Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #44

Issue Date: 
January 2012
Story Title: 
Exalted, part one

Greg Pak (writer), Mike McKone (art), Rachelle Rosenberg (color art), VC’s Cory Petit (letters), Mike McKone and Rachelle Rosenberg (cover art), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Dr. Rao carries out a series of physical examinations on Cyclops, following his recent run-in with Wolverine, prior to his departure from Utopia. He seems to be doing remarkably well physically but, mentally, Dr. Rao isn’t so sure. When Storm arrives, she engages Scott in battle to try and shake him out of his brooding. The pair of them then flies to Santa Marco, which is being menaced by three giant Sentinels. They easily take out their opponents and, in the heat of the moment, they embrace and kiss. Scott thinks that something’s wrong with this situation but, by the time he realizes this, everything goes blank. He wakes up in a capsule alongside Emma, another reality’s version of Nightcrawler and what looks like an older version of Wolverine, amongst others. He tries blasting his way out but the energy is siphoned off and used to power the world to which he’s been transported. This world appears to be run by a strange man wearing white, and Storm is his assistant.

Full Summary: 


Dr. Kavita Rao is carrying out some tests on Scott Summers, leader of the X-Men. She concludes their session by having him lift some weights. She notes his remarkable recovery. Even with the Shi’Ar medtech and nanostitching, they predicted his wounds would take a week longer to close. Scott stands and walks away, revealing the three claw wounds down his back. She has heard that leaders make terrible patients, but Scott has been a dream. He’s followed every order. He has total dedication and supreme discipline. They couldn’t have hoped for a better recovery.

Scott makes his way to the changing rooms. He sees the lockers with the names of those who have recently chosen to leave: Beast and Wolverine. He pauses a moment before destroying the lockers with his optic blast. Rao hears the commotion and figures that mentally, on the other hand… they’re not quite there yet.

Relaxing in the study, Emma is reading a book when she too hears the blast. She contacts him telepathically and reminds him that, in this house, they pick up after themselves. Scott tells her to get out of his head. She tells him that he’s just feeling a little melancholy. He misses his little friends. They fought each other and they left, whilst he made a difficult choice to fight like an unsentimental grown-up against the real threats to the mutant species. She finds his embracing such an unromantic vision quite sexy. However, his brooding about it counters that feeling. She receives no response and asks if he’s still there.

She instead contacts Dr. Nemesis, who is outside. She pardons the intrusion, but she links his mind to Dr. Rao’s, who updates him on Scott’s current status. When she asks for his opinions, Nemesis replies that there is the traumatic loss of innocence, destruction of old friendships and incipient P.T.S.D. But, there could be a simpler psychological aspect. They have rain clouds rolling in, stirring up an abundance of positive ions and increasing irritability among particularly sensitive people. Thunder rumbles across the ocean as Scott approaches him. He adds that Emma needn’t worry. When the rain starts falling it releases negative ions into the air causing a feeling of euphoria… a natural side-effect of Storm’s more dramatic arrivals.

Scott tells Ororo that they weren’t expecting her back from Wakanda for another week. She replies that she goes where she’s needed. She apologizes for saying so, but she thinks Scott seems a little distracted. He wouldn’t want someone to take advantage of that. With those words, she unleashes a lightning blast which hits the ground near the assembled group. Scott is thrown to the ground and he exclaims, “What the hell,” as he responds with an optic blast. He tells her she’s supposed to be the stable one, but she replies that when he asked her to stay when the others left, it was to provide balance. But, he’s now gone off the rails and someone has to put him in his place.

She creates a strong wind that carries Scott high into the air. Watched by the students below, they see him use pulsed optic blasts to change his momentum. Idie wonders if he can really do that. Scott changes direction and brings himself close to Storm and he connects with a right cross to her chin. She tells him he’s stretching and she likes that. She wonders if he can handle a direct blast. She fires a lightning bolt at him but Cyclops fires his blast at it, dispersing it harmlessly to the sides. Nemesis notes that he managed to block her lightning. “That’s new.” Emma, watching from inside replies, “Yes. Yes it is.”

