Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #255

Issue Date: 
December 1989
Story Title: 
Crash & Burn

Chris Claremont (writer), Marc Silvestri, Dan Green (Artists), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Michael Heisler(letterer), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Banshee and Polaris take on Bonebreaker, Skullbuster and Pretty Boy, but are soon knocked unconscious, by Legion after he puts up an invisible wall, preventing their escape. While the Reavers make various repairs on themselves, Freedom Force arrive, and Blob and Avalanche are the first to make moves on the Reavers. The others - Mystique, Destiny, Pyro and Stonewall - are aboard a jet, where Mystique constantly expresses her annoyance at Forge’s presence. Lady Deathstrike jumps onto the jet, killing the pilots and sending it crashing to the ground, where it catches on fire. Forge rescues Mystique, who is more concerned about the safety of Destiny. Stonewall however rescues Destiny, and Pyro uses his abilities to take control of the fire, and he is about to use it against the Reavers. Avalanche is confronted by Lady Deathstrike, who slashes open his stomach, while the Reavers force the Blob into the water, where he sinks. Under Mystique’s orders, Forge takes Destiny up to the Research Center where he is to keep her safe, but Destiny, as cryptic as ever about Forge and Mystique, tells Forge that he must go into battle. Forge leaves her, when Legion arrives. Deathstrike begins attacking the Reavers, only to be captured by Pierce, who uncovers Mystique, who had used her powers to morph into Deathstrike. Mystique is suddenly terrified by an image of Destiny’s body, which a telepath flashes into her mind. Stonewall frees Mystique from Pierce, while Pyro attempts to take the Reavers down with another burst of flame, only someone snuffs his flame out - unbeknownst to Pyro, it was Legion. Stonewall is then electrocuted to death by Pierce. Mystique and Pyro are forced to make a run for it while Skullbuster fires at them - until Skullbuster is blasted to scrap metal by Forge. The Reavers teleport out before Forge can shoot Pierce. Moira MacTaggert, Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander bring the body of Destiny to Mystique, who vows vengeance against Forge as she cradles her loved one. Later, Forge agrees to set up a security system on Muir Island, before accepting Banshee’s offer to join him search for the X-Men, whom Polaris believes are still alive. Meanwhile, Matsuo Tsurayaba is summoned to a small island after Psylocke washed up there. Dr. Lian Shen has doubts about handing over the girl in her care over to FBI Agent Reisz, but they soon find she has vanished. They search for her, and Reisz drops hints that he knows the girl, when he is confronted by Shen’s colleague, he murders him with a strange power. Reisz then tells Shen she belongs to him now, and vows to find Storm soon.

Full Summary: 

Muir Island, home of Dr. Moira MacTaggert and her Research Center, currently under attack by the cyborg Reavers, sworn to kill every mutant they find. Sunder the Morlock has already been slain, while the lovely Amanda Sefton and Brigadier Alysande Stuart have been captured. However, with the sudden arrival of Sean “Banshee” Cassidy, formerly of the X-Men, who unleashes his sonic scream as he flies past Pretty Boy, Bonebreaker and Skullbuster on the open space at the edge of the Island, the Reavers have discovered that their mission is going to be somewhat more difficult than they thought.

‘My systems! My ears!’ utters Bonebreaker the tank-like Reaver as he holds his hands over his ears. ‘What’s happening? Who’s doing this?’ Pretty Boy calls out as he drops to the ground. ‘BANSHEE!’ Skullbuster shouts. ‘But ain’t he supposed to be crippled?’ the bulky Reaver asks. Sean, wearing one of the standard x-uniforms, flies high above them, thinking to himself ‘That I was, boyo, and retired to boot!’, while recalling how the Morlock Healer helped him recover. ‘And thanks to you lot, Sean Cassidy’s back on active service!’ Banshee adds as he swings around and flies back down towards the Reavers, while Bonebreaker remarks ‘Flyboy thinks he’s pretty hot stuff’.

Readying a weapon, Bonebreaker exclaims that as soon as he pumps it up Banshee’s tail, he will be screaming a key of agony. However, Banshee passes by Bonebreaker, releasing ultra-low frequency sonics, which release shockwaves that feel like pure murder against Bonebreaker’s body, ’He’s just a guy, how can he make this kinda noise!?’ Bonebreaker exclaims as the sonics shake Bonebreaker’s power chassis apart at the seams, blasting his human torso from the tank he is attached to.

‘That’s your trouble, Bone. Always dependent on too much high-tech. You want the job done, best try the old fashioned way…an gun that sucker outta the air!’ Skullbuster’s raspy, horrid voice exclaims as he raises a weapon towards Banshee, when suddenly, Lorna “Polaris” Dane, sporting new powers, approaches him from behind, ‘Interesting concept, Skullbuster…coming from someone who’s more machine than man!’ Lorna declares, grabbing Skullbuster by the neck and claming down, before lifting him into the air, remarking that as she is all flesh-and-blood, she favors the ultimate in low-tech - a good old-fashioned punch to the nose. ‘Say “hello” to the 21st Century, Reaver!’ she exclaims, only for her arm to be grabbed by Pretty Boy as she is about to bring it forward and punch Skullbuster in the face. ‘I dunno who you are, honey-bunch, but that is no way for a lady to behave!’ Pretty Boy exclaims as he punches Lorna hard in the face with his metal fist.

Lorna lets go of Skullbuster as she is knocked backwards, but she gathers herself quickly, rubbing her jaw, she replies ‘Firstly, pal, I’m no more a lady than you are a gentleman!’ before introducing herself as Lorna Dane, and explaining that she used to have magnetic powers to take cyborgs apart bit by metal bit. Lorna grins as she tells the Reavers that she is kinda glad she cannot do that anymore, as that means she gets to deal with them up close and personal…with her bare hands.

‘Oooooh, threats!’ mocks Pretty Boy, ‘I love threats!’ he exclaims as his torso panel opens up, boasting that the best defense is a killer offense as his ribs transform into tentacles and wrap around Polaris. Lorna thinks to herself that this is no problem, that she can simply bust loose, only to discover that she cannot. ‘What’s the matter, sweetie? Lost all your strength?’ Pretty Boy asks Lorna as she falls to the ground, while Pretty Boy remarks that it must be the neuro-toxin laced through his cables. ‘Your armored outfit and semi-invulnerable bod aren’t any protection against that!’ he boasts.

Pretty Boy grabs Lorna and tells her that he likes her idea of getting “up close and personal” though, telling her that the two of them can have lots of fun once his fiber-optic filaments burrow into her brain and re-write her psychic “software” to make her one of them. The filaments seep from Pretty Boy’s eyes and latch onto Lorna, until Banshee’s powerful scream separates them by cutting the cables that extend from Pretty Boy. Lorna is free, and although she realizes what is going on, she is too weak, too groggy, to break free from the remainder of the cables around her. Dropping back to the ground, a weary Lorna tells Sean to finish Pretty Boy off. ‘It’s the perfect chance! Kill him!’ she exclaims.

Banshee looks at Pretty Boy, who has dropped to his mechanical knees and clutches his face. Sean thinks to himself that he should kill Pretty Boy, remarking that he has killed in the past, which is why he swore never to do it again, especially using his sonic scream. Sean flies down and scoops Lorna up into his arms, cables and all, while Lorna tells him that the Reavers are out to slaughter them. ‘We can’t afford to show them mercy!’ she exclaims. Banshee sees Skullbuster readying his powerful gun, and flies right into him, knocking him over and sending his gun flying elsewhere. ‘Perhaps’ Sean thinks to himself regarding Lorna’s comment to kill them. ‘But Charles Xavier would move Heaven and Earth to find the better way. Long as I’m an X-Man, I’ll follow his lead and be true to his dream’.

Banshee thinks to himself that he doesn’t want Lorna to worry, and that he will have her under cover safe and sound, when suddenly, they crash into what appears to be nothing, and are both send careening to the ground, Sean is rendered unconscious. Standing nearby, the other Reavers - Cole, Macon and Reese - appear. ’What’ happened to them?’ one of them asks. Reese remarks that it looks like they ran into an invisible wall. ’Hit pretty hard’ Cole declares, before reporting that his scans have them both still breathing, but that they will not be scrapping anytime soon.

