Uncanny X-Men (2nd series) #9

Issue Date: 
May 2012
Story Title: 

Kieron Gillen (writer), Carlos Pacheco (penciler), Cam Smith (inker), Guru eFX (colors), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Pacheco, Smith& Charalampidis (cover), 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: 

Both Danger and Colossus are bothered by Magik’s continued imprisonment. Cyclops, in the meantime, is fixated on getting new missions for the Extinction Team. He is in luck. On SWORD’s orbital headquarters, the PEAK, the mysterious alien artificial intelligence Unit stages a breakout for the most dangerous inmates when the brig breaks off the rest of the PEAK and falls onto Earth. After Commander Brand asks the X-Men for help, the Extinction team goes into action and soon teams up with the Avengers to find and capture the dangerous aliens. Unit, in the meantime, has examined and killed a Canadian man and his son to learn more about humanity. Wanting to learn more about mutants next, he emits a certain signal. Celeste Cuckoo gets the signal on Cerebra and believes a new mutant has been found. She sends the Lights out and they fetch Hope. They walk right into Unit’s trap. Using his powers of manipulation, Unit has Pixie teleport the rest of the team away, leaving Hope at his mercy…

Full Summary: 

Utopia, the X-Brig. Warden Danger observes that the brig houses some of the most dangerous mutant prisoners. Those include her teammate, Illyana Rasputin aka Magik, who recently reclaimed the greater portion of her spiritual energies (her soul) from the extra-dimensional beings known as the “Elder Gods,” destroying them in the process. To do so, she risked the annihilation of the entire universe and manipulated the X-Men into letting her do so.

Danger muses that Magik is a teleporter and skilled applicant of supernatural energies. Given free access to her abilities, she could escape any moment she chose. They discourage that via sensors that activate explosives at the hint of her power’s unique signature. Her field suit has discrete, similar fail safes, in case she goes rogue on a mission. The world watches the Extinction team and is unaware that one of its members is strapped into a bomb-jacket.

Danger observes how her brother Colossus visits Illyana and how she clearly tries to calm her. She has watched Magik closely and finds her prim, cold and quietly manipulative. Danger does not like her. This does not matter. She is a complicated case. The act which she is being punished for led to her reclaiming her soul, so in a real way Illyana is not the person who committed the crime. If she had her soul prior to the offense, Danger believes she would never have acted so. And it is a sign of her realizing that act was abominable that she submits so meekly to her confinement.

Danger believes there is little to be gained from Magik’s continued imprisonment and suspects she is not alone in that belief, as she watches Colossus stride away. But she is only a guard. It is not for her to decide who is free and who is not.

Outside, on the hard light training field, Emma Frost is training in hand to hand combat against several holograms of Mr Sinister. Namor is concerned but Emma points out she is not even wearing heels. The day she can’t kick a man in the unmentionables is the day she retires. Her arm itches a little, but Nemesis says that’ll pass.

He wasn’t talking about physically, Namor replies and reminds Emma she lost her arm. She had no idea whether it would be permanent. She is a beautiful, proud woman. Such a loss would not be easy to face.

Is he saying she is shallow? Emma teases him, then admits it was troubling. But she’s fine… she has faced worse. She thanks him for asking. Knowing someone is concerned is appreciated. She shoots an angry look at her lover Cyclops, who telepathically asks one of the Stepford Cuckoos if there are any Extinction-scale events. Not in the last ten minutes since he last checked is the reply. They need a mission, he mumbles, a big one…

Earth orbit, the Peak, headquarters of SWORD: A cross between Earth’s border patrol and the CIA… somewhere in that wide-margin mandate is “space police.” Hence the Peak’s sprawling brig, a resilient construction. Even the lowest security cells match almost any on Earth. And the prisons match the prisoners. Some are kept in inert states, for example the Terminus spore, a kind of sentient nano-disassembler / reassembler with a species-based twist. Then there are more traditional cells like for Voidian, a mix between an arms dealer and an apocalypse cultist. He kills people with his musical organ. Then there’s Skrull war criminals, Dire Wraith witches, assorted symbiotes, a pirate-captain Makluan and a Xemnu.

And then there’s Unit. Locked away with the highest security, without the slightest hope of escape… unless there was some manner of catastrophic cascade in the Peak’s fuel feeds. If that happened in a precise enough position, it could tear the brig away from the Peak. And while most of the prisoners would die from explosive decompression, some of the most resilient and dangerous alien criminals would fall to Earth. Thankfully, the chances of that are astronomically low.

Unit begins to smile… and all hell breaks loose as precisely that happens.

On Utopia, Colossus confronts Cyclops and Emma. They need to talk about his sister! This can’t go on! Cyclops was prepared for this. He begins to explain his point of view when a message from Agent Brand comes in.

What insults has she got for them today? Emma smirks. Almost pleading, Brand replies she hasn’t the time to be mean. They need to save the Earth. Please save the Earth quickly!

Soon, Magik teleports the Extinction Team to Nevada, where spelled out in giant letters in the desert stands: I claim this world – Terminus.

Combat insertion in there! Cyclops orders and they attack the Terminus spores while Magik evacuates bystanders.

In the Peak, the psychic Sydren tells Brand that the X-Men engaged the first target. They’ve got signals and traces for more— Brand interrupts him. They’ll find everyone else just by following the explosions. Where’s Unit?

