|X-Treme X-Men (2nd series) # 3|| || |
Issue Date: November 2012
Story Title: untitled
Staff: Greg Pak (Writer), Stephen Segovia and Paco Diaz (Pencils), Dennis Crisostomo and Paco Diaz (Inkers), Jessica Kholinne, Beny Maulana and Sotocolor (Colourist), VC’s Joe Sabino (Letters), Kalman Andrasofszky (Cover), Jeannie Schaefer (Editor), Jennifer M. Smith (Assistant Editor), Nick Lowe (Group Editor), Axel Alonso (Editor in Chief), Joe Qeusada (Chief Creative Officer), Dan Buckley (Publisher), Alan Fine (Executive Producer)
Kurt teleports the team out of harm and they fly to Utopia, an island protected by the universe’s native Xavier. Once they get there, they go to Xavier’s cerebra, where he uses it to spy on the gods. However, Emmaline and the bodiless Xavier detect and psychically blast him. He tells the X-Men to kill the psychics, as they will be able to find Utopia and the gods will destroy it. That night, Dazzler tries to convince Kurt not to participate in the upcoming battle, but to no avail. At the request of Hercules, Dazzler sings a song to help give the Utopian population courage. The next day, the team takes an army to fight the gods. They engage in battle and Howlett grabs the bodiless Xavier, ready to kill him, but he has figured out that the native Xavier has been manipulating the gods. With his ruse up, Xavier psychically orders Storm to kill the bodiless Xavier but Dazzler stabs and wounds him, causing him to lose his concentration. Magnus confronts Xavier and says that he did it all to make the mortals of the world worthy and strong enough to take on the gods. With that, Magnus kills him. With Xavier’s telepathic manipulation over, the gods regain their senses and start to repair some of the damage they have done. Later on, Storm offers the team the chance to become gods themselves. They all decline, except Emmaline who was tired of feeling brokenhearted. Emmaline becomes a god and the team leaves her as they travel to the next world.
As Kurt teleports the hover car away from the gods, Dazzler asks him what he is doing. He tells her they were about to get fried by a bunch of angry gods but Dazzler tells him they left Johnny behind. He says he thought she had him and then starts to apologize when he realizes she didn’t. Howlett tells him it wasn’t his fault and Dazzler apologizes to him. He says he screwed up just like before. Dazzler asks him what he is on about but he can’t explain. The native Xavier tells them not to worry, as the gods have no interest in Johnny. When Dazzler asks why, Magnus says that Xavier can read minds and Xavier adds that he also has eyes. In the distance, they look to see large explosions covering the landscape, complete with earth-shattering sounds.
The hover car is hit by some of the shockwaves from the explosions and the team is thrown off balance. Xavier tells her they are watching gods doing what they do best… breaking stuff when they are angry. Dazzler asks him if Johnny is in danger but Xavier tells her that he created false mental images in their heads and he lead them too an uninhabited region so there are no civilian casualties. Magnus adds “this time,” which prompts Howlett to ask how many they have killed. Magnus says that they have killed three thousand five hundred and six this year but, in his lifetime, they have killed millions. As they fly the hover car, they pass over ruins of old cities and huge graveyards with innumerable gravestones.
Xavier says that’s why they fight them. With that, he turns to Dazzler and asks why they have come here to kill him. Dazzler says he isn’t much of a mind reader if he still thinks that’s their plan. He says he has only skimmed the uppermost thoughts, digging the deeper secrets out can damage the subjects and he still wants them to be friends. Dazzler asks Howlett his opinion and he says that Xavier smells alright; no lies yet as far as he can tell.
As the hover car flies out to sea, Dazzler explains that their Xavier said he was evil, right before he threw in with the gods who tried to kill them. They are a bit in flux when it comes to the mission. Xavier is pleased and welcomes them to Utopia on behalf of free mortals everywhere. Ahead of them they see an island covered with houses and towers and shielded by a red force field.
Xavier flies the hover car down and they land in a street. The street is covered with market stalls and people walk about amongst them. Xavier tells the team that five thousand refugees live there. They are hidden by artificial psychic shielding he rebuilds every morning. They strive towards knowledge to find a way to replace the caprice of the gods with human science. As Xavier disembarks the craft, a local welcomes him back and Xavier greets him as Reed.
Xavier says that, from their surface thoughts, he can see they are from technologically advanced worlds and Kurt’s personal expertise is almost overwhelming. Kurt says he isn’t so great with steam but there’s no reason that he can’t fit things with a Sterns-Banner fusion reactor. Xavier says that with their help they could bring the freedom of Utopia to every mortal on the planet.
Howlett interrupts him by popping his claws and shouting that he has a god down there with them. He is suddenly punched in the face by Hercules, who simply says “damn straight.” As Howlett lies on the floor with Hercules towering over him, Xavier explains that Hercules is a demi-god but he has always stood by his mother’s mortal people. Hercules gives a wary Howlett his hand to help him up. Hercules asks his name and compliments his firm grip. Howlett tells him and still seems uneasy. Dazzler picks up on it and asks Howlett what that was all about. He tells her he knew a Hercules on his world. Dazzler smiles and says he knew a Hercules. Howlett says he has no idea what she is talking about, much to her disbelief. He tells her to shut up as they have a war to plan.
(The Utopia Amplification Room)
Hercules, Magnus and the team are watching as Xavier sits in a chair in a large round room. Above the chair is a golden machine with a device attached that Xavier has put on his head. Xavier tells them to stand by as he is going in. In his hands, Xavier makes a holographic construct of a building and tells them that it is the fortress of the gods. Howlett comments that it doesn’t seem to be well fortified but Hercules points out that it doesn’t have to be, as the gods are virtually indestructible.
The image turns to show a scene of Johnny in shackles and carrying a large urn. Dazzler attention is grabbed by this and she says that he has been kidnapped and that no matter what their plan is they have to rescue him first. The image then shows Emmaline holding Johnny’s chains. Xavier guesses that that’s the female psychic that betrayed them. Hercules laughs that if that’s kidnapping, then sign him up. Dazzler looks on distraught as Emmaline embraces Johnny.
Suddenly, Emmaline’s attention is caught and Storm and the bodiless Xavier enter the image. Xavier tells Emmaline he sees them too and with that the native Xavier doubles over screaming as Emmaline mentally attacks him.
Magnus cradles Xavier on the floor as he recovers. Xavier tells the team their mission is simple… kill the psychics. Dazzler tells him to hold on as X-Men don’t kill. Then she muses to herself at how many times she has to explain this. Xavier points out that they came there to kill him but Dazzler says that was the floating head’s plan. He turns to her and says if the gods have psychics then it’s only a matter of time before they find their place… he can already feel the other Xavier jabbing around in the corners of his consciousness. Xavier tells her that he’s dangerous and ruthless and much more powerful than he expected. Unless they deal with Xavier, he will kill him and then the gods will kill everyone in the city.
Later that evening, Dazzler and Kurt are standing on a balcony overlooking the city. She tells him that she doesn’t want him going with them the next day. He asks what she’s talking about and she tells him it’s getting serious and he’s twelve. He corrects her that he’s fourteen but she continues and says she doesn’t want him to have to do something that might… but he cuts her off before she can finish. He tells her to forget it as he’s going. When she tries to object, he tells her that, back on his world, he didn’t go and he won’t make that mistake again. With that, he takes his wallet out and shows her a picture of him and his parents. She asks if he wants to talk about it but he declines and says that he is going.
Hercules walks in and says that he heard Dazzler can sing. He says the people of Utopia are worried. They are brilliant, beautiful dreamers but Xavier has protected them for years and they haven’t fought in this kind of fight… they need courage. Dazzler starts to prepare herself and Kurt asks if she is just going to make up a song but she tells him she went to improv class. She stands on the balcony wall and starts to sing. All the Utopians look up at her, mesmerized as she sings and creates light around them.
The bodiless Xavier tells his queen, Storm, that the other Xavier’s army approaches and they must prepare. Lounging on a seat in her temple and eating from a bowl of fruit, she asks him why he serves her. He tells her that he’s an Xavier, so he knows what they are capable of. Every one of them has something cold and hard at his core. The question is whether he has harnessed that ruthlessness for good or…
Suddenly, Xavier finds himself distracted by something. He stares at Storm and says he is sensing something. He asks her to permit him something and he gets up close to her and enters her mind. He says that someone is inside her head. Thor, who was nearby, is alarmed at this and pushes Xavier away.
Just at that moment, Dazzler and her team teleports into the middle of them. The native Xavier screams for them to get the head. When Howlett grabs it, Xavier tells him to kill it. Dazzler tells him to wait, as he pops his claws and gets ready to stab the head. Xavier tells him that the native Xavier has been mind controlling the gods.
As Storm squares off against Dazzler, she turns around to them, surprised. Nearby Magnus also hears this and is angry. The native Xavier drops his ruse and uses his psychic powers to ask for the goddess to serve him one more time. Storm flies towards Howlett, Kurt and the Xavier head, readying a bolt of lightning. Dazzler yells for Kurt to teleport but he says Xavier is in his head. Dazzler uses a lance made of light and stabs the native Xavier through the shoulder. He kneels down on the floor and tells Dazzler he didn’t think she killed. Standing over him, she tells him that, when she kills him, he’ll know it. But for now she just wanted to stop him.
Storm has now stopped her attack and looks bewildered. She can’t quite believe she was about to kill a child. The bodiless Xavier tells her that it wasn’t her… it was Xavier. He drove all the gods to madness and made them monsters, but they’re free now.
Magnus goes to Xavier, who is leaning against a stone pillar and holding his shoulder. He asks him why he did it. Xavier tells him that he doesn’t remember but, back when the gods were perfect and beneficent, the humans were nothing but sheep. Magnus glares at him and says he remembers his father, mother and sister slaughtered with millions of others by a laughing god.
With blood coming from his mouth, Xavier says to look at what he has become now… a mortal capable of taking on the gods himself. Only when they fought them could they become the best they could. He says not to let them take over again; it’s better to struggle and die. With tears forming in his eyes, Magnus agrees and then kills Xavier as the team looks on.
Storm and Thor rise high in the air and use their power to make it rain as the rest of the gods and peasants rejoice. Dazzler sits on the steps of the temple with Kurt and says “talk about your dues ex machina.” Kurt smiles and says he wasn’t going to say anything.
Later on, the gods and the team stand in the temple, surrounded by the Utopian army. Storm addresses the team and says they freed the gods and brought justice to the world. So she will offer them a gift to match their deeds. With her arms stretched in the air, she asks them to join her pantheon. With a touch, she can make them gods, immortal and all-powerful and freed from the pain, doubt and agony of mortal life. Xavier thanks her for the offer but says they must decline. Dazzler asks Xavier if they should think about it but Howlett tells her the head’s right. In his experience, miraculous offers are always distressingly literal. Accept the All-mother’s offer and they’re bound to the world and stripped of all the foibles that make them who they are. Emmaline steps forward and says that sounds wonderful to her, and with that she accepts the goddess’s offer.
Storm raises Emmaline into the air and light swirls around her, forcing her to turn into a diamond form. She looks down pleased at her new diamond body. Dazzler asks “what the hell?” to which Emmaline replies that, from the moment they met, she thought she was cold and rude… and she was. However, like the rest of them, she was hiding a broken mortal heart, of which she is now completely free. Dazzler turns away, annoyed as Emmaline walks up to Johnny. Johnny calls out to her and says it was an honor playing for her. But she tells him to shut up and enjoy perfection. She tells Xavier to hit it, as they have other universes to save.
Hercules shakes Howlett’s hand and says another time. Howlett corrects him that it’s another world, more likely. Hercules tells him to be well, but more importantly… be free. Xavier tells them to get ready but Dazzler says to hang on. She runs up to Johnny and kisses him on the lips, much to the surprise of Emmaline. Dazzler walks away from the annoyed Emmaline towards the group, and they teleport away to the next world.
Dazzler, Howlett, Kid Nightcrawler, Xavier, Emmaline Frost-Summers (all X-Men)
Storm, Thor, Draka, Sawtooth, Namor, Waran (all gods)
Unnamed residents of Utopia
The Sterns-Banner fusion reactor is obviously a reference to Samuel Sterns aka The Leader and Bruce Banner aka The Hulk.
The Johnny of this world hinted that his name wasn’t really Johnny in X-treme X-Men (2nd series) #2.
A deus ex machina (God from the machine) is a term used to describe when a notable problem or plot point is suddenly or inexplicably solved in a contrived manner.
Issue Summary written by: Gremlin