Age of X: Alpha

Issue Date: 
March 2011
Story Title: 

Mike Carey (writer), Mirco Pierfederici, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Carlo Barberi, Walden Wong, Antonio Fabela, Paco Diaz, Matt Milla, Pau Davidson, Brian Reber (artists), Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Chris Bachalo & Tim Townsend (cover artists), Oliver Coipel, Mark Morales & Laura Martin (variant cover artists), Irene Y Lee (production), Jake Thomas (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Nike Lowe (consulting editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Mutantkind are enjoying what appears to be a peaceful night, one where they are not under attack at Fortress X. Several of them are gathered around a bonfire and they reveal some stories of their past. They learn that Scott Summers was controlled by Arcade, the warden of the Alcatraz Penitentiary, where Scott was the unwilling executioner of mutant prisoners, until one day when he managed to free himself, he killed Arcade and set the remaining prisoners free, before escaping. Cannonball reveals how he and his sister Husk could not save the rest of the Guthrie family, all of whom were killed during the movement against carriers of the X-gene. Kavita Rao explains how she had developed a cure to remove mutant power, with Dr Richard Palance, and how she realized her mistake too late, as Palance was going to release the cure into the water supply. Wolverine found them, and they discovered the only way to destroy the virus would be for it to be injected into Wolverine, who would metabolize it, unless the cure overwhelmed his healing factor quickly enough to kill it. Kavita injected all of the cure into Wolverine, until Dr Palance attempted to stop her - so she injected the final vial of cure into him instead. Wolverine however survived the experience, but Kavita cannot decide whether she saved or destroyed Wolverine. Toad reveals how he and several other mutants were trapped inside the Chrysler Building which was surrounded by Colonel Creed and his forces, preventing the mutants from escaping to Canada, until Magneto and Mystique arrived on scene, and Magneto lifted the entire building and several surrounding it to safety, rescuing the mutants inside. Toad explains that following that, Magneto built the fortress, and then all of mutantkind came here. Suddenly, the mutants get word that an attack is coming, and they leap into action.

Full Summary: 

Fortress X, the dead of night, a voice echoes all around: ‘Field stations, this is the General. I’m reading no movement on eastern or southern perimeters. Can you confirm?’ At one perimeter, Gambit is with Trance and announces that they have nothing. ‘More’s the damn pity’ Trance remarks. In a room with a stained-glass window, Magneto stands with a cloaked figure and calls out to X, asking if they are reading anything anomalous in their comms chatter. A voice seemingly from nowhere replies that signal exchanges are running 1% below background normal, and decrypted messages refer to routine troop movements. At another perimeter, Rockslide remarks to Frenzy that if they don’t come soon he is going to have to pick a fight with her. ‘Go ahead. We can always use more rubble’ Frenzy snaps back. Cannonball tells everyone to stand down, as it looks like it might be a quiet night after all. ‘But stay on post. Something doesn’t smell right’ he adds.

Several mutants have gathered around a campfire, as Jubilee exclaims that this is where she feels she belongs. ‘I never felt that about any place else’ she adds. ‘You belong in a war zone?’ Nightmare asks her. ‘Evidently’ Jubilee mutters. The Sub-Mariner announces that he had all the world’s oceans to wander in once, and now cannot help but see Fortress X as a cage. ‘A cage you chose, beloved. In order to be with me’ Storm reminds him as she leans against him.
Nightmare exclaims that she bets everyone has a wild story like that. ‘What about you, Scott?’ she asks, turning to Basilisk, who replies ‘Nothing about me’. ‘I mean, how did you get to be -’ Nightmare begins, so Basilisk turns away, telling everyone he is going to walk the walls. ‘You people are just too damn relaxed’ he declares.
Berserker tells Nightmare that she should know better than to talk to Basilisk that way. Nightmare replies that she is sorry, and remarks that she knows Basilisk did jail time. ‘He was on death row in Alcatraz, right?’ she asks. Berserker confirms that Basilisk was in Alcatraz, but that he was not on death row - not exactly, anyway. ‘It’s more like - he was the thing you meet at the end of death row’.

Basilisk’s flashback:

Alcatraz Penitentiary, a sign that reads “Mutants to be shackled at all times” is next to the main doors. ‘On your feet for the governor. Show a little respect you damned animals!’ an Alcatraz guard orders , kicking a mutant in the stomach. Three mutants are shackled and blindfolded, in a room with blood splattered all around it. A red-haired man with a white suit - Arcade - the Governor of Alcatraz - enters the room, ‘Please, let’s not stand on ceremony. We’re all friends here’ he remarks, before asking the mutants if they have no last-minute appeals. ‘Excellent! Justice will be done!’ he declares, before introducing himself to his prisoners, he exclaims ‘Arcade is the name, and sweet, impartial justice is the game. Within these walls, the punishment always fit’s the crime’.

Arcade tells his prisoners that their crime is not something they have done, it is just what they are - ‘You’re here because you’re mutants. So the punishment - well, the punishment ought to be a mutant too, wouldn’t you say?’ he exclaims, before inviting them to gaze - briefly, but memorably - into the red raw staring eyes of the Basilisk. ‘Safety lock off’ one guard remarks. ‘Off. Gymbals are free’ the other officer remarks as they wheel Basilisk into the room, strapped to a stretcher-like device which is placed upright as Arcade exclaims ‘Okay. Bring ‘im up’. Arcade places his hand out and asks for the magic button. One of the guards places a remote in his hand - one switch, with an “open” or “closed” option. ‘How does this thing work again?’ Arcade asks. ‘Oh, yes. I remember’ he mutters, moving the switch from “closed” to “open”.

‘No! Please! Don’t -’ Basilisk exclaims, as the metal covering on his face slides apart - and powerful beams of optic energy are forced from him, slaying the mutant prisoners in front of him. ‘Delightful. The only way to start the day’ Arcade declares. While the guards pick up the bodies and throw them into a dumpster, Arcade turns to Basilisk and asks him what his score is - ‘Up into three figures yet?’ Basilisk calls Arcade a maniac and assures him that he will kill him. ‘You mean “Duly appointed agent of law and righteousness”!’ Arcade corrects his prisoner, remarking that his definition of maniac would be someone like Magneto, who thinks the law does not even apply to him. ‘But he took political asylum in Patagonia, I heard. So that’s your last hope gone’ Arcade remarks.

Basilisk replies that his time is going to come. ‘Every life you made me take, I’ll pay it back on you. That’s a promise’ he exclaims. Arcade turns and begins to leave the room. ‘The angels laugh when we make promises, Scott’ he exclaims, before ordering the guards to take Basilisk back to his cell and to give him wine with his dinner tonight. ‘He’s such an asset’ Arcade mocks.

Soon, two of the guards wheel Basilisk on the stretcher, now turned down, with Basilisk facing downwards, along a walkway, lined with cells. ‘Hey, you hear how he talked to the governor? Man got a death wish!’ one of them remarks. ‘Yeah, well, talking’s all he can do. You know they cut his eyelids off, so he can’t shut that beam by blinking?’ the other explains. ‘Practical’ the first remarks. ‘Exactly. Governor’s got a practical turn of mind’ the second officer replies, while the first exclaims that the governor is mostly out of his mind. ‘Yeah, that too. But things don’t get dull around here’ the second officer points out, unaware that Basilisk is reaching for the controller, strapped to the officer’s waist. ‘No, they don’t’ the other officer agrees, when suddenly, there is a “click”. ‘Say, did you hear a -’ the officer begins, before optic beam blasts from Basilisk’s eyes, tearing up the walkway beneath him, the stretcher falls downwards, followed by the guards - one of whom falls in front of Basilisk’s optic beam and is cut in half.

