Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #511

Issue Date: 
August 2009
Story Title: 

Matt Fraction (writer), Greg Land and Terry Dodson (pencilers), Jay Leisten & Rachel Dodson (inkers), 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: 

Madelyne Pryor’s Sisterhood is almost ready for the endgame. They have a lock of Jean Grey’s hair which they took from Wolverine, and plan to use Jean Grey’s dead body to house Madelyne’s floating spirit. Madelyne leaves her two psychics behind to take care of the X-Men alongside Kwannon, whilst she, Deathstrike and Chimera are whisked to Westchester by Spiral. When they arrive, they find Domino at the graveyard, waiting for them with an open casket. Back in San Francisco, the remaining members of the Sisterhood are attacked by Storm and Dazzler, who blasts Psylocke’s face off. Betsy’s personality then manages to take control of the body, and she apologizes to Alison before thrusting her psychic knife into her own brain. Inside her mind, she battles one of Madelyne’s magic creations which she bests with ease, allowing her to finally take control of her Asian body once more. In Westchester, Madelyne has the others take care of Domino and the arriving X-Men whilst she heads to Jean’s grave. Despite Scott trying to persuade her otherwise, she attempts to merge with Jean’s body, only to discover that it’s not Jean’s at all. Domino has made a switch. The body isn’t capable of housing Madelyne’s power and she soon finds herself disappearing. Scott apologizes as she vanishes, but he did try to warn her.

Full Summary: 

(overhead, the Blackbird)

The X-Men’s plane flies through the night sky with four people on board. Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus and Northstar are returning to New York State from California at around Mach 5. The Sisterhood has stolen Kwannon’s body to house Psylocke’s stolen psyche, and now they’ve stolen a lock of Jean Grey’s hair from Wolverine’s room. Scott Summers isn’t too pleased about this. Logan dishes out some instructions over the phone whilst Northstar asks Colossus if there’s any chance of the other two actually speaking to one another at any point. Both Cyclops and Wolverine overhear and reply, “Nope.”

(Downtown San Francisco, California)

The Sisterhood arrive at their base via one of Spiral’s portals and Madelyne asks them to hurry. She knows that the X-Men will figure out what they’re doing so she needs the location spell executed immediately. She tells them that she doesn’t care how hurt they are. She needs their absolute focus. They gather around her and Madelyne and she takes some of their power for herself.

(Graymalkin Industries, Marin Headland)

Emma Frost informs Scott, by telepathy, that there has been a psychic eruption downtown and they have Madelyne’s location. He asks her to move out straight away, so she teams up with Dazzler, Karma and Storm and heads downtown. Scott admits that they’re cutting this close. Emma asks him to just ensure his team doesn’t fall apart fighting over his dead wives. They know where the Sisterhood is heading before they do. It's the only advantage they have right now.

Scott tells her that he wants her to buy as much time for them as possible, and adds that it's not their only advantage. "Oh no?" asks Emma. Scott replies, as the Blackbird heads into the airspace over Westchester County, that they're the X-Men, and they're pissed off!
Meanwhile, Madelyne Pryor uses her magic to get the talisman, recovered from Logan’s room, to lead them to its home. She asks Spiral, Deathstrike and Chimera to go with her whilst the rest of them prepare for the X-Men. They won't be far behind. Regan asks her to wait a second, and Martinique asks if she's leaving them there as bait. "With her?" they cry, simultaneously. They really cannot stand one another. Madelyne tells them to grow up, shut up and deal with it. This is everything. This is the endgame. They've all worked too hard to let the stupid X-Men foul it up.
Outside their window, they spot Storm approaching. "The stupid what?" she asks, before blowing the window out. The Sisterhood cover their eyes as shards of glass fly inwards. Inside, Emma Frost, now in her diamond form, Dazzler and Karma arrive with Emma kicking the door in. Martinique asks if they know who they're messing with. They just stomped their entire team. The freshly-revived Betsy summons her psychic knife and asks if they think a little rain and some glass is going to stop them. "Sisterhood... Strike!" she cries as she leaps towards Emma.
(Westchester County, the destroyed grounds of the School for Gifted Youngsters)

Madelyne, Chimera, Spiral and Deathstrike arrive, following the magically-imbued talisman, with Madelyne commenting that only a sap like Charles Xavier would make his children live and learn in the graveyard where their own upperclassmen are buried. She warns the others to be ready. If the X-Men haven't figured out where they're off to, they soon will. She knows that they don't have a teleporter capable of getting there, so that means they'll be flying their damn plane.

