Age of Apocalypse #13

Issue Date: 
May 2013
Story Title: 
War Drums

David Lapham (writer), Renato Arlem and Valentine de Landro (artists), Lee Loughridge (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Greg Land (cover artist), Jordan D. White (editor), Nick Lowe (senior editor), Greg (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler meets with Mystique and she tells him he has no reason to go back home. He tells her he has betrayed X-Force and that he needs to go back to resume the fight against Weapon Omega. Nine months after the fall of Omega and the world has finally found peace. Lady Penance is the monarch of the new nation and the humans have freedom, as well as Hawaii. On the Hawaiian Islands, Bolivar Trask and Fiend are setting up the infrastructure there. He is more concerned with his secret bunker but she wants to build more medical facilities and shelters. He informs her he has plans for the hospitals and the two finally start to bond. Elsewhere, Graydon Creed has healed his father as much as he can but Sabretooth still won’t wake up. Creed finds a healer and has him tend to him and Sabretooth finally regains consciousness. Prophet and Deadeye relax in bed but she holds a cynical view on how long peace will last. Prophet recounts his backstory to her and tells her he has faith in the goodness of people. The deposed Weapon Omega has spent the last nine months tracking down and killing his former ministers. With Havok dead, he chases down Cyclops. After a brutal fight, Cyclops is killed but, before he can celebrate, Jean Grey appears. They talk about their relationship and the Apocalypse power and he eventually tells her she is free of him, as he will never be the man she loved. As Sebastian Shaw sits in prison, he is visited by Goodnight, who has healed from the savage beating he got for betraying Shaw. He reveals he is now more cyborg than ever and people still don’t trust him, thanks to the actions of his clones during Apocalypse’s reign. He then reveals he slipped poison into Shaw’s drink, just as the man dies in front of him. The threat from Omega Red to the East never came, as Prophet disappeared before the war was due to start. When he came back, Omega Red had backed down, thanks to the knowledge that Prophet had the Apocalypse power. Dr. Moreau wants to use the power but Prophet has hidden it and reaffirms its main use is as a deterrent. Jean Grey later meets up with Graydon and they rekindle their relationship. On Earth 616, Nightcrawler ambushes Dark Beast and orders him to take him back to the Age of Apocalypse.

Full Summary: 

(Earth 616, Japan)
In a dark tunnel beneath the city, Mystique tells her alternate reality son that his dead family is now avenged. She says they are gone and there is nothing left to go back to and that this is his home now. She informs him that his skill with swords would be prized by the Hand and he would have meaning.

Nightcrawler, from the Age of Apocalypse reality, apologizes and says that she is nothing but a shade of a familiar memory of his real mother. He tells her he is tired of this place and he doesn’t take the terrible things he has done lightly. He betrayed X-Force and all they ever did was put their trust and lives in his hands. Mystique tells him not to let regret poison his mind as he did what he had to. He tells her would do it again; in fact he would trade the whole universe to see his wife again. He would trade it to rid his world of the terrible tyrant who grips on to it. It’s a fight he has been away from for too long and he must find a way to get back to the Age of Apocalypse.

(the Age of Apocalypse)
Nine months have passed since the fall of Weapon Omega and even Prophet couldn’t have predicted how well things would turn out. Remnants of his regime were destroyed and new affordable living was constructed for the dregs to live in, like civilized people. Prophet and the X-Terminated prepared for the next phase of the war, which was supposed to be a power grab. Every alpha with a teaspoon of ego would come out of the woodwork and make a play for the top spot. But it never came.

The various alphas, betas, gammas and dregs all flocked to Lady Penance, as she was everything Prophet hoped she would be when he resurrected her. Strong, decisive, cruel, kind, arrogant, self-centered and completely worshipped by her people. In short, the perfect monarch. It’s not what the founding fathers would have called freedom but the ideals of democracy had little to offer on the post-Apocalyptic world. Penance promised that she would take the death sentence off the human race and she did.

She also gave them Hawaii like she had promised Prophet she would. Bolivar Trask and his daughter Franny, aka Fiend, were there organizing their own reconstruction. As Sentinels lift a huge machine into a large hole in the ground, Bolivar speaks to a construction worker and tells him the pipes need to be dug deeper before the guns are put in. Franny comes up to him and says he is more concerned with his secret bunker than hospitals and shelters. She tells him there’s peace going on, or didn’t he get all the good vibrations? He tells her he hopes it lasts but it’s his job to prepare in case it doesn’t.

