Astonishing X-Men (4th series) #9

Issue Date: 
March 2018
Story Title: 
A Man Called X – part 3

Charles Soule (writer), Matteo Buffagni (artist), Giada Marchisio (color artist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Leinil Francis Yu & Morry Hollowell (cover artists), Jay Bowen & Anthony Gambino (graphic designers), Christina Harrington (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (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: 

The X-Men try to separate Psylocke and X, both of whom are caught in Proteus’ reality storm. Logan has the bright idea to injure X with his metal claws, figuring he has Fantomex’s healing factor. Turns out he doesn’t. The reality storm subsides and Proteus has fled. While X is treated aboard the X-jet, the others discuss their distrust of him. Bishop informs Psylocke of his end-times computer base and how what they have witnessed so far might lead up to the Mindkiller Apocalypse. Psylocke senses Proteus north. In the small Scottish village of Fetters Hill, Proteus gathers the people and promises them whatever they want. As he begins his experiment, X awakens and realizes Proteus is trying to bring the Astral Plane to reality. Giving people whatever they want is a surefire recipe for horror…

Full Summary: 

Psylocke and X find themselves under attack by Proteus’ reality warping and are seemingly merged. Logan identifies this as a reality storm and Gambit notes it is spreading. How do they fight this?

Archangel reminds them that Proteus is vulnerable to metal. He and Logan enter the warped reality storm, where nothing makes sense, to draw X and Betsy apart. Archangel tries to appeal to Psylocke but she telepathically warns him to stay away. It is too dangerous. Nevertheless, he persists, drawing her away and promising to be her shelter as he protects them both with his metal wings.

Logan turns to Rogue to confirm that X is possessing Fantomex’s body. Since Fantomex had a healing factor, he stabs the changing X into the shoulder with a claw.

X is horrified. Logan explains that the only way to get Proteus out of him was getting metal into him. He will be all right. Fantomex has a healing factor. He’s got stuff in him to manage pain, too. Some nanocrap. Should kick in any second now. He withdraws the claws and blood spurts out of the wounds.

X sinks down to his knees, weakly, as he mumbles that he built a new body from Fantomex’s. He doesn’t have those things. He can’t heal. Psylocke puts him to sleep. The reality storm is over and they all look at the bleeding X. Oops, Logan comments.

Scotland, the village of Fetters Hill:
Inside a pub, the mood is relaxed. Two men, Callum and Erroll, are flirting with the barkeeper Sophie when they are distracted by a green glow coming from outside. Erroll opens the door. Outside stands Proteus, composed of green energy. With a grin, he announces he is there to give them what they want.

As the X-jet leaves London, Rogue wistfully remarks that just once she’d like to leave a city the same way they found it. Gambit points out that people may not like the X-Men but they need them and would hate it if they didn’t intervene at all.

Mystique joins them and Gambit asks after the Professor. Mystique corrects him. She shifts to Xavier’s former form to make her point. This is Charles Xavier. The man in the med bay is X. They barely know him at all.

In the med bay, Bishop and Psylocke are checking on the sleeping X, who is being healed by the med bay. Bishop tells Betsy that they need to talk and asks if she is sure X is asleep. Betsy assures him he is and asks what they need to talk about. This. He shows her a tiny hologram of the green sun. Does she know what he spends most of his time thinking about? The end of the world, Betsy ventures. More like the ends, he corrects her. All the thousands of ways the world gets destroyed in the future. All the dead end paths. He’s seen the future. He knows their signposts, the early warning signs and he watches for them. He’s stopped so many. More than she’ll ever know. It’s like… a calling. His way to try to atone, he guesses. He keeps a database of those signposts. “Green sun over London” is one of them.

Betsy remarks it looks like when X brought Proteus back. He agrees. The inciting event to something called the Mindkiller Apocalypse.

Betsy presses for further details, but he explains he doesn’t have any. Records sometimes get really spotty after everything ends. You just get legends… folklore… the few big things people remember.

Betsy figures, if they don’t stop Proteus, it will mean the end. Bishop isn’t so sure. They’ve been a part of an event that destroyed part of London and now the authorities are just letting them leave. No requests for help or even an explanation. He looks down at X. Why does she think that is?

Logan enters asking Betsy if she has any idea which way they should go. Psylocke concentrates then senses they need to go north. Something is happening there.

The people of Fetters Hill are gathered before Proteus, who thanks them for letting him speak to them. This will be a bit of an experiment but he thinks it will be worth it. A test bed for something larger.

One of the men shouts that he told them he’d give them what they want. What does he mean by that? Exactly that, Proteus replies and offers to show. He asks a little girl Mary what she wants. She asks for a dog and, the next moment, holds one in her arms.

He’d like to begin now, Proteus announces. They have a great deal of work to do and the first thing is to make sure they aren’t disturbed. A wall grows around Fetters Hill. Next, he creates an army of knights to defend the wall.

The people ask if this is real. Everything is real and nothing is, Proteus replies. He doesn’t distinguish between what’s real and what’s not but between what he has brought forward and what not. Imagine a storage room with everything that could ever be or was or is. Sometimes you bring toys forth to play with them. Real is when you play with toys, not real is when they are stored away. He asks Errol, if he understands. He doesn’t. He’ll figure it out, Proteus replies and touches him. Erroll screams and energy rises from him… from them all.

On the X-Jet, X awakes screaming ‘no!’ Mystique isn’t pleased. Logan mutters he knew he barely stabbed him. X explains he was in Proteus’ mind before the reality storm. He knows what he is planning.

Fetters Hill:
Proteus tells the people it’s time to begin. Within these walls he created, they can have anything. Think it and it’s theirs.

The X-Jet:
X explains Proteus wants to bring the Astral Plane here. To have things work the same as they do there. Psylocke protests that that’s impossible. X replies, Proteus believes he has a way.

Fetters Hill:
Proteus rushes the people to get going. He can’t wait to see what will happen.

The X-Jet:
Gambit points out that they killed the Shadow King. He was the reason the Astral Plane was so awful, right? Mystique remarks that he didn’t do much to help, then calls him an idiot. Has he forgotten how the Astral Plane works? Whatever you want to be real is real, and there is nothing more dangerous than giving people what they want!

Fetters Hill:
Errol turns to Callum and asks if he knows what he wants nearly every day? He wants her. Sophie. Which means he wants Callum gone. With that, Callum explodes…

Characters Involved: 

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


Angus, Callum Brown, Errol, Sophie, Mary and other inhabitants of Fetters Hill

Story Notes: 

Bishop is presumably atoning for the things he did when he was trying to murder Cable and Hope Summers in Cable (3rd series).

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