Astonishing X-Men (4th series) #7

Issue Date: 
January 2018
Story Title: 
A Man Called X – part 1

Charles Soule (writer), Phil Noto (artist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Mike Deodato jr & Frank Woodard (main cover artists),  Phil Noto; Chris Stephens; Marco Checcetto; Mike McKone & Rachelle Rosenberg; John Tyler Christopher (variant cover artists), 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: 

The man now inhabiting Fantomex’s body claims to be Professor Xavier, though he now prefers to be called X. He telepathically helps Angel control his Archangel personality, allowing him to stop the bombs being dropped over London. He then makes everyone at the Ministry of Defence forget events and frees the possessed. The green energy leaves them to join the green energy ball in the sky. When Psylocke asks after Fantomex, X suggests she see for herself. She travels to the Astral Plane, where Fantomex assures her that giving Xavier his body was his own idea and he is happy here. Meanwhile, Bishop looks up “green sun over London” in his end times database and finds that it leads to the Mindkiller Apocalypse in 97 percent of timelines. The X-Men gather, only to watch in horror as the green energy coalesces into a reborn Proteus.

Full Summary: 

London, atop a rooftop:
Psylocke, Rogue and Mystique suspiciously face the man in Fantomex’s body, who claims to be Professor Xavier. With a broad smile, he announces he knows what they are thinking. What is he going to do next? He promises they’ll get there, but first he wants to thank them. He couldn’t have done it without them.

Cautiously, Rogue demands what the hell did he do, calling him “Xavier.” He asks her to call him X. He’s not sure he wants to go with the esteemed Professor Charles Francis Xavier just yet. Doesn’t feel right. He knows they have questions and he’ll answer them in time. The main thing is that he’s back. Reborn. But like most births it couldn’t have happened without pain. It’s not easy to save the world.

In the air, Warren Worthington in Archangel form flies to stop the jets with the bombs, while on the ground X-Men and normal people still seem to be possessed. Archangel slices through the tail of one plane but the other pilots intends to drop the bomb on the infected. Archangel turns toward the second fighter.

That moment, X telepathically contacts him. He thanks him, though he doesn’t know if Warren hears him, since that thing in him has taken over. He wouldn’t be here without his help and so he wants to give him a gift.

The jet drops the bomb.

X fixes Archangel so that Warren’s personality is in control. Warren realizes he now has Archangel’s power but not the rage. X calls it his gift to him and reminds him they are running out of time. Archangel dives after the bomb, grabs it, throws it upward and then loosens his flechetes to destroy it.

At the Ministry of Defence, the sergeant tells Commander Keene they are scrambling another bomber flight but it won’t be ready until in ten minutes. He replies that is too late. The madness is spreading and has already overwhelmed the cordons. Soon it will engulf the whole city. The bomb was their one chance to stop it and they failed. The mutants won.

An image of X appears. Keene says that like it’s a bad thing, X remarks. Keene draws a gun on him and X chides him for being ridiculous. He assures him he is not here to hurt them. In fact, he comes bearing gifts. Gifts? Keene spits. Like what’s infecting London?

X points out that wasn’t him or his X-Men. The Shadow King set that loose. He was awful, to be honest. But he killed him dead. That’s his thing, really. He’s a problem solver. He’ll pull the infection from everyone’s mind, gather it together, until he can dispose of it. That’s gift number one. On the screen, they can see green energy rising from the infected. There… there’s another? Keene stammers. X replies they all work too hard. They need a rest. When they wake up, they won’t remember any X-Men in London. That’s his second gift, happiness. After all, ignorance is bliss.

This will all be over soon, X promises the X-Men, but Mystique isn’t having it. As far as she is concerned he may very well be one of the Shadow King’s tricks. X reminds her that he killed the Shadow King, and she helped. Did she? Mystique scoffs. She is starting to think she only helped him kill Fantomex.

X explains Fantomex stayed back on the astral plane. It was the only way. A trade… Fantomex for him. Did Fantomex have any say in this? Betsy demands. Absolutely! X claims. He saw it as a gift. It was his first gift, to thank him. He suggests she go to the Astral Plane and see for herself. He has things handled here.

