Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #462

Issue Date: 
September 2005
Story Title: 
Season of the Witch

Chris Claremont (writer), Alan Davis (penciler), Mark Farmer (inker), Avalon’s Matt Milla (colors), VC’s Rus Wooton (letters), Sean Ryan (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (associate editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

A mission on the coast of Africa is interrupted by an overwhelming radiance that proceeds to wipe all but two of the X-Men from existence. Rachel and Betsy find themselves in what must be the White Hot Room. They discuss alternate versions of themselves, and are suddenly ripped from the room as Betsy’s brothers Jamie and Brian fly by. The two women land in England near Braddock Manor and come face to face with a Sentinel.
In Otherworld, Meggan awakes from a nightmare and screams at the top of her lungs. Otherworld and many other timelines are being wiped out. The temporal tsunami originates from Earth 616 and even demolishes the Starlight Citadel where Roma resides. Among other things, the tsunami causes the reincarnation of a merged version of the Fury and James Jaspers. Saturnyne appears and tells Captain Britain that Earth 616 must be destroyed. She uses alternate versions of the X-Men called X-Com to deal with Brian’s resistance. Brian defeats them and thanks to the madness of his brother Jamie manages to stall Saturnyne’s attempt to destroy Earth 616. Brian is told that he has 48 hours to fix the madness that is consuming Earth 616 or it will be destroyed.

Full Summary: 

In East Africa, the X-Men are battling a band of pirates known as the Weaponeers. The villains were attempting a hostile takeover of Zanzibar, and the mutant heroes had flown in to stop them. They were winning…until their world came to an end. A white flash lights up the horizon and expands rapidly consuming everything in its wake. Bishop tells Rachel and Betsy to raise their teke shields, but it’s too late. The X-Men and their enemies are completely wiped from existence. All except Betsy and Rachel. The two women grasp hands and as the wave passes they find themselves in a sea of great white nothingness.

What was that? Betsy asks as she and Rachel hover in empty space. The two women are flabbergasted by what has happened and what is happening. Betsy passes a frustrated comment about hoping she is not dead again. Rachel suggests that perhaps they are in the White-Hot Room—the center of creation—the heart of the Phoenix. Betsy remains upset that everything revolves around that “bloody bird”. Psylocke desperately wants to hit something, but neither woman knows what to do next.

On Otherworld where Brian Braddock reigns, his wife Meggan awakes from a nightmare with a horrific scream. Brian rushes to her aid, but she can only cry and tremble. She mutters that it is over…over…done…ashes…dust.
Flight Leader, Captain UK, and Justicer Bull of the Captain Britain Corps come rushing into the room to check on Brian and Meggan, but Brian insists that he is fine. Flight Leader informs Brian that Meggan’s scream was heard by every member of the Corps!
Meggan shifts into her elemental form and informs Brian that the end of all that is has arrived. The Corps members are confused by Meggan’s comments. When the ground starts to tremble, the group heads to the tower to get a better look at what is going on. From there they watch as a cataclysmic tsunami of cosmic proportions bears down upon them. Meggan just has time to comment that she had hoped it was all a bad dream before the wave strikes the palace turning the majestic edifice into powder.

The wave grabs Meggan and Brian along with the three Corps members and slams them forcefully through crosstime. They witness the destruction of universe after universe after universe. They watch as versions of heroes they know such as Thor, Namor, Iron Man, Thing, Kylun, Human Torch, and Hulk are erased by the unstoppable wall of water.

The wave thunders onward and upward where it eventually reaches the Starlight Citadel, home to Roma—the celestial guardian. She tries her best to stem the oceanic onslaught but in the end she is overcome and her citadel too is demolished.
As the waters begin to calm, refugees from each of the destroyed timelines find themselves washed up into the space formerly occupied by Roma’s home. All the dimensions have crashed into one, and the surviving denizens of each timeline are now here in Otherworld.
Energy patterns mix and coalesce and the long-dead James Jaspers of Earth 616 appears—very much alive. He comments on how long it took him to find his way back from death and his mad banter begins.
Upon seeing the incapacitated form of Roma beneath some debris he blames the whole mess on her being a woman. He is about to dispatch the unconscious Roma when his arm mutates into an energy cannon. The cannon looks suspiciously like the weapon used by the creature that killed him so long ago.

Jaspers’ body begins to transform into the very shape of the creature that killed him…the Fury! Jaspers/Fury lowers it cannon to Roma’s head and is about to finish her off when Brian Braddock makes a dramatic entrance and with a stunning left hook sends the creature flying through the air.

Brian frees Roma from the debris that was covering her. They comment on the danger of this newly merged Fury and Jaspers creature. Separate each was virtually unstoppable. The multiverse is in for real trouble if the two are truly one!
Brian asks Roma if she is responsible for this mess but is surprised to get an answer from none other than Opal Luna Saturnyne. The omniversal majestrix condemns Brian, blaming his planet, Earth 616, for the madness that is consuming reality. Saturnyne loses control of her emotions to such a degree that she takes a punch at Brian and nearly breaks her hand. She storms away stating that she will soon rectify the problem of Brian’s misbegotten little world permanently.
When Brian makes a move to stop her, he is accosted by what seems to be living metal. He is wrapped in a steel cocoon and then sees who is attacking him: male versions of 616 Earth’s X-Men ladies! Standing over him are male counterparts to Marvel Girl, Polaris, Psylocke (who comments “This is what my sister looks like as a man?”), Rogue, Storm, and Kitty Pryde: the Executive Action Committee, better known as X-Com.

The group is apparently in Saturnyne’s service and has been sent to keep Brian from stopping the destruction of Earth 616. They are aware of how dangerous Brian is, but they still underestimate him. Brian topples Psylocke and shatters his bonds sending the men flying, fleeing, and falling for cover.
Brian suggests that Saturnyne has chosen these mutants for their looks alone, but that comment is rebutted by one of Storm’s lightning bolts. Before Brian can stand back up, Rogue descends on him to sap his power. Brian does not resist but rather offers all his power…Kit realizes that Brian is overloading Rogue and separates the two men before Rogue can be completely burned out by Brian’s power.
While Marvel “Boy” telekinetically locks his muscles, Kit moves in and begins beating Brian with an electric billy club. Brian throws off the telekinetic restraints blowing Marvel Boy’s mind and decks the unsuspecting Kit who has no time to phase.

Psylocke comes from behind with his psychic knife blazing. He buries it deep into Brian’s head. As Brian collapses, Psylocke calls the rest of the X-Com out and assures them that his knife has thrown Brian into a fugue state.


Brian grabs Psylocke. Apparently sibling immunity to powers works across dimensions as well! Better luck next time, Brian says as he twirls Psylocke above his head and knocks over the remaining X-Com members.

Saturnyne, meanwhile, is sifting her way through the rubble of the Starlight Citadel trying to find the celestial nullifier, a device capable of completely erasing any particular dimension of the multiverse.
Brian grabs her and demands her to explain what she thinks she is doing. Saturnyne replies that she is doing what he should be doing. She explains that 616 is acting like a cancer…eating away at the rest of the timestream! If she spares his world she will condemn the rest.

Suddenly from nowhere, mad Jamie Braddock appears and smashes the nullifier with a large piece of rubble. With a “plink” he disappears. “We’re doomed,” mutters Saturnyne.

Later in Roma’s transdimensional council chamber, Brian, Meggan, Roma, Saturnyne, Captain UK, and Justicer Bull discuss the trans-temporal phenomena that is making its way across the sidereal string. Something is changing the boundaries of causality itself in the 616 universe. It could continue expanding until creation itself ends up an amorphous blob void of any type of rational existence.
Saturnyne is still angry that Brian’s brother has smashed their chances to excise the cancerous dimension, but Brian reproves her for espousing genocide. Even as the cosmic warp alters Meggan’s malleable form into that of a three headed monster, Brian remains resolute that murder is not the answer. He is not as ruthless as Saturnyne.

Roma steps in and tells Brian that he may have to be. Grimly, she shares that even though she cares deeply about Brian and the 616 universe, she will not stand by and allow it to endanger the rest of the omniverse. She tells Brian that she will return him to 616; furthermore she will give him forty-eight hours to find whatever is causing this aberration and deal with it. As soon as they are able to repair the celestial nullifier, Roma and Saturnyne will use it to destroy the “sick” universe. Roma warns Brian that he may be subsumed by the warp: he may forget his mission. If this happens, he will cease to exist.

In the White-Hot Room, Betsy enjoys viewing a parade of her parallel selves. She is amazed at all the different possibilities. She stops short when she notices that Rachel has no parallel selves. Rachel claims that she has met other “Rachels” who are the offspring of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, but none of them are her. The only other selves present in the Room for her are past versions of herself.
There are four Rachels: the malnourished and sickly refugee from Days of Future Past, the mutant killing hound, the red leather clad Phoenix from Excalibur, and the fiery Phoenix version of Rachel. Rachel explains that this is all there is. Apparently, she is unique. Betsy comments that she doesn’t get it, but neither does Rachel. Nothing makes sense! Everything is so difficult!

Betsy tries to calm Rachel with some humor, but Rachel reacts as if Betsy was deliberately making fun of her. Holding onto the Shi’Ar crystal necklace that contains the memory essence of her mother, Rachel wishes her mom were here. Betsy reminds Rachel about Logan’s advice that perhaps this is Rachel’s chance to live a normal life…or at least what passes for normal for an X-Man!
Rachel doesn’t understand how Betsy can remain so calm. The whole “death and return” thing is something that Rachel, Jean, Betsy, Brian and even Jamie share. Almost on cue, Brian and Jamie are seen behind the dissolving fabric of the White-Hot Room. Both ladies are surprised that the other can see Jamie. Jamie pulls the reality of the Room with his fingers and tells the X-Ladies that they get no more downtime, and no more revelations. He has worked very hard and broken every rule there is to bind their lives and fates together. He dumps them back to earth and says Don’t make me regret it!
As they land in the grass near Braddock Manor, Rachel wonders what Jamie meant by his comments. Betsy’s only answer is that she will ask him just as soon as she cuts out his heart. The ladies notice the sounds of a party coming from inside the house. Betsy comments that something doesn’t seem right…her fears are confirmed as the two turn to face as fully functional Sentinel.

Characters Involved: 

Psylocke, Marvel Girl III, Bishop, Storm, Nightcrawler (all X-Men)
Brian and Meggan Braddock (rulers of the Omniverse, former Excalibur)

Flight Leader, Captain UK, Justicer Bull (members of the Captain Britain Corps)

Various alternate reality versions of heroes (Spiderman, Human Torch, Iron Man, Hulk, etc…)
Roma, Celestial Guardian of the Omniverse
James “Mad Jim”Jaspers of Earth 616

The Fury
Opal Luna Saturyne (Omniversal Majestrix)
Male versions of Marvel Girl, Polaris, Psylocke, Rogue, Kitty, and Storm (all X-Com)
Jamie Braddock
Weaponeer soldiers

Illusions in the White-Hot Room

Various versions of Betsy Braddock

Past versions of Rachel Grey

Marvel Girl I, Jean Grey, Phoenix II

Story Notes: 

The term “‘brane” mentioned by several characters in this issue is an abstract theory from the area of high energy physics commonly referred to as Brane Cosmology. The basic idea is that our visible 4D universe is just one part (or brane) of the “bulk”. While this theory may seem “out there” it has been getting a lot of attention in scientific circles lately.
If Psylocke and Betsy are indeed in the White-Hot Room, one would wonder why they did not see the real Jean Grey since that is where she indicated she was going when she left Earth at the end of Phoenix: Endsong.
Jamie Braddock has been making mysterious appearances to both Rachel and Betsy for the last several months. It is unclear what his ultimate purpose is for these two women.
The cosmic abnormality causing so much trouble in this issue is, of course, Wanda Maximoff’s reality warp on Earth 616. Read issue summaries on the House of M for more details.
Roma was seemingly slain by Abraxas in Fantastic Four (3rd series) #49. Apparently like her father Merlyn she has a knack for “getting better”.
Brian Braddock took over the position of ruler of Otherworld at the end of Excalibur (2nd series) #4.
Within that same limited series the Captain Britain Corps members – with the exception of Brian, Captain UK and Crusader X – were allegedly all slain. The presence of Justicer Bull here proves that this is apparently not the case.
The Fury was actually a deadly creation used by “Mad Jim” Jaspers of Earth 238 to destroy all other super-beings on that planet. That Jaspers died when his universe was annihilated. Eventually the Fury killed the 616 version of Jaspers himself. For more detailed information on this twisted tale read the "Through the Looking Glass" article.
The X-Men faced and won against a strangely resurrected Fury in Uncanny X-Men #445-447.
Rachel being unique across the multiverse is a subplot Claremont introduced way in the original Excalibur series. There have been alternate Rachels shown in various What if and other alternated universe stories though.

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