Age of X-Man: Prisoner X #4

Issue Date: 
August 2019
Story Title: 

Vita Ayala (writer), German Peralta (artist) Mike Spicer (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Sabino (letterer), Patch Zircher & Brian Reber (cover artists), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Darren Shan (editor), Jordan D White (X-Men senior editor), C B Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Recap art by Rahzzah


Brief Description: 

Warden Forge gives Bishop some words of advice before Bishop is released from solitary confinement. Bishop challenges Forge's belief in this world, but Forge tells him that he has to believe, otherwise there is nothing else. Forge points out that everything they have tried before has failed, so this is their only option now. Bishop returns to general population and makes his way through the various internal factions, trying to encourage prisoners to remember their true lives. Some of them can remember hints of another life, but are mostly confused. Dani Moonstar talks with Polaris, and tells her that she saw her break free and use her powers, but Polaris doesn't know what Dani is talking about – until Dani tells her that she remembers seeing Nate Grey's face – Polaris does remember this. Polaris asks Dani if she thinks this iis real, and reveals that she has escaped from this straight jacket dozens of times before, but then there is laughter, and she is trapped – and no one else remembers. Dani reveals that she keeps having flashes of another life, and that she is starting to think that life is real, and this is just fake. Dani has a plan, and Polaris tells her to just give her the sign, as anything has to be better than this. As Bishop arrives in the mess hall, other inmates appear to know what the plan is, and a fight breaks out between Bishop and Beast. Warden Forge sees this, and prepares to use a killswitch control, seemingly upset, as he really tried to make this work. The fight continues, and several guards rush into the mess hall, but they are met by resistance, as the mutant prisoners fight back. Before Forge can push the killswitch, Legion appears before him, and manipulates him into unlocking the collars that restrain the mutants from using their powers. Beast, Honey Badger and other prisoners remember more clearly their true lives, and use their powers against the guards as Legion laughs at the chaos playing out in the prison.

Full Summary: 

The Danger Room prison complex, where Warden Forge walks into the solitary confinement wing, passing several cells in this sterile environment, he comes to a stop at one cell and unlocks the door. 'I'm sure you think that I'm cruel – that this place is cold and heartless. That couldn't be further from the truth. Our purpose here is to make the world a better place – to help people like you' Forge tells the inmate. The inmate is Lucas Bishop, who looks up at Forge, 'People like me, huh?' he responds. With his hands behind his back, Forge explains to Bishop that this is supposed to be a place of correction, and reveals that he has spent his life attempting to help people learn to accept and contribute to the peace their society brings. He adds that his goal for everyone under his care is that they one day rejoin the world better for having been here.

Forge closes his eyes and tells Bishop that he remembers what things were like before – the confusion and pain of living in a chaotic, hateful world. 'I remember war' he adds, before opening his eyes and revealing that since Hope Summers sacrificed herself, he has seen the goodness they are capable of – their new way of life has worked. 'You really believe that, don't you, Forge?' Bishop asks. 'I have to. Otherwise, what is there?' Forge replies as he sits nest to Bishop on the bed in the cell. 'Reality' Bishop responds. Bishop remarks that Warden Forge is a smart man, and asks him if he really thinks criminalizing love and compassion – empathy – is what saves them from hatred? 'Seems to me a little like throwing out the baby with the bathwater' Bishop points out.

'It seems to have worked though, hasn't it?' Forge replies. 'Has it?' Bishop asks. 'Or maybe some clever people have conned us all into believing that' he suggests, adding that maybe everyone who realizes the truth ends up in here, a place so secret that the X-Men didn't know it existed. Bishop reminds Forge that he was thrown in here for daring to care about someone – for wanting to be with her – he is in here, dodging fists and forced to denounce his fundamental self. 'And she's out there... what? Thinking I abandoned her? Thinking I'm dead? That seem right to you?' Bishop asks. As Forge gets to his feet, Bishop adds 'Of course, I'm one of the criminals, right? So take my thoughts with a grain of salt'. Forge ignores that comment and informs Bishop that he came here to tell him that they are not monsters, and states that Bishop will be reintroduced back into the general population before lunch. Forge turns to leave and declares that all he wants for the people here is the chance to re-enter the world, to experience the peace outside these walls. 'I can't be ashamed of working toward that... no matter what some people think' Forge remarks.

After, Bishop enters the yard where the prisoners are all wearing the standard-issue green jumpsuit, as they go about their activities, watched over by several guards. 'Here goes nothing' Bishop remarks to himself. He begins speaking with mutants in the yard, trying to trigger memories within them. '- real world -' he remarks to Beast, who folds his arms, one of them remembering the Beast working in a science lab. Bishop moves on to a red-haired woman and a woman with curly hair, '- any memories that are out of the ordinary?' he asks them, while the red-head admits that sometimes  she remember stuff, and has a memory of watching television with the woman with curly hair who puts her hands on her hips and mutters 'Yeah, but, so what?' Nearby, several other mutants are working out with weights. 'So what if we were maybe friends?' one of them asks while Bishop stands behind them. 'That's why we're in here anyway, right?' another remarks, one of them remembering the two of them sitting in a park playing a game of chess.

Bishop moves on to the woman with blue hair and a large arm, Julia, who has a memory of opening presents on Christmas Day with a large mutant that stands next to her, but tells Bishop that it doesn't make sense. 'Wait, you remember that too?' the other mutant asks. Bishop carries on to a winged mutant and another mutant with white skin and dark markings on her arm. The woman with wings tells Bishop that she remembers doing this stuff, but can't remember a time that she wasn't here, as a memory of being in a swimming pool with the woman with white skin and dark markings. The other woman adds that that isn't even how she remembers it. '- lived with Laura and Jonathan' Bishop tells Gabby Kinney, as one of them remembers X-23 serving Gabby a stack of pancakes for breakfast while Jonathan the Unstoppable sat on the table. 'That...doesn't sound like us, no' Gabby responds. Several mutants watch Bishop as he hangs his head and leaves the yard, while a wicked laughter echoes around him.

Dani Moonstar isn't wearing the green prison garb, she is in a purple blouse and grey pants as she enters the common room, where a voice announces over the intercom that there is a new group of misguided disruptors coming in. 'Please make them feel welcome, and show them what we expect of them' Dani sits down next to Polaris a.k.a. Lorna Dane, who is wearing a straightjacket and tells her that things have always been weird around here, but that they need to talk about what happened. 'Did you mean the nothing after breakfast? The nothing yesterday? Or maybe the nothing the day before? You'll have to be more specific, Dani' Lorna responds. Dani reaches across to Lorna and tells her that she broke free – she saw her. 'One minute you had your suppression collar off and your powers back, and then... there was a face. It looked like Nate Grey but wrong' Dani explains. 

Dani continues, informing Lorna that then everything was different, that she was collared again, and the guards she fought were at their posts – it was wrong. 'You – you remember that?' a wide-eyed Lorna asks. 'Are you...are you real? Is this really happening?' Lorna asks, leaning in closer to Dani, who admits that she doesn't know anymore. Dani assures Lorna that she does know she saw her break out, and then suddenly, it was like none of that happened. Lorna hangs her head and reveals that she has gotten out of this jacket and collar over a dozen times- that it's like sometimes she starts to remember who she really is, and bides her time and breaks free – the fog clears for a few glorious seconds – until she hears the laughter, and things go back. Lorna adds that her mind gets foggy again, but she still remembers – only no one else does.

Lorna informs Dani that at first she tried telling people, but they never believed her. 'Why would they? I'm crazy, right?' Lorna asks. 'I'm sorry...' Dani smiles, putting a hand on Lorna's shoulder. Lorna reveals that when she breaks out, it seems like whatever is controlling things gets weaker, like getting her back under control and making people forget drains it, at least for a little while. 'But this time is different. No one has ever remembered before' Lorna explains. Dani narrows her eyes and reveals that she keeps having flashes of another life, and is really starting to think that is real, and that this is just smoke and mirrors – but she can't figure out if she is the dreamer, or part of the dream. 'Does it matter?' Lorna asks. Dani smiles and tells her that she guesses it doesn't.

They look over at Bishop, who is talking to an older inmate, and Dani points out that whatever power is at work here, its control is slipping, so they might be able to use that to their advantage and get out for good. Dani stands up and tells Lorna that they have to be ready. 'Just give the sign' Polaris replies 'Anything is better than this' she adds as Dani walks away.

Days later, Bishop enters the mess hall. Several inmates look up from their partitioned tables and stare at him while he sighs. Several mutant communicate by Morse Code, while another looks at Bishop and tells him to say the world. 'We're with you' another adds. 'You better be right, big man' Gabby Kinney mutters as Bishop approaches the line to get his food. The Beast is ahead of him, while Dani and Lorna are nearby, and Dani tells Lorna that they need to move back. Bishop takes an apple that Gabby was eating and throws it at the Beast's head. 'Make a good show of things' the Beast whispers, before Bishop replies 'Good enough?' as he punches the Beast hard, knocking him backwards. 'Indeed' Beast replies, rubbing his face as he lands against a railing.

