Astonishing X-Men (1st series) #1

Issue Date: 
March 1995
Story Title: 
Once More, With Feeling

Scott Lobdell (writer), Joe Madureira (penciler), Dan Green and Tim Townsend (inkers), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Steve Buccellato (colorist), Digital Chameleon (separations), Bob Harras (editor, editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Magneto tells his fellow X-Men of a mission he needs them to go on. He eventually tells them his feelings about Bishop and his story of this reality somehow being wrong. He’s afraid what Bishop says might be true and needs to find out if it is. He meets some resistance from his people, but he assures them it is necessary. Blink comes through her teleportation disc during the meeting. Next through is Sunfire and he’s hurting. A Prelate comes through as well, but Blink severs the disc and he is killed. Blink and Sunfire tell everyone that Holocaust has started another culling in Chicago and everyone is shocked. Later on, while still recovering, Sunfire asks Rogue to help them stop Holocaust. Gambit enters the room and he and Rogue leave to have a heart-to-heart. They’re almost about to kiss at one point when Blink steps outside with baby Charles. Gambit leaves and the X-Men resume their mission. In the hangar bay, Quicksilver stops by to try and convince Rogue not to go, only to learn that Sabretooth, Wild Child, and Morph have decided to accompanying Blink, Sunfire and her to Chicago. Rogue convinces Pietro she needs to go and after wishing each other good luck, they blast off for Chicago. Bishop enters the hangar, puzzled as to why the X-Men would go on a suicide mission. Quicksilver tells him that even if this world isn’t the right world, it’s still their world and they will fight for it. Elsewhere in the mansion, Magneto mulls over Bishop’s ramblings. Nightcrawler is in the room with him and they have a deep conversation about everything… basically, Magneto is willing to sacrifice this Earth based on a promise to his friend Xavier to make the world a better place. In his stronghold, Apocalypse learns from his servant Rex that the location of the X-Men’s base of operations will soon be known, as they can track Blink’s signature.

Full Summary: 

Magneto stands before his fellow X-Men in attendance (Quicksilver, Iceman, Sabretooth, Morph, Storm, Banshee, Nightcrawler) and addresses them on a matter of importance. He’s planned out a raid and expects some of his people not to make it back. His statement affects none of the X-Men. After all, they’ve gone on many missions before not knowing if they were coming back. What they do care about is that Magneto seems more uptight than normal. Sabretooth thinks something’s up. Banshee calms him down, knowing full well that Magneto won’t be telling them anything until he’s ready. Nightcrawler supports Banshee’s declaration and Magneto continues. He tells his team that he’s come across information, he believes to be true, which makes him doubt their very existence. He wonders if this world should exist at all. Sabretooth and Storm can’t believe that Magneto is buying into what Bishop has been saying. Quicksilver takes his father aside and tells him this is all madness. Magneto asks him if it’s any less crazy to believe that they, the X-Men, can save an entire world.

Suddenly a transportation disc opens above them. Blink comes flying through and slams on the ground. Nightcrawler starts chastising the girl for Apocalypse’s forces might track her. She tells him that her and Shiro needed to evacuate pronto. And just then Sunfire comes hurtling through. He looks like a huge fiery comet coming through the portal. Storm jumps to action and uses her power to disperse the fire caused by Shiro. Magneto yells for everyone to back away from Sunfire; his power is out of control. He wraps him up in what resembles a huge metal fist. He tells Shiro to calm down and gain control. Iceman comes to the rescue and uses his powers to dampen Sunfire’s flame.

While they are distracted, behind them, a Prelate makes it halfway through the Blink‘s portal. He is huge and grabs Nightcrawler, burning him with his touch. He’s so happy to have found the X-Men’s hidden base that he doesn’t act quickly enough when Blink closes the portal with him still partially stuck in it. Goodbye Prelate.

Now that the action is over, Quicksilver wants some answers. First of all, why did they risk exposure coming back to the mansion? Magneto walks over and Sunfire answers him. Him and Blink discovered that Apocalypse is culling humans again, even though he signed the Kelly Pact. Apocalypse’s son, Holocaust, is carrying them out personally. Most of the X-Men are left with a look of shock on their faces.

In the remains of Manhattan, Apocalypse’s faithful servant Rex makes his way inside the stronghold to meet the big man. Every step he takes crunches human bones. He’s shocked at how many. Apocalypse tells him hundreds of thousands of human remains surround him. He enjoys the smell of the death of the weak. Rex tries to update Apocalypse on some new information, but keeps rambling. Apocalypse silences him and tells him what he already knew. Delgado’s (the Prelate from earlier) death will result in finding the X-Men. He wants to know if they’ve located their base yet. Rex tells him so far not, but they will soon. Rex gazes upon Apocalypse's face and is frightened, for what he sees there he has never seen before - a smile.

Back in the Dead Zone, formerly known as Westchester, Rogue is standing with Blink while Sunfire lies on an observation table. Shiro tells Rogue that the new cullings are happening in Chicago. He wants Rogue to join them in a fight against Holocaust. A few years back, Holocaust destroyed his homeland of Japan. Sunfire will do whatever it takes to make sure it doesn’t happen again. In walks Gambit and interrupts their conversation with a little humor. Rogue is surprised that Remy is still around since Magneto sent him and his team on a mission. Gambit tells her he couldn’t leave without saying goodbye. Rogue and Gambit leave the room and a slightly miffed Blink.

