Astonishing X-Men (4th series) #13

Issue Date: 
September 2018
Story Title: 
First story: Until our Hearts Stop, part 1 -- Second story: Countdown to Extermination

First Story: Matthew Rosenberg (writer), Greg Land (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Frank D'Armata (colorist), Greg Land & Frank D'Armata (cover artists), Mike Deodato Jr n& Rain Beredo; Rob Liefeld & Romulo Fajardo Jr (variant cover artists), Jay Bowen & Anthony Gambino (graphic designers), Annalise Bissa (assistant editor),

Second Story: Ed Brisson (writer), Oscar Bazaldua (artist), Erick Arciniega (colorist), Chris Robinson & Annalise Bisa (assistant editors)

Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Darren Shan (editor), Jordan D White (X-Men group editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

(first story)

Havok single-handedly takes down a large monster in central New York, but in doing so causes a lot of damage to a building. The Avengers arrive on scene and Iron Man gives Havok a stern talking-to about his actions, before Captain America, who knows that Havok has been through a lot lately, takes some time to figure out his life. Inside Miss Sinister's lab, the diabolical madwoman is about to cut into a terrified woman, before Donald Pierce and his Reavers arrive and take Miss Sinister as their prisoner. Havok arrives at the Xavier Institute in Central Park, ashamed of the media coverage about his encounter with the monster. He talks to a class of students, revealing part of his history to them, he talks about how he was recruited by Charles Xavier to fight for his dream, and declares that the X-Men today are not living up to Xavier's dream. Havok gets into an argument with Rockslide, before Kitty Pryde arrives, with Warpath at her side. Kitty tells Havok that he can't come here trying to recruit her students. Havok tries to tell Kitty that he wants to give some of them the time to shine on his own X-Men team, only to learn that Kitty legally owns the name X-Men and won't give him permission to use it, so he leaves. The Reavers arrive at an undisclosed location where they offer Miss Sinister to Agent Callahan, who they seem to be working for. When the Reavers try to break free of their agreement with Callahan, he uses a device on them to knock them out. Havok has a nightmare about Bastion, and blows a hole in the wall of the motel he was staying in, so does a runner. The Beast is teaching at Harvard, and is surprised to see Havok sitting up the back of one of his lectures. The Beast is curious as to Havok's intentions, so Havok explains to him how he wants to start an X-Men team, focussing on the younger generation of X-Men. Before the Beast can offer any insight, other than to confirm that Kitty does indeed legally own the name X-Men, they are attacked by several Reavers – who want the Beast. Havok and Beast defend themselves before taking cover, and with Havok as yet to form his team, they have no back up – until the Beast opens a door, and from a sonic scream is unleashed at the Reavers – courtesy of Banshee!

(second story)

Dazzler and Warpath are the final X-Men standing within New Concordia, and face off against an army of Sentinels, but are brutally slaughtered.



Full Summary: 

First story:

Alex Summers a.k.a. Havok unleashes a powerful surge of energy up at a large monster that is currently terrorising the city. 'Even when I was little, I was never afraid of monsters' Alex thinks to himself, while shouting 'Fall down, dammit!' and decides that his lack of fear of monsters explains a lot about how he ended up in his chosen profession – facing down other people's fears is kinda what they do. He pours the energy on even harder, and the monster falls backwards into a building.

Havok leans forward, resting his hands on his knees to catch his breath, when suddenly, 'Oh, little X-Man, what the hell did you just do?' Iron Man calls out as he arrives on scene with several other Avengers – Captain America, Thor, Captain Marvel and Black Panther. 'Little late, guys. I already stopped the monster  from destroying the city' Havok calls back, motioning to the monster which has fallen to the ground.


'Oh, thank goodness Havok, the one-man army is here to make sure nothing was destroyed... except, ya know, that building you destroyed!' Iron Man shouts. 'What's your problem, Stark?' Havok snaps back. Iron Man flies over to Havok, and replies 'Where to begin? Had it not occurred to you that the reason the streets are clear was that we were taking care of it?' Iron Man asks. 'It had... not. Were you -' Havok begins, as Iron Man continues: 'Like, maybe the Avengers made a deal with Mole Man to peacefully relocate on his monsters that had grown too large?' 'Oh. Did that -' Havok remarks, as Iron Man's faceplate slides back, and Tony, beneath the armor, points out that it looks like they just broke their agreement with  him. 'I'm sure he'll handle that well. He usually does. Right, Panther?' Tony asks sarcastically.

