and run. Scott believed that in such dark times they could not afford such niceties.

This precipitated open brawling as the threat loomed. All seemed lost until the students took it upon themselves to intervene.

Of course, when the battles was over, cooler heads prevailed and Logan and Summers managed to reach an amicable compromise for the sake of mutantkind.

Really? Sinister wonders. Oh, you are a truly sorry excuse for an emerging species… He takes off his robe and enters a chamber. He orders the systems to go to the next iteration: downgrade true altruism prediction. Practice makes perfect, he sighs and gives the order to activate. In the chamber, his body is burned.

In the Danger Room on Utopia, Iceman is going through an exercise. He slides on an iceramp while dodging several obstacles. He passes the steam bath, transforms it into hail, mastering the exercise.

Cyclops enters, musing he remembers when Bobby would have been taken out by that. What, ten minutes ago? Bobby laughs. This is his fourth go through the program. Even if Scott has set it up to act like the old Danger Room, it’s a lot more dangerous now.

What isn’t? Scott wonders and informs him the Blackbird is all loaded up… time to go. What kept him here until last? Westchester won’t have its own Danger Room for a while, Bobby explains. A guy’s gotta stay frosty. Scott is allowed to hit him for a pun like that. It’s pretty much compulsory.

Why is he still making jokes? Scott asks. Because talking about what matters hurts too much, Iceman admits. He is the last to leave because it doesn’t feel right, leaving Scott behind. Scott, him, Jean, Warren and Hank, they were the Beatles. Don’t ever forget it! He’s not exactly Mr. pop culture but there were four Beatles, Scott corrects him. Not originally, he is told.

They pass Hope (along with Primal), who salutes Scott. It’s been a long road, Bobby muses. Does he remember the time they... Sure, Scott replies, but he hasn’t got time for nostalgia. Sinking into that is a luxury, and defeatist luxury at that. They are more that their pasts. They have a future! He’s going to make sure of it! Let’s get him off the island…

He’d say Scott is no fun anymore, but he was never much fun, Bobby remarks. But, however little fun he was then, he’s even less fun now.

Elsewhere, a red womb-like mass is evicted from a device and out of it comes a reborn Sinister, who exclaims ecstatically about being alive and in such a wondrous new body.

He turns back to his writing. Where was he? “Cooler heads prevailed? An equitable compromise?” Lunacy! he scoffs as he puts on his robe. He crosses the paragraph out. Clearly, Logan restarted the school in Westchester, almost certainly with a viciously passive-aggressive name. Logan’s showing claws he rarely wields. Meanwhile, Scott doubled down on his previous wager. He sips his wine. What then?

He takes a look at the current state of the Summers / Grey family tree. Of particular interest is the latest addition, Hope Summers and her link to Cable.

Sinister continues. Rachel, Remy, Katherine, the remaining Guthries and others he will list anon head east; oh, and that Toad creature. Ororo wanted to go, but Cyclops persuaded her stay.

Ms. Frost, the lovely Miss Betsy, Erik, King Namor, Piotr and many others stay. Ah, the fledgling chick lets the troubled Miss Okonkwo escape from under her wing, he believes.

Bobby would have been the first to accept Logan’s offer, and the last to say goodbye. And someone else would come back for that momentous farewell. He muses. Hank, he smirks. Good old reliable Hank…

At the Blackbird on Utopia, indeed the Beast is waiting, informing Cyclops he had to come back one last time, so he could leave all over again. In the cheerfully futile hope that the meaning may sink into Scott’s head. Cyclops retorts he weathers the insults because he knows Hank wouldn’t be here to make them if it wasn’t for the hard decisions Scott makes to save everyone. The funny thing about those hard decisions is Hank’s parting shot; they never seem to end up with Scott in the torture chamber, do they?

Hey, Scott!” Bobby calls. Scott turns around to get a snowball into his face. “You’re not that different!” Bobby laughs. And the Blackbird leaves.

As Summers says goodbye to his oldest friends, what would he do? Sinister wonders. Something suitably portentous, he figures. To draw a line under the entire endeavor. He is a man who understands the power of symbolism.

On Utopia, Scott begins to pack up all the old pictures depicting the X-Men at Xavier’s, starting with the snapshot of Professor X and the original five.

And that’s everything, Sinister muses, correct? Splendid, he decides. The experiment is over. “Congratulations, my X-Men, you survived the experience. Or at least a part of you did. You were the most wonderful experimental data set I’ve ever known. None of you are what you were when you started the exercise. And thankfully, neither am I!”

He glows with energy and emerges dressed in a Victorian overcoat. The X-Men are over. The future? Distinctly Sinister!.

On Utopia, Emma remarks the last of the splinters have worked their way clear of the wound. How’s the turmoil in the heart of Summers? He’s just cleaning up a few things, he replies. Emma assures him she understands the desire to keep a mask in place. But even if she makes some jokes later, she will never judge him for showing an emotion or two…

He is no machine, Scott replies. He feels anger, sadness, doubt. But mostly he feels closure. They have all gone back to school. He doesn’t want to do that. Why would he? He feels like he has finally graduated. With that, he packs up the last picture.

Characters:
Cyclops, Domino, Hope, Psylocke (X-Men on Utopia)
Primal (Hope’s rescue team)

Beast, Iceman (X-Men in Westchester)

Mr. Sinister

in memory:
Archangel, Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Havok, Marvel Girl, Nightcrawler, Phoenix III, Sprite, Storm, Wolverine (All X-Men)
Professor X
Lockheed
Corsair

Magneto, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Toad (all Brotherhood of Evil Mutants)
Juggernaut
Sabretooth
Mr Sinister
White Queen
Dark Phoenix
Apocalypse
Nimrod
Sauron
Brood
Juggernaut
Hellfire Club soldiers
Sentinels

in pictures:
Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Professor X
Storm

Notes:
This is the last issue of the first volume of “Uncanny X-Men.” However, the series restarts with a new number #1 one month later, focusing on the Utopia-based X-Men. The Westchester-based X-Men star in “Wolverine and the X-Men” and “X-Men: Legacy.”

This story takes place after the “X-Men: Schism” limited series and the “X-Men: Regenesis” oneshot.

The first page is the first page from X-Men (1st series) #1 drawn by Jack Kirby & Paul Reinman.

Mr. Sinister was last seen in X-23 (2nd series) #6. However, his mind was in the body of a young cloned girl named Alice. It is unknown how he became himself again.

Iceman is right about the number of Beatles. Originally, the Beatles were a five-piece line-up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe (bass) and Pete Best (drums).

According to Sinister’s family tree, he had some hands in the link between the Living Monolith and Havok (see Havok’s spotlight for more information on that).

Beast was tortured by Norman Osborn’s people during the Utopia crossover.

Sinister’s plans continue in Uncanny X-Men (2nd series) #1.

Issue Summary written by: Ruth


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