Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #463

Issue Date: 
October 2005
Story Title: 
We’re Not in Kansas Anymore, Season of the Witch (part 2 of 4)

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

Brief Description: 

Rachel and Betsy re-enter this dimension and are immediately subsumed by the altered state of the House of M. They fall into line as attendants at a royal gala hosted by Betsy’s brother, the King of England, Brian Braddock and his wife Megan. The twins are reunited and continue to enjoy the celebration.
Later that night, Brian is awakened by a strange dream in which three people (who seem strangely familiar) are calling out to him to hurry. The dream ends with the world’s destruction. In the morning, the group is trying to understand Brian’s dream. The conversation is ended as Wisdom introduces Courtney Ross. Brian snaps and attacks the woman, believing her to be Sat-Yr9. A brief battle ensues as Brian tries to kill Courtney. The fight ends with Brian realizing that the woman is indeed Courtney Ross, not Sat-Yr9. Rachel telepathically probes Brian’s mind for the reason behind the dream and his reaction to Courtney but can find none. The group of heroes decides to head out to find a group called the Marauders who are illegally hunting two mutant renegades one of whom may be related to Magneto.
The heroes interrupt the team of Marauders as they are taking Juggernaut into custody. Captain Britain looks over their credentials as Rachel and Betsy sneak off to follow the trail of the second renegade mutant. They come face to face with none other than…Nocturne!

Full Summary: 

