Ultimate X-Men #98

Issue Date: 
January 2009
Story Title: 
Ultimatum, part 1

Aron E. Colette (writer), Mark Brooks (penciler), Karl Story (inker), Edgar Delgado (colorist), Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne (letterer), Taylor Esposito (production), Lauren Sankovitch (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (senior editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Special thanks to Michael Horwitz

Brief Description: 

Reverend William Stryker is on the rooftop of his apartment block, when the Ultimatum wave strikes. His wife and young son drown. At the media reports begin coming in, Rogue, Firestar, Psylocke, Syndicate and Toad watch the goings-ons, worried about Beast, Angel, Dazzler and Nightcrawler, all who were in New York when the wave struck. Rogue notices Marvel Girl, Cyclops and Wolverine going in for a meeting with Xavier, and wants to join them. Marvel Girl explains to Rogue that they think Magneto is behind this and reveals they are going after him. Rogue thinks this means her too, but Marvel Girl tells her that after Rogue’s recent use of the drug Banshee, they can no longer trust her. Rogue is upset by this, before Marvel Girl reveals that Dazzler and Nightcrawler died in the Ultimatum wave. Rogue, upset, tells Marvel Girl that she can help, but is rejected once more, as Marvel Girl reveals that the original X-Men are handling this. Toad overheard the conversation and tells Rogue that, like him, the other X-Men will never truly trust her due to her past connections with Weapon X and the Brotherhood. Hours after the Ultimatum wave, in Central Park, Manhattan, Reverend Stryker is preaching to several followers in a makeshift church, and after wards, is approached by five of his followers, who ask him what he is going to do about the mutants. Stryker isn’t so convinced that he can do anything, until the followers take him to a truck full of spare Sentinel parts that washed ashore during the wave. Meanwhile, in Canada, Rogue single-handedly takes down all of Alpha Flight, before confronting Vindicator, who is actually Wraith, her old Weapon X leader. They discuss old times, before Rogue reveals that she wants Wraith to help her kill Magneto. Wraith shows Rogue an armor that he designed, and declares that they need the old Weapon X back together. Juggernaut and Sabretooth are at a strip club, contemplating the possible end of all things, before they are confronted by Rogue and Wraith. Back at Xavier’s, Psylocke, Firestar and Syndicate continue to watch the media reports, before Syndicate goes out for some fresh air - only to have one of his two heads blown off by the arrival of Stryker and his five allies, all clad in Sentinel armor!

Full Summary: 

Manhattan, the Stryker Household, minutes before the Ultimatum wave. A young woman sits with her son, while her husband stands at a window, looking outside. ‘It’s going to be perfect. Just perfect!’ he exclaims, asking his wife if she doesn’t want to glimpse the Rock Dove. ‘Honestly, William - how long have you been waiting to see that bird?’ the mans’ wife replies. ‘Today is the day’ William Stryker replies. ‘William…’ his wife complains, before he tells her that she could use some fresh air. But Williams’ wife tells him that it is too cold, and that she doesn’t want John to get sick on his wild goose chase. ‘Dove chase’ William tells her, before his wife tells him not to spend all day up on the roof. ‘I’ll be back soon. I love you. I love you. I love you’ William replies, kissing his son on the cheek.

Later, Stryker is waiting on the rooftop of their apartment block. ‘Come on, come on - where are you...there!’ William exclaims as he finally sees the Rock Dove. ‘Aren’t you beautiful?’ he remarks as he looks at the bird through binoculars. ‘A messenger from God. You’re…No!’ Stryker gasps, pulling his binoculars away from his face, he sees the city below suddenly overcome by a massive wave, with water so high that it already covers some buildings, and is sweeping quickly towards his building, while the rain beats down from the sky above. ‘Kate! John! John!’ Stryker calls out to his family as he rushes across the rooftop and down the access stairs.

Stryker reaches the level 16 landing bay, and discovers that the water has risen to that floor already. Stryker dives into the water and swims down to his apartment, which is also completely submerged. Opening the door, his baby’s rattle floats by, along with a photograph of Stryker in his Reverend outfit with his wife and child, and a horror-stricken Stryker sees the fate of his family.

Meanwhile, at the Xavier School for Gifted Children, minutes after the Ultimatum wave, several of the young mutant heroes and their allies are watching a news report on the current goings-ons. ‘Survivors are clinging onto anything they can hold…desperately struggling to stay afloat, waiting for rescue helicopters…’. A horrified Rogue exclaims that Angel, Beast, Dazzler and Nightcrawler were down town, to which Firestar tells her to shut up. ‘Psylocke…are you picking up anything?’ Rogue asks the telepath, who remains silent. ‘Syndicate?’ Rogue asks. ‘No’ one of the two heads replies. ‘I was talking to Matthew, not you, Luke’ Rogue replies. ‘No, Rogue. Now shut up!’ Syndicate replies.

