Civil War: X-Men #4

Issue Date: 
December 2006
Story Title: 

David Hine (Writer), Yanick Paquette (Penciler), Serge LaPointe (Inker), Stephane Peru (Colorist), VC’s Russ Wooton (Letterer), Sean Ryan (Assistant Editor), Nick Lowe (Associate Editor), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

The assembled mutant heroes, the 198 and the O*N*E all try desperately to find means of saving the community of mutants trapped inside a bunker that is about to explode. Val Cooper cuts to the chase with General Lazer, breaking his kneecaps and threatening to kill him if she doesn’t give her the shutdown codes that will save the 198. He is about to cave in and provide the codes, when Johnny Dee snaps his neck using a “voodoo pawn” he created of Lazer. In a last-ditch effort to breach the bunker walls, Cyclops unleashes his full power on Bishop and they channel their combined energies against the impenetrable door. Iron Man and Ms. Marvel arrive to help and using Stark’s inside information about the door’s construction and the added firepower of the two Avengers, they manage to break through just in time to save the 198. In the aftermath, Val Cooper offers Bishop a job and the government softens its efforts to control the remaining mutant population.

Full Summary: 

The sun beats down on the Nevada desert as Sabra leans over Micromax who has been fatally injured. She calls out to him and he weakly asks what’s happening. She tells him that the 198 are trapped inside the bunker they took refuge in and the place is about to blow up.
Nearby, the Sentinels are trying desperately to breach the blast doors separating them from the 198. Sabra notes that Micromax is now sporting a potbelly and much shorter than before. She chides him for not telling her he was a shape-changer as well as a size-changer. He says he wishes she hadn’t seen him this way and she jokes that he must have been relieved that he wasn’t depowered on M-Day. He winces and asks her not to make him laugh, it hurts when he laughs.
A stone’s throw away, Shatterstar explains to Domino that he didn’t mean to kill Micromax, merely disable him. Domino tries to tell him that no one is blaming him but the angered glare that Bishop is giving Shatterstar says otherwise.
Inside the bunker, the 198 try to blast the doors open from the inside. The bunker’s automated communications system announces that it will self-destruct in fifty-five minutes and politely apologizes for any loss of life on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security. Communication with the outside world is also cut off as Toad and Outlaw try desperately to figure out how to open the doors. Scalphunter smugly tells the Toad that they should have listened to him and left when they had a chance. He’s not nearly as worried as the others since he knows that he will simply be reborn again via Sinister’s cloning. Meanwhile, Arclight tells those trying to break through the door to stop for a moment. She places her hand on the door and notes that it’s vibrating, which means someone outside is trying to break through as well.
Outside, Iceman, Cyclops and Bishop have joined the Sentinel in its attempt to destroy the bunker doors. Bishop calls for them to cease fire so he can assess the effectiveness of their attack. He quickly surmises that they didn’t even scratch it. Iceman cockily replies that he can definitely see a scratch somewhere. Cyclops realizes that there’s no way they can get the doors open in time. Bishop calls Val Cooper and informs her that they don’t have sufficient firepower to break through and it’s now up to her. Their only chance is for her to persuade General Lazer to shut down the self-destruct sequence that he initiated. If she fails, everyone inside the bunker will die.
Deep inside the Pentagon, General Lazer has been restrained inside an interrogation room. Despite his situation, he has a smug smile on his face. Val Cooper enters the room with a duffel bag and tells him he shouldn’t be smiling given his current situation. Lazer says that despite the end of his career, he can still take comfort in the fact that the mutant population is about to be significantly diminished and he’s the man with his hands around their collective throat.
Val decides to cut to the chase and asks for the shutdown codes. Lazer goads her, asking why she doesn’t try to get inside his head and discover the source of his hatred of mutantkind. Dr. Cooper tells him that experience has taught her that bigots aren’t worth getting to know. Lazer begins to tell her that there’s no threat she could make that would make him reveal the codes. She turns and opens the duffel bag telling him that she hasn’t the time for idle threats, truth serums or psychological torture. Instead, she pulls out a crowbar and tells him that she’s going to smash his kneecaps on at a time and then kill him. He tells her that sounds like a threat to him and she replies that it’s a statement of fact as she approaches him.
He laughs at her and begins to tell her that he’s almost a bit scared. He never has the chance to finish his sentence as she swings the crowbar and shatters his left kneecap. Lazer cries out in pain. Val tells him she is now going for the other kneecap before proceeding to kill him. He reminds her that if he’s dead he can’t give her the codes she needs. She tells him that at least he won’t be alive to gloat, before breaking his other kneecap. She tells him that no one cares if he lives or dies and unless he gives her what she wants, her next blow will crush his skull.
He tells her weakly that he needs his laptop and she signals for Colonel Reyes to retrieve it. As they wait, Lazer taunts Val by commenting on how he’s seen her drooling over Bishop and longing to breed with a mutant. Suddenly, Lazer begins to choke. He begs for help. Val asks if this is a trick and he says between gasps that Dee touched him.
In a room nearby, Johnny Dee looks down at his “voodoo pawn” of Lazer and voices his disappointment that all it took was a pair of broken kneecaps to make him talk. Johnny’s mutant “brother” hisses and Johnny snaps that if he’d had his way they’d have cut his citation out of him before he could walk! Dee reaches out to the tiny simulacrum of General Lazer and with a single twist of his wrist, snaps its neck. He notes that if all the mutants in the world had a single neck, they could be dealt with just as easily.
In Nevada, medics try to save Micromax’s life. Archangel offers his blood which has healing properties for those who with a compatible blood type. Sabra stays with Micromax as he hangs on by a thread and hopes this transfusion of Warren’s blood helps. Bishop receives a call from Val Cooper informing him that Lazer is dead from a snapped neck and that she doesn’t have the codes they need. Micromax is airlifted away and his prognosis is good if he makes it through surgery. Bishop tells Cyclops what’s happened and blames himself for driving the 198 into this desperation situation. He adds that the bunker may not contain the explosion and they should pull away. Cyclops asks if he’s given up already of if he’s open to trying something. Bishop asks what he had in mind and Cyclops replies that it’s something insanely dangerous that requires they trust each other and will probably kill them both.
Bishop orders the rest of the O*N*E crew to pull back and be ready to swoop back in to collect the 198 should they succeed in breaching the blast doors. He and Cyclops plan to duplicate the powerful discharge they jointly created earlier that managed to damage the Sentinel. The Beast notes that now may not be the best time to put Cyclops’s unfettered power to the test but Scott simply replies that now is the only time. He orders the rest of the X-Men to leave as they’ll be of no use. They flat-out refuse in what Scott refers to as a “Three Musketeers” moment. Cyclops begins to unleash his power upon Bishop who in turn, channels it into an immense blast of energy. It doesn’t seem to be working.
At that moment, help arrives in the form of Iron Man and Ms. Marvel. Iron Man tells them they’re here to help and notes the high energy output from Cyclops and Bishop and its potentially fatal effect on both of them. He tells the other to help him insure that they’re sacrifice isn’t in vain. He orders Carol to hit the doors in a specific spot with her photon blasts in three second intervals. He then orders the Sentinels into position as well and uploads attack patterns directly into their data-streams. He tells everyone present that the government paid him almost a billion dollars to make this place impenetrable and this is their chance to make him look like an idiot. They all unleash their power blasts in tandem. Inside, Outlaw yells to the others to fall back into the tunnels. Linked by their power exchange, both Cyclops and Bishop glow with energy that makes their nervous systems radiate through their skin and tissue.
The door final gives, exploding open in an impressive blast. Bishop nearly collapses and is aided by Iron Man, but Cyclops cannot seem to shut his power off and yells for everyone to stay away.
The 198 emerge from the bunker and hurry out. They are quickly moved to transports Cyclops continues to struggle to contain his power, his entire body aglow with wild energies. Iceman tries in vain to contain it in an ice sheathe. Bishop cries out that they can’t leave Scott behind as he is loaded into a O*N*E copter. Leech breaks free of Lorelei and runs towards the swirling crimson energy surrounding Cyclops.
Despite warnings from the X-Men, Leech charges in convinced that he’s the only one who can save Cyclops. He draws closer and turns off Cyclops’ mutant power. Ms. Marvel swoops in and grabs Leech as the X-Men try to put some distance between themselves and the bunker. They get clear of the area just in time as a massive explosion rips through the base, destroying it and the immense butte it was hidden in. The assembled mutants, heroes and troops watch the explosion from a safe distance, united for one brief moment by the close brush with death they all survived together.
The next day, Bishop debriefs the situation with Val Cooper. He notes that when it really counted, they were able to stand together and avert the potential genocide of the mutant race. Val asks how things are between him and the X-Men and he acknowledges the tension that’s still there following his decision to side with O*N*E in hunting down the 198.
She offers him a position with O*N*E and notes that their discretionary powers have now been reconsidered and limited. She is now in charge of an oversight committee to evaluate the impact of their decisions on mutant civil rights. Xavier’s will now going to be an open community for mutants designed in a way that’s similar to Native American reservations. O*N*E’s Sentinel team will stay to help protect the residents but they will no longer monitor or restrict the movement of community members.
Bishop asks for some time to think about Val’s offer to join her efforts to build this mutant community. As he gets up to leave, Val asks Bishop if he believes in monsters. She tells him that Emma Frost had accused her of joining “the monsters” who oppress and abuse mutantkind. Bishop replies that Emma just likes to mess with people and Val should ignore her. Val confesses that she did some bad things in the last few days, things she didn’t realize she was capable of. Bishop says that she did what she had to and that he believes there are good people and bad but doesn’t believe in monsters.
At that moment in a holding cell Johnny Dee smiles maniacally, a vicious gleam in his eye.