'He does not' the Black Panther replies stoically. Havok suggests that if there is trouble, he would be willing to help. 'Maybe not' Tony Stark tells him, before asking if Havok isn't still a criminal who tried to kill everyone on the planet. 'Or am I misremembering?' he asks.

Captain America frowns and tells Iron Man to take it easy, that he will handle this. Cap takes Havok aside and tells him that he knows he has been through a lot lately, that his mind was twisted and he did some things that he is probably ashamed of. 'Exactly. That's why I want to get back out here and help people' Havok explains. Cap tells Havok that his heart is in the right place, but suggests that he maybe take some time out for himself first. 'That's the advice I'm getting from Captain America? Don't be a super hero?' Alex asks. 'Take time out to figure out what you need to do. When you know that, the rest of the world will accept it... or not' Cap tells Alex.

Meanwhile, in Durham, North Carolina, the diabolical Miss Sinister is in her lab, and remarks 'There are people who will tell you that being so determined to improve your body is a selfish act I don't think that's true. A woman sits strapped to a chair, crying, as Miss Sinister a.k.a. Claudine Renko, stands over her, holding two very sharp saw-type instruments. Miss Sinister tells the woman that what she is going to go through now is going to be incredibly painful – and maybe the pain will never go away – but when it is done, she will be something for all of humanity to enjoy. 'Please... no...' the woman utters as more tears stream down her face, and Miss Sinister holds one of the saws to the woman's forehead. 'Yes. And in the end, that's what you'll be remembered for. A true testament to my genetic engineer-' Miss Sinister begins, before there is an explosion, knocking her across her lab.

Miss Sinister lands n her feet and throws up a force field as someone shouts 'Sinister's not down! Keep firing!' Miss Sinister identifies the intruders as Reavers, and unleashes a power on them, causing one of them to scream as she boasts 'I'm going to take you apart piece by piece you insolent trash'. Miss Sinister asks the Reavers what made them think they could ever attack her in her own home. 'Are you insane?' she declares, unaware that another figure approaches her from behind: 'Of course we are. And don't bother with the mind control. I'm not available' as he injects something into Miss Sinister's neck. 'Nicely done, Pierce' one of the other Reavers remarks. 'The job's easy if you aren't a moron' Pierce replies, before ordering the Reavers to get the woman loaded up and to make sure she is secure this time. 'I don't want another Mister M situation' he remarks, before instructing someone to tell Colonel Callahan that they are all clear here.

The Xavier Institute for Mutant Education and Outreach, Central Park, New York:

Havok sits slumped in a chair in a corridor, listening to a television in a nearby living room, as the announcer states that “The Mutant Monster Melee in Midtown” is what some are calling the events of earlier today when the mutant terrorist known as Havok took it upon himself to interrupt a peaceful Avengers mission in Time Square. 'Hey, can you turn that up?' Havok asks Anole, who is watching the report. Tony Stark appears on the television screen, declaring that it is the usual story: 'Doofus in a sparkly leotard shows up and decides that zapping a 300-foot-tall monstery thing in the face was a good idea. Monster knocks over building. Doofus runs away'.

'They talking about you?' Anole asks, to which Havok covers his face with his hands, as Stark's voice can be heard remarking that it was lucky he and the Avengers responded quickly and no one was hurt.

'We're ready for you now, Mr Summers' Armor smiles. 'Please, Hisako, Mr Summers is my dog's name. Call me Havok' Alex replies.

