Uncanny Avengers (1st series) #15

Issue Date: 
February 2014
Story Title: 

Rick Remender (writer), Steve McNiven (penciler), John Dell with Dexter Vines & Jay Leisten (inkers), Laura Martin (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Steve McNiven & Justin Ponsor (cover artists), Tom Brevoort & Daniel Ketchum (editors), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Havok and Captain America are aboard the Apocalypse Ark, plotting their mission plan, when Havok suddenly vanishes. All around the planet Earth, mutants start vanishing in a haze of scarlet energy. Wolverine battles the Grim Reaper and Daken, who explain the Apocalypse Twins’ plan, and the Grim Reaper comments on the state of the Earth’s heroes. Wolverine then vanishes and materializes in a stasis tube alongside Cyclops and Sunfire. The Wasp is still being pursued by the Sentry. They land on a planet in the Akkaba Nebula, The Wasp puts up a valiant fight, but the Sentry is too powerful and ripping his own head open, states that he is challenging humanity who will not protect the mutants. Thor arrives, and engages his old foe in combat. The Wasp uses this time to contact the insects, and a giant earthworm bursts forth and carries the Sentry away, just in time before he can do any harm Thor. Captain America finds the Apocalypse Twins and attempts to separate them. He battles them for a time, before they apprehend him. He looks out to the stars, and sees Exitar the Executioner appear over the planet Earth. Eimin quotes a passage and announces that they have sentenced Earth to death. She then attacks Captain America with acid bubbles. Thor and the Wasp meet with Uatu the Watcher who tells them that there is nothing to be done, and motions to Exitar, who gives Earth the thumbs down signal.

Full Summary: 

The Apocalypse Ark, within the Akkaba Nebula. ‘We should getting close to the Twins. You call the play, Alex’ Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America tells Alex “Havok” Summers as they run down a corridor. ‘Me? I say we go home’ Alex replies. He smiles at Cap and suggests they pick up some Lagavulin 16 year in and out burger and hit some GTA. ‘Let’s this play out on its own’. ‘Get this day out on the bone?’ Cap calls back. ‘Yes, that’s exactly what I said, Steve’ Alex replies, before telling him shut up, as they have crabs to scrub. ‘Speak for yourself’ Cap tells Alex. ‘Knew your hearing was coming back’ Alex replies as they prepare to enter another corridor, an Akkaba soldier on a giant crab approaches. ‘Kept up the act anyway. Figured we could use the levity’ Cap explains as they rush towards the warrior. ‘And they call you a self-serious stick in the -’ Alex begins, when suddenly, he starts to glow and then vanishes. ‘Havok?’ Cap calls out.

Elsewhere on the Ark, Rogue’s skeleton lies at the feet of the Grim Reaper, one of the Four Horsemen of Death. ‘So full of rage’ the Grim Reaper comments as Wolverine a.k.a. Logan lunges towards him. Logan’s claws clash with the Grim Reaper’s scythe, and the Grim Reaper points out that the death of Xavier did a real number on Rogue, so it is a good thing she had Wolverine’s example to follow. Wolverine strikes again, and the Grim Reaper claims that he is upset he didn’t get to kill the lovebirds himself, but he is happy the job got done right. ‘Lot of things going right’ Daken, another of the Horsemen of Death, and Wolverine’s son, declares as he comes up behind Wolverine. ‘The Twins knew all we had to do was get you “heroes” squabbling again’ he grins as he wraps his arms around Wolverine’s neck. The Grim Reaper announces that while they worked together, the heroes split themselves apart, and that it didn’t take but a nudge to start things off. ‘Are you ideologies so different?’ he enquires.

The Grim Reaper points out that all the heroes are just self-righteous egotists with too much power, so it would seem they should get along great. ‘Each side totally certain that their methodology is the only way forward. But you’d rather see the world burn than compromise’ the Grim Reaper remarks, adding that the heroes are more invested in who takes credit than if things actually get better. ‘Well, things are getting better - in spite of you. Tell you the truth - I don’t give a single crap about the Apocalypse Twins - but I do love what they have in store for mankind. And when you wake up from this long nap - you’ll finally see the true cost of your stupidity’.

At the same time, all around the world, mutants are beginning to vanish in bubbles of pink energy - thanks to the Scarlet Witch’s spell. At the New Xavier School in Canada, Cyclops, Magneto and Magik disappear, while Cable is fighting a woman in Moscow, and both of them vanish, too. In Madripoor, Sabretooth and Mystique look confused when they are taken against their will, and at Avengers Tower in Manhattan, the Superior Spider-Man watches as Cannonball and Sunspot glow pink then disappear, too. And at the Jean Grey School in Westchester, several students are in class as the rapture strikes them. In Los Angeles, Psylocke, Storm and Puck vanish. And as the Grim Reaper finishes his speech, Wolverine, too, disappears.

Watching from a monitor station aboard the Ark, ‘This is where it ends, Eimin’ Uriel tells his sister. ‘And where it begins, Uriel’ Emin points out. Uriel announces that the mutants are arriving now, before telling his sister that he loves her so. ‘You flatter me, but the situation was skewed in our favor. The Scarlet Witch couldn’t know I’d foreseen her treachery’ Eimin reveals, adding that the Scarlet Witch’s magic was only needed to guide the mutants here, and once on board the Ark, directing them to their sarcophagi is simple enough. Right now, Wolverine, Cyclops and Sunfire are shown in their stasis tubes.

At the same time, Janet Van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp flits about and thinks that she hasn’t had the fate of the world on her shoulders in a bit. ‘Forgot how miserable it feels’ she decides, while dodging blasts of energy fired by another of the Four Horsemen of Death, the Sentry. ‘Try and understand what is being offered here, Janet’ the Sentry calls out. ‘This will make a safer world’ he explains. ‘Cliché, much?’ Jan calls back, while telling herself to ignore the Sentry, and to remember the people who are counting on her, to remember what is on the line. ‘Save thousands from kidnapping. Protecting the freedom of innocents. A good day’s work’. As the Sentry catches up to her, she knows that he is definitely faster than her, but wonders if he can outmaneuver her, so she makes a quick hard turn, which causes a gray out, but she tells herself to keep it together. ‘This was my plan. Pushed against Alex’s orders. And so here I am - one chance at this’ Jan tells herself as she arrives at the blue energy which rises from the tachyon dam. She knows she has to destroy it, and allow Immortus’ reinforcements to enter. ‘Stop the super villains. Maybe even get the guy’ she decides. ‘Good old-fashioned super-hero business’.

Back in the monitor station, Uriel tells Eimin that all is right, that their people are secure. Eimin announces that it is time to leave the diminutive Akkaba Nebula, time to prepare for the mutants’ great journey home. Suddenly, the massive Ark starts to rumble, then vanishes. ‘No!’ Jan thinks to herself, unable to complete her assignment. ‘I was right there -’ she tells herself. ‘Her lips were red, her looks were free. The nightmare life-in-death was she’ the Sentry declares as he looms over the startled Wasp, preparing to clasp his hands over her, Janet screams, before suddenly increasing her form so that she is giant in size. ‘Are you reading me poetry, Sentry?’ the Wasp asks. She tells him that she is flattered, but that she has got her eye on a beau with a more modern look. The Wasp’s giant foot then slams the Sentry into the sand-covered ground of the planet. ‘Sebastian Bach called - he wants his hair back, Crazy Pants’ the Wasp declares, before raising her massive foot of the ground where she has squashed the Sentry.

But then, two massive rock-creatures rise from the sand. ‘Not crazy. Enlightened. Removing the mutants from Earth is the best hope for humanity. I am the Chosen Son returned. I will allow no harm to befall our people, Janet’ the Sentry declares as he bursts up from the sand, while one of the rock creatures slams its fist into the Wasp’s face. The second rock creature whacks her from behind, and Jan slips back to her default form and crashes to the ground. The Sentry floats over to her, ‘Now. Now you can move forward knowing there was nothing else you could have done. You can say you gave it your very all -’ the Sentry begins, but doesn’t finish his sentence as the Wasp declares ‘Not yet’ and unleashes a close-range energy blast directed at his face.

The Sentry’s burned face stares back at the Wasp and tells her that hurting his mortal shell is pointless, as it is only flesh. ‘The soul is what drives me. The Odinson gave me the gift of death unending. And taught me the role I am meant to play’. Suddenly, the Sentry grabs the top of his head, and digs his fingers in - tearing his face in half, revealing his brain and eyeballs beneath. ‘I am the Sentry of Mankind - I am Apocalypse!’ the Sentry announces telepathically, black tendrils sprouting from his eyes, they wrap around the shocked Wasp, as he boasts that he will not allow humanity to suffer these mutant threats. Darkness chills the Wasp to her bone. The Sentry is insane - so much power - it would take the act of a God to defeat him. Luckily for Janet, she happens to know one - and as if on cue, Thor slams down from above, shoving the Sentry into the ground. ‘This ends now, madman!’ Thor booms as he casts forth a powerful lightning bolt, which shatters both of the rock creatures.

Then, the Sentry appears behind Thor, speaking to him telepathically, he quotes “It had been strange, even in a dream - to have seen those dead men rise”. ‘Odin’s eye!’ Thor gasps as he sees the Sentry’s face re-form around his brain. The Sentry tells Thor that he laments his sins, and atones with each breath. ‘And you, godling?’ he asks. ‘How will you repent for all your pride has wrought?’ the Sentry enquires as he punches Thor, knocking the hero backwards. There is a worm on the Wasp’s hand, and it whispers something to her. The Sentry holds Thor up and declares that they must pay penance for their misdeeds, or suffer them eternally. ‘For you taught me this in the light of the sun. Burned down and reborn countless times’. The Sentry tells Thor to calm his rage and live to see the good results of this rapture. ‘I say thee - NAY!’ Thor booms in reply, raising a fist to the Sentry, who points out that the ancient mariner lived through his missteps, before warning Thor that he will not, and he shoves Thor to the ground.

‘C’mon! Killing him - not much time - sift through the frequencies - there!’ the Wasp thinks to herself as she places her hands by the antennae on her helmet. ‘I didn’t want this. But there is justice in it. There is -’ the Sentry begins as he stands over Thor’s motionless body. Black energy starts to pour from the Sentry, when suddenly, a huge giant worm bursts up from the ground, the creature’s mouth wide open. ‘Oh’ the Sentry utters, ‘Here’s some justice, you son of a -’ the Wasp declares, as the giant worm slams down over the Sentry, then tunnels away back through the ground. The Wasp holds up Thor’s helmet which fell off in battle, ‘Excuse me. Do you know a God of Thunder who might be into kicking the hell out of some twins?’ she asks him. ‘Aye. I might’ Thor smiles at his friend.

Aboard the Ark, ‘How long now?’ Eimin asks as she and Uriel gaze out a window at the planet below. ‘He’ll be here soon. I’m as eager as you, I get it’ Uriel tells his sister, adding that it took a lot of work to get them here. ‘Don’t worry’ he assures her. ‘With the Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man dead, there is no undoing it now’ one of the twins remarks, overheard by Captain America who is standing in the doorway. He frowns, and wants like hell to have misheard them. But the weight on his heart knows that it is true. ‘My friends are dead’ Cap tells himself, while Uriel tells Eimin that he imagines Kang’s scowling face, watching helpless. ‘Dead because I splintered the Unity Squad. Because I wouldn’t stand down’ Cap decides, as he rushes forward, holding his shield up, recalling that he wouldn’t let Alex lead. ‘To hurt so many in order to conquer a single man. You taught us well, father’ Uriel announces, while Cap realizes that this is on him, all down to him. ‘Salvage some small victory - avenge my friends’ he tells himself, as he leaps towards Uriel, shield ready to strike - but Uriel casually turns, and raises a hand, catching Cap in a field of energy.

‘You have a reputation as the greatest tactician of your era, Captain’ Uriel remarks. While Eimin announces that a true tactician would not enter a battle he had no hope of winning, and lashes out at Cap with her sharp wings, slicing him across his chest. Cap cries out in pain, but released from Uriel’s energy field, he somersaults backwards. Cap is time distorted, his hand moves in slow motion, pulling away from his wound, revealing his insides. ‘You were trying to separate us. You are astute, Captain’ Eimin exclaims as she rushes to him, and slices him once more. Cap keels over, and Uriel stands over him, while Eimin quotes “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on Earth…and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the Earth…and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipte from the face of the Earth the human race I have created - for I regret that I have made them’”.

Cap raises his shield which clangs against Uriel’s wing. He then slams the shield into Uriel’s face. Uriel kicks Cap in the stomach, causing the hero to fall backwards, and Uriel elbows Cap in the back. On his knees, Cap falls forward, and Eimin stands over him, reaching for his neck, she continues her quote: “But man found favor in the eyes of the Lord. The waters rose and increased greatly on the Earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. The rose greatly on the Earth - and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered”. Eimin turns Cap’s face to the window, where a glow starts to materialize over the Earth. “And every living thing that moved on land perished. Birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the Earth…and all mankind”. Eimin continues as from the bright light, the Celestial calls Exitar the Exterminator appears. ‘No…’ Cap utters, horrified. Eimin leans her face close towards Cap’s and continues the quote: “Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died”.

‘Dear God…’ Cap declares, blood trickling down his face. “Every living thing on the face of the Earth was wiped out - people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the Earth. Only Noah was left…and those with him in the Ark”. Eimin grins as she tells this to Cap, who suddenly, pulls away from her, ‘You don’t know what you’ve unleashed!’ Cap shouts. He falls back, and Eimin looms over him, boasting that they know exactly what they have unleashed. But Eimin tells Cap that they know exactly what they have unleashed - ‘We’ve sentenced the Earth to death’ she declares. ‘The Scarlet Witch once said “No more mutants” - I say no more humans’ Eimin remarks, as green bubbles suddenly materialize around her, and move towards Cap, the balls of acid splash against him.

At that moment: ‘What does it want?’ the Wasp asks as Thor holds her hand, flying towards the Celestial, Thor explains who it is, and reveals that it arrives for only one purpose - to destroy. ‘There is someone we must see. Even if his desire is to stay removed from intervention…we desperately require the Watcher’s counsel’ Thor tells the Wasp, and shortly, they arrive on a barren landscape, where Uatu is gazing into the sky. ‘What is this madness?’ Thor calls out to the Watcher, asking why Exitar the Executioner has come. ‘You know why it has come, Odinson’ Uatu replies. ‘I do not - what crime could earn man such fate?’ Thor enquires. Uatu replies that the crime was Thor’s - hubris in the form of an axe. ‘An axe you enchanted with the power to slay a Celestial’ he explains. ‘Jarnbjorn’ Thor utters, hanging his head. Uatu reveals that Exitar was drawn here by the Apocalypse Twins when they used Thor’s enchanted weaponi to fell the Celestial Gardeners, to harvest their Life and Sdeath Seeds - to break the laws of nature.

The Wasp looks nervous and asks Uatu to tell them what they can do to appease them. ‘How can we stop the Celestil Executioner?’ she enquires. Uatu replies that there is nothing to be done, and pointing towards the Earth and the Executioner, announces that Earth’s fate is decided, as energy sparks from the Executioner’s hand, which gives a mighty “thumbs down”….

Characters Involved: 

Captain America, Havok, Sunfire, Thor, Wasp, Wolverine (all Uncanny Avengers)

Eimin & Uriel

Daken, Grim Reaper, Sentry (all Four Horsemen of Death)

Cyclops, Magik, Magneto (all renegade X-Men)
Psylocke, Puck, Storm (all Uncanny X-Force)
Cannonball, Sunspot, Superior Spider-Man (all Avengers)
Broo, Genesis II, Kid Omega (all students at the Jean Grey School)
Cable & mutant woman
Mystique & Sabretooth

Uatu the Watcher

Exitar the Exterminator

Akkaba warriors

Story Notes: 

Rogue, the Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man all died last issue.

Puck should not have been taken in the rapture as he is not a mutant.

The story of Jarnbjorn can be read in Uncanny Avengers #6.

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