Uncanny X-Force (2nd series) #14

Issue Date: 
January 2014
Story Title: 

Sam Humphries (writer), Phil Briones (artist), David Curiel (colorist), 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: 

Cassandra Nova - the Revenant Queen, takes up residence in the Griffith Observatory, along with her senior Revenants, the Demon Bear who is now under her control, the sacrificial telepath Phillip - or at least his body - and the unconscious Psylocke. Cassandra summons a creature from beneath the observatory to raise them high above the land as she awaits the Great Corruption to be fully enabled. In downtown Los Angeles, Bishop sees the moon covered in blood, and warns Storm, Puck and Spiral that once the moon is fully engulfed in blood it will be too late. Revenants run riot through the city, so Storm, Bishop, Puck and Spiral once again engage the Revenants in battle to protect the innocent civilians. Psylocke wakes in the arms of the Demon Bear, who will not respond to her commands. Cassandra reveals that only the sacrifice of a telepath can stop the Great Corruption now, and offers her an alliance. Cassandra tells Psylocke that if she offers her information on how to crush Cyclops and Wolverine, she will give her her original body back. She pulls Psylocke’s Revenant out of Betsy’s body, and transforms it back to her original British self. The battle rages downtown, before Puck sees that the moon is almost half covered in blood. Storm has a plan to get to Psylocke, who is currently being confronted by her Revenant self. The Revenant does not want to give her body up, while Cassandra tries to convince Psylocke to agree to her deal. Bishop and Spiral are left to hold ground on the streets, while Storm flies alongside Puck who is flying Psylocke’s hovercraft towards the large creature holding the observatory up. Puck manages to get inside the observatory and shoves a dagger into the Demon Bear, distracting him from Psylocke. Psylocke follows Puck as they attempt to escape. She looks back and sees her Revenant / original body, and distracted. The Demon Bear roars a burst of flame at them, and they both fall into a portal. Cassandra is very pleased with herself, and she is ready to rule the world - while Puck and Psylocke find themselves in the Underworld, filled with demons. While, the moon is now more than half covered in blood!

Full Summary: 

Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, California: ‘All hail Cassandra Nova, the Revenant Queen!’ one of the robed Revenants exclaims as Cassandra Nova, in a body not her own, enters the observatory, flanked by the Demon Bear, who carries the motionless Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock and the severed head of a sacrifice. Revenants are waiting for the queen, who greets them, and welcomes them to the last night of humanity on Earth. Cassandra tells the Demon Bear to be a good pet and to lobotomize Elizabeth before she wakes. ‘And as for our guest of honor, Phil - please place what is left of our sacrificial psychic inside the ring of corruption. The Demon Bear places the head on a table, and Cassandra declares that it is from him their conquest grows. She instructs the Revenants to focus their energies, to block their fortress from any teleporting sword-witches, and to sing to their brothers and sisters beyond the veil - sing for the Great Corruption.

In the sky above, purple energies swirl and flicker, while Cassandra declares that to keep them out of reach, she must summon from rocks and dirt, and she does so, as the hill surrounding the observatory springs to life, and surging upwards, the huge mountain monster holds the observatory high overhead. ‘Hold fast, my children!’ Cassandra calls out. She tells them that the world is ending, that their world is the light, the Underworld is the darkness, a psychic dimension where Revenants dwell in jealousy and rage, that they watch, envious of their light. ‘One for each human, since the dawn of time. Made stronger by our every doubt, anxiety and fear’. She explains that the Revenants strive for the Great Corruption, the degradation of the veil that protects their world from the Underworld. ‘Only the veil stands between us and the end of the world. Without the veil, we face a flood of spiteful, bloodthirsty Revenants’.

Downtown, Lucas Bishop and Ororo “Storm” Munroe look up at the sky, asn Bishop remarks that it has already begun, that Revenants roam the world - the very fabric of the Earth has become polluted. ‘Can you feel it?’ he asks, adding that with the Great Corruption, the invasion will be unstoppable, as there are a hundred billion of them, and only seven billion humans. ‘There must be hope’ Storm tells her friend. Bishop explains that the only way to close the vortex is to sacrifice a telepath before daybreak. He then tells Storm to look at the moon, which they see is dripping blood red. Bishop reveals that once it is covered in blood, it will be too late - and then the moon won’t be the only thing bathed in blood. ‘You hear that, Little Miss Sunshine? We gotta get our butts in gear. Can you fight?’ Eugene Milton Judd a.k.a. Puck asks Spiral, who replies that she has survived worse, but that she could sure use some Jagermeister right about now. ‘You and me both’ Judd agrees.

Down the street, Revenants roam, chasing civilians. ‘Toursits!’ a woman on rollerblades calls out, as she is pursued by some tourists who have become Revenants. Suddenly, her blades get caught in a crack on the sidewalk, and she tumbles forward, while the Revenants hiss and loom in over her. ‘Stay close’ Bishop tells her as he catches the woman, and then disposes of the Revenants. He tells the frightened woman to get away from here - as far away as possible. ;Hell has come to Los Angeles - Heaven help us all’ Bishop remarks, as more civilians are pursued by the Revenants, chaos has taken over the city.

