Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #518

Issue Date: 
February 2010
Story Title: 

Matt Fraction (writer), Terry Dodson (penciler), Rachel Dodson (Inker), Justin Ponsor (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Xavier, Cyclops and Psylocke all prepare for their part in the psychic surgery that is going to be performed on the White Queen in an attempt to free her from the Void, and thus gain her telepathic power back. Cyclops enters the White Queen’s mind, where he finds various Emmas, who attack the real Emma, before attacking him. The White Queen finds herself floating through her mind, while Cyclops fends off the other Emmas, only to realize that they are part of the Void who is trying to prevent the psychic surgery. A combined effort between Cyclops and the White Queen eventually stops the Void - but as the White Queen re-enters the real world, she realizes that the Void has gone into Cyclops, which is what she thinks it wanted all along. Meanwhile, The X-Club inform Magneto that Utopia (formerly his Asteroid M) is beginning to sink, and enlist his help, much to the Beast’s chagrin. The Beast finds Iceman burning the bodies of the Predator X that attacked Utopia, and they have a rather heated argument about Cyclops and the direction that things are going on Utopia - but the Beast can not get over the fact Cyclops allowed him to be tortured. Finally, a young mutant girl in New York City is attacked by a Predator X.

Full Summary: 

New York City, where a young woman sits on some steps, begging. ‘Spare the price of a cup of coffee for a fellow American on her down and out?’ the girl calls out to passers by, most of whom carrying umbrellas. ‘Spare the price of a - ahh, to hell with it’ she mutters, before looking up and exclaiming ‘Specieists, all of you!’, and walks away from her sign and the piece of fruit someone had given her. She enters the subway, before jumping onto the tracks, and walking along them, calling out ‘Honey? How’d you do? I only got like eight bucks all day…’. She pulls back a curtain and steps into another area, ‘I hope you -’ she begins, before a Predator X lunges out at her, and she screams.

Meanwhile, on the island nation of Utopia, home to the Uncanny X-Men and almost every other remaining mutant on planet Earth. One such, the glamorous Emma Frost a.k.a. the White Queen, stands in her diamond-hard form, and gazes out over Utopia. Watching her from another room are Scott “Cyclops” Summers, Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock and Professor Charles Xavier. The Professor tells Cyclops and Psylocke that the Void is the dark other that came from within a man named Robert Reynolds a.k.a. the Sentry, and that whatever good the Sentry accomplishes, the Void seeks to exact and equal and opposite act of wickedness and horror.

The Professor remarks that Emma has worked in the capacity of therapist to the Sentry in the past, working on separating and containing the good man from the Void within him. The Professor explains that Emma left a trapdoor into the Sentry’s mind, in case he ever got out of control again and she needed to shut him down. He points out that when Emma separated the Sentry from the Void while they retreated to Utopia, a sliver of the Void somehow remained within her, which is why she has been in her diamond-hard form ever since. Xavier adds that this is Emma’s secondary mutation, and the form provides her with physical imperviousness, but cuts her off from her emotions and empathy.

Xavier adds that, more to the point, it isolates her and her teammates, and the Void within her, from her omega-class telepathic powers. At that moment, elsewhere on Utopia, the second line of psychics, the Stepford Cuckoos, are being tended to in the medical facility by Dr Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast, and Xavier reminds Cyclops and Psylocke that the Cuckoos were taken down during the Predator X attack. He adds that some kind of psi-power evacuated them in unison and has rendered them unconscious.

Cyclops announces that he will not put the Professor into the field, so they are strategically cut off without Emma. ‘And one day she’ll let her guard down, just for a second, and the Void will have control over an omega-class telepath I’m in love with and can’t stop’ Cyclops adds. Psylocke asks how one extracts a “Void sliver” from the mind of someone like the White Queen, to which Xavier explains that they are going to perform “psychic surgery”. Scott tells Betsy that he is going in, and the Professor is going to act as a liaison, who will bridge his mind to Emma’s. ‘I’m going to lure the Void out. Or at least away from her. Somehow’ Scott declares.

Betsy follows Scott and Charles into the room where Emma is waiting for them, and exclaims that all sounds amazing, but is not sure why they need her. Xavier begins to tell Betsy that if something goes wrong, but he stutters, so Cyclops finishes his sentence, informing Psylocke that she will need to lobotomize him or Emma, or both, if they get contaminated by the Void, then Utopia will need to be evacuated. ‘Good morning, Emma. Shall we begin?’ Xavier calls out. Without looking at the others, Emma replies that she has nothing but time, before addressing Scott. Cyclops sits in one of the two chairs in the middle of the room, and says ‘Hi honey’, and tells Emma that she will have his full and undivided attention for the next bit. ‘Anything that goes wrong on the island will have to be someone else’s problem…’.

Elsewhere in Utopia, the group known as the “X-Club” - Beast, Warren Worthington a.k.a. Angel, Madison Jeffries, Dr Kavita Rao and James Bradley a.k.a. Doctor Nemesis - have arrived in the quarters of Erik Lehnsherr - Magneto! Doctor Nemesis folds his arms and exclaims that the whole island is sinking and they have not told Cyclops yet. He asks Magneto if he is crazy, or here to kill everybody in secret, or if he actually has it in him to help out. ‘I - excuse me?’ Magneto asks. ‘The cybernetic enhancements, right? That were applied to the Predator X’s that attacked? We’ve been looking at them, trying to figure out who made ‘em, and -’ Madison Jeffries exclaims, before explaining that they built a series of generator engines to float the island, but they had short notice, and didn’t know the weight load and stress capacities.

Angel interrupts Jeffries and tells him to talk in English, before Jeffries sits on the side of Magneto’s bed and exclaims ‘Too many people plus too much stuff equals too heave. The island -’ he is interrupted by Magneto, who corrects him: ‘- my asteroid -’, ‘Your asteroid is going to sink. Again’ Jeffries concludes. Magneto turns to Angel and the Beast and asks them why they are here. ‘I just write the checks’ Angel replies, while the Beast declares that he honestly has no idea what he is doing here anymore, and that he was really rather hoping Magneto would never regain consciousness. Doctor Nemesis exclaims ‘I’m here to look into your eyes and determine whether or not the you that’s back is the good you or the homicidal maniac you that everyone on the island is wondering about’.

‘And if you’re the former rather than the latter I’m here to ask for your help’ Doctor Nemesis adds. ‘And what if I’m the latter?’ Magneto asks, narrowing his eyes. Doctor Nemesis smiles, before Kavita throws her hands in the air and tells them that if they like, she will fetch rulers and the two of them can duel at dawn while the rest of them drown screaming. Jeffries interjects and exclaims that what Dr Rao is saying - or would have said eventually - is that with Magneto being the Master of Magnetism, they were wondering about electromagnetism as a power source. ‘We’re in the market for a human dynamo’ he adds.

Magneto climbs out of bed and tells the others that the Predator X assault so soon on the heels of his return took a lot out of him, but that he shall try to help in whatever way he may be of most use. ‘Take me to your engineering room. I’d like to get to work’ he exclaims. ‘Good’ Doctor Nemesis replies as the two men shake hands, no one except for Angel noticing as the Beast hangs his head and leaves the room in silence.

Meanwhile, Professor X has begun the psychic surgery on the White Queen, who, inside her mind, looks around at the myriad other-selves, all in different outfits, and remarks ’Well. Here we all are’. Scott, dressed in a suit opens his arms. ’Yeah. Hi’ he exclaims, before he and Emma clasp hands, and Emma tells him that she is not sure how to do this. ’I’m not used to being the one requiring psychic rescue’ Emma remarks, to which Scott replies that he doesn’t know either, but that he has gotten pretty good at improvising stuff like this over the years, so he thinks they will figure it out.

‘Scott -!’ Emma calls out as her other-selves lunge at Cyclops, grabbing him. Each of them begins saying things - Pain. Infection. Invasion. Reject. Protect. Repel. Protect the Queen. Protect the Queen. Emma suddenly finds herself pulled away by several of them, and as she calls out to Scott, she is thrust into an open whiteness. ’Ahh, crap’ Cyclops mutters, while the other-selves continue to pull at him. Protect. Protect. ‘I’ll fire, Emma - um, Emmas - don’t make me -’ he exclaims, but they keep attacking him. ‘All right. This is your last chance, ladies’ Cyclops warns them. ‘I didn’t come here to fight!’ he exclaims, before reaching for his glasses and telling them that he doesn’t want to hurt them.

But they overwhelm him, forcing him down while he calls out for Emma. Leave the host. To solve the host means a return to flesh. Leave us. No more pain. Flesh means feelings. You will not cause us. Feelings mean pain. Any more ever again the other Emmas declare.

In reality, Cyclops convulses, and moans. ‘My word’ Xavier exclaims, before calling out to Psylocke, who rushes over. Xavier puts his hands to Scott’s head and declares that Cyclops is being rejected, his presence in Emma’s mind forced out. ‘I need your help…keeping him in place’ Charles tells Betsy, who replies ‘Of course, Professor’ before asking why the White Queen would force Cyclops out when he is only trying to help her. Xavier replies that he is not entirely convinced that it is Emma trying to force him out.

Meanwhile, outside, down by the water’s edge, a stern-faced Bobby “Iceman” Drake is overseeing the burning of the Predator X bodies when his long-time friend and fellow founding X-Man approaches him. ‘Bobby. Can we talk?’ Hank asks. ‘I dunno, Hank. Can we?’ Bobby replies, remarking that Hank broods with the best of them these days. ‘I was tortured, Bobby - I was captured and -’ Hank exclaims, but Bobby turns away from him as he replies ‘C’mon, Hank. I mean, I hate it for you, but look at the state things are in. I’m out here incinerating Predator X husks for God’s sake. We’re not in high school anymore. Stuff’s different’.

The Beast informs Iceman that he just gave a group of scientists he otherwise respects a great deal permission to recruit Magneto - ‘Whom I believe may still have blood on his boots to hose off - and to aid and abet them in keeping this bloody island - with which, lest we all forget, Magneto once tried to kill us all but, now, upon which we all live - to keep this bloody island from sinking back to the briny damn deep from whence it came until otherwise disturbed by Scott Summers - so that the duly elected government of the United States may, when they start to speak of our “Utopia” in the same dulcet tones with which they recall Waco or Ruby Ridge - may utterly annihilate it and all of us upon it with greater ease!’

After Hank’s rant, Iceman turns to him and asks ‘You done? You feel better, getting all that off your chest?’. Hank looks up at the smoke and flames from the burning carcasses and replies ‘I rather do, actually’, before hanging his head and telling Bobby that he doesn’t think he can do this anymore. He remarks that he doesn’t think he knows what Scott wants from him anymore. ‘And quite honestly I don’t think I care to determine what that might be’. Bobby looks at Hank and tells him that Scott needs his friends. ‘Just dudes. He needs normal dudes and not - not, like, haunted megalomaniacs or recreational killers or, like guys that date super villains’ Bobby exclaims.

‘You used to date a super villain. You dated Mystique’ Hank reminds Bobby. Bobby kicks some dirt into the fire as he replies ‘Okay, one? Not what I’d call “dating”, and two? I wasn’t talking about me’. Bobby spins around and points at Hank as he exclaims ‘I was talking about you. He needs us, yes, but he really needs you’. Bobby remarks that Hank has run around with those science weirdos and everything has gone and gotten strange and dangerous. ‘You’re the rock, Hank. You always were’ Bobby tells him. Hank stares into the flames, before turning and walking back up the side of the cliff as he says ‘They tortured me, Bobby. And Scott let it happen until it was right for him to stop it’.

Back inside the White Queen’s mind, Cyclops is being pushed into the white nothingness by the other Emmas, when suddenly, Scott asks ‘Wait - did you just say “feelings mean pain”?’. The Emmas snarl at him: Feelings mean pain. The flesh means pain. No more pain -. ‘I’m sorry, but the Emma Frost would never ever say something so high school’ Scott declares, remarking that he doesn’t think they are Emma Frost at all. ‘And since you’re not Emma…I have no problems blasting you in the face!’ he declares as he gets up, and unleashes his optic blast upon them.

Regroup. Attack. Attack. They exclaim as their forms turn black. ‘Finally on familiar territory’ Scott remarks, as he continues to dodge their attacks and blast his way through them. Scott calls out to the real Emma and tells her to fight them, wherever she is. ‘Fight them! Fight back!’ he exclaims as the other Emmas lay scattered and shattered at his feet.

Emma at that moment, keeps falling through the white nothingness, telling Scott that she doesn’t know what she is actually fighting against, when suddenly, the blackness grabs her. She manages to pull away, and remarks that she suspects she is not alone, before calling out to Scott and asking him where he is, adding that she thinks she is being chased. While Emma continues to flee the blackness, Scott tells her to head towards the sound of his thoughts. Emma tells him to think louder, or else the Void will destroy everything they have fought for.

Scott drops to the “ground”, continuing to call out to Emma, he places his head down, and hears Emma’s thought - ‘Scott. Void’. Scott proceeds to blast the “ground” with his optic power, causing ripples which enable him to pull back the whiteness. He sees Emma, who reaches out for him, telling him to hurry, while the Void chases her still. ‘Frost’ it calls out. Cyclops pulls the White Queen up through the whiteness. ‘Scott!’ Emma calls out, while Scott remarks ‘This is what the inside of your head is like? Because I mean - I thought my head - the place that looked like a hotel full of women - I thought that was weird. But this weird white space that is and isn’t a liquid and is and isn’t full of yous -’ he mumbles.

Back in reality, the White Queen’s form returns to human flesh, just as she, in reality and in her mind, screams ‘NO!’. She sits up, while Xavier asks her what happened. Emma grabs Cyclops and explains that the Void changed tactics, that it stopped trying to push Scott out. ‘Emma?’ Scott calls out from within his own mind, where he sits in front of destruction - and the Void hovers over him. ‘I think the Void has wanted Scott all along!’ Emma remarks as she announces that the Void is in Cyclops.

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Psylocke, White Queen (all X-Men)

Stepford Cuckoos (all X-Men Students)

Doctor Nemesis, Madison Jeffries, Kavita Rao (all X-Club)

Professor X


Unnamed mutant girl

Predator X creature

The Void

Story Notes: 

The White Queen has had the Void inside her since Dark Avengers / Uncanny X-Men: Exodus.

The Predator X attack occurred in Uncanny X-Men #517.

The Beast was tortured during the Utopia crossover.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: