Astonishing X-Men (4th series) #3

Issue Date: 
November 2017
Story Title: 
Life of X – part 3
Staff: 

Charles Soule (writer), Ed McGuinness (penciler), Mark Morales (inker), Jason Keith (colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), McGuinness, Morales, McCaig (cover artists), Simone Bianchi, Alan Davis, Mark Farmer (variant covers), Jay Bowen & Anthony Gambino (graphic designers), Christina Harrington (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor), Axel Alonso (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: 

On the astral plane, Old Man Logan refuses to fall to any of the Shadow King’s illusions, as he makes his way towards his fortress. Xavier contacts him, while keeping up an illusion of his battling Mr. Sinister and asks him for help. Unfortunately, Logan refuses to believe it is really him. Xavier finally uses his psi-powers against Logan and makes the Shadow King believe he got his claws into Logan. In the real world, Angel tries to calm the police and members of the ministry of defense by giving himself up as a hostage and Psylocke tries to explant he situation. Things go from bad to worse, though, when Logan wakes up possessed and impales superintendent Blake.

Full Summary: 

The Astral plane:
Old Man Logan is scaling an icewall, recalling how in his timeline he was tricked into murdering all the X-Men. Now he is here having taken his younger self’s place. The X-Men treated him kindly like one of theirs, giving him every chance to be a hero. All the while, he can see their blood on his hands.

Logan falls, not reaching the top where several Samurai patiently stand. He takes the place of their Wolverine but he can never be Wolverine again. There is no more saving the day. For him, the day was lost a long time ago. He begins to climb again.

London:
Several police helicopters circle the Shard. A voice from a ‘copter orders Psylocke, Bishop and Angel to cease all use of meta-human abilities, drop their weapons and lie down with their hands on their heads.

Psylocke reminds her teammates that she cannot break the connection or the others will be trapped on the astral plane. That’s not their only problem, Bishop observes when he looks at their unconscious friends. Beast just turned into Mystique.

The voice from the helicopter continues that aggression of any kind will be met with immediate deadly force.

Angel asks what they should do. Bishop rhetorically asks if there is any chance their guys will beat the Shadow King in the next sixty seconds. Are they even close? Betsy doesn’t know. She thinks they have split up. Their signals are confusing. Pain, fear, confusion, even joy. One of them is just resolve. Bishop figured that has to be Logan and tells her to hold steady. He and Angel will figure something out.

Angel, however, has already flown up to the helicopter. With a broad smile, he assures the men they can explain everything. He knows things look bad right now but they could be so much worse.

Is it him or does that sound like a threat? Commander Keene, back at the Ministry of Defense, asks. Blake agrees. Keene asks if Worthington has no further powers. Blake points out that he has another form – Archangel - that is a force to be reckoned with, but in Angel’s case that statement is correct. Keen gives the order to take Worthington out.

The Astral Plane:
Logan has finally climbed up the ledge. A moment later, the Samurai waiting there attack him.

However, Logan simply refuses to believe this… and they disappear. He addresses Farouk. He ain’t gonna get pulled into any of his lies. He’s coming for him.

Farouk admits to Xavier that this Logan is formidable. He understands this place. He is almost impressed. In the astral plane, your weapon isn’t your claws but your will.

Logan goes through further scenarios and refuses to believe them. Whether it is his being a child and the murder of his first love Rose, being attacked by Sentinels or the death of his family. Logan has built himself a simple reality of only two elements. The fortress of his enemy, and the path leading there. Each step brings him closer. He holds these two things in his mind. Maintains them against every assault. The temptations, the distraction. He didn’t have to make it cold though. He chose to. That’s another of his little tricks. Logan wants to win. But he needs to suffer. How is he doing this? Farouk marvels.

Finally, the path brings Logan to Xavier, who addresses him they must talk. They don’t have much time. Nope, Logan once more announces and walks past him. Xavier considers this.

