A+X #10

Issue Date: 
June 2013
Story Title: 
(1st story) Black Widow + Fantomex; (2nd story) Scarlet Witch + Domino

(1st story) B. Clay Moore (writer), Kris Anka (penciler), James Campbell (colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer)

(2nd story) Adam Warren (writer/artist), Guru EFX (colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Jordan D. White and Nick Lowe (editors), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

(1st story)
Black Widow runs into Fantomex while investigating potential Red Room activity in Russia. Fantomex runs off, leaving Black Widow to fend for herself against Red Room operatives, which include new versions of Ursa Major, Sibercat and Darkstar. Fantomex meets Black Widow afterwards to give her an information drive, which he claims to have stolen just to prove he can pull off the theft.

(2nd story)
With Scarlet Witch enhancing her luck powers, Domino is sent into a celestial extermination drone to shut it down before it causes the Yellowstone Supervolcano to erupt. Due to the drone’s probability manipulating nature, Domino’s luck powers become so superior that Domino can visualize the various scenarios of her attempts at accessing the drone’s core. Seeing that every possible way ends in failure and death, she forces the Scarlet Witch to come into contact with the drone, causing a feedback loop that unravels the fabric of reality, erasing the drone from existence. 

Full Summary: 

(1st story)
Black Widow is perching on a cliff scoping out Bestuzhev, a Russian town that’s been abandoned for decades. Always keeping tabs on potential Red Room activity, this particular town sent up some red flags, including rumors of a drive that contains the DNA of every Russian superhero. She puts her high-tech binoculars away and rides down the snowy mountain on a sleek motorcycle. As Natasha prepares to break into a building using Tony Stark’s gadgets, she reflects on how the Red Room turned her into a master spy but robbed her of a normal life. She wishes to spare anyone else from suffering a similar fate…

Just as Natasha is about to scale the building, Fantomex comes crashing backwards out a window, guns blazing, shouting “Not on the menu this evening, Yogi!” A giant bear follows him, roaring as he deflects Fantomex’s bullets. As Fantomex runs out of ammo, Black Widow notes that the bear seems to be a smaller version of Ursa Major. Knowing that Fantomex is some kind of thief that runs with the X-Men, Black Widow assumes they’re on the same side and jumps in to defend him. “I thought I smelled defector! It’s nice of you to come out and play, Avenger,” Fantomex says. He agrees that they may be on the same side but assures Black Widow that he can handle this particular situation on his own. The bear suddenly looks confused and runs off. Fantomex explains to Natasha that he used his power of misdirection to convince the bear that a stream full of salmon is nearby. Natasha asks if he can use his power again on the two additional Russian operatives racing towards them.

Black Widow begins speaking in Russian, asking the two female agents to stand down. They call her a traitress and attack as Fantomex runs back into the building. “Russia has no need for you or your Avengers,” the short haired agent says as she begins to transform into a human-tiger hybrid. Black Widow tosses the other blonde agent on her back and assures them that she does not seek trouble but is merely trying to prevent them from following a path that they’ll regret. “Worry about yourself!” the short haired agent says as she lunges toward Nastasha, now fully in her tiger form. Black Widow immediately recognizes her as a female version of Sibercat and continues to try to reason with her as she dodges Sibercat’s attacks. Black Widow swiftly kicks Sibercat in the head and seems to have the upper hand until she’s blasted by a mysterious dark energy.

Black Widow looks up to see the blonde agent has transformed into Darkstar, a version of the superhero that once fought alongside Nastasha in the Champions. As Darkstar and Sibercat approach to finish Black Widow off, Fantomex leaps out of a second-story window, clutching a briefcase. He advises Black Widow to run and takes off into the woods.

Before she can ask what she should be running from, the building explodes. As Fantomex prepares to board EVA, Black Widow slowly rises, covered in snow and tells Fantomex that there’s no way he’s leaving with that case. Fantomex tells her she doesn’t have much of a choice and Natasha turns around to see Crimson Dynamo headed straight for her. She quickly unloads bullets at it but the Russian super agent doesn't slow down. Nastasha braces herself for impact but the Crimson Dynamos passes right through her and disappears. Realizing she fell victim to Fantomex’s misdirection power, she looks up to see Eva taking off.

“Your friend left you all alone,” Darkstar says as she surrounds Natasha with Sibercat and Ursa Major. Five minutes later, Black Widow is the last one standing. “He’s not my friend,” she says to the three agents, lying unconscious around her.

