X-Men Crossovers Part 9

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Messiah Complex

Took Place In: Messiah Complex 1, Uncanny X-Men 492-494, X-Factor 25-27, New X-Men 44-46, X-Men 205-207

Written By: Ed Brubaker (Messiah Complex, Uncanny X-Men), Mike Carey (X-Men), Peter David (X-Factor), Craig Kyle and Chris Yost (New X-Men)

Art By: Marc Silvestri (Messiah Complex), Billy Tan (Uncanny X-Men), Scott Eaton (X-Factor), Humberto Ramos (New X-Men), Chris Bachalo (X-Men)

Characters Involved: Cyclops, Emma Frost, Archangel, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Storm, Beast, Bishop, Caliban, Hepzibah, Rogue, Professor X, Warpath, Wolverine (X-Men), Multiple Man, Layla Miller, M, Rictor, Siryn, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane (X-Factor), Anole, Armor, Dust, Elixir, Gentle, Hellion, Indra, Mercury, Pixie, Prodigy, Rockslide, Stepford Cuckoos, Surge, Trance, Wolf Cub, X-23 (New X-Men), Arclight, Blockbuster, Gambit, Harpoon, Lady Mastermind, Mystique, Omega Sentinel, Prism, Riptide, Scalphunter, Sunfire, Scrambler, Vertigo (Marauders), Exodus, Frenzy, Gargouille, Neophyte, Projector, Random, Tempo, Unuscione, Vindaloo, Amelia Vought (Acolytes), Sinister, Predator X, Reverand Rissman, Purifiers, Lady Deathstrike, Reavers, Hope Summers, Cable, Forge

Story: This story, the first inter-title crossover from the X books in years, spins out of the events of the House of M storyline, in which the Scarlet Witch uses her reality warping abilities to de-power 98% of the mutant population.

A new mutant birth is recorded, the first since what they call ‘M Day’. This should be impossible, as the mutant genome has flatlined. But this baby is registered as a mutant at birth, which is even more unexpected, as the vast majority of mutants don’t manifest until adolescence. Once the baby is born the race is on to gain possession of her. The X-Men, Mr. Sinister and his Marauders, and the mutant hating zealots the Purifiers all converge on a small town in Alaska.

Unfortunately, the X-Men arrive too late, and the town is decimated. The Marauders and the Purifiers fought each other with no regard for human life, and nearly burned the town to the ground. There are no survivors.

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Some background information is important to note here. In the “X-Men” title, the team was recently devastated by the Marauders, and betrayed by team members Mystique, Lady Mastermind, and the Omega Sentinel. They took Rogue, who is comatose after absorbing billions of minds, captive, and severely injured Cannonball.

Believing that either the Marauders or the Purifiers have this new baby, Cyclops, who has recently taken over the X-Men completely from Professor X and has them operating almost like a military unit, sends Rictor (depowered on M Day) to infiltrate the Purifiers to see if they have the baby, and sends a team after the Marauders (Storm, Angel, Colossus, Wolverine, and Nightcrawler). He also sends X-Factor Investigations’ leader Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, and Layla Miller, the girl who ‘knows stuff’, to go see Forge in Texas.

Unbeknownst to the X-Men, the fearsome Predator X, a freakish beast covered in the metallic skin of New X-Man Mercury and nearly unkillable, is making a beeline for Alaska when the baby is born, and then when she is taken veers towards New York, specifically the mansion!

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Forge tells Madrox that the Scarlet Witch’s hex spell caused all future timelines to flatline, but when the baby was born two new futures with mutants popped up. Using Forge’s time machine, Madrox sends a duplicate to each timeline, but professional pain in the ass Layla Miller runs in the portal with the second dupe as Madrox falls comatose at Forge’s feet.

Meanwhile, the “New X-Men” team (the X-Men students) have a serious mad on for the Purifiers, who attacked the mansion and killed over 40 of their friends recently. So, finding out the X-Men know where they are and are not including them really pisses them off, so they sneak off to destroy the shit out of the racist turds. When they get there they run into the undercover Rictor, and all are dismayed to learn that the Purifiers are working with Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers (a group of cyborgs that hate mutants). During the ensuing fight, Hellion is seriously injured by Deathstrike and Pixie teleports everyone to relative safety.