Scott falls, laughing as he does so and Storm catches up with him. They almost appear to dance as Storm tells him that this is the Scott she was looking for. He asks what all this is about and Ororo smiles. “Time to be a hero again.”

(two hours later)

Cyclops and Storm are in the X-plane, five minutes from San Marco. Scott says there’s still no sign of her bad guys but they have some ugly thunderclouds up ahead. Ororo replies that they’re actually beautiful. She’s pulling them in for cover and asks him to keep on flying. He asks her why she’s staring so much at him. Ororo laughs and replies that it’s just that he’s so different. Scott admits that he’s already heard it from Emma and he doesn’t need another lecture about living in the past. Ororo replies that she wouldn’t presume and, anyway, she’s much more interested in the immediate future.

Down below, three gigantic Sentinels loom over the small town. One of them identifies the two X-Men, raises its hand and fires a blast from its palm repulsor. Fortunately, it misses and the Blackbird passes by. They then drop from a hatch underneath the plane and drop towards the three Sentinels. “Ready?” asks Ororo. “You bet,” replies Scott. He fires his optic beam at the nearest one, smashing a massive hole in its neck. Storm destroys the other two with a lightning bolt each to the head. She then flies them gently down to the rocks and Cyclops finishes one of them off.

Ororo looks at Scott and he tells her that she’s staring again. She takes his hand in her and apologizes but, a moment later, they are kissing.

Scott breaks away, surprised by what just happened. Ororo asks him not to say anything and to just listen to his heart. She uses her command of the wind to raise them both off the ground and she tells Scott that this is what they were put on the Earth to do. Scott asks who the hell she is. Ororo is married and she would never do that. A voice in Ororo’s mind says that’s it, but she tells them that he’ll understand if she has one more minute. The voice replies no. He’s already in attack mode. Scott suddenly reels and holds his head. “Get out of my brain, you sonofa…” he cries. The voice informs Ororo that he’s shutting him down.

Soon, Scott hears a voice asking him to wake up and recognizes it as Emma’s. He opens his eyes and finds himself in a red capsule in a generator room by himself. He asks how long he was out before then asking her to be careful. There was something wrong with Ororo. Emma says she knows, not that Scott seemed to mind very much. Scott replies that she kissed him, not that…

He then pauses as he looks across and sees Emma inside a similar capsule with her arms shackled and her head covered with a cowl. She asks him to stay calm and not lose his head, but then says “to hell with this” and fires his optic blast at the capsule. It has no effect, and instead the energy is directed upwards harmlessly into the machinery above.

Scott looks around and notices more capsules. One contains what looks like a young version of Nightcrawler and another older version of Wolverine, who appears to have several blades sticking out of his back. He asks the boy what he can see and the boy replies that it looks like they found another Cyclops.


It’s night time in town and a young father is trying to get his baby to breathe properly using an oxygen mask. A doctor nearby says that the generators are failing and they have a hundred patients on respirators. She begs two police officers to take the children. One of them apologizes, but replies that the grid’s failed throughout the city. There’s nothing they can do. The man approaches with his baby and asks if they don’t understand. His baby is going to die! They have to help.

Below ground there is a stirring and one of the street lights flickers into life followed by more lights in the buildings nearby. The man thanks God, but a man behind him wearing a white outfit and carrying a large gold trident says no. He should thank the heroes down below who have sacrificed everything for him. Then, the man says, he can then thank his savior and his dream that his feeble species shall not pass from the Earth.

Characters Involved: 

Cyclops, Dust, Emma Frost, Surge (all X-Men)

Dr. Nemesis, Dr. Kavita Rao (X-Club)

Primal and Zero (Five Lights)

(from an alternate dimension)


Emmaline Frost, General James Howlett, Nightcrawler and other mutants


Savior’s people

Story Notes: 

Isaac Asimov was a popular American science fiction author, known for stories such as I, Robot, Nightfall and the Foundation series.

The Savior is named in the next issue. The name is a play on Xavier.

P.T.S.D. is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Issue Information: 
Written By: