E is for Extinction #1

Issue Date: 
June 2015
Story Title: 
Relax and Be Replaced

Chris Burnham (writer), Ramon Villalobos (art), Ian Herring (colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Ian Bertram & Dave Stewart (cover artists), James Harren (variant cover), Xander Jarowey (assistant editor), Katie Kubert (editor), Mike Marts (executive editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
Special thanks to Dennis Culver

Brief Description: 

Charles Xavier kills himself to protect his mind from Cassandra Nova. Years later, the young X-Men are led by Magneto, whereas the remains of the classic X-Men are a laughing stock with waning powers, as seen when they try to help against an attack of the U-Men. Later at Magneto’s school, he informs his favorite students, Quentin Quire and Esme, about the existence of the Phoenix egg in their basement in which Jean Grey rests and how he needs their help to hatch it. With Emma Frost’s help, Cyclops finds new ways to use his powers. They look up Wolverine to tell him about Jean’s captivity and together they enter the U-Men’s HQ to free Xorn. Elsewhere, Beast works as a doctor to help humans have mutant children. He is surprised to find a dead man at his door who is a non-mutated version of himself.

Full Summary: 

Xavier’s school:
Sitting in the Cerebro unit, nose bleeding from the psychic strain, Charles Xavier holds two guns to his head. He’ll say this only once, Cassandra! Get out of his head or he fires! Moments later, he has killed himself.

X years later:
Club Morlox where the cool mutants meet:
At a table Barnell Bohusk aka Beak sits with two young women who flirt with him. One of them admires his X-Men jacket. She loves his shirt, she continues (on it an arrow pointing downwards). It’s very instructive. Beak realizes this may be his lucky night. “Listen up, you spoiled undeserving brats!” someone shouts. Dammit, blocked again, Beak sighs. Sorry ladies, duty calls.

The caller is one of several armored and armed U-Men who have entered the club. Look at them, all those amazing powers and abilities! They’ve been handed the world on a plate and what have they done with their genetic gifts? They have squandered them on cheap thrills and bacchanalia. And proven themselves unworthy of their Doom-given gifts.

Now they, the worthy, the patient, have come to take them from them. They’re not here for their lives, they are here for their talents.

While Beak is holding his hands up like the others, he grabs a metal rod with his foot.

If nobody moves, they will make this as quick and painless as possible. Resist them and they’ll boil them alive in their own skin.

The U-Men begin to attack and mutilate the helpless mutants. Beak is about to hit one of them when the rod suddenly flies out of his grasp and, seemingly out of its own volition, hits a U-Man several times till his faceplate breaks. Then it flies into the hand of the person responsible. “To me, my X-Men!” Magneto shouts and orders his team of young X-Men (Angel Salvadore, Martha Johansson, Quentin Quire, Ernst, Basilisk, Dust and Glob Herman) to attack.

Quentin telepathically forces the U-Men to turn their guns on themselves. Hardcore! Basilisk chuckles while Dust lectures him that rejoicing at the loss of any life is shameful. What if they just break their legs? Basilisk asks. Can he laugh at that?

Glob Herman squeezes one U-Man’s head even as he begs for mercy. Mercy? Magneto scoffs and uses chains to throttle the last fleeing U-Men. This is his mercy.

Beak flinches. And Angel tells him to stop being such a wuss. She thought he liked death metal. Murder and chains. That’s different, he replies. And don’t think for one moment she can’t smell that trampy perfume on him, she laughs.

That moment, Cyclops and Emma Frost, neither in particularly good shape, arrive. Cyclops orders the “children” to stand aside. Help has arrived. He begins to shout orders at the White Queen who receives some mental feedback sounding like… laughter.

Behind the times as always, Mr. Summers, Magneto remarks amused. His X-Men begin mocking Cyclops and Emma. Quentin remarks they’ve been here for hours. Was Cyclops busy getting last place in an aerobics championship? They couldn’t find their legwarmers, Basilisk chuckles. Angel tells Emma that Pat Benatar called. She says she is a thousand years old. On the plus side, it looks like the surgeons were finally able to remove her self-respect, Dust snarks.

Emma turns into her diamond shape and snaps that she suspects Dust isn’t wearing a hijab due to modesty but because she is hideous. She tries to mindprobe her. Furious, Sooraya turns into dust and attacks Emma. Scott tries to stop her with a weak optic blast.

Ah, the petty bickering, Magneto tuts. No wonder Cyclops and Charles never accomplished anything. He will not allow them to set such an example for his students. Leave! he orders.

