2:38 PM on a Tuesday - the last moment before all hell breaks loose. The SHIELD Helicarrier, mobile super fortress and base of operations for the Avengers hovers over the island nation of Utopia, home of one faction of X-Men and affiliated mutants. Several jets are launched from the Helicarrier, while on the shore of Utopia, several mutants have gathered. ‘Scott…what have you done?’ Storm asks. ‘What have I done?’ Cyclops replies. ‘They came after us, Ororo. Just look at that. You think they didn’t come here looking for a fight?’ he points out. ‘These are the Avengers we’re talking about. Let me talk to them’ Storm suggests but Namor the Sub-Mariner, a former member of the Avengers himself, declares that the time for talk has passed. The White Queen and Colossus stand with them, while Magneto tells Cyclops that he must choose his next action carefully. ‘Are you sure this is the fight we want?’ he enquires.
Sunspot, Magma, Domino, Danger and Warpath are a little further back on the beach, while Cyclops declares that the X-Men have always been the Avengers’ ugly stepchildren. ‘As soon as we get a messiah of our own, they want to swoop in and take her away. That’s how it starts. It ends with our extinction’ he adds. ‘God help us’ Storm utters, while Cyclops orders everyone to protect Hope, at all costs.
Up on the Helicarrier, a large number of Avengers have gathered. ‘Wow. Avengers vs. X-Men. So this is really happening’ Spider-Man remarks. Iron Fist points out that there are children inside the buildings below, and wonders what in the world Cyclops is thinking. Iron Man states that Cyclops is playing them, that he wants the Avengers to look like the bullies here. ‘How come nobody told me Cyclops was this damn crazy?’ Luke Cage asks, while Wolverine, a member of both the Avengers and the Westchester-based X-Men, remarks that he has been telling anybody who would listen. ‘We need to get down there. Now!’ he points out. Dr Strange, the Thing, Daredevil, Hawkeye, Giant Man, Mockingbird, the Black Panther, the Black Widow and the original Spider-Woman are also present. ‘Oh, man…incoming!’ Spider-Woman exclaims as they see Magneto hovering in the air, and using his power to propel Colossus towards the deck of the Helicarrier - and an instant later, the organic-steel covered X-Man bursts through the deck, sending Avengers flying. All hell has officially broken loose.
‘He’s gonna crash the Helicarrier. I knew it. These things always crash’ someone remarks, while Iron Man, Dr Strange and Spider-Woman all fly down towards Utopia. ‘You should not have come here’ Colossus states as he confronts the Avengers, slamming his fists down onto the deck, he sends shards of metal and debris knocking back at them. ‘So you’re the strongest one there is on Utopia, huh?’ a voice calls out. ‘Well I’m the strongest one there is. Period!’ exclaims the Red Hulk as he grabs Colossus, and the two behemoths begin to battle. However, the part of the deck where Magneto threw Colossus through breaks away from the deck, and several Avengers plummet into the ocean below, including the Thing, Daredevil, Mockingbird and Spider-Man.
‘Avengers. Your actions here today are decidedly reckless and foolhardy. And this coming from someone who has been called such things his entire life!’ the Sub-Mariner announces as he confronts the Thing. ‘Know that as I render you unconscious, I do so with a heavy heart. Some of you, at least’ Namor adds, before he punches the Thing right out of the water - and the punch can be heard all the way in Oakland. The point is made - and countered, as Cage swims over to Namor and punches him hard in the face. ‘Heavy heart, huh? Wish I could say the same “Your Highness”!’ Cage mocks. The Lord of Atlantis begins to fight the man from Harlem with indestructible skin. They fall under the water. Either would sooner die than yield. Today both will bleed.
Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Spider-Woman approach the shore of Utopia, where more X-Men and their allies have gathered - Psylocke, Jubilee, Magik, Madison Jeffries, Doctor Nemesis and Hepzibah. Cyclops moves his head from side to side as he fires beam after beam of optic energy, although the three Avengers dodge each attack. His thoughts travel to the White Queen, instructing her to maintain telepathic links, before asking if Hope is safe. What the hell is happening?’ the White Queen replies. Cyclops tells the White Queen that this is something he always knew was inevitable, before telling Storm to take down the jets. Storm takes flight, but a shield suddenly slams into Cyclops’ head. The optic blasts stop, and Cyclops turns to face Captain America, who along with Wolverine, Hawkeye, Giant-Man, Daredevil, Black Panther and Spider-Man emerges from the water. ‘Take the beach’ Cap orders. ‘Drive them into the sea’ Cyclops calls out, as both groups rush towards each other.
Inside one of the buildings on Utopia, several of the young mutants have gathered. ‘Holy crap. I don’t believe it. We’re fighting the Avengers’ Pixie exclaims. ‘Look at ‘em. Is there anybody who’s not an Avenger these days?’ Velocidad wonders, while Transonic asks if this means class is canceled. ‘Does this mean we’re all under arrest?’ Loa asks, while Surge wants to know what the Avengers are even doing here. Suddenly, ‘No! Let me go!’ Hope Summers complains as she is dragged into the room by the White Queen. ‘This is all because of me! I should be out there!’ Hope exclaims, to which the White Queen tells her that if it is any consolation, she would feel exactly the same way if she was in her shoes. ’But I still can’t let you go’ the White Queen states, before pushing Hope towards the other young mutants: ’Keep her here. No matter what she stays’ the White Queen orders, adding that all of them are to stay inside, or else the Avengers will be the least of their concerns.
The White Queen rushes back outside, and telepathically informs Cyclops that the Avengers telepathic defenses should take her all of thirty seconds to demolish, and that is if she pauses in the middle for a nap. The White Queen asks Cyclops to pull back, and announces that she is going to reach into their minds and end this - but as the White Queen appears outside, she is struck by a beam of energy, courtesy of Iron Man. ’I bet you thought you were just about to end this’ Iron Man tells the White Queen, informing her that she has just breathed in roughly 17,000 microscopic telepathic tasers, and explains that the harder she thinks, the more they will shock her. ’So sorry, Emma, my sweet. I do hope you’ll let me make this up to you over dinner some time’ Iron Man tells her.
But, suddenly, ’Not for all the caviar in the world, Tony, dear’ Emma replies as she uses her secondary mutation of transforming herself into organic diamond - she then punches Tony’s multi-billion dollar armor - the most expensive punch in history. ‘Then I’ll settle for you telling your boyfriend to stop being such a dangerous lunatic. We’re not here to arrest the girl or anyone else. We’re here to help’ Iron Man explains as he fires a repulser ray at the White Queen. Emma suggests Tony learn the girl’s name, and informs him that it is Hope, and adds that she doesn’t remember the X-Men asking for the Avengers’ help. Iron Man’s computer warns him of an extreme magnetic field, and states that the armor is implementing anti-magnetic safeguards.
‘Oh for the love of…what now?’ Iron Man mutters, before realizing that Magneto is hovering behind him. A man in a metal suit versus the mutant Master of Magnetism. If you think this is no contest, you’ve never met Tony Stark, who fires a full assault at Magneto.
Elsewhere, in a room cloaked in darkness, Quicksilver sits and watches a television which has a report featuring live footage from a traffic copter in San Francisco, where there appears to be an epic battle taking place. ‘We should be there. This is our fight. We have to go. I am going’ he announces, turning to his unseen companion, he asks ‘Please…come with me’.
347 miles and 3.7 seconds later, Quicksilver arrives on the shore of Utopia, literally running on water. Punching his father hard in the face, this is a family reunion at mach-5. ‘Hello, Father. Up to your old tricks, I see’ Quicksilver tells Magneto, who falls to the sand. Emma and Iron Man both try to gather themselves, while Magneto calls out ‘Pietro. Once a foolish boy, always a foolish boy. At least tell me you haven’t dragged your sister into this?’ he asks.
Elsewhere, the unseen figure has taken a seat. She has rich auburn hair and wears a pink and crimson costume. She watches the report, which announces that the Avenger called Quicksilver, son of Magneto, has joined the fight, and that this is getting uglier by the minute. ‘We can only speculate as to the cause of this terrible -’ the announcer states, before the television is turned off. A book lies open on a table, “Wanda’s Dream Journal” is written at the top of a page, and below it, “This is how it all ends”, while an illustration of a phoenix is on the opposite page - and the Scarlet Witch gets up and walks away.
Even in a war where hero battles hero, some fights prove far more personal than others. Warpath battles Spider-Man, while Jubilee takes on the Black Widow, and Domino counters Iron Fist, while remarking that she never thought she would see the day where Wolverine would stand against his own people. ‘Maybe if y’all pulled your heads outta Cyclops’ ass once in a while you’d see, all I’m doing is trying to save the damn world’ Wolverine states, before asking where Hope is, while one hand is wrapped around Sunspot‘s neck, and he punches Magma with the other. ‘Go to hell, traitor!’ Sunspot shouts. The fiercest X-Man who has ever lived versus an island of people he once called family. Yet another dark day for a man who has known too many.
Thunder rumbles, but there is no cloud in the sky, and guts tighten in the belly of the King of Wakanda - the Black Panther - as his wife, Storm, appears behind him. ’You should’ve told me this was happening’ Storm tells him. ’You should’ve told me you were harbouring a sixteen-year-old girl with the power to blow up planets’ the Black Panther replies. Storm tells her husband that they have to end this, but the Black Panther tells her that there is only one way to end this, knowing that his wife is still worshipped as a god along the Serengeti. ‘You stubborn, pigheaded man. This is exactly why we have a marriage counselor!’ Storm exclaims: marital discord, with hail and lightning and hurricane-force winds.
Back up inside the building, Hope is pressed to the window, ‘I have to get out there. I have to stop this’ she exclaims. Pixie and Transonic stand behind her. ‘Sorry, Hope. You heard Ms Frost’ Pixie tells her, while Transonic points out that the Avengers are out there, so it is best to let the big guns handle this one. ‘You’re right’ Hope tells her friend, before apologizing about her nose. ‘Say wha-’ Transonic replies, before Hope slams her elbow into Transonic’s nose. Fourth nose broken in the last eight minutes. ‘Don’t you get it? The Avengers are going to war with the X-Men, all because of me. That tells me one thing…I must be thebiggest damn gun there is’ the girl remarks.
On the beach, ‘I’ve known you a long time, Scott…I’ve never seen you be this foolish before’ Captain America calls out as he blocks a close-range optic blast with his shield. ‘And I’ve never known Captain America to fight on the side of fascism’ Scott replies. ‘You chose the fight, kid. Not me’ Cap points out as he drops to the ground. ‘Right. You just showed up on my doorstep with a floating aircraft carrier and two dozen Avengers’ Cyclops declares. Optic blast ricochets from Cap’s shield, and Cap points out that he wouldn’t be here if the situation wasn’t grave, adding that Scott should be able to put his pride aside long enough to see that. ‘Mutant or not, we’re all in danger here. This is the Phoenix we’re talking about, Scott. Think about Jean. Remember what that thing did to her’ Cap tells him.
This annoys Scott, who shouts ‘I don’t need you or anyone else to remind me of my dead wife!’ and he continues to pour the optic blast on, adding ‘Or of the power of the Phoenix! Which you apparently know even less about than you do about me and my people!’, and suggests to Cap that if he really wanted to talk this out, he would have come to him first, instead of consulting with the lunatic fringe. At that moment, one of Scott’s optic beam ricochets strike Wolverine. There is a brief respite from the optic blast, enabling Cap to get to his feet and move closer to Cyclops, telling him that what he is doing here today is endangering the whole world, mutant kind included. ‘That’s all I need to know’ Captain America declares, suggesting that Cyclops ends this before someone gets hurt. ‘Too late for that’ Cyclops replies as both men push towards the other, optic blast against indestructible shield. Even at close-range, Cyclops continues to release his power, before he falls to the ground when Cap whacks him in the head with the shield. ‘I suppose you’re right’ Cap states, while nearby, other battles continue - Warpath against Daredevil, Psylocke against Spider-Woman.
