New X-Men (2nd series) #44

Issue Date: 
January 2008
Story Title: 
Messiah Complex – Chapter Four

Craig Kyle & Chris Yost (writers), Humberto Ramos (penciller) Carlos Cuevas (inker), Studio F’s Edgar Delgado (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Will Panzo & Daniel Ketchum (asst. editors), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Predator X continues to feed on mutants as it makes its way to the Xavier Institute. Surge learns that the Purifiers were involved in the conflict in Alaska over the mutant newborn and that they may have the child. She decides that it’s the New X-Men’s place to take them down given the role they played in the deaths of their friends and classmates. Professor X tries to dissuade her only to be told off for not being around when they really needed him. She assembles her team and they are split on whether to join her. Dust, Elixir and Prodigy refuse to go along with this mission of vengeance but the team is joined by Armor. Meanwhile the X-Men track the Marauders to Antarctica and engage them in a bid to rescue the baby and reclaim Rogue. Jamie Madrox and Layla Miller’s jaunt to the future reveals that mutantkind has been interred at concentration camps. The New X-Men locate the Purifiers’ headquarters where Rictor is operating undercover. They easily infiltrate the Purifiers’ HQ and learn that the baby is not there. Their fight with the Purifiers is going well until the arrival of the Purifiers’ newest allies: Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers! Deathstrike makes a dramatic entrance as she skewers Hellion from behind!

Full Summary: 

Deep in the Canadian Rockies, a young man builds a campfire. Once it’s set, he opens his mouth and breathes a column of fire at it. The wood ignites and the young man smiles and hums happily. He hears a twig snap and turns just in time to see Predator X lunging at him. The man screams as Predator X drives him to the ground. Predator X proceeds to devour the unknown mutant and then pauses to sniff at the air. Something has caught its attention.
At the Xavier Institute, Prodigy tells Surge that she shouldn’t be in the War Room. Julian is with him and offers to leave in case the two of them need some time alone. David says they don’t need any time and Nori tells them both to shut up and look at the view screen. CNN is broadcasting a report about the incident in Cooperstown. The footage shows the bodies of a pair of Purifiers among the carnage.
David and Julian see this and Nori tells them that this is why Cyclops told them to stay put at the school. She tells them the Purifiers may have the baby. Prodigy tells her that Cyclops must have had a good reason for not telling them and that she shouldn’t do anything stupid. Nori gets angry and tells him that he knows as well as she did what the Purifiers did.
Professor Xavier enters and tells them that David is right and that Cyclops is right as well… “to a point.” He agrees that Cyclops withheld this information to protect them but he also says that there are other ways to solve a problem than to charge headfirst into danger. He adds that he knows a thing or two about training mutants and would like to talk to the three of them about a different approach.
As he begins to explain, Surge yells at him to shut up. David tries to stop her but she refuses to listen. She asks Xavier where he was when they were getting killed, when their friends were being blown up, shot in the head and having their hearts ripped out! She gets right in his face and asks where he was when the Purifiers came to his mansion to kill them. She storms away as she tells him “There’s nothing you can teach us, “Prof”… we already know how to die. Prodigy watches as she storms out and tells Xavier that it’s been a rough year.
At Forge’s Aerie in Dallas, Texas, Jamie Madrox is still comatose after sending two of his dupes into the future. Forge is talking with Cyclops via computer and asks if Emma might be able to find out what’s going on in Jamie’s mind. Cyclops replies that Emma is unavailable for the moment. Forge is clearly frustrated but assures Scott that he’ll continue monitoring the future timelines Jamie’s dupes have traveled to. He expresses his concern that Madrox may never wake up and Scott tells him that the risks are worth taking given what’s at stake. Forge tells Scott to listen to himself and asks point-blank if he’s really willing to sacrifice Jamie and Layla’s lives! Scott interrupts him and reminds him that their species is dying out and if they don’t find a way to control it, all of their lives end here.
Back at the Institute, Surge has called together the New X-Men team. She tells them that she thought she and Cyclops had come to an understanding after all they’d been through and accomplished as a team in the past few months. But now that she knows the Purifiers are involved, it’s personal considering that they were responsible for the deaths of 45 of their friends. She reminds the others that the Purifiers didn’t come after the X-Men or X-Factor, they came after them! She points out that they were the ones who took the Purifiers on before and she’s going after them. She knows that if they have this baby they will kill it. She says that if they don’t have the child, she still plans to take them out permanently. She asks who’s in.
Hellion and Mercury agree but Dust says this is wrong, they have seen too much blood already and that is what Surge is after. Rockslide says he is in but refuses to hold the baby since they creep him out. Anole agrees to go but just to rescue the baby. He suggests they use the Cuckoos to see if they have any information on where the X-Men were heading. He also thinks that the O*N*E might have records on the Purifiers. Pixie volunteers to teleport them there but says she doesn’t want to kill anyone. She asks if she’ll have to if she goes along. David tells Nori not to do this but she ignores him. She asks Josh if he’s coming. He tells her that after what the Purifiers did to Laurie, he’d kill all of them if he came along and he doesn’t want to do that. He says he’ll be here if they need healing though. As Elixir refuses to go, Armor enters and asks if the team has room for one more.
In Antarctica, Angel, Storm, Wolverine, and Colossus are aboard the Blackbird waiting anxiously. Angel says “Something’s gone wrong” and Wolverine tells him to relax, Nightcrawler knows what he’s doing. A moment later, Kurt Wagner appears in a burst of smoke and tells the others “Ja….they’re here.”
Simultaneously in Washington DC, Rictor is undercover amongst the Purifiers and being given a tour of their church there. The cathedral style building is impressive and Rictor suggests that it must have taken a lot of tithing to build. Rictor’s Purifier contact Taylor explains that this is just one of hundreds of churches that are part of the Purifiers’ operations. He informs Rictor that the heads of all the eastern branches are converging on Washington DC to meet. Rictor lies and tells Taylor that he has prayed all his life to find people like him and he never thought there’d be so many or that they’d have so many guns. Taylor tells him that he hasn’t seen anything yet as he pushes open a side door.
Inside, Brother Jack is briefing a group of Purifiers on their next move. He asks Rictor to wait there and he replies “I’m here to serve.” He overhears Brother Jack telling his forces that they are reviewing Reverend Stryker’s records and they are not clear what went wrong. He restates that their priority is locating “the infant antichrist” and that they are searching the area around Cooperstown. Rictor smiles as he secures the knowledge he came there seeking. He knows that the Purifiers don’t have the mutant baby. Rictor’s smile fades quickly as Brother Jack introduces the Purifiers to their new allies who will assist them in securing the child.
New York City – Eighty Years in the Future

Layla Miller and one of Jamie Madrox’s dupes have traveled into the future to try and learn the truth about the mutant race’s fate and what it has to do with the recent birth of a mutant child. The pair makes their way through a crowd as Madrox grouses that spending five days traveling from Texas to New York with Layla in tow was not part of the plan. She points out that she is a great travel companion and that she found them snacks. He urges her to keep moving and comments that “the future blows”.
He points out that there are no mutants and no one is even talking about them. He asks where they’re going and points out that Layla seems to have lost her much vaunted ability to “know things” now that they are in the future. She simply replies that she has kept her “amazing common sense powers”. She has lead them to the New York Public Library… or what remains of it.
The building is derelict and its once invaluable resources discarded in this age of technology. Jamie is surprised and asks if they’ll be checking the internet next. Layla tells him no and reminds him of how distracted he gets on the internet. She reminds him that no one is talking about mutants and assumes that what happened must have been horrible. She states that no one ever goes to libraries but that they know “all the good stuff”. She finds a book that reveals where they put all the mutants. It contains a large map of the USA covered in red Xes. Jamie says “Oh God” as he realizes what this means. A short time later, he and Layla are overlooking the Mutant Relocation Camp in Brooklyn. Concrete barricades, barbed wire and heavily armed armored troops keep the “residents” in check.
Washington, DC – The Present

