A+X #15

Issue Date: 
December 2013
Story Title: 
(1st story) Doctor Strange + Beast; (2nd story) Captain America + Cyclops

(1st story) Jai Nitz (writer), Greg Smallwood (artist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer)
(2nd story) Gerry Dugan (writer), David Yardin (penciler), Cam Smith (inker) Andres Mossa (colorist), VC’s Cowles and Sabino (letterer)
Jordan D. White & Nick Lowe (editors), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

(1st story)
When a yoga class is disturbed by an ancient book that opens a transdimensional portal suspending the participants in midair, Beast is called in to investigate, only to find that Doctor Strange is already on the scene. The two argue over whether or not the threat is mystical or extraterrestrial as they follow clues which lead them into the Dark Dimension. Once there, they run into alternate versions of themselves investigating the same phenomenon, including a version of Hank McCoy who has taken the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme and a version of Stephen Strange who’s a scientist. The alternate versions are seeking the crown of Dormammu, which they will use to destroy the two heroes’ universe, thus ending the yoga singularity that threatens all existence. Beast and Doctor Strange take the crown and flee. Pausing, they realize that the whole scenario is so ridiculous that only Impossible Man could devise such a scheme. They confront him along with their alternate counterparts, putting a stop to his mad plan.

(2nd story)
In Las Vegas, Captain America and Cyclops return to the S.H.I.E.L.D. safe house with the Skrull corpse they retrieved from Latveria, only to discover that the Skrull is still alive! He promises to take the heroes to more Skrulls, only if they stop for bison burgers first. At Bryson’s Bisons Burgers, Emma Frost and the Stepford Cuckoos arrive to provide additional help and reveal that the restaurant is in fact a Skrull base and the entire staff is made up of Skrulls. A fight breaks out and, with the help of Ant-Man, the heroes overpower the Skrulls and begin to uncover their plan, which they suspect may involve infecting the cattle industry.

Full Summary: 

(1st story)
One afternoon in Greenwich Village, Beast enters Kula Yoga Studio, which is surrounded and barricaded by S.H.I.E.L.D. forces. “S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents and the barbigerous Beast?” Hank says as he walks up the stairs. “That’s a lot of firepower for a Manhattan yoga class, Agent London.” The young agent escorting him explains that protocol dictates that, whenever alien involvement is suspected, S.W.O.R.D. must be called. He warns Beast that the “other guy” simply showed up on his own. “The other guy?” Beast asks.

Outside the yoga studio entrance stands Doctor Strange, shifting his hands, making illusory images. “Doctor,” the two heroes greet each other simultaneously. Doctor Strange tells Beast that the situation is obviously a conjurer’s doing and that they’ll be no need to unleash his latest device of destruction. Beast senses that Strange is referring to his extraterrestrial energy spectrometer, which he considers to have worked fine and blames its explosion on the Champion of the Universe. Agent London rolls his eyes as the two heroes bicker over who’s fault it was mistaking an Eternal for an Inhuman and getting them banished… “Are you two gonna kiss or go inside?” he finally asks.

The three make their way inside the yoga studio to find a handful of women suspended in midair, still frozen in their yoga positions. Out of their eyes and mouth flows a bright, green energy which connects to brown book floating in the center of the room. “Aliens,” Beast says. “Magic” Strange disagrees.

Agent London explains that they sent an agent in but he muttered something about “alien magic” before his mind turned to jelly and that no one has touched the book yet. Strange and Beast begin to glance at the book with Strange noticing that they’re Yogi-summoning rituals but doesn’t recognize the language, which Beast identifies as the intergalactic avian-based humanoids known as the Shi’ar. “Alien bird yoga summoned a dimensional rift?” London asks. “Is this a joke?” Doctor Strange recognizes another symbol, the symbol for the Dark Dimension, Dormammu’s realm. He offers to teleport them but Beast assures him that he can get there fine on his own using his one-way dimensional wavelength duplicator. The two vanish in a flash and a poof before Agent London’s eyes.

In the Dark Dimension, Beast and Doctor Strange walk upside down in an endless space filled with floating eyeballs, strange creatures, headless statues and more oddities. Strange warns Beast that the Dark Dimension can be overbearing for doubters of magic but Beast is still unconvinced that the situation qualifies as anything other than “transdimensional alien yoga.” He accuses Strange of being unable to accept that magic is simply science that hasn’t been explained yet. “One of us is right and one of us has blue fur,” Strange says sassily as he points them in the direction of Dormammu’s fortress.

As they approach, they are greeted by a handful of alternate versions of themselves standing over the body of Dormammu. One alternate Beast introduces himself as the Sorcerer Supreme and is dressed in clothes usually worn by Doctor Strange. Another Alternate Beast is still in his ape-like form. One version of Doctor Strange introduces himself as “Professor S” of The Strange Men and wears a suit and tie. The group of alternate versions tell Beast and Strange that they’ve come to stop the yoga singularity threat and, in order to do so, they have no choice but to destroy Beast and Doctor Strange’s plane of existence using Dormammu’s crown. “You have a plan?” Strange whispers to Hank. “Of course I do,” Hank says. He grabs Dormammu’s crown and tells Strange to run! The two race off with their alternate versions hot on their heels.

The two split up and meet back at where they teleported in. Doctor Strange says he sicced some Mindless Ones on their pursuers to buy them time. Beast says he’s been thinking about what Agent London said and that the entire situation does seem like a cosmic joke and guesses that it could be a scheme of Loki’s. “Impossible,” Strange says. “He’s accounted for.” The two look at each other wide-eyed. “Impossible” they say together.

In the lair of Impossible Man, Beast and Doctor Strange teleport in. “It’s about time,” the villain says as he puts his magazine aside. “I was beginning to think you’d never figure out the runes in the book.” Impossible tells them that they’re actually extra-dimensional Kree Zen-Fascist yoga symbols. The two heroes tell Impossible Man to close the portal and release the trapped people. “Or what?” he asks. Suddenly, the alternate versions of Beast and Strange come flooding in. “Doctors,” Strange says. “Show the man our bedside manner.”

Back at the yoga studio, Strange and Beast arrive as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents help the yoga participants to their feet. Strange claims the mission as another triumph for magic but Beast still believes it was the work of other-dimensional, reality-bending technology. “One of us is right and the other is wearing horrible pajamas,” Beast says with a smile.

(2nd story)
In Las Vegas, Captain America and Cyclops drag a Skrull corpse across a crowded casino floor. “Are we being cloaked right now?” Cyclops asks. “Only by alcohol and greed,” Captain America responds, as they pass by blackjack tables where patrons are too busy to pay them any mind.

They enter the S.H.I.E.L.D. safe house and the L.M.D. informs them that there are already several versions of their fight with Doctor Doom on the internet, the most popular one featuring a score by Boots Randolph. He says that Director Hill is furious and is considering leaking a cover story blaming Deadpool, using his association with the X-Men and saying he was impersonating Captain America. As Cyclops begins to argue that Deadpool shouldn’t be associated with the X-Men, Captain America dismisses the idea, saying that Deadpool has been through enough. The three of them realize that Doom must have wanted the footage leaked since he is an egomaniac and the video shows him repelling both the leaders of the Avengers and the X-Men.

As the L.M.D. begins to inspect the Skrull corpse, Cyclops asks if Deadpool introduces himself as an X-Man and Captain America tells him that every team should have I.D. cards.

Just when the two heroes agree that they’re back to square one of the investigation, the L.M.D. tells them the Skrull is alive, surviving the blast through his heart by rearranging his internal organs, and is awake as they speak. The Skrull gets up and introduces himself as “K’Tan” and thanks them for rescuing him from Doom. K’Tan has been listening to their conversations and promises to take them to a Skrull safe house where they might have information on Cadre K but, since he’s starving, he wants a bison burger first. Captain America tells the L.M.D. to prep the ship and that he wants him to come along to pilot. Before leaving, Cyclops and Captain America both admit they want to call in additional help.

Later, at a fast-food cowboy-themed restaurant called Bryson’s Bisons Burgers, Captain America and Cyclops sit in a booth and drink coffee, watching K’Tan, impersonating Vision, eat a burger. They ask him what Doom wanted with him and K’Tan tells them that he thinks Doom wanted to unlock his shape-shifting abilities to remake his own damaged body. “Now I get to feel sympathy for Doctor Doom?” Cyclops says. “You killed Charles Xavier; you might be surprised what you’re capable of,” Captain America replies.

Suddenly, Emma Frost appears in the window with the Stepford Cuckoos behind her. “First you skip out on dinner and now you want me to run around with Uncle Sam and Skrultron,” Emma says as Cyclops tells her to get inside. While Emma asks if the Avengers are opening up a chapter for fugitives, the Cuckoos sit next to Captain America and begin to poke fun at his age by asking him questions about F.D.R.

“My my! To what do we owe the pleasure of such a visit from the Avengers?” the owner of the restaurant says as he makes his way to the table. “We are not the Avengers!” Emma corrects him as she crosses her arms and gives him a cold stare. A wave of realization washes over her and she tells Cyclops and Captain America that they’re standing in the Skrull safe-house and that their captive tricked them into coming here, hoping his friends would free him. Emma admits that the entire staff is made up of well-trained Skrulls as the bus boy and cashier stop what they’re doing and shift into their true forms.

“This is for destroying our home-world!” the Manager-Skrull shouts as the group of skulls begin arming themselves. A battle breaks out as Cyclops blasts the Manager-Skrull out the window and into a parked car. “Don’t go anywhere kids,” a Skrull says to the Cuckoos. “I have a toy for your meal!” He flips the counter over, revealing a huge high-tech gun. Captain America shields the Cuckoos from the blast as they try to enter into the Skrull’s mind. Emma shifts to her diamond form as she takes a blast to the chest.

As the heroes are surrounded, Cyclops asks Captain America where the help he was going to call is. Captain America said he arrived ten minutes ago and just took out their big gun. Suddenly, the gun behind the register malfunctions and Ant-Man comes out of it, growing in size and taking a Skrull down with a kick to the face. Captain America takes an additional two out with a shield throw as Emma and the Cuckoos break through their psychic defenses. Emma puts one Skrull to sleep and makes another lose control of their bowels. Considering their work to be done, she tells the girls to follow her as she leaves. “We want to stay with Captain America,” the Cuckoos cry in unison. “He’s too old for you,” Emma says.

Captain America stops Emma and asks her to stay with them until the end, since they know the band of mutant Skrulls has a telepath that was trained by Xavier. He admits that they have their differences but that he would be grateful for her service. Speechless, Emma agrees to say. The Cuckoos giggle behind her and telepathically discuss Emma’s scandalous last few thoughts…

The L.M.D. enters the restaurant and catches K’Tan playing dead again. He tells the Skrull that all the other Bryson Bison restaurants are under S.H.I.E.L.D. observation.

Cyclops approaches Ant-Man, who tells him that he’d hoped he would have handled a certain situation differently. Cyclops asks not to talk about it now and Ant-Man agrees, saying they have bigger problems as he notices with a device that there’s mutated Skrull DNA on these boxes of meat that doesn’t match the Skrulls they just fought. As Cyclops, Captain America, Ant-Man and the L.M.D. investigate the kitchen, they conclude that Cadre K may be executing a biological attack by infiltrating the cattle industry. Captain America reads “Sagittarian Farms” on the boxes of meat and says they must go there for recon. Realizing that Cadre K’s plan may be greater than they thought, Captain America and Cyclops say it’s time to assemble both the Avengers and the X-Men. 

Characters Involved: 

(1st story)
Doctor Strange

Impossible Man

Agent London
S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents

Alternate Versions of Beast and Doctor Strange
Yoga Class Particpants

(2nd story)
Cyclops, Emma Frost (both X-Men)
Ant-Man, Captain America (both Avengers)
Stepford Cuckoos


Skrull Employees of Bryson’s Bisons Burgers

(video footage)
Doctor Doom

Story Notes: 

(1st story)
“Barbigerous” refers to either having a beard, or being hairy.

At the time, Beast and Doctor Strange are working together as part of the Illuminati in New Avengers, which may explain their lack of patience with each other.

(2nd story)
This is a continuation of the story that began in A+X #13.

Boots Randolph was a famous saxophonist, known for his 1963 hit “Yakety Sax,” which became the theme tune to the Benny Bill Show.