Uncanny X-Force (2nd series) #13

Issue Date: 
December 2013
Story Title: 

Sam Humphries (writer), Phil Briones & Angel Unzueta (artists), David Curiel & Rachelle Rosenberg (colorists), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (letterer), Kris Anka (cover artist), Xander Jarowey (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Nick Lowe (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Psylocke sends out a telepathic cry for help, trying to inform whomever she can about the approaching Revenant attack - but her cries for help go unheard, as Cassandra Nova has locked Los Angeles in a telepathic black hole. Psylocke and Storm discuss the dire situation and they realize that it is up to them to save the world from the looming doom. Cassandra Nova - the Revenant Queen, in the body of Ginny - and several followers have assembled in Los Angeles. With them is a telepath called Phillip, whom Cassandra beheads - he is the telepathic sacrifice she needs to start the Great Corruption. Storm and Psylocke meet up with their only allies - Bishop, Puck, the Demon Bear and a reluctant Spiral, who is only with them to ensure the safety of Ginny. She wants to purge Cassandra from Ginny’s body, but Bishop explains that Cassandra will just jump to another telepath. Spiral starts to challenge Psylocke, until the Demon Bear comes to her assistance. Bishop sees the moon start to bleed, while Puck alerts everyone to trouble at the theater where the Revenants are holed up, and Spiral teleports them inside, where Cassandra is welcoming the Great Corruption. Psylocke, Storm and their allies engage the bloodthirsty Revenants in combat. Cassandra plucks a memory from Spiral’s mind, before she puts the Demon Bear under her control once again. The Demon Bear then takes Psylocke out, and along with Phillip’s body, escapes with Cassandra and the motionless Psylocke. The Revenants continue to rampage across the city, while Storm, Bishop, Puck and the unconscious Spiral leave the theater with their quarry gone. Bishop sees that the moon is bleeding even more than before, and warns Storm and Puck that the whole world is about to go to hell.

Full Summary: 

‘This is an emergency message! We are all born from darkness into the light. But no one is born alone. Each of us has a phantom twin - a Revenant. A psychic demon of our fear and doubt’ Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock telepathically projects, along with images of an unborn child, and its Revenant. Betsy’s message continues: ‘We know them by their Shi’ar word: Mummudrai. And we know their devastation by Professor X’s Revenant: Cassandra Nova. A genocidal mind-witch who strives to erase Xavier’s dream from the world’. Betsy states that their own Revenants remain in the darkness, while they live in the light, and their Revenants dwell in a psychic dimension beyond the veil, watching them, growing bitter, envying their lives. ‘They hunger to live in the light’. Betsy reports that Cassandra Nova has returned from the future in the guise of the Revenant Queen, and that her goal is to lead a Revenant invasion of the material world. ‘The result would be nothing less than the execution of all things.

Betsy’s message is projected around the world - but who is there to listen? ‘Only six of us stand in her way!’ Betsy exclaims, while Wolverine lies asleep in bed, empty cans of beer on the floor. Iron Man is busy in a workshop as Betsy declares ‘We cannot stop her alone’. Dr Strange is meditating as Betsy cries ‘We need help!’, before repeating ‘This is an emergency!’ At the New Xavier School, Emma Frost turns to Magik and asks her if she said something. ‘Nope’ Magik replies. Betsy continues to project her message: ‘We need your - oh, $#%& this’ she mutters when she gets no response.

Above Hollywood: ‘Language, Elizabeth!’ Ororo “Storm” Munroe admonishes her friend as she flies alongside the small hovercraft that Betsy is piloting. Betsy tells Storm that it is useless, as Cassandra Nova is an omega-level telepath and she has locked Los Angeles into a psychic prison. ‘It’s like trying to yell over a jet engine’ she explains. ‘So, no telepathic transmissions in or out. She’s up to something and she knows we know it’ Storm remarks as she and Betsy set down on the Hollywood Hills. ‘Isn’t that lovely. So we’re alone, and screwed. The psychic screen extends for miles, but maybe if one of us flew at top speed -’ Betsy starts to suggest, but Storm interrupts, asking what happens if they don’t make it back in time. ‘We can’t risk it. There’s too much at stake. We’re on our own’. The two friends look out over the sprawling city illuminated by lights as Betsy mutters that once again the fate of the world depends on them. ‘Would you have it any other way?’ Storm asks. ‘Damn it, Storm, we can’t even get a decent vacation. And the Savage Land doesn’t count’. Betsy remarks that darkness consumes their lives, they can’t get rid of it no matter how hard they try.

