Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #496

Issue Date: 
May 2008
Story Title: 
X-Men: Divided, Part Two

Ed Brubaker (writer), Mike Choi (artist), Sonia Oback (color art), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Will Panzo (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

San Francisco has been mysteriously transformed into its late 1960s hippie version, with various people partying in the streets, seemingly in some sort of trance, including Angel and Hepzibah. One of the ‘hippies’, a man named Eli, enters a room where a mysterious woman known as the Goddess rests – a woman who is hinted as being the one responsible for the current metamorphosis. Meanwhile, Cyclops and White Queen land with their jet in the Golden Gate Park, intent on finding out what happened to Warren and the others. Emma realizes that someone has psychically taken the city back in time and shields Scott and herself from this psychic pulse. In Siberia, Colossus visits his parents’ grave, accompanied by Wolverine and Nightcrawler. Later, the three mutants have a few drinks at a bar, until they see some local gangsters extorting the bartender and take them out. A couple of hours later, a government official in Moscow is informed that Colossus is alive and in Russia and happily remarks that it’s been too long since the Red Room had mutants to play with.

Full Summary: 

San Francisco

Utterly enraptured, people are dancing in the streets of the city, dressed as late 1960s hippies. First, their Goddess brought them the cat-lady – Hepzibah – and the party loved her for it. Now, she’s brought them an angel: Warren Worthington, who soars above the ongoing party, proudly sporting his wings, equally ecstatic to the others. They all think this is the best party ever.

A man and a woman, Eli and Delilah, also dressed as hippies, sit leisurely at the stairs of a house, right outside the front door. Eli tells Delilah that he doesn’t understand… where did the angel come from? Opal thinks he’s another gift, Delilah tells him. He just arrived with the last wave from the Haight. “I’ve never seen anything like this, not even… not even when we were us. Not even in the “real,” Eli admits. Delilah explains that there is no real; they’ve knocked open those doors. Eli reminds her it wasn’t them who did it: the Goddess did that. Delilah insists she’s one of them now, though, isn’t she? Eli admits that he doesn’t know what she is.

He then enters the house and stands outside a room, knocking on its door and asking the Goddess if he may come in. “Of course, my love… come join me,” the Goddess replies, “and all that I am is yours” she adds. Eli remarks that this is the best news he’s ever heard and enters a room, full of aromatic scents.

Meanwhile, Cyclops and Emma Frost are already heading to San Francisco, the former piloting the Blackbird, amidst a downpour. Scott exclaims that this isn’t good. Warren’s not answering and Scott can’t even tell if his calls are going through. Emma assures Scott that he doesn’t need to narrate… after all, she’s sitting right there. She explains to him that the situation is worse than he knows. Cyclops asks her what this means: has she made a link? Emma explains she hasn’t; that’s the problem. She should be able to find Warren’s mind – even from this distance – but she can’t. Additionally, she can’t find Hepzibah or any of the others Warren was meant to be meeting there. It’s like they’re all being blocked from her… or worse.

And on the other side of the world – Russia

Wolverine and Nightcrawler – the latter looking like a normal human, thanks to his image inducer – have accompanied Colossus to the cemetery where Piotr’s parents are buried. Piotr silently lays a bouquet of flowers at his parents’ tombstone. Logan asks him how he feels. Piotr admits his heart is heavy. But what did he expect, returning to this place? Kurt agrees: they pay their respects to the dead to honor them. Yet, it often tears open the very holes they left in their lives once more.

Piotr admits that he thought feeling the Siberian winter again would restore something in him. However, all it does is to remind him how much he has lost. Piotr remembers that his parents were good people – and this was a good place to be child. “You know what I’m wondering?” Wolverine intervenes. “What?” Kurt replies. Smiling, Wolverine wonders if it’s a good place to get a drink. Piotr reminds Logan this is Russia… he would not worry too hard on that.

As snow starts falling, the trio finds its way to a local bar and grabs a few drinks. Wolverine sees Kurt looking anxiously around and asks him what he’s looking for; Juggernaut? Nightcrawler explains that he was seeing if they had the train schedules posted. He was wondering if they might make the last train out. “Unless you wish to stay another night, Piotr?” he asks him. No, Piotr replies – he thinks he’s gotten whatever it is he came back here for.

Logan asks Piotr if this was a place he used to come together with his farmer buddies. Piotr explains that this is merely the closest bar to the cemetery. His village is miles from here, away off in the snow… but Piotr thought it best to avoid a literal homecoming, since all who live there believe him dead. Good point, Wolverine agrees. However, he believes that just because they’re drinking, doesn’t mean Piotr should wallow in it. Kurt reprimands Logan for saying this; that’s even more insensitive on his part than usual. He reminds Logan that Piotr just visited his parents’ grave and, just a few weeks ago, he lost the woman he loves.

Logan adds that they shouldn’t forget watching everything they know get demolished and all their friends scattering in the breeze. Kurt agrees that they shouldn’t forget that; they shouldn’t forget that right now their entire future is up in the air. However, Wolverine reminds him that it alw€ays is. It’s one thing after another and it always has been. He believes that Pete knows that; that’s what life with the X-Men is.

Logan argues that Piotr is saying “whatever he came back for” like he doesn’t know. “But I’ll tell you what it is…” he tells Piotr. “Oh, will you now?” a rather annoyed Piotr exclaims. Logan insists he will. Approaching a damp window and sweeping it, Logan explains that – apparently – Piotr wanted to remember what it felt like before… when no one knew what he was… when it was simple. When Charles Xavier’s dreams sounded like hope instead of what they turned out to be.

Piotr admits that Logan is probably right. This countryside… his mother and father… his sister… and his darling… his Katya… these are things that the X-Men have cost him, whether he wishes to admit it or not. Wolverine tells him he’s wrong again: that’s just the cost of being a mutant in this world. However, he assures him that if he wants to talk about Kitty, they can talk. Logan himself can keep stuff bottled up – he’s used to it – but he believes Peter isn’t like this. Wolverine then turns to the bartender and asks him to get another round of drinks: they’ve got a broken heart here! The bartender retorts that he has got a broken leg… they can come and get it themselves!

Golden Gate Park – San Francisco

As the Blackbird is about to land on the park, Cyclops and Emma see a colossal being towering over it. “What’s that?” Scott asks. Emma believes it’s a Celestial. Scott wonders if he even wants to know what a Celestial is. Emma believes that he’s going to have to learn at some point. Cyclops wonders why it’s here. Emma has the sense that it’s sleeping here until the end of the world. “Oh. Okay…” Scott mumbles. Emma believes that Henry – Beast – would probably have more information. She’s just telling Scott what she knows from osmosis. “Osmosis?” Scott again wonders. Emma explains that it has to do with things she learns from the thought fractals floating in the ether; the constant background noise of being a telepath.

After Cyclops puts the Blackbird in stealth mode, Emma argues that they should only worry about the giant alien god creature if and when it wakes up. However, they’ve got other problems now. Scott asks her if she’s getting anything. Emma reveals that she can feel an enormous psychic pulse: it’s like it’s rippling right past them. She tells him to hang on: she’s shielding them from it.

The two mutants walk into the park and get past several hippie-dressed people that lay on the grass, observing them. Scott wonders if that psychic pulse is what’s doing all this; making these people look like they stepped right out of the ‘60s. He asks Emma if it’s all some psychic mental projection. Emma thinks it is – sort of – but she’s never experienced anything like this. It feels wild… not focused. She’s not sure if this is being done on purpose.

Scott and Emma come near a quartet of “hippies.” One of them tells his companions to check it out and points at Scott’s visor, congratulating him on his “trippy goggles.” Scott demands they keep away from them. “Okay man… be cool. Be mellow,” the man replies. “Guess they aren’t coming to the be-in,” the man then tells his companions just as Scott and Emma move towards the exit of the park.

Scott wants to know whether Emma is telling him that someone is psychically taking this city back in time… and they may not even know they’re doing it. Emma again admits she’s not sure but this doesn’t feel like an attack. It feels more like an acid flashback creeping through the city. Scott assumes that Warren and the others aren’t having a good trip. They better find them fast.

And back in Russia

The trio continues having drinks in the bar. “Know who I miss?” Logan asks his buddies. His reply comes swiftly: the Blob! Upon hearing this, Piotr spits his drink while Kurt smirks. Logan admits he’s tired of skinny little weasely bad guys!

Suddenly, a hard-faced man, surrounded by a gang of men, pulls out a gun and points it to the bartender. “I said give it now, you dog-eating bastard!” the man bawls. Clenching his teeth, the bartender tells him to stop: he’s taken more than he can afford already. Unmoved by this, the man hits the bartender’s face with his gun. He then turns to his partner, Milo, and asks him to get the money.

Hey!” Wolverine intervenes. In flawless Russian, he asks the man what the hell he’s doing. “You don’t assault the bartender,” he adds, while unsheathing his claws. The criminal believes that this is none of Logan’s concern… just as Logan tears the man’s gun apart by use of his claws. “Man’s pooring my drinks. Makes it my concern,” the ready-witted Logan replies. “What are you…” the criminal is about to ask him. Wolverine clarifies that he’s someone who’s really tired of bullies… and then moves at extraordinary speed and prowess, kicking and punching the man and two of his henchmen, effectively knocking them all out!