Another day at the Xavier Memorial Education Nexus aka the Atom Institute:
Magneto and Quentin Quire walk past some students outside, a gifted human composer and a mutant who will play his work with his special appendages.

Quentin observes that the composer is a flatscan. Isn’t he?
So long as they are absolutely exceptional, Magneto reminds him, they care not what species they are from. Is he practicing for a press conference? Quentin mocks. The school is over 90 percent mutants. It’s only natural, Magneto agrees They are Homo superior after all. But, in order to move forward, the entire world must acknowledge and come to embrace their superiority of their free will. He wasted decades trying to set mutants apart from humankind. What was he thinking? Quentin tells him not to be so hard on himself. It’s not his fault he is so old.

Magneto tells him what he is going show him he hasn’t shown anyone yet. He trusts Quentin. As a matter of fact, he reminds him of himself. He leads Quentin to a secret room. His actual children have all been disappointments so far. Quentin he has faith in.

He continues that when Charles killed himself, he was in mental contact with Jean Grey, the ideal female form and container of the Phoenix Force. The psychic feedback knocked her into a coma. He shows him an egg-like cocoon in which a female shape rest. She… it has been like that ever since. But with Quentin’s help, not for much longer.

Mutopia Medical Center:
A couple visits one Dr. Henry McCoy with the wish that their child become a mutant. They complain their neighbors’ child is a mutant and the child is already designing quantum storage architecture at the age of seven. A human baby can’t compete with that. They just want their child to have a chance.

Hank understands but warns them life for a mutant is not all peaches and daisies. He can barely put on his pants with his paws, much less hold a pencil or type. Secondary mutations are unpredictable. For all he knows, their neighbor’s child might turn into a puddle of quantum goo at the age of 16.

Hank examines the husband’s sperm and finds several sperms carrying the X-gene. Just a decade ago, only one man in twenty had any sperm with the X-gene. This year he has yet to identify a single fertile man without one. Doom’s law: evolution itself is evolving.

The woman asks if he can tell what sort of abilities it will have. Anything from being able to fly or stop time to being born with no bones and a constant life in anguish. There’s just no way to tell.

Outside the Atom Center, Beak and Angel watch their kids at play. Angel asks if he got numbers from the girls last night. He is embarrassed but she continues she was thinking the right one was hot. She also liked the other one with… She shouts at one of their kids. He defends himself his sister hit him. The girl claims No-Girl did it. Don’t give her that No-Girl nonsense! Angel replies. Face down in the dirt for the two. Ten minutes!

Beak wonders where they are getting it from. He hasn’t thought about No-Girl in years. Was it all a joke or did they actually believe in her? Angel muses. She can’t remember.

In their bedroom at the mostly abandoned Xavier Institute, Emma asks Scott if this is about Jean. Scott denies it and muses he doesn’t even know what he saw in her. Other than everything. Maybe it was just the hair. How many redheads did he end up marrying anyway? Who could possibly care about any of that? Emma teases. Not him. Not anymore, he admits. Since the professor died, they’ve made so much progress. He feels like he’s betraying Charles’ dream for not embracing it. But he also feels he’d be betraying Charles if he ever sided with Magneto.

Emma laughs. He sounds like a punk kid who’s depressed his favorite underground band became popular. He’s got a fabulous woman with diamond skin and he can shoot lasers from his eyes. How bad could it be?

He confides the one blast last night, when he freed her from Sooraya, took everything out of him. It feels like it will take him another day to recharge. And technically they are not lasers. They are optic— She interrupts she has an idea. She orders him to look at the TV and think about turning it on. He does and succeeds. On her orders, he manages to change the channels. Is she doing that? Emma tells him he’s doing that. She is just giving his neurons a push to figure out how. He tries changing channels until they hear a human complaining about human kids not having any chance against mutant freaks. Disgusted, Scott turns off the TV. He jokes he bets that guy would be worried he’s going to put remote control factories out of business. Emma chides him he is thinking too small. This could put everyone out of business.

The Atom Institute:
In the Danger Room, the students stand in a line as Magneto addresses them, telling them they are here because they are the best of the best. Exceptional. The smartest, fastest, strongest, most creative, most talented people the world has to offer. The most amazing beings who have ever walked this earth. And their children will make them look like simpletons. Humanity has its head in the sand. Most of them are unable or unwilling to admit their time at the top of the food chain is over. But they must ever be vigilant. When the human race realizes it has been supplanted, there will be panic. Some will roll over and die and others will react like trapped animals. And attack.

The Danger Room scenario begins. The students face armed angry humans. Quentin orders Dust to set up a sand screen to blind them. The humans switch to infrared. Like they practiced, Quentin instructs the Cuckoos, who scoff they don’t need his instructions.

They connect the young X-Men psychically to every grain of sand from Dust and they see in 360 degrees. Angel and Beak realize the soldiers are almost on top of them. Angel throws up acid to attack one of them, while Beak hits the other.

The Cuckoos fall down, exhausted from the strain. They almost have this wrapped up, Quentin announces. Calling Basilisk “Cyclops,” he orders him to take the last one. He hesitates first then takes the last soldiers out and informs Quentin that name is not gonna stick.

The session is over. Glob Herman tells Basilisk that “Cyclops” is cool, retro even. He doesn’t want the same name as an old doofus. Even if he has a wife that’s always half-naked.

The Cuckoos are exhausted. Magneto is pleased that Quentin is pushing the team hard.

Later at Harry’s Hideaway:
A strangely tall Logan sits hunched at the counter. A man asks if he is the Wolverine, then remarks that whoever gave him that name musta been blind ‘cause he looks like a freakin’ owl. His buddy laughs and tells him to spin his head round.

Logan unsheathes his claws and points out it ain’t the hairdo that gave him the name. Anyway, the man looks like this bottle. He cuts it apart, despite his claws hurting his hand. And if he keeps mouthing off, he’ll look like that bottle.

Geez! the horrified men reply Someone makes a joke and his first instinct is to murder? If he weren’t like eight feet tall, they’d say he got a serious Napoleon complex. What is the deal with that anyway? Was his secondary mutation just a growth spurt? He’ll have them know his secondary mutation is his ability to get wasted, he retorts.

Scott Summers congratulates him, then tells him to shake it off. It’s Magneto time. Logan swears at him. Scott warns him to be careful. His finger hasn’t healed yet. An optic blast to the face wouldn’t be pretty. How many people’s wives will he get to sleep with, if he looks like Freddy Krueger?

Logan calls his bluff. Scott’s optic blasts are as shot as his healing factor. He couldn’t even give him a suntan. Scott protests he certainly could. He’ll make him look like George Hamilton. Who needs Sentinels when skin cancer will do, eh? Logan remarks. Cyclops sits down at the counter and gets a beer. What are they doing here? Logan wonders. Magneto again? Why? He won fair and square. Scott reveals he’s got Jean locked up inside. They got a man on the inside. Dammit! Logan swears.

The basement of the Atom Institute:
Magneto leads Esme to his secret room, claiming he has never shown it to anyone but he trusts her. As a matter of fact, she reminds him of his wife Magda. Sealed within this egg, growing, evolving, lies whatever is left of the Phoenix.

When does he think she’ll come out? Esme asks. Magneto points out they have no idea what will emerge. For this egg to hatch, it will require a psychic father and mother.

Meanwhile, in District X, a man makes his way through the streets, stumbling and falling several times, until he drags himself to a doorway. He speaks into the speaker phone: “Hank… it’s me.”

Inside, Hank McCoy realizes the voice is familiar. He jumps down to the door to find a very dead human-looking Hank McCoy.

Elsewhere, Cyclops, Emma and Wolverine wander through a forest. Wolverine complains about them being cagey, about how they’ll get their powers back. The High Evolutionary is at the top of this hill? Scott replies, if they told him, he’d never have come along. Don’t make him regret this Logan grumbles. Emma observes the fact Logan can’t smell where they are going makes her think his powers have ebbed even further.

They reach a ridge and below is the U-Men’s headquarters. Two U-Men surprise them but don’t panic. After all, it’s only the old X-Men. Classic X-Men, Cyclops corrects them. He thinks “old” is right, Logan remarks.

Cyclops does something to his visor and orders the U-Men to take the guns out of their face and take them to the man in the mask. The men obey. Simple hypnosis, he explains to Logan. Better than a remote control, Emma remarks.

They open the prison cell to find a chained Xorn inside. Which one of them has come to take his place? he asks.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Xorn (“classic” X-Men)
Angel Salvadore, Basilisk, Beak, Dust, Ernst, Glob Herman, Kid Omega, No-Girl, Redneck,
Stepford Cuckoos, Tattoo (Magneto’s X-Men)

Human couple
Alternate Hank McCoy

In flashback:
Professor X

Story Notes: 

This story is based on variations of Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men. The differences start when Xavier kills himself (as opposed to New X-Men (1st series) #114)

Emma’s telepathy shouldn’t work when she is in diamond form.

Freddy Krueger is the villain with knife-appendages from the Nightmare on Elm Street movies.

Pat Benatar is a singer who gained particular notoriety in the 1980s.

George Hamilton is an actor who was extremely tanned in later years.

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