Reese tells Cole to gather them up, and that they will add them to the two prisoners they already have. Skullbuster comes up behind the commandos and congratulates them on some nice work. ‘Thought that pair was home free - bet they did, too - till you slapped them down!’ he raspy voice exclaims. Standing over Banshee’s unmoving body, one of the Reavers asks ‘What’s he talking about? We didn’t do spit!’. ‘I know, and if it wasn’t us nailed these muties…then who?’ asks another.

Meanwhile, at the Cairo Memorial Hospital in Illinois, ‘Inspector Reisz?’ asks a female doctor as she approaches a bearded man in a suit. ‘That’s me, Jacob Reisz, FBI. And you must be Dr. Shen?’ Reisz asks, telling the doctor that she looks pretty bushed. ‘These last few days must’ve been rough’ Reisz tells her. ‘No less than for you’ Lian Shen replies, remarking that she heard Reisz was helping build sandbag walls to keep back the river. Reisz replies that he was, down the Morton Street Levee, which is where he found the girl. Reisz asks Shen if something is bothering her, to which Lian replies that to be honest, she is uneasy about all this.

Reisz puts his hands on Lian’s shoulders and assures her that he doesn’t mean the child any harm. ‘Quite the opposite’ he claims, adding that this is for the girls’ own good, as well as protecting those around her. Lian replies that her head accepts his arguments, but that her heart wonders if she is not acting like those in her homeland, turning in “student dissidents” to the authorities. ‘That’s China, Doctor Shen. This is America’ Reisz retorts, adding that there is a world of difference. ‘The child is in the first cubicle’ Lian replies, ignoring Reisz’s comment.

‘No, she’s not. She’s gone!’ Reisz announces as he enters the room where the girl is supposed to be. ‘Impossible!’ Lian exclaims. ‘Suit yourself’ Reisz mutters, before telling Lian to alert security to start a search of the building. ‘From what I saw of her the other night - plus what you’ve told me - she’s in no condition to go very far!’. Looking at the monitor which displays the room, Lian is shocked by the Inspector’s face, and wonders if he knows she can see it. ‘He spoke so kindly before - now he smiles like a hunting tiger. What manner of man is he? What does he truly want from that girl!?’ Lian wonders.

Back on Muir Island, Reese repairs Macon’s injuries and tells him that it could be worse, as he only has minimal damage to his organics, and can patch enough of the busted hardware so he can function at near combat capacity. Skullbuster tells Bonebreaker to rest easy, as Pretty Boy has gone to get his spare chassis. Cole watches over the unconscious Banshee and Polaris, while Reese remarks that the lady Brigadier was some shooter, and the an ordinary man would be worm-food by now. ‘Not us though, huh, Sarge? Thanks to “Boss Pierce”, we’re pretty much indestructible!’ Cole exclaims, while Bonebreaker remarks that it sure beats the alternative. ‘So you say, Bonebreaker’. He is about to say something else, when he notices something falling from the sky - fast. ‘Scatter!’ the Reavers all shout as the large objects falls over them, and lands with a mighty BOOM!

When the dust clears, a crater has formed in the land, and Blob and Avalanche of Freedom Force emerge. ’Hey, hey, hey! Was that a landing, Avalanche, or what!?’ the obese Blob exclaims. Avalanche jumps off Blob and replies ’Fair to middling, Blob. Body couldn’t ask for a softer cushion than your belly’. Avalanche exclaims that Blob has done his part, and now it’s his turn. Avalanche uses his powers to raise the ground, and it moves towards Bonebreaker, Skullbuster and Pretty Boy like a tidal wave, knocking them over.

Up in the air, Freedom Force’s jet hovers, and a pilot informs Raven “Mystique” Darkholme that the first team is down and the landing zone is now clear. Raven tells the pilot to get them on the ground as quickly as possible, while the Blob radios up to Mystique, exclaiming ‘We got them bargain basement bunch of roboterminators on the ropes’. Raven warns the Blob not to get cocky, to which the obese mutant replies that whatever the yutzos are packing, Freedom Force can handle it. ‘Famous last words’ Mystique remarks, before ordering the pilot to land.

