New X-Men (2nd series) #45

Issue Date: 
February 2008
Story Title: 
Messiah Complex – Chapter Eight

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: 

Cable’s attempt to escape with the mutant newborn nearly comes to a bloody end when he is confronted by Lady Deathstrike and her Reavers. They are saved by Wolverine’s new X-Force team. Wolfsbane unleashes her fury at the Purifiers’ use of God as a motivation for killing children and babies. X-23 takes her revenge on Lady Deathstrike for nearly killing Hellion. Caliban sacrifices his own life to save Warpath. Cable narrowly escapes in the X-Men’s Blackbird. In New York, Beast manages to stabilize Hellion. Emma speaks with Surge and helps ease her guilt over what has happened. She tells Surge that she put her in charge because she knew that she would protect the other students no matter what. She tells her that she needs her to do that now, as the X-Men prepare to join the chase for the baby. Little do they know that Predator X has targeted the school for its next meal. Meanwhile in the future, Layla and Madrox are processed at the mutant concentration camp.

Full Summary: 

Alberta, Canada – The Present:

Cable stands in a snowy field of ice, blood dripping from as he clutches the mutant infant protectively. Lady Deathstrike and her new Reavers face him. Her claws are covered in blood as she tells him that this is his end, along with the child’s. She commends him on how well he has fought and offers to make their deaths quick He gets in her face and asks her what she cares about this or the Purifiers.
Yuriko replies that the child’s birth was foretold by Rev. Stryker and that Stryker said he would have need of her twice: once when he was alive and again when he was dead. He told her of the mutant antichrist and asked her to kill it. As Deathstrike raises her claws to Cable’s face he smiles and says, “I guess he didn’t mention to look behind you.” The newly formed X-Force arrives and attacks Deathstrike and her Reavers.
Sheepshead Bay Mutant Concentration Camp – The Future:

Layla Miller and Madrox the Multiple Man are bound by high-tech manacles that suppress their mutant abilities. As they are led into the camp by armored soldiers, Layla says to Jamie that he does have to admit that this is where they wanted to go. Jamie dryly replies that he wanted to “check it out…not die inside it.” A soldier prods them along. Layla tells Jamie that he won’t die there and that eventually he’ll forget the pain.
He asks her what she knows and she replies that she knows they haven’t seen a single mutant there yet. Jamie asks the guard where everyone is and where they are being taken. The guard hits Jamie in the back of the neck with the butt of his gun and tells him to shut up. He explains that they are about to be processed like all mutants. Layla responds with her typical sarcasm “See? We’re not going to die, we’re going to get processed. And then we’ll die.”
Alberta, Canada – The Present:

Wolverine orders his team to get to Cable as they plow through the Reavers. Deathstrike orders her troops to kill them all. One of the Reavers fires at Cable as he makes a break for it. Cable grabs a gun and returns fire. Warpath cries out as he sees Cable attacked but Hepzibah warns him to focus on his current opponent.
A Reaver fires on Caliban and X-23 dives at him and rolls him out of harm’s way. Wolfsbane bounds across the snow and attacks, incensed that the Reavers would claim to serve God while killing children and babies.
Wolverine makes a beeline for Cable, grumbling that he moves to well for an old man. His path is blocked by Lady Deathstrike who slashes him with her claws and screams “Die!” She tells him that he had longer to live before she would come for him but now he will die here with the mutant child. Logan tells her that he doesn’t have the time for this. He says “You’re still pissed at me? Fine. But I know someone who’s pissed at you.” He steps aside to reveal X-23 who is seething with anger. Logan moves on and tells her “Knock yourself out, X.” X-23 makes the first move at Yuriko. She tells her coldly “You call yourself Deathstrike. Show me.” She then slices Yuriko across the face with her claws.
New York – The Present:

Predator X is on the move once more. It has fed and grown but with growth comes a renewed hunger. It can sense the mutant child and hungers for it but needs to feed now. It changes its direction, heading towards the nearest mutants available to satisfy its gnawing need to feed. Those at the Xavier Institute will suffice for now.
At the Xavier Institute, the Beast slumps to the floor after dealing with an onslaught of casualties. He announces that Hellion has two punctured lungs, a nicked aorta, a shredded diaphragm, a severed rib and has lost his spleen but he’s alive for the moment. Mercury and Prodigy are nearby and Cessily asks what happens now. Dr. McCoy replies that they take a breath, check on Nightcrawler who is in about the same shape as Julian and they pray that Elixir wakes up soon to heal the others.
Surge looks down on the infirmary from an observation window above and says to Emma, “This is all my fault.” She tells Emma that she was so angry and wanted to hurt the Purifiers but they weren’t ready. She says that because of her they almost died.
Emma points out that Julian is alive and they all survived. She points out that they may have died at the Institute when the Sentinels attacked. Emma looks down at Julian and confesses that he was her favorite but she pushed him away, she pushed all of them away. Yet, they survived without her. She tells Surge that they were all blindsided by what’s happened and they need to get over it and not let it happen again. Surge asks Emma why she did this to her, why she picked her to lead them. Emma tells her it’s because she knew that she would protect them no matter what, even from her if need be. She tells Surge to do that now.
Emma joins the rest of the X-Men and their allies as Cyclops briefs them on their mission. They are going to back Wolverine’s X-Force as they try to take possession of the mutant baby. Cyclops asks Emma if she’s up for this and that Monet could cover things. Emma tells him not to insult her and gives a brief update on Nightcrawler and Hellion. She adds that she spoke with Surge. Scott asks if Surge can cover the students and Emma replies that she has no doubt as Noir is very motivated at the moment.
Back in Canada, Deathstrike lashes out at X-23 while claiming that Logan is trying to insult and shame her by sending a child to attack her. She begins to tear into Laura, telling her that she is nothing compared to her. X-23 does not answer as Yuriko slices through her. X-23 is driven to the ground and just lies there. Deathstrike looks down at her and asks if she can hear her. She looks disgusted and says “You are not even fighting.” X-23 answers “No… I’m listening.” She kicks up, slicing through Deathstrike’s cybernetic arm with the claw on her foot. Yuriko calls her pathetic and points out that her blow barely drew blood. X-23 tells her that she wasn’t aiming for her blood. At that moment, Deathstrike realizes that she cannot move her arm. X-23 launches herself at Lady Deathstrike as she tells her “Now you will see me fight.”
Rahne attacks one of the Reavers and declares that they deserve to burn in hell for what they’ve done but that that isn’t up to her. The Reaver tells her that she is right to be a God-fearing woman and that they know of her from the Reverend Craig. Wolfsbane is taken aback to hear this and the Reaver uses this opening to fire upon her. Rahne dodges and kicks the man, who goes flying off the side of the snowy cliff. As he falls to his death he says “I fear no evil.” Rahne watches him fall, her emotions unclear.
Cable tries to escape with the child but Warpath and Wolverine pursue him. Caliban moves to follow them, leaving Hepzibah to face a pair of Reavers. She calls for him to wait but he doesn’t listen. Warpath asks Cable not to make them do this.
Hepzibah is finishing one of the Reavers but the other takes aim at Warpath. He says “All mutants burn” as he fires at James’ back. Caliban cries out “Nooo!” and leaps into the line of fire, taking three bullets in the chest. He falls in a bloody heap as Warpath turns around.
The Reaver is about to fire again when Warpath’s blade flies through his face! Warpath runs to Caliban’s side. Wolverine tells him that Caliban is gone and he needs to stay on Cable but James doesn’t listen. He falls to his knees over Caliban’s lifeless body and begs him “…don’t do this” over and over.
Lady Deathstrike staggers. X-23 tells her that she has wounded her and she will die faster than she is able to heal or her mechanics can repair themselves. “You are dead and do not even know it yet.” Despite this, Yuriko tries to attack X-23. Laura leaps behind her and shoves her claws through her back, eviscerating her in the same way that she did to Hellion. As Deathstrike falls, X-23 tells her “You were dead the second you touched Julian Keller.”
Wolverine nearly catches up to Cable and calls out to him across the snowy field. Logan realizes that Cable is back-tracking and heading to where they came from. He realizes too late that Nathan is heading to the Blackbird. Wolverine dives into the snow just as the X-Men’s jet launches into the sky. Wolvie looks up from the snow as Cable and the infant speed away. He asks “What’s your game, Cable?” and wonders how many more will die before it’s over.

Characters Involved: 

Elixir, Hellion, Mercury, Prodigy, Surge (all New X-Men)

Caliban, Hepzibah, Warpath, Wolfsbane, Wolverine, X-23 (All X-Force)

Archangel, Beast, Cannonball, Colossus, Cyclops, Darwin, Emma Frost, Iceman, Nightcrawler, Storm (all X-Men)

M, Jamie Madrox, Layla Miller, Siryn, Strong Guy (all X-Factor)


Unnamed mutant infant

Predator X

Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers

Unnamed mutant prisoners and armored soldiers from Bishop’s future

Story Notes: 

This is Chapter 8 of Messiah Complex. It is continued from X-Factor (3rd series) #26 and is continued in X-Men #206.
This issue featured a cover by David Finch and a variant cover by Simone Bianchi.
Lady Deathstrike has worked with William Stryker in the past. She helped him escape imprisonment and confront the X-Men in X-TREME X-MEN #25-30.
The Reverend Craig is Rahne’s biological father. He raised her as his ward, filling her with guilt over being a wicked child due in large part to his own shame in how she was conceived. When she manifested her mutant power, he cast her out as a spawn of Satan and led an angry mob in trying to kill her. She was saved by Moira MacTaggart and eventually joined Xavier’s School as a founding New Mutant. [NEW MUTANTS GRAPHIC NOVEL]

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