Psylocke asks Rogue to watch X and concentrates.

The Astral Plane:
To her astonishment, she finds a beautiful mansion surrounded by a peaceful park with flowers in bloom everywhere. Bonjour, Fantomex greets her. What was it she said? He recalls: She wouldn’t trust him to water her plants, let alone save the world? Look at him now!

Betsy carefully points out that X took his body. That means Fantomex is stuck here forever. Was that really his choice? He was nothing out there, Fantomex explains. Bouncing from one misdeed to the next. Thieving, whoring, killing, a beast really. Whereas Charles Xavier is a great man. Many would pick him to live over Fantomex, given the choice. Well, he was given the choice, and it turns out he is one of the many.

Betsy points out that Xavier might have psychically manipulated him into making that choice. Fantomex considers this, then states he does not know if freeing Xavier was the choice he made, but it was the choice he should have made. He can live with that. Besides, it’s beautiful here. The Shadow King turned the Astral Plane into a place of darkness. He thinks he can fill it with light. He asks her to visit some time. See if he manages it. Betsy hesitates then agrees; maybe she will. She wishes him good luck. Fantomex kisses her hand and thanks her.

The now freed Gambit and Logan stand near London Bridge and watch the energy globe in the sky. Neither of them has seen anything like that before. And they doubt it is anything good.

A little later, Archangel hovers in front of them. Gambit points to his eyes, explaining that they are no longer possessed by Farouk. Logan warns him he ain’t listening. Warren’s gone - that’s all Archangel. Get ready to fight! Didn’t go so well last time, Gambit reminds him. Any tips? That’s the angel of death, Logan remarks. No tips. Just survive.

Actually, he’s got a tip, Archangel announces. Maybe they could both just chill out!

They realize he is in control of himself now, though Logan doesn’t trust him and demands an explanation. Angel recalls, someone talked in his head and calmed him down. He claimed to be Xavier. Gambit unnecessarily points out that Cyclops killed Xavier. Logan muses that he saw something that said it was Xavier on the Astral Plane. He figured it was one of the Shadow King’s tricks.

Warren reveals that it felt like the professor… but young. Maybe thirty. Gambit suggests Xavier’s son David Haller aka Legion. Angel retorts he knows Legion. Didn’t feel like him.

Logan insists they rejoin the others. He is suspicious. Gambit muses that maybe it is the Professor. He beat death once or twice before, as he recalls. Logan states they still have to check him out. He reveals he died about a hundred times. He never came back the same…

Bishop stands amidst people on the street staring at the bright green energy globe in the sky. Access end time database, he orders and dictates “green sun over London.

On the roof, Psylocke has returned to her body and X states she has seen that Fantomex is happy. Maybe for the first time in his life. He has a purpose. It was the least he could do, for giving him his life back.

Rogue asks what happened to Gambit. X reveals he is coming now with Warren and Logan. Now, if they can just find Bishop… he as gifts for all of them. They did so much for him…

In the meantime, his database informs Bishop that a green sun over London in the early 21st century is an inciting event of the Mindkiller Apocalypse. Results in sterilized Earths in 97 percent of the timelines in which it occurs.

X continues that he is almost done purging the Shadow King’s infection. He had to make some hard choices, but now that he is here, he has to say it was all… What? He breaks off. The green sun turns brighter.

Psylocke also feels the energy is familiar. They all know it, Mystique states. Xavier didn’t just bring himself back from the dead…

The energy coalesces into a humanoid green energy figure on the ground. “Am I free?” it asks.

Death came with him, Mystique spells out. That’s Proteus!

Characters Involved: 

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

Commander Keene
Members of the Ministry of Defence


On the astral plane:
Fantomex, Psylocke (X-Men)

Story Notes: 

Xavier has died a couple of times before. He was killed by Grotesk in X-Men (1st series) #42, though that was later retconned into having actually been Changeling, he was overtaken by a Brood Queen and had his brain transplanted into a cloned body in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #167 and was most recently killed by Cyclops in Avengers versus X-Men #11.

Xavier and Logan met in issue #3.

The X-Men originally fought and killed Proteus in X-Men (1st series) #125-128.

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