Mystique walks towards the back of the jet, thinking that she hopes the Blob is right, because with Spiral, Super Sabre and Crimson Commando on another mission, their tactical assets are limited. ‘Problems?’ Forge asks as he polishes a rifle and looks up at Mystique, who thinks that if there are, why he would expect her to admit them to her, a man she hates. Mystique just tells the X-Men’s ally that he best have the gun ready by the time they touch down. ‘You’re sure to need it’. ‘Trust a lawyer to love Joyce!’ Pyro, sitting nearby, exclaims. ‘Ultimate precision of language’ Stonewall replies. ‘It’s gibberish, mate!’ Pyro declares.

‘Curse the man for demanding Freedom Force’s help!’ Mystique exclaims. ‘And curse me, for letting myself be forced into saying yes!’. Irene Adler, better known as Destiny tells her special friend that some things are written. ‘Rail all you wish - if such will make you feel better - but you can no more alter the pattern of destiny than stop the sun from rising!’ the aged mutant declares. ‘Taking your code-name to heart, old friend?’ Raven asks as she sits down beside Irene, remarking that there are moments when it is fun being with someone who can see the future. ‘You should try being that person’ Destiny replies solemnly.

Concerned, Raven asks Irene what is wrong. ‘You’ve been on edge for days, more so than ever I’ve seen you!’ Raven exclaims, asking Destiny if there is some danger. Destiny doesn’t answer, ‘For Heaven’s sake, woman, let me help!’ Raven exclaims. ‘It’s too late for that’ Destiny replies, while suddenly, a woman drops down onto the front of the jet - it’s Lady Deathstrike! The pilots are confused, wondering what to do, before Deathstrike smashes her clawed hand through the window with ease, and slices the pilots apart. Freedom Force and Forge are thrown from their seats, ‘Plane’s outta control!’ Pyro exclaims. ‘The pilots -’ begins Mystique, to which Destiny interrupts, ‘Cannot save us…anymore than they could save themselves’, before the jet spirals downwards and crashes into the side of Muir Island.

Meanwhile, on another island, this one in the South China Sea, that until his untimely death some time ago, was the home and headquarters of international crime lord Emile Vachon. A speedboat pulls into a dock though a cavern in the side of the island. A ninja speaks his native Japanese as he welcomes Matsuo Tsurayaba. ‘This is indeed an honour. I never imaged my message would merit so exalted a response!’ the ninja exclaims to the well-dressed young man.

Matsuo replies that he had been meaning to come out anyway, to inspect the progress. ‘And I found your report most…intriguing’ he remarks. ‘As you can see, Sir, all is well in hand!’ the ninja exclaims, bowing before Matsuo. ‘And the woman?’ Matsuo asks as he walks alongside the ninja, past several other ninjas and entering a complex. The ninja remarks that woman was found a week ago, washed up on their shore, no clothes, no identification, no memory either as they soon found out. Matsuo asks about the surveillance systems and how it is that she could approach undetected. The ninja explains that the woman is invisible to their scanners, and that, as far as all their electronic systems are concerned, she doesn’t exist.

The ninja explains that when they began to interrogate her, the woman replied in the questioner’s native tongue, perfectly, no matter how obscure the dialect. He adds that their spirit-weaver psychics determined that the woman is a telepath, picking up each person’s language from their thoughts. ‘That’s when we requested guidance from the Jonin’ the ninja explains. ‘And well you did, my friend!’ Matsuo exclaims as they enter the room where the woman is being held. Matsuo reveals that the woman is known to him, and smiles as he looks at her, ‘She is the mutant X-Man, Psylocke. And by all the Gods who ever were…I know full well what the Hand may do with her!’. Psylocke just stares at Matsuo.

Back at Muir Island, Forge carries Mystique from the wreckage of the jet, which has been engulfed in flames. ‘Put me down!’ Raven orders, thumping her fists against Forge, exclaiming that Destiny is still aboard. ‘I won’t leave her!’ Raven shouts. Forge apologizes as he tells Mystique that there was only time to grab one of them. ‘Who said we needed your help! Now let me GO!’ Raven screams as she scratches Forge’s face. Nearby, Stonewall announces that he has Destiny as he rushes from the burning jet, calling out to Pyro, telling him to shake a leg, for as soon as the blaze hit’s the fuel tanks, the whole wreck is going to - he doesn’t finish his sentence as the flames burst higher.