She stops talking when she notices Domino standing there. "Hah!" laughs
Domino. "What're the odds, right?" She stands next to the freshly dug grave of Jean Grey. Chimera reckons it's time for a rematch, and Madelyne warns Domino that she will die here. Domino laughs at her, but Madelyne warns her to get away from her property and not to get clever. She can kill Domino at the speed of thought. Domino whips her pistols out and starts shooting, replying that she's still faster.
Her bullets are deflected by Spiral who wields her swords with amazing precision. Chimera then unleashes one of her dragons which lunges at its target. Domino leaps across the gravestones, firing all the time until Deathstrike comes up behind her and wraps her deadly metallic fingers around her. She never saw her coming. What are the odds of that? Fortunately, the cavalry arrives in the form of four X-Men: Northstar, Colossus, Wolverine and Cyclops. Scott informs Madelyne that she's trespassing on private property. He'd like a word with her.
Meanwhile, Dazzler faces Betsy, who warns her that her teammates cannot help her. No one can help her. Dazzler asks if she is Betsy or the Japanese woman. Not that it matters. This doesn't have to be ugly. She tells her that whoever she is inside that body that they were pals once. They joined the team around the same time and everything. Doesn't that count for something? Betsy summons a psychic blade and replies that she is a restless murder-spirit, summoned across the guts of spacetime and given home in this remade flesh. The Red Queen and Mistress Spiral remade her mind in their obscene image. She is no one Dazzler knows... not anymore. As for Dazzler, she adds, she is a washed up joke that stopped being funny years ago.
She attacks Alison, sending her sprawling backwards. Dazed, Alison tells her that there's no need to get ugly. She informs her that there's a reason they blew the windows out when they arrived. She asks her if she can hear the wind, the cars, the ocean, the laughter and the screaming and the hum of people out there. The city is a symphony, and she is its speaker. Betsy glances at the open window and gasps, "No..." Dazzler smiles and snaps her fingers, summoning a lightshow that rips half of Betsy's face off.

She clamps her hands around her face and then looks back at Alison. Half the skin is missing. Surprisingly, someone else now speaks to her though the speech is inhibited by the lack of lips. "Shtoph me. Shhtop her. Dasshhler, it'sh not me," she implores. "Brainwasshed. Fighting it. Trapped. I'm shhhorry." With that, Betsy stabs herself in the brain with the psychic knife and drops to the ground in a heap. Alison cradles her and asks her to hang on. Inside her own mind, Betsy prepares to fight for survival.
Psylocke and a magical entity inhabiting her mind duke it out, but it's a one-way battle due to Betsy’s will to live. Betsy grabs the impostor and throws her to the ground, telling her that the good inside of her is stronger than the bad. She summons two psychic knives and plunges them into her opponent's brain. The second body disappears in a magical mist and Betsy says that Psylocke is stronger, and she's going home.
Back at the graveyard, Wolverine battles Deathstrike whilst Colossus and Domino evade Chimera's dragon. Spiral struggles to handle Northstar's speed as Colossus manages to grab Chimera by the throat, stopping the dragon in its tracks. Cyclops sees Madelyne walking to Jean's grave and unleashes an optic blast. Unfortunately, it passes harmlessly through her and hits the gravestone behind. "Enough he cries, but Maddie simply laughs at him, telling him that he managed insult, injury and irony, all in one shot. She uses her magic to raise the coffin lid and tells him that he always did want her to be Jean all over again. Scott tells Maddie that if she's in there somewhere, she has to trust him and not do this. They can help her. Madelyne replies that he could never help her - not as a hero and not as a man. Certainly not as a husband. She tells him that Madelyne Pryor never loved him. Now they can see if Jean Grey ever did.
She stands over the grave, waving her arms around in preparation for the magic process that will place her consciousness in a new body. "Bow before your queen," she cries, "I'm coming home." The dead body lights up as Maddie's consciousness enters it. Immediately, she realizes that something is wrong. Scott looks away as her body glows a fiery red. He says that he tried to warn her.
Scott admits that they tricked her. They knew what she was looking for and got there before her. He explains that Domino was actually driving though Westchester, luckily. When they found her she had already taken Jean's casket out. The body she is trying to possess is not Jean and anything less that Jean cannot contain her. Maddie screams as her consciousness struggles to find a secure footing. "Your Sisterhood is dead," says Scott. "I'm so sorry." Spiral realizes that their protection is gone and teleports them away before Emma Frost can punish Chimera any further.
In San Francisco, as Dazzler cradles Betsy's original body, the Psylocke that is still strapped into Madelyne's contraption speaks. "A- Ali... the Sisterhood is dead," she remarks. Emma reverts to her flesh-form and contacts Scott telepathically. She explains that Spiral just grabbed her girls and left mid-fight. Scott replies that the Red Queen took the bait and that was that. They're on their way back to the Blackbird now. He asks the others to head on without him. He'll clean up the mess. Emma informs him that she thinks their cast of characters just grew again. Psylocke smiles as she rejoins her old friends.

As Scott and Emma sleep, they are joined in their room by Hank McCoy. He informs them that he needs a word with Scott. Scott sits up and tells him that he has his undivided attention. Hank explains that there are lots of secrets filling the halls nowadays. More than normal for people like them. Logan leads a gang off to God knows where. Warren transforms into archangel again, to say nothing of what Emma's been up to. There are secrets, and in these awful fractious times, they're all they have left. He adds that he is taking the X-Club on a mission come daylight. He expects to be gone some time. When he returns they're going to have al of this out. Their secrets will kill them, and he won't be around when it happens.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Northstar, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Dazzler, Domino, Karma
Madelyne Pryor, Mastermind, Lady Mastermind, Chimera, Spiral, Lady Deathstrike (all Sisterhood)

Kwannon, Psylocke

Unnamed deceased body

(in flashback)


Story Notes: 

Emma's secret is presumably that she is a member of Norman Osborn's cabal. Scott’s secret is that he has set up the new X-Force.
Scott guesses in this issue that Mach 5 is around 300mph, but it’s a hypersonic speed and more likely to be nearer 3000 mph.

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