New Exiles #17

Issue Date: 
March 2009
Story Title: 
<em>first story:</em> Away We Go (Part 5 of 6) Who Dies Next?<br><em>second story:</em> Time to Choose! Part 5 of 6

first story: Chris Claremont (writer), Tim Seeley (penciler & inker), Wilfredo Quintana (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (senior editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

second story: Chris Claremont (writer), Vincenc Villagrasa (penciler), Vicente Cifuentes (inker), Wilfredo Quintana (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (senior editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

first story

The battle continues as Psylocke takes on both Black Cloak and Venger. She bests them easily, even without the use of her telekinesis. Her true test comes from Slaymaster who shows himself after stabbing her in the back. The battle is fierce, but Psylocke’s tireless training pays off and she defeats him. Refusing to deal a fatal blow almost costs Psylocke her life, but Sabretooth makes a timely arrival. Before he can kill Slaymaster, though, the tenacious assassin activates a teleportation device and disappears. Elsewhere the remaining Death Commandos are handled easily by Rogue in her new armor. Not all is not well with the Exiles, though, as Cat finally succumbs to her wounds suffered fighting Madame Hydra and she dies under the caring hands of Mystiq. Lastly, with her troops soundly defeated Lilandra has no choice but to surrender. She lays her weapon down at her sister’s feet signaling the end of the war.
second story

Diana continues to fight the fight against the onslaught of entities while Sage remains incapacitated. Diana refuses to let Sage die despite what it might mean for her survival. In the end she realizes Sage is the only one actually capable of handling the reins of the Omniverse. The two hold hands and merge. Diana’s laughter in her final moments has a devastating effect on Merlyn as he shatters into millions of pieces. Sage then disappears in a bright flash of light.

Full Summary: 

first story

Unknown Earth

London, Republic of Britannia

The battle-proven Psylocke takes on not one, but two adversaries, Black Cloak and Venger, simultaneously. On top of that she’s using her TK to keep her back wound closed, a wound she suffered earlier getting sniped by Warshot. While this would be a problem for most, such is not the case for this extraordinary Exile.
Black Cloak doesn’t stand a chance against the ninja-trained warrior as her mind is shut off from his psychic attacks. She knocks him aside without effort and delivers a flying front kick to Venger’s face.
Though projecting a calm, confident manner Psylocke knows she has to end this and soon. Her force-field “bandage” isn’t holding well and she doesn’t know much longer she can keep it up. Venger moves in quick delivering an overhand right that Psylocke dodges and then a flying front kick, which Psylocke blocks with her forearm. Venger introduces himself and proclaims his allegiance to Empress Hydra. Psylocke nails him in the face; a fresh wad of spittle goes flying from his mouth. She follows that up by encasing him in a TK field and tossing him at Black Cloak.
Venger’s words have Psylocke worried, wondering if Empress Hydra brought her entire gang with her. She starts to panic knowing Slaymaster must be nearby. Her fears are well grounded as her arch-nemesis, the man who has been killing alternate version of her across the Omniverse, sneaks up from behind and sinks his knife deep into her back.
“Argkh!” Psylocke cries as the blade gouges into her flesh. Slaymaster quickly removes the knife and Psylocke uses her TK to stem the bleeding. Now that they’re face to face Slaymaster says hello, his blood-soaked knife now dripping with her essence.
Psylocke doesn’t seem the least bit scared and tells Slaymaster to bring it on. The response isn’t what he expected and the look on his face betrays him. Psylocke calls him on it, but Slaymaster keeps up the bravado telling her the time has come to teach her a lesson.
Slaymaster leaps at her and feints a kick to the face. Psylocke moves to dodge it, and get nailed by his other foot. She falls off the granite slab she was standing on and lands hard on the ground. She gets back to her feet wondering to herself why things can’t ever be easy.
As Psylocke gets up Slaymaster notes the drops of fresh blood where she was lying. He renews his attack with vigor, promising her a quick death. Psylocke maneuvers about and uses his momentum against him, sending Slaymaster belly flopping onto the ground.
Slaymaster gets up quickly and the two adversaries stand face to face. This time Psylocke makes the first move and begins a multi-barrage assault. She tells Slaymaster how she’s already died once by a sword through the heart and doesn’t plan on repeating that. Slaymaster tells her she doesn’t have a choice.
Venger sneaks back into the battle, crawling up behind Psylocke and grabbing her ankles. Slaymaster continues with his punch, socking Psylocke in the face, but then yells in anger at Venger for interfereing. He begins kicking Venger in the gut, the poor guy confused by his teammate’s anger. Slaymaster explains he wants the kill all to himself. He grabs Venger by the collar and tells him no one shall get in the way. He then tosses Venger aside and apologizes to Psylocke, explaining he wanted a fair fight.
Psylocke asks if that’s why he stabbed her in the back. Slaymaster says it was to neutralize her super powers, to make it fair. He notes the tired look on her face and asks how she’s holding up. Psylocke admits she’s seen better days, but adds she’s not done yet.
Meanwhile, Devo, Hypernova and Warshot, currently located on a rooftop decide to move to the ground where most of the battle is now taking place. Rogue, sporting Colyn’s armor, comes flying in and breaks up their little conference. First, she pummels Devo, then Hypernova and last Warshot.
The three bad guys now scattered, they each get to their feet and fire energy blasts at Rogue. Hypernova scores a crack in the armor and Devo follows it up by shattering the left arm of the suit. When Warshot’s done Rogue’s entire arm, except the hand, is exposed.
The Death Commandos think they have the advantage, but Rogue takes off her helmet and tells them the armor was mainly for their protection, but since they insist… Warshot immediately turns it on, blasting her from afar, but Rogue refuses to fall or even be impeded. She forces her way forward despite the onslaught of energy raining upon her. When she reaches Warshot she takes his weapon and beats him with it.
Hypernova charges forward, but she gets a weapon to the face as well. Devo fires off an optic blast, but Rogue deflects it with her still armored right arm. Then she quickly moves in and connects with his face, crunching his ruby quartz glasses.
On the ground below, Mystiq is busy rummaging through a first aid kit and working on Cat’s injuries. Mystiq tells her to keep breathing, keep fighting, but Cat, rather weakly, tells him she’s dying. Mystiq cries out no, but Cat assures him that’s the case, not that she likes it, but there’s nothing that can be done.
As the young Exile looks up in the sky she’s surrounded by dozens of visions of alternate versions of herself. Cat begins describing the wonder of it all to Mystiq, but he says she can tell him about it later. Cat ignores him and continues discussing their beauty and how she hopes she made them proud of her, because she did her best. A Cat in a blue-gold X-uniform and a Lockheed on her shoulder tells Cat the scales of her life are balanced and she did great. With that, Cat’s eyes roll into the back of her head and the blackness of death takes her.
Nearby, the battle between Psylocke and Slaymaster rages on. Slaymaster, now sporting sais, tries slicing and dicing his opponent, but Psylocke’s too good. She even catches a sai between her hands as he drives it toward her face. Slaymaster quickly maneuvers the other sai toward her gut, but Psylocke knees him in the solar plexus, making him miss and throwing Slaymaster off balance. Psylocke quickly sticks out her leg and trips him. As Slaymaster falls she grabs his arm and wrenches it around his back, taking one of his sais in the process.
Slaymaster slams to the ground, one arm popping out of the shoulder, the other arm pinned beneath Psylocke’s boot. She kicks away the other sai and grabs it. Psylocke then straddles Slaymaster’s chest and plants both sais into the ground on either side of his neck. She leans back and forms a TK sword. She’s about to drive it into his chest when he looks up at her and starts pleading for his life. He begs her not to do it.
Psylocke pauses and thinks better of it. The sword dissipates and she gets off the man she once feared. She tells Slaymaster she’s been a hero too long and those ethical hooks are sunk too deep into her soul. Psylocke drops to her knees not far away. Slaymaster, no qualms about fighting dirty, uses his good arm to free the sais from around his neck. He moves in behind her ready to deal a fatal blow, but finds himself put into an uncomfortable headlock by the grumpiest of Exiles, Sabretooth. Just before Creed can do some damage Slaymaster activates some sort of teleportation device. “—What the devil?!” Sabretooth exclaims as his hands suddenly find themselves holding onto nothing but empty air.
Creed kneels down next to Psylocke to check on her. She asks what he’s doing there. Sabretooth jokes he needs to look after his assets and then tells her Slaymaster gave him the slip. He also states that it can only end one way for the two of them, implying the feud between her and Slaymaster will never stop until one of them ends up dead.
Sabretooth then picks Psylocke up off the ground and cradles her in his arms. She tells him she didn’t want to go there. Sabretooth replies that life isn’t fair, but then adds he’s proud of her. Psylocke agrees with him on his earlier point. She needs to set things right with Slaymaster once and for all.
Nearby, Lilandra finds herself surrounded and is given the option to surrender. With none of her warriors still standing she has no choice. Nerimani gives her one more chance, lay down her weapons or lay down her life. Lilandra stares at her coolly before dropping her sword, her head now hung in shame.
second story

Sage’s mindscape

Sage floats helplessly within her own mindscape. She barely has enough energy to breathe, let alone fight. She realizes if Diana waited mere seconds longer before coming to help she could have had her wish, total control over Sage’s body, but Sage also realizes people and life are full of surprises.
Speaking of Diana, the alternate personality of Sage come to life is kicking butt. She has no problem handling the swarm of entities constantly approaching her. She even uses one guy as a weapon, hurling him at Merlyn and knocking him down once again.
Meryln decides to take a break and let the creatures do the battle for him. This gives Diana a moment to check on Sage, jokingly asking for some assistance. Sage tells her she’s doing just fine. Diana comments on how she doesn’t seem to be getting better. Sage tells Diana she gets her wish for she is dying. Diana kneels down next to her and admits that’s what she thought she wanted, but she’s a hero and she’s going to find a way to save Sage.
Sage agrees it’s hard being a hero. Diana asks if she’s speaking from experience. Sage says she has no regrets over what she’s done, only over what she could have done. Diana points out the whole Omniverse needs help and it’s a job only one of them can do.
They stare at each other for a moment, neither one speaking. Diana tells Sage that’s her cue to offer Diana to take her place. Sage said she would, but regrettable tells Diana she wouldn’t be able to handle the job. Diana doesn’t want to hear that, but Sage points out her ability to collect knowledge like data and get answers. Diana admits Sage is right; she doesn’t have the mental capacity to handle it. Diana knows she can handle the bad guys, even possibly Merlyn, but she can’t control them. She asks Sage what the next move is then. Sage holds out her hand and suggests they follow their instincts.
Diana takes her hand and both ladies are enveloped in a bright flash of light. Immediately both heroes know what’s happening, that Diana is being merged into Sage. Sage apologizes, but Diana only laughs, pointing out her sacrifice is helping save all creation and it doesn’t get better than that. She tells Sage to make it worth it, to make her proud.
Merlyn shrieks with fury as the two beings merge. He charges them, desperate to stop their transformation. His power, his fury are nothing in comparison to Diana’s laughter of wonder and delight that reaches through the Palace and across the heavens.
Crystal Palace

Sabretooth stops in his tracks. He hears laughter, a voice that sounds like Sage.
Sage’s mindscape

Diana’s laugh strikes Merlyn like a hammer. He shatters to pieces and then shatters to pieces again and again and again until there’s nothing left.
Crystal Palace

Sabretooth seems panicked. He runs about yelling for Sage asking what she’s done.
Sage’s mindscape

Sage can hear the worry in Sabretooth’s voice. It’s nice to know he cares, she thinks, but there’s no going back for her, only ahead. With that she disappears in a bright flash of light. She admits she’ll miss her friends, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
Crystal Palace

“Sage!?!” Sabretooth yells one last time.

Characters Involved: 

first story

Cat Pryde, Morph, Mystiq, Psylocke, Rogue, Sabretooth (all Exiles)
Nicole Fury, Colleen Wing (all Daughters of the Dragon)
Slaymaster, Venger (all Hydra)

Cloak, Devo, Hypernova, Warshot (all Shi’Ar Death Commandos)
second story

Sabretooth, Sage (all Exiles)
Diana Fox
random creatures

Story Notes: 

Psylocke’s mind is shut off from all attacks thanks to the manipulations of her brother, Jamie. [Uncanny X-Men #456]
Psylocke was killed by the villain Vargas in X-Treme X-Men #2, however it was her gut, not her heart that the sword was run through. Claremont wrote that story as well so maybe Psylocke’s death memory is a little foggy??
Psylocke’s feud with Slaymaster is decided in the oneshot X-Men: Sword of the Braddocks.
The Kitty who tells Cat she’s done well is presumably meant to be 616 Kitty.
In X-Men: Die by the Sword #5 Roma, badly bleeding and with a sword stuck through her chest, grabbed an unsuspecting Sage. She placed her hands on Sage’s head and transferred all her memories into her. Ever since the brain dump, Sage has been fighting for her sanity, literally battling Diana and/or random creatures stored in her mind.
After Merlyn’s supposed death (Mighty World of Marvel #9) his daughter Roma took on his mantle as guardian of the Multiverse. Now that she’s dead Merlyn wants what he believes is rightfully his. Trouble is this doesn’t chime with the Merlyn shown in Captain Britain & MI13 #1-4 who has left his mad/evil phase behind and has returned to being good.
Although the back-up story in this issue is listed as part 5 of 6 there is no sixth part in the next issue. Sage’s story is instead interwoven with the main plot.
There’s no Letters page this issue.

Issue Information: 
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