Betsy and Rachel appear back on Earth. They are shocked to see a Sentinel standing outside of Braddock Manor. Betsy immediately begins initiating an attack plan, but before the women can take action, they are subsumed by this altered reality. Their clothes and conversation have changed. Instead of yelling a plan of attack, Psylocke merely shrugs off the Sentinel as extra security for her brother’s party.
And what a party it is!
High society blooms at Braddock Mansion! What’s the occasion, Betsy wonders.
It’s hard to stay in touch, milady, Rachel responds, even with a telepath for a companion. The two women join the rest of the crowd as it moves toward the entrance hall of the manor. They soon learn that the celebration is in honor of Magneto’s birthday. As they are announced at the door, Betsy realizes how underdressed they are. A problem easily fixed for a telekinetic with the fine motor control of Rachel Grey. While Betsy can smash mountains, Rachel can adjust the minutiae of their clothing to create elegant evening gowns. Betsy’s attention is taken from her new attire as her brother, Captain Britain, Brian Braddock, the King of England calls her name.
Betsy runs to him. He wraps his massive arms around her and holds her tight even as he trembles. It is you. You’re here. You’re alive! Rachel greets Meggan, and then telepathically hides their presence from the rest of the crowd. A reflex lately, she claims. Betsy wipes a tear away from her “baby brother’s” eye and assures him that her luck hasn’t run out yet. In spite of what he thought had happened in Spain, Brian realizes that Betsy is just fine.
The twins’ relationship has always been one of give and take. Though Brian is a few seconds younger than Betsy he is the one that rules as monarch. Betsy has always preferred the life of a warrior, much to her brother’s chagrin. He is convinced that someday he will lose her. But since that day is not today, Betsy encourages everyone to get back to the party.
Outside, the Sentinel’s head turns slowly as it scans the night sky…
The mansion is quiet. The night staff bustles softly from post-party task to post-party task while the king and queen sleep. Brian is happy. He is a benevolent and wise king—one who rules both as a monarch and a champion. He almost always sleeps with a smile on his face…but not tonight. Tonight his dreams are troubled by psychedelic imagery of himself being torn from reality and sent through a menagerie of sights, sounds, and strangely familiar faces. Two women…royalty, perhaps?…a strange mad looking man…a relative?…
My captain—my champion!
Forty-eight hours, Brian!
Your world is doomed!
A ticking clock…the blond woman reaching for a device…
To safeguard all creation…I must!
With a nuclear flash, destruction sweeps upon him--his sister and Rachel Grey are destroyed. He and his world have been condemned to die, and his passionate protest proves pointless. His mind goes numb as his wife, Meggan disintegrates in his arms, and then the light claims him as well…
NO! Sweat-soaked and disoriented, Brian wakes from his nightmare. Something isn’t right, and he knows it…
Next morning, the royal family and Rachel try to make sense of the nightmare. Brian is convinced that it was more than just a dream. Rachel suggests that perhaps the caviar was bad, but Brian knows in his bones that there is an answer to be found. Megan suggests contacting Magneto, but Brian resists.
With a polite knock, Peter Wisdom, assistant and bodyguard for the king, enters the room. He has brought the morning dispatches with him and a guest who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Courtney Ross, silk, silver fur and all, steps into the room.
Brian explodes in fury. Murderer! he shouts as he flies at the woman. You’re not Courtney Ross! You are Opa-Lun-Sat-Yr9, deposed tyrant of Earth 839! Courtney cries out in pain as Brian attacks her. Betsy and Rachel are shocked by Brian’s display of savagery. He means to kill her! Rachel tries to shut him down telepathically, but is slammed through the nearest window for her effort. Even though it may amount to treason, she will not allow him to commit murder. Determined, she flies back into the house. Betsy has drawn her psi-katana and lunges for him hoping to paralyze him temporarily. She is stopped by a volley of hot knives from Wisdom who is attempting to protect his king. Shattering yet another window, Rachel reenters the room and takes Wisdom down.
Betsy pleads with her brother to think before he acts, but Brian protests that there is no time to think. This woman is a dangerous enemy who has killed Courtney and taken her place. He attempts to prove it by showing everyone the dagger tattoo that Sat-Yr9 wears on her upper right thigh. He lifts her dress and is shocked to see…nothing. Courtney, sobbing and terrified, crawls away from Brian. What have I done? Brian whispers as Betsy tries to calm Courtney.
After Courtney has left, Betsy asks for details about Sat-Yr9. Rachel corrects her pronunciation by saying that the woman’s name is Saturnyne. Brian corrects her by saying that they are two different women altogether. Unfortunately, that is all that anyone knows. Even Rachel’s telepathic probe into Brian’s mind reveals nothing more. Brian yells in frustration, and Meggan tries to comfort him. Wisdom steps in to read the morning dispatches, and Brian takes note of one item concerning a group calling themselves the Marauders. It seems that this covert ops group is tracking two renegade mutants...one of whom seems to be related to Magneto. Brian quickly determines that these Marauders are hunting in Britain without his authorization. A little head thumping is just what he needs…
In the West Country, Cain Marko (the Juggernaut) fights off the attacks of Mammomax and T-Rex. We just want to be left alone, he yells as he slams Mammomax into the ground. T-Rex announces that they are acting on orders. Sunder knocks Cain to his knees, and Banshee attacks with his sonic scream. Callisto, leader of the Marauders, grabs him with her tentacles and throws him on his back. As the final coup de grace, Blob plummets from a jet hovering overhead and flattens Juggernaut into a crater.
With Juggernaut down for the count, Callisto reminds her troops that Nocturne is the “money”. She’s the one they are being paid to find. Callisto’s pep talk is halted by Captain Britain’s order: “Explain yourself!” Meggan, Brian, Rachel, and Betsy stand ready.
Callisto balks at the group. With a sneer she states that her orders come from Magneto himself. While Brian goes to look at the warrants that Callisto carries, Rachel and Betsy sneak away to follow Nocturne’s psychic trail. T-Rex notices their leaving and follows.
In an old abandoned house, the two women look around for any sign of Nocturne. As they look, they discuss the likelihood of this mutant being a real relation of Magneto’s. Betsy suspects that it is true—thus the Marauders. Royalty is very protective of its secrets and scandals.
Nocturne moves through the shadows silently, but Rachel is able to track her. Betsy takes the roof off the house to shed some light on the situation, and Nocturne comes tumbling down with the debris. Betsy catches her with her teke and orders Rachel to catch the falling matter from the roof. At your command, your royal highness, Rachel answers sarcastically.
Suddenly Nocturne escapes from Betsy’s telekinetic bonds and tries to posses her. Betsy’s immunity to all forms of psychic attack send the poor mutant reeling, though. Terrified, Nocturne backs into a corner. Please don’t hurt me!
Betsy and Rachel are astonished that she looks nothing like Magneto.
We’re way beyond scandal here, Rachel…

Characters Involved: 

Psylocke, Marvel Girl III, (X-Men)

Captain Britain, Meggan (King and Queen of England)

Nocturne, Juggernaut
Peter Wisdom

Courtney Ross
Callisto, T-Rex, Mammomax, Blob, Banshee, Sunder (all Marauders)
Various party guests, guards, and servants

A Sentinel
In Dream Sequence:

Roma (Celestial Guardian of the Omniverse)

Opal Luna Saturnyne (Omniversal Majestrix)

Jamie Braddock (brother to Brian and Betsy Braddock)

Story Notes: 

In main Marvel history, Cain Marko, the Juggernaut, is not a mutant. He acquired his powers from the mystical gem of Cyttorak. It is not clear if this is just an oversight in the story, or if he is actually is a mutant in the House of M.
The dangerously insane 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.
Sat-Yr9 is an alternate version of both Courtney Ross and Opal Luna Saturnyne. She is a mentally unstable dictator from Earth 839 who murdered and replaced Courtney Ross waaaaaay back in Excalibur (1st series) #5. Courtney’s murder has been a dangling plotline for years. While Brian eventually became aware of that, he never managed to bring Sat-Yr9 who later returned to the Courtney identity to justice.
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.

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