All-New X-Men (1st series) #21

Issue Date: 
March 2014
Story Title: 

Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Brandon Peterson (art), Israel Silva (colorist), Brent Anderson with James Campbell (flashback art), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Brandon Peterson (cover artist), Xander Jarowey (assistant editor), Jordan D White (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Years ago, Reverend William Stryker struck a deal with AIM to cure his ill son and turn him into a weapon against mutantkind. In the present, Stryker Jr. has captured the X-Men. He and the Purifiers discuss whether killing the original X-Men would be dangerous for the timeline and ask their ally Monica Rappaccini from AIM. She takes genetic samples from some X-Men and warns Stryker against killing them. Marvel Girl telepathically awakens her teammates and together they manage to beat Stryker’s troops.

Full Summary: 

Years ago:
A crowded televised service by Reverend William Stryker:
And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads,” he quotes from the Book of Revelation. “With ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its head. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard. Its feet were like a bear’s. And its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed. And the whole world marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon for having given his authority to the beast. And they worshipped the beast, saying who is like the beast? And who can fight against it? And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words.”

Who do they think the mutants are? he asks his congregation. They are the beast! They are the blasphemous! And humans will not stand idly by and let the beast win! The mutant is an abomination and it will not have its day!

After the service, a man gushes that was wonderful. Are they here? Stryker asks. Another man introduces him to Dr. Lyle Getz from Advanced Ideas Mechanics. Quite a show business machine, he built himself Getz remarks. His boy is ill, Stryker states coolly. Okay, no small talk, Getz realizes. They have gone over his son’s medical files. Stryker admits he is of two minds on this. God created man. His will be done. God also created science, Getz points out. Stryker appreciates that as well. He created their capacity to help themselves, Getz continues. He takes an aspirin when he has a headache. What Stryker wants from them is no different.

Stryker confides God wants him to prepare for the mutant Judgment Day. God came to him and spoke of this. That this day would come where he could prepare his boy for the fight ahead of him. He wants the boy to be prepared.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if he turned out to be a mutant? Getz suggests. Stryker stares at him coldly. They can save his son and create within him the power to fight for his cause, Getz announces. Now… there is the ugly topic of remuneration. Whatever it takes, Stryker replies. His kind of negotiation, Getz laughs. Stryker takes his hand and presses him to his knees. “Let us pray,” he orders.

Let us pray,” William Stryker Jr. orders. He prays, the unconscious X-Men at his feet. When he is finished he orders to gut these #&%* sons of Satan. Another Purifier points out these are the original X-Men from the past. If they kill them doesn’t that create a paradox? Wouldn’t there be a— butterfly effect, another Purifier suggests. Like maybe so much would change they wouldn’t exist. Or they would hobble the mutant cause, another points out.

This mutant killed his father, Stryker insists, holding a knife to Angel’s throat. A mutant killed his wife, another Purifier shoots back. They go back and forth and the other Purifier suggests they talk to someone smarter about this.

X-23 hangs in chains from the ceiling. Someone tosses cold water at her, waking her up. She unsheathes her claws, threatening the Purifiers. Come on then! she snarls.

A computer screen springs to life, showing scenes of the horrifying things Laura did in Arcade’s arena. Where did they--?

Stryker informs her this was broadcast all over the world. The entire world saw her as the monster she is. She was on a reality show, he gloats. She was popcorn for morons. He wonders if the rest of those misplaced monsters knows what she is capable of. Let’s find out!

Cyclops hangs in another room. Is he awake? Stryker asks. When Cyclops says ‘yes’ Stryker asks why he is here. He’d gladly leave, Scott replies wryly. In this time, Styker clarifies. Scott demands his lawyer. Help him remember Stryker orders another Purifier and soon Scott screams.

Dr. Monica Rappacini from AIM enters after he asked for her. She identifies the unconscious Kitty Pryde and asks who the other woman is. Jean Grey, she is told. When she protests Jean is dead, she is told she is from the past. Stryker explains the X-Men attacked and they were about to execute them. Rappacini forbids it. Because it would create a paradox? Stryker states. That’s the best thing it could do, she replies. So he should let them go? He should let them go, burn this pale down, move to Auckland, New Zealand, start over and hoped they never find him, she snaps. He finds unacceptable. So is reality turning itself out, she retorts.

Jean awakes and secretly listens.

Rappacini continues since Stryker was a child… AIM and the Purifiers have had a longstanding fruitful relationship. AIM sells them their best weapons and they do what they need to, but hear her now- He has called her for her expert opinion and she is giving it to him. Pull the plugs on this. Then they win! he shouts.

Monica considers and finds they can be of use, after all. She orders her colleague Gary to get her bag.

Jean telepathically contacts Cyclops.

Monica wants to do some DNA gathering. She and her colleagues are working on some interesting experiments…

Jean calls the others telepathically. Bobby asks aloud: what?

Starting on Kitty, Rappacini explains they’ve done some work on eliminating the mutant gene but with the growing number of Terrigenesis Inhumans popping up around the world…

Jean telepathically calls Laura who in a panic orders her to stay out of her mind.

They’ve been creating some really interesting DNA splicings, Monica continues. They are taking these abominations and those abominations and make more abominations? Stryker asks skeptically.

Finished with Kitty, Monica tells him they can kill her. She is adult Kitty Pryde from the present. Seeing him sweat, she asks if he is okay He is praying, he replies. She read his genetic file on the way down. How is he feeling? Headaches? Sometimes trouble sleeping? He doesn’t sleep, he snaps. That’s not good, she tells him.

Jean telekinetically removes the ties that keep Cyclops’ glasses on his head.

Monica asks Stryker to visit her at the AIM compound. She has some interesting implants that could help him. There’s been a lot of advancement since her predecessor worked his magic on him. She tries to cut Kitty who phases.

No! Stryker shouts and begins to glow. His energy blast hits Monica while Kitty phases into the ground.

The other X-Men are free as well. Kicking a Purifier, Beast asks if they have a hypocritical psalm for getting a giant foot in the face.

Cyclops is still chained but blasts his guards. Laura kicks her guards and Angel takes his out.

Stryker shouts he doesn’t what happens to the world. Those devils will not… Suddenly, his father appears to him (courtesy of Jean), calling him an embarrassment. He trusted him! He gave him power and he failed him! He failed God almighty! He realizes it’s Jean. Daddy issues, she scoffs as she collapses the ceiling on him. Really original.

Kitty arrives remarking she was about to phase him through the floor but Jean has everything under control. She suggests they find the others.

Is this all going according to plan? Iceman asks the others. Because he forgot the plan. Scott orders him to find the others.

A Purifier crashes against a door and inside the room they find X-23 crouching on the ground. Scott tells the boys to find the others. He’ll help her.

He asks if she can stand. Is she ok? When Laura doesn’t react, he kneels down next to her and asks what they did to her. Without a word, she hugs him and clings to him fiercely. Jean silently watches.

While the other X-Men fight the Purifiers, Kitty calls SHIELD and asks to speak to Maria Hill. When told she is busy she asks if she is doing anything more important than mopping up Purifiers and some AIM scientists. Tell her it’s okay because the X-Men just did it for her. So how about, they triangulate this signal and come to clean this mess up?

The battle over, the X-Men stand around Stryker who calls them devils. They don’t belong here and they are going to create the apocalypse. They are the devil and the world will know. They will all know! Devil!

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all original X-Men)
Kitty Pryde, X-23 (X-Men)

William Stryker Jr.
Other Purifiers

Dr. Monica Rappaccini and other members of AIM

In flashback:
Reverend William Stryker
Dr. Lyle Getz (member of AIM)

Story Notes: 

The cover looks like it was drawn by Stuart Immonen, not Brandon Peterson.

Stryker Sr. was killed by Archangel in the Second Coming crossover.

The reason for more Inhumans appearing can be seen in the recent Inhumanity series.

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