Storm replies that the only way to defeat the darkness is to shine a light. Betsy raises her sword and declares that the odds of “shinning a light” bringing home a win this time don’t look too hot. She adds that a demon twin of Professor X, an army of darkness - all they have is a team-by-circumstance. ‘What is it that Logan used to say? “If it all went down according to the odds, then why would anyone even bother fighting”?’ Storm quotes. Betsy looks at her reflection in her sword and continues “The struggle shows who you are. Darlin’”. Storm remarks that the whole city is in danger - the whole world. ‘I know… it’s up to us to save it. Cassandra Nova ruined our vacation. I’m ready to carve payback out of that old gremlin’s ass’ Betsy vows.

In the city, busy in the night time. ‘Over here!’ someone screams. ‘Over here, bro!’ someone else calls out as a car pulls up and photographers rush over to snap a photo of whoever is emerging from the car. ‘Hey! Smile for the camera!’ another photographer exclaims. ‘Get back! Where’s security?’ the person in the car asks. Down the street, A man dressed as Spider-Man poses for a photo with a young couple. ‘Cheese!’ the man exclaims, while the “Spider-Man” shouts ‘Spectacular!’ A jogger passes a hotel or conference center with a closed sign stuck on the front, and two people in white robes standing outside of it. Inside the lobby, staff lay motionless on the floor. Deeper inside the building, in some sort of conference room or theater, Revenants hiss at each other, while the Revenant Queen is carried onto the stage. ‘My children! Our time has come!’ she calls out to them.

‘Like the sky and the rock and the flame…I am eternal! To me, my children of the veil! Let the Great Corruption begin!’ the Revenant Queen announces. ‘Oh my God, it’s really you! The Owl Queen’ a man utters as he stands before the Revenant Queen with several other humans on the stage. ‘You may approach’ the Revenant Queen tells them. She addresses one of them as Phillip, and welcomes him, adding that she has heard so much about him. ‘Wow!’ Phillip utters. Star-struck, he mumbles ‘I can’t believe I’m meeting Phil for the - er, I mean - you can call me Phil! I can’t believe I’m meeting the Owl Queen!’ The Revenant Queen tells Phil that they are open to all who approach with a righteous heart. ‘I understand you wish to be a part of our family?’ she inquires.

Phil replies that everything he heard sounds so great, and explains that he lost his job, he doesn’t have any friends in Los Angeles, and he followed his sons here, but they moved with their mother. He adds that he got a cell phone so he could text them, but he doesn’t think they are allowed. Phil informs the Revenant Queen that he has had migraines and that is why he can’t keep a job. ‘But… I feet at peace here’ he admits. The Revenant Queen tells Phil that she is glad, and informs him that they have been looking for someone just like him, as this is a very important night for their family - and having him with them makes it extra special. The Revenant Queen turns to the seats in front of the stage she stands on, where Revenants are hissing at each other still.

Atop the Roosevelt Hotel, Betsy and Storm are joined by the rest of their make-shift team - Eugene Milton Judd a.k.a. Puck, the six-armed Spiral, and the man from the future, Lucas Bishop. Also with them is the Demon Bear. They look down at the conference center where Revenants are gathering and Betsy informs the others that when she and Storm were in the air, she felt a psychic flare-up here, like a wound in the city. Betsy remarks that Bishop is the only one remotely qualified for this fight. Bishop explains that Cassandra Nova needs a sacrifice, a telepath, to summon the Great Corruption. He reveals that a vortex will open in the veil, the barrier between reality and the Underworld. ‘And then the planet gets flooded by an invasion of the smell, scabby and scrubby?’ Puck remarks. ‘Revenants, Puck. And they’re not just putrid, my friend. They’re bloodthirsty’ Storm adds.

Storm points out that Cassandra has a penchant for mass murder, and as the Revenant Queen, she has got the army to pull it off, so they must prevent the Great Corruption. Betsy points her sword down at the convention center and tells her allies that they hit the Queen hard and fast - get her in the theater before she finds a telepath for her magic spell. ‘And get this over with’ she adds. ‘Speak for yourself’ a voice calls out. It’s Spiral, who looks none-too-happy. ‘Great Corruption? Revenant Queen? Sounds like a bunch of horse $#%& to me. All I care about is Ginny. Cassandra is using her body like a puppet. Just give me some of Bishop’s Revenant envenom and I’ll burn her out’ Spiral snaps. Bishop explains that if you push Cassandra out of one body, she can jump into another, so they need to trap her, then kill her.