The media report continues: ‘Red Cross tends are being set up in Central Park Manhattan and New Jersey for survivors and their families…but people should prepare for the worst. Mass casualties are expected’. Rogue sees the three senior X-Men walk by - Wolverine, Cyclops and Jean Grey - and she calls out to Jean, while the reporter remarks ‘…we can’t just help but feel utterly and completely powerless. Completely powerless’. Jean a.k.a. Marvel Girl - or Phoenix - looks annoyed as Rogue rushes after her, and tells Wolverine and Cyclops to go on ahead, that she can handle this.

‘Jean…’ Rogue exclaims. ‘Rogue…’ Jean replies, before Rogue asks Jean what the plan is. Jean frowns as she tells Rogue that they think Magneto is behind this, and that they are going after him. ‘Okay? We’re going after him. You get me? You understand what I’m saying here?’ Jean asks. A gape-jawed Rogue replies ‘I’m coming too!’, but Jean replies ‘No. Actually. You’re not. At all’. ‘What?’ Rogue retorts, before Jean tells her again that she is not coming, as they need people they can trust. ‘You can’t trust me?’ Rogue shouts. ‘Lately’ Jean tells her. ‘What?’ Rogue snaps. ‘Lately…with the drugs and the -’ Jean begin, before Rogue interrupts.

‘This is because I did drugs? I did the Banshee so I could get control of my power! And you know what - it worked! Xavier said he could help me. You said you could help me. You both failed!’ Rogue screams. Jean creates a small Phoenix bird in the palm of her hand, ‘You’re right. We failed’ she tells Rogue. ‘We constantly fail. And Alison and Kurt are dead because of our failure’ Jean announces. ‘Dead?’ Rogue gasps. ‘Dead. Dead and - and I could only hear their last thoughts’ Jean remarks.

(Shown with illustrations depicting Angel, Beast, Dazzler and Nightcrawler)

‘You want to know what they were thinking when that wave came crashing down?’ Jean asks Rogue, telling her that their friends were not thinking about fighting back, or even about regret - or revenge - they were thinking about what made them human….

‘Ow. Ow. Ow. That. Ow. That hurts like a… Damn!’ Dazzler was shouting as she got a tattoo on her upper arm. The tattoo artist asked her if she was okay, to which she replied ‘Yeah. No. I’m great. Perfect. Just perfect’. Jean explains to Rogue that the rebellion and pain made for an exquisite empowerment, and for Dazzler, nothing ever felt the same again. Jean displays Nightcrawler, in an empty cinema, ‘I was with Stiles this afternoon’. ‘I know’. ‘You saw?’. ‘Yeah. I saw’. the characters on the picture screen are saying to each other, while Kurt smiles and eats popcorn. ‘Unless that was another werewolf doing a headstand on top of Stiles’ Wolfmobile’.

(Present / reality)

Jean points out that Kurt loved the movies because of the dark of the theater, and he could be the normal one. ‘And now - they’re gone’ Jean declares. ‘I didn’t know’ Rogue replies as she wipes her eyes. A furious Jean declares that they must stop Magneto and the Brotherhood. ‘We have to finish this. Finally. Finish. End it. Brutally. He deserves it!’ she declares. ‘And I can help!’ Rogue exclaims, but Jean begins to walk away from her, telling her that it is handled. ‘We’re handling it. The first class. The original X-Men. This is our job!’ Jean exclaims.

Rogue presses her fingers to her forehead, when suddenly, the Toad drops down beside her. ‘They don’t trust you’ he tells her. ‘And they ain’t never - never ever - gonna’. Toad tells Rogue that they all look at her the same way everyone looks oat him. ‘Corner of their eye - like I’m gonna steal something!’ he exclaims, to which Rogue replies that she doesn’t know what he is talking about. ‘We were both Brotherhood. Worse - you were in Weapon X!’ Toad reminds Rogue, who replies ‘That was a lifetime ago’.

But Toad tells Rogue that it isn’t a lifetime ago to the X-Men. ‘I get it. I know’ he tells her. ‘They think you’re little - selfish - grasping. Always going after who you thought could solve your problems’. Suddenly, Rogue grabs Toad by the neck, and absorbs his power, turning her complexion green, and her teeth jagged. ‘They think I’m the enemy? They think I’m the monster? I’ll show them. Ugly in. Ugly out. I’ll show them!’ she exclaims angrily.