The New X-Men have made their way to the Purifiers headquarters. X-23 confirms that she can smell their guns and the devices they have used in the past to block telepaths. Rockslide is relieved as this is the eighth church they’ve checked. Hellion notes that they narrowed their search to DC using information gleaned from a Sentinel pilot. Surge tells Anole that once they’re inside, his job is to find out what he can about the mutant baby while they run interference. She asks Laura what she sees. She reports that there are seven armed Purifiers patrolling the perimeter, a pair of unarmed guards on the upper level and a side entrance that is even more heavily guarded. She tells them that this is the entrance they want. Armor is impressed and says “Wow”. Santo tells her “You ain’t seen nothing yet, Armor-All.”
Back at the Institute, Dust is second-guessing her decision not to accompany the others on their mission of vengeance. She wonders how she will live with herself if anything bad happens to her friends as a result of her absence. Prodigy assures her that she did the right thing by following her conscience. She asks David what his conscience tells him. He replies that he feels he should find Cyclops and tell him what’s happening but that he can’t. Like Sooraya, he can’t help but wonder how he’ll feel if anything happens to the others. Josh assures him that Nori will take care of the others and get them through this. At that moment in DC, Hellion and Mercury each take down a guard in their own inimitable fashion. The New X-men descend into the church.
In Antarctica, a Marauder is surprised to learn that they are running from the X-Men. Sinister explains that Cyclops is not a fool and knows the stakes in this game. He states simply that a conflict with the X-Men at this time is not in line with their goals and they will deal with the X-Men on his terms. Scalphunter looks around and asks where Harpoon is. At that precise moment, Harpoon comes crashing through the outer wall of the team’s arctic base. The X-Men (Storm, Angel, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Colossus) stand in the gaping hole that Harpoon’s “entrance” created. Vertigo utters “Oh, hell” as the coalition of Acolytes and Marauders are confronted by the squad of X-Men. Wolverine says coolly, “We’re here for Rogue and the baby. Only question is, how many of you have to die before we get them?”
At the Purifiers’ church, a pair of guards radio Brother Paul who is unconscious following the New X-Men’s infiltration of the base. They pass by Anole who has used his chameleon abilities to blend in with the stone wall. Once they have passed, he emerges and leaps to the rafters. He crawls along the ceiling unnoticed until he reaches a room filled with computers. He accesses their systems and quickly learns that they do not have the baby. He is taken by surprise when a Purifier grabs him and places a hand over his mouth. The Purifier demands to know what he’s doing there. Victor grabs his arm and flips him over him with one super-strong yank. He looks down and immediately recognizes the Purifier as Rictor. He is surprised to see him there and asks “…aren’t you with X-Factor?” Rictor tells Anole that he has to get out of here and Victor says that even though the baby isn’t there, they can still shut down the Purifiers. Rictor realizes that the entire New X-Men team is there and explains to Anole that they now have a much bigger problem than the Purifiers to deal with.
Elsewhere, the remaining New X-Men have engaged a contingent of armed Purifiers. Surge is letting loose mercilessly with her electrical powers and Hellion tries to get her to ease up. He tells her that she doesn’t want to be like them. Father Matthew arrives and shoots at them. Hellion narrowly manages to throw Surge clear of the gunfire. He then decks Father Matthew. He recognizes the Purifiers’ new leader and that he was at the mansion during the Purifier attack. Risman confirms this and adds that he was also responsible for killing the busload of former mutant students and the execution of Laurie Collins. He tells Julian that today he will send the rest of them back to Satan.
At that moment, the Purifiers’ new allies reveal themselves as Lady Deathstrike and her new Reavers join the fight. Deathstrike attacks Julian from behind, her claws passing through his telekinetic field and piercing his chest. She lifts him off the ground as the other New X-Men see their friend fatally skewered. She grimly says “Come to me, children. Come to Deathstrike.”

Characters Involved: 

Anole, Dust, Hellion, Mercury, Pixie, Prodigy, Rockslide, Surge, X-23 (All New X-Men)

Angel, Armor, Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Rictor, Jamie Madrox, Layla Miller (all X-Factor)


Professor X

Mister Sinister

Arclight, Harpoon, Malice/Omega Sentinel, Riptide, Scalphunter, Scrambler, Vertigo (all Marauders)

Gambit, Lady Mastermind, Mystique, Sunfire (all former X-Men allied with the Marauders)

Exodus, Frenzy/Joanna Cargill, Random, Tempo, Unuscione (all Acolytes)

Predator X

Jack, Paul, Taylor, Father Matthew Risman and other unnamed Purifiers

Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers

Unnamed fire-breathing mutant

Unnamed citizens 80 years in the future

Via the view screen:

Unnamed CNN reporter

Story Notes: 

This is chapter 4 of Messiah Complex. It is continued from X-Factor (3rd series) #25 and is continued in X-Men #205.
This issue featured a cover by David Finch and a variant cover by J. Scott Campbell. A Second Printing was released with a cover by Humberto Ramos featuring interior art from the final page of the issue.
Prodigy broke off his relationship with Surge in NEW X-MEN #43.
CNN is a news broadcast affiliate that focuses exclusively on national and world news.
The Purifiers attacked Cooperstown in search of the mutant baby as shown in X-MEN : MESSIAH COMPLEX #1.

The Purifiers killed 45 students from the Xavier Institute. This number includes the forty-two de-powered students who died in the bus explosion shown in NEW X-MEN #24. The following Xavier Institute students have been confirmed or are presumed to have died in the bus explosion: DJ, Dryad, Network, Preview, Rubbermaid and Tag. In addition, Wallflower was killed by a sniper in NEW X-MEN #25 and Quill was shot and killed during the Purifiers raid on the mansion in NEW X-MEN #27. Icarus died after being shot by Reverend Stryker in NEW X-MEN #26.
Rogue was captured by the Marauders in X-Men (2nd series) #201.

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