In a Canadian forest, a father and son are out hunting. When Unit lands he greets them in an alien tongue, the father shoots at him and orders his son to run. Unit stops the bullet in mid-air with a simple gesture. Disappointed, he muses that even a language as simple and common as galactic base isn’t universally spoken. What a terribly egocentric culture. And violence to strangers? That’s awful! Ethically speaking, this pretty much gives him freedom to do whatever he has to in self-defence. At least that’s what some would argue.

He uses his influencing voice, ordering both to hold still, then telling the boy to turn away and cover his ears. As the father stands paralyzed, Unit takes away the rifle. Obsolete and non military, Unit judges. Unless he is some manner of Luddite. That confirms what he theorized: that hunting is considered an acceptable social practice in at least some of the world’s cultures. He wonders what else he can tell him… Manifesting a scalpel, Unit muses he’s been dying to meet a human in the flesh, so to speak.

Elsewhere, the Extinction Team has taken care of the Terminus spores. Cyclops calls Brand to ask for the next goal. Eyes up, Emma tells them. Someone’s assembled. A team of Avengers – Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Iron Man, the Protector and Wolverine – led by Captain America, who informs the X-Men that Superskrull escapees hit New York. They are confined now, but there’s multiple threats across the hemisphere. There’s too many for any one team.

Why didn’t she assemble with her assemble friends? Emma asks Storm.

Together, they’ve got the manpower, Cap continues, but the Avengers are lacking a teleporter. He suggests they coordinate and Cyclops agrees. They are here to save the planet. Nothing is more important than that. Team-up! Hope shouts while Cyclops and Wolverine glare at each other. And so…

In Sabanyaya, Peru, Voidian the Destroyer manufactures from his own exoskeleton a device to summon his entire armory. He proceeds to prepare an injection of thermonuclear devices beneath the Earth’s mantle to convert Earth into a great cosmic censer spouting apocalyptic fumes into the air.

Magneto captures the nuclear devices and propels them away from Earth. Spider-Man prevents Voidian’s escape.

Chichen Itza, Mexico. Dire Wraith witches align themselves with ancient sites of mystical significance and so regain lost power. The Wraiths are manipulated into stepping portals and teleported to Limbo. Magik negates their abilities, allowing them to be easily captured.

The Acute Reflection freed of its prism prison creates refracted copies of its interdimensional ur-alien source to infest central Vancouver. Following an X-Club suggestion, the Protector manages to recode one of the Voidian’s weapons into an infinite mirror trap.

Las Vegas, Nevada: Xemnu the Titan causes widesale havoc, with only Colossus’ Juggernaut energies enough to allow them to directly engage the alien. Colossus buys time enough for Emma Frost and Tony Stark to improvise a heavy duty psionic screen for the Red Hulk. The weapon is sufficient to pacify Xemnu via extreme deployment of kinetic energy.

In Canada, Unit performs a vivisection on the man, apologizing for being unable to turn off his pain receptors, but that would reduce the value of the data. He really needs to see what makes humans tick, he chatters, and a vivisection is the best way to achieve that. Dissection, he corrects himself as the man has just passed away. When universal Utopia comes, his sacrifice will be remembered, Unit promises, then turns to the boy who has been looking away and covering his ears as Unit ordered.

Unit influences him to be calm and remember a happy time. When the boy says he is in that place, Unit blasts off his head, promising his sacrifice too will be remembered. Still, unlike his father, no need for anything other than a peaceful death. He gets rid of the evidence. Next up: mutants! he decides and clicks something on.

That moment, Cerebra detects a mutant presence. Celeste Cuckoo calls Hope to inform her that a new mutant has just emerged. Hope asks her to scramble her team and get Pixie to pick her up.

She informs Cyclops that there is a new Light and she has to go. Scott agrees as Pixie and the Lights come to pick Hope up.

Moments later, they arrive in the Canadian wilderness. Seeing Unit floating there, Hope figures it’s a trap. Velocidad agrees, unless some poor kid’s mutation turned him into a radical iPhone redesign.

He’s one of the Peak’s escapees, Hope explains and orders them to engage. Primal attacks first and is shot back. He bets they don’t speak Galactic Base either, Unit remarks. What do they teach children around here?

He orders Pixie to teleport everyone except Hope eight miles north. Everyone except Hope: in two seconds go to sleep! They obey, leaving only Unit and Hope.

Satisfied Unit announces there are no mutants nearby for Hope to mimic and if she would be so kind as to lower her charming weapon? Hope obeys. Now there are many strong arguments in favor of self defense in the face of aggression, he continues. He would be ethically justified… Oh, this is philosophy! he exclaims. He waffles so, especially when he’s terribly excited. A mutant in the flesh! And even better, a special mutant! He does believe they have lots to talk about…

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Cyclops, Danger, Emma Frost, Hope, Magik, Magneto, Namor, Storm (all X-Men)

Pixie III, Primal, Transonic, Velocidad (Hope’s rescue team)

Celeste Cuckoo (X-Men student)

Captain America, Iron Man, Protector, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman I (all Avengers)

Wolverine (Avenger and Westchester-based X-Man)

Commander Abigail Brand

Sydren (SWORD’s empathy)


Acute Reflection, Dire Wraiths, Makulan, Skrulls, Terminus, Voidian, Xemnu

Canadian father and son

Story Notes: 

Magik’s “abominable deed” refers to her freeing the Elder Gods to kill them, thus risking the fate of the world.

She’s been incarcerated since New Mutants (3rd series) #25.

Emma lost her arm to Mr. Sinister in issue #1.

More about the mysterious Unit can be found in S.WO.R.D. #1-5.

A Luddite is a person who is against modern machinery and technology.

Storm joined the Avengers in Avengers (4th series) #19.

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