Meanwhile, in Central Park, Manhattan, hours after the Ultimatum wave. Several men and women have gathered in a tent, where a dishevelled William Stryker is preaching to them: ‘And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever and ever. Amen’ Stryker remarks. ‘Amen!’ the men and woman call out. Stryker continues: ‘Dear Lord, please forgive us. Our hearts are filled with anger and grief and violence. We have been - tormented - by grief. We honor you. We love you. We…we…I…Oh Lord…I…’ Stryker drops to his knees, shaking his fists as he asks ‘Why would you create such abominations, Lord? Mutants?! Why do we suffer? Why did you put us in harm’s way? Your children. It’s your fault! It’s your fault!’ he cries.

At the end of his service, Stryker collects some Bibles up, when four men and one woman approach him. ‘Nice sermon, Reverend’ one of them remarks. Stryker asks them if there is anything he can help them with, to which a large man with a moustache replies ‘Actually, we’re here to help you. We heard you lost your wife and boy’. Stryker turns away, so the man asks him what he intends to do about it. ‘Pray’ Stryker replies. ‘So you said. You also said these mutants are an abomination’ the large man reminds him. ‘I didn’t mean - I was overcome. Words said in grief and anger aren’t words at all’ Stryker tells him. The large man reveals to William that he knew his father, that he served with Admiral Stryker. ‘I knew what type of man he was. What type of man are you?’ he asks.

The large man with the moustache asks Stryker if he believes they should turn the other cheek, or if it is their right to take an eye for an eye. ‘I know what your father would answer’ he tells him. Stryker replies that he is only his father’s son in name. ‘You may be a preacher, but there’s a hate lurking inside those prayers. Just…come for a walk…’ the large man asks. Stryker follows the large man away from the tent and over to a vehicle, where the large man remarks that some interesting stuff washed ashore from that wave. ‘A gift from God. And SHIELD’ he remarks. ‘Sentinels!’ Stryker gasps as the other man pulls a cloth off the back of the vehicle, revealing various Sentinel parts. ‘So…Reverend? What’s it gonna be? What kind of man are you?’ the large man with the moustache asks.

Meanwhile, in Canada, at Department H, hours after the Ultimatum wave. There is a mighty THOOM, and a dozen Department H soldiers rush past Vindicator, one of them informing him that they are under attack. ‘I’m not going anywhere’ Vindicator replies as there is another THOOM. Vindicator tells the soldiers to get the hell out of here. ‘She’s coming for me!’ he exclaims as another THOOM sounds. Suddenly, the wall is torn apart, and Jubilee is tossed at Vindicator, apparently by a very angry looking Sasquatch. ‘Your new army is weak. Useless. Done!’ Sasquatch exclaims, while a weary Jubilee tells Vindicator that she is sorry, but she tried. Vindicator tells Jubilee that it is not her fault, and supposes that he had this coming.

‘There are better ways to get my attention, Rogue!’ Vindicator exclaims to Sasquatch as he gets to his feet. ‘Wanted to make sure you listened!’ Rogue, in Sasquatchs’ form still, replies. Vindicator tells Rogue that he is not going to talk to her like this. ‘Lemme see that beautiful face of yours’ he tells her. Rogue switches back down into her true form. ‘That’s better. Like an angel’ Vindicator exclaims. ‘I’m a monster. Just like you made me!’ Rogue retorts. ‘Me? I didn’t make you, darlin’. I made you better!’ Vindicator replies, removing his mask, and revealing his face, three claw-like scars across it.

‘You made me into a weapon, Wraith. Or Vindicator. Or whatever you’re calling yourself now. You ruined my life!’ Rogue shouts, angrily. Rogue declares that the X-Men don’t trust her, that they think she is going to betray them. ‘Don’t blame them. You flip sides faster than a coin’ Wraith tells her. ‘This is your fault!’ Rogue retorts, reminding Wraith that he said he would help her, and that she believed him. ‘I believed in you…and you…’ Rogue begins, cutting herself short. ‘What? You gonna cry? Please. It’d be so typical. You were such a disappointment!’ Wraith jibes Rogue, who tells him to shut up.

Rogue lashes out at Wraith with a punch, while Wraith tells her that she was supposed to be the best, the strongest his prize recruit. ‘But look at you - a waste of money and training and craft and care…totally useless!’ he declares. Wraith lets out a blast of power, smacking Rogue in the back as he tells her that she cannot control her power, ‘A total failure. On every level’. ‘Shut up! Shut the hell up!’ Rogue shouts, telling Wraith that the only reason she has kept his identity a secret, and why she didn’t tell Wolverine, was because she loved him like a father. ‘I believed you - and you’re gonna make it all up to me!’ she tells him.

‘Oh yeah? How’m I gonna do that?’ Wraith asks. ‘You’re gonna help me kill Magneto!’ Rogue announces. ‘You had plans on plans on plans’ Rogue reminds Wraith. ‘You knew exactly how to take him down. He killed Kurt! And Alison! I want my revenge!’ Rogue declares. Wraith asks what Rogue will do if he says no. ‘Pout?’. Rogue grabs Wraith by the collar, ‘You’re gonna tell me. You’re gonna help me!’ she shouts, warning Wraith that she will touch him, kill him, and take all his memories and plans all for herself. ‘Your choice’ she declares. Wraith looks at Rogue and says nothing, before declaring ‘Now that’s more like it. Showing some tooth. You wanna kill Magneto? I’ve got just the thing!’

Rogue lets Wraith go, and he walks over to a compartment, explaining to Rogue that the Canadians saved his life by injecting him with Banshee, restarting his system, and giving him powers. ‘Made me realize all the mistakes I made’ Wraith admits, before explaining that he tried to make Alpha Flight into his new Weapon X, but that they were never as good as the original. ‘We’ve gotta get the old team back together’ he tells her. ‘Weapon X?’ Rogue asks, pointing out that most of them work for Magneto now. ‘How’re we gonna do that?’. Wraith opens the compartment, revealing a red and white armor. ‘They say clothes make the man’ Wraith remarks, motioning to the armor, and telling Rogue that this is their chance to get it right. ‘I started Weapon X to protect the world. Everyone needs a guardian looking out for them!’

Meanwhile, in Montreal, at the best strip club in the world, hours after the Ultimatum wave. ‘If this is the end of the world, Juggie, we’re gonna go out in style!’ Sabretooth exclaims to the Juggernaut while admiring the women in the strip club. The Juggernaut stares into his large glass of beer, and drinks it down as Sabretooth asks him what his problem is. ‘I bring you the finest babes in the world - and you look like you wanna kill yourself’ Sabretooth tells him. ‘Magneto buried New York. Buried it, Sabretooth. I…I’m a jerk, but I never signed on for genocide. Are we doing the right thing here?’ Juggernaut remarks.

‘Definitely’ Sabretooth replies as he looks at a scantily-clad woman approaching him. Suddenly, Sabretooth looks worried, and declares that something doesn’t smell right. ‘You can smell anything through this perfume?’ Juggernaut asks him. ‘It’s…’ Sabretooth begins, before the scantily-clad woman brings her face into view - it’s Rogue! Before Sabretooth can react, Rogue touches him on the forehead. ‘Surprise, sugah!’ she exclaims. ‘Rogue? What’re you doing?’ a surprised Juggernaut asks, before being struck down by Wraith, wearing his armor. ‘Making amends!’ Rogue declares, standing alongside Wraith, over the unconscious Sabretooth and Juggernaut.

Back at the X-Men’s Mansion, Psylocke, Firestar and Syndicate are still watching the news report. ‘The casualties are soaring as more bodies wash ashore’ a reporter announces. One of Syndicate’s two heads declares that he cannot watch this anymore, that he needs to get some air. ‘So go’ the other replies. ‘You kinda have to come with me’ the first points out. ‘I don’t wanna miss anything!’ the second retorts. ‘Come on, idiot!’ the first snaps.

Shortly, Syndicate are walking across the grounds, the first head declares that he cannot believe this is happening. ‘This is going to change everything. Everything’s gonna change!’ the second agrees. ‘I know…I know’ the first mumbles, before suddenly he hears something. ‘Did you hear that?’ he asks. ‘Yeah, it’s…’ the second replies, before the first head is suddenly blown off Syndicate’s body! ‘Matthew!’ shouts a horrified Luke. Suddenly, Stryker and his five followers, all clad in Sentinel hardware. ‘”Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot”!’ Stryker shouts as smoke emanates from his gun.

Characters Involved: 

Cyclops, Firestar, Marvel Girl/Phoenix, Rogue, Wolverine (all X-Men)




Jubilee, Vindicator / Wraith (both Alpha Flight)



Reverend William Stryker

Stryker’s wife, Kate and child, John

Human Sentinels

Department H soldiers



In Astral Image:

Angel, Beast, Dazzler, Nightcrawler (all X-Men)


Story Notes: 

This issue takes place during the events of Ultimatum #1.

First appearance of Stryker in the Ultimate Universe.

Rogue took the power-enhancing drug Banshee in Ultimate X-Men #95.

Indeed, Toad was formerly with the Brotherhood, but began residing at the X-Men’s Mansion in Ultimate X-Men #82.

Rogue was with Weapon X as seen in Ultimate X-Men #7, then joined up with the Brotherhood when Weapon X was disbanded [Ultimate X-Men #12], before joining the X-Men in Ultimate X-Men #38.

Rogue learned of Vindicator’s identity in Ultimate X-Men #95.

Issue Information: 
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