Astonishing X-Men (4th series) #15

Issue Date: 
November 2018
Story Title: 
Until our Hearts Stop, part 3

Matthew Rosenberg (writer), Greg Land & Neil Edwards (pencilers), Jay Leisten (inker), Frank D'Armata (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Greg Land & Frank D'Armata (cover artists), Akcho (variant cover artist), Jay Bowen & Anthony Gambino (graphic designers), Annalise Bissa (assistant editor), 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: 

Havok, Beast, Dazzler, Colossus, Warpath and Banshee take some time out at a diner when they are approached by a cameraman interested in Dazzler. She lets him take photos of her and answers some questions, but when he tells them that Kitty Pryde put out a statement saying that this group are not X-Men, Colossus crushes his camera. At the Office of National Emergency headquarters, General Callahan is embarrassed about his soldiers being defeated by Havok's group. He confronts Donald Pierce, annoyed that his men were defeated in armor designed by Pierce, but Callahan is grateful for the vast resources at his disposal. Without any means of transport, Havok takes his group on a public bus, which the Beast has to pay everyone's fares, as none of the others carry any cash. Havok then informs his companions that Bastion implanted something in his brain he doesn't know what, and that is why the Reavers are looking for him. The Beast realizes that Havok put this group together to protect him, and Havok admits he had nowhere else to go. Colossus is hurt by this, and Havok decides to get off the bus, heading out on his own, Dazzler follows him and tries to give him some encouragement, but he isn't interested. At an abandoned Radio Shack which the Reavers have made their base, Reese, Macon and Cole join Bonebreaker, Skullbuster and Pretty Boy and report that some of their teammates are dead, but Pierce is still imprisoned by Callahan. Bonebreaker frets that the Office of National Emergency is going to come for them and suggests that they face facts – their time is up. At the Bar with No Name, Havok is drinking. He detects Warpath is watching him and Warpath sits next to him, asking Havok if he is back among the villains. Warpath asks Havok why he lied to them all, and reminds him that X-Men look out for one another. Havok tells Warpath that it has been a long time since he was an X-Man and has another drink. At Colossus' bachelor pad, Dazzler, Colossus, Beast and Banshee regroup, before a grenade is thrown through the window. The Beast is injured but the others are okay, and are able to fight O*N*E soldiers who attack them. When a chopper arrives, Banshee destroys it with his sonic scream – then flies away, leaving the others to be captured by General Callahan. Havok asks Warpath why he is still hanging around. Warpath explains that he isn't here for Kitty, but for his brother, the dead X-Man called Thunderbird. Warpath explains why he serves with the X-Men and reveals what he learned from Cyclops, and tells Havok how much he believes in the Summers family. Suddenly, a news report comes onto the television and Havok and Warpath learn that their friends have been captured and are blamed for killing some Reavers. Havok suspects that the O*N*E and Reavers have some connection, and they are caught between them. Havok has an idea on how to get to the bottom of this mystery, and after visiting alleys and various people of the night, he and Warpath are given the location of the Reavers' hideout, and when they arrive at the old Radio Shack, they bang on the door and are greeted by several Reavers – and Havok tells them that he heard they could use some new members!

Full Summary: 

'C'mon, dude!' someone calls out. 'Those are for everyone!' someone else complains inside a diner called Big Nicks. 'I have a fast metabolism. I need to eat more than all of you' Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast remarks as he grabs another handful of french fries. 'If your metabolism is so fast, Hank, why are you fat?' Alison Blaire a.k.a. Dazzler asks. Hank explains that his winter coat is coming in, before asking if they can get back to the matter at hand. The Beast shoves more fries into his mouth as he tells his companions that, obviously, they are all reticent to admit it, but they just made a major boo-boo. 'Having seen the show, I have some guesses why the Office of National Emergency might show up at Dazzler's performance -' Hank says. 'Hey!' Dazzler snaps, to which Hank reminds the others that they still just assaulted a team of federal agents – unprovoked and in public. He suggests that they turn themselves in. 'And you think that will go well for us?' Alex Summers a.k.a. Havok asks, sitting at the other end of the table. Also with them are Piotr Rasputin a.k.a. Colossus and James Proudstar a.k.a. Warpath, while Sean Cassidy a.k.a. Banshee stands several feet away from the table.

'No, Alex. But it's the right -' Hank begins, when suddenly, there is a bright camera flash, and a voice shouts: 'Hey, Dazzler! Wanna answer some questions for TAM?' It’s a camera man.

Dazzler gets to her feet and poses, 'Always' she smiles, before the cameraman asks her why Lightbringer broke up, and how the tour is going. Dazzler replies that the group is on hiatus, and that the tour is going great, while  the cameraman snaps more photos and asks Dazzler why she is hanging out with known terrorists. 'What... no, these are... I'm with the X-Men. We're super -' Dazzler begins, as the cameraman interrupts her again, announcing that Kitty Pryde put out a statement fifteen minutes ago saying that these guys were definitely not X-Men. Moving on, the cameraman asks Dazzler what her relationship is with Longshot, but before Dazzler can respond, Colosuss grabs the camera and crushes it. 'Picture time is over. Time to go'.

Elsewhere, the Office of National Emergency Headquarters:

'This is #$%&$#& embarrassing!' Agent Callahan declares as he walks into a room where Donald Pierce and several Reavers are playing cards. 'It is. You're a grown man. Stop crying, Callahan' Pierce mutters. Callahan stands before Pierce and asks him if he thinks this is a joke. 'My men got their butts handed to them in the armor you helped design!' he exclaims. Pierce looks at his cards and replies 'There you go again. I didn't help you do anything. You imprison the Reavers, steal out tech and expect us to build you brand-new weapons? And then you're mad at me when a handful of reject X-Men kick your cop butts?' Pierce looks over at one of the men sitting at the table and tells him that military types never get it – it never comes down to the weapon, it's always about the man who wields it. 'You can armor up all the men you want. They'll never be us' Pierce tells Callahan.

Callahan decides that Pierce is right, and adds that someone like Miss Sinister doesn't understand how to be useful, so they got what they needed from her, and cut her loose. 'But you? You make quite the compelling argument for keeping you around forever, Pierce'. Callaghan remarks that he agrees with Pierce on one thing – his men may not have the experience with this tech like the Reavers, they make up for it with resources, as he turns from Pierce and looks out over the balcony, to a large room where other soldiers are being prepped for wearing the Reaver-like armor.

'This is fantastically embarrassing. You continue to take us to new depths, Alex' Hank remarks as he, Alex and Alison sit at a bus shelter. Piotr and James stand on either side of them, and Sean continues to stand a few feet away from the group. 'What's wrong with public transportation?' Alex replies. 'For a super hero team? A lot. At this point I hope we can all admit we shouldn't be calling ourselves the X-Men' the Beast frowns. 'You can't call yourselves that' Warpath reminds them. 'Why? Because we aren't taking a private jet that that always crashes? C'mon' Alex mutters, before frowning and telling the others that he is not stupid. Hank snorts at this comment. 'Compared to normal people, Hank' Alex adds, before telling the others that getting attacked by the Reavers, beaten up by a few government agents, Pete smashing that guy's camera and Alison's depressing as $#%& show, they have had a rough start – but he knows why this is happening. 'Sort of' he adds as a bus pulls up at the stop.

'Nice outfits. Still gotta pay' the bus driver tells the non-X-Men as they step onto the bus. 'Oh... yeah, right... ummm...' Alex remarks, while Alison announces that she doesn't handle money on tour. 'I've got it' the Beast remarks as he hands the driver some cash, before telling the others that they should all start carrying money with them, as this is embarrassing.

'You were saying, Alex?' Hank then asks in an attempt to get the conversation back on track. 'Right, so... I think there's something inside of me that they all want' Alex reports as he stands in the aisle, while the others take seats. 'Your organs' Colossus suggests. 'What? No! When I was... evil... which sounds so weird to say out loud... I spent time with future Sentinel and all-around creep Bastion. He implanted something in me. I just don't know what' Alex explains. 'He put something in your and you're only just mentioning this now?' Dazzler asks.

Havok tells his companions that he doesn't fully remember it, that he just keeps having these dreams – that is why the Reavers are looking for him. 'Based on the list you found, they're looking for a lot of people' Warpath reminds him. 'No. They're looking for me, they just don't know it yet' Havok replies. The Beast asks Havok if that is why he put this team together – just to protect himself. 'Hank! What kind of question is -' Dazzler begins, before Havok hangs his head and admits 'Yes' and explains that he didn't have anywhere else to go. 'Are you kidding?' Dazzler gasps. Colossus tells Havok that he should never feel bad about needing the help of his friends. Havok begins to thank Colossus, but Colossus tells him that lying to them and making them risk their lives for a deception can be forgiven – but never forgotten. 'You're right as always, Piotr' Havok tells Colossus, before turning to the bus driver and informing him that this is his stop.

Havok gets off the bus and pulls his sweater hood over his head, as he shuffles down the sidewalk, hands in pockets. 'Alex! Wait!' Alison calls out as she walks after him. 'If you're here to tell me it's all okay, I don't need to hear it, Ali' Alex responds, but Dazzler tells him that he screwed up real bad, and that is far from okay. 'But you're Havok. That's what you do' she reminds him. 'This is not the pep talk I was expecting' Havok tells Dazzler. 'But we're the X-Men, right?' Dazzler tells him. 'Well...' Havok replies. 'Things get screwed up and we fix them. Together' Dazzler declares, but Havok tells her that they won't this time, that Colossus was right, he put everyone at risk by being near them. He continues on down the street, and Dazzler asks him where he is going. 'Far away from the people I care about' Alex replies, hanging his head.

Inside an abandoned Radio Shack, the current base of the Reavers. 'OWWW!' Bonebreaker shouts as Pretty Boy makes some repairs to his body. 'That didn't hurt, ya big baby' Pretty Boy mutters, while Bonebreaker adds that he sore he would never go back to the treads, referring to the bionic tank that his torso is connected to, enabling him to move. 'And I swore i'd marry Tom Cruise. But the world don't give a -' Pretty Boy mutters, interrupted by the arrival of Cole, Macon and Reese. 'They're dead! They're all $#%&% dead!' Cole exclaims. Skullbuster is in the room, too, and turns to the new arrivals as Bonebreaker tells Cole to slow down and tell them what happened.

Cole explains that they followed that tracker of Stomper's that went live, and went to a parking garage – they were all there, Stomper, Boss, Wachtel – and now they're dead. 'Pierce?' Bonebreaker asks. 'They killed them all!' Cole exclaims. 'Cole! Was a Pierce there?' Bonebreaker asks, but Cole tells him 'No' and asks Bonebreaker what they should do. Bonebreaker throws his hands to his head and declares  that they don't have the numbers to rescue Pierce from the Feds, and that they couldn't capture that dumb X-Man they needed to trade with them. He fears that the O*N*E is going to come for them sooner or later, so they might as well face facts – their time is up.

Meanwhile, Havok sits at the bar in the establishment known as the Bar with No Name. A red-haired woman sits at the bar, a few seats down from him. 'You might as well sit with me. You stick out like a sore thumb in here. Which is a compliment in a bar full of supervillains' Havok remarks. 'How did you know I was here?' Warpath asks, standing behind Havok. Havok knocks back another drink and tells Warpath that he knew he was following him twelve blocks back. 'You're not as good as you think you are, James' Havok points out. 'Yes, I am' Warpath replies. 'Then maybe I'm not as bad as you think I am' Havok suggests. 'Interesting choice of words' Warpath points out as he sits next to Alex, who asks the bartender for two more drinks. 'I'm not drinking' Warpath tells Havok. 'Nobody asked' Havok tells him.

Warpath asks Alex if he is back among the villains again, to which Alex tells him to keep his voice down unless he wants to fight the whole bar. 'Was thinking about it' Warpath remarks. Havok explains to Warpath that he is not back to his old ways, that he just needed somewhere to go he could lie low and think – and drink. 'Not a villain, but a liar' Warpath remarks. 'Yeah, yeah, I lied. I should have told everyone that the real reason I was forming the team was to protect myself -' Havok replies, to which Warpath tells him that he is doing it again. 'Excuse me?' Havok asks. 'You didn't form the team to protect yourself. I knew as soon as you said it. You're a terrible liar, by the way' Warpath declares. '... thanks?' Havok replies, before Warpath asks him why he lies about everything. Havok claims that he didn't – not everything, at least, the Bastion stuff is all true, but that when he realized the Reavers and O*N*E were probably both hunting him, he can't put everyone at risk for his past mistakes. Warpath points out that they would stand by him – that's what the X-Men do for each other. 'I haven't been an X-Man in a long time' Havok replies as he knocks back another drink.

At Colossus' bachelor pad:

'Good lord, Piotr. Did a bomb go off in here? Some kind of garbage tornado?' Dazzler asks as she holds up a fast food carton – one of many that are littered across the floor. Colossus sits in a chair nearby, while the Beast is crouched on the floor, and Banshee sits blankly on a sofa. 'Since Katya... I have not been well' Colossus replies. Dazzler tells him that she knows, but that is why he has to reach out to his friends, talk to them – that's what they are here for. 'Because this? This is my actual nightmare' Dazzler remarks. Colossus tells her that he doesn't think talking will help what is wrong with him. 'Well, you don't know until you try, right, Sean?' Dazzler asks, sitting next to Banshee and putting a hand on his knee. Banshee's head moves slightly, to look at her, when suddenly, a bomb is thrown through the window. 'Get -' the Beast calls out, before the apartment explodes.

Soldiers move into the apartment, with one of them telling the other soldiers to be careful, as the Sinister lady said they only need Summers alive – the rest can go either way. 'What is that?' one of them asks as they fire several weapons towards Colossus, who towers over them in his armored form. Banshee stands up among the ruins of the apartment, while Dazzler stands over the Beast. 'They are not down! Repeat! Not down!' one of the soldiers calls out, before Colossus lunges forward and slams his fist into one of the soldiers, while another fires their weapon at him. Dazzler fires some light energy at one of the soldiers, knocking him back, and informs Colossus that Beast has been hurt bad, they have to get him out of here. 'It's not... bad. Oh. Yes, it is...' Beast mutters. As a blast is fires at his head, Colossus slams his fist into a soldier, a bright light suddenly shines down from a chopper above, 'This is the Office of National Emergency. Stand down immediately!' a voice calls out from the chopper.

Before anyone can act, Banshee suddenly begins screeching and flies straight towards the chopper. 'Banshee, wait!' Dazzler calls out, but gets no response as Banshee's sonic scream destroys the chopper, the fiery remains begin to plummet to the ground below. Banshee continues to fly away. 'Where's he going?' Dazzler asks. 'Sean's coming back, right?' she adds, 'If I had to guess? No' the Beast tells her. Colossus continues to punch his way through the O*N*E soldiers. 'Hey, Piotr? Buddy? I really wish you'd stop right now, because...we have a bit of a problem' Dazzler calls out as a soldier stands in front of her and the Beast, aiming a machine gun at them. Colossus stops fighting and reverts to his human form. 'Area secure, commander' a soldier reports in as Colossus is cuffed, and forced to the ground. Agent Callahan appears and asks if all his targets are accounted for. One of the soldiers reports that targets Summers and Proudstar are not present and that target Casidy destroyed the helicopter and fled the scene. 'Well, that's $%#&$#& great' Callahan mutters, before pointing out that he can still use these mutants, and orders the soldiers to load them up and move out.

Back in the Bar with No Name, Alex asks James why he is here, anyway 'Kitty doesn't want me calling our team the X-Men? Well, good news. You can report back and tell her there's no more team'. But Warpath reports that he is not here for Kitty anymore, and reminds Havok that his brother, John, served as an X-Man, and that he joined to honor his brother and to avenge him – but it became something else. 'Serving under your brother, Cyclops, I discovered new meanings for words I'd always known. Family. Honor. Loyalty... and redemption. I learned those things from Scott' Warpath reveals. Warpath smiles as he explains that he is an X-Man because he believes all people are created equal, that he believes a better world is possible, and that it is something worth dying for. 'I believe in Charles Xavier's dream. I believe in Kitty Pryde's leadership... and I believe in the Summers family'.

Alex tells James that that is a hell of a speech, and asks him who taught him how to do that. 'Cyclops' James replies. Alex remembers that Scott was always good at getting people to do things they didn't want to do. 'Okay. Let's go rejoin my X-Men' Havok suggests. 'You can't call yourselves that' Warpath reminds him, when suddenly, something on the television catches Alex's eye, and he asks the bartender to turn the television up. The announcer reports that they are going live to Ted Alexander, who has been following the mutant drama as it unfolds. Ted informs viewers that he is live on scene, where O*N*E agents have just apprehended members of a “mutant terrorist cell” that some are claiming are a radical fringe wing of the mutant activists known as the X-Men. 'Yeah! Wrecker, who is in the bar with several other villains, calls out. 'Lock 'em up!' Piledriver smiles.

The reporter continues, explaining that in addition to the shooting incident at Harvard earlier this week and the altercation with O*N*E agents outside a popular downtown nightclub tonight, which was luckily nearly empty, he has been told that the suspects in custody were also suspected in the newly discovered murder of a fozen members of the Reavers gang in North Carolina. 'But...we didn't kill those Reavers' Alex remarks, looking at Warpath, who wonders who did. Alex points out that if the Reavers are hunting them and O*N*E is hunting them wearing Reaver-ish gear, he had assumed they were working together, but perhaps they aren't. 'Maybe we're caught between them in their own war?' Alex suggests, but James tells him that he has no evidence of that. 'I'm much more of a gut guy than a brains guy. Besides, I thought you believed in us Summers' Alex replies.

James tells Alex that if he thinks that might be right, they should bring it to Kitty. 'We can get the X-Men -' James begins, but Alex interrupts him, remarking that he can't risk dragging Kitty into this, but that he has an idea. 'Good. What is it?' Warpath asks. 'You're not gonna like it' Alex smiles. He reminds James that he has saved the world more times than he can count, that he has given up everything to be a hero – and yeah, someone screwed around with his brain and made him do some bad stuff – and because of that one mistake he made, they want to label him and his friends a terrorist. 'Okay...let's be terrorists' Alex suggests to James, before he begins a short quest through the seedier parts of the city, bars, alleyways, people of the night... until he is finally pointed in the direction of an old Radio Shack. Havok and Warpath are wearing their costumes as Havok bangs on the Radio Shack door. 'What the hell is this?' Pretty Boy asks as he, Skullbuster and two others appear, weapons at the ready. Havok just smiles at them and tells them that they heard the Reavers could use some new members!

Characters Involved: 

Banshee, Beast, Colossus, Dazzler, Havok, Warpath


Bonebreaker, Wade Cole, Angelo Macon, Donald Pierce, Pretty Boy, Murray Reese, Skullbuster (all Reavers)

Agent Callahan

Piledriver, Wrecker (both Wrecking Crew)



Callahan's soldiers

Bus driver

Bar tender

Ted Alexander, reporter


Story Notes: 

Havok had been “evil” since he was inverted during the AXIS event.

Havok spent time with Bastion during X-Men Blue #23-28 and in a few issues prior to that storyline as well.

Warpath's brother John, the original Thunderbird, served briefly with the X-Men, joining in Giant-Sized X-Men #1, he was killed two issues later in X-Men (1st series) #95.

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