Natasha rides off on her bike but stops short when she sees Fantomex, who compliments her ride. “Give me one good reason I shouldn’t leave skid marks on your face,” Natasha says. Fantomex tosses the briefcase at her feet. Fantomex tells her that a client asked him to retrieve the DNA drive but he has issues with the government tampering with people’s DNA to turn them into weapons. When Natasha asks why he took it to begin with, Fantomex says he wanted to prove he can pull off the impossible theft. “What am I going to do with Russian DNA?” Fantomex asks as he climbs aboard EVA. Black Widow watches as EVA takes off, sincerely hoping it crashes somewhere where they hate the French.

(2nd story)
10,000 feet above Yellowstone National Park, Scarlet Witch questions why Domino felt the need to bring backup guns, a large knife, and a taser with her for this mission. “I’ll take my chances, witch,” Domino says. “Makes me feel better about crawling through an alien death trap.” Wanda assures Domino that she’s using her probability powers to boost Domino’s luck powers but Domino isn’t pleased and asks Scarlet Witch to give her a sit rep again since she was too buzzed to read her initial text.

Scarlet Witch tells Domino that she’s standing on top of a Celestial Extermination Drone that expunges failed experiments by causing extinction-level events using probability manipulation fields. Since it’s currently hovering over Yellowstone Park, Wanda theorizes that it plans to probabilistically coax the dormant Yellowstone Supervolcano into erupting. “So you’re saying that humanity is about to be wiped out by the Celestial’s runaway roomba?” Domino asks. “That’s it exactly, Wanda says as she rolls her eyes.

Domino begins to climb into the drone using “gecko armor” that Forge built to attach herself to the ceiling. She questions why Scarlet Witch gets to wait outside, giving her coattails a workout. Claiming that the reasoning was in the initial text Domino failed to read, Wanda says that if she comes into physical contact with the drone, her powers and the drone’s probability field will interact and cause a feedback loop that could unravel reality. “And you would know about that kinda crap, wouldn’t you, witch?” Domino says as she ventures further into the drone.

Just as Domino leaps down to an inner surface, her armor starts malfunctioning and pieces begin to fly off. Scarlet Witch tells her about the probabilistic minefield that the drone generates which causes inorganic matter to undergo structural failure and organisms to suffer spontaneous catastrophic medical issues. Only supernaturally lucky girls can get near the drone without stroking out but, even with Wanda boosting Domino’s powers, she can still drop dead in there before she reaches the drone’s core.

Three minutes later, Domino is using Forge’s “luck saw” to cut a way into the main interior of the drone. The luck saw focuses Domino’s power, allowing her to cause structural damage to targeted areas within a range of five feet. Once breaching the bulkhead, Domino is shocked to find it littered with her corpse. Thanks to Wanda “witchifying” her powers, Domino is able to visualize the routes she shouldn’t take. Realizing that there doesn’t seem to be a path where she can avoid the probabilistic minefield, Domino leaps ahead anyway towards the core.

Five minutes later, Scarlet Witch questions Domino’s status, claiming that she can’t block the drone’s probability field from awakening the volcano much longer. A bloodied and exhausted Domino, suffering from various spontaneous ailments and injuries such as kidney failure, ruptured appendix and muscular fibrosis, replies that she is looking at the core, a blue floating energy orb in the center of the room. Knowing that she must hit it with the luck saw but seeing giant piles of her dead body overflowing the room, Domino realizes the mission is impossible. Just as she gives up, the luck saw spontaneously disintegrates and Domino suffers a ruptured cerebral aneurysm and dies.

Eight minutes earlier, Domino is just about to breach the drone’s hull as Scarlet Witch hovers nearby, telling her about the situation. Domino realizes what she must do and climbs on top of the drone, telling Wanda that her plan is garbage and there’s no conceivable way to get close enough to the core. Wanda begins to shout, calling Domino an idiot, and claiming they have to do something before the volcano erupts.

“Oh, we are gonna do something, witch,” Domino says as she taxes Wanda, causing her to fall from flight and land directly on the drone. As predicted, Wanda’s powers interact with the drone’s probability fields and causes a feedback loop that unravels the very fabric of reality.

When reality re-ravels itself, Wanda and Domino return but the celestial drone has vanished.

As the two heroes free fall to the ground, Wanda yells at Domino for almost erasing the entire universe. “Whatever, witch,” Domino says. “Just thought I’d take my chances."

Characters Involved: 

(1st story)
Black Widow

Ursa Major, Sibercat, Darkstar
Crimson Dynamo (illusion)

(2nd story)
Scarlet Witch

Story Notes: 

(2nd story)
The threat of the Celestial Extermination Drone must have been deemed great enough for Scarlet Witch and Domino to put aside their differences, since Domino was a member of Cable’s outlaw X-Force team at the time and frequently had run-ins with the Uncanny Avengers, of which Scarlet Witch was a member.

A roomba is a small robotic vacuum cleaner that operates independently using motion sensors.