Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #509

Issue Date: 
June 2009
Story Title: 

Matt Fraction (writer), Greg Land (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Justin Ponsor (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters), Daniel Ketchum (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

The X-Men are settling in to their new city, as is Northstar who runs to the Castro District for an interview with a news reporter. During the interview, they are broken off air by another television broadcast in which Simon Trask informs the viewing public that he and his coalition has proposed Proposition X, an act that could force all humans with the X-gene to undergo mandatory birth control procedures. Northstar is shocked and he runs back to Graymalkin to find the others equally dismayed by the news. Especially moved, Pixie takes her frustrations out in the Danger Room. Elsewhere in the headquarters, Hank McCoy introduces the final member of his science team to the rest: Dr. Kavita Rao. In their first order of business, Madison Jeffries mentions an idea of his which would mean that they can travel back in time. It looks like they’re going on a field trip once the machine is built. Meanwhile, Madelyne Pryor’s experiment to house Psylocke’s consciousness in a new body has succeeded, and she informs the Sisterhood that they will be doing it again. They aren’t happy, but Maddie has her way. Soon afterward, they attack the X-Men’s headquarters and Madelyne heads straight for Wolverine’s room while the others keep the X-Men occupied. Logan has something she desires.

Full Summary: 

(San Francisco)

The newcomers to the “City by the Bay,” who have taken up the offer of a safe haven on the west coast, are fitting in nicely. At long last they have found a place made up of a people greater than the sum of their parts. It's a place where diversity and tolerance are the norm. On some days, when the light hits the city just right, it's easy for them to focus on the silver lining rather than the storm cloud: to feel hope and happiness instead of fear. They feel they can do good and be good, and contribute to the community that has embraced them. They can be super heroes and not an endangered species. They can fall in love and eat incredible meals, waste time and enjoy one another's company instead of running for their lives constantly.
Noriko Ashida, otherwise known as Surge, runs through Chinatown with a big grin on her face. A blur flashes past her and she grinds to a halt; her hair sweeping past her eyes. Northstar is in the Castro by the time he speaks. He doesn't want Surge to go dawdling and daydreaming. If she's gonna run, she should run fast. He is supposed to be chaperoning her. He thinks Surge seems like a good sort and is sure she'll catch up later. Jean-Paul hadn't realized that joining the X-Men would be such an... event, in the city.
A news reporter stands outside the Castro Theater waiting for his super-quick interviewee – the world-famous skier, snowboarder and queer mutant hero. Jean-Paul appears with a following wind that blows the reporter around. He thanks Jean-Paul for joining them, and he replies that it's his pleasure, though he apologizes. It's his first day and he's trying not to die right away. The comment brings the reporter to his first questions. Isn't he dead? Wasn't he a psychotic killer, and is he still gay? Northstar admits that he was dead but got better. He was a psychotic killer but got better, and he is still gay and can't possibly get any better.
Before a follow-up question is forthcoming, Jean-Paul informs the interviewer that he isn't there to wave any banners. There's a tactical need for him on the team, and there are tremendous educational resources for young mutants here. He joined because... well, because it's the right thing to do. Why shouldn't they all, regardless of what they can do, be the best people they can be? “There's a real opportunity here in San Francisco for mutants to...” The reporter pulls away as someone informs him that there's breaking news coming out of Sacramento. They should listen to it.
Simon Trask is broadcasting live on another television channel. He explains to the viewing public that his coalition has brought the so-called Breeding Act Ballot to a public referendum. If passed, Proposition X would require all humans that are X-gene positive to undergo mandatory chemical birth control procedures. If the Cooperstown massacre has shown them anything, it's that even an innocent newborn, if X-gene positive, can inadvertently bring about horror. Their goal is not to legislate who gets to breed, but rather insure that everyone gets to survive. The reporter is quite shocked and asks Jean-Paul if they can do that. Northstar replies that it looks like they just did.
Elsewhere, Sadie Sinclair, the pro-mutant mayor of San Francisco shouts to someone over the phone that this is bull, and scatters the papers across her desk in frustration. Over at Graymalkin, the X-Men look at the television in dismay. Pixie can't believe it, but Scott says that it's okay. They'll fight this. Regular people will fight this. Trask won't win. Northstar appears, having run back to the HQ in mere moments. "I take it back," he says. "I quit!" He asks who wants to save a bunch of terrified American bigots. He's heading back to Canada where he enjoyed socialized health care, the metric system and tolerance. Scott asks him to knock it off, but it's clear from the faces of those around him that this isn't good for them. Warpath comments that they'll be putting them in camps next... reservations. Pixie quietly departs as bitterness among the world's few remaining mutants turns into fractiousness.
(the Danger Room)