Storm’s assault team tracks Sinister and the Marauders to Alaska, where they attack with the telepathic aid of Emma Frost. They are holding out better than you might think (especially since the Marauders now include Magneto’s former Acolytes, led by the insanely powerful Exodus, and former X-Men Gambit and Sunfire!) but the pain and fear of the students suddenly flaring up on Emma’s ‘radar’ after Pixie teleports them distracts her, which gives Sinister the chance he needs to block her out. The X-Men are then dealt with handily, including Wolverine having his healing factor turned off and blasted by the Omega Sentinel (but not before attacking Gambit and learning of who really has the baby), and Nightcrawler taking a hollow point bullet in the stomach.

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Cyclops sends Iceman to pick up the wayward students and bring them home, and readies a team to go after the assault team that the Marauders are crushing. Of course this is when the O*N*E Sentinels (Office of National Emergency, stationed outside the Xavier Institute after M Day for ‘protection’) attack the mansion! The mansion is seriously damaged, and more injuries are suffered. The timely arrival of Iceman and the New X-Men allows them to beat the Sentinels, who they learned have been corrupted by futuristic nano technology. This makes some kind of sense when the assault team arrives home with their wounded, and Wolverine tells Cyclops what Gambit told him: the baby is in the possession of the thought-dead Cable!

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Thinking his son attacked them for some reason, Cyclops puts together a team of hunter/trackers to chase him down. He sends Wolverine, X-23, Wolfsbane, Hepzibah, Caliban and Warpath after him, calling them his new X-Force!

X-Force tracks down Cable, finding him on the run for his life from Lady Deathstrike and her Reavers. X-Force jumps into the fight immediately, with X-23 taking out Deathstrike while the others murder the hell out of the Reavers and Purifiers. They are able to save Cable and the baby, but it comes at the cost of Caliban’s life. During the fight Cable doubles back and steals X-Force’s jet, and heads to see Forge in Texas, where he plans to use Forge’s time machine to get back to the future.

complex2Meanwhile, in the future Jamie Madrox and Layla Miller find themselves in a mutant concentration camp. In this future a very powerful mutant was born that became a ‘messiah’ for mutants and caused the deaths of one million humans. This led to a war between the two species and the subjugation and murder of thousands of mutants. They are then branded with “M”s on their faces and thrown into the general population, where they meet a young, angry Lucas Bishop! At this point Layla realizes something about what is happening in the present, and using a grenade she stole from a guard, kills the Madrox dupe, sending his memories to the present day Jamie.

In the present, Cable gets to Forge’s headquarters only to find the place trashed and Forge out of commission. He is then shot from behind by none other than Bishop himself, who then takes aim at the baby!

Bishop, you dick

Bishop, you dick

Before he can go all murder time on the helpless baby, the Marauders crash the party, and kick Bishop’s ass and take the baby for themselves! This shit is getting crazy! The Marauders take the baby to the now abandoned Muir Island, and Sinister warns the gathered Marauders and Acolytes to prepare for war; the X-Men are coming. Gambit takes the baby away with Sinister, who reveals that ‘he’ is actually Mystique, and the real Sinister is lying dead on the ground! Mystique held his face against Rogue’s until he died (she was pissed when he revealed he had no cure for Rogue, and never intended to heal her). She clearly has something planned here.

At least he died doing what he loved: bleeding from his mouth and struggling to breathe

At least he died doing what he loved: bleeding from his mouth and struggling to breathe

The X-Men scramble to repair Cerebra, the use it to track down and pick up X-Force, Bishop, and the still comatose Multiple Man. Bishop, the lying bastard that he is, tells them that Cable ruthlessly attacked him and Bishop and took off in the Blackbird. Realizing that they are out of time but not quite ready for the fight ahead, Cyclops send Bishop and X-Force ahead to Muir Island in Bishop’s ship to go kick ass and take names (not so much take names).

Not long after the strike team leaves, Madrox wakes up and spills the beans on the crazy ass future he just came from and the fact that Bishop was there and blames his whole miserable youth on the baby he’s supposedly trying to save with X-Force. Cyclops gathers his team and heads off after them.