Betsy tells Spiral that they do not have time for side missions. Spiral lunges towards Betsy and declares that she will not let Cassandra use Ginny like a slave. ‘The only way any of us get out alive is if we work as a team’ Betsy replies. Spiral declares that she is not on anyone’s team, and reminds her that she owes Ginny her life. ‘Now give me what I want before -’ Spiral demands, but she is knocked back by a burst of fire that the Demon Bear spurts at her when he opens his mouth to roar. Spiral asks Betsy to call off her Demon Bear bodyguard. ‘Face me like a real ninja!’ she snarls.

Back on the stage, Phillip has been put on a chair, one Revenant ties his feet together in a bucket of water, while another puts a feather cloak and mask on him. ‘Hey now! I gotta warn you. I’m ticklish - hold on - I mean, what’s the story here? What are we doing in the theater anyway? We gonna watch a movie?’ Phillip asks. The Revenant Queen replies that movies are boring, and informs him they are here for a sacrifice - a life, for the destruction of all mankind. Phillip goes wide-eyed as he looks at the Revenant Queen’s sword, and announces that he took a vow of non-violence. ‘I mean, aren’t you just a bunch of hippie kooks? I don’t know that I want to -’ he begins, before the Revenant Queen stands before Phil, and psychically influencing him declares ‘Phil, you want to be part of our family. You want to belong. You just want to be loved’. Under the influence, Phil replies that he does, that he just wants to be a part of something so much. ‘Did the government make that a crime, too? Not the last time I checked!’ he exclaims.

The Revenant Queen tells Phil that she is glad, and adds that they have been looking for someone like him for a long time. ‘I know why you have migraines. You are a new mutant, your brain is swelling and seizing with a gift - telepathy’. A purple smoke rises next to Phil while the Revenant stands over him and raises her sword. She calls out to her “children” and declares that they have labored arduously or this moment and tonight their dreams become a reality. ‘And now, at long last - in my name Cassandra Nova, Queen of the Revenants, I declare - this world is ours!’ She grabs Phil and then slices his head off. The Revenants reach upwards and moan.

Back outside, Spiral asks ‘Isn’t your teddy bear one of them? Why aren’t we killing him right now?’ Psylocke explains that the Demon Bear is a bull Revenant, and loyal to her. Bishop look up at the moon, ‘The moon…I remember - the moon’ he utters as he sees the moon suddenly start to bleed. Judd tells everyone that they have trouble in River City, and motions down to the theater, where the purple smoke has started to rise. ‘It can’t be!’ Bishop exclaims, while Storm commands Spiral to teleport them all in there. ‘Hold on to yer butts’ Puck jokes, and an instant later, the six appear at the back of the theater. ‘Are we too late?’ Storm asks. ‘As Logan used to say, read ‘em - and weep’ Puck declares, as further down in the theater, a ball of glowing energy flickers and crackles above the Revenants. ‘Let the Great Corruption begin!’ the Revenant Queen declares. She raises her arms and announces that the world belongs to the Revenants.

Suddenly, a sword is flung towards her, embedding itself in the wall behind her, landing on a painting of the Owl Queen. ‘What -!’ the Revenant Queen gasps. Bishop moves down the aisle towards her and announces that he doesn’t miss twice, while the Demon Bear roars, and the rest of the heroes follow. Storm tells everyone that their priority is Cassandra, in the mask. ‘We need her alive!’ Betsy adds. ‘And the rest?’ Puck asks. ‘Slay them all’ Betsy orders.
The horde of Revenants run towards the heroes, hissing, while one of them snarls ‘Bring it on!’ A battle ensues, with the Demon Bear tearing through his opponents. Bishop fights too and declares that there are too many Revenants. Psylocke tells everyone to stay tight, before noticing Spiral moving towards the stage. ‘Spiral! Don’t even think about it!’ she calls out. ‘I am so over this’ Spiral mutters. Storm fires some lightning bolts at her opponents, while Betsy attacks hers physically, and Puck uses his acrobatic durability against his foes.