Havok stands at a blackboard in a lecture theater and writes his name on the board, as he announces 'Some of you know me. Some of you only know me by reputation. My name is Havok'. He explains that he was recruited by Charles Xavier to join the X-Men, and that Xavier personally told him his dream for the X-Men, what they were supposed to be, what they could become and what that would mean for the world. Havok adds that he has spent most of his life fighting for that dream, and has seen friends and family die for that dream 'And what the X-Men have become... you're not living up to that dream' Havok frowns. The handsome mutant points out that there are two things that bind them together: First, they were born with uncanny gifts, but they were born into a world that hates and fears them because of what they can do. And, secondly, the desire to use those gifts to make the world a better place – not just for themselves but for everyone – that is the legacy of Charles Xavier.

Havok continues, pointing out that for too long, the X-Men have been solely about protecting themselves, a defensive force, just trying to stay alive. 'But we can be so much more. This world will always hate us... until we give them a reason not to. They will hate us until we save them' Havok remarks. 'From what?' someone asks. 'From themselves' Havok declares. He adds that Captain America one told him that when it is your time to be a hero, the rest of the world will follow. 'Our time is now. We can't just hope for the world we want. We make it' Havok explains, adding that they take the people who hate them, fear them, and the ones who don't care, and they show them what they can do. 'It's time for the X-Men to astonish' Havok smiles.

'Cool speech, man. A-plus. Can I ask a question, though? Aren't you, like, a super-villain?' Rockslide calls out from the class, where he sits with Pixie, Nature Girl, Glob Herman and Shark Girl.

Havok folds his arms and explains that he was the victim of an attack by the Red Skull where he altered his brain functions to make him do things he is not proud of – but he is better now. 'Awesome. But you're still a wanted criminal, right? Like, how did you even get in here?' Rockslide asks. Havok tells Rockslide that it is complicated, but that he is still an X-Man. 'Awesome. But you did destroy that building yesterday, right?' Rockslide points out. Havok responds by telling Rockslide that he doesn't think his resume is in question here, to which Rockslide declares 'You were a super villain, like, 30 minutes ago and now you want us to join your team? Sorta is, dude'. Havok frowns and points a finger at Rockslide: 'Listen, you mother -' he begins, interrupted when, suddenly, Kitty Pryde phases into the lecture theater: 'Alex! A word outside. Now!' she exclaims.

James Proudstar a.k.a. Warpath is with her as Kitty asks Alex what he thinks he is doing here. Havok informs her that he is putting a team together. Kitty frowns at Alex and tells him that he can't just come here and begin recruiting her students for whatever little pet project this is. 'They aren't your students' Alex replies. 'I'm responsible for their housing, their education, their training, their safety. You bet your ass they're my students' Kitty retorts. Alex asks Kitty to be reasonable, and reminds her that he was an X-Man before her, that he was a team leader. 'You know I'd do a good job at getting some of these kids off the bench and out in the field. My X-team could -' Havok begins, but Kitty informs Alex that he isn't an X-Man anymore. 'You don't own the name “X-Men”!' Havok exclaims, but Kitty informs him that, legally, she does. 'Well... I did not know that' Havok mutters, before turning and leading to the door, announcing that he will go. 'Thanks for the help' he adds.

A warehouse somewhere. 'There they are! My favorite mercenaries!' a man in a high-ranking military uniform, flanked by several soldiers in green armor, exclaims. 'Mercenaries get paid' Pierce replies, addressing the man as Callahan. 'That's why I like you, Pierce. Always the quick tongue' Agent Callahan remarks, before Pierce informs him that Sinister is on ice in the van, and that they are done now. 'I'm afraid I have to disagree...' Callahan replies.

With Cylla Markham and several other Reavers behind him, Pierce tells Callahan that the Reavers are not his toys. 'No, but you're in my custody after Alpha Flight didn't know what to do with you' Callahan reminds Pierce, who tells Callahan that they had a deal: 'We get your little bondage queen here and we're square. Girl's in the van. We're square. Now you $%&# off' Pierce exclaims. 'No...I don't think I will $%&# off' Callahan replies as he presses a button on a device which zaps Pierce and the Reavers, knocking them out. 'After all this time you've had, I thought you me better, Donny. You really thought I wouldn't build a way to stop you if you got to uppity? What do you think all that poking and prodding was for? I like to know how my toys work' Callahan declares, before instructing his soldiers to load Pierce and the others into the van with the girl – and kill the rest!

Night has fallen, and Havok sits on a bench near an amusement park. Voices fill his head: 'We always pulled against our leashes... because they reminded us we were somebody's pet. But we broke free and now we know it was better before'. It's Bastion who suddenly grabs Havok, and declares that stray dogs will never go home, and Havok screams as Bastion unleashes an energy against him.

Suddenly, Havok wakes up, still screaming – and unleashes a surge of energy, right through the motel wall. The shirtless Havok sits up in bed, drenched in sweat and panting, wide-eyed. He looks at the gaping hole in the wall, when suddenly, the motel owner appears: 'What did you just do to my motel, freak? You better believe the cops are on their way!' he shouts. With his costume now on, Havok grabs a jacket and makes a run for it.

At Harvard, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast is giving a lecture, where he tells the students that in certain subjects with the x-gene, a fifth modification to the cytosine residue has been reported, leading some to speculate – 'Kelly?' he calls out to a student, who asks if that has led some to speculate that the origin of genetic mutation is bacterial based. 'That's right. And if phages were... were... used...' the Beast begins, before his voice trails off as he catches sight of someone sitting in the back of the lecture theater. 'Actually, I think you're all smart enough for the day' the Beast tells the class, before dismissing them.

'Alex Summers!' Hank exclaims as Havok comes down from the back of the lecture theater and they hug. 'Harvard, huh? Pretty fancy, Hank' Alex smiles. Hank explains that he had certain requirements that very few teaching labs could meet. 'And the portobello patty melt at Veggie Galaxy is to die for. We should totally -' Hank begins, before folding his arms and asking Alex what he wants. 'I can't just come say hello to one of my oldest -' Alex begins, but Hank tells him to cut the crap. Alex informs Hank that he started an X-Men team and Hank was the first person he wanted to ask to join. 'You can't just do that' Hank declares. 'Sure I can Kitty doesn't own the name “X-Men”!' Alex exclaims, to which Hank tells him that she does – she inherited the trademark when Charles died. Alex points out that nothing lasts forever, that some things are bound to change. 'Perhaps. But not for you...' Hank replies, suggesting that they go to his laboratory to continue this conversation.

Soon, in his lab, Hank pours some tea as Alex asks him if teaching trust-fund brats how DNA works is really what he wants to be doing. 'Yes, it is' Hank responds, but Alex tells him that he doesn't believe him. 'You were out there saving the world every day. You can't turn your back on that'. But as he sips his tea, Hank tells Alex that he wakes up sore every day from all the places he has been shot and stabbed, and from falling out of airplanes, or being caught in exploding buildings – that he goes to bed in pain, and half his teeth are dental implants. 'Did you know that? Half of them' Hank declares. 'It's the price we pay -' Alex starts to reply, to which Hank tells him that he is tired. 'Aren't you tired?' Hank asks. 'I call $#&%. We were always meant to be X-Men, and you know it. I hit a bad patch and I lost my way. Now Captain America thinks I'm a moron. Kitty Pryde can't stand to look at me and the new X-kids think I'm a joke. Those kids may be awful brats, but they're not wrong. I need to fix this. And I want one of my best friends by my side' Alex explains. 'Is that me?' Hank asks.

'Here we are. Both of us have let down every single person who ever cared about us. It's time to make it right. What do you say?' Alex asks. Hank takes off his glasses and wipes them with a cloth, before frowning and telling Alex 'Get the $#%& out of my lab'. Alex grins and tells Hank that he didn't mean it like that. 'I just meant we could help each other -' Alex begins, when suddenly, Hank lunges towards him. 'Whoa!' Alex calls out, surprised, as Hank pushes him backwards, behind a table, as gunfire blasts across the lab. 'I'm gonna light these clowns up' Alex exclaims, to which Hank tells him to be careful and reminds him that they are in a school. 'I don't think they're listening to you, Hank' Alex remarks as several Reavers, including Bonebreaker, Skullbuster and Pretty Boy continue firing at the former X-Men. 'Oh. They're gonna fight back. That's good' Skullbuster declares.