Of course, right about now is when the monstrous Predator X arrives at the mansion and starts trying to eat everyone. When he gets to the infirmary, where Beast is trying to save the lives of students and X-Men alike that have been wounded fighting Marauders and Sentinels, the New X-Men show up to try to stop it. In a panic, Pixie teleports them all to the X-Men. The problem with that is, the X-Men are in the middle of a fight with more than a dozen Marauders and Acolytes! So now you’ve to X-Force and the X-Men and the New X-Men against the Marauders and the Acolytes while Predator X tries to eat everyone. Bishop is off trying to kill the baby, the X-Men are frantically trying to figure out a way to win the fight and save the baby. Oh, and not get eaten by the giant metal skinned monster.

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As all of this craziness is going on, Cable mentally contacted Professor X for help. He explains to the professor that Bishop must have attacked the mansion by using the nanobots to infect the Sentinels, cause he sure as hell didn’t. He explains that in his timeline, the baby is the mutant messiah that unites both humans and mutants and ushers in a utopia, and that everything he’s done is to save her. The two of them arrive at Muir Island as the shit goes down, and Cable goes to search for the baby while Charles goes to help his X-Men.

Away from all of the craziness, Mystique explains that according to her dead ex-girlfriend Destiny, who could see the future, the baby is the key to healing Rogue. She puts the baby’s lips to Rogue’s forehead. Gambit, horrified at what she is doing, pulls the baby away and tells her he must have been insane to go along with any of this, and that Rogue would never want this. The professor walks in and tells Gambit he’s very glad to hear him say that. Cable follows close behind, and grabs the baby from Mystique. Of course, because everything sucks all the time for the X-Men, Bishop runs in right behind them, and right behind HIM is Predator X, drawn to the baby.

Predator X attacks Bishop, biting his arm off. Cable (plus baby), the Professor, and everyone scramble, and break back into the chaos of the big fight. Predator X eats a few Marauders, and Wolverine attacks it. Realizing he can’t get through its skin, the crazy Canuck lets the damn thing EAT HIM, and goes to work on its insides, eventually cutting his way out (EWWWW).

Anybody hungry?

Anybody hungry?

Meanwhile, Rogue wakes up from her coma, and learns what Mystique tried to do. She begins to touch Mystique, planning on killing her, when she realizes her powers are back to normal, and what’s more, the brief contact with the baby purged all of the memories she had ever permanently stolen! Unfortunately for Rogue, she realized that too late, and stole a bunch of Mystique’s memories, so she now always has a piece of her ‘mother’ with her. Bummer.

After wrapping up what is left of the Marauders and Acolytes, Cyclops demands Cable hand the baby over to him. After a moment of contemplation, and a flash back to when he had to give up Cable as a baby, he returns her to him, and tells him to take her to the future and give her the chances he was never able to give Cable. Bishop, sensing that he is failing to stop the horrors of his timeline, steals Scalphunter’s gun and fires at Cable as he is bodysliding to the future. But he’s too late; Cable is gone, and the bullet hits Professor X in the head! Cyclops takes Bishop out with a huge optic blast, just in time for him to realize that the Professor appears to be dead.

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The stunned X-Men gather around the body, and Cyclops states there are no more X-Men, not anymore. The Professor’s body is teleported away. In the future, Cable arrives with the baby, thinking “now comes the hard part”.

So.. all of that insanity was the EASY part?!

So.. all of that insanity was the EASY part?!

HOLY HELL. This story is straight up bonkers. There are so many awesome twists and turns, and a ton of great action. Cyclops really comes into his own as like the general of the X-teams, and the new X-Force is awesome. I really only have two complaints. First, how does Cyclops take Bishop out the way he does? I realize Bishop is losing blood fast from his fucking MISSING ARM, but he absorbs energy! At worst the blast he takes would have oversaturated him with energy, which would have forced him to discharge it. The impact from the blast, even one as powerful as Cyclops, wouldn’t have knocked him out…. The other complaint is the way the disappearance of Charles’ body isn’t explained here. The last thing we see is the X-Men standing around dumbstruck, and he just disappears in the last panel. If you read Mike Carey’s awesome X-Men: Legacy, it is shown that the Acolytes’ Tempest, under order of Exodus, freezes time and they take him away. Exodus does not want Charles to die, much less like that, and spends a ton of time telekinetically and telepathically repairing Charles’ brain as best he can.

Other than those nitpicks, I freaking love Messiah Complex! It led to one of the most interesting periods in X-Men history, and led to the next three events, which I will cover in parts 10, 11, and 12.

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