Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #455

Issue Date: 
April 2005
Story Title: 
World’s End - part 1

Chris Claremont (writer), Alan Davis (penciler), Mark Farmer (inker), Dean White (colors), VC’s Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Stephanie Moore & Sean Ryan (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

The X-Men return home from Paris and Hong Kong only to be called back out to France to see a rather angry Psylocke who has recently returned from the dead. The mystery deepens as Psylocke’s mind proves to be unreadable for Marvel Girl. Wolverine and an old friend of his, Mary McKenna (unknowingly accompanied by X-23), tackle a solo mission in Canada which ends tragically. The X-Men come to the rescue, but may be too late.

Full Summary: 


Betsy Braddock recalls her death duel with Vargas. The Beast watches as Betsy fights fiercely against the villain only to be impaled by his blade, fall dead, and finally lay quietly in Hank’s arms. Betsy was confident that she would win this duel, right up until she died.
Betsy’s jumbled thoughts next recall her dream-time conversation with Bishop: “One last thing, Bishop, tell Neal…”
In present day Spain, Psylocke, still in her X-treme costume, but without the Crimson Dawn tattoo, opens groggy eyes and looks at the area around her. She is cold. Something is not right. With a smirk she rubs her head and marvels that Heaven’s floors seem to be covered with institutional linoleum. The aches in her body suggest to her that she is not dead. Before she can evaluate much more she is surrounded by hundreds of heavily armed guards all with their ample weaponry targeted at her. “Do not move, Señorita Psylocke,” commands the leader of the group of soldiers. “You are under arrest.”

At the Xavier Institute, Storm, Bishop, Nightcrawler, and Marvel Girl run a Danger Room practice session under Wolverine’s guidance. Wolverine is emphasizing the importance of not depending on their mutant abilities. As he and Storm face off in the center of the room, he explains that someone who is facing off against the X-Men more than likely knows each mutant’s abilities and will be prepared. The team, says Logan, must be ready to attack in another way. Armed with wooden fighting sticks, the X-Men are to take him down without using their mutant gifts.

Storm charges intending to begin the battle, but Wolverine easily dodges her attack. He brings the butt of his weapon up and slams it across Ororo’s face. He quickly pivots and brings the stick around and knocks Storm across the back knocking her to the floor.

On the bleachers at the sideline, Rachel, Kurt and Bishop watch the drill. Rachel nurses a bruised shoulder. Rachel points out that with Kurt’s blue skin, his bumps and bruises won’t show. Kurt contends that if you’re quick enough not to get hit, you will have no bruises to hide. Bishop sits back from the others and diagnoses Storm’s missteps.

Logan helps Ororo up from the floor and a explains again how important it is that she be able to handle an enemy without the benefit of her elemental control. She must be both smart and sneaky. Wolverine and Storm kiss and he reminds her that he is, after all, the best at what he does. Kurt looks on with sadness at this display of affection between the two. Storm and Wolverine take their places and begin again.

From up above in the Danger Room’s observation cupola, X-23 watches the scene below. She is interrupted by a holographic image of the institute’s headmaster, Scott Summers. He reprimands her for sneaking around the Danger Room unsupervised, and informs her that even though she is new, she is still expected to follow the rules. He tells her to get to class as she is almost late. X-23 growls and seemingly ignores his admonition.

Below, in the Danger Room, Storm and Wolverine prepare for a rematch. Wolverine advises Storm to lead with her left since she is right-handed. Storm reminds Logan that she can fight. “Whose butt was it hit the floor just now?” asks Wolverine. The two continue their flirtatious session as X-23 watches from above.

As Storm and Wolverine begin swinging again, Rachel asks why they aren’t fighting against the Danger Room drill robots. Because, Wolverine replies, people are better. People can surprise you. The words are no sooner out of his mouth when drops to the floor, knocks Logan off his feet and with a yell, brings her stick down on him stopping just a fraction of an inch from his head.

“Surprise!” she says with a smirk.

Rachel and Kurt cheer and Bishop continues his commentary on Storm’s fighting prowess. While the others continue talking, Bishop uses his interactive glasses to access current information regarding Sage’s whereabouts. Sage has gone rogue and is now acting as chief advisor to Roberto DaCosta, a.k.a. Sunspot who is filling in as Lord Imperial of the Hellfire Club since Sebastian Shaw is in critical condition in a Hong Kong hospital after being disemboweled by Donald Pierce.

Bishop’s reverie is interrupted by Wolverine who has apparently been trying to get his attention. Logan invites Bishop to be his next sparring partner. Bishop catches the stick thrown by Logan and walks out to the floor. As Wolverine and Bishop talk each other up, Kurt encourages Storm to sit down and let him take a look at the bruise she got from Logan. Rachel looks on and forces herself not to pry into the two’s minds.

Logan and Bishop continue their duel. Bishop recounts a story of two Samurai – Musashi and Ogun - who meet to duel and before even beginning their fight part ways because one glance tells them they are equals. Wolverine kicks Bishop in the face and mentions that he heard that story from Ogun himself. And he killed him, too.

Bishop turns on Wolverine and breaks the stick across his jaw. Bishop reminds Wolverine that he knows his every move. He studied him in textbooks all his life. He body slams Logan, when all of the sudden X-23 explodes through the glass cupola with claws bared and attacks Bishop. Kurt acts quickly and teleports X-23 away from Bishop. X-23 screams at Kurt not to touch her and turns on him. Before she can attack, Rachel seizes control of her mind and stops her cold. As the X-Men regain their footing, Wolverine talks to X-23. Apparently, she was assuming that Logan and Bishop were truly fighting.

An image of Emma Frost appears to let Wolverine know that he has a phone call, and that there is an XSE alert for Storm’s team. Emma also reminds the team that they just spent a fortune rebuilding the mansion. If they can’t control X-23 then Emma will.

Logan takes his phone call and then informs the team that he will have to sit this mission out as he has some personal matters to tend to. He contends that it is something he must handle solo.

Later, the X-Men are in costume and boarding the X-Jet. Storms says goodbye to Wolverine, and assures him that if he gets in trouble she will come to his rescue.

En route, Storm fills the team in on Action Force (the Spanish paramilitary police trained to deal with superhumans) and that the city of Valencia was where Psylocke was killed. Storm stops talking and informs Kurt that she just wants to fly awhile. The pained expression on her face betrays the fact that she is troubled by something.

At the Royal Tyrell Institute in Drumheller Alberta, Canada, Wolverine chats with Mary McKenna, an elderly woman with graying red hair. Together they look at pictures of them from the past and reminisce about their time together decades ago. They are discussing the return of some threat from the past. Mary informs Logan that “they” knew she would try to stop them. Logan decides to stop “them” before there is another massacre. Mary announces that she is going with him. “They” are using this museum as cover for their greed, and she refuses to allow that. She also reveals that she and Logan were lovers. From the shadows of the massive museum, X-23 watches the two leave.

In Valencia, Spain at the underground headquarters of Action Force, Storm introduces her team to Diego Sandoval commandante of Action Force and his boss María-Pilar Cortes. María apologizes for all the secrecy and without any further adieu, introduces the team to Psylocke, Betsy Braddock, back from the dead.

The team quickly enters the room to see Betsy who is calmly flipping through a fashion magazine. When Betsy sees Bishop, she screams his name and launches a telekinetic frenzy that even Rachel is unable to match. She throws the X-Men to the ground, when suddenly Storm gets her attention with a massive lighting blast and commands her to stand down. Psylocke stops and apologizes for losing her temper.

María fills the heroes in on Psylocke’s reappearance. Apparently, she showed up twenty-four hours ago on the exact spot she died. Action Force has used every means at their disposal to prove or disprove her identity. Their conclusion: this is either Elizabeth Braddock or her identical twin.

During the briefing, Rachel and Bishop chat about Psylocke and discuss the X-Men’s somewhat … problematic relationship with death. Bishop reveals that after her death, her body was autopsied. Rachel suggests that perhaps this is a clone. Betsy does not like that idea and looks at Rachel with raised eyebrows. Action Force is asking for the X-Men’s help. They have no explanation for her return, and Betsy has no memory of anything either.

With Betsy’s permission, Rachel tries a mind-probe, but she is unable to penetrate her psi-shields. Without being able to read Betsy, Rachel decided to read Bishop and links Betsy with him. Perhaps he remembers some bit that will help them to understand why Betsy is so angry at him.

Betsy narrates Bishop’s memories:

This I remember. I died. Then I was in the dreamtime…a place beyond the rules with Bishop. I assumed he brought me there—to settle unfinished business before I made my way to a better place. I left him with a smile and a laugh…’One last thing, tell Neal--!’ that became a scream. Who else was I supposed to blame?

Bishop cries out to Betsy to look out, but it is too late, Betsy is grabbed by glowing claws and dragged away into Gateway’s glowing portal.

Bishop’s mind-probe comes to an end and he is clearly shaken. He apologizes to Betsy for not following up more thoroughly on her disappearance. Betsy gives him a measure of forgiveness, though sounding bitter at the fact that everybody seemed to have moved on after her death and asks what should be the next step. Storm decides that the XSE will take her into custody and remand her to the Xavier institute for further observation.

Nightcrawler comments on the irony and unfairness of having Emma sitting as headmistress while Betsy is brought back in chains.

Suddenly, the team receives a distress call from one of their planes.

In the Canadian rockies, a badly beaten X-23 falls panting and heaving down the side of a snowy hill. She stands in the blinding snowstorm and apologizes to someone stating that she tried her best. She makes her way to the wrecked X-Plane and climbs inside to find the distress beacon. On the floor of the plane is the dead body of Mary McKenna. X sounds the beacon, wraps up in a coat and falls into unconsciousness.

She awakens to a sound outside and attacks immediately. It is, however, the X-Men who have arrived to answer the distress call. Rachel grabs X in a telekinetic field and holds her there. X is so distraught that she is unable to clearly articulate what has happened. As she screams at the team, a monstrous group of creatures closes in behind the X-Men.

Characters Involved: 

Bishop, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Marvel Girl, Nightcrawler, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Psylocke (former X-Man)
Mary McKenna (an old friend of Wolverine’s)

Diego Sandoval, María-Pilar Cortes, various armed soldiers (all of Action Force)
Unnamed creatures

In Flashback

Beast, Bishop, Psylocke (all X-Men)

on Bishop’s computer files

Sage, Sunspot (Hellfire Club)
in Mary’s pictures

Wolverine, younger Mary McKenna and unnamed man, both young and old (probably Mary’s father)

Story Notes: 

Psylocke was murdered by Vargas in X-treme X-Men #2. Her spirit met Bishop in the dreamtime, but was abducted by an unknown creature in X-Treme X-Men #4.
The X-Men first faced Action Force in X-treme X-Men #1-3.
Miyamoto Musashi was a famed Japanese swordsman and Samurai who lived in the 17th century.
Ogun was one of Wolverine’s old teachers. However he became corrupt and brainwashed Kitty Pryde. Wolverine was forced to kill him. [Kitty Pryde & Wolverine LS].
Mary’s snapshots also include her, Logan and the unnamed man posing with an idol of the Savage Land deity Garokk.

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