One of the remaining gangsters orders his accomplices to kill them. “You people are a disgrace,” Colossus exclaims while punching one in the face. In the next few moments, Kurt, Logan and Piotr take out the criminals one by one.

Seeing a middle-aged customer trying to protect himself amidst all the turmoil, Nightcrawler teleports him outside the bar and urges him to run from there, before teleporting back inside to aid his companions. The last standing thug shoots Colossus, who instantly turns into steel, thus becoming impervious to the man’s bullets. Colossus looks angrily at him, telling him that was not a good idea. “No… no…” the man whimpers just before Colossus hurls him out of the bar via the window.

Logan asks Kurt – who’s now revealed his true form – if he’s okay. Nightcrawler assures him he’s fine; it appears he’s more healed than he thought. The bartender hesitantly rises from behind the counter, where he was hiding during the fight, asking the three mutants if they have killed them. Piotr exclaims they would wish they had tomorrow and asks the bartender if they are Bratva. The bartender explains they’re just local scum. Wolverine apologizes for the damage and leaves some cash to the bartender, hoping this’ll cover it. He also advises him not to mention what he saw here. “Yes… of course,” the frightened bartender assures him.

As the three mutants put on their hats and coats, Kurt asks Piotr if they should try and make that final train. “I think so,” Piotr replies. He thinks he’s seen all he needs of his homeland for now. Wolverine claims that’s the other thing about coming home… it usually reminds one why he wanted to leave in the first place. “I suppose so, Logan…” Colossus remarks as he exits the bar. All three mutants are oblivious to the bald middle-aged man that Kurt teleported outside, watching them from the shadows.

Moscow – Two hours later

Inside a government building that sports the Russian Coat of Arms – a two-headed eagle – a white-haired official reads a newspaper, sitting behind a desk. The paper shows Colossus next to superstar Angelina Jolie. The official asks his comrade if they’re sure it’s him – alive – and not some American trick. The other man insists it’s the Rasputin boy; he and two others were seen in Siberia, near Rasputin’s old home, just this night. They boarded a train and they’re tracking it. The official remarks this is excellent; it’s been too long since the Red Room had mutants to play with.

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Cyclops, Colossus, Nightcrawler, White Queen, Wolverine (all X-Men)


The Goddess

Eli, Delilah and other people under the Goddess’ influence

Bartender & other unnamed people in Russia

Milo and other unnamed local gangsters

Tiamut, the Dreaming Celestial

In newspaper:

Colossus, Nightcrawler as “Angelina Jolie” (both X-Men)

Story Notes: 

In the beginning of the story, the ‘hippies’ in San Francisco dance to the sounds of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, a 1968 psychedelic rock song by Iron Butterfly.

Colossus’ parents, Nikolai and Alexandra Rasputin, were murdered by Russian government agents back in X-Men (2nd series) #18. His sister, Illyana, died from the Legacy Virus in Uncanny X-Men #303, although a version of Illyana was later recreated during Scarlet Witch’s tampering of reality. [House of M event]

This issue is mildly controversial in that it is the first issue to hint at something dramatic happening to Shadowcat in Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1, a story that although chronologically preceding the present issue, actually came out after it, owing to the usual practice of the Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) shipping late. In the issue in question, it was finally revealed that Kitty is lost in space.

Another controversy arising from this issue concerns Cyclops’ complete ignorance of the Celestials – a strange fact, considering that Scott, as a member of X-Factor, was involved in a major storyline with the Celestials and even fought one of them back in X-Factor (1st series) #43-46 & #48-50.

The Celestial that Scott and Emma see is Tiamut, the Dreaming Celestial, a renegade member of the Celestials that is imprisoned in the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, towering over the area and observing it, as seen in the Eternals (3rd series).

As mentioned last issue, Wolverine messed with Nightcrawler’s image inducer, making Kurt look like Angelina Jolie and thus attracting paparazzi, who also photographed Colossus next to “Angelina.” The photo was then released internationally, with Piotr being tagged as “Angelina’s mystery man.”

Haight-Ashbury is a district of San Francisco, commonly known as the Haight, and famous for its central role in the 1960s hippie movement.

The Russian Mafia, Red Mafia or Bratva (slang for “brotherhood”), is a name given to a broad group of organized criminals in the former Soviet Union territories following its collapse in 1991.

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