At an undisclosed location a man’s eyes are held open, and an image of the Phoenix Force shines on his eyes. Someone standing over him remarks that there is nothing surprising about the mutants’ behavior, for with their ranks culled, they took extreme measures to rectify imminent extinction. Blood starts to trickle down the man’s forehead and onto his nose, as the person standing over him states that evolution is no whisper humming in the background, that it is the true substance of their every motive, that it is natural to safeguard one’s line from environmental competition. The man on the table’s scalp has been cut back and his brain is exposed. The man standing over him slices through the brain with a scalpel and declares ‘Ah, but now the world has seen. Felt the mutant boot on its neck. Watched as mutants endangered all life to ensure their own propagation’.
A woman with a goat-face mask can be seen standing nearby, next to a man who frowns. The man standing over the table removes part of the brain and points out that people do not forgive tyranny. ‘Believe me’ he adds, remarking that mankind will come for mutants. ‘Their hatred for you is too primal, too compelling, to be denied’. He places a device onto the remaining part of the other man’s brain and states that hatred it natural, that hatred protects a species from complacency in the face of rivals. ‘It reminds of one simple truth…kill them before they kill you’.
Meanwhile, at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, Wolverine a.k.a. Logan stands and looks up a large portrait of Professor Charles Xavier. His mind wanders back to when he first arrived at what was then the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, and Charles said to him ‘I know what they’ve done to you…and the animal they created. The Wolverine. But I can see deeper places in a man’s soul - it is not your true fiber, Logan. If you’ll allow me to, I can help you. I believe that with time and work…you might surprise yourself’.
A voice calls out to Wolverine, and tells him that it is time. It’s Rogue, and together, they walk through one of the buildings at the Jean Grey School, to an area outdoors, where members of the X-Men and other mourners have come for Professor X’s funeral. Wolverine stands on a podium in front of a monument with Professor X’s statue upon it, and begins the eulogy: ‘Chuck Xavier dedicated his life to a dream. A pretty simple thing’. Wolverine tells the mourners that Chuck wanted to live in a world where humans and mutants got along - a world where folks moved past their tribal instinct to fear and kill the different. Wolverine points out that Chuck wouldn’t hear any other way of doing things, peaceful cohabitation was the only option - and more important still, how they made their way to it.
Meanwhile, on a large platform sticking out of the side of the cliff of a deep ravine, ‘Alex Summers, I’m SHIELD Director Maria Hill. Welcome to the brig’ Maria introduces herself to the mutant hero called Havok, who thanks Maria for seeing him. Walking past a room, Havok sees his stats listed on a monitor, as well as some images of him in action, before he is led to a special room holding his brother Scott, the mutant known as Cyclops.
Closing his eyes, Wolverine tells the mourners that Chuck only saw one path - protecting those who hated and feared them, until that was no longer the case. ‘Road ain’t never been easy. Not for Chuck - not for any of us who followed him as X-Men. ‘Some of us died for his ideals. And he carried that weight. But he always lived the example. Always toed the line’. Wolverine reveals that he woke up today with a good mind to take a trip to a maximum-security facility and kill the man who near erased it all. ‘A man Chuck loved like a son’ Logan adds, before pointing out that isn’t how Chuck would want it. ‘Revenge and hatred went against the man’s grain’. Wolverine tells everyone listening that for some folks, him included, maintaining that standard has been an awful hard proposition.
At the brig, Cyclops is sealed behind a wall of energy, a large device placed over his head, restricting the use of his optic power. ‘Scott’ Alex calls out. ‘Alex’ Scott replies.
Wolverine continues, ‘It’s like Chuck used to say, maintaining principles when you’re up against the wall…is the only time they mean much of anything’. Wolverine tells everyone that was at the core of what he was trying to tell them, that doing it the right way isn’t easy, and not a damn thing that’s any good ever is. Wolverine tells those listening that even though Professor Charles Xavier is dead, his dream lives on. ‘Tell you all some warm fairy tale about the old man resting, secure his students are getting it right. But the truth is…we failed him’ Wolverine admits, hanging his head.
At an undisclosed location, Magneto watches Wolverine give the eulogy on a monitor, as Wolverine admits that they pushed Chuck aside and did things their own way. ‘Chuck died without ever seeing his dream come true. And there ain’t no undoing that’ Wolverine declares, concluding his eulogy and walking away from the others.
‘We buried Charles today’ Havok tells his brother. Cyclops doesn’t respond. His eyes can’t be seen through the thick ruby-quartz lenses covering them, but his mouth shows no reaction. His mind, however, remembers the Professor smiling at him, years ago. With Iceman, Marvel Girl, the Beast and Angel standing around him, and Professor X saying to a young Cyclops ‘What a future you have ahead of you, Scott Summers…’
Havok stands with his arms in his jacket pockets and says to his brother ‘Watching the Phoenix erode Jean Grey wasn’t enough of an indicator for you, brother? You had to march the X-Men out to double check?’ Havok asks why - in case they missed something the first time around?
‘I didn’t see your hand raised when we needed a leader’ Cyclops replies, to which Havok, now sitting down, points out that he wasn’t the one the X-Men put their faith in. ‘Still, Easy to show up and criticize after the battle’ Cyclops replies, adding that someone had to set things right. ‘The Professor’s way of doing things…’ his voice trails off. ‘Sure. The old hippie’s ideology couldn’t get the job done. Brute force could. Where have we heard that before?’ Havok asks, before Cyclops points out that new mutants have begun to appear again. ‘This wasn’t about more mutants. This was about you’ Havok tells him. ‘You couldn’t go down as the guy who let the home team lose on his watch’.
‘So you gave up on cohabitation. Created a mutant army on Magneto Island. How else could this all have ended?’ Havok asks Cyclops, telling him that he completely disregarded everything Xavier stood for. ‘I spent my entire life fighting for Professor X’s dream, Alex. I learned better’ Cyclops replies. Havok gets to his feet and tells his brother that he didn’t learn anything. ‘You forgot everything Charles taught you. And then you killed him’. With that, Alex turns and leaves the high-security room.
Stepping outside onto the platform, Alex hangs his head, before a voice calls out to him: ‘Alex Summers…come have a cup of coffee with me’. It’s Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America, who is with Thor, who adds ‘The place we go also makes lattes, if you prefer. I do’.
Shortly, at Avengers Mansion, Havok walks alongside Cap and Thor, as Cap tells him that he understood the decision to keep the funeral a family function, but that the Avengers would all like to come pay their respects when the time is right. ‘Aye. Xavier was a true and noble prophet’ Thor adds, remarking that his loss is a terrible blow. Havok replies that he is still getting his head around it - especially the man responsible. ‘I need you to know, despite whatever your brother told you, we’re not jack-booted thugs, Alex’ Cap remarks. ‘My brother doesn’t inform my opinions, Captain’ Havok responds. Cap announces that one thing Cyclops said informed his - ‘We never did enough to help you’ Cap admits.
The trio sit down on some sofas, as Havok replies that Scott is a delusional egotist, but that he has his moments. Cap regrets what has happened, before pointing out that how the X-Men and Avengers move forward is still in their hands. Cap informs Havok that he would like to him join them, to become an Avenger. ‘More than join, I want you to lead a squad of our very best. X-Men and Avengers working together, setting an example of cooperation. With Xavier gone, and Cyclops locked away, someone has to stand up and represent the mutants’ Cap explains. He points out that Logan is trying, that he is doing good work at the school, but with his checked past, he can’t be the face of this. ‘You’re a government man, degree in geophysics, a student of Xavier’s with a clean history. People will listen to you. They’ll follow you’ Cap tells Havok, trying to convince him.
Meanwhile, a dishevelled man ambles down a busy street, clutching a bag. He drops the bag on the street, and a cab driver honks their horn at him. The man is wearing a trench coat with large metal boats. ‘Hey! Whaddaya, on drugs? Move yer ass!’ the cab driver shouts out. ‘Somebody call the cops!’ a person walking nearby suggests. The man has a large scar on his forehead -from where his scalp was previously cut open. He grins and pulls from the bag a familiar helmet, which he puts on his head. ‘Hey, man…you all right?’ someone calls out. ‘Never better’ Avalanche replies, grinning.
Back at Avengers Mansion, Havok looks away and tells Captain America that he is not Xavier and definitely not his brother. ‘They’re gone - you’re not’ Cap points out, telling Havok to like it or not, but that he is the best candidate to lead the fight for Xavier’s dream. Havok gets up, ‘No. not me’ he replies. Cap tells him that someone has to stand and fill their shoes, to which Havok replies ‘Right. Because it all turned out so well for them’.
Outside, Avalanche unleashes his powerful seismic power, creating craters in the street so that cars and people fall into them, and raising other parts of the land. ‘Outta my way!’ someone screams. ‘Run!’ someone else shouts. ‘Wake up time for the humans! THE MUTANTS ARE BACK!’ Avalanche booms.
Rushing outside as they hear the commotion, Captain America tells Thor to go. Avalanche rises high on a mountain of rubble, ‘You hunted us! Herded us into camps! Hear me, humanity - the retaliation begins now!’ he calls out. ‘Dear God!’ someone shouts. ‘Not like th-’ someone else begins. ‘John, help m-’ someone pleads. Thor speeds towards a building that is starting to collapse. Captain America hears the deafening rumble, the screams, and knows that they are already too late. He tells himself that Thor will save all he can, while stopping the madman responsible is up to him.
Thor emerges from the collapsing build, several people clinging to his body as he flies upwards, ‘Havok - shoot me!’ Cap calls out, raising his shield. Havok complies, unleashing his plasma energy against Cap’s shield, blasting the Avenger into the air, propelling him towards the ledge where Avalanche now stands. ‘You murdering coward!’ Cap calls out as he drops down beside Avalanche, knowing that he has to take him down, that he has one chance. ‘The dam burst - the flow released - the inciting act is complete’ Avalanche replies as he simply drops back off the high ledge. Cap reaches out, but he is too late, for Avalanche jumped without hesitation. ‘His smile - absolute calm’ Cap thinks to himself as he looks down in shock,
People are running for their lives, as walls of rock fall towards them. ‘The hell out of -’ someone shouts. ‘My son! My son is under!’ another exclaims. Suddenly, Havok appears wearing a version of his classic costume, ‘KEEP MOVING!’ he shouts loudly as he fires plasma blasts at the rocks, breaking them up. Dust rises from the chaos, as Thor sets the people he rescued down on a rooftop. Havok leads more people to safety, while Cap stands on the ledge and looks out over the destruction.
‘What an absolute horror. I always knew it would end like this. If you want to excite a crowd to violence…preach of peace and tolerance…and they’ll tear you apart’ Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch thinks to herself as she lays a flower in front of the Charles Xavier memorial. ‘Desperate and panicked - we made such a mess of it all, Charles. A mess you gave your life to clean’ Wanda thinks to herself. A tear falls down her face as she admits that she spent her life trying to life who she is, and whose blood is in her veins. She recalls that Charles was always welcoming to her, the daughter of his enemy, and in payment, she became his worst nightmare. ‘A terrified mutant with far too much power’.
Wanda decides that the final cost of what she set in motion can be measured - Charles has been silenced, leaving it to the remaining mutants to preserve his ideals. ‘A mission more crucial than ever. To my end, Charles, to my last breath - I will defend your dream’ Wanda thinks.
Suddenly, as the sun sets in the background, Rogue appears. ‘Pick those flowers back up. And get the hell out of here. Sugah’ Rogue orders. Wanda turns, then stands, explaining that she is just paying her respects. ‘This is your fault. You set this in motion’ Rogue exclaims. Wanda tells Rogue that she knows her part in this, and that she accepts responsibility for what she did. ‘Will Cyclops’ the Scarlet Witch asks. ‘He was fighting to save the mutants that you erased!’ Rogue snaps back. ‘Save them from what? Why was it so important more mutants be born?’ Wanda enquires, adding ‘But why look too close when it’s so much easier to blame me’.
‘So who is the Scarlet Witch then? All your life the X-Men have been hunted like dogs - you ignored it - hiding among the humans. Did you tell yourself that you were normal? That you were just like them? Well, you’re not, angel. You’re a mutant. And all you’ve done is add to your suffering!’ Rogue declares as she stares Wanda in the eyes. Wanda remains calm, and announces that she is so bored with this martyrdom routine. ‘This halo you X-Men all love to polish. Self-described soldiers adorned in “X” with no dedication to what it actually stands for -’ Rogue punches her hard in the face. Wanda falls back. Rubbing her face, she tells Rogue that she won’t fight her, as her hex powers can be unpredictable.
‘Yeah? Mine aren’t. I absorb other folks’ aptitudes and use ‘em against ‘em’ Rogue replies as she removes one of her gloves and places her bare hand on Wanda’s face. ‘Here. Let me show you -’ Rogue begins, but she pulls away and looks at her, remarking that it isn’t working. ‘What the hell did you do to my -’ Rogue begins, when suddenly, there is a massive explosion at the memorial statue, and both women are knocked some feet back. ‘That wasn’t you?’ Rogue asks, shocked. ‘No…it was them’ Wanda replies, as both women stare back to the source of the explosion.
Rogue and the Scarlet Witch see five strange beings standing before them. One of the beings is a woman with a goat-face mask on. ‘Your foul “gifts” fail as you suffer the gaze of the Goat-Faced Girl!’ she exclaims. Another of the beings steps forward, and boasts ‘No mutant shall escape the anger of my living wind!’, and casts forth a powerful surge of wind, with the words “I Live to Attack” riding on them, which slams into Rogue, knocking her into the Scarlet Witch, and they fall backwards. A rather normal looking member of the group suddenly switches into a large insect, declaring ‘I suffer the insect unto myself - for the good of all man!’ and aims a large stinger towards Rogue, announcing that his Cassandra toxin will end the threat that the mutants refuse to see.
But, before he can shove his stinger into Rogue, Wanda leaps between them. ‘NO!’ Rogue gasps, as the Insect skewers the Scarlet Witch through her stomach. Wanda collapses into Rogue’s arms. ‘She sleeps now. Get what we came for!’ the Insect tells the others as he punches Rogue, rendering her unconscious. A woman with a watery-complexion and tentacles for feet raises her arm, and water parts, as she and her comrades take their quarry into the water, and vanish.
At an undisclosed location, a man is busy in a darkened laboratory, while an old woman announces ‘The dead do not speak to me now. The dead speak when they are ready’. ‘Fine’ the man busy in the dim lab replies as he raises a drill to the head of someone strapped to a chair. ‘You know, to bond to such a thing - there are risks to you. Perhaps this is madness?’ the old woman suggests, adding that perhaps they should resume their hunt for the Cosmic Cube or the Bloodstones. The man starts drilling the head in front of him, blood splatters everywhere and he asks the old woman why they should chase relics when the most powerful weapon on Earth is unguarded in clear sight? He adds that failure has always stemmed from looking to an outside source. ‘They will not be able to take this weapon from my grip - I will be one with the power -’ he declares.
Light shines down on the man as he is revealed to be the diabolical Red Skull. The body he was drilling into is that of Charles Xavier. Grinning wickedly, the Red Skull has removed Xavier’s brain, and holds it up, boasting ‘With the brain of Charles Xavier, the Red Skull will eradicate the mutant menace!’