A+X #18

Issue Date: 
March 2014
Story Title: 
(1st story) Vision + Kitty Pryde; (2nd story) Captain America + Cyclops

(1st Story) Jim Krueger (writer), Will Sliney(artist), Andres Mossa(color artist), VC’s Clayton Cowles(letterer)
(2nd Story) Gerry Dugan(writer), David Yardin & Matteo Lolli(pencilers), Cam Smith(inker) Andres Mossa(colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles(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)
Kitty Pryde and Vision find themselves trapped in Murderworld, attacked by robots of their closest friends. After fighting them off, the two heroes try to upload a virus into Murderworld’s computer system to shut it down. However, before they do, they see a ghost and follow it, soon coming across ghosts of all the people Arcade has killed. They learn that the Murderworld mainframe has gained sentience and, disturbed at what it was used for, kidnapped Kitty and Vision, hoping they would destroy it. Instead, the two heroes teach the Murderworld entity a lesson about overcoming guilt and ask to be released.

(2nd Story)
Cyclops, Ant-Man, Emma Frost, the Stepford Cuckoos and Cadre K finish destroying Doctor Doom’s Skrull labs and leave Latveria with the new Skrull-based life form Doom created. Cyclops returns to Sagittarian Ranch where Captain America finally convinces S.H.I.E.L.D. to allow Cadre K to live in peace. Steve attempts to talk things out with Scott, stating that, although he himself no longer thinks Scott is guilty of Xavier’s death, it’s still up to a jury to decide. Scott tries to escape the situation using Tempus’ time powers but Strange cancels her powers out with a spell, forcing Scott and Steve to talk out their issues. With nothing left to do, Tempus and Strange introduce themselves to Cadre K as tempers flare during Cyclops and Captain America’s argument.

Full Summary: 

(1st Story)
“Kitty Pryde? Is that you?” Vision asks as he wakes up on a metal slab. Across from him, Kitty Pryde wakes up as well, clutching her head in pain. “Doesn’t feel like me. But it is,” Kitty responds. “Are you all right?” The two rise but, before they can begin to speculate where they are, Kitty recognizes her surroundings, which are filled with giant playing cards, clown imagery, and made to look as if the two heroes are in a pinball machine. “I think it’s safe to say we’re in Murderworld,” Kitty says. Vision questions why the two of them would be brought in together and Kitty could only guess it’s because they both have the ability to become intangible.

Suddenly, Professor Xavier appears ahead of them surrounded by mirrors. Kitty races towards him, despite Vision telling her that it’s most likely a trap. She agrees but figures she can’t be hurt while intangible. Professor Xavier rises from his wheelchair and scowls at her. “Oh crap,” Kitty says as manifestations of Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Cypher come out of the mirrors, ready to attack her. “You get points for picking people I love to scare me with,” Kitty says. “But minus two for forgetting I can ph-” Cypher punches her straight in the face, sending her straight to the floor. “Let me hit her next,” Xavier says, looming over her.

Vision comes to her aid, punching Wolverine straight through the chest, revealing him to be made of machinery. He says that, like Kitty, he is also unable to become intangible and says that he’s currently downloading all he knows about Arcade and Murderworld. He punches through the Colossus robot’s arm and comments that it seems Arcade has done his homework on Kitty. “Not just on me,” Kitty says, as Scarlet Witch and Ultron robots appear before them.

Vision tells her that it will be tactically wise for them to fight each other’s mirror enemies. “Fine,” Kitty says. “But I will happily punch Emma.” She punches through an Emma Frost robot as Vision takes care of a Cyclops robot by throwing him into the mirror. Kitty rubs her hand, saying how long it’s been since she’s had to fight without her powers, as Vision realizes that the mirrors are the source of their troubles. They begin to throw their enemies into the mirrors, destroying both their foes and their source.

“I hate this, Vision,” Kitty says. “I hate how this place tried to use people I love. People I’ve lost… to hurt me.” Unwilling to be Arcade’s victim again, she looks at the machinery behind one of the broken mirrors and tells Vision that, since Murderworld is just a giant computer, it can be unplugged. “You and I are about to murder Murderworld,” Kitty says as Vision begins to lift up his arm plating. He tells her that after he lost control and was taken over, he made sure he could never be used against the Avengers again, so he implanted a techno-virus in his arm to overrun his systems. “A digital cyanide pill?” Kitty says. “I’m glad you’re using it for another reason.” She plugs his arm into the mainframe and tells him to release the virus but, before he does, Vision says he saw a person that appeared to be hurt.

The two walk on into a maze-like structure and note how odd it was that they weren’t attacked while they tried to release the virus. “I hate walls,” Kitty says as walls continue to appear before them. “To you and I, there was no such thing before,” Vision says. “There is something here we are not supposed to see.” Suddenly, a ghostly young boy with a headshot wound phases out of the wall and walks right through them. Beginning to suspect that they are not here to simply be killed, they follow the ghost into a room filled with a dozen more ghosts, including the young heroes, Mettle and Red Raven, as well as security guards, soldiers and regular civilians.

“Could it be that these are all the people Arcade has killed?” Vision says. “I guess since the X-Men always beat him, I never thought that Arcade killed so many people,” Kitty responds. The two heroes then notice that in the center of the room are their bodies wired into the machine and realize that the whole scenario has been taking place in their heads.

Suddenly, Arcade appears on screen. Kitty points out that every word he speaks seems to be from a different film clip and Vision tells her that there is another intelligence here that is simply using Arcade’s files to communicate. “I… Am… This place…” the video tells them. “Why…Did… You… Not… Release… The… Virus?” Vision tells Kitty that, after gaining sentience, the mainframe of Murderworld was overcome with guilt and brought them here to kill it. When asked why it chose them, Murderworld tells them that Vision was chosen because he could understand what it’s like to be used against your will as a machine as video clips of Vision on a murderous rampage are shown. Murderworld says that Kitty was picked because she understands computers and because she knows what it’s like to have so many friends killed and shows a clip of an older Kitty walking among a cemetery filled with the tombstones of friends.

Murderworld says that it is nothing but a place of death and that it deserves to die. “So your first act in this new world of consciousness will be to take another life?” Kitty snaps back at it. “If we had released the virus, wired up as we are, we would have died.” Vision tells Murderworld that just like when he attacked the Avengers, the actions that Murderworld committed in the past do not have to reflect who it is now. Murderworld asks how he can live with what he’s done. “Guilt is the wall not even WE can walk through,” Vision says. “It is something to walk along and to make up for.” Murderworld asks what it can do. “That’s the thing about being human. There’s never an easy answer to that question,” Kitty tells it. “Right, Vision?” Vision agrees but tells Murderworld that friends are always helpful. “Now please, can we have our bodies back?” Kitty asks politely. “She really hates walls,” Vision explains.


(2nd Story)
In Latveria, Ant-Man tells Cyclops that he’s lost Captain America’s signal and that Latverian soldiers are beginning to storm the place. Cyclops tells him that they’re almost done, noting that they can’t leave Doctor Doom with any of his next-gen Doombot research as he destroys a computer mainframe using his optic blasts. “Blowing up Doom’s data is one thing, but what are we going to do with the ‘The Doombot from Beyond’ over there?” Ant-Man asks, pointing to the Skrull-like experiment that was released from its cell.

Cyclops tells him that they’ll turn it over to S.H.I.E.L.D. and continues to fight off Doombots. Ant-Man asks him to save him a Doom-Bot head and Cyclops complies by destroying an entire Doombot’s body, allowing its head to tumble towards Ant-Man. “Never got to examine one of these up close,” Ant-Man says as he holds it up. “And what’s our way out of here that doesn’t involve killing those Latverian stooges?”

A group of Latverian soldiers come barging in but immediately drop their weapons. “Oh right, your telepaths,” Ant-Man says. “Can you make them play patty-cake?” The soldiers immediately begin to play patty-cake with each other, much to the amusement of Ant-Man. “So much less punching when you’re hanging with the X-Men,” he says. “The Avenger need a psychic on their team,” Emma says. “I’m not sure any of us could stand being mind-linked to Clint,” Ant-Man responds. The band of heroes exit Doom’s castle as Cadre K clears the way back to the jet.

Emma tells the Skrull experiment to put on clothes and he dons a cape that he takes from a fallen Doombot. “I am Doom!” he says proudly, much to the annoyance of Emma. Ant-Man warns her not to use any psychic powers on him since he’s a new life form. “Please be quiet,” Emma says as she boards the jet. “I have feeling you’re going to sleep on the trip back.” Once everyone is on board, Emma tells Scott to drop her and the girls off before he goes to have his “macho face-off” against Captain America.

