Flashback to a year ago:
Four years ago today, the demons won. Limbo had broken loose in Manhattan, twisting the great city into a dark evil thing. The X-Men fought the demon hordes with all they had but they failed. Colossus’ younger sister Illyana has been Inferno’s prisoner ever since, taken by the hellspawn N’astirh and locked away atop what was once the Empire State Building. Left for dead and locked behind the dome, the heroes built to keep the Inferno contained. No one goes in and nothing comes out.
But Colossus and Scott Summers struck a deal. Peter would bottle his rage and be his obedient X-Man every day of the year save one. And on that day, the day of the anniversary of their retreat, he would lead a team into the Inferno to bring his sister home.
A team that this year consists of Beast, Boom Boom, Colossus, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Nightcrawler and Psylocke. Three times they have already failed but this year they are closer than ever. They battle their way past the demon hordes. Illyana is just a door away. As Colossus touches the onyx door handles, N’astirh burst out, mocks him and attacks.
Marvel Girl levitates Cyclops to Colossus’ side, however N’astirh attacks Cyclops from behind and breaks his spine. Jean goes ballistic and telekinetic energy explodes from her.
Nevertheless, Peter uses the opening his friends have given him to enter the room. He sees an empty-eyed Illyana sitting on a horrible throne. He addresses her, telling her that her brother is here. However, she doesn’t react he changes to his human form. With a grin, she suddenly replies she sees him fine and scratches his right arm bloody. The question is, will this be enough for him to see her. She turns into her demonic Darkchild form and changes his right arm into a mess of tentacles. He screams in horror and pain.
364 days later:
Colossus sits on his bed, his mangled arm in a sling. His lover Domino awakes and asks how long he’s been up. A while, he replies. One more day, she states. Let’s make it a good one.
They get up, shower and breakfast. He goes to the spare room where he keeps pictures of Illyana. She wonders why he keeps torturing himself and suggests they could turn the room into a gym or a guest room. Peter refuses.
They get ready for patrol. She tells him to stay with him today, as they enter the patrol car. He pretends all is well.
They hunt down a member of the Omega Clan.
Pyro runs away from Domino and Colossus takes him out with one blow. Impatiently, she asks why she always has to do the chasing when he is the fireproof one. She runs faster, he replies.
They unwind over beers with their friend Boom Boom. To one more boogie in the flaming pit! she toasts. But this time they are bringing that girl home, right, Dom? They drink to that.
They are in bed. Peter is still wide awake.
The next day, the two of them and Boom Boom go to the X-headquarters. Ever notice how you kinda stop seeing the dark and dirty devil dome, like it melts into the background unless you’re straight peeping at it, Boom Boom observes. Peter grimly replies he always sees it.
How will thisgo exactly? Domino asks as they take the elevator. They usually do a quick briefing with this year’s team, Colossus describes. Make any adjustments to the plan based on power sets.
They walk past the room where the resident magicians (Dr. Strange, Brother Voodoo, Wiccan and Sister Grimm) work on keeping the Inferno contained within the forcefield.
Then they go over any more changes in the map, Peter continues. Nightcawler picks a drop zone and they ‘port in. But first they’ll get to find out what kind of anti-demon gear Beast and his science team (Dr. Nemesis, Forge, Vision and Broo) have cooked up.
They join the scientists in the huge lab. Hank is at a loss for words when he sees them and Colossus asks for the gear. Who is this year’s team? He looks around. Maybe it’s a tiny team full of little Ant Mans, Boom Boom suggests.
Cyclops, in a floating wheelchair, joins them and coolly announces there isn’t going to be a team. It’s over. What does he mean? Colossus snarls. This has to stop, Scott continues. They understand he wants Illyana back. But it’s time for Peter to understand that will never—
Who is he to decide what will and won’t happen? Peter shouts. As the Baron of this domain, he decides who goes into Manhattan. His pass has been revoked, Scott snaps.
Peter reminds him of their deal. He works for Cyclops all year in exchange for this. Scott points out that he gets paid to keep the peace like anyone else. He’d take it away now? After last year? After they came so close? Came close? Scott repeats in disbelief. Will he listen to himself? Last year, Peter got his answer along with that arm. Scott got the chair! Illyana is lost! He’s not throwing any more mutant into the fire so Peter can pretend he doesn’t already know it. Peter screams in frustrated rage. Scott reminds hard.
Kurt Wagner and Kitty Pryde join them. Kurt reminds Scott he gave his friend his word. Kitty agrees. They made him a deal. Reneging at the last minute wouldn’t be right. She amends this has to be the last trip. It’s gotten beyond dangerous.
He can go, Scott decides. But he won’t send a team with him. He will go alone, if he has to, Colossus insists. But Domino, Boom Boom and Nightcrawler are with him.
Nightcraler teleports them into the Inferno zone inside the dome. The streets are threatening and empty. Domino announces the best strategy with a team this small is quickness. Smash, grab, roll with whatever comes. Empire State Building’s right ahead. She tells Nightcrawler to teleport them up and do their thing. Kurt explains the building is a living thing like the Inferno itself, always growing and changing. It wouldn’t be safe for them to teleport in. So they walk? she asks. They could run, he suggests.
Dom asks Colossus why he didn’t mention this wrinkle in the strategy meetings. He didn’t realize they were strategy meetings. They begin to argue. It’s like watching the world’s weirdest sitcom, Boom Boom comments. Kurt tells her it’s none of their business. Then maybe they shouldn’t be shouting it, she points out.
The couple decide to drop it, as they have incoming. They battle the demons and Domino compliments Nightcrawler on his fighting skills as he combines teleportation and swordplay effectively.
Boom Boom doesn’t pay attention and gets isolated from the others by a flying demon dragon. Nightcrawler teleports after her and suddenly there’s only Colossus and Domino. They manage to take out the rest of the demons and Colossus believes this was too easy. Moments later, a larger demon horde is upon them and they realize that, without Kurt, they have no exit strategy.
Up in the sky, Boom Boom annoys the flying demon by not shutting up. As Kurt teleports towards them one flying dragon after another, he shouts: “My name is Kurt Wagner. You remind me of my father. Prepare to die!”
Boom Boom begins ticking, annoying her captor even more. Moments later, her time bomb explodes and she falls.
She shouts at Nightcrawler to help. He ‘ports after her and breaks her fall but they land apart. She gets up in one piece, only to be impaled by N’astirh’s claws while Nightcrawler is captured by the Darkchild herself. With an evil grin, she tells Tabitha to stay conscious and thank her brother for her. A half-demon teleporter all for herself. And it isn’t even her birthday. They leave the dying Boom Boom behind.
Fighting his way through demons, Colossus muses aloud the good thing is you can kill them without regret. He turns to find Domino is buried under demons. Suddenly, an energy blast draws them back, courtesy of the former X-Man called Havok, servant and lover of the Goblin Queen. They welcome him to the fire.