In the beginning were the formless wastelands… the vastness of space. Ages and ages of untold. But the day came - when the dry lands were created, and the windswept basins of water teemed with an abundance of living creatures. Earth let birds fly beneath the domes of its skies and brought forth all the wild animals - the creatures that crawl on the ground and the beasts of the field. But there was one among these beasts that had dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air - one among these beasts - who would be the chosen of the gods!
The destiny of man’s primitive forebears would be forever changed by the instrumentation of the First Host of heavenly Celestials - giving rise to the dawn of a new age - not only of man - but also his brethren races - the Eternals and the Deviants - two genetically manipulated off-shoots of humanity. The Eternals, themselves a god-like breed, few in numbers and immune to the ravages of age, disease and death, chose to spend their lives apart from Earth’s other inhabitants, in the solitude of their secluded city in the mountaintops. They probed the universe through the power of their minds and developed abilities which far surpassed those of all other life on Earth. They were regarded with awe and fear. The myths of man are filled with glories of its encounters with these magnificent beings - as well as the terrors inspired by man’s clashes with the structurally unstable Deviants - monstrous specimens constantly waging war - their more primitive human brothers forced into subjugation and empires built upon their sweat and labour.
Until, with the blink of an eye, a Second Host of Celestials from the stars eradicated the empire of the Deviants - their race all but destroyed and the secrets of millennia lost to them. The entire continent of Lemuria upon which they lived sank entirely beneath the mighty seas.
‘What do you mean we’re off course, ensign?’ a commanding officer aboard a submarine that swims through the depths of the ocean enquires. ‘Just that, Sir… and we’ve completely lost sonar’ the ensign replies. The commanding officer turns to the helm and orders a full stop. The man at the helm replies that he is trying, but they have a failure in hydraulics. ‘blades aren’t responding!’ the ensign announces. The commanding officer asks what their depth is, and the ensign reports that they are at 1200 feet, but are still going down. Another officer informs the commander that they have some proximity warning lights and that there seems to be something straight ahead of them. ‘What are you talking about? I don’t see… anything!’ the commander gasps as he looks out the view screen and sees a strange, ancient city laid out across the ocean floor around them. ‘Holy - what in blazes is that?’ the commander asks. The ensign replies that it looks like buildings, some sort of city, but that it just appeared out of nowhere. Another officer supposes that it was some sort of cloaking device, and asks if the helm can plot an evasive course.
‘No good, Sir - controls still won’t respond’ the helm replies, as the submarine strikes part of the ancient structure. ‘All stations - red alert! I repeat - red alert!’ the commander announces over the intercom system. ‘Sir - the missiles!’ an officer alerts the commander to the fact that the nuclear warheads have been armed and will launch in ten seconds. ‘There’s nothing we can do now. It’s too late!’ someone calls out, and the weapons are launched!
And, in the city below, Deviants stand before a large statue which crackles with energy. A voice can be heard from the statue: Hear me, faithful brethren’. The Deviants are armed with their weapons of war, and one responds: ‘We listen and obey, Priest-Lord Ghaur!’ as another exclaims ‘Your eminence is without equal!’ Ghaur declares that while the human cities thrive upon the surface world, they have been forced to spend their days amidst the murk and slime of the lost republic - but no longer, as the time has come for the Deviants to once more establish dominion over the Earth and enslave all humankind, restoring their breed to its former glory. ‘How fortunate that we all don’t share your barbaristic views, Ghaur! Your words are as unmoving as the golden statute not housing your living consciousness!’ a large green-skinned Deviant calls out as he steps forward through the crows, accompanied by an attractive male. ‘Silence, Karaks - I will brook no interference from you or this paltry band of rebel interlopers!’ Ghaur responds.
The Eternal, who wears a blue costume and an odd cape on the left hand side of his body, while the right side of his chest and arm are both bare, tells Ghaur to stand down. ‘Yours is the road to destruction and there are those among the Deviants who choose another way!’ he exclaims, raising his staff, energy starts to glow around it. ‘We will see this madness and your days of rule are ended - even if it means we perish in the attempt!’ Ransak declares, leaping forward, he and Karkas and their allies start to engage the other Deviants in battle. ‘So be it, Ransak. Destroy them!’ Ghaur orders the Deviants, when, suddenly, an explosion shakes the temple, and water starts to fill the large cavern. ‘What? The sacred temple - under attack?’ Ghaur calls out. ‘You would unleash destructive forces of such magnitude against your own - in defense of humankind? Fools!’ Ghaur shouts.
Karkas is swept away, but manages to grab hold of a pillar and as Ransak is swept towards him, remarks that Ghaur is mistaken, as their band is not behind this new assault. Ransak tells Karkas, an old friend, to hold on, and when the worst has passed, if they are able to survive, they will regroup back at the rebel base. Karkas remarks that athough Ransak has bested him in combat, he knows him well that it will take more than a little sea water to put an end to his days. He wonders what has caused this and what is happening. Ghaur’s consciousness is able to project an image of their attacker - the submarine. ‘Humans?’ he asks. Ransak tells Karkas tht he doesn’t know, but that he I certain of this - ‘No matter my fate, forever shall you be counted among -’ he doesn’t get to finish his sentence as Karkas calls out to him, the Deviant is swept away. Ransak watches silent and helpless as his comrade is swept away - as everyone has been swept away into a madness surely not all of them are destined to survive.
Back in the submarine: ‘Blow all the tanks! We’re losing her, men! Launch the buoy! Launch the -’ the commanding officer orders, before the submarine explodes. But there are those who endure despite the greatest of odds - memories that live on - voices from the past. Ransak braves the water and swims onwards, while bobbing on the surface of the water is small beacon that makes a b-dip sound, and, someone at an undisclosed location looks at the beacon on a monitor, ‘All proceeds apace - the pieces and players are in place… and the stage is set for conflict’ he announces.
A short time later, just across the bay from San Francisco, in a student lecture hall at UC Berkeley. A woman stands at the front of the lecture room filled with students, and projected on a large screen is an image of Magneto. The woman at the front of the room announces that mankind can deny it no longer that there are mutants living among them, and perhaps the most notorious of the so-called Homo Superior is Magneto. She points out that many consider him a terrorist, but that recently he has been named monarch of Genosha, a small island nation off the East Coast of Africa. One of the students declares that the United Nations must have been, like, on serious drugs when they made that move. ‘Miss King, how do we know if there are any of them in this hall right now?’ another student asks. ‘What do we do if there are? I’m afraid of them!’ a girl calls out, while another student decides ‘That dude is just a Saddam Hussein in spandex! Everybody knows mutants are bad news!’
Another student with a band-aid over his nose asks if this is just blaming an entire group for the actions of a single person? Miss King adjusts her glasses and tells the student that he raises an interesting point - just because these rare individuals are born with advanced powers and abilities, why is there any reason to assume that they automatically embody some sort of threat? ‘Perhaps what they actually represent is the next level in human evolution’ she suggests. ‘What’s up with that? Humans aren’t good enough for you?’ one student shouts. ‘That’s disgusting!’ another exclaims, while a third asks their teacher if she is some kind of freaking mutie lover. ‘Or maybe she is a mutant!’ another suggests. Miss King does not look impressed: ‘All right, “gentlemen” - enough of that. You’ll either have to control yourselves… or take it outside!’ she declares.
Later, darkness has fallen and Miss King walks to her car, thinking to herself that it doesn’t make much difference what millennium it is, as some things never seem to change. ‘After all this time, mankind is still so unwilling to embrace anything that’s differe-’ she stops her thoughts, detecting footsteps behind her, she realizes that some guys don’t know when to quit. ‘Hey, teach! Remember how you told us to take it outside? Well… well here we are… just like you wanted… and we thought you might be up for a little extra-curricular activity. We sure are’ one of the boys exclaims, adding that there is nobody else around, no cops, no security, not even one of her precious muties - just them. ‘And we’re gonna take what we want’ he exclaims. ‘Really? Well, then - come and get it!’ Miss King declares as her eyes suddenly glow, and her civilian clothes are replaced by an exotic-looking costume and a dragon-tattoo up her legs.
Miss King wields a flaming sword which she slices in front of the students cutting a pole that is in front of them in half. ‘Holy!’ one of them gasps. ‘Change of heart? Wise decision’ Miss King remarks as the men turn and run away. ‘I told you she was a mutie!’ one of the young men exclaims. ‘Run!’ another shouts. ‘Well… close, but… Not exactly’ Miss King thinks to herself. ‘I should have -’ she begins, before touching her temple, receiving a psychic message, discovers that there wouldn’t have been time for that, anyway. ‘If he’s finally decided to contact me… I’d better not keep him waiting’ she thinks as she flies off into the night.
New Mexico, a chopper flits along the ridge of a canyon, and embedded into the side of a canyon is a large sculpture. ‘Pretty impressive, Missus Devereaux! How long’d it take ‘im to sculpt that thing anyway?’ the chopper pilot asks. The elderly woman calls the pilot Max and tells him that he would be impressed how fast her father works. ‘Waitaminit - I knew Mister Hawk was your biggest client, but you never told me he was your Dad, too!’ the pilot asks, surprised. ‘You never asked…’ the elderly woman points out. ‘No disrespect, Missus D… but he doesn’t look old enough to -’ Max begins as a handsome Native American stands on top of the sculpture that is embedded into the canyon, when suddenly, the chopper is knocked about in the air. ‘Whoa!’ Max calls out. ‘Hang on, Missus D - we’re caught up in some wicked turbulence! Never seen it get so bad so fast!’ Max the pilot declares. He can’t see a thing and starts to lose control of the chopper.
Mr Hawk standing on the ridge mobs forward, his eyes glow, and then suddenly, the sculpture comes to life. Max sees this, and the sculpture follows Mr Hawk’s movements, its hand reaches up and takes the chopper in its large hand. ‘Somehow, Hawk is responsible, isn’t he?’ Max asks. But the old woman tells her pilot not to be ridiculous. Hawk climbs along the sculpture’s hand and opens the chopper door: ‘Iris - are you all right?’ he asks the old woman. ‘Don’t worry, Daddy - we’re a little shaken up in here - but none the worse for the wear’ she replies. ‘Good’ Mr Hawk replies, before announcing that he is detecting a primal disturbance in nature, that he knows there is a connection between it and the intense wind that suddenly blew in from the Pacific. He apologizes to Iris and tells her that her meeting with Thomas Hawk will have to wait, as Ceyote is being called to attend to business elsewhere. Thomas Hawk then transforms his appearance, clad in a costume with Native American designs and a large mask, he takes flight. ‘And you say that guy was your father, hunh, Missues D?’ Max the pilot asks.
New York City, the club scene, night clubbers are dancing the on a crowded dance floor, when a man asks ‘Since when is it a rime to ask a hottie to dance, punk?’ Another man replies ‘When she’s my hottie, fat-head?’ The first man points out that the babe might be able to do better. Security officers see that they have a problem on the dance floor, and move over to the men who are arguing. ‘All right, “ladies” - part’s over. You’re both outta here’ one of the security guards declares. ‘Get yer paws off me!’ one of the men exclaims. ‘I sad get ‘em off!’ he shouts, throwing the guard through the air.
‘Ha! Who says pigs can’t fly?’ a young woman who is dancing nearby and who has been keeping her eye on the argument calls out, grinning. She ducks when the officer almost lands her, when suddenly, ‘Whoa! Like - wow! Haven’t felt anything like that in a long time’ she declares, touching her head. ‘It’s them -0 and they want me - the real me!’ she exclaims, transforming into a being of brilliant white light she announces that it is time for Aurelle to turn on a little lovelight. ‘Let it shine - shine - shine!’ she exclaims. The night clubbers look up, ‘Look! What is it?’ one of them asks. ‘Whatever it is, it’s beautiful!’ another declares. ‘Awesome!’, ‘I never seen anything like it!’, ‘Me either!’ As a form of energy, Aurelle darts across the night time sky, ‘Bummer. Just when it looked like things might turn out to be fun - duty calls!
Toronto, day is gone, but for some, the job is just about to begin as police surround a building. ‘Agent Findlay, is it true you arrived with Agent Sykes - and that he is already up there negotiating for the release of the hostages in the CN Tower?’ a reporter asks. A police officer instructs the civilian bystanders to get back and give the lady room to breathe, as Agent Findlay checks her watch, she thanks the officer and realizes that the paparazzo’s right, Ronnie is up there, and that it has been too darned long.
And, in the CN Tower, Agent Ronnie Sykes holds his hands behind his head, as a large man aims two weapons at him. ‘Why not put down the semi-automatic so we can discuss this - like intellectuals, Harold?’ Agent Sykes suggests. ‘Quit talking to me like we’re friends! We’re not friends!’ Harold replies. ‘No, Harold, but we’re two of a kind…its obviously took a generous amount of brainpower for you to seize this edifice. This is a meeting of the minds. These people have no place here’ Agent Sykes tells him. ‘This is between you and me now. Let them go’. But Harold announces that they are not going anywhere, and that Agent Sykes is right about one thing, this is between the two of them, and he is going to blow him away. ‘Nothing’s gonna stop me!’ Harold shouts. ‘In that case, moron - we’ll do things my way -’ Agent Sykes telepathically tells Harold, telepathically manipulating Harold so that he points his weapon at his own legs and opens fire.
Harold screams, while Agent Sykes grins, his eyes glow with energy, ‘And these sheep you thought to lead to slaughter - they’ll see things my way as well’ Agent Sykes telepathically remarks, before he fires his gun at Harold as well, causing the criminal to fall backwards. Agent Sykes smiles and tells the hostages that this little drama is over. He touches his temple, then turns to leave. ‘Oh, thank you, Agent Sykes!’ someone calls out. ‘Thank you so much!’ another hostage exclaims. Agent Sykes flies out of the tower, his true appearance being a bald man with strange marking down one side of his face, and an costume with a cape, he thinks that it isn’t really over, the danger is averted in one locale, but it begins anew in some other place. He decides that he has a duty to them, and will answer their summons - whatever the reason they now beckon.
Morning in Washington DC, a man smoking a pipe in the back of a chauffer-driven limousine watches a report from a woman over a view screen. ‘Yes- I’m looking at the report right now’ he someone over a mobile phone. The woman on the monitor reports that all they know is that there was some sort of disturbance in the depths of the Pacific Ocean, the specific nature of which has not yet been revealed. She adds that the mysterious occurrence has led to a shutdown of all international travel by both air and sea. She states that shipping lanes covering a radius of several hundred miles have been restricted and all international flights headed east have been canceled until further notice. ‘Yes…’ the man tells someone on a mobile phone, while the woman on the monitor reports that the governments of the United States, Russia, China and Japan are only willing to say that the situation is “under close investigation”. ‘…I’ll see you all… in thirty minutes’.
And so, thirty minutes later, the man stands at the head of a boardroom table, other men in suits sit around, and on a monitor before them is a strange green-skinned creature. ‘There it is, gentlemen - the horrible truth. You’ve all been briefed on the salvage of the USS Daring and her nuclear payload. What you now observe on screen is but the merest glimpse into what the diving crews discovered amidst that recovery operation’. One of the men addresses the man with the pipe as Campion and asks ‘What on Earth is it?’ Campion calls the man Karim and tells him ‘Not on Earth - under Earth’. He states that it is from a monstrous, hidden race of creatures living in a lost city beneath the Pacific Basin - heady stuff. He announces that their operatives have arranged several cover stories that should satisfy the general populace - world leaders included - and that the matter before them is actually quite simple - they must prevent the world from ever learning of the existence of these genetic horrors. He announces that the anti-mutant hysteria gripping this planet would seem insignificant compared with the widespread panic that would surely ensue. ‘Is there really anyone who would choose to see that come to pass?’ he asks.
Elsewhere, the uber-mutant Apocalypse stands aboard his spaceship and looks down over the planet Earth. ‘The era of man’s dominance on the planet Earth finally draws to a close - but there is still much to be determined in these final hours before the End Times are upon us’ he declares, adding that they little realize the forces they are dealing with - the forces he is dealing with. ‘It was mere child’s play for me to take control of those nuclear warheads - once again planting the seed of war between Deviant and human - a seed that has lain dormant for ages’. He wonders what better way there is to discover who is worthy to inherit the Earth - let them fight amongst themselves, and when it is over, if any survive - they will bear witness to the dawn of a bold new era - the Age of Apocalypse!
Olympia, here it has stood for centuries, magnificent, majestic, hidden in a valley amidst the mountaintops of Greece. They have returned to this secluded sanctuary, at the bidding of their ruler, Ikaris, son of Virako, prime Eternal. In a chamber amongst the spectacularly designed buildings in Olympia, the handsome Icarus stands stoic as he welcomes his friends, remarking that although their numbers upon the Earth have been greatly reduced, he is most pleased that the few of them have answered his summons. ‘I thought you should all be here… so that you might learn… what I have learned’. Ceyote and the regal Thena drop down into the chamber and stand near Agent Sykes in his true form of Psykos. Icarus tells them that even as he address those of them assembled here, their most valued scientists labour intensely in an attempt to solve a riddle, whose answers may well have a profound effect on the way they understand their very existence.
Icarus announces that something has happened, something affecting the atmosphere that surrounds the Earth itself, and that his initial findings were cause enough for worry, but, in addition, technologist Phastos was able to ascertain there were large amounts of dispersed, irradiated atoms present, coalescing energies of a unique signature that identify them as belonging to one of the Eternals. Icarus reveals that Phastos has carried out the construction of what he calls a resurrection chamber, into which they may collect this energy and its distinctive atomic structure, and revert it to corporeal form - as it is true, one of their own, someone they loved and thought forever lost to them - is about to be restored. ‘Zuras be praised!’ Thena gasps, before asking ‘Do - do you know who?’
Suddenly, there is a strange sound, and Thena decides that she would be just as happy to know what that sound was as she, Icarus, Psykos, and two other Eternals in the chamber - Aurelle and the glamorous Sersi, formerly of the Avengers, and wearing a new costume.
‘Never did care much for party crashers!’ Sersi remarks as she and the others fly to the edge of the chamber, and look out past the pillars, they see smoke rising from another building, and fly towards the trouble. ‘Whoever it is - he’s not one of our own!’ Icarus calls out as they see a strange being leaping from a gaping hole in one building, fire raging, he carries a staff and a tattered cloak is attached to his strange, charred form. ‘And he certainly doesn’t seem to be particularly friend’ Icarus remarks as he is struck by energy fired from their foe’s staff, but Icarus does not falter. Another Eternal leaps at their foe, but he flips into the air, where he is then under attack by energy blasts fired by Sersi and another Eternal. ‘Not much - for staying in one place, either’ Icarus points out. Psykos is flying nearby, when their attacker leaps at him and places his staff around Psykos’ neck, ‘Release me, beast - I said release me!’ Psykos shouts, firing energe from his eyes.
Sersi tells Psykos to relax, as those blasts are pretty powerful, and missing his target completely. Sersi points out that, regardless, his hands aren’t the problem - it is his staff. ‘But how much trouble can that be, after I’ve turned it to dust?’ she asks, as she uses her transmutative power to turn the staff into dust, freeing Psykos from their attacker’s grasp. ‘Think you can take it form here, mind manipulator?’ Sersi asks as their foe falls backwards through the air, and an irritated Psykos tells Sersi that he never asked for her help - and that he never needed it. Psykos claims that, inevitably, he would have tended to the situation in his own fashion. ‘Maybe that’s your problem, Psky - you’ve got not sense of style’ Sersi grins, while their foe falls into a fountain of water beneath a large statue.
‘Who is this pitiful creature - and why has he come here to Olympia?’ Icarus asks. ‘That’s what I intend to find out!’ Thena declares as she flies down to their foe who has emerged from the water, but is on his hands and knees. Thena tells the stranger that they can do this the easy way, or the hard way. ‘Which shall it be?’ she asks him. The deformed creature holds his hands up to Thena and calls out to her as if he knows her: ‘Thena… help me!’ he pleads, and a wide-eyed Thena look on, horrified.
Meantime, at the Pentagon, ’You expect us to believe all this?’ a military official asks. ’It’s a fool who doesn’t believe the truth when it’s right before is eyes’ Campion points out. ’You mean to say you pulled that thing up - from under the Pacific Ocean?’ an official enquires as they look at an image of the huge statue that Ghaur’s consciousness inhabits, which has been placed on a barge, lifted from beneath the waves. ‘Indeed, gentlemen…and as it has been through all the ages, these are the spoils of war’ Campion smirks. Another official does not look impressed, but announces that Mr Campion is telling the truth, as even now, a state of war exists between the nations of the Earth, the hordes of devilish freaks. ‘It may be a silent war that’s being waged - but it definitely qualifies as one of the bloodiest in history’. Another image appears on screen, of Deviants facing off against soldiers, ‘Look how many died just trying to stop us from removing the golden statue’ the official adds.
‘But why, Sir?’ someone calls out. Another military official suggests that maybe it was just a cultural artifact of some kind, pr maybe they protected it like a colony of ants or vees protects its queen. ‘I don’t know...and frankly, I don’t care’ he declares, stating that these creatures don’t think like them and don’t act like them. ‘When all is said and done, we have absolutely nothing in common with these monsters from the depths!’ he exclaims, as another image appears, this one a close up of a Deviant. ‘All that need concerns us - is their extermination!’
Elsewhere, in a barn on an isolated farm, ‘We must exercise extreme caution. Even wearing these special containment suits - and that thing in the cryogenic freeze - there is no telling what we are exposing ourselves to’ a scientist remarks to others who are in the barn, opening a cryogenic capsule, where a large, bizarre creature has been contained. The scientist remarks that the fact of the matter is, until a few days ago, this creature only bore a passing resemblance to the monstrosity they see before them. ‘The molecular structure of this bizarre race seems to be, by its very nature, unstable’. He explains that when the USS Daring’s nuclear stockpile was detonated, the entire race began to mutate into something even more hideous than before. ‘The trouble is, gentlemen…we don’t know how it began…or how it is going to end’.
‘Fitting’ Apocalypse remarks as he stands on a clear floor, under him, hideous mutated creatures writhe about. ‘Ever has it been my task to cull the strong from the weak - and to witness the myriad permutations that Earth’s life forms may undergo - but never have even I seen something like this’. He states that the entire evolutionary process has been upstaged, chaotic transmutations of genetic and cellular levels - matters that must be fully understood in the brief amount of time that still remains. ‘Matters truly beyond the comprehension of Earth’s primitive inhabitants. Matters more rightly to be pondered - by the gods’.
Back on Olympia, Phastos and another Eternal sit at a control panel, while Icarus, Sersi, Thena, Ceyote, Aurelle, the Eternal with the dragon tattoo and another Eternal stand nearby and watch. ‘Commencing carbon molecular reconfiguration, Ikaris’ Ikaris tells Phastos that is excellent, before Aurelle smiles at Ikaris: ‘So, Ike, long time no hear from’ she remarks. ‘Nearly two hundred years, Aurelle’ Ikaris smiles back. ‘Maybe not as long as it’s been for this guy, huh? I wonder who it could be’ one of the Eternals remarks, pointing to the capsule, when suddenly, the entire building glows with energy. ‘Look - the energies are undergoing structural integration - coalescing into…’ Phastos begins, as a figure emerges - ‘By the First Host - it’s Virako - Ikaris…’ someone declares, as Ikaris frowns: ‘Father’ he thinks to himself.
(In Ransak’s memories)
‘There he is - don’t let him escape! Shoot him!’ a soldier calls out. ‘Whaddaya think I’m trying to do? He’s too freakin’ fast - no way he’s human!’ another replies, as Ransak dodges their weapon fire. ‘Fools - they’re fortunate I’ve no time to waste, still… they must be dealt with’ Ransak decides, turning back to the soldiers, he fires his staff towards the ceiling, cutting the soldiers off from him. ‘Karkas! Karkas!’ Ransak calls out. ‘Where are you?’ he enquires, when suddenly, he looks shocked, ‘Kark - eh?’ he utters.
‘Ransak!’ Thena exclaims as she stands next to the tank where Ransak is being held in stasis. ‘Noooo!’ Ransak shouts, before seeing Thena before him, ‘It is you. Then my journey to Olympia was successful’ he remarks, his body now restored from the mutated creature they fought earlier. Thena tells Ransak that although Hippocratis’s nutrient bath has restored his sense of reason and healed the radiation burns he suffered, it seems his mind is still plagued by dreams most unnerving. ‘Not dreams, golden one - nightmares’ Ransak replies solemnly.
Outside, the sun is setting and the sky is a brilliant orange, glowing down upon Olympia, as Ikaris stares out over his kingdom. ‘My son…’ a voice calls out. ‘Sire’ Ikaris replies, turning to see Virako approaching him. ‘You retain the youthful appearance I recall from ages past… but your raiment differs…and your countenance is changed - grown more sullen. You wear the familiar face of leadership’ Virako remarks. Ikaris does not answer, and his father comments that senses an uncertainty on Ikaris’s part, especially regarding his position as Prime Eternal. ‘I know my “resurrection” has brought you great joy, my son, but I see, too, the introspection of self-doubt’ Virako points out. ‘To a certain degree, I suppose…’ Ikaris replies, as Virako remarks that Makkari has informed him that there are relatively few Eternals left on Gaea. Ikaris reminds his father that their planet is now called “Earth”, and reveals that most of their brethren have departed, choosing instead a future among the stars. ‘Yet, somehow - despite this great schism - you have kept your regal bearing…while managing to keep our race united in an Olympia that has clearly flourished since last I roamed the world’ Virako comments.
‘Your words are not without merit’ Ikaris replies, as Virako admits that today’s events were profound indeed, but tells his son to put his mind at ease if he is troubled by the idea that he, his elder, might expect Ikaris to relinquish the mantle. ‘I would entertain no such notion when the fate of our people already rests in your capable hands’ Virako assures his son. ‘All this time I believed you were lost for all eternity - that you sacrificed yourself in a cataclysmic battle in millennia past, father - that you, unlike most of our own kind, had somehow perished’ Ikaris tells his father, before asking him what it was like, how it felt, to “die”? Virako replies that it recalls the conflict, a blinding white light. ‘And then -’ he begins, but is interrupted by Thena who flies towards them. She apologizes for intruding, and reports that Ransak has miraculously recovered - a result of the genetic mutation unique to his DNA sequence. Thena announces that Ransak has requested an audience, to which Ikaris asks if it can wait, but Thena tells him that it cannot.
‘What are you saying, friend Ransak?’ Ikaris enquires as the Eternals gather in a chamber. Ransak reports that the City of Toads has fallen under nuclear attack by humankind. ‘Not since the judgment of the Second Host of Celestials - have weapons of such magnitude been brought to bear against the Deviants’ Ransak announces. He adds: ‘Not since the terrible power that shook the world when Lemuria originally plunged beneath the waves’, while Phastos surmises the radiation’s toxicity mutated Ransak both mentally and physically, somehow reverting him to a more primitive state. Phastos adds that he strongly suspects the fallout to be a key factor in the coalescence of Virako’s atomized form. ‘Of course’ Ikaris remarks, before asking if this could have had similar effects on other Eternals previously believed to be “dead”? ‘Without doubt’ Phastos announces.
‘Have you listened to a word I said? There is a war raging around us - innocents are dying! We must act immediately!’ Ransak shouts. Thena tells the other Eternals that though the Deviants have always regarded them with hate and envy, Kro and Karkas, tow who the Eternals have come to count as their allies - were present when Lemuria was struck and are currently among the missing. ‘What is our next course of action?’ she enquires. Virako approaches Ransak and asks why any action is necessary, pointing out that the Deviants and the humans are both lesser species. ‘We are as gods - they are but gnats. Mankind has at last learned to retaliate against their former oppressors - what of it? Surely that is not a criminal act’ he remarks, adding that their energies would be better spent attending to the needs of the lost Eternals that Phastos speaks of. Thena informs Vikaro that the mortals have advanced now to a level where they can effortlessly unleash the destructive fores of the atom. ‘And what of Karkas?’ Ransak asks. ‘Don’t you have any loyalty to him? Hasn’t he earned it?’ Ransak declares. Virako states that he doesn’t recognize Ransak and asks ‘Which of the Eternals are you?’, to which Ransak smiles and replies that he was born Deviant, and shall die one. Virako is surprised, and points out that Ransak’s features are as perfect as his own. ‘What manner of Deviant are you?’ he enquires. ‘The one they called “Reject”!’ Ransak smiles.
Virako turns away from Ransak and tells him ‘Be that as it may, Deviant, your words impress me not. Eternals have never concerned themselves with the affairs of mort-’ he starts to say, before Ikaris tells his father that these are weighty matters and should not be dismissed so casually. ‘As Then told you, times have indeed changed, and we no longer isolate ourselves as before’ Ikaris announces. ‘Surely you are not swayed by the words of this reckless Deviant, Ikaris! His demeanor clearly illustrates the bloodthirsty nature of his race! Humans and Deviants are so unlike us - so… insignificant’ Vikaro declares. He carries on out of the chamber, while Ikaris calls after him: ‘FAther, how can you say that? But for this conflict between these so-called “lesser” species, you would not be among us this day. We are already involved, whether it be for good or ill’ Ikaris exclaims. Virako wonders if he was too quick in judging the efficacy of Ikaris’s leadership. ‘Perhaps I was simply blinded - by a father’s pride’. He tells Ikaris that his beliefs contradict everything that makes Eternals what they are - everything that distinguishes them from Deviants and humans. ‘Indeed, the times have greatly changed… and it shall take some time to ponder what has become of our immortal heritage… and the son I once knew’. With that, he flies off the side of the building.
Soon, some of the Eternals gather outside on some steps. ‘Once I was wed to a mortal - a maiden of great beauty and wisdom beyond her years. She bore me a son. Icarus was his name’ Ikaris informs Thena, Sersi, Psykos, Phastos and Aurelle. He adds that it was a period of great happiness and contentment, until the Deviants swept across the continents, intent on wiping all homo sapiens out of existence. Ikaris hangs his head and reminds his friends that these acts of wanton genocide were unfathomable to their kind and so the Eternals broke from their tradition of isolation and engaged their Deviant foes in full-scale combat, and that at his request, Icarus - human and unable to fly - was fitted with a special winged harness designed by Phastos, so that he might soar the heavens in his father’s absence. ‘If I were there, he wouldn’t have been flying alone - I would have taught him - and he never would have made the fatal mistake that caused him to plummet to his death’ Ikaris laments.
Ikaris stands up and remarks that many were the occasions on which he cursed himself for heeding the call to battle, but he knows that had the Eternals not done their duty, humanity would not have survived. ‘And though I now have neither mate not heir left to protect - I still have my memories of both of them to remind me what I’m fighting for’. Ikaris starts to fly upwards and tells the others that if any of them are willing to join him, the time has come. ‘There’s a war going on - and there’s an enemy to meet’.
Aboard his floating pyramid space station, Apocalypse stands at a control panel and monitors a news report after firing an object from space, over San Francisco Bay. The female reporter who was reporting on the disturbance in the Pacific Ocean announces that no one is sure who built it, where it came from, or why it descended into San Francisco Bay just over an hour ago. She states that the only thing they know is that the mysterious obelisk, estimated to be over one hundred feet tall, has sent panic into the hearts of the surrounding Bay Area residents, as well as drawing the attention of the United States military, the President and joint chiefs-of-staff are currently - she doesn’t finish her sentence, as she reports that there is a late breaking development - the obelisk appears to be hatching. The reporter then announces that they are witnessing what appears to be several…beings - hovering in the air around the immense structure! ‘They’re clearly a group of costumed adventurers - but ones we’ve never seen before!’ she exclaims.
Ikaris leads Sersi, Thena, Ransak, Psykos, Phastos, Aurelle, Ceyote and the one who was known as Miss King towards the structure. ‘Could the obelisk be a weapon created by the Deviants in response to attacks on Lemuria?’ Ikaris wonders. Thena replies that it is hard to tell, but points out that the markings appear to be Egyptian. Ikaris alerts everyone to the obelisk which is being broken up from inside, a from it, emerges a huge beast. ‘Some kind of leviathan?’ Ikaris asks. ‘No…Karaks!’ Ransak announces. The enormous Karkas lumbers through the bay, towards the bridge. ‘Impossible! What’s happened to him?’ one of the Eternals asks. ‘Doesn’t matter - not while he’s heading toward that bridge!’ someone else points out, Ransak lands on his friends’ shoulder, preparing to bring his energy staff down, striking his friend. ‘I am sorry monstrous one, but there is no other way’ he thinks to himself, when suddenly, Aurelle releases a brilliant burst of light, blinding Karkas, who thrashes about, and tosses Ransak from his shoulders.
‘Worry not, Aurelle - I have him!’ “Miss King” declares as she swoops down and grabs Ransak before he strikes the water. Ikaris reminds the Eternals that Karkas was once a friend and trusted ally, and that now he is unable to control his behavior, much like Ransak earlier, so their primary focus should be to dissuade him from heading further inland, without causing him undue harm. ‘As you wish, Ikaris. And what better way to do so - than by taking control of his -’ Psykos begins as he attempts to telepathically take control of Karkas’ mind. ‘Psykos - wait!’ someone calls out, but Psykos suffers some sort of psychic backlash, and is then struck by Karkas’ massive hand, knocking the Eternal straight towards a chopper where a camera crew is on site, filming. ‘Pull up! He’s headed this way!’ someone in the chopper calls out as Psykos’s limp body is on a collision path. Ikaris flies over and grabs Psykos before he impacts with the chopper.
‘The creature’s psyche - so impenetrable - think it’s already under some form of mental domination!’ Psykos reports. Ikaris scolds his fellow Eternal for his recklessness, as it nearly cost innocent lives. ‘There’s no time for such grandstanding. We must strike - in tandem!’ Ikaris declares, as he and the other Eternals unleash power in tandem, all striking the water beneath Karkas‘ feet. A reporter states that he doesn’t believe what he is witnessing, as the heroic defenders are shooting beams of pure energy from their eyes down at the bay, super-heating its costal waters, and the temperatures seem to be deterring the horrendous “red giant” from approaching the city.
‘Excellent. With the arrival of these Eternals - it falls into place!’ Apocalypse thinks to himself as he continues to monitor the situation in San Francisco. Apocalypse decides that the Eternals’ evolutionary advancements are proving quite formidable against the uncontrolled might of his titan - a situation that he shall remedy immediately. Apocalypse presses a button on his console, and down on Earth, Karkas roars in agony.
What’s wrong with him, Ikaris? We have not done him any damage - yet he appears to be in excruciating pain!’ Phastos points out. Ikaris surmises that Karkas is under the control of some outside force, and asks Phastos if he can do something. ‘I can try’ Phastos replies as he and Ceyote fly towards Karkas. ‘What are you attempting?’ Ceyote asks, as Phastos holds up a device and reports that he will scan Karkas’ mutated form for signs of an artificial implant, such a mechanism could be the cause of his rampage. ‘Then allow me to provide the beast with an adequate distraction - which my totemic “ani-mates” can easily provide!’ Ceyote exclaims as he releases several energy objects before Karkas, distracting him, as Phastos scans him. Phatos reports to Ikaris that his sensors have located a controlling device at the base of Karkas’ brain stem, and that to remove it would surely kill him. ‘However, I do have definite lock on the control signal’s point of origin - in high orbit’ he announces.
Ikaris looks up and tells the other Eternals that, though cloaked from detection by the eyes of mortal man, he can see it. He instructs the others to keep Karkas occupied. ‘I’ll be back!’ he calls out as he flies upwards, and when he reaches high orbit, ‘By Zuras’s beard, I’ve never seen the likes of this!’ Ikaris, wide-eyed, tells himself as he sees the orbital platform-like space station, miles long, he wonders whose design it is. Ikaris notices a panel on the hull slide back, allowing him entrance, he takes note of the Egyptian motif within and without the space station. ‘It’s as though I’m being welco - wha? The opening has sealed itself behind me - I’ve been thrown into utter darkness!’ Ikaris realizes as he flies through the space station. Darkness isn’t a problem for him, though, as his eyes light up - he soon finds himself in a large chamber - and standing right before him is Apocalypse!
‘Ikaris - “King of the Immortals” - to what do I owe this displeasure?’ Apocalypse asks. ‘En Sabah Nur!’ Ikaris gasps, deciding that he should have recognized his handiwork earlier, and would have, if not for the mistaken belief that he had perished during their last encounter. ‘The centuries have not tarnished your ego, Eternal. But, please… address me by the name that all humankind will soon whisper in fear - Apocalypse!’ the diabolical villain exclaims. ‘Surely you’ll agree, the name suits me better - and let me assure you that you face something far greater than the misshapen Deviant behemoth engaging the rest of your breed below. You reckon with the pinnacle of the next stage - in mankind’s evolution - the first and foremost of all the homo sapiens superior’ Apocalypse declares. ‘It was you from the very beginning, wasn’t it, mutant? You were the one who engineered the attack on the Deviant city - not the humans. But by all that is sacred - why?’ Ikaris asks. Apocalypse claims that he merely promotes the advancement of evolution through conflict, as he has for millennia past, and as he will for millennia to come.
Apocalypse continues, remarking that this skirmish between homo sapiens and homo descendus is merely a portent of the End Times - the merest glimpse of things to come. ‘Apparently the ages have only served to twist you even further, Nur’ Ikaris remarks, to which Apocalypse tells him that you cannot stave off the inevitable genetic cleansing necessary to remove the weak who stand in the way of the strong. ‘This is the cause of the recent horrors the Earth has been forced to deal with - and all the recent upheavals in my own life as well - your insistence on toying with the destinies of beings you deem to be inferior? Pathetic’ Ikaris declares, suggesting to Apocalypse that if he wants to cull the weak from the strong, they begin right here, right now, just the two of them. ‘As you wish!’ Apocalypse roars as he creates a hole in his body so that Ikaris’ eye beams easily pass through. ‘By the way, that misshapen Deviant behemoth you referred to happens to be my friend, and I demand that you free him immediately!’ Ikaris orders.
There is an explosion behind Apocalypse, where Ikaris’ eye beams struck, and Apocalypse falls forward. ‘Never, imbecile! Of all the radiation-afflicted Deviants selected for “study” it was that selfsame aberration who proved to be most savagely efficient in combat with his fellow Deviants. I merely advanced him to the next level. He is not the perfect biological engine of destruction and he will not be surrendered!’ Apocalypse exclaims as he transforms one arm into a massive weapon, surging forward he strikes Ikaris, knocking the heroic Eternal backwards. Apocalypse tells Ikaris that he cannot stop him, that he cannot stop mutants, as they are destined to inherit the planet below, and there is precious little he can do to prevent them from claiming their birthright. ‘We’ll find a way! No matter the cost, we will protect the Earth from you and your kind!’ Ikaris boasts. ‘Really?’ Apocalypse asks. ‘Then where were you when the nations of the Earth granted sovereignty of an entire nation to the misguided mutant Magneto? Off observing some sacred vow of non-interference?’ he asks.
This annoys Ikaris, who flies forward and declares that Magneto is nothing more than an arrogant child, that he will pose no lasting threat, as he is mortal and his days are numbered. ‘And I intend to see that yours are, too!’ Ikaris declares, punching Apocalypse in the face. Ikaris swears in his father’s name, that no matter what sadistic scheme Apocalypse has set in motion between human and Deviant, the Eternals shall put an end to it. ‘Excellent. You have performed to perfection - playing out your role precisely as I foresaw it from the onset. The brilliance of my plan is that you never suspected you were doing precisely what I wanted of you all along’ Apocalypse declares, grabbing Ikaris and crushing him in a tight grip. Apocalypse boasts that soon, Earth’s twelve most powerful mutants shall be gathered in fulfilment of the ancient prophecies. ‘And at that moment - the Age of Apocalypse shall be ushered in…and all the while you have been kept busy playing peacemaker, my plan has been allowed to proceed without interference!’ Apocalypse declares.
Suddenly, Ikaris falls to the floor, as Apocalypse’s chest had morphed to include a large blade on it - now dripping with blood after skewering Ikaris. Apocalypse admits that the temptation to prove an Eternal can die is great, indeed, but if he was to kill Ikaris, then who would let his people know what it means to oppose him? ‘Shut up!’ Ikaris roars, firing energy beams from his eyes at the uber-mutant, who dodges them. ‘You still haven’t learned how difficult it is to strike an opponent who is capable of controlling ever molecule within his body’ Apocalypse points out. ‘I wasn’t aiming for you, demon!’ Ikaris reports, before there is an explosion, and Apocalypse and Ikaris are sucked out into space. ‘I was right - destroying a section of En Sabah Nur’s pyramid fortress - is causing an explosive decompression throughout the entire structure! We’re being sucked into space!’ Ikaris thinks to himself, while Apocalypse just laughs his cruel, cold laugh, and shifts his body into another form to easily allow him to fly off into the darkness of space, and Ikaris starts to fall, flaming energy following him.
Back in San Francisco, Karkas thrashes about in the water, ‘He’s unstoppable!’ one of the Eternals exclaims. ‘No - no he is not’ Ransak declares, before reminding Thena that she was present when Karkas and he first met, that he defeated him in the Deviants’ savage arena on that occasion. ‘I knew his weakness then - and shall exploit it here, again, today!’ Ransak exclaims, staff raised above him, glowing with energy, Ransak then shoves the staff into Karkas, who lets out an even mightier roar than the last one. ‘That scream - so horrible!’ a wide-eyed Thena declares, while Sersi points out that Ransak has imbedded his energy lance directly into Karkas’ spinal column. A solemn Ransak drops away from the back of Karkas, and falls to the water, until Thena flies down and grabs him. Ransak tells the Eternals that they must all focus on the lance and fire. The Eternals comply, using their energy beams, they strike the lance, already bubbling with power. There is a deafening BOOM, and Karkas topples into the bay.
A brilliant light shines from above, ‘Now what?’ someone calls out. ‘Some kind of massive fireball?’ Phastos suggests, when suddenly, water splashes into the air around the Eternals as whatever it was falling from above, lands in the water. ‘No - it’s Ikaris!’ Aurelle calls out as she flies down for a closer look. When Ikaris recovers, the Eternals and Ransak fly onwards, with Thena reporting that Karkas has been swept out to sea. ‘And you claim our ancient nemesis En Sabah Nur is not only responsible for causing his rampage, but the attack on sunken Lemuria as well?’ Thena asks. ‘What next, Eternals? My homeland is in ruins, and now you have split from your Olympian kinsmen’ Ransak points out. Noticing a news station chopper up ahead, Ikaris suggests that, first, they allay the fears of these mortals, then they should consider that they really are still needed here. ‘Perhaps it’s time for our mortal cousins to become aware of our presence among them…’ Ikaris begins.
Aurelle tells Ikaris to chill, and asks if he wants the humans to string them up like they already want to do with the mutants? ‘Humanity would totally freak if they knew a race of super-powered immortals has been living among them all along’ she points out. Aurelle announces that she has a better idea, and offers to explain it on the way to meet the press.
A short time later, the Eternals and Ransak descend to where a group of reporters, camera crews and photographers have gathered. ‘Here they come - the ones who saved the city!’ one of them calls out. ‘Sovereign! Sovereign! That’s the name you answer to, isn’t it, Sir?’ a female reporter asks as she shoves her microphone towards Ikaris. ‘Why…yes’ Ikaris replies, before the reporter asks him who his teammates are. Thena smiles as Ikaris introduces her as Corona. Phastos remains as stoic as ever when he is called Ceasefire, and Ceyote has no expression as he is introduced as Tomorrow Hawk. Psykos stares back at the gathering before him when he is called Psyche, and Aurelle grins as she is introduces as Sparx. “Miss King” is given the name Chi Demon, while Ransak is now called Warhead, and Sersi looks intrigued when she is introduced as Mesmer. ‘Humanity’s latest line of defense - the New Breed!’ Ikaris declares as the cameras zoom in on the new heroes. When a reporter asks Sovereign just how long his team has been around, Ikaris grins and replies ‘For ages…’.
Meantime, Campion smokes his pipe and watches the report on the New Breed via a monitor. ‘Set up an interoffice meeting for noon. A new set of players have made the scene’ he remarks, deciding that as if in perfect contrast to the hideous species they discovered a week ago, these seem to be perfect specimens. He decides that their sudden appearance among them is no coincidence, of that he is quite certain. ‘We’ll have to maintain a very close watch, won’t we?'