E is for Extinction #2

Issue Date: 
July 2015
Story Title: 
X vs X

Chris Burnham & Dennis Culver (writers), Ramon Villalobos (art), Ian Herring (colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Ian Bertram & Dave Stewart (cover artists), Ramon Villalobos & Jordan Boyd (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)

Brief Description: 

The U-Men find out they’ve been tricked, as Cyclops, Emma Frost and Wolverine have freed Xorn. The three X-Men tell the healer about the troubles they’ve been having with their powers. Xorn senses a strange blockage in them. At his home, Beast examines his dead counterpart and finds that his other self is no mutant. Informed by Quentin Quire about the Phoenix egg, Cyclops’ X-Men attack the Atom Institute at night and face the New X-Men. Magneto kills Quentin in retaliation and soon faces Xorn. Cyclops tries to convince the students of his cause and fails. Beast joins them, announcing that his counterpart died of a virus that he has traced to here. Finally, Xorn allows himself to be absorbed by the Phoenix egg, which kills Magneto. And suddenly, they are all under the attack by dozens of Beasts.

Full Summary: 

U-Men Base:
Via a screen, the U-Men look at their new prisoners – Cyclops, Emma Frost and Wolverine – who just traded places with Xorn. Their leader angrily asks them why they traded Xorn for three washed up has-been mutants. None of this make sense, he mumbles. Everything is happening so fast. He can’t even remember how he got here this morning… What the hell is happening to his mind?

Aw nuts! he swears, as the illusion fades and he sees his three teammates as prisoners.

The base explodes a moment later, while the X-Men and Xorn walk away. They mind explaining any of that to him? Wolverine asks. Their psychic shields are amateurish, Emma explains. As the U-Men were siphoning energies from Xorn to power their headquarters, he was slowly corrupting their dampening devices to the point where Emma could detect him. And Xorn is? Logan asks. He is a healer, the man in the iron mask informs him. With a skull mask? Logan demands. Can’t have the alpha without the omega, Xorn replies cryptically.

He takes Wolverine’s and Cyclops’ hands and states he senses a strange unnatural blockage within each of them. Describe their problems more fully, so he can seek out their root cause.

Cyclops explains his optic blasts are super weak and they are recharging so slowly. He used to be capable of blasts so powerful they could knock down vault doors one after another. Now it takes him days to recharge after one blast.

Wolverine reveals his healing factor is shot. He should be able to recover from any injury in a matter of minutes. Not so much now. His friggin’ fingertips haven’t grown back after twelve hours.

And mostly she’s just bored, Emma claims.

District X:
Hank McCoy examines the man who broke down in front of his door - another non-mutated version of himself. Since the fingerprints are different, it cannot be him from the past, he reasons to himself. He then recalls that, even before he gained his fur, his hands were huge, whereas the hands of this Hank are of a normal size. The DNA test confirms the body is a human Hank McCoy.

Night time at the Atom Institute:
The Stepford Cuckoo Esme, who shares a bed with Magneto, wakes up crying ‘no’, then she shakes Magneto awake. She shouts she had a nightmare, a vision! Ms. Frost and Mr. Summers are gathering allies and they are coming here! Rubbing his eyes, Magneto assures her Summers wouldn’t have the nerve.

The next moment, an optic blast shatters the wall and in step Cyclops and his team. Cyclops announces they know he is keeping Jean Grey hostage and has been using her to block their powers. He demands he hand her over or they will destroy everything he built brick by brick.

He is so pathetic! a voice announces. He turns around to see Magneto’s team of young X-Men (Dust, Martha Johansson, Basilisk, Angel, Beak and Glob Herman). Ready to destroy the future to recapture their past, Dust continues.

Cyclops faces Basilisk and misses. He realizes he may have his powers back but they are rusty. Wolverine jumps in front of Scott, facing Basilisk’s blasts and giving Scott an opening that he uses to take out Basilisk.

Glob grabs Wolverine and tries to suffocate him against his gelatinous body. Emma mentally takes him out in return. The Cuckoos announce it’s a shame Xorn couldn’t cure her terrible haircut. She tries to talk to them. Using their powers, they tell her they are her worst nightmare. A reminder of her former glory. She’ll never be as young or pretty again. Emma screams under the psychic assault.

Quentin joins them and announces he wants to help with the psychic assault. He kneels down next to Emma and asks if the mean quintuplets are ganging up on her. That’s not very fair, is it? He actually restores Emma. Not fair at all they both shout. Together they strike and the Cuckoos realize Quentin betrayed them. In disbelief, Esme asks he chose Emma over her? He deliberately tricked them into overextending themselves earlier. Quentin agrees. Knocking out the Cuckoos was the only way to get a psychic signal to Scott and Emma without them noticing. He is the better psychic and now she is going to tell him everything about Magneto’s plans for the Phoenix Egg. Whether she wants to or not.