She says they are getting boatloads of people daily and they are running out of space and the medical facilities suck. He tells her that’s why he put the drones on it this morning and soon there will be state of the art medical facilities on all islands. A little taken aback, she seems pleased but then adds the houses need finishing too. He ignores her and remarks that during her rant she called him dad. She smiles at him and tells him not to let it go to his head.

If you build it they will come was always a human mantra, and there were more still alive than anyone expected. 1.2 million in fact, twenty times their best estimates. People were coming from all corners of the world as they had been hiding in caves, hills and forests. They hid amongst the mutants, and many were hidden by the mutants.

Elsewhere, Graydon Creed walks through some streets as he escorts a rather short man somewhere. They enter a building and walk of many flights of stairs, as the short man complains at the distance he has to walk. They enter a room in which Graydon’s father Sabretooth lies, hooked up to medical devices on a bed. Graydon says he found various people to heal his father’s body but he still won’t wake up. He has heard that he can heal people’s minds and that he once regrew the brain of someone whose head had been completely crushed. The man takes off a box that had been concealing Sabretooth’s head and tells Graydon that if he were that powerful he wouldn’t have been living as a beggar on Yancy Street. Graydon replies that if he wakes him up there will be enough money so that he never lives as a beggar again.

The man asks, if he is with the top dogs, why is he coming to him for help? He may hate his father but he won’t put him in the Sugar Man’s hands, or that creep Dr. Moreau, Graydon replies. As the man places his hands on Sabretooth’s head, Graydon says he has spent months obsessing over curing his father but he still doesn’t know if he is rooting for or against the man. Sabretooth suddenly starts to make a noise and he wearily sits up in bed. Graydon steps back in amazement and he says he is definitely against.

The distance from fear to hate and acceptance to friendship turned out to be a pond and not an ocean. It wasn’t all flowers and love as there were plenty of incidents but they remained incidents and not a systematic infection.

As Deadeye and Prophet lie in bed together she asks if he thinks it will last. Sooner or later, they will realize they are stronger than them and they will get pushed to the bottom of the pile. Prophet replies that they will all be challenges in the new era. She continues to quiz him and asks how long it will last and when they will get put into the ghettos and reservations. She wonders if they really won or if the peace just ripped the tooth out of them. He looks at her and tells her it’s her brother talking and to have a little faith. She asks what to have faith in and he replies the spirit. She thought he wasn’t religious, she tells him, and he tells her his father was a preacher and he taught the message of God. He thought he would follow in his father’s footsteps but Apocalypse’s forces put a stop to that. Their town, like so many others, was destroyed and they became refugees. Ironically though, it was human scavengers who killed his parents and two sisters.

Prophet recalls Candra and Gideon destroying his town and then him grieving over his family’s bodies. He grew up as a wanderer, never trusting and always observing. He knew what to expect from someone when approaching them or stealing from them. He saw cruelty and hopelessness on both sides but he also saw acts of kindness and heroism. This is how he knew the war could be won and that’s what he puts his faith in. As Deadeye gets dressed, she asks if he has gambled the fate on the human race on the goodness of man. He asks why not, as it’s real and he has seen it a thousand times, but all he has ever seen from gods is hopelessness and despair.

(Buffalo, New York)
Weapon Omega jumps down from some ruined buildings and quickly dodges an optic blast. Cyclops says he can’t believe Omega has followed him this far and asks why he doesn’t turn the claws on himself. However much blood he has spilled, it’s nothing compared to the old Overlord’s. Omega tells him that’s why he should shut his mouth, as he isn’t even in his league. Cyclops tells him he has walked into an ambush and orders a group of soldiers to take him out. Omega retorts and tells Cyclops he brought his own guys, as three animal-like mutants suddenly appear around him.

As the two forces fight, Cyclops yells that he is tired of being hounded for months and he wants to end it. As Omega dodges an optic blast, he asks what happened to the icy cool demeanor of his minister of famine. Cyclops fires another blast and hits Omega on his side whilst telling him that was for Havok. Omega manages to get close and hit Cyclops around the head with his stumped hand. He points out he hated his brother but, if he wants to see him so much, he can join him. With that, he stabs Cyclops in the head, killing him.

One of Omega’s gang says the others are chasing some soldiers into Canada. Omega tells him the Summers brothers are gone but he has heard Emplate is down in Brazil. The mutant asks if they are going to have to fly in one of those things again and Omega asks if he means a plane. However he is suddenly distracted by the arrival of Jean Grey, who tells him he is a hard man to find.