‘That’s Ginny’s body, you witch!’ Spiral shouts as she leaps onto the stage. ‘A pleasure to see you again, Spiral’ the Revenant Queen replies, before asking Spiral if she has ever been to her black bug room? ‘Did you ever wonder what you’d find in your greatest fears?’ she asks, attacking Spiral psychically. Spiral looks confused as she appears in a room, with a very large dog looming over her. The dog speaks to Spiral: ‘It’s the life you could have had before Mojo kidnapped you! You left me alone to die!’ Spiral realizes the dog is Saxophone, and tells the dog that she is sorry, and that it was not her fault. Spiral screams and collapses in front of the Revenant Queen, who asks her to remember her life before she too became a puppet. ‘Cassandra!’ Psylocke calls out as she and the Demon Bear move onto the stage.

Cassandra - the Revenant Queen - looks at Betsy and calls her the High-Class Butcher. ‘Care to try your bunk bug trick on a telepath’ Betsy asks as she leaps at Cassandra, sword in one hand, psychic-knife ready in the other. ‘Pah! You can’t even touch me! I’m a psychic within a psychic!’ Cassandra declares as she knocks Betsy back with a psychic punch. The Demon Bear moves forward, but Cassandra tells him that is enough of that, and reminds him that he obeyed her once, so now he will obey her again, and she drives some energy into him. ‘On stage! Something’s wrong!’ Storm calls out as she fires more lightning at the Revenants. ‘Yeah, I ain’t seen a single frame of Barbara Stanwyck!’ Puck jokes as he kicks two Revenants down. On stage, the Demon Bear appears docile, and Cassandra points at Psylocke, instructing the Demon Bear to take her down. ‘No!’ Betsy cries, but the Demon Bear stands up, roars and blasts Betsy with fire. Betsy screams.

‘That’s a good brute. Perhaps I won’t make you into a rug, after all’ Cassandra remarks, telling the Demon Bear that he works for her once again, just like he did before, and that she is his queen. ‘You are my slave, understand?’ she adds. The Demon Bear stands up, carrying the motionless Betsy as well as Phil’s body, as Cassandra tells the Demon Bear that it is time to go sightseeing. ‘Movies are so boring’ she adds. ‘Puck, Bishop - the stage - stop them!’ Storm calls out, but too late, as the heroes turn to the stage and see that everyone has vanished.

Outside: ‘Over here!’ a photographer shouts as a limousine pulls up outside the theater. A blonde woman emerges from the limousine, and someone asks her where she is going tonight. ‘Where’s your boyfriend?’ another asks. ‘Did you see on Twitter -?’ someone comments. ‘Ugh. Paparazzi! Get away! You blood-sucking parasi -’ the celebrity begins, before she screams, and her Revenant bursts forth. ‘Parasites. All of you. This world belongs to the Revenants!’ the creature snarls. ‘Get away!’ someone shouts. ‘Keep taking photos!’ another exclaims as they try to stay out of reach as the Revenant starts tearing through them all.

Storm, Bishop and Puck, carrying Spiral over his shoulders, emerge from the theater. ‘We combed the whole place and they’re gone - except for sleeping beauty here’ Puck remarks. ‘The Great Corruption. We failed to stop it’ Storm announces. Bishop tells the others that they are too late, as Cassandra found a telepath before they could stop her. They all look at the moon, which continues to bleed, more so now than before, and Bishop announces that the Great Corruption has begun, and they have one night to close it, until the moon is covered in blood. Down the street, Revenants attack the man dressed as Spider-Man, while a woman dressed as the Black Cat looks on in horror. Civilians and tourists are under attack by the Revenants, and Bishop tells Storm and Judd that if they don’t stop this, this will become the whole world - and only the death of a telepath can stop the Great Corruption. ‘And now Cassandra has them all. The world is about to go to Hell!’

Characters Involved: 

Bishop, Psylocke, Puck, Storm (all Uncanny X-Force)


Demon Bear


Emma Frost & Magik (both renegade X-Men)

Iron Man

Doctor Strange


Revenant Queen / Cassandra Nova






In Psylocke’s Projection:

Professor X

Cassandra Nova


Story Notes: 

Ginny was possessed by the Revenant Queen in Uncanny X-Force (2nd series) #4.

Cluster appears on the cover to this issue, but not in the story itself.

Barbara Stanwyck was a prolific film actress who was born in 1907. She appeared in dozens of films from the 1920s to the 1970s, and appeared as Constance Colby in the “Dynasty” spin-off, “The Colbys”, being her last acting credit before her death in 1990.

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