Yes! he replies and strikes Logan down with a telepathic blast. How? Logan asks. He is not real. Xavier is dead!

Xavier assures him he is as alive as anything can be in this place. He’ll keep knocking him down if he must, but he would prefer to talk. The world is ending, only the X-Men can save it. Yeah? Logan asks looking at the tower in the distance he has been trying to reach. No #/&%, Charles!

Reality:
While Angel tries to talk with one of the soldiers, another gets the order to subdue him. A net is thrown at him and his wing is shot at. Why did they do that? he shouts in disbelief. His skin begins to turn blue and the defense ministry fears they are going to lose every man up there. However, Angel calms himself. His skin turns pink again. He forgives them, he announces with a smile. They are not trying to hurt anyone. They are trying to save everyone, he explains. So let’s try this again. He’ll get into the helicopter and be their hostage, while they send someone down to the roof. Psylocke can explain what is happening. Don’t they think that’s better than everyone shooting each other?

On the roof, Bishop wonders what Angel is doing there.

The Astral Plane:
He realizes their intentions were good, Professor X criticizes, but them coming to the astral plane just gave the Shadow King five new ways of getting out. They aren’t strong enough. They are already falling victim to Farouk’s illusions. If they do, they’ll be his pawns back on Earth. He needs him to…

You knows something? Logan interrupts. Back where he came from, he was trapped on the Astral Plane once, for twenty years. Learned his share of tricks. Fought the Shadow King the whole time, and then he killed him, he grins.

Impatiently, Xavier replies that they don’t have twenty years. The Shadow King he fought then isn’t the one he is fighting now. He’s boosted his powers somehow and is on the verge of escaping into the real world. If that happens, darkness everywhere. Logan needs to trust him.

Trust him? Logan laughs. Back where he came from, Xavier wasn’t all that trustworthy, and just so he knows, he killed him too. Cut his head clean off. Why would he tell him that? Xavier demands. Because he ain’t telling him anything, Logan scoffs. He’s talking to Amahl Farouk, Logan insists and he wants to let him know he’s coming.

Xavier patiently explains that Farouk can’t hear them; he is maintaining an illusion. When Farouk looks into this reality, he sees Logan battling Mr. Sinister. But he cannot trick him for long. They must act. Take it easy, dead man, Logan scoffs. He’ll see him soon.

He’s sorry. He can’t let him do that. Xavier rises from his wheelchair and dons psi-armor. Logan may not believe in him, but Xavier believes in Logan. He pierces his shoulder with his psychic blade. Logan attacks.

Xavier figures that, in his heart, Logan believes he is ruined beyond redemption. Useless. Xavier essentially freezes Logan in his attack, figuring he has a great many uses.

The Shadow King sees Logan fighting Sinister and states he has him now. Xavier admits he feared something might happen. Logan is violent and cruel. Violence is his drug. Farouk notices Xavier’s hand is wrinkled. Xavier reminds him how hard it is to play against him. Farouk tells him not to overexert himself – it is only a game. He is surprised at Xavier’s equanimity. Xavier replies if one has to go, it might as well be that pretender. After all, he isn’t his Logan.

Reality:
Angel has given up himself as a hostage in the helicopter, while superintendent Blake is on the roof and demands what’s going on. Psylocke and Bishop bring him up to speed. He points out that, from his perspective, it looks like they’ve attacked London. What they are saying might be true but it looks like the cure is worse than the disease.

Suddenly, he begins to spit blood, his chest impaled by claws. He doubts that very much, Logan, overtaken by the Shadow King, opines.

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Bishop, Psylocke (X-Men)

Commander Keene, Superintendent Blake (Members of the ministry of defense)
Members of the Metropolitan Police

On the astral plane:
Fantomex, Gambit, Mystique, Old Man Logan, Rogue (X-Men)

Shadow King
Charles Xavier

Story Notes: 

The reason for the Shadow King’s power boost is shown starting with the end of issue #6.

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