From a distance, it all sounds like a roar. The bones grinding, knuckles cracking, as Red Hulk and Colossus are locked in combat on the deck of the Helicarrier. Fists churn the sea and bloody waves pound the shore as the Thing and Luke both attack Namor. The howls and curses and battle cries as bonds are forever broken, for on the shore, Dr Strange attacks Magneto and the White Queen, Sunspot confronts Giant Man, and Iron Man stands over the fallen body of Quicksilver, while Dr Nemesis fires a weapon at him. Then there are the final, fruitless pleas for peace. Cyclops gets to his feet, while Captain America tells him that he never wanted this, and that neither should he. ‘Tell your people to stand down. Think of Hope. Don’t make us take her by force’ Cap suggests.
Cyclops doesn’t reply, instead he calls out to Magik, shouting ‘Backdoor!’, and the young mutant replies that she understands, her Soulsword glowing with power. But, Captain America realizes what is going on, and looks up to Dr Strange, who begins to fade away, ‘I have her’ the Sorcerer Supreme remarks. Suddenly, there is sulfur and bile and putrid rotting meat, as Dr Strange follows Magik into Limbo, where she appears as the Darkchylde. ‘You’re a talented girl, Illyana, but did you really think you could sneak your friends out though Limbo without me noticing?’ Strange asks her. Magik tells Strange that she was hoping he would notice. The smell of burning souls rises, while Magik tells Strange that she wasn’t sure he was actually dumb enough to come here.
Back on the beach, Danger reports that the island defenses are failing, and suggests to Cyclops that Iron Man appears to have hacked the system. ‘Utopia will fall. It is only a matter of -’ Danger begins, but Cyclops tells her ‘No! We have to hold them back! Just long enough to get Hope out of here! We have to…’ his voice trails off, as he looks around. ‘Cyclops?’ Danger calls out. ‘Dammit, where’d he go?’ Scott wonders. ‘Where’s Wolverine?’
At that moment, ‘Hey. I’ve got a great idea. Why don’t we sneak around in a stinky old drain pipe? I haven’t done something like that since, oh, I don’t know, last Tuesday’ Spider-Man mutters to Wolverine as he climbs along the side of a large drain pipe which leads off Utopia and into the ocean. ‘Didn’t ask you to come with me, did I?’ Wolverine points out. ‘No, must’ve slipped your mind’ Spider-Man tells him, explaining that he figured somebody better come along who is a bit less “stabby”.
Inside the room where she was told to stay, Hope, surrounded by fiery energy, stands over her friends, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t want to hurt anyone’ she tells them. ‘Ughhh…but late for that’ Surge mutters. ‘You don’t understand’ Hope explains, revealing that the closer it gets, the more she feels it, the more the power grows inside her. Wolverine and Spider-Man enter the room, and Spider-Man asks ‘Is she supposed to be on fire like that?’, while trying to hold Wolverine back. ‘Outta the way’ Logan tells him, but Spider-Man asks him what he is doing, as Wolverine unsheathes his claws and lunges at Hope, ‘What has to be done’ he explains. ‘Yes…’ Hope replies, casting a hand forward, Wolverine is suddenly engulfed in flames. Everything is burning inside and out - taste the kiss of the Phoenix. ‘As am I!’ Hope announces.
There is a loud CRASH as Giant Man slams his way into the room, along with Captain America and Iron Fist. ‘Where is she?’ Cap calls out. ‘HOPE?’ Cyclops shouts as he enters the room with Emma and Warpath. They turn to see the motionless young mutants, Spider-Man and Wolverine, whose body is still smouldering from the flames, lying on the floor.
Everything is quiet now, except for the sizzle of fiery footsteps running across seawater, of the sound of a young girl running away, and of a Phoenix rising, as Hope runs across the ocean, flaming energy all around her, determination in her face.
Meantime, in deep space, ‘Here it comes, Avengers’ the Beast calls out from inside a Quinjet, while Thor, Ms Marvel, Vision, Valkyrie, War Machine and the Protector fly outside the jet, in space itself. The Beast reports that his sensors are shorting out, that it’s power defies measurement. ‘It’s headed right for us’ Ms Marvel exclaims. ‘Mother of God, just look at it…’ War Machine utters, while the Protector states that there is no way they can stop that. Thor points out that if they fall, then worlds will perish, beginning with their own. At 3:45 PM on a Tuesday, the moment all hope was officially lost, as the small group of Avengers hovers before the massive cosmic entity known as the Phoenix, Thor tells his friends to stand fast, for today is as good a day to die as any.