They land, and Basilisk manages to free himself from the stretcher device, while the remaining officer aims a weapon at Basilisk and radios for help: ‘Security! We’ve got a breach in corridor 5. Repeat, we’ve got a -’ he exclaims, but Basilisk declares ‘No last-minute appeals’, and looks at the officer, ‘Justice will be done!’ Basilisk exclaims, blasting the officer backwards. Basilisk stands up and uses his optic beam to destroy his shackles, exclaiming that Arcade is totally right, that the punishment has to fit the crime. ‘So my kind of justice is going to look a whole lot like yours!’ Basilisk declares after picking up the remote that controls his power, he blasts his way out into the open - where is confronted by a large contingent of soldiers, whom he easily blasts backwards.

A sniper in the watchtower announces ‘Okay, I see ‘im! I got ‘im right in my -’, but it’s too late, as Basilisk looks upwards, and destroys the watchtower, before releasing his power against the building, opening it up so that the mutants imprisoned can escape. Arcade looks up from the rubble, ‘Sc-Scott. That was impressive. Perhaps it’s time to renegotiate our - our little arrangement’ Arcade suggests. Basilisk stands before his oppressor and asks ‘You know what the measure of a man is, Arcade?’ and holds the little man up in the air. ‘It’s whether he can look his enemies in the eye’. Basilisk then flicks the switch on the control to “open” and blasts Arcade’s head off at close-range.

Basilisk turns to the prisoners, informing them that if they feel like leaving, the gate is about to open, and ten minutes after that, when the reinforcements get here, they will want to be somewhere else. ‘But where? Where do we go?’ a woman with a patch over her eye asks. Basilisk tells them to find a hole and climb into it, or else find a really tall tower and plant a flag on the top. ‘Either way, they’re gonna find you. Just depends on how you want to go out’. With that, Basilisk blasts his way out of Alcatraz.


‘So no, he doesn’t tend to talk about his prison time. And most especially, he won’t ever tell you about how he escaped. Because I don’t think he ever did’ someone remarks.
Avalanche gets to his feet and informs the others that he was in Alcatraz as well, but it was before Albany - before the Phoenix. Avalanche explains that they had not sanctioned the death penalty for mutants back then. ‘Oh yeah. The Phoenix. That was when the preaks really took the brakes off’ Jubilee exclaims. But Cannonball appears on a ridge above the others and tells Jubilee that is not so, as the Human Coalition was already building. ‘They were? Then, uh - how come nobody noticed’ Jubilee asks. Cannonball replies that he supposes they didn’t because they didn’t build them along Fifth Avenue. He remarks that the humans went for the soft targets first, the way their kind always does. Cannonball adds that it was a bad time, as they were moving families - X-gene carriers who were not mutants themselves, and there was forced sterilizations and mass interments. ‘And for actual mutants, there was a bounty. DDI - dead, damaged or intact’.

Cannonball’s flashback:

A young blonde woman rushes through a forest, pursued by local authorities and their hounds. ‘We got a scent! We got a scent!’ one of the officer calls out. ‘C’mon! She’s this way!’ another exclaims. Suddenly, the girl - Paige Guthrie - enters a clearing, but the officers all step out. ‘Missie, you gave us a good run’ one of them exclaims. ‘D-don’t hurt me! Please!’ Paige calls out. One of the officers replies that they ain’t fixing to hurt her, that they are all about the money. ‘And this won’t hurt but a moment’ he adds, before one officer fires at Paige. ‘You’re - you’re right. Didn’t’ even tickle’ Paige exclaims, before tearing her own skin away, revealing a concrete hard form underneath. ‘Now, let me get out of these uncomfortable things - and we can have ourselves a party!’ she exclaims. ‘Oh God! Oh God!’ one of the officers calls out.

Shots are fires, and nearby, several more officers, standing guard over transport vehicles look around. ‘You hear that?’ one of them asks. ‘God almighty! What are they killing in there? Must be as big as a damn bear!’ another exclaims, while another suggests they probably decided to have themselves a little fun, which is why they took the dogs out with them. ‘And we get to babysit the prisoners. Figures’ another mutters, adding that he heard they got Magneto ought in Nevada, caught him where there was no metal around. Suddenly, something from above blasts down through the front of one of the vehicles, the explosion knocking the officers over.