Back in the observatory, Betsy wakes, and looks around, finding herself in the Demon Bear’s arms, she tries to get his attention, but he ignores her. Betsy telepathically speaks to him, urging him to break free of Cassandra. ‘I need your -’ she begins, but the Demon Bear just roars at her. Cassandra turns to Betsy and welcomes her back to the waking world. She suggests to Betsy that she don’t struggle, as the Demon Bear’s considerable psychic muscle has reduced her physical and psychic capabilities to that of infant. Betsy is unable to move out of the Demon Bear’s arms still, and she looks at the Revenants gathered around the ring of corruption, while Cassandra jokes ‘Poor baby’, before telling Betsy that her timing is impeccable, and she may bear witness to a historic event. ‘Not since fish crawled onto dry land, or homo sapiens extinguished the Neanderthals, or the first mutant murdered a human - our triumph!’ Cassandra declares.

Cassandra touches Betsy’s face and informs her that only the sacrifice of a telepath can stop history now - and the two of them are the only ones for fifty miles. ‘I wonder, would you commit suicide to thwart me?’ she asks. ‘I died once. I’ll got for two if I must’ Betsy replies. Cassandra tells Betsy that soft humans take life in the light for granted, whereas she was doomed from birth to a cold existence beyond the veil, thanks to her dear departed brother, Charles. ‘Now it’s my time. The remnants of his dream are splintered, vulnerable. The Jean Grey School, Summers’ stupid rebellion… you don’t belong to either faction, do you? We are the same, you and I. outsiders looking in’. Unimpressed, Betsy sarcastically responds ‘Oh, sure, you and me, we’re like sisters’.

‘Oh, Elizabeth, your sarcasm wounds me. But I won’t hold it against you. I have big plans for us. In fact, I would like to offer you - an alliance’ Cassandra announces. ‘You’re bloody kidding me’ Betsy frowns. Cassandra tells her that it is quite simple - ‘You’re one of the most powerful psychics on the planet. Not as powerful as me, of course…but nobody’s perfect, and you’ve got inside information - to help me crush Logan and Summers’. Betsy angrily tells Cassandra to ‘Go #$%& yourself’, to which Cassandra smiles, ‘Tut, tut. Where I’m from, we thank our gift horses with apples and sugar cubes. You feel loyalty to them? They manipulate, marginalize and neglect you. You’re their janitor. Their murder machine. I can give you integrity. Leadership. And there’s something else I can offer that they cannot’. Cassandra touches Betsy’s forehead, as Betsy tells her ‘Keep your damn hands off -’, but Cassandra exclaims ‘Time to come out and play’, as she draws something, or someone, out of Betsy.

It is her Revenant, the personification of Betsy’s life as it could have been. You should have killed her and now -’ Cassandra begins. The Revenant is confused: ‘I’m - I’m back’ she utters, before turning to Betsy: ‘Lizzie! We’ve got unfinished business!’ she snarls. Betsy doesn’t appear to be very impressed, ‘Very clever, Cassandra. Gold star. Top of the pops. So what?’ she asks. ‘Isn’t it obvious?’ Cassandra replies, as she unleashes some power on the Revenant, transforming her into how Betsy first appeared when she joined the X-Men - British, and in her pink costume. ‘In exchange for your allegiance - I offer your original body’ Cassandra smiles.

Downtown again, where Storm, Bishop, Puck and Spiral are battling a swarm of Revenants. Storm fires a lighting bolt and asks Bishop if this is what it is like to be a Revenant hunter. ‘We can’t contend with the Revenants on the ground. They’re slowing us down’ Bishop remarks, to which Storm asks if he is suggesting they let these monsters tear apart the city. Puck slams his solid body into one of the Revenants, while Spiral dances through the air. Bishop tells his companions that he suggests they make the vortex their priority - as this is what the whole world will be like if they don’t stop Cassandra. Bishop informs Storm that they may have to use Ginny as their psychic sacrifice to do this job. ‘Lucas! I won’t murder a child!’ Storm replies, to which Bishop points out that it’s Ginny or Betsy - or the end of the world.

Suddenly, two Revenants leap towards Storm and Bishop from behind. ‘Look out!’ Storm gasps, before Spiral appears, three swords shoved into each of the Revenants, she declares ‘Watch your backs, amateurs’ before telling Bishop, just so they are clear, that if he touches Ginny, she will kill him. Pick has climbed up a lamppost, and several Revenants are reaching out for him. ‘Hate to break up this bonding moment, but that moon ain’t getting cleaner!’ Puck calls out, motioning towards the moon, nearly half covered in blood. Storm tells Bishop that she hopes he is right, before informing Puck that they need his piloting skills, as they need to get to Psylocke.

As the large monster holding up the observatory looks up at the purple vortex in the air, it growls, while, inside, Betsy’s transformed Revenant leans into her, and asks her if it tortures her to see who she could have been. ‘Elizabeth Braddock - Britain’s favorite daughter. High-class telepath, fashion model. And now you’re a bloody butcher with karma that smells more rotten than this old bear’. Cassandra then tells Betsy that it can all be hers - a new life, a new start in her own body. The Revenant tells Cassandra to pump the brakes, as she has suffered behind the veil for long enough, and this is her body now. ‘I’ll not give it up for -’ she begins, until Cassandra casts some energies, ‘Nonsense - I am your queen. You will do what I say’ she declares, as Revenants appear around the Psylocke Revenant and hold her down. ‘Get off -’ the Betsy Revenant tries to break free. ‘How many opportunities do we get for a clean start, Elizabeth? No more killing. No more broken hearts. No more betrayal’ Cassandra offers, while Betsy listens intently.

Cassandra throws her hands into the air and tells Betsy that she can run from the darkness, but that it catches her, that it always does. ‘I offer escape. A permanent vacation from all the nightmares. I can undo the changes they forced on you. Absolution for allegiance. A fair trade, wouldn’t you say?’ Cassandra suggests. Still held by the Demon Bear, Betsy replies ‘Become a Revenant? Surrender my humanity?’ but Cassandra tells her that she will regain her humanity, as they ripped it away years ago and left a killer in its place. ‘Don’t you want to be a normal person? Don’t you want to feel secure in yourself?’ Cassandra asks, as she starts to use her psychic powers on Betsy, ‘Don’t you want to be the dignified Miss Elizabeth Braddock again?’ she asks.

Downtown, Bishop asks Spiral if she can teleport them in there, but Spiral replies that she has already tried, and there is something strong blocking her. ‘I hope Storm knows what she’s doing’ Bishop remarks, while Spiral points to the sky, ‘Look! It’s Puck!’ she exclaims as they see Storm flying alongside Puck who is piloting a small aircraft. ‘Roger that ,mission control. This is Captain James T Puck coming in rough and ready’ Puck jokes as he and Storm approach the observatory. The monster roars at them, while Puck jokes that he has visual on the target and that he looks uglier than his grandpa in a sauna. ‘Let’s do this, Puck!’ Storm tells her teammate. ‘Aye aye, warp factor twelve!’ Puck continues to joke. The monster opens its mouth and blasts fire towards Storm, who narrowly dodges it. She responds by casting a powerful blast of lightning into the creature.

Cassandra realizes what is taking place and tells her Revenants to stand strong. Storm flies closer to the creature, ‘He’s distracted, Puck! Now!’ Storm calls out. Puck pilots the jet towards the observatory and calls out ‘If I don’t make it back - tell Kira, Laura and Lindi I loved them all!’ and when the jet impacts with the observatory there is a mighty crash. ‘Puck from above!’ the diminutive hero calls out as he drops from the observatory ceiling into the main room, where Cassandra looks up: ‘How dare you - destroy him!’ she booms. ‘Yee-haaw!’ Puck exclaims as he swings on some rope and kicks two Revenants. ‘Here I come to save the day! (No Mighty Mouse jokes)’ Puck declares. He is holding a dagger, which he then tosses to the Demon Bear: ‘Special delivery from Bishop!’ The dagger lands in the Demon Bear’s eye, and the bear roars, as it struggles to try and pull the dagger out.

But Betsy is free, and is grateful that she can move again. She follows Puck, and asks him if he messed with her radio. ‘The radio might be the only thing still working’ Puck smiles. He starts to climb up a pillar and tells Betsy to forget Cassandra for now, as Storm has a plan. ‘But -’ Betsy begins. ‘Hustle, Spice Girl! We gotta get outside!’ Puck tells Betsy as he hangs onto some rope and Betsy joins him. But, she looks back at her Revenant self with an almost lingering desire. The Revenant looks up at Betsy, before the Demon Bear opens its mouth and unleashes a burst of flame. ‘The psychic must not escape!’ Cassandra calls out as she and other Revenants start to pursue. But, before the two heroes can climb out of the observatory, the Demon Bear’s flame disintegrates the rope.

‘Lizzie!’ Puck calls out, as the two of them fall backwards towards the purple vortex bubbling beneath them. ‘Noooo…’ Betsy screams. Cassandra looks pleased with herself, she grins and remarks ‘Ah - how rich. What’s victory without a little poetry? Elizabeth over there. And me out here. Ready to rule the world’.

Betsy and Puck have fallen to a dirty landscape, ‘Nice rescue, Puck’ Betsy mutters, as Puck rubs his head and asks ‘Where the hell are we?’ Betsy looks around, Revenants loom closer towards them across the jagged terrain. Betsy remarks that she thinks they are beyond the veil, that they are in the Underworld. ‘Aw…cripes. Now this was not part of the plan’ Puck mutters, while, back in the real world, the moon is now half drenched in blood….

Characters Involved: 

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


Demon Bear


Revenant Queen / Cassandra Nova



Story Notes: 

The cover to this issue is playing homage to the promotional artwork for the classic “Fall of the Mutants” storyline from the 1980s.

Like many other issues of Uncanny X-Force (2nd series), Cluster appears on the cover but not in the issue itself.

Betsy was killed by Vargas in X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #2, and returned to life in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #455.

Issue Information: 
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