Issue Date: March 2013
Story Title: Untitled
Staff: Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Stuart Immonen (penciler), Wade von Grawbadger with Craig Yeung (inkers), Marte Gracia with Jason Keith (colorists), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (letterer), Immonen, von Grawbadger & Gracia (cover artists), Jordan D White (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
The past Jean Grey finds her telepathic powers active, and speaks with the present Beast inside his mind. They discuss their present situations, before the past Beast appears, explaining that the Beast’s genetic experiments on his own body is what is killing him. The past Beast continues to work on his future self’s body, while Jean Grey and the rest of the past X-Men, and several present X-Men - Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, Iceman and Storm - are on hand. In the present Beast‘s mind, he starts to work through equations with his past self. Despite being ordered out of the lab, along with everyone else, Kitty Pryde returns to talk to the past Beast, who has a big attitude. Inside the present Beast’s mind, Jean tells him that he shouldn’t have brought them to the future, before wanting to know everything that has happened to her. The Beast lets her further into his mind, and Jean practically lives her life, experiencing many significant events, but she panics, and “falls” out of the Beast’s mind, where Kitty then looks after her. Outside, many students gather around the past Cyclops, while Wolverine confronts him, suggesting that he kill the past Cyclops right now - until the present Beast, alive and well, but his form changed yet again, appears, and puts a stop to Wolverine’s spectacle. Storm and Kitty are relieved that their friend is alive, but before the Beast can send the past X-Men back to their own time, Jean announces that they are not going, as she is seen what becomes of their lives, and will not stand for it. The past X-Men put it to a vote, but only Angel wants to return to their true time. The present Beast is concerned that the past X-Men cannot just go around doing what they want in the future, so Kitty Pryde promises to look after them. The past Angel is worried as to why no one is talking about what has happened to him, and when the past Cyclops tries to talk to Jean, she tells him to leave her alone. Meanwhile, at the University of Texas, new mutant Benjamin has been kicked out of school, and as he leaves, he finds Cyclops waiting for him outside. Cyclops tries to talk to Benjamin, and is curious as to his mutation power. Cyclops offers Benjamin training, and he somewhat reluctantly agrees, before being teleported to the New Charles Xavier School for the Gifted.
Henry “Hank” McCoy a.k.a. the Beast lumbers down a grand corridor. He is blue. And furry. But appears in his former ape-like form. He smiles as the sun shines through a window, and a voice calls out ‘What am I wearing?’ Hank sees Jean “Marvel Girl” Grey standing before him and he smiles again. ‘Jeannie’ he calls out. Standing in a green mini-dress with yellow gloves, go-go boots and mask, Jean looks less than impressed and tells Hank that she has had enough to deal with, and now she is wearing this. ‘That is my favorite Jean Grey costume’ Hank replies. ‘Really?’ Jean asks. ‘Marvel Girl’ Hank tells her. ‘Uh-huh’ Jean mutters, before Hank asks if they are in his head right now, or in hers. Jean points out that this is her first time trying something like this psychic telepathic whatever”, but that she thinks they are in his.
Hank looks thoughtful as he remarks ‘Wait, that means you’re telepathic now? I thought - no, I remember you not being telepathic at the moment that I came and brought you here to the present. You should not uncover your telepathy for another year’. Jean suggests that Hank bringing her here shocked her into being prematurely telepathic. ‘Maybe. Fascinating’ Hank replies, to which Jean asks ‘Isn’t that exactly why you don’t screw around with time and space? Because you don’t want things to change like -’, but Hank interrupts Jean and tells her that he can’t get over how good it is to see her, and then apologizes for all of this, announcing that he is sorry. ‘No you’re not. You did this on purpose’ Jean declares.
The Beast tells Jean that he is sorry she has to grow up faster than she was planning, but assures her she will go back and Xavier will put it all right. Jean states that it is very weird, being in someone’s head, so Hank tells her that she will get used to it. ‘We’ve done this before?’ Jean inquires. ‘Being in each other’s heads? All the time!’ Hank exclaims.
Another voice can be heard - ‘Sorry to interrupt…’ and Hank turns around, where he sees his younger counterpart, Jean’s teammate, from the past. ‘Oh, the young me’ Hank remarks. ‘The blue me’ the younger Hank calls out, before explaining that he has had Jean - ‘Connecting us psychically while you attend to my physical form’ the older Beast concludes. ‘Exactly. So we can -’ the young Hank begins, while the older Hank once again finishes his sentence: ‘Tag team a scientific solution’.