Jean says he has been tracking his ministers down for months now but it will take years to get them all. She tells him it’s time to take a break and come home but he doesn’t like that idea. She tells him they have peace now and he replies she should never have saved him. She says she didn’t know she could but, when Apocalypse’s power flowed out of him, it entered her. Prophet speculated that her cells held a sense memory given that she had possessed the Phoenix Force before. Either way, she rejected it and funneled the energy away from the city and away from him. He points out she may have rejected it but he didn’t and he still wants it. There is no peace for him in this life and there never will be. The Logan she knew is dead and so he releases her obligation to him.

Sebastian Shaw sits in a prison cell when he gets an unexpected visitor in the form of Donald Pierce, aka Goodnight. Shaw tells him he is looking better and Pierce replies that he had Dr. Moreau to thank for that as well as being over seventy percent cyborg. He can also thank Shaw for it but the man stares at him through the bars and coldly tells him he betrayed him and asks what he would have done. Pierce replies he would have made sure he was all the way dead for one.

Pierce tells Shaw that no one fully trusts him because for much of the war people saw clones of him slaughtering innocents by the truckload. He holds out his arm to reveal it is now made of metal and he tells Shaw this new look doesn’t do his already shaky reputation any good. Shaw suggests that maybe people just know what kind of man he is. Pierce suggests a liar, the type of man to deceive the guards in order to slip a bit of poison into a prisoner’s water ration. Shaw suddenly looks alarmed as he has been drinking some water throughout the whole conversation. Pierce smiles and tells Shaw he isn’t the type of man to get goaded into beating on him and fuelling his mutant power of kinetic absorption. Shaw suddenly drops the cup he was holding and drops down to the floor.

In the first few months of peace, they expected a war from Omega Red’s forces to the east. His forces had overrun most of Asia and Eastern Europe with relative ease and spies said that he was sure the West was ripe for the taking. On the eve of what they thought would be the first wave of an attack, Prophet disappeared and, when he returned, war still hadn’t come, and it never would. It was all because of the canister containing the Apocalypse power that was now in Prophet’s possession.

Dr. Moreau tells Prophet he wants to study it and use the power to heal people. Prophet replies its power was enough to stop Omega Red in his tracks and it will guarantee the sanctity of the Hawaiian Island. That it must be used as a deterrent. Dr. Moreau replies that he can’t help but feel Prophet doesn’t trust him, as he hasn’t even said where the power is. Prophet tells him it’s for his own protection but Dr. Moreau asks what if the power could be broken down into small doses and used to empower humans. Prophet simply tells him his talents are required elsewhere.

Ultimately, it can’t be underestimated how tired everyone was of war and how ready they were for peace. They took to it like a baby cleaves to its mother. A victory had never been so welcome or complete.

A helicopter lands and Jean Grey gets out, to be met by Graydon holding a bunch of flowers. He smiles and says it’s a bit late to congratulate her on saving the world but he will say she is a sight for sore eyes. She smiles back and tells him he isn’t such a bad sight himself.

(Earth 616, Manhattan)
If everyone would have been blinked out of existence at that moment, not a single person would have gone with regret. Unfortunately, no one can control the timing of such things.

In an underground parking lot, Dark Beast walks to his car but a voice calls out to him and says he is a hard man to find. Nightcrawler suddenly appears and wraps his tail around the man’s neck. He demands Dark Beast take him back to their home reality or he will happily teleport his head off his shoulders.

Characters Involved: 

Deadeye, Fiend, Goodnight, Horror Show, Jean Grey, Prophet, Sabretooth (all X-Terminated)

Bolivar Trask
Dr. Moreau

Weapon Omega
Dark Beast

Sebastian Shaw

Sugar Man

Nightcrawler (AoA)

Omega Red

Citizens of New Apocalypse

Reverend Styker

Story Notes: 

This issue, like the rest of the series, is narrated by Harper Simmons, a reporter from Earth 616.

AoA Nightcrawler stayed on Earth 616 during the Uncanny X-Force (1st series) run, as he wanted to take revenge on some traitorous refugees who were also in the reality. However, he betrayed Wolverine’s X-Force team on his quest for vengeance and is now being hunted down.

AoA Nightcrawler’s family were killed by AoA Blob.

This issue is a prelude to the X-Termination crossover that also features Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) as well as X-Treme X-Men (2nd series). Whilst #14 is the next issue, it is part of the crossover that begins with X-Termination #1.

Goodnight was exposed as being a human rebel to Sebastian Shaw last issue. Whilst the outcome wasn’t shown, it can be assumed he was severely beaten for it. 

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