In his office, Warden Forge notices on his monitors the scuffle that has broken out in the mess hall. He taps a button underneath his desk, which opens another door within his office. He steps into a cubicle behind the door, where a control panel and monitor can be seen. On the panel is a red button marked “killswitch controls”. Forge looks down at the button, 'I'm sorry. I tried, truly' he remarks.

Back in the mess hall, the Beast roars as he lunges at Bishop, 'Really?' Bishop asks as he throws the Beast over his shoulder. 'I am attempting to make this seem “real”!' the Beast replies. Other mutants watch the fight and encourage the Beast and Bishop to fight on. The Beast kicks Bishop backwards, 'Too real! Too real!' Bishop exclaims as he falls on his back, and the Beast looms over him, 'We have to look believable' the Beast points out. Suddenly, a dozen guards rush into the mess hall, 'GET DOWN ON THE GROUND!' one of them shouts. 'I believe we've thoroughly convinced them we are fighting' the Beast tells Bishop as he punches him. 'No kidding...' Bishop mutters, while a guard smacks another mutant in the face with a baton. 'You okay, Jamie?' another mutant asks. 'I – I didn't even do anything!' Jamie exclaims. The four-armed mutant who serves the food steps over the counter and tells the mutants that they have the guards surrounded – so it is payback time! The other inmates then close in on the guards.

Back in his office, Forge holds a small key and places it into the killswitch control. He states that he believed in what they were doing here, but it has become clear that they have lost their way. He taps at the keyboard, when suddenly, Legion projects himself above Forge, and telepathically tells him that just because he lost the faith doesn't mean he can pull the plug. 'You aren't in charge here, and our benefactor wouldn't like it'. Legion grins as he adds that he can't have Forge interrupting his fun by letting them go now. Forge looks behind him and asks Legion if he thinks he has a say over it. 'You may have found a way to walk around and annoy me, but you are still one of my charges, Legion' Forge responds.

A surge of energy strikes Forge and he falls backwards, while Legion asks him why he assumed that he was in control here. 'Why would you assume I am a prisoner and not the jailer?' Legion asks. Forge falls forwards and slams his fist down onto the killswitch control button, 'Enough isolation...enough suffering...we deserve more...' he utters as the energy continues to surge through him and he taps the keyboard, before entering the collar control code.

In the mess hall, 'Back off!' a guard calls out as the mutants overwhelm them. Suddenly, the mutants look shocked as their collars unlock and fall to the ground. 'My man...' Bishop smiles. The Beast looks upwards and extends his arms, as memories of his true life as a scientist and an X-Man fighting alongside Wolverine and Cyclops fill his mind. 'It's not true!' the confused Gabby utters as she drops to her knees, and a memory of fighting alongside X-23 and Jonathan the Unstoppable fills her. 'What are we?' a blue-skinned, horned mutant asks as he has a memory of himself wearing a suit. 'Are we evenreal?' Julia asks, clutching her large, monstrous arm, while remembering wearing some sort of costume, and being hugged by another mutant. 'What does this mean?' Julia asks, while the guards tell the mutants to get down on the ground – now.

'No! Lemme go!' Julia screams as she fires a blast of energy from her monstrous hand at a guard that approaches her, the guard is sent careening backwards, and in the process a set of keys fall from the guard's belt. The guard's helmet is also cracked open – revealing a strange series of lights and...nothing within. 'You're headed to solitary, inmate' the guard states. 'The $#%&! They're not even real!' another mutant gasps. Dani grabs the keys and asks Lorna if she remembers asking for a sign. 'This clear enough?' Dani remarks as she unlocks the collar around Lorna's neck. 'Crystal' Lorna replies as her collar clangs to the floor. Bishop tells Polaris that the first step back to her real life is through them. 'Are you gonna let them keep you here?' he asks her. 'Never again' Lorna replies, narrowing her eyes, she levitates up above the other mutant, and uses her control over metal to raise all of the metal food trays in the mess hall, while the other mutants prepare to face off against the guards once more.

'Let them know they're not in charge anymore...WE ARE!' Bishop shouts as the inmates and guards fight again, with Polaris using the trays at weapons against the guards, slamming them into the guards' heads and necks. Gabby shoves her claw into the helmet of one of the guards, and winged mutants throw guards at each other, while Beast and Bishop use physical force against the guards, and Legion's laughter radiates throughout the prison....

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Bishop, Honey Badger, Dani Moonstar, Polaris (all prisoners in the Danger Room)


Warden Forge





Jamie, Julia and other inmates


in various memories:


Honey Badger & X-23

Jonathan the Unstoppable

unnamed mutants

in Beast's memories:

Beast, Cyclops, Wolverine

in Honey Badger's memories:

Honey Badger, X-23

Jonathan the Unstoppable

in Julia's memories:

Julia and another mutant

Written By: