Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #540

Issue Date: 
September 2011
Story Title: 

Kieron Gillen (writer), Greg Land (pencils), Jay Leisten (inks), Justin Ponsor (color), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Greg Land (cover), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (assoc. editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Mayor Sinclair and Cyclops discuss the situation with the Serpent all over the world and why San Francisco so far seems to have been spared. This becomes clearer as the magically transformed Juggernaut, followed by an acolyte and a hate mob, makes his way towards San Francisco. Meanwhile, Colossus and Shadowcat argue about Magik’s fate, after which Colossus visits his unrepentant sister in the brig. Namor tries to seduce Emma Frost before going off to face the Agents of the Serpent.

Full Summary: 

A gas station, sixty miles east of San Francisco.

A young man looks at the headlines of a newspaper about the crises currently racking the east coast. He tells himself that that’s an east coast problem. But here? You don’t even get the gene freaks from San Francisco here. What has he to be afraid of? Shoplifting, sure. Crushing social problems. But unless management comes in, he’s not going to need a bunker to hide in.

At that moment, something lands on the road next the station like an exploding bomb, glowing with red energy. Holy--! he mutters.

In the center is a giant of a man, the Juggernaut, now changed by the Serpent. He roars and announces something in a Norse language, then brings down his hammer. The shockwave destroys the station. The young man begs him not to kill him. The Juggernaut replies something in Norse and the young man understands. He won’t kill him, if he comes with him. Whatever, he says.

Energy from the hammer engulfs the young man and he screams as a red serpent mark appears on his face, Calling the Juggernaut ‘master’, he realizes he now understands everything. He asks, What now? Where are they going? The Juggernaut point and replies something in Norse. Now he understands everything! his servant cries enthusiastically. He understands and is pleased. They bring the word of the Serpent to the capital of sin! None can hope to oppose them. For with every step is written: Nothing shall stop the Juggernaut! And their continue their journey to San Francisco.

In San Francisco, in front of the mayor’s office, demonstrators are protesting against the mutants’ presence. Now this is why the X-Men are becoming her favorite super-team Mayor Sadie Sinclair tells Cyclops as she take his gift. She bets Steve Rogers doesn’t bring his mayor coffee when he arrives for a first thing meeting.

Scott warns her to be careful. It could be sinister mutant coffee. She warns him not to let the protesters hear him. There’s always a bunch of crazies. Magneto’s stunt with the earthquake helped, but it also reminded people that he could take the city apart if he wanted to. Cyclops admits he is not the only X-Man who could. And saying things like that doesn’t exactly put people at rest, Sadie points out. Scott agrees. That’s why they have PR. So he doesn’t have to do the people-person thing and pretend to be okay with it.

He asks what the situation is. The X-Men are on alert and ready to deploy. That this chaos has ignored SF has to mean something big will hit them soon. Sadie agrees. The situation remains that there is no situation while everywhere else in the world has been dealing with hell. People are asking questions why San Francisco hasn’t seen anything. They think someone has made a deal. Has someone made a deal? she asks Scott.

They think he’d make a deal with a world-threatening power to save San Francisco? he asks. No, they think he’d make a deal with a world-threatening power to save his own people, she specifies. Are they wrong? What does she think? he retorts. She thinks he is avoiding the question. No, he thinks he is avoiding saying she is pandering to bigots. He thinks he is avoiding an argument!

On Utopia, another argument is going on between lovers Colossus and Kitty Pryde regarding Colossus’s sister and Kitty’s former best friend, Magik. Does he understand what she did? Kitty asks sharply. Peter replies simply Illyana is his sister. He can’t abandon her. Stop saying that! Kitty snarls. She knows. He wouldn’t be him if he did. But how can he be so sure she’s his sister? Kitty loved her too, but Illyana would have never done what she did. Whoever she is, she’s not like him anymore. He’d die for Kitty. He’d die for Illyana. He’d die for anyone, given half a chance. Illyana risked killing everyone on the throw of the dice. She manipulated anyone to throw those dice. And to whatever she is now he is just the big lunk she can twist round her talons.

Patiently, Peter repeats she is his sister and he can’t abandon her. She’s not intangible anymore, Kitty reminds him. Don’t make her punch him!

In the X-Brig 2, Utopia’s high security prison, warden Danger just lets Dani Moonstar out of Illyana’s cell as Colossus is about to enter. How is she? Peter asks Dani. Unrepentant, the New Mutants’ leader replies. She tries and talks to her and ends up just wanting to stomp her head! Peter reminds her gently that for Dani that is not unusual. Yeah, she brings a whole new dimension to “tough love,” Dani agrees.

Peter enters Illyana’s cell. Brother, she greets him curtly and replies “no” when he asks if she is comfortable. He offers that he will get Nemesis or Jeffries to look at the device strapped to her. They won’t, she replies. They want to be sure, she smiles and explains: when the device detects teleportation distortion, it unleashes an electrical charge. If that fails, it’s set to explode the moment she enters Limbo. And if it detects a magic surge… he doesn’t want to know… Seeming amused, she announces she isn’t going anywhere. Which is fine, because she has nowhere to go and nothing else left to do.

Peter clenches his fist. This is inhuman! No, she tells him, summoning a reality-warping mutant to settle an old grudge was inhuman. This is merely prudent. She knew the cost and is paying it. She has the majority of her soul back. But she will never really be his little snowflake again… He is not like her. That’s why he still loves her and she loves him for that. She thanks him for coming.

Elsewhere on Utopia, King Namor lands outside Emma Frost’s quarters. The hour has come, he informs her. He has gathered his allies. Now they will fight and die! Amused she points out he jumps to “die” so quickly. She’s sure they can rustle up a little help… He’s sure she could, Namor interrupts. The day he comes begging to the X-Men is the day he ceases to be Namor. Besides, the unnerving quietness here makes him suspect they’ll soon have the beast at their gates.

Why is he here? Emma asks. He is leaving, he replies. He wanted to see her one last time. She is complimented, Emma admits. So she should be, he agrees and points to her bed. Shall they? Frowning, Emma tells him this is not the time. Why shouldn’t they? he asks simply. Emma reminds him she is with Scott. Namor shoots back they are not man and wife. The only thread that binds them is a word and a whim. And he does not think she would go to the grave without once more knowing his touch.

Emma snarls if he interrupts her again, she will scrub his brain clean! Second, drop the “do or die!” Things aren’t that bad yet. Namor retorts she has yet to fight a battle in this war. The seas reek of nothing but blood and death. About to kiss her, he admits that, if he were to die, he’d like a memory other than that on his mind.

Emma almost gives in, then pushes him back, shouting this is inappropriate. She looks aside. Namor announces Summers does not deserve her. He treats her with disrespect. When she begins to reply that she doesn’t see how, he leaves her with a parting thought that he married the redhead, didn’t he?

In San Francisco, Sadie and Scott still argue. Sadie assures him she is not happy with the situation, while he is not happy with the fact that, after all mutants have done for San Francisco, they are still being treated like the problem! He’s not Magneto! Even Magneto isn’t Magneto!

The mayor’s assistant comes running in, telling her she has to see this. I-580 is a disaster zone! It’s rush hour, Sadie reminds her. It’s always a disaster zone. Not like this, she is told. The assistant switches on the TV.

On the highway, police try in vain to keep back the Juggernaut. His acolyte stands on a car announcing the time for cleansing has come. They all have two choices. Be ground beneath his feet! Be pushed into the sea! Be annihilated! Or join them and be spared for the greatest spectacle. See this degenerate city destroyed! Unstoppable! The Juggernaut pushes forward, leaving a trail of mystical runes in his footprints.

Sadie figures this is about a hate mob trying to wipe out the city and asks who bigot prime is. He’s not usually like that, Cyclops remarks. He’s an idiot, not a bigot. He was empowered by an ancient magical force, but now… He doesn’t know what he is now. What’s his usual thing? Sadie asks. He’s unstoppable, comes the reply. So how do they stop him? Sadie asks. Mobilize everything you can! Cyclops tells her. They’ll coordinate. He’s got protocols. He’s avoiding the question, Sadie tells him. So he is, Scott agrees.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Cyclops, Namor, Shadowcat, White Queen (all X-Men)

Magik, Mirage (New Mutants)


Mayor Sadie Sinclair


Unnamed acolyte

Story Notes: 

This is a crossover with the “Fear Itself” limited series where the Juggernaut was one of the Worthy, who were transformed by the Serpent.

Magneto saved the city in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #534.1.

Magik is confined because she risked pretty much all of reality by setting up Legion against the Elder Gods (as told in New Mutants (3rd series) #16-21.

Namor’s battle takes place in Fear itself: the Deep.

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