Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #457

Issue Date: 
May 2005
Story Title: 
World’s End - part 3

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

Brief Description: 

Having been captured by the evolved Saurians known as the Hauk’ka, the X-Men are taken as prisoners into the Savage Land. Psylocke and X-23 follow to attempt a rescue and begin to bond, but are stopped by mysterious attackers. Rachel continues in her delusional belief that she is a Saurian, and she even subconsciously begins to alter her DNA structure telekinetically to reflect this. Storm, Bishop, and Nightcrawler attempt an escape and the latter two succeed while Storm is once again subdued by the delusional Rachel. Bishop and Nightcrawler are reunited with a strangely powerful Psylocke and X-23 who have been joined by the Savage Land Mutates and Ka-Zar.

Full Summary: 

The sun rises in the Savage Land. Kurt, Bishop, and the delusional Rachel have been taken captive by the advanced Saurians, Raina, Kaidan, and Masano, known as the Hauk’ka and are being taken to their base of operations.
As they continue their trek, Kurt and Bishop converse about the oddities they are seeing.
Neither of them has ever seen Saurians so advanced. A modern culture, a strong military, and mutant super heroes! As they continue to march, the two notice how strangely Rachel is moving, apparently emulating the movements of the Saurians. Her delusion has gone past simple mind-control, Bishop comments. Her smoother movement suggests to him that something much more serious is going on.
Rachel has blocked both of the men’s access to their powers and is reading their thoughts as they speak. She turns on them viciously and declares that they have no secrets from her. Nightcrawler tries to talk to her, but she declares them to be merely “meat” and she transforms briefly into full Hauk’ka. R’Chel, the Saurian, declares that this world belongs to the Saurians, and they intend to reclaim it. Kurt and Bishop are shocked at Rachel’s brief transformation. Something is indeed very wrong with her.

Raina expresses concern over R’Chel’s instability, but Kaidan assures her that there is no reason for concern. She truly believes she is Hauk’ka. He is no longer controlling her mind.
Bishop and Kurt are thrown into a dungeon pit filled with bones. Kurt asks about the remains, and R’Chel replies that he will find out soon enough. After they recover from the fall, the two X-Men notice that they are not alone in the prison. The dank and dark dungeon is full of denizens from nearly every part of the Savage Land. They find humans and Saurians alike who are imprisoned here. Bishop soon realizes that he knows these Saurians and that they pose no threat. Viri, M’Kai, S’Gur, and Jimi introduce themselves to Kurt and express their relief that Bishop has returned with the X-Men to put things right in the Savage Land. Kurt is hesitant to trust Saurians, but the four dino-prisoners explain that there are variations among their race just as there are among humans. They do not stand with the Hauk’ka and were imprisoned because of it. They inform the two X-Men that they have tried repeatedly to contact the outside world for help, but none has come until now. Kurt and Bishop realize nervously that they may not be the help that these people are looking for.
Meanwhile, at the Saurian headquarters, Raina and Kaidan are running genetic analyses on R’Chel. Kaidan is giddy with delight at the results that he finds. Raina expresses wonder as Kaidan explains that Rachel has convinced herself so thoroughly that she is Saurian, that she is telekinetically altering the values of her protein sequences. She is remodeling the substance of her genes to reshape her physical body to match the mental image she has of herself. The two villains marvel at the sheer power of a being who can so thoroughly control matter. In awe, Kaidan wonders what is NOT possible for this girl. Raina still voices her distrust of Rachel.
Suddenly, the skies take a dark and ominous turn. A tremendous flash of lightning strikes the tower and R’Chel declares that Storm is trying to escape. She is unable to deal with her mentally from this distance because the lightning field around Storm is disrupting R’Chel’s telepathy. Raina grabs both R’Chel and Kaidan and jumps over the edge of the tower. They land on a flying cyborg pterodactyl and head toward the tower where Storm is imprisoned.
As they fly, the storm worsens and becomes a savage thunder-snow storm. Masano falls from the sky and R’Chel reads from his memory what has happened. Storm’s sedatives wore off before the inhibitors were fully engaged, and now Storm is attempting her escape. R’Chel is astonished at her ruthlessness. Something about the Savage Land has tapped into Storm’s primal nature. She is now displaying an utter disregard for any life at all as she tries to free herself. R’Chel shows Ororo the damage she is causing, and out of horror, Ororo collapses into unconsciousness. R’Chel comments that this was only luck. As she turns to talk to R’Chel, Raina gasps. R’Chel’s form has changed even further. She is now clearly reptilian with smooth slanted dinosaur features and talons.
Psylocke and X-23 step from the teleportation tunnel. Psylocke remembers all her trips to the Savage Land and how she has marveled at the land’s ability to thrive as such a preserved example of prehistoric life without being affected by the subzero temperatures of the Antarctic tundra that surrounds it. This time is different, though. As they arrive, they notice that the land is covered with snow, and the temperature is unbearably cold.
X mentions that Storm created this type of weather back in Canada, and perhaps she is responsible for it here as well. Psylocke wonders what could have caused Storm to take such drastic action, and even more frightening, what caused it to stop. X concludes that Rachel is more than likely responsible. She picks up the others’ scents and leads Psylocke off to find them.
Betsy makes an off-the-cuff comment about the similarities between Wolverine and X-23. The girl makes no reply, but only states that Rachel’s scent seems wrong. Her train of thought is interrupted as the two women are startled by the presence of a raptor. Betsy’s reaction to fight is put to rest as they notice that the dinosaur is dead—frozen solid. X continues to explain Rachel’s strange scent. It’s more like the dinosaurs that have captured her than it should be. Even her footprints are reminiscent of a reptile’s.
Next, X-23 comments on Psylocke’s attitude. She asks why she is so angry. Betsy assures her that it has nothing to do with her, but X states that her anger colors her whole being. It leads her to believe that she and Betsy will fight. Betsy replies in exasperation that she should have left X in Canada. Then we would have had a fight, X replies.
The ladies continue their conversation and begin discussing their pasts. Psylocke presents the fact of her death and resurrection as something strange, but X doesn’t think it is strange at all. She has also died and come back several times, she states. Before the scientists had put in her claws, they had conducted brutal experiments to see how well she healed. Psylocke asks X how this made her feel. With a smile, X says that she killed them…and they didn’t get better. Betsy likes the ruthlessness that she sees in this girl, but still thinks she needs a proper name. She tells X that her friends call her Betsy. Before they can talk anymore, however, their world is turned topsy-turvy as they are attacked. While they are disoriented, they are entrapped in a net.
Back at the headquarters of the Hauk’ka, Kaidan presents his plan for world domination to the council members. He proposes using the altered R’Chel and a mentally subdued Storm to bring about a new Ice Age across the face of the earth. Within a year, all mammals will be extinct. In a stroke of cosmic irony, the mammals will fall to the forces of nature much like the ancestors of the Saurians fell to the great meteor so many years ago. The council gives its unanimous blessing. Kaidan’s plan is approved.
Back in the dungeon, Bishop, Kurt and the Saurians are cuffed and hurried outside by the guards. They notice that all the other prisoners are gone, and that they must be next. The fact that most of the dinosaurs that they are seeing are raptors only confirms this. They are to be the prey in a blood hunt which no one has ever survived. Overhead, Kurt sees Rachel soaring through the air on the back of a pterodactyl. Bishop wonders aloud if there is any chance she is scamming the Saurians and waiting for a chance to make her move. Kurt fears that they are out of time.
Instead of running when given the chance, Kurt and Bishop turn and attack their captors. The battle is over quickly and the X-Men along with their Saurian admirers pick up their captors’ guns and run for the safety of the forest. They have taken only steps when Bishop is knocked to the ground by Masano, and Nightcrawler takes a psychic zap. He turns to see Rachel, but her form is hideously changed! She is more reptilian than ever, and has changed her costume. Her new attire is a red and gold suit. Her reptilian tongue flits from her mouth as she explains to Kurt that she is R’Chel, not Rachel, and has been Saurian from the moment of her inception. Her conversation is interrupted by Betsy who decks R’Chel and sends her flying several hundred feet and into a distant cavern.
Betsy is amazed. Since when has she been able to hit that hard? Bishop warns a star-struck Saurian not to fall for Betsy because she is a heart-breaker.
Masano flies to R’Chel’s rescue and catches her before she crashes at the bottom of the cavern. Betsy helps Kurt to his feet. Nightcrawler turns angrily on Psylocke and demands an explanation for her use of force. He wants to know why she didn’t use her psychic knife to return Rachel to her senses. As X growls at Nightcrawler’s verbal attack, Psylocke reminds Kurt that she has not had a chance to evaluate her powers since her return. She doesn’t even know if she still has the psychic knife. Bishop also reminds Kurt that if Betsy’s punch is any indicator of her power level, she may well have fried Rachel’s brain with her knife. Kurt apologizes.
Betsy reminds Kurt not to react, and introduces him to their new allies who have been hiding in the forest:

Ka-Zar and the Savage Land Mutates!

Characters Involved: 

Bishop, Marvel Girl, Nightcrawler, Storm (all X-Men)

X-23 (student at Xavier’s)

Psylocke (former X-Man)
Zabu and Ka-Zar (protectors of the Savage Land)

Kaidan, Raina, Masano, various council members, various foot soldiers and guards (all Hauk’Ka)

Brainchild, Vertigo, Amphibius, Barbarus, Gaza, Lupo, Vertigo II, Whiteout, Leash and one unnamed mutate (all Savage Land Mutates)

Various human residents of the Savage Land

Viri, M’Kai, S’Gur, Jimi (friendly Savage Land Saurians)

Story Notes: 

Rachel’s new costume choice is particularly disturbing due to its strong resemblance in both color and design to that of Dark Phoenix.
M’Kai’s talk of the peaceful race of Saurians is a reference to the Saurid/Human colony that the X-Men tried to set up when they last visited the Savage Land (X-treme X-Men: Savage Land #1-4). The Hauk’Ka are new since this last visit and are obviously not representative of all the Saurians.
The Hauk’ka flier has been referred to as both Masado (by R’Chel) and Masano (by Raina). It is not clear which is his correct name.
Lord Kevin Reginald Plunder (Ka-Zar) is the sworn protector of the Savage Land. His wife Shanna O’Hara (Shanna the She-Devil) often fights at his side.
There is no love lost between the X-Men and the Savage Land Mutates. This team has tangled with the mutates on various occasions, the most recent being in X-Treme X-Men: Savage Land #1-4. This story arc seems to be taking shape as a follow-up to that limited series.
Storm’s last trip to the Savage Land also resulted in her losing her mind, although the previous time was caused by Brainchild’s tampering.
Vertigo II was once a member of Mr. Sinister’s Marauders. As such, she has been killed and cloned various times. It is unclear whether the Vertigo that appears in this issue is another clone or indeed the original Vertigo II.

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