Back on Sagittarian Ranch, Captain America looms over Agent Adsit, who’s sporting a bloody nose. “If you promise not to fire it at me again, you can your gun back,” Steve says. He tells Agent Adsit that these Skrulls are no different than his parents when they immigrated to America from Ireland. He says that Cadre K came to the United States to live a quiet life and even served their country today. “I’m willing to stand beside them all the way until they take the oath to become U.S. citizens,” Steve says. “I’d be willing to vouch for them too,” Cyclops says as he arrives on the ranch. “But I wouldn’t want to hurt their chances.”

Not wanting to go home empty handed, Agent Adsit asks if they could arrest Cyclops. “Cyclops, I was beginning to think you skipped out on me again,” Captain America says. “Stand your men down, Agent Adsit. Would you mind giving us a few minutes to alone?” Cyclops tells Agent Adsit that he won’t be going home completely empty-handed as Ant-Man has a new life form that requires special custody. “Whatever,” says a disgruntled Agent Adsit.

As Scott and Steve walk off, Agent Adsit reassures his confused agents that they’re not arresting the Skrulls or Cyclops and that they’ll be blaming Captain America for the whole mess. “You want to know how to make S.H.I.E.L.D. Level 6?” Adsit says as he takes his team back to the ship. “When an op goes sideways, blame a guy in spandex.”

Steve hands Scott a card to a district attorney he knows and tells him that she’ll be expecting a call to arrange your surrender. Suddenly, time freezes and Tempus arrives. “I feel bad freezing Captain America in time again,” she says. “How much of his life has he spent adrift?”

She’s surprised to find that Cyclops is unresponsive and frozen in time just as Steve. “Surely you didn’t think you were the only one capable of manipulating time,” Doctor Strange says as he comes up next to her, noting how compassionate her thoughts were regarding Cyclops. “You are Tempus, I believe?” Awestruck, Eva asks if he can stop time too. Strange tells her that nobody can stop time but that she is the best he’s seen at being able to slow it down and informs her that he sped himself up to talk to her.  “Are we going to fight?” Tempus asks. “Not at all. I’m simply here to keep the proceedings honest.” “Sorry, Cyclops, we’re not time-sliding out of this one,” Tempus says as she and Strange stop their time manipulating.

Captain America tells Scott that the same trick never works twice and that it’s time to get his affairs in order. “Would any of the mutants I saved be permitted to serve on my jury?” Cyclops asks. “Just who would ‘my peers’ be, Cap?” Captain America says that they’ll find out together and that although he doesn’t think Cyclops is guilty of Xavier’s death anymore, it’s not up to him to decide. “Lets say goodbye to the Skrulls while Steve and Scott have their moment,” Doctor Strange says with a roll of the eyes as he walks off with Tempus.

As Tempus and Strange approach, K’Thron apologizes to Z’Cann and assures her that he will return to the Skrulls and forget that he ever found them before he takes off in his ship. Doctor Strange tells Tempus that it’s important to reflect on the lessons that come from these conflicts they face. “Tonight’s lesson is the Avengers and X-Men can’t even set aside their difference to face a common enemy?” Tempus asks. “We have our moments,” Strange reminds her as shouts of “Stand down!” come from behind them.

Strange introduces himself to Z’Cann, saying how nice it is to meet a pupil of Charles and that he looks forward to visiting them in their new life here. Tempus bends down to pet a cow, which shape shifts, revealing itself to be Skrull-cow hybrid. “Another lesson from tonight, mate: go vegetarian?” she says to Strange. “Indeed,” Doctor Strange agrees. 

Characters Involved: 

(1st Story)
Kitty Pryde

Murderworld Sentience
Colossus, Cypher, Emma Frost, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Scarlet Witch, Wolverine, Ultron (Murderworld robots)
Mettle, Red Raven, Juston Seyfert and other Murderworld victims (computer ghosts)
Arcade (video images only)

(2nd Story)
Cyclops, Emma Frost, Stepford Cuckoos, Tempus
Captain America
Doctor Strange


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

Fiz, Nuro, R’tee, Spunje, Z’Cann, Goroth (Cadre K)

Doom Bots
Latverian Soldiers
Doom’s Skrull Experiment

Story Notes: 

This is the final issue of A+X.

(1st Story)
Mettle, Red Raven, and Juston Seyfert were killed in Murderworld in the Avengers Arena series.

Vision was taken over and attacked his fellow Avengers in the Avengers Disassembled storyline.

(2nd Story)
This concludes the 6-part story that began in A+X #13.

Tempus’ reference to Captain America having spent some of his life “adrift” refers to the decades he spent frozen in ice.