‘We’re too close - that fireball should have roasted us!’ Forge exclaims. Suddenly, Pyro emerges, ‘Never a need to worry about open flames, mate…when Pyro’s about to control them!’ he exclaims as he indeed controls the flames, whittling them down. ‘We’re sage, Forge!’ Raven exclaims, elbowing Forge in the chest as he puts her down. ‘Your services are no longer required!’ she declares. Forge asks Raven if she would rather he had left her to burn, to which Mystique snaps that she can take care of herself. ‘As I have been since before you were born!’ she adds, before ordering Forge to take Destiny to MacTaggert’s lab complex and keep her safe. Forge replies that he will be more use out here, and so will Destiny for that matter. ‘I command Freedom Force, mister. You’ll do as you’re told!’ Mystique snaps back, pointing to Moira’s Research Center nearby.

Mystique mutters that Valerie Cooper made it abundantly clear how valuable Forge is to the United States. ‘So much so we’re obliged to do whatever you ask’. Mystique declares that, in her book, that makes Forge far too valuable to risk in combat. Raven tells Forge that it is no small task she is giving him, and warns him that if any harm comes to Destiny it had better be because he is already dead. Raven turns to Pyro and declares that it is past time that they let the opposition know what they are up against. ‘My pleasure, boos!’ Pyro replies as he uses the flame he took from the jet, and casts it towards where Bonebreaker, Skullbuster and Pretty Boy are standing, some yards away.

The Reavers see the line of flame approach them, and Bonebreaker exclaims that it is so hot is burning down to the island’s bedrock. ‘Big deal, it’s only fire!’ Pretty Boy replies, adding that it isn’t even scorching his metal frame, and that his system are actually absorbing the kinetic energy as additional power. Nearby, Blob tells Avalanche that Pyro is a bust, and tells him to bury the Reavers. Avalanche creates another landslide on Bonebreaker, Skullbuster and Pretty Boy, but he sees someone leaping over the crest of his earth-wave. The figure lands before Avalanche, ‘I am called Lady Deathstrike…for reasons which I trust have just become painfully apparent!’ she exclaims as she slices Avalanche’s stomach.

A horrified Blob calls out to Avalanche, before exclaiming that Lady Deathstrike’s claws are adamantium like Wolverine’s. ‘They can cut through anything!’ Deathstrike boasts. ‘No fooling?’ Blob replies as he slowly steps backwards, remarking that the runt of an X-Man Wolverine tried the same rap on him lots of times, but that didn’t stop him, or save Wolverine, ‘Any more than it will you -’ Blob exclaims as he steps down the grass, onto the beach and into the water. Cole and Reese are crouched nearby, and Cole remarks that the lump means business, as it is said no force on Earth can move him. ‘But suppose, Cole, the Earth he’s standing on, gets turned to quicksand!’ Reese replies. Indeed, that is what happens, and an astonished Blob sinks beneath the water.

At one of the entrances to the Research Center, Destiny tells Forge to go and do what he can, what he must. ‘Mystique left you in my charge, Destiny’ Forge replies, to which Destiny asks if Mystique must ever be obeyed. ‘She already blames me for the death of her foster daughter…when Rogue was killed along with the rest of the X-Men’ Forge reminds Destiny, while thinking to himself that his certainty that Storm is alive is what drove him here. Forge wonders if the others may have survived also, before Destiny declares that she does not speak idly, and warns Forge that if he stays, then it will be Mystique who pays the ultimate price. ‘That, I will not allow!’ Destiny remarks, to which Forge admits that he keeps forgetting Destiny is a precog.

‘To you, the future’s an open book’ Forge remarks as he looks at the blind woman. Destiny replies that the trick, as ever, is knowing how to read the future, remarking that some elements are totally obscured, while others can be perceived so clearly that it is as though all eternity has been cast from cut crystal. ‘Love her, Forge, as I have, with all your heart. She deserves no less’ Destiny declares. ‘My heart’s spoken for, old woman’ Forge replies, referring of course, to Storm.

Forge makes his way across the grassy open space, while Destiny declares ‘Thus speaks one aware solely of the present!’. She continues her cryptic ramblings: ‘Who perhaps forgets that, for all their passionate glory…it is the nature of storms ever to pass’. ‘WHAT?’ Forge shouts back. ‘Go, my friend, hurry! Before it’s too late!’ Destiny wails. Suddenly, a lanky figure appears behind Destiny, who turns ever so slightly, acknowledging him: ‘That’s done. And just in time. Hullo, Legion!’ the old woman exclaims, before asking: ‘Were you perhaps expecting to find two of us here to serve your pleasure…silly boy?’

Back at the edge of the Island, Deathstrike approaches Macon, Cole and Reese, who is greeted by the men, who congratulate her on the good move against Avalanche. ‘Bet he never knew what hit him!’ one of them exclaims. ‘Undoubtedly’ Deathstrike replies, before one of the Reavers announces that there is nobody left of substance on the field except for the big fell and the Ozzie firemaker, referring to Stonewall and Pyro. Not quite, assassin!’ Deathstrike exclaims as she raises her weapon and begins firing at the three Reavers, striking them in various places.

A mechanical tentacle extends and wraps around Deathstrike’s neck, dragging her backwards ‘My dear, my dear! Good help is so hard to find - not to mention to put back together!’ a voice exclaims. ‘We simply cannot have you indiscriminately blowing them to bits!’. As Mystique is dragged backwards into the arms of Donald Pierce, she drops her Lady Deathstrike form, while Pierce remarks that she appeared as Yuriko Oyama in form, but hardly in content. ‘An admirable masquerade, Mystique. Unfortunately, Deathstrike is bionic, as are we all’. Pierce exclaims that Mystique’s shape-changing power could not mimic Deathstrike’s techno-systems, nor hide that lack from his own sensors.

‘Before you die, allow me to introduce -’ Pierce begins, until Raven interrupts, declaring that she knows who he is, formerly of the Hellfire Club. Suddenly, images flash through Mystique’s mind, sent their by a telepath - images of Destiny… ‘Irenie! No, oh no, oh no, oh NO!’ Mystique screams. Stonewall suddenly lunges at Pierce, freeing Mystique from his hold, while the war veteran thinks that he has never heard anything like Mystique’s scream, not even in the war. ‘Didn’t think Mystique had that depth of emotion in her’ he tells himself, before calling out to Pyro, telling him to get Mystique clear.

‘Better idea, cobber, how about I flash-fry these yobbos into…crispy critters? Who snuffed my flame!?’ Pyro exclaims as he casts a huge flame before the Reavers, only for it to vanish. No one sees Legion, standing on a hillside nearby, grinning. Donald Pierce begins fighting Stonewall, telling him that he has courage to match his strength, but that in this instance, neither will help him. ‘There’s no wall been built…that technology can’t smash down!’ Pierce boasts as Stonewall falls to the ground. Mystique and Pyro look over, concerned, for Stonewall has been electrocuted to death by Pierce.

The Reavers look down at Mystique and Pyro, referring to Pyro’s flames being snuffed out, they remark that someone likes them a whole lot. ‘That’s twice now he’s interfered in our favor’ he adds, referring to the invisible wall that knocked Banshee and Polaris down. ‘Smart move!’ Skullbuster exclaims as he blasts the ground around Mystique and Pyro, before Pierce tells him to stop playing around and drop them with his next shot so they can get on with their business. Pyro and Mystique keep running, with Pyro remarking that this is pretty much the way he figured he would check out. ‘Though the timing leaves a bit to be desired - I’ll never know if my new book’s a best seller!’ he exclaims.

Mystique tells Pyro that she is sorry she brought him to this, to which Pyro replies ‘Breaks of the game, luv. Knew that when I signed on. Worse ways to go, than with friends -’ suddenly, Pyro and Mystique see their attacker, Skullbuster blown to scrap by a huge weapon blast. ‘Skullbuster!’ one of the Reavers gasps. ‘Bang, buster. You’re dead. Who’s next?’ Forge exclaims, hidden on a slope nearby.

The Reavers duck behind a bunker, and Reese exclaims that there is no way to get a precise reading on where the sniper is without risking the same. Cole rushes over to Skullbuster, and reports back that the shooter is good, but not perfect. He declares that Skullbuster is history, totally friend. ‘Diagnostic reads across-the-board disruptions of his bionics systems’. Pierce scowls and mutters that there must be a way to counter this. ‘Not here, Lord, not now’ Deathstrike suggests, and Reese agrees, remarking that going back to high ground turns this whole valley into a kill zone.

