Astonishing X-Men (4th series) #4

Issue Date: 
November 2017
Story Title: 
Life of X – part 4

Charles Soule (writer), Carlos Pacheco (penciler), Rafael Fonteriz (inker), Rain Beredo (colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Pacheco, Morales, Woodard (cover artists), Adi Granov (character variant cover) , 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: 

Atop the Shard, Logan wakes up, possessed by the Shadow King and begins decimating the soldiers. Xavier contacts Psylocke and offers to keep up the link with the X-Men on the Astral Plane so she can act against Logan. She battles Logan and tosses him off the building. At the bottom, Bishop continues fighting Logan. On the Astral Plane, Gambit and Rogue and Mystique and Fantomex respectively are seduced by the psychic scenarios. Xavier manages to gather all of them save Gambit, who, he claims, is lost. That moment, Gambit awakes in reality possessed by the Shadow King.

Full Summary: 

London, atop the Shard:
Possessed by the Shadow King, Old Man Logan is about to kill members of the ministry of defense. Angel watches helplessly. Bishop knows he is outclassed as well. Psylocke might be able to do it. But she is using her power elsewhere and cannot spare any energy to stop Logan. She pleads with Bishop when she hears a familiar telepathic voice calling her name. She is confused, as Professor X is supposed to be dead. Dead but not gone, he tells her. Listen and survive…

Logan races toward Bishop, shouting it’s the end of the world. Not yet, Bishop replies and fires at him.

The soldiers try to secure the injured superintendent Blake.

Xavier urges Psylocke to take up the fight telepathically. She is the only one who can. Betsy points out that, if she does so, she will leave the others stranded on the Astral Plane. They already are, he replies but offers to take up a part of the burden of maintaining the link. That will free her to fight Logan (who has just cut Bishop).

Betsy is hesitant, fearing a trap. Xavier understands but warns that Logan will be finished with Bishop in seconds and then he will come for her.

It’s the end of the world! Logan repeats and tosses Bishop through one of the glass panes outside.

Xavier asks Psylocke to choose: stand here trembling like a cow in the slaughterhouse or fight. Psylocke attacks Logan with some fast ninja moves, mocking him as an old man. He is not old! the Shadow King possessed Logan snarls. He is eternal! He slices her thigh and she goes down. He wanted her mind but he will settle for her body, he leers. That’s alright, Farouk, she replies and energy flares around her. He wants her mind? He can have it. She tosses Logan outside the building .

The Astral Plane:
Fantomex and Mystique are in a luxury apartment, sipping champagne. What is this? Fantomex asks critically. Krug private Cuvee, she replies. Not the most expensive champagne ever made, but close. She’s only tasted it once, back in the real world. But here that doesn’t matter. She can have as much as she wants.

Not the champagne, he clarifies, although it is lovely. What is this place? An apartment she once had in Madripoor back in the 20ies. She loved it. Wonderful time to be a criminal. He has no doubt, Fantomex agrees. Next time he gets caught up in a time travel caper, he’ll do his best to end up in the Jazz Age. But perhaps he does not make himself clear. They are still in the astral plane. They came in with Logan, Rogue and that lying thief Gambit. They separated when the Shadow King presented them with three ever so mysterious doors. He expected some sort of hellscape built from his fears, not a palace in the sky.

Mystique gets up, her clothes changing from her practical suit to a light frock 20’s style. The Astral Plane is whatever you want it to be. She wants it to be this. Farouk will find them eventually. She can feel him sniffing around this fortress even now. Then, certainly pain, agony, terror. But until then… Mystique takes another sip. She intends to thoroughly enjoy herself.

Bishop is falling, taking a fall that would kill most men. Bishop focuses changing the kinetic energy the fall has built in his body. To light energy, to sonic energy, all of his movement bled away, bit by bit. As he does this, he slows down. And he lands, a falling leaf. He looks up to see Logan falling as well. He could do the same thing for Logan. He raises his hands and decides not to. Logan lands hard. Bishop announces that Farouk will heal but it will take its time and in the meantime they will lock him up, so why doesn’t he leave the body and…

That moment, the helicopter strafes Logan with machine gun fire and Bishop concedes he might not heal from that.

The Astral Plane:
Rogue and Gambit are in a whirlpool. Rogue is relaxing and moans she needed that. He agrees, carefully reaching out to touch her. It’s been too long. He takes he hand. As her power comes into effect, she shouts ‘no’ and draws back. Gambit assures her it’s all right. He didn’t feel anything. He amends that isn’t right. He felt plenty.

She reminds him of the danger of the Shadow King giving them what he thinks they want. Putting them together in that sexy damn hot tub, half-naked and letting them touch without her stealing his lifeforce. Doesn’t he see? It’s just another trap! So? he replies after a moment’s consideration.

One of the agents and Angel stare down from the Shard’s top to where the possessed Logan was shot. Angel orders the agent to get his men out of there. He aims his gun at Angel, who explains that the man he thinks they just killed? He doesn’t die.

Logan gathers himself up, screams and uses a bus to jump at the helicopter. Angel flies downward and tackles him. They crash through windows and land in a department store. A worried woman asks Logan if he is alright. The Shadow King replies they are going to be great friends and possesses her and the other people.

On the Astral plane:
Rogue tries to impress the severity of their situation on Gambit. If they lose themselves in the Shadow King’s reality, he will steal their souls. Gambit retorts he is not suggesting they conjure up a priest and get married. He knows they got work to do. And he knows it’s unfair to sit back while the others try and save the day. But the opportunity! He presses on.

Elsewhere, Fantomex and Mystique aren’t in a hurry to save the day either, first enjoying a luxury dinner then an outing at the beach.

Rogue agrees but isn’t willing to go on that merry-go-round with him again. They’ve tried so many times. It just doesn’t work and every time they fail it tears out her heart!

Remy reasons that either this is a Shadow King trap or they conjured up this place and turned off their powers themselves… but this must be what they want! And then they go save the day? she asks holding his hand. And then they go save the day, he promises. Let’s just steal this moment, he suggests and leans in for a kiss.

Elsewhere, Fantomex and Mystique have fun at the beach, then they kiss passionately. This was different than the last time, Fantomex remarks. This time she isn’t pretending to be Psylocke, Mystique suggests. So this is Raven Darkholme herself? he flirts. Who is such a creature? he wonders.

Gambit still leans in for a kiss with closed eyes. When nothing happens, he opens them and finds himself alone

Rogue, as well as a severely underdressed Fantomex and Mystique, find themselves with Xavier. After he dresses them in their uniforms, he announces yes it is him, this is still the astral plane and it is not the Shadow King’s trap. Please save their question until they have time. Rogue refuses to wait and demands where Gambit is. Ah, Gambit, Xavier sighs. He’s sorry. He tried. He couldn’t save Gambit.

Gambit awakes with black eyes…

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Bishop, Gambit, Old Man Logan, Psylocke (X-Men)

Members of the ministry of defense

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

Shadow King
Charles Xavier

Story Notes: 

Mystique seduced Fantomex as Psylocke (and then tried to kill him) in Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #26.

Written By: