From the darkness voices call out: ‘Poor Wanda’. ‘Misunderstood by your friends’. ‘Hated by your fellow mutants’. ‘A tool sought out by madmen, collected, manipulated - time and time again’. ‘The world’s most powerful weapon…’. ‘…yet underneath, still very much flesh and blood’ Eimin, one of the Apocalypse Twins declares as she and her brother, Uriel, stand over Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch, no longer shrouded in darkness, but on a street in a small town, the sun glowing in the sky above. ‘How dehumanizing it must be’ Uriel adds, while Wanda asks where she is. Uriel tells her to be calm, and points out that if they wished her harm, she would already be dead. ‘You who nearly extinguished our people. You would be flayed alive by any other Apocalypse’ Eimin adds, before Uriel tells her that she will suffer no injury at their hands.
‘It is not my welfare you murderers should be concerned with!’ Wanda declares as she casts forth a hex spell, energies crash towards the Apocalypse Twins, but a force field is placed between them and Uriel tells Wanda that she cannot injure them, that her hex is easily dispersed across artificial millennia.
He asks Wanda if she has ever heard of Tucker Creek, Montana, the town she sees around them. ‘Have you ever heard what our father, Warren Worthington, did to this small town?’ he asks, as a projection of Archangel appears above, followed by a replaying of events, as Genocide is let loose. ‘He murdered five thousand three hundred and one human souls here. Give thousand three hundred and one more victims in he way between man and mutant’. The explosions race around Wanda, before the city is razed to the ground. ‘M-my God…’ Wanda utters. Eimin tells her that it is horrifying, while Uriel remarks that he isn’t surprised she didn’t know, as it is a very well kept secret.
The landscape around them changes, as Uriel reveals that their father planted a life seed, and a grew a new world above the graveyard, the region known as Tabula Rasa, has since been concealed under a camouflage dome. ‘Those who hid it realized what would happen should the general population ever learn of this secret massacre. The landscape around them changes, as Eimin states ‘As did the Red Skull and without our intervention, he will leak this secret’.
Wanda and the Apocalypse Twins stand on a balcony observing the Red Skull who is looking out over a Sentinel-guarded camp. Uriel tells Wanda that, outraged, the human population will demand action, and concentration camps soon follow. ‘The Red Skull’s rule leads to unimaginable catastrophe’. Uriel tells Wanda. ‘As did our father’s’ Eimin adds. ‘As did your father’s’ Uriel reminds Wanda. Eimin points out that as a young woman, Wanda eventually saw Magneto’s methodology as the evil he labeled his Brotherhood as.
‘I think you understand that even if there were no Red Skull, no Magneto -’ Eimin begins, ‘- there will always be someone willing to embrace evil to perpetuate his or her species’ Uriel concludes. The landscape around them changes again, they are inside a blue room with small lights and a door ahead. Eimin tells Wanda that the only end to this war is genocide. ‘This is simple truth. You know we are right’. She tells Wanda that if she will listen, they have a solution. ‘A road to lasting peace, a future where man and mutant thrive…and without spilling a single drop of blood’. Uriel asks her to come with them, and they enter another room, where large statues are lined up. ‘Behold this era’s great mutant leaders’ Uriel tells her. There is Xavier and his dream of cohabitation. Magneto, who would kill all humans to make way for mutants. Havok, who imagines man and mutant united as one indivisible species. Cyclops, who would protect the mutants by any means necessary. Archangel, cared simply for evolution, and Apocalypse, deemed survival as a reward only earned by the very fittest.
‘But in the end, it wasn’t any of their ideologies that we saw the answer to the dilemma you face’ Eimin tells Wanda as the trio walk through the room, passing the many statues. ‘It wasn’t until we studied another pair of twins that we discovered a proper solution. You and Pietro, the mutant children of Magneto, share much in common with Eimin and I’ Uriel announces, pointing out that they were all torn from mothers and manipulated by madmen to believe they were they key to their salvation.
Wanda listens intently, as the Apocalypse Twins stand near statues of both the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. ‘And like you, we too broke away from our father, and sought our own path forward’ Eimin adds, while Uriel tells her that discovering their greatest strength was their bond. ‘You had Magneto. We had Kang. Whereas your mutant gifts were merged with magic, ours were intertwined with Kang’s time abilities’ Uriel adds. ‘Why would Kang go to such lengths?’ Wanda enquires.
Standing before a statue of Kang, Uriel explains that in the future, the mutants stand in Kang’s way, that he and Eimin were his ultimate plan to rid himself of the nuisance, but due to his code of “conquering with honor” he concocted a scheme that was, in fact, more ingenious. Eimin tells Wanda that all their lives Kang taught them that it was their destiny to come to this era, before the Red Onslaught and instigate the mutant rapture, to take their people to a new world to thrive in safety. Uriel states that to end the war between man and mutant, they would separate them. ‘And while dear father Kang only desires the mutants removed for selfish purposes, we began to see this was truly the best solution to the tribulations of our people’ he explains. A projection of a sprawling, futuristic city appears, and Uriel declares that Planet X is the best way to ensure peace. ‘To create a paradise where mutants are free to use their powers in the open. Once free of the burden of mankind’s frail weight - we will live as gods’. Uriel assures Wanda that she is no weapon to them, but that she is an angel of salvation with the power to shepherd their people to safety. ‘And they desperately need your guidance away from here - today’ Eimin adds.
Another projection is shown to Wanda, of the Red Onslaught - which will be released, unstoppable and terrible not just in his own abilities - but in his power to control others. Hundreds of heroes lay dead at the Red Onslaught’s feet. ‘Others such as you, Wanda. The Skull came for you once before, when he had just acquired Xavier’s gifts’ Uriel reminds her. He tells Wanda that she is the weapon the Red Skull uses to destroy Earth’s heroes, and through her, he bends reality to his will, to bring about a cataclysmic and dark era. Wanda covers her mouth with her hands, shocked, and Eimin announces that the rapture is the only way to avoid it. ‘No, it’s playing God - giving up on cohabitation - tearing people away from their loved ones - I’ll have nothing to do with it!’ Wanda shouts.
‘Better to leave them to die before their loved ones’ eyes?’ Eimin asks, before pointing out that Wanda is the only one who has the ability, that it is what she was born to do. ‘And if I refuse you? What then?’ Wanda asks, before once again looking shocked, as Eimin and Uriel kneel before her, and Uriel tells her that she must make this decision for herself, that they will not force her. ‘It doesn’t matter. My hexes…they aren’t powerful enough…’ Wanda replies. ‘Should you elect to cast the rapture spell… we have a power source great enough to fuel it’ Eimin reveals.
At that moment, Simon “Wonder Man” Williams is held in powerful restraints, while his crazed brother Eric, the Grim Reaper stands before him. ‘You made such a stink about the Avengers’ existence being a stain. But that Wanda, she’s a real lollipop, and you’re dying for a taste. You want her enough to break your pledge of disassembling the Avengers and actually rejoin’ the Grim Reaper declares. He grins, and tells Simon that he really is a goof. ‘Enough power to level a city, or build one, and you chose inaction to make your point. But how bad does this get before your abandon your pacifism?’ he asks. The Grim Reaper frowns and tells Simon ‘I bet I know, I net I know when you crack and start to throw those fists’. He tells Simon that ideology is only as strong as the will of the man living it. ‘And as your brother, I can tell you, Simon…you ain’t got the stones to keep this up’.
The Grim Reaper, one of the Four Horsemen of Death, grabs Simon by his face, as Simon replies ‘Maybe that’s right, Eric, but tell me this, if you’re so unafraid of me…why don’t you put my pacifism to the test…and let me down?’, before telling his brother that maybe he is just chiding him, because he is anxious about what happens if he does break his vow. ‘and let me tell you Eric, nothing will change my mind’ Simon announces.
Elsewhere, Rogue and Shiro Yoshida a.k.a. Sunfire are in a strange place, where prehistoric-like creatures fly above them, in an orange-glowing sky, and energy pours up from the platform they stand on. ‘The man who attacked Thor…’ Sunfire’s voice trails off. ‘Sentry’ Rogue explains, adding that she knew him, years ago, before he went mad and was killed by Thor. ‘He is by far the most powerful and unhinged person I’ve ever known’ Rogue adds, telling Sunfire that, being honest, she was glad when Sentry passed, as the word just felt safer. Sunfire puts a hand to Rogue’s face and tells her to borrow his solar strength, as it will actually make her safer. But Rogue tells Shiro that she would rather not. ‘Last time we touched, you ended up trapped in my head…’ her voice trails off. ‘I’ve been in worse places, Tomodachi’ Sunfire replies.
Rogue looks away from Sunfire and hangs her head, telling him that she feels responsible for his fall. ‘We were in conflict. You did what you had to’ Sunfire replies. Rogue turns back to him and reminds him that he lost his legs defending her, and that led him to join up with Apocalypse. ‘It led me to see my true strength. That I could rise again after that bottomless pit - it fills me with great pride’ Sunfire explains. Rogue tells him that she doesn’t think pride is anything he was ever lacking. Sunfire turns away from Rogue now, declaring that he has had to fight every inch of his life, and he is proud of what he has come through. ‘I didn’t mean that as an insult…’ Rogue begins, but Sunfire spins around ,’OF COURSE YOU DID!’ he shouts, shaking a fist. ‘You all love to chide me for my honor. With no mind to what I have suffered!’ he exclaims.
Sunfire continues, stating that he remains the proud protector his homeland, the greatest nation on Earth, even if they have forgotten him. ‘Stop. Look at me’ Rogue calls out, putting a hand to Sunfire’s face, and one on his chest. ‘All that time you were stuck in my head - I know that better than anyone’ she assures him. ‘I know you had to become fierce of your father would’ve crushed you. I know how underappreciated and looked down upon you feel, and the anger it leads to’. Rogue tells Sunfire that she knows what he has been through, and that he impresses the hell out of her. Sunfire smiles, and thanks Rogue. He extends a bare hand, ‘Now take my impressive hand… and let’s go burn these bastards to the ground’ he asks Rogue, who removes her glove, and takes Sunfire’s hand, his power transferring to her.
Meantime, Wolverine a.k.a. Logan stands before Daken, another of the Four Horsemen of Death. Logan ignores the urge to hold his son, beg his forgiveness. ‘Shock and heartbreak, Dad. It’s all over your face’ Daken calls out. Giant worms slither around them, as Daken continues, ‘You thought you were done with me. A twisted little secret you buried with the worms. But I’m back. King of the Worms’ Daken jokes. ‘But this ain’t my boy. My boy’s dead’ Wolverine decides, claws ready. ‘Drowned to death by your father - it’s a bad way out, you know?’ Daken tells Wolverine, adding that it is funny, the whole time he kept thinking that Logan was going to let him up. “He’s going to stop now”, he thought. Wolverine realizes that Daken is just a corpse - but a corpse reeking of the same evil stench Warren Worthington had. The stench of death.
Daken holds his arms up, claws ready as well, ‘I kept thinking it over and over. “Dad’s gonna realize he can’t undo this. He’s not gonna give up on me. He’ll show mercy. Take me to school. Teach me to become a good man - like him”. Because I just knew somewhere deep down - my Dad loves me. Dad believes in me. Believes I can be a good man!’ Daken declares, as he starts running towards Wolverine. Logan tells himself to ignore the corpse and ignore the terrible words. ‘Put it back where it belongs’ he thinks, while Daken tells him that, at the end, it finally sunk in. ‘You don’t love anything!’ Daken shouts as he shoves his claws into Wolverine’s chest. Some sort of disease or virus starts to spread through Wolverine, who falls to the ground. Daken stands over him, ‘Even with all the second chances you’ve been given in life…but in the end, you really did it’ Daken remarks. He positions Wolverine on his knees, death-energy smoldering from the wound. ‘In the end, you drowned your own son to death in a muddy puddle - just like a real hero’ Daken tells his father, before shoving his claws through Wolverine’s skull and out his eye sockets. There is a horrible cracking noise, and Wolverine screams.
Tyconria, the Akkaba Nebula, the Sentry leaves this alien world imperilled by the green gamma lava used to power its cities. He has accomplished his masters’ charge. In part. Thor has been subdued. Though the Twins wanted him dead. But the new voice within Robert Reynolds’ fractured mind urged him to keep the Thunder God alive. For a while the current conflict holds the fate of his masters’ goals. It is not the ultimate goal of the Sentry. This new voice has suspicions as to its masters’ true objectives. Should its premonitions come true - Sentry will require Thor’s aid yet. At that moment, Thor’s mighty hammer is flung towards the Sentry across the futuristic city. The Sentry dodges the hammer, before being struck by a surge of lightning.
‘I know not how these devils heaved you forth from Hela’s pit - but I will send you back to her, madman!’ Thor booms as he reaches Sentry, and shoves him forward through the air, smashing through the side of a building, and crashing down to the street below, startling some aliens and sending several hover-cars tumbling sideways. But, Sentry rises from the attack and flies over Thor, declaring that he is the Ancient Mariner, home from a journey fraught with dreadful hubris and unbound misstep. ‘I must tell my story, and teach a lesson to those I meet. My penance’ he explains. Debris starts to float into the air, as the Sentry states that the man he was, he was riddled with festering ailments and deep sadness - a confused and drug addled man turned solder supreme through pilfered science.
‘By giving up on me, you took the chance to help me, old friend. You cured me of the agoraphobic nightmare. You cleansed me in the sun’ the Sentry tells Thor. ‘And it did burn me down. I did swim through dreadfulness to the light. From an atom, I was regrown. Regrown to be burnt down - again and again until my curse was lifted. The void left me. Bored of the cycle’ the Sentry reveals, as Thor dodges the rubble that the Sentry tosses towards him. His telepathic voice continues, explaining that the Void is in the light place now, the side lands of the White Hot room. ‘Out of my head with this madness!’ Thor shouts, swinging his hammer, before tossing it to the Sentry. It stops, inches from the Sentry’s grinning face, as the Sentry quotes “He prayeth best, who loveth best all things both great and small. For the dear God who loveth us…he made and loveth us all”.
Thor’s hammer falls to the ground with a thud, as the Sentry starts to peel back his own face, and reveals that once the void left him, the two angels came and pulled him from the light to return to this chaotic room with its malodorous flavors, but, gloriously free of the entirety of his sadness and failure, he is reborn. ‘I am life-in-death!’ the Sentry booms, his face completely pulled back, energy bursts forth from his eyes, and he states that he was given new purpose, to protect the weak from cosmic manipulators. Thor is struck down by the Sentry’s eye beams, and the Sentry turns and takes flight, ‘And you, if you are a god, as you are so often called… can you protect the weak from the lesson of my death?’ the Sentry asks.
New York, Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America, Janet van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp and Alex Summers a.k.a. Havok are in an Avengers speedboat, just past Liberty Island. Havok announces that the Twins won’t be able to watch the shipping lanes around Socotra, as there is too much traffic. He adds that if he is right, this is the safest way for them to get close. Cap agrees, pointing out that the twins will be expecting them to approach from the sky, and any aircraft is going to get shot down. He tells his teammate to keep in mind that the Twins have two of the most powerful Avengers in their hands, and they have no idea what they are up against. ‘They could be expecting us, and this could go south, quickly’ Cap adds.
‘I guess you’re leaving the “optimistic pep talk” part of this to me?’ Alex replies, while the Wasp tells him that bravery isn’t the absence of fear, but the strength to ignore it. ‘That’s a classic speech. Give that one’ she suggests. Havok tells his teammates that they need to lock this down before it goes public, as asking the entire world to ignore their fear is something else entirely. Suddenly, the trio look up to the sky as a voice calls out ‘Greetings my mutant brothers and sisters’. ‘Speak of the devils’ the Wasp mutters. Captain America frowns, and Havok looks concerned.
Huge projections of the Apocalypse Twins tower over New York City. Eimin introduces herself as the eternal sleep, and Uriel professes to be light of the cosmos. He announces that they come with hope of salvation. ‘For too long have the mutants of Earth suffered in the shadow of humanity’ he announces. ‘Toiling in a dark shadow cast from the dead link in the cosmically guided chain of evolution’. At Avengers Tower, Iron Man, Hyperion, Cannonball, Sunspot and Spider-Man listen as Uriel adds ‘A road intended to lead us towards superior life-forms with greater capabilities. A road mankind sees only as a cliff - as well they should’.
At the secret location of Cyclops and his renegade X-Men, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magneto and Magik listen as Uriel continues: ‘For too long have you been hounded and slaughtered. For too long have you been hated and feared. Misled by self-appointed leaders preaching war. Or servitude. Or submissiveness. Or worse still - the lie that you’re no different than the humans - that you should endeavor to unite. Such intergrations would see you sully yourself in mankind’s mud - when you were born to shine in the stars.’. At the Jean Grey School in Westchester Beast, Iceman and Kitty Pryde, as well as several students and the original X-Men from the past stare up into the sky, and Uriel tells the mutants that, after today, they shall indeed shine. ‘For today the mutant rapture is upon you. Today you will ascend to a new homeworld, one we will build together’. Psylocke, Storm and Puck as well as Bishop and Spiral watch from their warehouse.
‘Your futures hold only peace and prosperity. No more war. No more strife. No more squabbling with primates’ Uriel tells the mutants. Cap, Havok and the Wasp do not look impressed.
Thor releases a lightning storm into the air over Tyconria,as Uriel continues, ‘Say goodbye to your crumbling prison. Bid farewell to the humans close to you…those false friends and family who feign affection.
Wolverine is strung up to a wall, crucified, and Daken stands beneath him, while Uriel tells the mutants that they need not try to assimilate into their exclusionary self-centered culture any longer. ‘Your people will make their ow home. A home where you will be welcomed and loved’.
Sunfire and Rogue walk across the ship, as Uriel continues, ‘Finally free from your heartless and fear-riddled tormentors. And conversely, mankind will be free of homo-superior…as they have always desired’.
The Grim Reaper readies his death-scythe and glares at Wonder Man, still trapped in the restraints. ‘Free from the promise of our gifts offered them. Prepare to ascend…for the rapture is upon you!’
From their location Uriel and Eimin turn to the Scarlet Witch. ‘It is done. Our people have been informed. And you, Wanda, you are prepared to fulfil your destiny?’ Eimin asks. Wanda remains silent, she stares forward, forlorn, before announcing ‘I am’….