The older Hank announces that he appreciates that, but that it is now why he brought him here. ‘I know’ the younger Hank replies, and adds that so his older self knows, moments ago they had a mild cardiac arrest. ‘And you want to know exactly what is wrong with us’ the older Hank remarks. ‘This is weird’ Jean mutters as she looks between both Hanks. ‘I know what is wrong with us, Doctor. According to your records, you genetically tampered with our own mutation years ago and now it has come back to bite you in the blue -’ the young Hank begins, while the older Hank concludes that his self-inflicted mutation is killing him, and states that he knows. ‘Don’t be judgmental - for years we were fine’ he adds. ‘This is so weird’ Jean mutters, when suddenly, young Hank throws his hands against older Hank and exclaims ‘What are we going to do about it? Help me. Help me help you!’ But the older Hank replies that there is nothing he can do.
‘I’m going to die’ Hank’s thoughts call out, as in the real world, his past self, and the past Jean Grey stand over his body in a med-lab at the Jean Grey School. Also in the room are members of the present X-Men - Ororo “Storm” Munroe, Wolverine a.k.a. Logan, Kitty Pryde, and Bobby “Iceman” Drake. Bobby’s past counterpart is also present, as are the past versions of Scott “Cyclops” Summers and Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Angel. ‘The hell you are!’ the past Hank calls out, while Wolverine asks ‘Who is he talking to?’ Kitty suggests to Wolverine that he let the man work, to which Wolverine asks ‘Man? He’s twelve’.
Back inside the Beast’s head, both Hanks and Jean stare at countless equations which pass before them. Oh my stars and garters’ the past Hank remarks, while the older Hank states ‘You know better than anyone that I don’t want to die. And I didn’t bring you, my younger self here to try to save me…I have been working on a solution to my problem with every waking moment’. He starts to say ‘It all started when -’, but his past self cuts him off, telling him to stop talking. Jean asks him if he sees something, and pointing at an equation, the past Hank exclaims ‘What is that? That’s -’, while the older Hank adds ‘That’s -’, before the past Hank states ‘Not correct’, and the present Hank remarks ‘Oh my stars and garters. You’re good’.
In the lab, the younger Hank orders everyone out, except for Jean. ‘I’ll stay’ Kitty announces, but Hank tells her that she won’t. So everyone turns and leaves the lab, although Storm, and the past Angel and Cyclops look back, concerned.
Meanwhile, at the University of Texas, ‘Benjamin…’ a short woman with red hair calls out as she walks down a dorm corridor towards her friend. ‘Just so you know, yeah, they kicked me out of school’ Benjamin calls back, while a student nearby films him on their mobile phone. ‘Oh my God’ the woman remarks, while Benjamin throws a bag onto his shoulder and states that he didn’t do anything. ‘So, I’m a mutant. Maybe, I’m going to sue them’ he announces, while adding ‘And you people, one minute you’re protesting for mutant freedom, but when an actual mutant shows up on campus -’ he begins, but his friend tells him that isn’t fair. ‘Really? It’s not fair that you like your mutant rights in theory more than in actuality?’ Benjamin replies, before turning and around and storming off, ‘Congratulations’ he mutters.
Shortly, striding across the campus grounds, skateboard under his arm, Benjamin passes a tree, where Scott Summers, wearing civilian clothing and a baseball cap is leaning. ‘Sorry you’re having a bad day’ Scott calls out. ‘You! C-Cyclops!’ Benjamin exclaims. Scott tells Benjamin that he can’t help but feel partly responsible. ‘Partly responsible? I give you permission to allow yourself to feel fully responsible!’ Benjamin replies. ‘You show up - you bring - what was that? Your whole mutant super hero roadshow with you’. Cyclops tells Benjamin that he is sorry about that, and adds that it was unfortunate. ‘What was that?’ Benjamin asks. Scott tells him that he isn’t sure yet, but that it had nothing to do with Benjamin. Benjamin looks at Cyclops and tells him that he would like him to leave him alone.
‘I understand. I came back here to try to - where are you going?’ Cyclops calls out as Benjamin turns and walks away. ‘Away from crazy. Bye’ Benjamin calls back, before stopping, then turning around and marching back over to Cyclops. ‘Why me?’ he asks. Cyclops explains that it isn’t a “why me” situation, as mutants are popping up all over the world. ‘You are one of the lucky ones’ he tells Benjamin. ‘Lucky? That’s a word?’ Benjamin mutters, revealing that he cannot get his parents on the phone and that he just got kicked out of school. ‘And I thought mutants were almost extinct’ he adds. ‘We were. Things have taken a turn for the better’ Cyclops explains. ‘And what do you call this power of mine?’ Benjamin enquires.
Cyclops takes off his cap and states that the power is interesting, as he has never seen this specific type of power before. ‘You’re not - well you are shape-shifting’ Scott points out as Benjamin takes on Scott’s features. ‘Shape-shifting’ Benjamin repeats, while Scott points out that it doesn’t seem that Benjamin is completely becoming another person. Scott explains that it is more like Benjamin is becoming something, like he is becoming one with his environment. ‘You’re physically adapting to your surroundings’ he tells him. Benjamin declares that he is scared out of his mind. ‘I get that, Benjamin. I’ve been where you are. In a way I’m there right now’ Scott tells Benjamin, adding that they don’t know the full extent of his power, or what else he is capable of.
Scott continues, telling Benjamin that he needs guidance and training, which he is offering to him. ‘I have the internet. I know who you are, Scott summers. I know what you’ve done’ Benjamin frowns. ‘Then you know I’m serious. I will help you’ Scott replies. Benjamin asks him why, so Scott offers to make a deal with him. ‘Come with me - if you don’t like it or me…you just walk away’ Scott proposes. Benjamin glances away: ‘Your whole life your mother tells you not to get in a car with strangers…’ he mutters. ‘Car? Come on…we’re the X-Men’ Scott replies, before speaking into his communicator, he tells Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik that two are ready for pick up and delivery. ‘What are we - whoa’ Benjamin exclaims as blue energy appears around he and Cyclops, who tells Benjamin to breathe. ‘This feels a little odd’ he remarks.
‘But it’s over like that. Welcome, Benjamin Deeds…welcome to the new school. Welcome to the new Charles Xavier School for the Gifted’ Cyclops declares as he and Benjamin re-materialize in an old Weapon X compound, where Magneto and Magik are putting the finishing touches on their new home.
Back at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning:
‘I said: please leave so I can do my work!’ the young Hank tells to Kitty. ‘Yeah, boy, too bad you’re not the boss of me’ Kitty replies. Hank asks her what her name is, and Kitty introduces herself, explaining that she is the headmistress here. ‘And a good friend of yours. So talk nice’ she adds. ‘Dr Henry McCoy’ Hank remarks as he leaps onto some pipes above, a cord in his mouth, while Kitty replies that she knows. ‘Hand me that tube and that beaker’ Hank tells her, while Kitty asks him if he figured something out. ‘I think we both have’ Hank replies. ‘We?’ Kitty asks. ‘Me and myself’ Hank explains. Kitty suggests to Hank that he don’t do anything crazy. ‘You tend to, sometimes, do crazy things’ she points out. ‘I’m not sure exactly what your relationship to the older Hank McCoy is…but I can almost promise you that I have more invested in all of this than you’ Hank declares, frowning at Kitty, who hugs herself and looks concerned.
Back in the older Hank’s mind, he continues to converse with Jean, who asks ‘What happens now?’ ‘Let’s see what that handsome young man has in store for us’ Hank replies, before asking Jean if she saw Scott Summers. ‘You saw what he became?’ he enquires. The corridor goes dark, as Marvel Girl replies ‘Yes’. ‘And you saw inside his mind?’ Hank asks her. ‘Yes’ Jean replies once again. Hank tells her that he didn’t mean for that to happen, and points out that now she knows he was telling the truth. ‘Yes’ Jean replies, before telling Hank that he really shouldn’t have brought them here. ‘Call me pragmatic or pessimistic but I think when you die you cease to be’ the Beast remarks.
While his younger self continues to busy himself in the lab, with Kitty watching over him, Hank tells Jean that he doesn’t believe in Heaven, and nor does he believe in Hell. ‘I believe in the biological functions of higher organisms. If this were my last day on Earth I could not let things go the way they are going’ he explains. As the young Scott, Warren and Bobby stand outside on the school grounds, Hank tells Jean that if the young Scott, the one they love, sees what he will become, he might somehow, some way, try not to become that thing. While the current Scott hangs his head inside the new Charles Xavier School for the Gifted, Hank tells Jean that at the very least, the present Scott will see his younger self, and Jean, and see how far he has fallen. ‘And let that shame go with him to his grave’.
