Uncanny X-Men (2nd series) #18

Issue Date: 
November 2012
Story Title: 

Kieron Gillen (writer), Ron Garney (artist), Jason Keith & MOrry Holowell (colorists), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Ron Garney & Matt Milla (cover art), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

The X-Men’s PR manager, Kate Kildare, fears the worst. Magneto tries to talk sense into Cyclops and is rebuffed. Magik and Colossus, having lost their share of the Phoenix, flee to Siberia. Colossus laments that, even with the Phoenix, he could not eliminate Cyttorak’s influence. When he voices that he is doomed, Magik reveals that she manipulated him into becoming the Juggernaut, so he’d know what damnation feels like. After that revelation, she leaves him with his hurt and anger. While battling the X-Men and Avengers, Emma and Cyclops are mentally having a refined, if rather disturbingly decadent, dinner on the astral plane. Emma wonders why they don’t just destroy the world and reveals she had a psychic affair with Namor. Eventually, Scott betrays her and takes her share of the Phoenix power, which translates into his turning Dark Phoenix.

Full Summary: 

The office of Kate Kildare, superhuman PR

Kate stares at the ruins of her office, the red sky outside. She can’t think of a headline. What can you say? “’Utopia’ proves extremely ironic?” Insane press releases for insane times. “The X-Men regret Namor’s utter destruction of the nation of Wakanda. He is no longer of the Phoenix. His portion of the Phoenix has joined with the remaining four members of the Phoenix Five. They are just fine and more powerful than ever. Pax Utopia endures.”

“The X-Men regret that Magik and Colossus raised hell up to Earth. They are no longer of the Phoenix. Their portion of cosmic power has joined with the other two members of the Phoenix Five. They are just fine, and more powerful than ever. Pax Utopia endures.”

“Pax Utopia endures. Everyone else is doomed.” “End of the world scheduled for the day after tomorrow. Read all about it in the sky”.

On Utopia, Emma and Cyclops watch Magneto approaching. He has been very hesitant of late, Emma criticizes. Shall she kill him? Cyclops orders her to go and let him deal with Magneto.

The master of magnetism remarks he is starting to think Storm was right. This has gone too far. He wanted to—

His thoughts and efforts are appreciated, Scott interrupts. They can finish it from here. Magneto continues that he cannot build Utopia with fire. He is wrong, Cyclops replies. They are saving mutants. They are building a better world. He is doing whatever it takes!

Scott is sounding like him, Magneto points out. Scott orders him to shut up. He keeps saying that. Everyone keeps saying that. He is nothing like Magneto. He is winning!

At one of the Phoenix farms in Siberia:

Magik teleports herself and Colossus there after they have lost the Phoenix. Magik is surprised that the Avengers let them escape, even with Scott’s distraction. Even without the Phoenix, they are far from powerless.

She is wrong, Colossus replies darkly. They can never escape from what they’ve done. They brought a heaven to Earth. And then they brought hell along too. They dripped souls into the mouths of demons. He tried to create… but only made abominations. Thank God the Avengers turned them against each other!

The Phoenix is infinite, Illyana states, they are not. Their flaws were magnified. Their flaws blotted out the sun. They are flawed; they are poor vessels for infinity.

He thought with the Phoenix he could transcend, her brother replies, staring at his hands. Be more than Cyttorak’s whispers. But it just gave him a wider palette. All the while when he was fighting, he was begging them to run. But all he was thinking was how beautiful their spilled brains would be. Thinking if he killed enough, he could paint the whole moon with their blood. He’s hurt so many people. He‘s hurt everyone he loved. He’s hurt everybody. Everything he touches becomes ashes. He doesn’t deserve to live. He is a monster. He is doomed.

Finally, Illyana states coldly, giving him pause. He was not like her, she explains. He loved her. He wanted to understand. He would never understand… could never understand until he’d been a falling snowflake.

What is she talking about? he demands. She explains that she knew if she offered to take the Juggernaut energies, he would become Cyttorak’s avatar in her place. He would let himself be possessed. And then he’d know what damnation feels like. How it curls in your guts. How it changes you. How it leaves you. Who it leaves you. She had to show him, she had to finally make him see… there are no snowflakes in hell.