Pixie asks for four Hellfire Cultists to fight, and then makes it five. They appear around her and she takes up an aggressive fighting stance. Her ferocity causes Hank, watching from the control room with Wolverine, to remark that she's gotten better. She's gotten angry. Wolverine snikts his claws and asks Hank if he saw the crap on TV. He doesn't blame Megan. He knows how she feels.
Over in the lab, Madison Jeffries cuddles a cup of coffee and tells the others that he had a fascinating conversation with a very unique coffee machine that used to live in another lab. He asks if anyone there knew Forge but no one responds. He continues to explain, as Kavita Rao carries on with her experiments, that he fixed the clock which was still an hour wrong and it got him started thinking about the time-leaper that they made which went into the future.

Dr. Nemesis congratulates him on freeing the coffee machine from the tyranny of daylight savings. He's a genius, he quips. Kavita adds that it must be hard to be so difficult all the time. She asks if it worries him that he will die alone and unloved, and that so many of his former colleagues will use his grave as a toilet. Hank appears and asks what he missed. Madison explains that they made a machine to go into the future, right. Well why not make one that goes into the past?
Dr. Takiguchi asks if he wishes to study the origin of species. Kavita Rao finds it rather interesting and figures that if they could study a first-generation mutant, they would see the indicators and eccentricities that made such an evolutionary leap possible. Madison says that making the machine is easy, they'd just have to find… what? Prince Namor's parent's, right? Hank replies that they wouldn't need them, but they'd need someone of Namor's era. Dr. Takiguchi asks if anyone knows where they might find a couple about to give birth to a first-generation mutant about a century ago. Hank replies that actually... they do, "Don't they, Dr. Nemesis?"

The doctor smiles and says that what Hank is insinuating is that... it's him. This comes as a great surprise to the others. Dr. Takiguchi remarks that this would make Nemesis older than him. Nemesis explains that he was born in the year 1906, so he is quite a bit older. He is kept alive by an aggressive array of bizarre narcotics of his own invention and his unending annoyance of them all. He was also born in San Francisco, which he suspects is why he agreed to join their collection of carnies and mental deficients. He suspects that Hank knew that and hoped to appeal to his sense of nostalgia when he and the 'dandy' recruited him. They want a sample of pre-mutant DNA? Then his parents are prime candidates. "Field trip, anyone?" asks Madison Jeffries.

The Sisterhood have just transferred Psylocke's consciousness into the deceased body of Kwannon – Betsy’s original body. It's been a success, but confusion reigns. Chimera asks if there are two Psylockes. Madelyne replies yes. Once upon a time, a little British girl named Betsy Braddock was one of the great psychic adepts of her age. The X-Men recruited her and did all kinds of wonderful things until their world came crashing down around them. They fled through a magical gateway which scattered them to the four winds. Young Betsy's mind ended up in the head of a Japanese girl called Kwannon, and vice-versa. The British girl became an Asian woman. Kwannon died and Betsy lived.

She adds that Betsy traveled to places and spaces beyond the comprehension of most and that is where she found her - dancing between parallel worlds. She cradles Betsy's head in her hands and tells Betsy that she created entirely new kinds of spells and damnations to bring her there. She hopes she can appreciate how troublesome it was for her to bring her home.
Betsy struggles to speak, but utters, "Kuh kuh Queen." Madelyne says that's right. She explains that Spiral, the body witch, prepared the corpse for reanimation, purged it of preservations and impurities, reinvigorated tissues and reconstituted the organs. Her brilliant girls, under her magical guidance, marshaled her mighty powers and plucked Betsy from her hiding place. Now they can control what she does and what she says. "All of the power and none of the personality," adds Martinique. Madelyne points out that bodies and minds capable of housing such tremendous psychic energies are rare things - especially dead ones. They needed to reanimate a dead body capable of containing a psyche that powerful. Now that they've tested it and succeeded, they'll be doing it again.