As some experiments are blown apart, the Beast tells Alex 'This is why. This is why. You came to visit me for twenty minutes and this happens'. The Beast runs through the lab, while Havok releases a surge of energy at one of the Reavers and asks 'Why do you assume this is my fault?' to which the Beast points out that the Reavers didn't show much interest in higher education before today.

'Here, kitty kitty kitty!' one of the Reavers jokes as they continue to open fire. 'See? I don't think they're calling me' Havok jokes. 'Well, if they want to play, I can play' the Beast replies as he tears the arm off one of the Reavers. 'Finally' Havok exclaims as he continues to pour on his energy towards the Reavers. 'You shouldn't have roped your friend into this, McCoy. You're gonna get him killed!' Skullbuster calls out. 'When we're done I'm gonna skin ya, kitty-cat!' another Reaver calls out as he continues to fire at Havok, who ducks behind another workbench. 'This is definitely not a me problem, Hank!' Havok calls out.

The Beast appears next to Havok and tells him that now would be a really good time for him to call in the rest of his team. 'I told you, you were the first person I asked. Well, the first who didn't say no' Havok replies. 'I did say no!' the Beast snaps, adding that he does have one unexplored option, but that he is not sure it is a good idea – and that it's possible it is a mutually-assured-destruction situation. 'It feels like out destruction is already assured. Might as well go for it' Havok suggests. The Beast tells Havok that he might want to cover his ears, and as he flicks a switch, there is a rumbling sound, as a large set of doors slide open – a screeching noise can be heard. One of the Reavers asks what the noise is, and gets their answer, as someone in a green and yellow costume flies from the room, screeching, he knocks the Reavers back – it's Sean Cassidy a.k.a. Banshee!


Second story:

The Xavier Institute, Central Park, New York City, twenty years from now. The bodies of dozens of mutants, including Colossus lie strewn through the rubble of the Institute. Several Sentinels can be seen standing over the ruins. One of them states that only two mutant life-forms remain within New Concordia, and that they should be destroyed with extreme prejudice.

Dazzler and Warpath look up at the Sentinels, and Dazzler tells Warpath that it looks like they are outnumbered. 'Isn't that always the case?' Warpath asks. Dazzler fires a blast of light energy towards the Sentinels as she and Warpath race forwards. 'It's been an honor to fight by your side' Dazzler remarks. 'And yours as well, Alison' Warpath replies, as the Sentinels raise their hands in unison and declare 'Destroy' as they open fire on Warpath and Dazzler, obliterating them!

Characters Involved: 

First Story:

Beast, Havok, Warpath

Kitty Pryde


Anole, Armor, Glob Herman, Nature Girl, Pixie III, Rockslide, Shark Girl (all X-Men students)


Black Panther, Captain America, Captain Marvel VI, Iron Man, Thor (all Avengers)


Bonebreaker, Donald Pierce, Pretty Boy, Skullbuster, Skullbuster II / Cylla (all Reavers)

Miss Sinister

Agent Callahan





Motel owner



in Havok's nightmare:




Second Story:

Dazzler, Warpath

Colossus and other unidentified mutants


Story Notes: 

First story:

Havok's personality was inverted, twisting him, in the “AXIS” event. In X-Men Blue #23-28 he worked alongside other X-Men villains to create an army of Mothervine mutants, but in X-Men Blue #28 his personality was restored to his pre-inversion personality.

Presumably Warpath's appearance here takes place after Weapon X (3rd series) #21 when he leaves the Weapon X team.

The Reavers were handed over to Alpha Flight in Hunt for Wolverine #1.

Banshee was killed in X-Men Deadly Genesis #2-3. He was resurrected briefly during the “Chaos War” and “Necrosha” events, before being restored to life as a Horseman of Death by the Apocalypse Twins via a Death Seed in Uncanny Avengers (1st series) #10-13. He was last seen in a stasis tank in Uncanny Avengers (1st series) #23.

Dazzler and Colossus appear on the regular cover to this issue, but not in the issue itself.

Second Story:

The Countdown to Extermination can also be seen in X-Men Gold #27, X-Men Red #5, X-Men Blue #27 and Cable (1st series) #159, which leads into the Extermination mini series.

Written By: