This week, Namor goes frickin' nuts... and other stuff happens, too! Avengers vs. X-Men #8! Uncanny X-Men #16! Avengers Academy #33! X-Men #125!
This week: The first of the Phoenix Five falls! Mister Sinister is victorious! Juston Seyfert is sad! Beast takes too long to team up with the All-New, All-Different X-Men!
Hopefully, you've been tagging along as we've braved our way through every AvX comic but if you've happened to find us with this article, let me tell you what you've stumbled upon.
1. I read every AvX comic
2. I break it down into a three sentence summary.
3. I bullet point the events that happen in the comic.
4. I lose my mind and give an overly detailed account of the issue.
5. Somewhere in the middle of this madness, there will be an image that is possibly funny.
This ain't my first rodeo. I've been covering Marvel events since Secret Invasion, back when I was a wide-eyed young fanboy with hope for the future. :) When this site gets everything back in order, you might be able to look at all of this work by checking out the Super Reads section. For now, a quick Google search can reveal a LOT of past work.
That's the deal. Before we get going, I need to give you some more intel to chew on.
Namor the Sub-Mariner is a douche. It's not that he's suddenly become a douche. He's ALWAYS been a douche. It's part of his character traits.
Subby was one of Marvel's original super-powered stars, back when they were going by the name "Timely Comics." Namor was created by Bill Everett for Motion Picture Funnies Weekly but when that comic failed to appear, the story was popped into Timely's first issue of Marvel Comics along with the original Human Torch and the original Angel.
I stay way from calling Namor a "super-hero" because even in his original adventures, he was clearly not a hero. He was a power fantasy; engaging in a one-man/Atlantean war on the surface world, destroying property and killing people in the process. He found himself in the official role of "bad guy" when crossing over with the original Human Torch's "hero." In time, the Sub-Mariner soften his stance on humanity and even aided the allies during World War II. Basically, he found surfacers to kill that weren't American. This continues in Namor's revitalized fifties book as Namor took on Communism like a good Cold War hero.
When brought into the Silver Age in Fantastic Four #4, Namor found himself right back in the villain seat, fighting the FF, Avengers, and X-Men as much as possible. While everyone acknowledged that Namor's intentions had a sense of nobility, it was still the Sub-Mariner versus the surface world. This continued right into his solo series.
To be completely fair, the Sub-Mariner isn't a VILLAIN. He's just not a very nice guy. At all. Even though he's allied himself with the X-Men, Namor is STILL the ruler of his own undersea kingdom and finds himself at odds with the rest of humanity. An eternal hothead, it's little wonder that he's the first of the PhoeniX-Men to crack and go insane.
"So that's all well and good," I hear you saying, "but what the hell is up with K'un Lun?"
Oh, I will tell you about K'un Lun. That's the one of the seven immortal cities, the home of the Iron Fist legacy, and apparently, it's very important to the future and past of the Phoenix. Originally, K'un Lun was separated from the Earth plane of existance and could only be accessed every ten years. Since that doesn't really work well considering the elastic way that comic book time works, that limitation has been broken often. VERY often. Usually, magic is involved.
A couple centuries ago, the ruler of K'un Lun, Yu Ti, had a vision about the coming of the Phoenix and he set out to find the red haired Iron Fist that his dream had shown would face the cosmic firebird and save the world from destruction. This led to the training of Fongji being trained as the next Iron Fist. Leonardo da Vinci was also there.
When the Phoenix approached Earth, Fongji did a little dance and became a Phoenix host. The world was spared and Fongji got to explore the galaxy with cosmic powers. Because of this experience, the current Yu Ti (it's an inherited title) believes that K'un Lun holds the key to saving the world from the Phoenix THIS time. He has sent Lei Kung the Thunderer to Earth through a brand new tear in the fabric of existance with the intention of bringing Hope Summers (the girl who was SUPPOSED to get the Phoenix but DIDN'T) to the Immortal City for training.
It turns out the rest of the Avengers want to come, too. Everyone is all set to move to their new home when their current home (Wakanda) is attacked by that pesky Sub-Mariner.
Avengers vs. X-Men #8
Writers: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, & Jonathan Hickman
Script: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Adam Kubert
Inker: John Dell
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Click HERE to see Super Read Avengers vs. X-Men #7!
The issue in a nutshell:
Namor attacks Wakanda. The Avengers defend the country, eventually defeating the Sub-Mariner before retreating to K'un Lun. Namor's Phoenix powers are absorbed by the rest of the Phoenix Five and Professor Charles Xavier gives Cyclops an ultimatum.
This issue by bullet points:
• The Sub-Mariner attacks Wakanda.
• The portal to K'un Lun is closed after Iron Man and Lei-Kung cross over.
• The Avengers counterattack Namor.
• Subby kicks a little ass. And then a lot more.
• Magneto locates the errant PhoeniX-Man. After some debate, Cyclops orders the rest of the Phoenix Five to Wakanda.
• With Thor distracting Namor, Wanda lights up a magic whammy that defeats the Sub-Mariner. This is such an intense fight that it also takes HER out.
• The rest of the PhoeniX-Men arrive and absorb Namor's abilities. This is an involuntary act.
• The Avengers escape to K'un Lun through another portal created by Iron Man and opened by Captain America.
• Professor Xavier demands that Cyclops and the rest of the Phoenix Four stand the hell down.
• In K'un Lun, Captain America is out of plans and is ready to metaphorically leap out of a Quincarrier for no good reason.
This issue in EXTREME detail:
Namor vs. Wakanda! That is pretty much this entire issue. Namor, using his Phoenix-based powers as well as an army of Atlanteans, invades the African nation of Wakanda, all because Emma Frost told him that the Avengers's secret base was located there. She knew that because the X-Man, Transonic, accidentally teleported back here last issue and Emma knows where all the X-Men are.
Except for Wolverine and Beast. Obviously.
The first thing that the Avengers do in response to this invasion is close down their magical portal to K'un Lun. Hope Summers and Wolverine are already across the threshold. Iron Man is worried that Namor will storm Wakanda and just keep on going into the Immortal City. Lei Kung spent a lot of effort to CREATE this portal and isn't in a hurry to shut the thing. Well, too bad. Iron Man grabs the Thunderer and flies on through, reminding Captain America of their "secret weapon" and that he should "use it. Use it NOW!"
The portal closes, leaving Iron Fist sad because he wanted to go home. Now, he'll be stuck fighting one of the Phoenix Five. And an army of Atlanteans.
Captain America thinks that he'll be able to talk down Namor. If this event has proven anything, it's that Steve Rogers PROVOKES FIGHTS with talking. It doesn't matter that these two fought World War II together. Namor is NOT getting calmed down by the Sentinel of Liberty. Black Panther basically tells Cap to forget the talk and get to the battle cries. With one last look in the skies, and probably right at the madness that is consuming Namor, Steve Rogers gets pretty angry and shouts out "AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!"
In K'un Lun, Wolverine and Hope are taking a nice, long look at the Immortal City.
Iron Man and Lei Kung fly through the portal and then the door is closed. When Logan learns about the attack on Wakanda he wants to go back and help, but that bridge is well and truly burned. Besides, they need to get busy training Hope.
This won't ACTUALLY happen until Iron Fist and Spider-Man get here as per The New Avengers #27. Don't worry. It's not a long wait.
Back in Wakanda, Namor is ranting like a lunatic. He's straight up off the deep end, letting his rage consume him, Dark Phoenix-style. Cap hits him with his mighty shield. Iron Fist follows up with his... Iron Fists. Rogers faces down a random Atlantean soldier while Rand (Iron Fist) get his ass handed to him by the Sub-Mariner.
Black Panther takes Iron Fist's place, engaging Namor with a giant gun that he'll never fire. The Sub-Mariner hits T'challa with a blast of cosmic flame and then proceeds to dismantle the giant gun while continuing his insane rant about how the Avengers totally have this coming.
That's when Black Panther tells the Phoenix'd out X-Man that he, Cap, and Iron Fist were just keeping him busy until some of their big guns could show. Vision, Beast, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Red Hulk, Thor, Falcon, Thing, Doctor Strange, Valkyrie, and Quicksilver enter the fight. One blast of Phoenix flame scatters the recently assembled Avengers.
Ok, they're off to a great start.
Well, the Avengers follow it up by smacking Subby around for the better part of a page. It's just that none of this can seal the deal on STOPPING him. It all just makes him even angrier. Namor gets up, grabs Rulk's hand, and twists it until it breaks. He then swings Red Hulk around, scatters the Avengers, swats Thing in the face, and then starts everyone on fire. Before we switch scenes, we see Thor ready to drop his hammer on Namor. We'll see how that goes...
But first, let's swing on over to Utopia to see how the rest of the X-Men are handling Namor's break from their ranks. It's Magneto that calls Namor's actions to Cyclops' attention. Accusations are thrown Emma's way but Frost deflects them by reminding the X-Men's fearless leader that they now know where the Avengers are hiding. It takes a moment for Scott Summers to ponder his decision but we all know that he and the rest of the PhoeniX-Men are going to Wakanda.
NOW, Thor drops his hammer. Namor keeps on going but at least he's occupied. It's time to employ the Avengers secret... ONLY... weapon. The Scarlet Witch. Wanda Maximoff is the only Avenger who has actually HURT one of the Phoenix Five. She starts whipping around her chaos magic and aims right for the Sub-Mariner. This is an intense battle moment filled with gritting teeth and angry eyes that would make Rob Liefeld proud.
Namor's Phoenix effect burns brightly as he drops to the ground. Since Wanda is also falling, one of the Avengers swoops in to save her. Interestingly, it's her ex-husband, the Vision. They don't get along, mostly because Wanda used him as a weapon against the Avengers when she went "temporarily insane" during Avengers: Disassembled.
Right after Namor hits the ground, Thing gives him a kick for good measure but it's clear that the fight is out of the Sub-Mariner. The Avengers take a step back and look at what this battle has caused. Wakanda is DEMOLISHED. The Avengers are worn out. Everyone KNOWS that the rest of the Phoenix Five are coming. Victory sure looks costly.
Speak their names and here they are. Cyclops, Colossus, Magik, and Emma Frost have taken their Siege Courageous to Wakanda and now fly impressively over the capital city. Captain America shouts out a challenge but there's no fight happening here. The Phoenix powers from the defeated Namor leave the Sub-Mariner and float up to join with the remaining PhoeniX-Men.
While the X-Men are occupied with absorbing Namor's power, Captain America slides off his right glove and presses a button near his wrist. This opens another portal to K'un Lun, courtesy of Iron Man. The Avengers retreat through and before the portal closes.
When the Avengers have all left, the Phoenix Four try to process what just happened. They've no idea where the Avengers have gone and Professor Charles Xavier isn't going to give them time for a quick search.
OK. I GET it. I DO! The Phoenix-powered X-Men are the bad guys. I'm not debating that. That's pretty much fact. But THIS is what finally sets Xavier off? What did Cyclops do? Show up at the tail end of a battle that he never even authorized? THIS is the line for Chuck?
You gotta admit, it's a weird line.
Scott doesn't really help matters, though. He's dead set on changing the world for the better and we all know while he's still holding it together, it's not something that'll last. In fact, his talk with Professor X should give us an indication on how far SCOTT is slipping. This father/son talk is seriously confrontational from both of them. The bottom line: Professor Xavier tells Cyclops "Stop or I'll stop you."
Over in K'un Lun, the Avengers are exiting their portal and doing a headcount. It looks like they're all there. If Earth's Mightiest Heroes weren't feeling bad before, their "victory" in Wakanda has certainly soured their mood. The FINALLY beat one of the Phoenixes only to make the REST of the PhoeniX-Men stronger. That battle wore everyone out and Wanda is unconscious.
And the worst thing about all of this is that Captain America is out of ideas. Hope asks what they're going to do next and he just stays silent.
Uncanny X-Men #16
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Daniel Acuña
Editor: Nick Lowe
Click HERE to see Super Read Uncanny X-Men #15!
The issue in a nutshell:
The PhoeniX-Men attack Mister Sinister's Sinister London. Everything goes well until Sinister totally wins. Magneto, Storm, Danger, and Psylocke get ready to do their part as cast members.
This issue by bullet points:
• The non-Phoenix members of the Uncanny X-Men (the Extinction Team) get bored of waiting around and decide to go do something.
• In Sinister London, the Phoenix Five attack the hell out of Sinister's society.
• Mister Sinister does some counter attacking with his army of clones and his "Menagerie" of cloned mutants. His castle is also built on top of a cloned Krakoa.
• After taking one too many shots from Sinister's ruby quartz cannon, Namor gets too angry to control himself and makes a direct attack on Mister Sinister. He is defeated off panel.
• Emma Frost is knocked out by an unexpected visitor that we don't get to see.
• Illyana and Piotr teleport away in terror.
• Scott Summers is surprised by a couple clones of Madelyne Pryor. His ex-wife. After trying to blast them to oblivion, Cyclops only ends up blowing up a good portion of the city and passing out.
• As Sinister celebrates his victory, the non-Phoenix-powered Extinction Team members arrive to save the day.
This issue in EXTREME detail:
Last issue, the Phoenix Five left the rest of the Extinction Team in order to take on Mister Sinister and his Sinister London alone. We start this issue with the "normal" members of the Extinction Team still sitting around the meeting table in Old Utopia. These X-Men are Magneto, Danger, Storm, and Psylocke. After a few minutes of no one talking, Magneto remembers that he's not a patient man and announces that they should DO something.
A couple miles below Anchorage, Alaska, the Phoenix Five are busy destroying Sinister London. This all happens BEFORE Namor goes completely nuts and loses his extra powers so it's the full Five. You'd think this would be enough to topple Sinister's little community of clones but that is because you're underestimating Mister Sinister. While Sinister has never been the BEST master strategist, he's always got a plan going... and a plan to escape if things go wrong. Heck, sometimes he escapes because it's PART of his plan. In THIS story, his strategy has been upgraded to Batman levels.
That means, Sinister's had a LOT of prep time and the Phoenix Five aren't as competent as they'd like to believe.
What does someone like Mister Sinister do with all that prep time? He makes clones. Sure, you see a lot of clones running around that look like variations of Sinister (because he's VERY full of himself) but our master villain has also been cloning X-Men and his own former group, the Marauders, to aid in his plans to take down the Phoenix Five and steal all that cosmic power for his Sinister London. As the PhoeniX-Men busy themselvs with destroying Sinister's civilization, Mr. S's Cyclops clones focus their kinetic optic beams through a ruby quartz cannon built into his castle. Their target? Namor. It's always gonna be Namor. Watch.
In special Phoenix telepathic conference, Cyclops gives everyone the game plan at the speed of thought. One of the problems with trying to take down a guy like Sinister is that he's always got at least one escape route. All of those Sinister clones, for example, are built to house his consciousness. If one escapes, the villain will use it to return and harass the mutant race (and Cyclops) again. So, it's important to take out EVERYONE and it's equally important not to attack the castle until everyone outside it has been properly murdered.
It's ok. They're clones. You can kill clones all day and still be a hero. I looked it up.
Now, you're probably thinking to yourself right now "If Sinister has done all of this thinking and planning, he's probably ALREADY left himself an out by removing at least ONE clone from this civilization so that he can survive even IF Sinister London falls." You, reader, are smart. We'll see if Sinister is JUST as smart.
The Phoenix Five fly all over Sinister London, killing and destroying everything that our villain built. Nothing thrown at them, not even the mash up of Marauders, can stop them, but it probably slows the cosmic-powered mutants down.
Inside Mister Sinister's castle, our big bad villain is enjoying a delicious meal with string music accompaniment. When battle reports come in, Sinister isn't surprised by how badly the Phoenix Five are trouncing his armies. When one of his Madelyne clones asks him why he's not freaking out, he replies that he knows that he's still safe until all of his forces are defeated. That's not exactly what he wants to happen, though, so he orders the next stage of his master plan.
His castle is built on top of a Krakoa clone.
If you know your X-history, you probably know that Krakoa was the living "mutant" island that helped bring together the All-New, All-Different X-Men in Giant-Size X-Men Number-One. There's been a couple spawn of Krakoa that have appeared since the original was shot into space, the most recent being the one that resides as the grounds of the Jean Grey School in Wolverine and the X-Men. This clone is a whole lot more ferocious than the one Wolverine keeps around his school.
This giant clone is an unexpected move on Sinister's part and it royally pisses Cyclops off because he doesn't LIKE that his omnipotent powers aren't also OMNISCIENT. Can't he have all the omni-words?
Once again, the ruby quartz cannon hits Namor. Cyclops tries destroying it but: ruby quartz. It's one of the few things that can contain his optic blasts.
Someone'll have to deal with that Krakoa Castle. Colossus grows to giant size and gets to work.
I didn't know he could do that, either. That's what happens when you have UNLIMITED POWER.
Sinister's not out of tricks. A few platoons of Gambit clones leap off the side of his castle and right at Colossus. Sinister has altered their mutant powers to make them charge THEMSELVES. Mutant bombs. There's enough Gambit clones to knock even a Phoenix-powered Colossus to the ground.
A second round of Gambits sees Magik run to her brother's defense. Teleportals open up right underneath each falling Gambit, transporting them right to the chamber holding the Cyclops clones. That effectively takes out Sinister's ruby quartz cannon.
With the Sinister army firing on Colossus and Magik's position, another round of clones is unleashed. This time, it's a squadron of Cannonballs. They also make for good bombs and with Magik busy teleporting away the army's bullets, she's unable to send the clone bombs away.
The Rasputins are thoroughly distracted so let's move on over to Namor. He's still recovering from the last attack of the ruby quartz cannon but that's just made him mad. So mad, in fact, that he's not going to follow the plan any longer. In the Phoenix Telepathic Conference, Cyclops entreats the Sub-Mariner to employ a shred of patience but... hahahaha.
Namor takes the fight straight to Mister Sinister. He blasts through every defense and right into Sinister's chambers. Namor finds the villain laughing and promises to wipe the smile right off his face.
In the Telepathic Conference, Namor disappears.
Cyclops orders everyone else to tell him what they're doing. Emma Frost is busy taking out the countryside, including those cattle we saw two issues ago. It turns out that Mister Sinister doesn't just keep the cows around for their milk. It looks like they're ALSO bombs. Mister S has a thing for bombs.
After that surprise, Emma is greeted by an unseen enemy who calls her a "harlot." She is then blasted out of the telepathic link.
Magik does a little freaking out and teleports herself and Colossus out of the battlefield.
And then there was one.
Cyclops continues to call out for Illyana and Piotr but gets no answer from them. Instead, he gets a visit from his ex-wife... or at least her clone. Clones. Scott fires at the Madelynes. There's a big explosion.
When the bright lights, smoke, and dust clears, Scott Summers is defeated. Mister Sinister walks on over to gloat while also congratulating his "brides" on their handiwork.
At the edge of Sinister London, the non-Phoenix powered members of the Extinction Team (and Psylocke) get a good look at how the battle went down. It looks like they're going to have to intervene.
Avengers Academy #33
Writer: Christos Gage
Penciler: Timothy Green II
Inker: Jeff Huet
Editor: Bill Roseman
Click HERE to see Super Read Avengers Academy #32!
The issue in a nutshell:
A Phoenix-powered Emma Frost destroys Juston Seyfert's Sentinel over the protests, and attacks, of the Avengers Academy Students. With some help from Quicksilver, the Sentinel is rebuilt once Emma has left the Academy. The next day, Giant-Man and Tigra close the school forever.
The issue by bullet points:
• In a flashback scene from two weeks ago, Juston's love for his Sentinel and his abandonment issues are on full display.
• In the present, Emma Frost is defending herself against the Avengers Academy students. If you want to be fair, I guess she started this by announcing that she would destroy the Sentinel.
• Finesse calls in Quicksilver who refuses to help out because it's over a SENTINEL.
• Emma holds off the Academy students and blows up the attacking Sentinel. Unfortunately, Juston was inside at the time.
• Juston was just stunned so don't worry about it.
• Sentinel continues to attack Emma even after Juston orders it to stop and run.
• In fact, the Sentinel overrides its Prime Directive to continue attacking Emma Frost. This is something that Giant-Man will later describe as "Impossible for a machine."
• Emma dismantles the Sentinel and burns its CPU.
• Frost takes off after X-23 declines her offer to rejoin the mutants on Utopia. Laura declines with threats of violence.
• Quicksilver shows up with the Sentinel's CPU, explaining that he switched it with a fake at high speed so no one noticed.
• The Sentinel is rebuilt.
• Giant-Man and Tigra close down Avengers Academy so that the students won't be guilty by association to the Avengers. They don't even consider changing the school's name to X-Academy.
The issue in EXTREME detail:
Juston Seyfert has his very own Sentinel. You know, those mutant killing robots? Yeah, one of those.
Don't you worry, though. This Sentinel isn't in the mutant killing OR hunting business. Juston has taken a great deal of time reprogramming his Sentinel to follow DIFFERENT orders. Sure, containing mutants is still IN there but Juston has made certain that this mandate is superceded by more important directives that neuter the "Kill all Mutants" rule.
This comic begins two weeks ago. Juston is talking to his dad through his Sentinel's holographic viewer (his dad being more than a few states away. Juston's dad wants him to come home and give up his giant Sentinel. It leads into a fight that the younger Seyfert doesn't want to have. He cuts off the call.
Laying on top of his Sentinel, Juston decides to sleep under the stars. Before going to bed, he asks his Sentinel to state its Prime Directive.
"Unit will not ABANDON Juston. Not ever. No matter what."
This appears to be Juston's Prime Directive, too. He will NOT give up on the Sentinel.
Now, we cut to the present where the students of Avengers Academy have just gone to war against the Phoenix powered Emma Frost. This is all because of Juston and his Sentinel. In Avengers vs. X-Men #7, Emma Frost destroyed the world's Sentinel population. The only Sentinel left is Juston's and Frost came to Avengers Academy to get rid of that one, too. On thing led to another... and it's fight time.
As the fight begins, Finesse gives Quicksilver a call to get some further assistance. Pietro, being a mutant, doesn't have ANY sympathy for Juston's Sentinel and basically tells Finesse to let the monster robot be destroyed. It's not like the thing is sentient, after all. Finesse compares both herself AND Quicksilver to emotionless robots, saying that "ONE OF US will benefit SOMEONE" before returning to the fight.
As the kids attack Emma Frost, they each engage in some slippery slope arguements to justify why Juston's Sentinel should be allowed to continue functioning. It's stuff like "I'm gay. If you thought being gay was wrong, would you make me straight?" and "My powers could endanger the world. Would you take them away from me?" A lot of it is really reaching on the part of the Academy kids.
Which is not to say that I want the mutant death machine destroyed. Even Emma tried to compromise, saying that the Sentinel could get a facelift to look LESS like a mutant hunting robot and Pym could build a more friendly CPU that DIDN'T include the "Kill all mutants" mandate. Sure, it's REPLACING the robot and Juston definitely has some serious emotional attachment to the robot but when your giant city smashing robot (which isn't actually sentient) looks like the robots that have persecuted mutants for decades and spouts off lines like "DESTROY ALL MUTANTS," you can probably see why that's a reasonable point of view.
Seeing that Emma is powered by the Phoenix, these kids can't really stop her... and it looks like Giant-Man isn't really joining in the fight (not that he'd fair any better).
The Sentinel is finally fixed back up after the damage it recieved last issue and it begins its attack on Emma once more. Frost blasts the robot out of the sky. It's only then that she learns that Juston was INSIDE the Sentinel. Emma wasn't able to pick up his thoughts because Hank Pym has put up Scramblers to protect his students against mind-reading and mind-controlling. Frost is concerned for Juston's well-being but Giant-Man tells her that the kid was protected by his Sentinel.
With his human out of harm's way, the Sentinel, still on fire, gets to its feet and continues attacking Emma some more. Nothing it does has any effect and the robot is really sealing its own destruction. Juston tries to get his Sentinel to fly off but it just keeps on attacking Emma. When Seyfert asks the robot to state its Prime Directive, it complies.
And then the Sentinel overrides it.
Juston races towards the disobedient Sentinel just in time for Emma Frost to obliterate the thing.
Even in these tiny pieces, Juston could rebuild his Sentinel. All he needs is the CPU. It's too bad he says all of this out loud. Emma finds the Central Processing Unit and melts it in her hand. Juston cries.
Emma explains that she took this Sentinel apart so that Juston could rebuild it. Pym can supply a new CPU which won't want to kill all mutants... and will probably have daddy issues. Henry tells Emma that this machine just overrode its Prime Directive and states that such an act is impossible "for a machine." Emma replies that the robot was clearly broken and it was probably just a malfunction.
When Emma ask X-23 to join her at Utopia, Laura drops threats. So, yeah. She's not going back to the land of mutants. Emma Frost flies off.
Giant-Man tells Juston that his robot was real and its loss a tragedy. Henry says he'll never forgive himself for letting the Sentinel be destroyed. Maybe he feels guilty for standing on the sidelines while his kids did all the fighting?
Whatever the case, Hank Pym won't have to live with his guilt long. Quicksilver shows up with the Sentinel's CPU in hand. It turns out Pietro pulled the ol' switcheroo on Emma, substituting the REAL CPU for one from a training robot. This was done as speeds so fast that Emma never detected him. Finesse runs up and gives him a big hug and after his shock wears off, he smiles and decides to stick long enough to help rebuild Juston's Sentinel.
This takes ten minutes. Juston then asks the Sentinel to say that sweet Prime Directive one more time. It does. The day is saved or something.
With that good deed done, Quicksilver runs off to fight in another AvX brawl.
The next day, Giant-Man and Tigra call the students of Avengers Academy together to tell them that the dream is over. The school is being closed and it's all the X-Men's fault. No, the mutants haven't attacked the grounds or anything. It's just that having a name like "Avengers Academy" is a bad idea when the X-Men have declared "No more Avengers." The kids are going to be sent back to whatever homes they have.
"No more Avengers (Academy)."
Reptil asks if they'll get back together post-AvX but Giant-Man isn't so sure that'll be happening.
The Uncanny X-Men #125
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Editor: Roger Stern
The issue in a nutshell:
Everyone is concerned about the Phoenix and her power levels. Beast learns that the X-Men are still alive and vice versa. Proteus makes his move on Muir Island.
The issue by bullet points:
• Moira does various tests on Phoenix's power levels and isn't very happy with the results.
• The X-Men practice in the Danger Room. Wolverine is a dick.
• Magneto reveals that he was once married to a woman called Magda. She looks a lot like the Scarlet Witch for some reason...
• Jason Wyngarde (Mastermind) keeps on messing with the mind of the Phoenix.
• On Chandilar in the Shi'ar Empire, Professor Xavier gets details on how the Phoenix saved the universe and makes immediate plans for a return to Earth.
• Phoenix flies into Moira's lab to investigate MacTaggert's panicky thoughts only to end up in Victorian England for a split second. Then, she's face to face with the decomposing form of Angus MacWhirter.
• Beast checks in on the X-Mansion and learns that the X-Men are still alive. They all make plans to fly to Muir Island for a reunion with Phoenix but Beast has to return his Avengers Quinjet first.
• During a call to Muir Island to announce their visit, Cyclops hears Lorna scream and the line goes dead.
• The X-Men leave right away, not waiting for Beast's return.
The issue in EXTREME detail:
That's right, peeps. It's another Beast appearance in Uncanny X-Men. It's nice to have an original X-Man on the Avengers because it makes the crossing over much more frequent.
We start things out on Muir Island, at Doctor Moira MacTaggert's research facility. Here Moira is testing Phoenix's abilities and getting very frightened by the test results. It seems that the former Marvel Girl has infinitely more power at her disposal, she doesn't tire out when employing those abilities, and she'll eventually cause a star to super-nova just to soak up its powers. Phoenix sees the concerned look on MacTaggert's face and asks the scientist for the gosh honest truth. The problem is, Moira doesn't even know where to begin.
In the shadowy background, Angus MacWhirter watches these two. Angus was the guy who used to ferry people back and forth between the Scottish mainland and Muir Island (among other things he probably did with his boat). He tried to stiff the X-Men out of their money when they showed up in costume expecting a ride back in issue #104. Of course, that all happened back when he was alive. He's not anymore. This is actually Proteus, Moira MacTaggert's Omega Leven mutant son wearing MacWhirter's body.
Since Proteus quickly consumes the bodies of his hosts, Angus is already well on his way to decomposing. Proteus wants to switch hosts but he doesn't want to give up his anonymity just yet. So, he continues to skulk the shadows.
In the foreground, Phoenix gives us a quick rundown on how Jean Grey ended up with cosmic-level powers. This is a montage, complete with the shuttle landing through a cosmic storm and Phoenix emerging from the waters of the Hudson in full costume just when everyone else had given Jean Grey up for dead. It continues on, showing how the Phoenix repaired the M'kraan Crystal and saved the unviverse and how she was still weakened from doing that when fighting Magneto in Uncanny X-Men #112. When the battle was rejoined in UXM #113, it was all Phoenix could do to save herself and Beast from the magma that filled up Magneto's Antarctic base. As far as she knows, the rest of the X-Men are all dead.
Phoenix mourned. Professor Xavier was no help at all. Professor X pretty much broke down after getting news that his X-Men had been killed. Instead of bringing the two together, the X-Men's deaths caused a rift to form between Xavier and Jean Grey. Phoenix ended up leaving, taking one giant vacation. That vacation has been FANTASTIC and Phoenix is done mourning and has started living once more.
Of course, the X-Men aren't REALLY dead. Cyclops tunneled out of Magneto's base and the team headed straight into a Savage Land adventure. The X-Men have had a number of adventures before finally returning home but they had their OWN mourning to do. As far as THEY know, Phoenix and Beast died in Antarctica. Instead of taking a vacation, the X-Men adventured their way out of depression. Logan found love in Japan. Scott... had a fling with Colleen Wing. Yes, Misty Knight's usual partner in the Daughters of the Dragon. One of Iron Fist's best friends. THAT Colleen Wing.
So, y'know, Cyclops is a bastard. To be completely fair, Jean has been seeing Jason Wyngarde but at least she has the excuse of being mentally manipulated. Wyngarde is Mastermind, after all, and his manipulations will come to a head during the Dark Phoenix Saga.
Anyway, to prove that the X-Men are still alive, we cut back to Westchester County, New York, to a very familiar X-Mansion and then zoom inside to an even MORE familiar Danger Room. This is one of those typical Danger Room outings where Wolverine does something supremely stupid and cocky. This time, it's helping Colossus out on a strength test after Piotr tells him that no help is required. Logan slices into the wall and gets blasted by a massive jet of water.
Nightcrawler falls into a trap of his own, getting bombarded by "sonic beams." When the session is over, Scott chews them both out for being overconfident. Wolverine yells right back and then storms off to get a beer. Ororo and Scott share a moment of Logan hating before Cyclops explains that the All-New, All-Different team is packed to the brim with individuals that don't exactly work like a finely oiled machine... and maybe that's not the goal he should be looking for. The problem is there latest round of adventures have been wins only because of a nice run of luck and even then they have lost some teammates and friends in the process. They need to be better.
We've checked in on almost everyone else from that fateful Antarctic battle so why not look in on Magnus? This is one of the rare appearances that the villain will make after the loss of his Antarctic base. We see the Master of Magnetism still recovering from his injuries and reflecting on past battles with the X-Men aboard his orbital headquarters, Asteroid M.
Suddenly, the monitor switches from his first fight with the X-Men to an image of his late wife, Magda. This is the first time we've ever seen this particular part of Magneto's history and while we aren't going to get the whole story behind her just yet, we do learn that Magnus was very sad when she "ran away." Magneto erases her image from his database.
If you wanted to check off the exact moment that Magneto went from full on mustache-twirling evil with basically no backstory to one of Marvel's greatest and most nuanced villains, this is where that starts.
In the town of Stornoway in the outer Hebrides Islands of Scotland, Jason Wyngarde lounges in his room at the Red Lion Inn. Over the past several weeks, he has been subtely placing himself into Jean Grey's life, following her around during her vacation in a variety of different guises. That's right. Mastermind is the ultimate stalker. His machinations will lead Phoenix to become the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club... and eventually lead to her going insane. As Wyngarde flips through Jean Grey's various forms, going from how she originally appeared in the X-Men through her two costume changes, her Phoenix costume, and to the future Black Queen look, you can tell some of his work has been telepathic.
This is because when we cut back to Phoenix on Muir Island, she's caught in a daydream with the same smirk that Mastermind's mentally formed Black Queen was wearing. Lorna Dane breaks Phoenix out of her trance. Lorna is concerned for Jean and drifting off in the middle of a sentence isn't helping matters. Jean tries to talk about something else, focusing on Lorna and Alex's attempt to create a life outside of the X-Men.
And then she shows off her powers.
Costume changes with every twirl. That casual display of power doesn't ACTUALLY calm Lorna down but she cheers her friend on anyhow.
In another part of Muir Island, Moira MacTaggert is still trying to figure what's going on with the Phoenix. What she's learned is that Phoenix has placed mental limits on her power levels but that doesn't mean that there ARE limits. Not for the first time, Moira curses Professor Xavier for not being here to help her.
Which is as good a time to zip off world to the star-spanning Shi'ar Empire. The Shi'ar Empress, Lilandra, is holding a ball. Everyone who is ANYONE is here. That includes Lilandra's consort, Charles Xavier. Since Xavier is from a world that hasn't even got warp drive yet, everyone looks down on him like he's some sort of moron. This is why Professor X doesn't hang around the party long, preferring to spend most of his time alone. Today, he heads straight for the Imperial Library to do a little light reading.
The subject? Why, the X-Men's recent battle involving the M'kraan Crystal, of course. Xavier didn't actually get a debriefing from his X-Men of what went down during this fight so this is the first time he learns that it was the Phoenix who repaired the containment field that kept a Neutron Galaxy at bay. Seeing that maybe Jean Grey might need some help coping with her new power levels, Xavier decided to rush back to Earth.
And now we're back at Muir Island. Moira is still fretting over the Phoenix when she steps on a gold tooth. She finds it right in front of the door that should be holding Proteus. Not believing in coincidence, MacTaggert checks the cell and finds it empty.
Outside, Phoenix is walking around in clothing that isn't actually weather appropriate. This is because she can control her own body temperature. It's a neat trick but Alex Summers thinks it's a sign that things are far from normal for her.
Picking up on Moira's mental distress, Phoenix races into the laboratory to check on the situation. She ends up in Victorian England, in a fancy dress and in an equally fancy home. Before Phoenix can even BEGIN to process this, the decaying form of Angus MacWhirter tries to tackle her, pulling Phoenix out of the weird fantasy and back into reality. Phoenix turns around to face her attacker...
Multiple Man and Alex hear Jean screech in terror. They run in to investigate but they take their sweet time.
It's time to check in on the LAST person involved in Uncanny #113's battle with Magneto: The Beast! It seems that after Jean and Charles left the X-Mansion, Hank McCoy put up some alarms to prevent intruders. He takes a Quinjet in the middle of the night to check up on those alarms. It sounds like none of them has been tripped but there's definitely been activity at the X-Men's headquarters.
While Beast is roaming the Mansion, he's attacked by Nightcrawler. As soon as Kurt gets a good look at Hank's face, he teleports away in fright, believing Beast to be a spirit. Nightcrawler 'ports into the Danger Room where the rest of the X-Men are in the middle of more training. He jumbles out a less-than-detailed account of what just happened but all that makes sense is that there's an invader in the Mansion and they need to handle it.
Cyclops runs out of the room and right into the Beast. There's literally NO hesitation. Beast lifts Cyclops in the air, overjoyed that his friend is still alive. It's a reunion all around as Hank fills Scott in on how he lived. Cyclops learns pretty quickly that Jean is still alive. Scott has an "OH CRAP" moment that probably has to do with Colleen Wing and the fact that his other girlfriend wasn't actually dead but it passes quickly and only Hank notices.
Plans are made to visit Muir Island for a full reunion with Phoenix. Hank wants to come too but he has to return his borrowed Quinjet first. While he does that, Scott calls up Muir Island to let them know that the X-Men are on their way.
Alex (now in his Havok costume), Multiple Man, and Lorna are just getting ready to look for Phoenix and Moira when Cyclops' call comes in. Lorna answers it and gets the surprise of learning that her boyfriend's brother (and the rest of the X-Men) are still alive. She tells the X-Men to hurry over, saying that there might be trouble brewing and that they were just about to check it out for sure. It's about this time that Proteus peeks in the window, looking for another meal.
Lorna screams. The line goes dead. The X-Men aren't going to wait for Beast to return.
Man, you just can't beat the Claremont/Byrne run on Uncanny. It was just awesome. It's also awesome that we're done with another fine Super Reads article!
Until next time: Have a good week!