Chimera's energies flare up and she reminds Madelyne that she promised to bring back their dead if they did what they wanted. Spiral adds that they had a deal. This was not part of it. Madelyne replies that they did indeed, and she may yet wish to strike her. Deathstrike does just that, but her blades pass harmlessly through Madelyne. She informs them that she has no home. This is why she has assembled them. What they've done with Psylocke is a test. While her abilities and talents are welcome, the real accomplishment is housing the spirit in new flesh.
There have been only two humans gifted enough to contain power as great as hers. Her first host was destroyed irrevocably. The second... well... she thought the X-Men would have caught wind of their little ritual and so she wanted them gone. She should have remembered how self-obsessed Scott Summers is and how oblivious to true danger he really is. She always knew they were destined to collide. She just assumed it would be in New York. No matter, though. They can strike just as easily in California.
(Graymalkin Industries)

Emma Frost is asleep when Scott enters the room. He looks at her, grabs a pillow and heads to the lounge. Something's wrong. Dazzler, Pixie and Northstar return from a night out, a little tipsy and all smiles. Scott asks what the hell's the matter with them. It's three in the morning. Alison plonks herself into a chair and asks why he's sleeping shirtless out here instead of with Ms. Frost. Jean-Paul asks what he did. "And did you do it shirtless?" adds Pixie. He asks if she's been drinking. Megan realizes she's been caught out and promptly teleports away.

Scott reminds the others that Megan is not yet twenty-one. Jean-Paul says that she is legal in Canada, and Alison adds that she's legal in Wales, too. "But not California, guys," Scott sighs. Alison asks why he's sleeping on the couch. What's going on with him and Emma? She asks him not to take it the wrong way but, if they can't make it work, then there's no hope for any of them. Scott leans into his palms and replies that everything's fine. "Yeah," replies Northstar, "I like sleeping on couches, too."
As he speaks, he notices the walls begin to shimmer a little. Alison lights up and warns them to get ready for the floorshow. Scott knows the feeling. It's Martinique! A green dragon flies into the room and Chimera tells him that she's there too, but no one ever remembers her. She tells him it's okay though. She'll make sure to kill him for it.

Martinique sends a telepathic message to Emma telling her that Scott, Northstar and Dazzler are going down. Emma sits upright in bed and tries to contact Scott to inform him that they've been compromised. Unfortunately, Regan Wyngarde is there too, and she mentally shackles Emma. Colossus and Nightcrawler realize that there is danger and Kurt asks Piotr to armor up. Before he can do so, Spiral teleports behind them and stabs them both with her swords. She then prepares a portal for Madelyne to come through and she congratulates them. She tells them that they can finish the job now.
Elsewhere, Deathstrike attacks Wolverine who is sleeping. She thrusts her blades right through his chest and holds him up for Madelyne to see. "Don't move, little man," warns Deathstrike. Madelyne smiles at Logan and tells him he's just the man she was looking for.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Iceman, Nightcrawler, Northstar, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)
X-Students including Gentle, Loa, Pixie, Rockslide, the Stepford Cuckoos, Surge

Dazzler, Sunspot and Warpath

Maddison Jeffries, Dr. Nemesis, Dr. Kavita Rao, Dr. Yuriko Takiguchi (all X-Club)
Chimera, Lady Deathstrike, Lady Mastermind, Madelyne Pryor, Mastermind, Spiral, (all Sisterhood)

Kwannon, Psylocke

San Franciscans

Russian students

Unnamed criminals

Raiders fans

News reporter and camerman

Sadie Sinclair, Mayor of San Francisco

(on television)

Simon Trask

Story Notes: 

In the opening few pages of day-to-day life in San Francisco, we see Angel flying over cable cars in the Richmond District, the Stepford Cuckoos walking through Union Square and Gentle, Loa and two others enjoying themselves in the Haight. We see Dazzler performing in West Oakland as Pixie dances to her music, Nightcrawler sitting on a gargoyle at Grace Cathedral, and Emma teaching the Russian students at the X-Men's headquarters. We also see Warpath, Cyclops and Sunspot tackling some criminals in the Financial District, Storm taking down some bad guys in the Fruitvale and both Colossus and Rockslide at the Black Hole. One slight error here is that the famous cable cars don’t go anywhere near the Richmond District.

The ‘Black Hole’ that Rockslide and Colossus are shown at is a special area of the Oakland Coliseum where die-hard Oakland Raiders fans congregate during home games.

The Cooperstown Massacre took place in X-Men: Messiah Complex #1.
The 'dandy' who helped recruit Dr. Nemesis was Archangel.
The magical gateway which Madelyne mentions is the Siege Perilous, which Betsy went through in Uncanny X-Men #251. She turned up again in uncanny X-Men #255.

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