E is for Extinction #4

Issue Date: 
November 2015
Story Title: 

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

Some years ago, Cassandra Nova tried to possess Charles Xavier and he threatened to kill himself rather than allow this. Which he did, causing Jean Grey (who was mind-linked with him) to go comatose. In her mindscape and in the Phoenix egg that formed around her, the psyches of Charles Xavier and Cassandra Nova battled for dominance. In the present, Phoenix, now controlled by Cassandra Nova, has emerged from the Phoenix egg. Cyclops tries to reach Jean’s psyche, to be murdered by Cassandra. She then takes over all the X-Men and fallen Beasts whom Xavier cannot protect and orders them into battle. Her victory seems assured but finally Wolverine has an idea. Xavier switches his psyche from Quentin Quire’s body to Logan’s and they attack together. Xavier keeps Cassandra busy on the astral plane, while Wolverine reaches Jean with a kiss. To stop Cassandra, they are forced to kill each other and the entire building is devastated in the following explosion. The couple whom Beast helped to conceive a mutant baby suddenly have the idea to call their child Jean or James. And Xorn, now displaying the Phoenix raptor, emerges from the Phoenix egg, announcing that only the Grey remains.

Full Summary: 

Are these words from the past?
It started with Charles Xavier and his sister Cassandra battling each other in the womb.

Years later, sitting in Cerebra, Charles Xavier finds himself about to be possessed by Cassandra Nova. He threatens to shoot himself if she doesn’t withdraw.

In another room, Hank McCoy worries about Jean Grey, who suddenly seems dizzy. Jean assures Hank she’s fine. Her alarm clock didn’t wake her and the whole day has felt off. She senses something wrong with the professor. He orders her out of his mind, even as he fires a bullet into his head. Too late! Cassandra Nova leers. Mind-linked to Xavier, Jean’s mental form fries.

On the astral plane, Charles, dressed in a white version of his X-uniform, grieves for what he has inadvertently done to Jean. Jean now as a child tells him it’s all right. It will be time to wake up again soon. Charles asks where they are. A cosmic egg, she explains. It’s where Phoenixes always go when they die. But he is not supposed to be here and neither is his sister. She points to another direction. Where Cassandra Nova is, dressed in black.

Cassandra smirks and warns Jean she should be very afraid. Charles orders Jean to stay behind him. He tells Cassandra it’s over. Their bodies are dead and they are just psychic ghosts now. She’s always been a psychic ghost, Cassandra reminds him. Her body was just a formality. She did plan to take over him and ruin his precious plan of mutant / human harmony, but this is so much better. So much power gestating here. All hers to control. His dream is meaningless. She’ll ruin everything! Xavier warns her he’ll kill her again before she is born, like last time.

It was like this for years, a secret war raging in the egg. The black and the white for the soul of the Grey.

The present:
Guess who won? Jean Grey dressed in a black Phoenix outfit smirks to the gathered X-Men.

Charles Xavier, in Quentin Quire’s body, warns that Cassandra Nova now has all of his telepathic abilities plus—

Cyclops interrupts that he can handle this. He tells Jean he knows she is still in there. They still share their psychic rapport. They are still technically married.

Emma wants to intervene but Xavier tells her this might work.

Scott urges her she can do this. Come home! Ha! Cassandra laughs and disintegrates him, to Xavier’s and Emma’s horror.

Cassandra tells Xavier she has slaughtered his favorite son and taken control of his star pupil. No one is safe from the judgment of the Phoenix!

Knowing that Xavier can only protect a limited number from her, she switches the Cuckoos, Dust, Basilisk and several of the Beasts to her side. This is his nightmare! she gloats. Welcome to the Black Bug World! The order where his pitiful life never mattered.

He vows he will stop her and orders his X-Men to hold the line while he fights this battle on the psychic plane. The former body of Quentin Quire is his anchor. Protect it at all costs!

Glob Herman finds himself attacked from the inside, by Martha’s brain, which Xorn put inside him for healing. The resurrected Beasts go for Wolverine and try to guilt-trip him. Logan announces he made his peace with what he does. He unsheathes his claws. And what he does ain’t pretty. He doesn’t mind killing somebody twice.

Holding his visor, Emma grieves she really loved Scott. She hopes he knew, even if she was incapable of showing it. The possessed Dust attacks her with a sandstorm. Emma doesn’t even defend herself, not knowing what she has to fight for.

Angel and Beak’s kids are also possessed. At least they are relatively harmless, their parents figure, until the kids find some weapons…

The possessed surviving Cuckoos confront Beast and goad him to kill them, like he killed Esme. Kill them before they kill him! Hank screams.

The possessed Basilisk addresses Ernst. He knows about her secret crush on him. She denies it. He’s always known. Casandra is just making him say it out loud. She’s gonna hurt her the worst. Hyuk! He fires an eyeblast at himself, much to her horror.

Cassandra Nova gloats that the X-Men are losing and tells Charles to surrender to the Black. Wolverine announces he has a plan. Fighting Cassandra, Xavier replies some problems can’t be solved with his claws. Just read his damn mind, Logan orders. Why does he think he can get through to Jean when Scott did not? Xavier demands. ‘Cause he never stopped loving her! is the reply, and they are out of other options. Xavier agrees. He decides to shed this body and occupy Logan’s mind. Now they are truly Weapon X.

They face Cassandra / Phoenix. Finally his Hail Mary, Cassandra mocks. How disappointing. She is Mummudrai. She is Phoenix! She is the death of all things. There is no possible attack that could stop her. She calls them fools.

This isn’t an attack, Wolverine replies and kisses her. Jean’s personality begins to stir.

Xavier informs Cassandra that she never won anything. They fought to a standstill inside the Phoenix egg but he knew he needed help. He knew he needed his students… his family. His real family.

Confused Jean asks what’s going on. No time, Logan replies and asks her to read his mind. Only one thing left to do. He unsheathes his claws. She loves him too, Jean replies and mimics claws with her telekinesis.

Together, the X-Men always save the world, Xavier announces as he stabs Cassandra on the astral plane, while Jean and Logan stab each other in reality. No matter what the sacrifice!

District X:
The couple that asked Dr. McCoy for a mutant baby find out they are expecting a child. She announces, if Dr. McCoy did it, they are going to be proud parents of a mutant baby. What’s wrong? He is looking outside the window and remarks there were some fireworks outside the city… They should name the baby James if it’s a boy. What if they have a girl? she asks. She always liked the name Jean…

At the site of the former Atom Institute, Xorn rises, a Phoenix rising where his head should be. Balance is restored, he announces. Only Grey remains.

Characters Involved: 

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

Beak and Angel’s kids
Ugly John

Story Notes: 

“Are these words from the future” were arc words from Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run.

Written By: