All I ever wanted was to be a hero… Piotr Rasputin a.k.a. Colossus thinks to himself, as his mind wanders backwards:
(Flashback, the Ust-Orydynski Collective, Siberia, 10 years ago)
‘Piotr Rasputin! Those cows aren’t going to milk themselves!’ Piotr’s father shouts. ‘Be right there!’ Piotr replies, stuffing a poster of Captain America under his mattress in his bedroom, before heading out to the snow-covered grounds, where his father hands him a couple of buckets and tells him that Miriam has been acting up. ‘So be a gentleman, understand?’ ‘Yes sir’ Piotr replies quickly. ‘Everything okay?’ his father asks. ‘Yes sir’ he replies again. ‘You wouldn’t lie to me, would you?’ his father asks. ‘No sir!’ Piotr exclaims.
Soon, in the barn, Piotr is milking a cow, when a voice calls out his name. ‘Yes?’ Piotr asks as he nervously peers around from behind the cow. He gets no spoken response, only a myriad of bullets fired at him - but Piotr’s body turns to metal and the bullets just bounce off him. Piotr stares at the three large men, one dressed in a suit who exclaims that Dr. Zavadsky was right, ‘You are one of those…post humans. A mutant’. Scared, Piotr asks the men not to tell his father. ‘He doesn’t know…he wouldn’t understand’.
The man in the suit assures Piotr that his secret is safe, and asks him if he knows who he is. ‘Anatol Spichkin. The Mobster’ Piotr replies. ‘Businessman’ Spichkin corrects him. ‘Russia’s not a Communist farm anymore’ he remarks, before telling Piotr that when he really wants to do something with his life, to come and see him at Pushkins, as he will have a job for him. ‘What…? What am I supposed to tell my father about these cows?’ Piotr exclaims as the men walk away. Looking at the dead cows, Spichkin remarks that Piotr has lied to his father about being a mutant, so he will figure something out.
Xavier’s School for Gifted Children, Westchester County, where the X-Men and their friends are involved in a game of baseball. ‘Get your head in the game’ Jean Grey telepathically tells her boyfriend, Scott “Cyclops“ Summers. Cyclops enables Jean to read his thoughts, as he thinks ‘After everything with Xavier. And Apocalypse. And you, Jean, you come back here like nothing happened. Are we going to talk or…’ Jean interrupts, ‘No, not today. Right now all I want is a fastball - outside corner. Nightcrawler has no reach’ Jean replies as she crouches down on the catchers mat behind Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner who is next up to bat. Cyclops, is the pitcher, and with Colossus and Rogue standing nearby, he tosses the ball.
Standing on the sidelines watching is Logan a.k.a. Wolverine, can of beer in one hand, he looks at Firestar who asks ‘So, Logan, the X-Men play baseball for fun? What do the Ultimates do? Book club?’. Logan tells Firestar that he knows something else they could do. ‘You know…fun’. Annoyed, Firestar replies that she will pretend he never said that, and warns Logan that if he hits on her again, she will burn the hair off his nipples.
Nightcrawler has made it to the base where Colossus is waiting. ‘Peter’. ‘Kurt’. They acknowledge each other. ‘Well…this is awkward…’ Nightcrawler mutters. ‘Why? Because the last time you saw me you told me I was going to Hell for being gay?’ Peter snaps back. ‘Yeah…that’. Kurt mumbles, before asking Peter if he is still with Northstar. Glancing at his boyfriend, Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier, at the next base, Colossus ignores Kurt’s question and replies ‘Are you still King of the Morlocks?’. ‘It’s more of a benevolent dictatorship’ Kurt replies.
Nightcrawler tells Colossus that he has been thinking, as it was the only thing you can do down in the sewers, and admits that Colossus treated him like family, so he is sorry he was - Colossus interrupts, catching the ball, ‘You’re out!’ he tells Kurt, who calls him a cheater. ‘You should’ve been paying attention to the game’ Peter points out, when, suddenly, ‘Hey! Hey! Help!’ comes a cry. It’s Bobby “Iceman” Drake, who stumbles onto the pitch, looking exhausted, and in his ice-form, half of his left arm is broken. ‘What happened to your arm!?’ Warren “Angel” Worthington asks. ‘Run…’ Bobby whispers. ‘What?’ Dazzler a.k.a. Alison Blaire asks, but Bobby isn’t able to explain, as he collapses before them, his body shattering amongst impact with the ground.
‘I think he sad, “run”!’ exclaims a red-and-white clad figure hovering just above the ground, and flanked by six others: Vindicator! Snowbird! Aurora! Shaman! Sasquatch! Sunfire! Jubilee!
‘Bobby! Oh my God! They…they broke him!’ Firestar exclaims, as she powers up. Wolverine tells her to flame off, as this isn’t her fight. ‘It’s mine!’ he exclaims, unsheathing his claws he makes his way over to the new arrivals. ‘They call themselves Alpha Flight!’ he announces. ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ Cyclops asks. ‘Don’t know. Don’t care. They’re rip-off Ultimates at best’ Wolverine exclaims, while Scott asks him what their beef with him is. ‘Same as everyone else. We had a past. I betrayed them. They want revenge. ‘Isn’t that right, Mac?’ he exclaims as he approaches Vindicator.
‘I don’t know who you think I am, but I don’t have any fight with you’ Vindicator tells Wolverine. ‘You broke Bobby into a million pieces - my turn to break you!’ Wolverine retorts as his claws shatter some of the red capsules on Vindicator’s costume. In retaliation, Vindicator blasts Wolverine high into the air. ‘Oy!’ exclaims Firestar, while Cyclops shouts ‘X-Men…ATTACK!’.
While the X-Men, their allies and Alpha Flight engage in battle, Vindicator announces that he has the telepath, and indeed, as he takes down Jean with a mighty punch, before she can take his team out herself, Vindicator tells his team to secure the target and take down the rest. Cyclops blasts Shaman with his optical power, but Shaman conjures up a shield to protect himself. Sasquatch grabs Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta, while Rogue rushes towards the large beast. ‘Little help? Anyone? Hello!’ exclaims Firestar as she is confronted by Sunfire.
Storm a.k.a. Ororo Munroe tells Firestar that she is coming, until she herself is confronted by Snowbird. Clad in a skin-tight white costume with a red bird symbol on her chest, and a large fur collar, the young Inuit woman exclaims ‘You call yourself a goddess? You’re nothing but a golden cow!’ and unleashes a burst of icy wind, knocking Storm aside.
Sasquatch forces Rogue to the ground, exclaiming ‘I’m not letting you touch me. I remember the last time!’ Confused, Rogue replies ‘Do I know you?’ ‘Tsk, tsk. Now that would be giving it all away!’ is Sasquatch’s only reply.
Cyclops and his brother, Alex a.k.a. Havok team-up to deal with Shaman, both unleashing their respective powers upon him. Scott tells Alex to keep concentrating, and Alex replies that he is pouring everything he has, but it’s still not enough. ‘What the hell do these guys want?’ he wonders.
‘Northstar!’ exclaims Vindicator as he and the leather-clad, sultry Aurora hover over Northstar and Colossus. ‘You are property of the Canadian government and will return to duty at Department H immediately!’ Vindicator orders, while Aurora tells her brother to come along, adding that there is no need for this to get uglier. ‘Jean-Paul…?’ Colossus asks his boyfriend, confused. Northstar tells Peter to run away from them. Calling them monsters, he exclaims ‘You don’t know what they’re capable of!’.
Colossus assures Northstar that they will not lay a hand on him, when, suddenly, in the blink of an eye, Aurora has collected Northstar and has taken flight. ‘You were saying?’ Aurora exclaims. While Vindicator orders her to get Northstar to the jet. ‘Playtime’s over, everyone. It’s time to boot!’. And, with that, Vindicator blasts Colossus, sending him across the pitch and into one of the stands.
Shaman dodges one of Cyclops’ blasts and reveals that his in fact not a magician, but a mutant. With that, he smashes Scott’s glasses, and Scott falls to the grass. Alpha Flight stand over him, and Shaman exclaims that Alpha Flight is going to make the word mutant mean something again.
Soon, Alpha Flight are aboard their jet, and Snowbird motions to Jubilee’s t-shirt, which has Dazzler scrawled across it. ‘I can’t believe you wore that shirt’ Snowbird snaps. ‘We’re supposed to be professionals’. Jubilee replies that she wanted to get Dazzler’s autograph. ‘I didn’t know I’d be blowing her up!’. Vindicator asks Aurora how her brother is, to which Aurora confirms that he is ready for the trip back North. Vindicator asks Snowbird why they aren’t off the ground yet, to which someone exclaims that something is holding them back. ‘Not something…someone!’ Snowbird declares.
Indeed, Colossus is holding on to the back of the jet, its thrusters blasting him, he continues to hold on to save his boyfriend. Suddenly, Aurora appears beside him and tells him that the fight is over. ‘Let go!’ she exclaims. ‘NEVER!’ Colossus shouts. ‘You’re truly in love?’ Aurora asks. ‘It would almost be romantic if it weren’t so desperate. You have no idea what you’re up against!’ Aurora exclaims, before announcing that she moves faster than light - ‘And I can steal it away from you!’ With that, Colossus finds himself surrounded by darkness, and his clothes missing. ‘au revoir, homme de bidon!’ Aurora exclaims to Colossus as Alpha Flight depart.
Later, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Colossus, Angel and Dazzler have assembled in the infirmary where Iceman is lying in a bed, his body put back together, and Hank “Beast” McCoy announces that Iceman and Rogue are both going to be fine. ‘Turns out you can put Humpty Dumpty together again’ he jokes, making reference to the nursery rhyme. Hank explains that the implications of Iceman’s abilities are incredible, and declares that they need to contact Professor X - immediately, but Jean tells him that they won’t be doing that, as Xavier needs to rest and recover. ‘We can handle this ourselves’
Colossus exclaims that they are wasting time, and declares that they have to find Northstar, to which Cyclops remarks ‘I know you’re worried about your boyfriend, but…’ ‘BUT WHAT?’ Colossus asks angrily, getting to his feet and confronting Cyclops, exclaiming that if it was Jean who had been kidnapped then they would already be on the Blackbird by now getting her back. ‘They abducted him!’ Peter exclaims. ‘And kicked our collective ass in the process. There were only five of them’ Cyclops replies.
Colossus points out that they were caught off guard, to which Cyclops replies ‘Five, Pete. Five against twenty-five. If we’re going to war - we need more information’. Suddenly, Wolverine enters, announcing that he thinks he has something. Jean asks Logan if he is okay, and asks him where he landed, to which Logan replies ‘Maine’. ‘You’re kidding!?’. ‘Nope - good local beer up there. Had a helluva time hitching a ride back. But I knew you’d all wanna see this!’ Logan announces as he holds out one of the red orbs that was attached to Vindicator’s costume. He explains that he grabbed it off Vindicator and that it is Alpha Flight’s secret weapon, a power-enhancing drug called “Banshee”.
Wolverine lists off some similar drugs, including Mutant Growth Hormone, and exclaims that it is liquid nightmare - addictive and lethal. Examining the orb, Jean remarks that she has never heard of it, to which Dazzler points out that Jean is not exactly “street”, what with living Upstate in a mansion. Cyclops asks what Banshee is and how it works, to which Dazzler explains that it gives normal humans temporary powers - flight, invisibility. ‘Heard about one kid - thought he was intangible and jumped in front of the f-train. Poor sap’ she adds.
Marvel Girl asks Beast what would happen if a mutant took it, to which Hank replies that he thinks they just saw it. ‘Secondary, even tertiary mutations’ he declares. ‘In English’ Jean asks, to which Hank remarks that they are not fighting mutants. ‘These guys…they’re gods!’. Colossus makes a silent getaway as Cyclops announces that he wants everyone in the Danger Room as they have to know what they are up against. ‘We’re gonna start running scenarios. We’ve gotta be smarter, better, faster’.
Jean tells Scott that something is wrong with Peter, to which Scott replies ‘Yeah…Northstar was kidnapped’. But Jean assures him that she doesn’t think it is about that, and declares that she has to read Peter’s mind. Scott protests, and asks Jean if she doesn’t remember how they all felt about Xavier doing that. ‘So?’ Jean replies. Scott exclaims that everyone suspected Xavier was reading their thoughts, manipulating them. ‘People don’t know what to think since you came back. Don’t give them a reason to fear you!’ he exclaims, taking her hand. ‘Oh, Scott. They already do!’ Jean exclaims.
Jean holds out her hands and asks Scott why he thinks Vindicator took her out first. ‘I don’t need Banshee to become a god. I already am!’ she exclaims creating a small bird of fire with ease, before extinguishing it with similar ease and reminding Scott that Peter is their friend, and he is hurting. ‘I can find out why’. But Scott tells that just because she can doesn’t mean she should. ‘He won’t even know I’m…’ Jean replies as she enters Peter’s mind and observes scenes from the past:
‘Piotr Rasputin! I’ve been calling you for ten minutes!’ shouts Piotr’s father, banging on his sons bedroom door. ‘Just a minute!’ Piotr exclaims from inside. Ignoring his son, the old man enters the bedroom, ‘What are you doing in here?’ he demands. ‘Dad! NO!’ Piotr shouts fearfully as he sits up in his bed, naked, with another young man beside him. ‘Dad! I can explain! I…’ his voice trails off as he sees his the look on his fathers face. His father says nothing, then leaves.
Later, Piotr meets with Anatol Spichkin, who tells him that he would love to offer him a job, but that he cannot. ‘But, you said…’ Piotr begins, until Spichkin interrupts him, remarking that turning your skin into steel might make Piotr bullet-proof, but that Dr. Zavodsky says Piotr can barely lift his own arms - that he is as weak as a little girl. ‘Totally useless’. Forlorn, Piotr replies that the metal is heavy. ‘Go home!’ Spichkin tells him as he continues to stuff his face with food. ‘I can’t’ Piotr whispers. ‘What’s that?’ Spichkin asks. Piotr declares that he cannot go home - not ever.
Spichkin smirks and tells Piotr that there is one solution, if he is willing. ‘They call it Banshee. It will make you…effective’ he explains. ‘Yes, of course - anything!’ Piotr replies. Spichkin holds out a syringe full of the drug, and Piotr rolls his sleeve up, asking why it is called Banshee….
Later still, ‘You are not alone. Welcome to the X-Men, honey’ Jean Grey exclaimed as she welcomed Colossus to the X-Men. During his time with the X-Men he even ripped the head off a Sentinel. ‘Colossus, we found Magneto - we gotta run!’ Jean said to him before a mission. ‘I’ll be right out. Just a minute’ Colossus replied with a syringe sticking out of his arm - and later, during that battle, he smacked the helmet right off Magneto’s head.
Jean is shocked after watching these memories in Colossus’ head. ‘Jean!’ Peter exclaims, clutching his head as he realizes what has been going on.
In the Danger Room, several of the X-Men and their allies are taking on some robots, when suddenly, Wolverine asks them if they heard something. Moments later, Marvel Girl is thrown through one of the walls and into the Danger Room, followed by an angry Colossus. ‘You had no right!’ he screams, only for Storm to force him backwards with a powerful gust of wind, asking him what is going on. Marvel Girl announces that Colossus is using Banshee. ‘He’s lied to us. He’s an addict!’ she exclaims.
Colossus defends himself by declaring that it is a necessity, explaining that just because he turns to steel, it doesn’t make him strong. ‘Banshee makes me -’ he is interrupted by Jean, who quotes Spichkin: “Effective!”, and tells Peter that he must know he is killing himself. Firestar asks if this isn’t the same thing the Ultimates do. ‘Power-enhancing drugs? Like Giant-Man?’ she asks. Angel remarks that he heard Giant-Man is a junkie. Colossus asks about Captain America, exclaiming that he used the Super-Soldier serum to become a better warrior. But Wolverine tells Colossus that there is nothing he can say to make this okay. ‘There’s no difference!’ Peter retorts. ‘I know Cap. You’re no Cap’ Logan replies harshly.
But Nightcrawler comes to Colossus’ aid, ‘That’s bull! How many lives has Peter saved? Yours!?’ he declares. Cyclops tells Kurt to ease up, but Kurt replies that he won’t, and declares that it is easy to judge when you can heal from gunshot wounds or stop bullets mid-air. ‘The rest of us aren’t as lucky’. Colossus exclaims that villains are getting more dangerous. ‘They’ll do anything to get what they want. We must be willing to do the same - or we’ll get buried’. Jean asks Peter if he is suggesting that they use Banshee, to which Colossus confirms that he is.
Annoyed, Jean glows in the fire of the Phoenix, announcing that they are not having this discussion. ‘This is a drug-free institution. Zero tolerance. If anyone is using - you will be expelled. Understood?’ she shouts. Concerned, Jean extends a hand to Colossus. ‘You’re addicted and you don’t even realize it. Let me… I can help you!’ she exclaims. Colossus asks if he lets her will she manipulate his mind, force him to quit. ‘You have the power. Will you abuse it? Does that make you any different than me?’ Jean holds her head in her hands as her friend announces that he is going to get Northstar back. ‘Consider me expelled!’.
Colossus packs a bag in his quarters and looks at a photograph of the Original X-Men - himself and Jean included, and tosses it into a trash can. Soon, outside the mansion, he looks back at it out of the corner of his eye, before opening the hangar bay, where the Blackbird awaits.
‘You know how to fly that thing?’ Cyclops asks. ‘If you’ve come to stop me, don’t bother’ Peter replies. Surprisingly, Scott announces that he actually wants to help. ‘And why would you ever think that I would actually trust you?’ Colossus asks. There is silence, until Scott puts a hand on Peter’s shoulder and explains ‘Because of Jean’. Scott declares that he loves Jean, but that she scares him. ‘What if she ever turned against us? None of us could stop her. Not one of us. We need plans. Strategies - we all need each other. Now more than ever. You can’t do this alone’.
Colossus grins, and reveals that he is not alone - ‘Welcome to the X-Men!’ he exclaims, motioning to the darkness, which lights up, revealing Banshee-enhanced Rogue, Nightcrawler, Angel and Dazzler!