It’s Sam Guthrie, who grabs one of the officers: ‘The Guthries. Caldecott County. Which truck they in?’ he demands. The officer remains silent, but Sam warns him ‘Don’t make me ask twice’. The officer informs Sam that he has a platoon of Exonims riding behind this transport. ‘Ye’re dead! Ye’re stone dead!’ he exclaims. But Sam reveals that the bridge is out at Clearwater, that he broke it in two with the Exonims on the far side. ‘What?’ the officer gasps. ‘Oh, and as for the guys who ran off after that rogue mutant…’ Sam begins, as Paige walks out of the forest: ‘They found her. And their day sort of went downhill from there’ she exclaims. Paige walks over to her brother and asks him if the officers have talked yet. ‘No. But this one’s about to give us a manifest. Isn’t that right, friend?’ Sam exclaims.

Another officer explains that they are not given any manifests, so he is not sure there are any Guthries aboard the transport. ‘Cabin was burned to the ground. And your damn tire tracks led right from there to here’ Paige declares. ‘But I can see you’re busy praying I don’t rip your head off. So I don’t mind looking for myself’ she remarks, still in her concrete form, she rips a panel off one of the trucks, where dozens of people are shoved inside. Paige calls out to her family: ‘Ma? Jeb? Lucinda? Any of you hear me?’ she asks. ‘Who are you? Please don’t kill us!’ one of the people inside the trucks calls out. Paige assures him that she is not going to touch him, and asks her Ma to come out. With no response, Paige goes over to the next truck. ‘You really wanna make her madder than she already is?’ Sam asks the officer, who replies that he does not know the names. ‘It’s just mutie transport. They never tell us the names’ he explains.

‘Ma! Lewis! Joelle!’ Paige exclaims, calling out to her family. ‘Com on, you guys. We gotta get clear before the Exonims catch up with us!’ Paige exclaims as she tears the side off of the truck, revealing more prisoners, but not her family. ‘And then there was one. But I don’t reckon you keep prisoners in a dump truck’ Paige declares as she walks over to the truck. The officers inform Sam that nobody wanted this. ‘Some idiot squeezed off a shot, and - you know how it is. That set everyone else to shooting’ he exclaims. ‘What?’ Sam asks, while at the dump truck, Paige looks horrified. ‘Oh God. Oh sweet God’ she whispers, before taking her Ma’s hand, ‘Rest in peace. Rest in peace, Ma. All of you’ she utters.

‘Paige, are they -?’ Sam begins as Paige storms towards him and the officers. ‘They’re dead. They’re all dead’ Paige tells her brother, warning him to stay away from the officer. ‘Just an itchy trigger finger, hey, mister?’ she asks one of the officers, taking his hand. Somewhat surprised, the officer replies ‘That was it. Exactly’. Paige replies that is an affliction, but that it is okay. ‘There’s a cure’ she exclaims as she crushes the officer’s hand. The officer cries out in agony, and drops to the ground. ‘Paige’ Sam calls out, but Paige tells him to go away and not to look. ‘This place is going to be a desolation. I’m going to kill them all. Then I’m going to kill the ones who sent them’ she announces.

But Sam tells his sister that she will not, as they are responsible for these people now, and reminds her that the Exonims are on their way. ‘There ain’t no time for vengeance’ he exclaims. Paige turns to her brother and angrily exclaims ‘Our kin, Sam. They killed our kin! Then threw them in a wagon like so much garbage’. ‘You think I don’t feel that? Christ’s mercy, Paige! Every one of these people is someone’s kin, and we’re the only hope they’ve got’ Sam exclaims. But Paige is still upset: ‘Fine, then. But you don’t have a heart, Sam Guthrie. You don’t have a damn soul, even, the one thing that everything human’s meant to have’ she declares, adding that she will not be flesh and blood again until she sees Sam break and weep for what he did this day.

Paige begins to walk away, with the officers warning her that she wont get far. ‘The Human Coalition’s called the number on your kind. There’s no house in the world that’ll take you in!’ he exclaims. Sam puts on his goggles and replies ‘Dare say you’re right. So I guess we’ll have to build one’.


