Age of Apocalypse #8

Issue Date: 
December 2012
Story Title: 
The Kiss of Doom

David Lapham (writer), Renato Arlem (artist), Lee Loughridge (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Kris Anka (cover artist), Jordan D. White (editor), Nick Lowe (senior editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Doom tells Prophet he had Reed Richard’s journals but he destroyed them after committing them to memory. Asked why he doesn’t do anything to help the humans in Latveria, Doom replies he has struck deals to protect them. With that, he hands them over to Emma Frost, who had previously captured the rest of the X-Terminators. Emma taunts them before Doom announced he has alerted Azazel to the situation. Emma is annoyed but Azazel arrives and she shows them the prisoners. He inspects them and then leaves to decide what to do. After Azazel goes, Doom neutralizes Emma and informs the group he did Emma’s surgery to removes her telepathy years ago. He knew then it would come back one day, so he set up a fail-safe that would knock her out for short periods of time. Whilst Emma is carried off, Doom frees the team and shows them a giant piece of machinery. He explains that it will capture the Death Seed energies but, in return for its use, the team must kill Weapon Omega. The team asks if Doom has a weapon to kill him with but Doom won’t discuss it until they agree to his terms. Once the Death Seed energies are his, he wants to use them on himself to take out the various mutant factions. Most of the team is uneasy about Doom having so much power and Prophet eventually attacks him. They quickly overpower him but then Deadeye betrays them and points a gun at Prophet’s head. She says Doom may not be perfect but right now they don’t have a great deal of choice. Eventually, Doom sends the team away but Deadeye stays behind with him. Unfortunately for him, it was all a ruse and Deadeye chops his head off in the night and goes back to America so that Dr. Moreau can extract all the information from Doom’s brain.

Full Summary: 

Victor von Doom tells Prophet that he has been fighting the good fight for many years now and the clever hand of the Prophet is all over the news from the west. That is, if you know what to look for.

Prophet says that if Doom knows of his cause, then he knows why he came. Doom says that there were eleven notebooks on the Celestials that Reed Richards wrote and he performed some extraordinary research. As they walk through some tunnels, Prophet asks if the research is useful and Doom assumes he is talking about finding a way to defeat Weapon Omega. He says perhaps but then tells Prophet the real question he wants to ask is, “will he give the journals to him?” As they walk into a large room with lots of machinery inside, Doom tells them the journals were destroyed after he committed them to memory.

As much as he admires their exploits, using this knowledge in their cause would be an utter waste. Prophet asks him to elaborate before he disagrees with him. Doom tells him it is simple math. Mutants number tens of millions and the population is growing, whilst humans number in the tens of thousands and are shrinking. There was a war and they lost.

Prophet asks him if he is advocating Omega’s survival of the fittest regime and Doom tells him maybe humanity would be better off if they did. Deadeye chirps in and says they are going to change the mission. The harder they struggle to defend all of humanity, the more they have lost. If they had focused on taking power for themselves… Doom finishes her sentence and says that, if they had taken power instead of wasting time and resources on fighting, then the outcome would have been very different.

Deadeye continues and says that her brother always said they were fighting the war all wrong but they lacked the will to change their nature. Prophet tells her now isn’t the time to talk about her brother but she snaps back that he was right and he said so before Prophet sent him to his death.

Prophet asks Doom what his plans are, if he won’t share the information he has. Doom replaces his mask and asks them to walk with him. Prophet asks if the fact his people are being exterminated in camp stirs him into action. Doom replies that if he were to lead a rebellion they would all die in a fruitless cause. Instead, they are interned and their numbers are twenty-eight thousand, four hundred and twelve and growing. He has taken measures to make sure they won’t be tortured or executed, at least en mass anyway.

Prophet asks how he managed that and Doom apologizes and says at this time those measures include turning them over to the Queen. As they walk into another room Prophet asks who the Queen is and a voice calls out telling them it’s her. They turn to see Emma Frost standing before them and she informs them they are her prisoners now.

Emma Frost was a mutant who had the part of her brain that contained her telepathic powers removed.  She went on to join the Human High Council to fight to save humanity but apparently both of those things were exaggerated. She is standing before four tubes full of yellow liquid, with Harper Simmons, Goodnight, Jean Grey and Fiend in each tube. As Emma doesn’t recognize Fiend, the X-Terminator introduces herself and says that she will be the one to kill Emma. Emma is delighted at her audacity and says her mind shall be a treat to violate.

Here in Latveria, they call her the Queen and she presides over the gene pools. The protoplasmic goo that spurs forward evolution is Latveria’s chief export.

Fiend tells Emma the only thing worse than a monster is a traitor and then congratulates her on being both. Sue Storm and the whole of humanity trusted her. Emma replies that humans cut her head open and when her powers returned so did her senses. Prophet tries to reason with her by pointing out that if she turns them over to Weapon Omega it will only increase his overall power. She may find herself a queen in name only. Emma jokingly suggests setting them free to go about their terrorist ways and then tells them other arrangements have been made. As she says that a guard comes up to her and informs her that Azazel has arrived. Emma turns to Doom, a little surprised, and he says he had to call Azazel as it was protocol.

Azazel walks in the room and Emma greets him, saying that they have captured some very interesting humans. He sneers at her and says he will be the judge of that. He inspects the tubes containing some of the team and he tells Emma they don’t look like much. Emma says not to con her, as their deal was that he gets first refusal at dissidents amongst her stock. Everyone knows what a prize Jean Grey is and they says the Prophet knows more about the lives of the overlord’s ministers than the ministers themselves.

She tells Azazel to imagine the value of the secrets locked in his head, causing him to wonder if she has learned anything from them already. Emma replies they remain untouched both physically and mentally during the rights period, as Latveria has no interest in Apocalypse’s secrets. Azazel tells her he hopes so for her sake and says he will return soon.

As soon as Azazel leaves, Emma turns to Doom and tells him it was unwise to inform the minister so quickly, as she won’t be able to enjoy this like she wished. Doom says it was just as he had planned and then points out she isn’t able to read their minds anymore.

(Humanity’s Last Stand)
In the cell block, Sabretooth is kneeling on the floor with blood pouring from his mouth, his son Graydon standing over him. Graydon, holding a bottle of alcohol, shouts for him to get up but Sabretooth dryly apologizes for not being around to play catch as there was a war going on. Graydon snarls back and says that’s because he was too busy hunting other people’s kids out of their hiding places to be mashed up in Apocalypse’s gene pools. He couldn’t care less about his childhood but he does care about his peace of mind. As he grabs his father by the hair, Sabretooth replies that if he wants to be judge and jury then he will have to earn it. With that, he grabs the bottle out of Graydon’s hand and smashes him across the face with it.

Sabretooth gets up and says his sins are his and tells Graydon to worry about the ones he himself is working on. Graydon wipes the liquid from his face and says he doesn’t want to be thinking about his father but he doesn’t have a choice. He angrily punches Sabretooth across the face and yells that he is out there everyday fighting for humanity, whilst deep down he knows his father was a filthy mutant butcher, as was his mother. Kicking Sabretooth down, his says that maybe he is a… but he can’t finish. Instead, Sabretooth does it for him and asks if he thinks that deep down inside him there is a filthy mutant waiting to rear its ugly head. Graydon doesn’t reply. Instead, he steps out the cell, slams the door shut and walks away.

Doom informs Prophet his thoughts are perfectly safe as Emma Frost is inert. She will not remember this incident or anything from the last twenty-four hours. As Emma stands there blankly, Doom continues that they don’t have much time and there is so much he has to show them.

He tells his Doombots to take the Queen to her chambers and continuously monitor her. The Doombots also free the rest of the team from their confinement and says that it was he who did the initial surgery on Emma. Her mutant power is controlled by her entire being, not a simple part of the brain. All he did was to successfully trick Emma’s consciousness into thinking it was but eventually her synapses reconnected and created new pathways. Knowing this would happen, he implanted a simple fail-safe device that would neutralize her consciousness for short periods of time. She is quite unaware of it and believes the blackouts are a consequence of the surgery.

Doom tells the team to gather their belongings as he doesn’t know when Azazel will return and he wants them to feel secure for what happens next. Prophet asks what that is and Doom tells him their coming to Latveria was known to Emma from their encounter in England. It was only the prospect of Azazel coming that kept her out of their minds.

Doom escorts them to another room, as he wants to show them his masterpiece. They enter a huge room and they see an enormous piece of equipment being guarded by Doombots. He explains that he used Reed’s research and expanded on it with his own knowledge to create the master apparatus. The Celestials imbued Weapon X with massive cosmic power on par with the Phoenix Force. The key is that Apocalypse’s death seed was given to this planet to advance evolution, not its specific host. When the host is destroyed, the power simply finds a new home. The apparatus can capture the Death Seed energy and direct it into a host of his choosing and this is how they will turn the tide and snatch victory from defeat.

Prophet asks Doom if he intends on being the host, to which Doom replies that he is the most qualified and if that is arrogant it is also the truth. Jean tells him the power must be freed from its host first. Doom says he will help them with their mission but they must kill Weapon Omega. Goodnight sarcastically asks if that’s all; it seems it’s always two steps forward and three back into an old conversation.

Prophet asks if Doom has created a weapon and he replies he has one or will create one but first they must agree to his proposal. He says there is a mutant vs mutant war coming with Omega Red in the east and Weapon Omega to the west, with Latveria in the middle. Both sides want their gene pools and both sides have given him autonomy, which he has used to prepare the tools they need for victory. Doom suggests letting the two sides war and weaken each other, and then when the time is right they strike. With the Apocalypse power, no one would be able to oppose them. Jean asks if he means no one would oppose him, and they would have to concede the world to him. Fiend doesn’t like the sound of that but Doom says he prizes loyalty and fealty and in return he will give them a world of peace with an end to starvation, suffering and strife.

Prophet asks if he has a weapon or not and Doom retorts that he is fishing. He points out that they can always decline his offer and Jean tells Prophet they will follow him but her husband said similar things before the Death Seed took him. Doom says he has never had a keen interest in blood like her estranged husband and then presses Prophet for an answer. Prophet says he believes they have very little choice and then slyly takes out a flash grenade and throws it at Doom.

Fiend and Goodnight suddenly leap into action and fire their weapons at the Doombots around them. Prophet gets Doom around the neck from behind and demands he hand over the weapon to kill Omega or he will take his head back to Dr. Moreau to discover its secrets. Holding a blade to his throat, he says they are pure black vibranium, so if he thinks the threat is idle he will have made the first and last underestimation of his life. Doom replies that he believes him, but he also believes it is he that has stumbled.

Prophet realizes Deadeye has a gun pointed at the back of his head and she angrily asks if they have all lost their minds. She says they have been witness to the genocide of an entire species and Doom has proven his worth since the beginning. Whilst he might not be able to deliver a chicken in every pot, at least there won’t be a human in them. Prophet lets Doom go as the rest of his team stands down after being surrounded by Doombots. Doom says he would not have given them a weapon under any terms but his own, and fail-safes in his armor would have prevented them from getting his brain or any DNA from him. With Deadeye stood next to him, he says his affinity for humanity is far from selfless and perhaps when they have had time to reflect they will see that that is not such a terrible thing in these times.

Doom let them go and they left Deadeye behind without so much as a goodbye. Like Prophet, she felt what she had done was necessary. She lied, deceived, sacrificed friends and allies and made deals with the devil. Prophet never forgot that they were fighting for their humanity as much as they were for humans and to lose that was no better than being extinct. They left knowing they had made the right decision and that they would find another way.

When Deadeye stayed behind, she began a relationship with Doom. However, one night as Doom slept, she took out a blade, cut off his head and placed it in a jar for preservation. Two weeks after the rest of the team arrived home, Prophet left without a word and when he came back Deadeye was with him, carrying her prize. 

Characters Involved: 

Deadeye, Fiend, Goodnight, Horror Show, Jean Grey, Prophet,

Harper Simmons

Emma Frost
Victor von Doom

Story Notes: 

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

“A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” was a campaign slogan by Herbert Hoover in his successful 1928 presidential campaign.

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