Deathstrike reminds Pierce that they have inflicted major damage on their foes, and points out that they may even have an ally among their number, so why not quit while they are ahead. ‘Leave the survivors to live in fear of our return’. Forge watches Pierce through his ‘scope, ‘C’mon, blondie, an inch higher, that’s all I ask’ he whispers. ‘Pop that pretty head of yours into view…so I can blow it clean off!’. Pierce lifts his head up and Forge fires - but it’s too late, as the Reavers teleport away.

Forge slides down the slope, informing Mystique and Pyro that he nailed one of them for sure, but the others bolted. ‘Ain’t t hat always the way of things’ Pyro remarks, adding that at least the score was evened for Stonewall. ‘Good for Stonewall. What about Destiny?’ Mystique asks as she watches Dr. Moira MacTaggert, Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander carry Irene over towards her. ‘If you had a weapon capable of slaying the Reavers, Forge, why didn’t you use it sooner?’ Raven demands. Forge replies that it wasn’t ready, reminding Mystique that he is an inventor, he makes things, and if he wants to build something, anything, his mutant power will get him there, but he has to take all the intermediate steps along the way. ‘I knew what was needed. I’m sorry this time it took so long’.

Tom hands Destiny over to Mystique, who cradles the old woman in her arms. ‘”Sorry”…is such an…inadequate word’ Mystique replies, before telling Forge that he owes her two now. ‘A debt that will never be forgiven. And one you can wager your soul will be repaid…in full measure!’

Later, Freedom Forge have long since departed, and Forge sits on the edge of Muir Island, watching the sun set. Banshee walks up to his friend and remarks that there has been no contact with Callisto. ‘Seems to be a day for it’ Forge replies, while Sean adds that Moira is now fearing the worst, before telling Forge that he cannot blame himself. Forge replies that if not for him though, none of this would have happened. Sean takes a drink from a thermos and replies ‘If not for ye boyo, we’d all of us on this rock have died here!’. ‘Cold comfort, I’m afraid’ Forge replies, before Sean hands him the thermos and tells him to have some cocoa, as it will warm him up.

Banshee informs Forge that Moira would like to know if he would mind devising a security net for the island, something to prevent a mess like this from happening again. ‘No problem. But won’t you be here to protect the place?’ Forge asks. Sean reveals that he has another dish on his plate, which is part of the reason he came looking for him. ‘You a travelin’ man, Forge?’ Banshee asks. ‘Say what?’ Forge replies. ‘Lorna says the X-Men are alive. I mean to find them!’ Sean explains, adding that he wouldn’t mind having somebody along to watch his back. ‘Considering all that’s gone down…you sure I’m your man?’ Forge replies. Sean extends his hand, ‘Wouldn’t be asking otherwise’ he assures Forge. ‘Then count me in, Banshee. All the way’ Forge smiles, shaking Sean’s hand.

Back at the Cairo Memorial Hospital, a young girl runs through the underground basement, splashing along the dank, wet floor in her bare feet. Her thoughts are in Egyptian, as she thinks to herself ‘He is after me! The evil one! Achmed said he could no longer protect me! He locked me in his room, told me if I could not find my own way free, I deserved my fate’. The girl recalls how sad Achmed looked, and how easy it was to escape. ‘There was darkness’ she adds, before recalling the blinding flash, the most awful noise, as if the world was coming to its end. ‘Thunder - as loud within my soul was around me in the air. I awoke here in hospital’.

Nervously looking behind her, the girl thinks to herself that they serve the evil one here. ‘They mean to give him to me!’. Inspector Reisz is followed by Dr. Shen and her colleague, Stuart, as they enter the dank basement area, with Lian telling Reisz that this is about the last place left to search, and she doubts that the kid came down here. ‘Actually, Doctor, it’s precisely the sort of place she’d turn to first’ Reisz replies, before Shen asks him if he would rather have hospital security handle this stuff, after all, they know the area. ‘If you want a job done right…best to do it yourself’ Reisz replies, while the girl crouches behind a corner.

Dr. Shen declares that she still doesn’t see the reason for all this fuss. ‘Okay, she’s a mutant, is that any reason to make a federal case out of things?’. Reisz casually replies that, considering the Mutant Registration Act is a federal law, then yes. Stuart points out that the mutant is just a kid, and declares that it strikes him from the way the Inspector is acting, it seems like he knows the girl. ‘Could be there’s something personal between you two’ Stuart remarks. Reisz’s twisted face turns to Stuart, ‘Quite right, Doctor, I do know her!’ he snarls, grabbing Stuart’s shoulders, he declares that this is very personal. ‘So much so I really can’t allow even the slightest threat of interference!’

Energy crackles from Reisz’s eyes into Stuart’s, as Reisz exclaims ‘You do understand, I trust. That young girl, I’m afraid, is not simply a mutant, but a psychotically deadly killer…who used her hadean powers to take the life of her physician. How tragic’ Reisz exclaims. ‘Stuart…?’ gasps Lian as she drops to the ground and watches in horror. The girl watches from around the corner as Reisz exclaims that she will be wanted for murder with no one to turn to. ‘And whenever she’s caught, there I’ll be, waiting’. Stuart’s lifeless body is tossed to the ground, while Reisz stands before a cowering Dr. Shen, declaring that it is only a matter of time, and then, just as Dr. Shen now belongs to him, Storm will at long last be his…forever!

Characters Involved: 

Banshee, Tom Corsi, Sharon Friedlander, Legion III, Dr. Moira MacTaggert, Polaris (all Muir Island X-Men)

Psylocke & Storm (both former X-Men)


Avalanche, Blob, Destiny, Mystique, Pyro, Stonewall (all Freedom Force)

Bonebreaker, Cole, Lady Deathstrike, Macon, Donald Pierce, Pretty-Boy, Reese, Skullbuster (all Reavers)

Dr. Lian Shen

Agent Jacob Reisz

Shadow King (possessing Reisz)

Matsuo Tsurayaba


Stuart, ER Doctor at the hospital


Story Notes: 

Amanda Sefton and Brigadier Alysande Stuart are notably absent from this issue after their capture in Uncanny X-Men #254.

Sunder was slain in Uncanny X-Men #254.

Banshee seemingly lost his powers from overuse when battling Moses Magnum in Uncanny X-Men #119. They were temporarily restored in Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #17-24 after he was infected with the Retribution Virus, and they were fully restored in Uncanny X-Men #254.

The de-aged Storm was found by Reisz in Uncanny X-Men #253.

Nothing is known of the mission that Mystique refers to Spiral, Super Sabre and Crimson Commando are on.

Emile Vachon was slain by the Daughters of the Dragon in Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #32-33.

Rogue and the other X-Men are believed dead as of Uncanny X-Men #227.

Forge believes Storm is alive after seeing her in a vision in Uncanny X-Men #253.

Destiny’s comment about the future being cast from cut crystal is a reference to her dream in which she foresaw her own death. [Uncanny X-Men #254]

Destiny’s words regarding Forge and Mystique ring true, as their lives become entwined in Uncanny X-Men #290, and then later when Mystique joins X-Factor, in X-Factor (1st series) #112. Forge eventually falls in love with Mystique [X-Factor (1st series) #132-134], but she leaves the team soon after.

Avalanche’s wounds are healed behind the scenes.

Final appearance of Stonewall.

Years later, Skullbuster is rebuilt [Domino (1st series) #2]. Cylla Markham became Skullbuster II, and a third, female Skullbuster appeared in in the X-Treme X-Men Annual 2000.

A touching tribute to Mystique is paid by Mystique in X-Factor (1st series) Annual #6 (third story).

Despite her death, Destiny and her visions continue to play apart in the lives of Mystique and Destiny to this day, and a splinter X-Men team even began a unsuccessful search for the remainder of Destiny’s diaries. [X-Treme X-Men #1]

Callisto was sent to seal of the underground complex beneath the ruins of Xavier’s School, and after doing so was captured by Masque. [Uncanny X-Men #253-254]

Banshee and Forge’s adventures occur in Uncanny X-Men #261-264, during which they are joined by Jean Grey.

Agent Reisz was possessed by the Shadow King in Uncanny X-Men #253.

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