‘Either way, I must say, I am fine with it as long as something different happens’ Hank tells Jean, who glances away, then glances back, asking ‘How did I die?’ ‘Which time?’ Hank replies. Shocked, Jean asks ‘Oh man…what does that mean?’, Hank tells her that they have lived a colorful and varied life. ‘Show me’ Jean asks. ‘I thought you thought this wasn’t a good idea’ Hank reminds her. ‘I have to see. You know I have to’ Jean replies. Hank tells her that he knows, and adds that he never closes his mind to Jean. ‘You can look at whatever you want’ he assures her. Jean looks away, scared, and points out that she doesn’t know how to do any of this yet. ‘Clear your mind’ Hank tells her as he places his hands on her shoulders. Jean’s eyes close - then re-open, wide with anticipation and fear.
Images flood Jean Grey’s mind. Battling X-Men enemies. The Phoenix, rising from the ashes. Dark Phoenix. Phoenix’s sacrifice. Fighting alongside Cyclops as a member of the original X-Factor. Being at the side of her dying clone, Madelyne Pryor. Her wedding day. Her adventure in the future with Scott as Redd and Slymm. Fighting alongside her “son” Cable as members of the X-Men. The “death” of Cyclops as he was merged with Apocalypse. Going head to head against Charles Xavier, transformed into Onslaught. Kissing Wolverine. As a teacher at the Xavier School. And, murdered by Xorn.
Jean collapses inside Hank’s mind, but in the med-lab, she screams ‘NO!’ and a burst of telekinetic energy sends various medical instruments flying around the room, before she collapses here, too. ‘Oh my God, what happened?’ Kitty calls out as she rushes over to Jean, who utters ‘No! Nononono… He - he showed me everything. Everything!’ Jean exclaims. Young Hank suggests Kitty take his teammate out for some fresh air. ‘It was - it was -’ Jean begins, while Kitty walks her out of the med-lab. ‘I died. I - I felt it’ Jean explains, while young Hank looks at his present self and asks ‘What are you up to?’, before injecting something into a contraption that Hank is hooked up to. ‘Let’s hope one of us is as smart as the other one thinks he is’ young Hank mutters, when suddenly, older Hank’s hand moves.
Outside, the past Cyclops, Angel and Iceman find themselves approached by Wolverine, Storm and Iceman, while a group of students gather nearby. ‘You can all stop looking at me like that. I haven’t done what you are accusing me of doing. And I won’t’ the young Cyclops declares. ‘It will never happen’ he adds. ‘Except ya did. And ya will’ Wolverine calls out. Young Cyclops promises to make this right. ‘Your promises. Slim, I tell ya, I think about every time I was this close to ya’ Wolverine replies. ‘Logan…’ Storm cautions, while Wolverine moves closer to the younger Cyclops and holds a fist out, ‘Every time I could’a just popped a claw in the back of your scrawny neck and stopped you cold’ Wolverine adds. ‘Logan, stop!’ Storm orders.
Wolverine turns to the others and tells them that it is a simple question. ‘Who do we want? Do we want Scott Summers or Charles Xavier? If I get how this works - I kill him now and Charles Xavier will be standing right over there’ Wolverine calls out. ‘Standing?’ the young Cyclops asks, confused. ‘Show of hands!’ Wolverine tells everyone, but the young Cyclops asks him to cut it out. ‘Trial of your peers. Fair’s fair’ Wolverine replies. ‘I can’t believe you’re an X-Man’ the past Cyclops mutters. ‘Yeah, you’ve said that before’ Wolverine snarls, before asking the others for a show of hands, when suddenly, they see Jean and Kitty standing nearby, and a voice calls out ‘That’s quite enough, all of you…Logan, I didn’t bring them here so you can work out your issues’ the present Beast announces.
‘Oh my God, Hank! Look at you! Are - are you okay?’ Kitty calls out as she sees Hank, who is helped along by his past self. The present Beast’s form has changed yet again, somewhat ape-like. Storm and Kitty hug the Beast, who tells his friends that he is better than ever. ‘Thanks to, well, me, my mutation has stabilized’ Hank explains. ‘You’re welcome!’ the past Hank calls out, suggesting to his present self that he take it easy. The present Hank adds that he has never felt better, while the past Hank points out that he should be resting. ‘Be quiet’ the present Hank scolds his past self, while the present Iceman tells his friend that he scared the hell out of them. ‘You know, you’re still blue, right?’ the past Iceman calls out.
The present Hank turns to the past Cyclops and tells him to consider him the ghost of his Christmas future. ‘You’re going to go back now, and you’re going to live, all of you, are going to try and live a life more worthy’ he announces, when suddenly a voice states no. It’s Marvel Girl, who declares that they are not going back. ‘What?’ Storm asks. Everyone listens as Jean reports that she has seen what is going to become of their lives. ‘I’ve seen everything that gets us to this point. I’m not having it. No’ she states, adding that if they go back and Charles Xavier will read their minds and know what Hank did here, then wipe all of this from them.
Jean continues, pointing out that they will never know that no matter what they do in the course of their lives as X-Men, they end up in torture and disaster. ‘Torture?’ the past Angel asks. ‘And disaster. All of us’ Jean declares. Jean adds that everything they are going to go back and fight for ends in her death, Charles Xavier dying and Scott becoming everything he says he despises. ‘And if that’s the way it’s going to be, if that’s our destiny, then we have to make sure it was worth it’ Jean announces, explaining that they have to right things here. ‘We have to do what we set out to do’. Jean tells her teammates that they will put things back the way they’re supposed to be and then go back. ‘Xavier can mind-wipe the hell out of us. Hell, I’ll do it myself’ she snaps, frowning.
‘You’re going back’ Wolverine tells Jean, but she turns to him and replies that she is not. ‘I know this is hard for you, James. I know you and I -’ Jean begins, but Wolverine frowns and tells her to stop talking. She ignores him and states that she is staying here and putting things right. ‘You would do the same’ she adds. Young Hank tells Jean that it isn’t entirely up to her, to which Jean agrees and suggests they put it to vote. ‘We’re voting to, what? Live here? With him?’ young Iceman asks, referring to his present counterpart. ‘Yeah. Uh, do we all get to vote?’ the present Iceman asks. ‘And do we count as two votes or one?’ the past Iceman enquires. The young Cyclops tells his teammates that the five of them will vote and either the five of them will go, or the five of them will stay.
Marvel Girl raises her hand and declares that they should stay. Frowning, the young Cyclops also raises his and announces ‘Stay’. The past Angel grimaces as he suggests that they should go home. ‘You started it’ the past Hank points out, turning to his present counterpart as he raises his hand. Realizing that he is outnumbered, Angel looks frustrated, while the younger Iceman mutters ’Oh, what the hell?’ and raises his hand. ‘You’ve got to be kidding me’ the present Iceman mutters. ‘Scared that I’m going to make you look like a lameass?’ the younger Iceman asks. ‘Please, someone stop this’ Iceman calls out.
Marvel Girl points out that it is settled, and tells Warren she is sorry, and that it won’t be forever. But the present Beast announces that it isn’t settled. ‘You’re just kids’ he points out, adding that they can’t go bobbing around in the future doing whatever they want. ‘Why? You do’ Jean snarls. Suddenly Kitty calls out, ‘I’ll be in charge of them…I’ll keep an eye on them. This is good’, adding that she was looking for some way to honor Xavier, more. The younger X-Men stand behind Kitty and look at her curiously, as Kitty adds that she can’t think of anything more than this. Marvel Girl thanks her, while the past Hank asks ‘Professor Kitty? Professor K?’ Kitty tells him to shut up.
Young Bobby puts a hand on Warren’s shoulder and tells his friend that it will be okay, but Warren points out that no one is mentioning him. ‘No one is talking about what has happened to me, Bobby. Where am I?’ Warren asks. Storm turns to the Beast and asks him what he has done. ‘You wanted to keep Xavier’s dream alive…ta-da!’ the Beast replies. The young Cyclops goes over to Jean and asks her if they can talk for a second, but Jean looks at him, then turns away, and as she walks from him, warns him to leave her the hell alone.
Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all original X-Men from the past)
Beast, Iceman, Kitty Pryde, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men based at the Jean Grey School)
Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik, Magneto (all renegade X-Men)
In Illustrative Images:
Jean Grey at various stages
Cyclops at various stages
Cable at various stages
Phoenix Entity / Dark Phoenix
Beast, Storm, Wolverine
Harry Leland, Donald Pierce, Sebastian Shaw, Jason Wyngarde (all Hellfire Club)
“Ghost of Christmas Future” refers to Charles Dickens’ famous story “ A Christmas Carol in Prose”.
Issue Summary written by: Daytripper (Steven Bishop)