She is insane, he whispers. Illyana grabs his hands and thanks him effusively. She knew eventually he’d understand!

Get away from him! he snarls as he juggernauts up. Monster! Abomination! he shouts. Yes, they are, she agrees, manifesting her Soulsword. His form becomes spiky and he speaks gibberish as he attacks. “Snowflake, little snowflake, how does it feel to fall? she asks and teleports out of harm’s way before his blow connects.

Think about what she’s given him, she states. Regret - her final gift. With that, she teleports away before his fists connect. And Colossus is alone.

Emma and Scott sit in a white room having a refined dinner. Scott praises the steak. She thanks him, explaining it’s the memory of a poor vagrant gentleman she found in Paris. Almost starving, he sneaked into the kitchen of a starred Michelin chef and stole it. Wolfed it down on the run. The finest thing he’d ever tasted.

The sauce is also excellent. Tangy. What is it? Human blood, Emma explains. She found a cannibal serial killer while rooting around for a good steak. She cauterized his brain but his experiences were fascinating. She thought he’d be interested.

Does she ever worry about what’s happening to them? he asks. A little, she smirks, but she prefers to leave the worrying to him. He is far better at it.

Both suddenly groan in pain. Xavier has taken over his active mind, Scott remarks. Hers too. Tying them up while the Avengers attack, Emma presumes. He doesn’t quite understand how big they are now. No one does.

In the real world, Iceman freezes both Emma and Scott, trying to tie them up.

The Astral plane:

Scott suggests they explain. Again. Emma teases him not to be so glum. They have an exceedingly busy work life. Shared leisure activities keep a relationship healthy.

In the real world, both Emma and Cyclops blast away the attacking X-Men and Avengers.

The Astral Plane:

Oh, really? The X-Men too? Scott sighs exasperated. He knew Storm would, but everyone else? Emma remarks they don’t deserve the Utopia they are building. She’s said it before. Let’s just scour the Earth and build something new. They are absolutely the most ungrateful wretches.

After some hesitation, Scott decides that’s bad idea Emma calls him a spoilsport.

In the real world, they continue fighting both Avengers and their own teammates.

Scott admits to Emma that he has trouble remembering why exactly. They continue to eat in silence until Emma has a confession to make. She thought about having an affair with Namor. They thought about it and being telepathic in the way they are now… that’s all it took.

They made love in their minds as Namor rained fire down Wakanda. Does Scott want to know what the dream of his skin feels like? She could share it with – Enough! he orders.

Emma looks down, then apologizes. She does love him, but this is all too much. Their smallest ideas are ticking bombs. All primed to go off and… this battle is going terribly!

In reality, Emma lashes out both at Wolverine and the Red Hulk.

On the Astral Plane, Emma announces they need to unleash their powers fully and damn the consequences to Earth. It’s the only way to win. She doesn’t mind. A queen of ashes is still a queen, after all.

A toast first, Cyclops proposes. Their glasses touch.

In reality, Scott blasts Emma from behind.

They can’t go on like this, Scott tells her, and Emma fades from their shared plane.

He downs the content of her glass of fire promising he can finish it from here. The glass drops as Scott chokes out that he is fire and life incarnate…

Characters Involved: 

Cyclops, Emma Frost (Phoenix Five)

Colossus, Magik (formerly Phoenix Five)

Iceman, Magneto, Professor X, Psylocke, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Captain America, Hulk, Ms. Marvel, Nova II, Red Hulk, Scarlet Witch, Thor (All Avengers)

Kate Kildare

in snapshots:

Colossus, Magik, Namor

in flashback:

Colossus, Kitty Pryde, Magik

Story Notes: 

This is part of the “Avengers versus X-Men” crossover.

Namor attacked Wakanda and lost his Phoenix power in AVX #8.

Colossus and Magik lost their Phoenix power in issue #10.

This issue takes place during AVX #11.

Emma and Scott’s relationship ending over Emma having a psychic affair with Namor has ironic overtones, as Scott’s psychic affair with Emma spelled the end of his relationship with his wife, Jean.

Issue Information: 
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