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Beast, Bishop, Cyclops, Iceman (X-Men)

Domino, Shatterstar (X-Force)
Arclight, Caliban, Collective Man, Johnny Dee, Erg, Fever Pitch, Leech, Lorelei, Mammomax, Outlaw, Scalphunter, Toad and other unnamed members of the “198”
Valerie Cooper, General Lazer, Colonel Miguel Reyes, Sergeant Foley and various unnamed O*N*E* soldiers and personnel
Micromax, Sabra (International allies of O*N*E)
Iron Man, Ms. Marvel (both Avengers)

Story Notes: 

Xavier’s estate was open as a refugee camp in Decimation: House of M – The Day After. The mutants arriving soon realized that wouldn’t be able to leave for their own protection. The mutants quickly became disgruntled, especially after it was discovered that they had electronic tags implanted in them and two of their own died, as seen in X-Men: 198 #1-5. Tensions again rose high when Apocalypse offered them salvation in X-Men (2nd Series) #182-186. In that instance, the Sentinel Squad proved useless in defense, as well as in New X-Men (2nd Series) #23, 25, 27, and X-Men: Deadly Genesis #1-6, in which one Squad member actually perished.
Johnny Dee has been manipulating events surrounding the 198 for some time as revealed in the X-MEN: 198 Limited Series.
Scalphunter refers to his ability to “regenerate”. In actuality, he has been cloned by Mr. Sinister like all of the Marauders and has survived death in this manner on several occasions.
Cyclops says that his fellow original X-Men are having a “Three Musketeers” moment. This references the novels by Alexandre Dumas about three musketeers whose loyalty to each other through thick and thin is embodied in their motto, “All for one and one for all.”

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