Rogue and Gambit both tell each other that they might not make it back. Gambit isn’t even sure what he’s supposed to be doing and Rogue doesn’t know if she can stop Holocaust. In fact, they’re not sure what to say next. Gambit asks for a goodbye kiss, but Rogue won’t allow it. She is married to Magneto after all. Rogue sighs and Remy does his usual smooth talking. Their lips are about to come together when a cry for “Momma” is heard. It’s Blink with Rogue’s son Charles. She’s just in time. She explains to Rogue that Nanny is getting upgraded so she took Charles. She emphasizes the words “Mother”, “Son”, “Father”, “Husband” while talking to Rogue trying to shove it in Gambit’s face. Rogue takes her son and walks away. She wishes Gambit good luck. Gambit turns to Blink a little perturbed. Blink blatantly tells him she’d feel better if he was dead. He, in return, tells her some good news… he probably won’t be alive much longer. And with that, he jumps off the lookout’s edge and into the woods.

Elsewhere in the mansion, Magneto is left to his thoughts. He thinks about Xavier and what he was doing when he was a child. He wonders if Charles actually thought he could change the world. He remembers that he doubted Charles’ ideas when they were in Israel together. From behind him a voice speaks out. It’s Nightcrawler who’s been hiding in the shadows. He tells Erik that Apocalypse and Holocaust are probably trying to divide their forces with this culling business knowing full well that they’re trying to evacuate all the humans. Magneto assures Kurt that the evacuations will continue. Kurt also thinks that Apocalypse planted Bishop here in order to make him doubt himself. That’s why he’s sending him and Mystique on a mission to find Destiny to see if what Bishop says is true and also why he’s sent Peter and Katya to Seattle. Magneto, in return, has one question for Nightcrawler… does he trust him? Nightcrawler lets him know that he does. Magneto then tells Kurt to trust him on this… he’s more afraid that Bishop is telling the truth than that he is lying.

(partially flashback)

Erik recounts to Kurt what happened on that fateful day. When Legion attempted to kill him, but instead killed his father. He doesn’t remember much, but a promise he made to Charles. He promised to make the world a better place. He intends to keep this promise even if it means changing reality to make it a better place. Kurt can’t believe that Erik would give up the lives of everyone he loves for this “better” world. Magneto assures him that he will.


In the hangar bay some of the X-Men are loading up on supplies for their trip to Chicago. They don’t want to use Blink because Holocaust would expect this and in his current condition, Sunfire might not survive the teleportation process. Instead Rogue will use her magnetic powers to fly their shuttle to Chicago. Quicksilver steps into the bay and tries to convince Rogue that heading over there with Blink and Sunfire will accomplish nothing and they can’t stop an entire culling by themselves. Sabretooth walks in with Wild Child and lets it be known that he will be making the trip as well. He and Wild Child used to work on Holocaust’s side. They want to make up for their past sins.

In walks Magneto with Sunfire leaning against him. He tells his son that it isn’t possible to decide what is more important – the evacuation or the culling. Evacuating the humans wouldn’t be worth it, if just as many were going to die in the cullings. At this point Sunfire starts walking on his own. Magneto goes on to tell Pietro that he’s putting him in charge of the X-Men. He’s heading out with the Chicago team. Quicksilver tries to dissuade him, but is silenced. Magneto leaves him with a final message, “But most of all, remind them to floss”. Pietro is taken aback at his last words. That’s when he finds out that it was Morph all along, posing as Magneto. He gives Quicksilver a kiss with his huge morphed lips. Quicksilver is not too happy and takes a swing at Morph. He misses and is left with Rogue as Morph scurries away. They have a laugh about Morph’s old costume when we still went by the name Changeling, and quickly they look solemn, knowing what’s about to happen. Pietro wants to know if she said goodbye to his father. She tells him she did not, because that would mean they’d never see each other again. They hug and wish each other good luck. She thanks Quicksilver and tells him that they’ll be back. Pietro watches as the metallic sphere blasts off and heads for Chicago.

Bishop enters the room. He wants to know why they’d go on what would seem an impossible mission. Quicksilver tells him he should already know. He comes from the “better” world. Surely it’s not a world filled with cowards. Bishop reiterates that he can’t remember much. He only knows that this reality is somehow wrong. Quicksilver’s big question is why is Bishop the only one who knows of this “better” world. He tells Bishop that this might not be great world or even the right world, but it is his world and he will fight for it! He walks away and Bishop is left alone. He agrees with what Pietro said. He knows that’s the way the Professor would have wanted it.

Characters Involved: 

Banshee, Blink, Iceman, Magneto, Morph, Nightcrawler, Quicksilver, Rogue, Sabretooth, Storm, Sunfire, Wild Child (all X-Men)

Charles Lehnsherr, the son of Magneto and Rogue


Gambit (X-Ternals)

Prelate Delgado



In a flashback :

Charles Xavier

Eric Magnus Lehnsherr



Story Notes: 

Gambit and Magneto used to be best friends, until Magneto and Rogue got together, forcing Gambit to leave the X-Men (X-Men Chronicles #2).

Magneto sends Gambit’s team to Shi’Ar space in Gambit and the X-Ternals #1.

Flashbacks in X-Men Chronicles #1 and Factor X #2 show that during an encounter with Polaris, Rogue permanently absorbed half her magnetic energies.

In Amazing X-Men #1-2, Quicksilver leads the other half of the X-Men to help in the evacuation.

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