‘You want to set this aid station back behind the walls a way, Doctor Rao’ Dazzler exclaims, while Dr Kavita Rao removes something from a satchel attached to a motorcycle. Dazzler explains that if the Exonims break through, this stretch is going to see some serious fighting. Kavita points out that there will be wounded, and tells Dazzler not to worry about her, as this is exactly where she needs to be, before asking if they always tells stories before they fight. Dazzler replies that they do most nights, and explains that sometimes it even helps. ‘Reminds you who you are. In the blood and the thick of it, it’s easy to forget’ she adds. Dazzler looks up at Dr Rao and remarks that she has never heard of how she came to be here. ‘You’re not even a mutant. You could walk out any time and get a free pardon’ Dazzler points out. But Kavita replies that she couldn’t, and reveals that she worked at the Fordyce Clinic, under Richard Palance. ‘You probably heard about that program. We were looking at vectors for controlling and suppressing the X-gene. Maybe my second biggest sin…’.

Kavita Rao’s flashback:

Inside a laboratory, several bodies lie on tables, while Dr Rao approaches Dr Palance, telling him that she cannot do this, that is it indefensible. Palance replies that he does not understand Rao’s objection, and reminds her that she was happy enough to test the cure on live mutant subjects. ‘On volunteers! Desperate people who wanted to switch off their X-gene so they wouldn’t get arrested!’ Kavita declares. ‘You’re talking about adding the cure of the water supply. Do you see the difference?’ Kavita asks. Palance reaches for a vial and remarks that he mentioned it is as possibility, but as of now they do not even know why this batch works. ‘We have to analyze thoroughly before we can mass produce’ he remarks. ‘Mass produce? Dear God! I told you, I won’t be a party to -’ Kavita begins, only for Wolverine to burst into the room though a window, taking two soldiers with him.

One of the soldiers fires at Wolverine, who takes down the other soldier, before turning to the armed soldier, and slashing his throat. ‘Oh my God!’ Kavita gasps. ‘You see how his wounds heal as we watch? What an amazing specimen!’ Dr Palance exclaims. ‘Watch your mouth, bub. Seriously’ Wolverine retorts, before declaring that the word on the wire is they have made an X-gene suppressor - a mutant cure. ‘I’m here to make sure it never gets outside this hell-hole you call a lab’ Wolverine announces. Palance explains to Wolverine that the cure represents salvation for mutantkind. ‘It means no more Albanys. No more Magnetos. We can live in peace’ he exclaims, but Wolverine replies that he does not see much prospect of peace once they take away ever advantage that mutantkind has got.

‘Well, it would seem we’re your prisoners. And you’re ours’ Palance declares before pressing a button, and announcing ‘Palance - isolation protocols!’ A force field slams down behind Wolverine, trapping him in the lab with Kavita and Palance. Logan thrusts his claws towards Palance and warns him that the next time he moves, even an inch, he is a dead man. ‘Now tell me what you just did’ Logan demands. Palance explains that the force walls are to prevent the spread of infection. ‘You’ve lost, mutant. We’re all trapped here until the Exonims arrive’ he explains. Wolverine replies that he will take his chances, and seeing a vial on a counter, goes over to it, asking if this is the “magic bullet”. ‘I told you, you’ve lost. There isn’t a thing you can do’ Palance exclaims. But Wolverine replies that so long as there is a sink or a toilet, he has got some options.

‘No. He’s right. He’d love you to do that - and to think you’ve won’ Kavita exclaims. Logan frowns and turns to her: ‘And who might you be?’ he asks. Kavita introduces herself and tells Wolverine that she is his informant, the one who has been spreading that word on the wire. ‘But if I’d known it would bring a psychopathic killer here, I would have thought twice about it’ she exclaims. ‘Your career is over, Rao. As of now!’ Dr Palance shouts. ‘So what am I missing?’ Wolverine asks. Rao explains that the sinks here drain into the sluice tank, so the cure would be diluted, but not destroyed. Wolverine asks about acid, suggesting they could break it down. Kavita replies that the breakdown products could still be analyzed and reconstituted. ‘The same would go for boiling it away. There’d be solid residues’ she explains.

Palance smirks and exclaims that this is actually amusing. ‘A locked room mystery, with no solution’ he declares. Wolverine tells Kavita that she is the expert and must know a way to ditch the cure. ‘In the time we’ve got? I can only think of one thing’ she announces. ‘You could metabolize it’ she informs Wolverine. ‘NO!’ Palance gasps, moving towards the others, he is kept at bay by Wolverine, who holds his claws to Palance’s neck. ‘Say what?’ Wolverine asks. Kavita explains that it is the only way. ‘It’s a massive overdose, but your healing factor should help you survive’ she assures him, pointing out that unless the cure overwhelms his powers quickly enough to kill Wolverine.

‘I know the science. I made this obscenity. The protein strings will mix with your DNA…irreversibly. Whatever happens to you, the cure will be broken down and impossible to reconstitute’ Kavita explains. ‘Huh’ Wolverine remarks, taking all of this information in. He holds the vial out to Kavita and tells her that she has a hell of a bedside manner. ‘Let’s do it’ he exclaims. Palance begs Rao, exclaiming that this is the culmination of everything they have achieved. ‘You don’t move, bub. And you don’t talk. Last warning’ Wolverine warns Palance. Kavita begins loading the cure into a syringe, informing Wolverine that she is going to give him twenty standard doses at a time. ‘You should tell me if you start to feel any pain or disorientation’ she adds, whole Wolverine sits down on a chair and points out that it is kind of late to be worrying about that, and that he will be fine.

Kavita begins administering the cure into Wolverine’s arm. Sweat begins to pour from Wolverine’s face, as she repeats the dosage again and again and again, until announcing that they are almost done, with one dose left. ‘NO!’ Palance booms as he smacks Kavita over the head with a chair. ‘One dose is all I need, mutie! I can reconstitute the serum from a single spoonful!’ he announces. ‘I told you! One lone freak can’t stand against science! Against truth!’ ‘I…hear you…bub’ Wolverine replies, weak. Suddenly, Kavita gets to her feet - and shoves the remaining syringe into Palance’s neck. ‘How about…two?’ Wolverine mutters, while Palance falls to the ground, and Kavita stands over him. ‘Good to the last drop, Richard. And that was the last drop’ Kavita exclaims, before she announces that she never killed a man before. ‘Then I hope you…got into the habit, Doc. Because you’re gonna need to go two-for-two’ Wolverine exclaims as he crawls towards her.

Wolverine explains that the metal inside his body, the adamantium, is poisonous, and it is attacking him from inside. ‘Healing factor was the only thing that kept it under control’ Wolverine remarks. Kavita crouches down beside him and informs him that she has systemic anti-toxins, which she can use to try and stabilize him. But Wolverine asks Kavita to just finish him off. ‘Lousy way to live anyway. I did what I came to do’ he remarks. A computer voice announces ‘Analysis complete. No infectious agents present’. Kavita tells Wolverine that she is sorry, and that when she killed Richard she was not even thinking. ‘I can’t do that again. Not in cold blood’ she declares, while the computer announces that it is lowering the force walls.

The force field drops, and several soldiers rush towards Wolverine and Kavita. ‘Stand away from the intruder, Doctor Rao. We have to place him under arrest!’ one of the soldiers announces. ‘In a moment’ Rao calls back, before she begins to cry. ‘God forgive me. I’ve got a life to save’ she exclaims.


Kavita tells Dazzler that she still cannot decide whether she saved Wolverine or destroyed him. ‘And I’ll never have the courage to ask’ she adds.

Back at the campfire, Colosuss declares that was a bad time - the rumors and the panics. ‘Nobody knowing what was true, or who to trust’ he remarks. ‘Who to trust? Bloody hell, is that meant to be a joke?’ Chamber asks. He declares that he never trusted anybody, that none of them did. ‘That’s why we’re the ones who survived. We did it on our own’. Someone else asks why they are here now, why they decided to make this stand together, instead of alone. ‘That’s called desperation, mate. Don’t mistake it for anything else’ Chamber replies, but Toad declares that he thinks Chamber is wrong. ‘Oh yeah, Why’s that then, Toynbee? You reckon we’re all one big happy family?’ Chamber asks. Poking his long tongue out, Toad replies that he thinks most of them were desperate, at the end of their rope. ‘But I was with the general on the day he built this place, and…well, nothing could be the same after that for any of us’ he remarks.

Magneto’s flashback:

‘This is it. We’re dead’ Toad exclaims as he peers out a window, moving the blinds to the side. Several others are in the room, and Cecilia Reyes reminds Toad that there are children here. ‘I’m sorry, Ms…Reyes, was it? But take a look out there. They’ve got us surrounded seven ways from Sunday!’ Toad exclaims. Forge steps forward and points out that now the coalitional slain Magneto, they are moving to crush the last vestiges of mutant resistance. ‘I think one of you may have been followed here’ Forge adds. Dust suggests that it could have been here, as she is of unusual and suspect appearance. ‘Perhaps if I go down and surrender -’ she offers, but Forge tells her not to, as at this stage, he is not sure it will make much difference.

Indeed, the large high-rise building where the mutants have holed themselves up is surrounded by the army. ‘What have we got in there, Vestry?’ Colonel Creed calls out to one of his officers, who replies that they think it is Forge, the mutie who has been running the underground railroad to Canada, with a bunch of his latest customers. He adds that they have scanner drones in there now, checking for life signs. ‘Human life signs, I mean’ he remarks, announcing that as soon as they are sure it is just muties, they are going to move in. ‘Heat-seekers first’ Creed orders. ‘Missiles? But this is the Chrysler building!’ the soldier points out. Creed declares that their allegiance is to race, not to bricks and mortar.

An elderly woman suddenly approaches one of the soldiers, asking him if he is senior enough to have access to the building. ‘Yes, Ma’am, I am. But nobody is allowed to go in there right now. We’ve got some very dangerous mutants on our hands’ he exclaims. ‘The elderly woman suddenly punches the man to the ground - it’s Mystique in disguise. ‘Yes. You certainly do’ she declares.

Back inside, ‘You heard what they did in Westchester, right? The fake safe house they set up? Filled it with mutants and burned it to the ground’ Toad exclaims, to which Dust asks him not to talk about these things. ‘Maybe it’d be better to jump and get it over with’ Toad exclaims, when suddenly, two women materialize seemingly out of thin air. ‘No’ one of them remarks. ‘It really wouldn’t’ the other announces. They introduce themselves as Martinique and Regan and declares that they think everyone should wait and watch the show.

Outside, ‘Coming through. Let me though. I’ve got an officer hurt’ a soldier helping along an officer wrapped in blankets exclaims as they make their way towards the Chrysler building. ‘Uh, Sir? You’re…you’re heading the wrong way’ one soldier calls out. ‘Just get out of my way!’ the officer exclaims. Out of air shot, the officer remarks to the injured officer ‘Beloved, you’ve opened your wounds again. You’re still weak. If you do this, it may kill you. The officer is Mystique in disguise, and her injured companion replies that he will not let these jackals have their prey. ‘But I will speak to them. Stand back’ the injured man - Magneto - exclaims as he drops his cowl.

The soldiers see him: ‘Hey! Up on the steps!’ one of them remarks. ‘He’s dead! He’s supposed to be dead!’ another declares. Raising his hands to the air, Magneto declares ‘Drones and dogs and maggots who call yourselves men. Persecutors of innocents. Murderers of children. Hear me!’ Creed calls out to his men, telling them not to stand there, but to fire. But Magneto throws up a force field, and the soldiers are knocked back by a blast. ‘My God! Cease fire! Cease fire!’ Creed calls out.

Magneto announces that he knows they made non-ferrous Exonims to bring him down, but that they are many hundreds of miles away. ‘Fire on me again, and you only add to the roster of widows and orphans’ Magneto declares. Inside the building, the mutants continue to watch: ‘It’s him! It’s really him! I thought they killed him!’ Toad declares. ‘Tuh! They tried!’ Martinique exclaims. ‘They always try’ Regan adds. Magneto tells the soldiers that he is not here to fight them, for which they can count themselves fortunate. ‘I’m here to bring these mutants - my brothers and sisters - our of your hands. And I will do so. I advise you not to try to stop me’ Magneto exclaims.

‘The general says to hold on tight’ Martinique remarks, with Regan adding that it is going to be a bumpy ride. ‘Ride? What ride? They won’t allow us to reach a car or a -’ Reyes remarks, when suddenly, the Chrysler building, and several around it, are slowly raised from the earth. Creed radios for gun ships, announcing that he needs red rain. ‘Target is the Chrysler Building, but wait until it comes within a hundred feet’ he remarks. A response over his communicator asks ‘Uh - you mean we should descent to a hundred feet, sir?’ but Creed retorts that he means exactly what he said. ‘Target is live! Repeat, target is live!’ someone calls out

A pilot look on shocked, and reports to Colonel Creed that they have acquired additional targets, ‘Oh God! The whole city! The whole city is in the air!’ he exclaims, ordering evasive action. ‘Abort and pull back!’ he calls out as the Chrysler building and others begin destroying any choppers that they crash into, and civilians look up in awe as the buildings are flown away.


Toad clarifies that it was not the whole city, just the buildings with the most steel in them. ‘But it must have looked that way. An annunciation of stone angels, obedient to Magneto’s will’ he remarks. Toad adds that Magneto did not have to take them far, as it was not like anywhere he could go would be safe for long. ‘He built a fortress, a beacon. A sign too big to miss. And you all came here. Joined together for the first time as the men and women of the X-gene’ Toad declares. Cannonball remarks that he hates to interrupt good pep talk, before motioning to the large fiery X in the sky, he points out that it is Magma’s way of saying that she has incoming. ‘They broke the barricades. Time to fight’ Cannonball declares. The mutants all race into action - Basiisk, Hellion, Chamber, Jubilee, Avalanche, Berserker, Sub-Mariner, Frenzy, Storm, Toad, Colossus, Eclipse, Nightmare, Cannonball and Revenant are all on-hand to do battle. Cannonball then exclaims ‘Let’s show ‘em that X marks their burial ground!’….

Characters Involved: 

Avalanche, Basilisk, Berserker, Cannonball, Chamber, Colossus, Dazzler, Eclipse, Frenzy, Gambit, Hellion, Husk, Jubilee, Karma, Legacy, Magma, Magneto, Nightmare, Revenant, Rockslide, Storm, Sub-Mariner, Toad, Trance

Dr Kavita Rao

X (unseen)

In Basilisk’s Flashback:


Callisto and other unnamed prisoners


Alcatraz guards

In Cannonball and Husk’s Flashback:

Cannonball & Husk

Bodies of the Guthrie family

Numerous law enforcement officers

In Wolverine’s Flashback:


Dr Kavita Rao

Dr Richard Palance


In Magneto’s Flashback:



Dust, Forge, Lady Mastermind, Martineque, Cecilia Reyes, Toad and other mutants

Colonel Creed


Story Notes: 

In the Age of X, several characters have new codenames:

Cyclops = Basilisk

Pixie = Nightmare

Rogue = Legacy / Reaper

Sunspot = Eclipse

Warpath = Berserker

Also, someone with Phoenix imagery and maybe the Phoenix Force goes by the codename Revenant.
The story is continued in X-Men Legacy #245.

According to Age of X promotional material, the Albany incident refers to Log 2B when Jean Grey’s mutant power manifested in the form of a fiery Phoenix that destroyed everything around it in the city of Albany, New York, killing 600,000.

Lucinda Guthrie is the Guthrie families’ “Ma”, not one of their siblings.

In the 616 universe, Dr Richard Palance is the name of the villain Pandemic.

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