The North pole, yesterday:
Archangel and the Dark Beast make their way through the icy wilderness. “The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go awry and leave us nothing but grief and pain for promised joy,” McCoy quotes. They are neither men nor mice, Archangel points out. They are mutants. Their plan, surefire! McCoy points out his confidence has no limits. He will make a marvelous successor to the throne of Apocalypse. En Sabah Nur always chose well, in this world, in any. Worthington’s mind provided nutritive soil, Archangel agrees. He lands.
McCoy asks about his cohorts whom McCoy sent to acquire the Life Seed. Are they the only ones aware of Archangel’s ascension? Archangel confirms.
McCoy opens a portal in the icy wilderness. He had been convinced Akkaba was far too splintered to regain momentum in this world. Yet it is happening. They will usher in the age of Apocalypse! No, Apocalypse is dead, Archangel replies as they enter the underground kingdom of Clan Akkaba. The Age of Archangel will be vastly superior. They will usher in true Utopia, and promptly. There will be no period of darkness. No time spent slowly hunting and slaughtering humanity.
They are secure in his good hands, Dark Beast replies smoothly. Archangel orders him not address him in platitudes. Groveling is dangerous, feeding his ego while McCoy grows resentful of him. They are brothers in this work! As they move forward, walking past the Final Horsemen, Archangel stresses that McCoy owes him only his honest impressions. A new era indeed, McCoy admits.
Ozymandias bids Archangel welcome as lord and master of the seven seeds and savior of the chosen. Of all the Deaths they planted, he is pleased it was he who rose. Archangel warns Ozymandias that, if he continues to address him in that manner, he will be dismissed! He has served far too long to grovel. He is to dole out respect only when he feels it in his heart. He has held this family together for a long time. His future holds more than placating another tyrant!
Ozymandias leads them to a chamber. Is the boy inside? Archangel asks and tells Oymandias to wait outside.
In the chamber sits a painfully thin young woman. Autumn Rolfson who served Apocalypse as Famine when Warren Worthington was Death. Archangel asks if he can see him. Hesitantly, Autumn asks that he won’t hurt him. Could he if he desired to? Archangel asks. If he is what he believes, nothing on this earth can hurt Autumn’s son.
As Autumn gets up, she explains that she kept him hidden from Apocalypse. She feared he would see the boy as a threat and kill him. Archangel tells her she was right to be afraid. But no longer.
Out of the chamber steps a huge, burning being, dressed in a protective suit, though he is only a boy. He kneels in front of Archangel and promises to serve him in any way. He asks him not to punish his mom for hiding him. Archangel kindly tells him that by concealing him, his mother has changed the fate of the world for the better!
And so now in Cavern–X, X-Force, just returned from the Age of Apocalypse reality stands facing their old teammate, as well as his Final Horsemen, Dark Beast and the boy, Genocide.
They don’t look like they are just going to hand over the Life Seed, Archangel observes. Fantomex asks him to forgive the lack of deference. They may be a tad cranky. That dump Warren sent them to was a bum-out Deadpool adds.
Silently, Wolverine is in telepathic contact with Psylocke, warning her they always knew this might happen and trained for it. Is she ready? She hesitates. After all they’ve been through, how can they just kill Warren?
Fantomex points a gun at Archangel, asking him to forgive the discourteous silence. He assumes they are having a telepathic debate on the merits of killing him. They shouldn’t try, Archangel states. Fantomex surprisingly agrees because Archangel has already won. He has what he wants. He spectacularly defeated them, acquired the Life Seed and left them far too frazzled to seek retribution.
It hasn’t hit yet, Archangel states cryptically. It will, Dark Beast replies. A moment later, Fantomex screams in pain. Archangel explains they have developed a counter measure to his misdirection. His reality-skewing echoed back to his brains creating feedback. Fantomex calls him a son of a bitch. Calmly, Archangel points out he hasn’t used any incendiary language. Why escalate things?
It’s what he does best! Wolverine shouts as he claws at Archangel. Genocide lets loose an energy blast that incinerates all the flesh on Wolverine’s right side.
Archangel tells them Genocide overreacted and suggests they avoid further complications. Kneeling besides Wolverine, Psylocke turns off his pain. She calls Archangel a son of a bitch. How could he do this? Archangel reminds her Wolverine went for his throat.
Drawing his sword, Deadpool asks why they are still talking to him. Archangel sics Famine on him. The elderly man begins to drum and Deadpool sinks down in agony, feeling like diarrhea made of sadness and anger. Kate Moss earns every penny! he wheezes.
Archangel turns to Fantomex, who is still on the ground, demanding the Life Seed before this escalates. Fantomex replies he fought his way into a Celestial, watched a man explode to buy him retreat, but Little Lord Worthington ever so politely demands he share his new toy. Something he should know first: His cobbler didn’t armor the center of his boot. He stabs Archangel through the shoe.
He never liked him! Archangel snarls and lets loose some of his flechettes. He orders his team to bring X-Force to their knees and reminds them Elizabeth is not to be harmed.
Psylocke somersaults behind War and slices through his tendon with her sword. He goes down. Seeing McCoy hurrying towards her, she figures that, despite Archangel’s orders, he will try to kill her, then plead accident after the fact. She figures out how he’ll attack, then shreds his arm with her sword, leaving his swipe ineffective.
Still standing above Fantomex, Archangel announces that, in this perceived competition between them, Fantomex was the only one engaged in it. But he will have the last word. Fantomex weakly suggests he shut up then.
Betsy has the possibility to strike Archangel but, with McCoy coming at her, she has a time window. She strikes but purposefully misses inches from his heart… from ending this. McCoy reaches her but Archangel orders him not to injure her. She is important.
Very sweet, Fantomex remarks. He doesn’t imagine he’ll extend the same courtesy to him. He is pretty special too. There is no future for him, he is told.
Not too far away, Deathlock informs Deadpool that their enemies have taken the World. Way to guard it, Deadpool mocks. Way to guard Warren! Way to guard the base! There were too many, Deathlock adds. They all came at once. Deadpool jokes that would be too easy, even for him.
Death threatens them with every disease known to man. He’s one of the jerks that came and tag-teamed their cyborg? Deadpool asks. And he’s carrying every disease? He throws a smoke grenade at him. These key parties have rules, Buster Brown! They did not have a party, Deathlock feels forced to explain. And George Michael was just using the rest stop, he is told.
Archangel orders his team to stop X-Force, but nevertheless the team takes the opportunity of the smokescreen to run with Deadpool carrying Wolverine and Betsy dragging Fantomex. Psylocke tells Fantomex to get EVA ready for immediate evac. Get her ready? he coughs. What is she – a VW Beetle? He spits her out. She’s ready. No pushing necessary.
Deathlock follows them, announcing his tachyon transmitter is reporting 98.2% certainty of mass casualties scenario from every future. They must refocus their attack. Archangel is a madman. If they do not stop him, he will slaughter thousands of innocents today.
Betsy drags him aboard. She agrees he is right. Fantomex tells her they are leaving. They are beaten. Logan’s near death. They are leaving now. She’s not, Psylocke replies and jumps out of the ship to land in front of Archangel. Should he be flattered? he asks smiling. She’s not giving up on him, she announces.
EVA lands somewhere far away. Genocide’s radiation threatens to overload Logan’s healing factor, EVA warns. Deadpool asks Fantomex for suggestions. He is not next in line for command, comes the reply. He’s not even last. He’s seriously considering dropping them all in the wood and going home. Deathlok reminds him his home was destroyed. He has other homes.
Deathlok repeats that, unless they drastically deviate from this path, countless innocents will likely die within the hour. Fantomex tells him to call Scott Summers or the Avengers. The three of them can’t possibly be the best solution at hand. Deadpool imagines the scenario. So they call the Avengers – two mercenary assassins and a killer robot from the future and ask them to come help them kill Warren Worthington who has become Apocalypse because Fantomex shot a young boy in the head due to their also being a clandestine squad of murderers led by Wolverine, who is half-incinerated and can’t confirm any of it. Damn him, Fantomex swears at Logan, leaving him to clean up his messes.
Archangel and his group have returned to Akkaba metropolis under the North Pole. He tells Betsy not to try and pry into his thoughts. They are well guarded. He has grown into something more than what he was. She has recently heard someone else say that, she replies. Someone evil. A subjective concept, he replies. Evil is having Dark Beast send your friends to die – she presses, sending her to die. Archangel points out that he was manipulating them into acquiring the Life Seed. He had faith they would succeed. McCoy was to inflict no injury on her. That’s the problem when you work with psychopaths, she replies, calling him Warren, they tend to do bad things.
He orders her not to call him by that name. He is Archangel now… accept it! She touches his cheek, refusing to accept that. She’s here to save him from that lie. She knows the man she loves is still in there. He is, he agrees, but he has changed forever. They went through hell for him, she reminds him. His friends and she are trying to save him. This isn’t some mistake, Archangel announces. This is his evolution!
Into what? Apocalypse? she asks. The world they just escaped from… She saw what the world would be like if he succeeds – it is a nightmare. Their world has been distorted, he announces, much like the one she just returned from. Its natural course has been interfered with. He must rectify that. The reality-bending witch Wanda Maximoff said “no more mutants” and their people were devastated. Reduced to less than 200 planetwide. In that moment, the natural evolution intended for this world was shattered. He intends to set this all right… He’s going to reset evolution.
McCoy contacts him, telling him to meet him at the Tabula Rasa site. Archangel orders Pestilence to return Betsy to her quarters. Ignoring Betsy’s questions and pleading, he flies off.
Later, he carries Genocide across a countryside until they reach a small town. He promises the boy that they are fulfilling his father’s work. Doing the bidding of the same Celestial lords their ancestors have served for eons. They are from a long line of cosmic overseers.
They land in the town center of Beaver Lake. Archangel explains that, according to McCoy, this is the best spot. A small boy walks up to them, excitedly asking if they are superheroes. He used to be, Archangel tells him smiling. But the idea no longer holds meaning to him. He tells the boy to go back to his mother and tell her he loves her.
Something wrong? Genocide asks him. No, Archangel assures him. Flying upwards, he orders Genocide to proceed. While the small boy still believes everything is going to be okay, Genocide detonates the entire town around him.
In her chamber, Betsy waits. In his lab, McCoy studies the Life Seed and elsewhere Fantomex looks at the slowly healing Wolverine.