The others are still fighting. Cyclops tries to reason, then uses his new power to manipulate Beak, who hits Martha Johansson’s glass container. Xorn gently lifts her up, heals her and puts the brain in Glob Herman’s gelatinous body, so they can heal together. He answers to her psychic questions that they may be adversaries but will never be enemies.

Quentin is with the Phoenix Egg. Magneto walks in announcing he trusted Quentin. And he trusted him, Quentin replies, until he saw Magneto had a woman chained up in his secret basement.

That egg is not a woman, Magneto scoffs. That egg is the key to mutant supremacy! With it he can – they can— Quentin interrupts he already ripped his schemes from Esme’s mind. He’s used the Phoenix Egg to pump the student body full of Mutant Growth Hormone! He used it to inhibit the old X-Men’s powers and fill them with doubt! He knows his insane plan to use Quentin and Esme as psychic foster parents to prematurely hatch the egg! And finally, he knows Magneto and Esme have been sleeping together. Although Magneto should probably know she thinks he lacks Quentin’s youthful vigor.

A metallic tentacle impales Quentin. He dares speak to him as a rival? Magneto scoffs. An equal? Quentin thinks he could operate at his level? He is the master of magnetism. The superior Homo superior!

The dying Quentin chuckles weakly. He calls Magneto an idiot and reveals he already bonded himself to the egg. What has he done? Magneto demands.

The Phoenix Egg rumbles. Magneto panics, then hears the Phoenix song call to him. He is ready. His destiny!

He turns around when Xorn announces that death is the destiny of all men. And that is what he will surely find if he embraces the egg. He didn’t think this through, did he? Magneto mocks. A man in an iron mask versus him. He might as well have come here with a gun aimed at his temple. He crushes Xorn’s mask and the star inside his head is freed.

Realizing he is a worthy opponent, Magneto suggests Xorn join him, together they can use the Phoenix egg to protect the mutant race. Xorn stresses he is neither his foe nor his ally. Nobody can control what is inside that Phoenix egg. He senses there is more to it than either of them can anticipate. He will destroy it and him if he has to.

Elsewhere, Cyclops assures the young X-Men they are just here to save Jean. Their teammate Quentin told him that his estranged wife is a prisoner here in some cosmic egg. Magneto has probably been using her power to pit them against each other for years.

Dust points out his argument would be more compelling if he weren’t just caught trying to hypnotize them into believing they were being manipulated. He comes into their school in the middle of the night shooting lasers— Optic blasts, he corrects her automatically. This is why he never accomplishes anything, she tells him. Who even knows if his wife is actually here?

Esme reveals there is the Phoenix egg but she’s got full faith in what Erik is doing with it. Has he ever led them astray? Unlike that bald cripple who chose suicide over facing reality.

She’s invalidating her argument right there by resorting to mean-spirited, ad hominem attacks, she is admonished by Beast who sits at the widow. Some days he’d give his right eye to wake up bald.

Oh great, another grandpa! Esme scoffs. Scott thought Hank retired. Hank thought so too until a human version of himself showed up dead at his doorstep. His less handsome counterpart died from some unknown viral strain. This strain seems to be in the air all around them and seems to be drawn to the Atom Institute. Logic would dictate this too is connected to the Phoenix egg they are all so upset about. Now what say they all find that egg, put opinions aside and—

That moment, there is a detonation and they see Magneto and Xorn battling for the Phoenix egg.

Hank admits this is bad. Jean! Scott and Logan shout. Typical, Emma groans disgusted. Esme finds it beautiful and Angel and Beak worry about their kids.

Xorn senses something in the Phoenix egg and probes. There is more to this. Not just Grey, but black and white. Surrender is the answer, he decides and is sucked into the Phoenix Egg.

Magneto stands there confused until the Phoenix egg falls on him and squashes him.

Quentin awakes with a gasp. The egg has stopped crackling and Hank figures it has gone dormant. There is no great power to be derived from this. Looks like Magneto was wrong after all. No, my handsome friend, Magneto was right, comes a familiar voice. They turn to face an army of Beasts from different realities.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Xorn (“classic” X-Men)

Angel Salvadore, Basilisk, Beak, Dust, Ernst, Glob Herman, Kid Omega, No-Girl, Stepford
Cuckoos (Magneto’s X-Men)

Written By: