Uncanny X-Men (4th series) #12

Issue Date: 
October 2016
Story Title: 

Cullen Bunn (writer), Greg Land (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Nolan Woodard (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Caramagna (letterer), Greg Land & Nolan Woodard (cover artists), Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Mark Paniccia (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Months ago, Psylocke met with Magneto on Genosha, where he invited her to join his new X-Men team, which so far consisted of Archangel. And, months ago at the Hellfire Club, a new Inner Circle was formed. Today, Psylocke and Sabretooth discover that Magneto has re-joined the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club, along with Monet as its White Queen. The other members are Sebastian Shaw, Briar Raleigh and Black Tom Cassidy. Psylocke is furious that Magneto  has kept this from her, but Magneto believes the X-Men and the Hellfire Club can work well together. Psylocke is given some brain matter that Hellfire Club spies have extracted from the Someday Corporation. Later Magneto meets with Psylocke in private. Psylocke believes Monet is hiding something from them. Magneto claims that he was going to telll Psylocke about this, before Psylocke confirms that she has extracted information from the brain matter, and that the Someday Corporation is playing dirty with the mutants in their care. Psylocke, Monet, Sabretooth and Black Tom, along with Hellfire Club soldiers, arrive at a Someday Corporation station in the Atlantic Ocean, where they are soon attacked by the group of mutants who earlier broke into a research facility. They defeat the mutants, before a second wave of unnamed mutants set upon them

Full Summary: 

Months ago:
Genosha, amongst ruined buildings and refugee tents during the middle of the night, where Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock is meeting with Magneto. 'I hope you don't take this the wrong way, Magneto...but I heard you were dead' Betsy tells him. 'I was dead, Elizabeth. In more ways than one. I would think you could relate' Magneto replies, adding that he, unlike the majority of their people, has the luxury of another chance at life. He announces that he doesn't plan on squandering it. 'I imagine not' Betsy responds, pointing out that it is bad out there – bad for mutants, and she wouldn't expect him to sit back and do nothing. 'But what if you make it worse?' she then asks. Magneto replies that he is not sure that is possible, but that is one of the reasons he wants her at his side – he wants a partner in his endeavors, and isn't interested in a blind follower. 'No' Betsy replies, turning to the silent Archangel a.k.a. Warren Worthington III who stands nearby, Betsy supposes that Magneto has enough of those. Archangel offers no response.

Magneto tells Betsy that she can help their people, while helping Warren at the same time. Betsy falls silent, before asking about the rest of the team. Magneto informs Betsy that he has a couple of candidates in mind, but wanted to gauge Betsy's involvement first. 'All right. I'm in' Betsy announces. She informs Magneto that she has a few matters to attend to first, but that she shouldn't be long, and will be back as soon as she can. Before she leaves, Betsy turns back to Magneto and tells him: 'About dying... the way we both have in the past. That's the thing us X-Men have in common. We die a lot. Let's do what we can to change that'.

Magneto remains silent as Betsy leaves, before he turns to Archangel. 'Well... that make three of us'. He raises a hand, and several computer monitors switch on. 'Now... the rest!' Magneto exclaims as images flash across the monitors: Havok, Apocalypse, Mojo, Stryfe and Mister Sinister. Warrior Woman from the Squadron Supreme, Medusa, Triton and Karnak of the Inhumans, Storm, Mystique, Fantomex and Sabretooth, Briar Raleigh, Rachel Grey, Cable, Rogue, Sebastian Shaw and the Black Tom, a Sentinel, Psylocke and Archangel, Hellfire Club soldiers, Cyclops, Deadpool, Right soldiers, the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, the Red Skull, and the time-displaced versions of Cyclops, Iceman, Angel and Jean Grey.

New York City, inside the Hellfire Club, where partygoers are enjoying the evening. But inside another room, Psylocke is not enjoying herself. She stands with Victor “Sabretooth” Creed, and they have just discovered the new Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club, which includes Magneto and Monet St Croix. 'Time and time again... these people have proven themselves the enemies of the X-Men. How can you throw in with them... when they have so often tried to out-and-out kill us?' Betsy asks. Magneto points out that times have changed, the world has changed, and the X-Men and Hellfire Club can be allies.

'Hear! Hear! Let's drink to the notion of letting bygones be bygones!' Sebastian Shaw exclaims, holding up a glass of wine which he hands to Psylocke. 'First of all, Shaw, I would never so much as sip anything you offered me for fear of whatever a skeevy little man like yourself might drop into a lady's drink. Second of all, if you don't get that glass out of my face, I'm going to jam it sideways straight up your bum'.

Betsy frowns at Magneto and asks him to explain this to her. 'I am unsure how much explanation is required' Magneto replies. 'The threats we face... the doom that consumes our people... is a burden I cannot bear alone'. 'That's why you have the X-Men' Betsy reminds him. 'And even they are not enough' Magneto replies. He states that in order to save their kind, he will forge alliances with as many others as he can – friends, rivals, enemies – mutants cannot afford for him to leave any stone unturned. Magneto and Betsy look over to Monet as Magneto assures Betsy that he intended to tell her, in his own time. 'She deserved to know' Monet declares.

Sabretooth looks at Briar Raleigh and states that the last time he had dealings with the Hellfire Club, there were children running the show. 'We sent them to bed without their dinner' Briar Raleigh jokes. 'All adults here now, lucky for us both' she smirks at him. 'Yeah... doesn't seem like that much has changed' Creed replies. 'What else have you been hiding from me?' Betsy asks Magneto.

'If I told you that all my secrets had been revealed, would you believe me? Of course not. And you should not. There are many pieces in play, Elizabeth. Some, by their very nature, cannot be divulged' Magneto explains. Annoyed, Betsy tells Magneto that he should have told her, and she shouldn't have heard about this from anyone else. 'Tsk, tsk. You're right, of course, lass. But now that the cat's out of the bag, we should tend to the introductions, yes?' Black Tom Cassidy suggests. Black Tom grins, and remarks that everyone knows him, of course, rightful heir to Cassidy Keep and dashing ne'er-do-well, and now against his nom de guerre, is the White Bishop of the Inner Circle. 'At your service' he exclaims, before offering to be so bold as to introduce his counterpart, the Black Bishop, the only non-mutant within the Inner Circle, but thanks to their recent escapades together, Magneto vouches for the lovely Ms Raleigh. 'You can call me Briar' the woman smiles.

Wearing an all-white outfit, Monet smiles and announces that she guesses that makes her the White Queen. 'And let's be honest... it's about time'. Shaw tells Ms St Croix that he couldn't agree more, and that the Club is lucky to have her in such a role. 'Just as it is fortunate to have the name Sebastian Shaw once more synonymous with the title of the Black King' Shaw boasts, adding that Magneto has once again assumed his rightful position as the White King.

'All the powdered wigs in this little clubhouse of yers are making my nostrils twitch' Creed mutters, holding his nose. 'Are you all daft?' Betsy asks, throwing her arms up. 'Can you be bothered to listen to yourselves?' She exclaims that this is simply a grand collection of malcontents here, but she fails to see the point of all this pomp and circumstance. 'Playing dress-up and throwing parties will not help mutants' Betsy declares.

'It's a shame you feel that way, Ms Braddock. We thought to offer you a seat upon this Council – as our Black Queen' Shaw announces, reminding her that her family has long been affiliated with their order. 'You don't have to remind me' Psylocke snaps. 'The leather and lash parties were oh-so-helpful during my formative years' she adds, before turning back to Magneto and telling him that she doesn't understand what he is trying to accomplish here. She declares that the Hellfire Club is not interested in the betterment of mutant kind – their only goal is to strengthen their own holdings, but Magneto replies that he does not agree. Magneto explains that the agendas of the Hellfire Club are not focused on the survival of their species, but he has found places where their schemes and strategies coincide. 'Believe me – they have their uses'.

Briar Raleigh smiles as she announces that there are some doors that can only be opened with copious amounts of money. 'You've gotta love free commerce and corporate espionage, am I right?' Briar adds, before remarking 'Believe me, your inner mutants' rights activist is going to get a real jolt from the olive branch I'm about to hand you'. Briar holds up a small green vial that contains an odd substance. 'I'm sure you haven't forgotten about the Someday Corporation. She reminds everyone that the company has been renting safe cryogenic harbor to mutants who fear death with the Terrigen Mists. 'What is this? Brain matter?' Betsy asks as she takes the vial. Briar informs her that it is something they picked up from Someday – the latest in cerebral encryption. 'Take a peek. You might like what you find' Briar suggests, announcing that while Psylocke and her band of revolutionaries have been fighting the good fight, the Hellfire Club's spies have been digging up some surprising dirt that she is sure Psylocke will find too tempting to pass up.

Shortly, Betsy is in a room within the Hellfire Club. She looks at the brain matter – or cerebral encryption – then turns to a black corset that has been placed on a stand nearby. 'Elizabeth... may I join you?' Magneto asks as he enters the room. 'Why not? The entire world's your domain. You're the bloody White King after all' Betsy replies. She admits that this is a nice place, and that it reminds her of the Mansion, save for all the kink. 'Those were simpler times' Betsy laments. 'They were not as simple as you might believe' Magneto replies. 'I know' Betsy replies, adding that she is in the mood to lie to herself. 'Maybe you've inspired me' Betsy adds, before telling him that Monet is hiding something from them – from him. 'You realize that, right?' Betsy asks, adding that Monet is protecting it, but she can sense it. Magneto falls silent, before informing Betsy that he was going to tell her. 'But you didn't' Betsy snaps. 'I understand, I really do. You've got your fingers in a lot of cookie jars. The X-Men are just one piece of a much larger puzzle'. She holds up the vial and points out 'That just leaves this'.

Betsy continues, remarking that it is a clever way of securely delivering messages, a piece of gray matter kept alive by minor electric shock containing intel only a psychic can pick up. 'Makes me wonder whose brain got sliced and diced to pass this on to me' Betsy adds. Magneto asks her if she learnt anything from it, and Betsy confirms that she did – she learned that the Hellfire Club is right – the Someday Corporation is playing dirty pool with the mutants in their care. 'I want to see what they're up to firsthand.

Soon, rain pours from the night sky over rough waters in the Atlantic Station, where the Someday Corporation has a Research Station sticking out of the water like an oil rig, with nothing else for as far as the eye can see. The X-Men's Blackbird descends and lands on the research station. 'Where is everyone?' someone inside the jet asks. Betsy, Monet, Sabretooth and Black Tom Cassidy, along with several Hellfire Club soldiers step out onto the rain-drenched station. 'Despite the storm they should have seen us coming' Betsy tells the others, recalling that every time they have dealt with Someday in the past, they have put up a fight. Sabretooth announces that he can smell the cryonics, and informs Betsy that there are definitely cold storage units on this rig. 'And we're not alone. I can smell people – plenty of them – and they're not all in stasis. They're circling... trying to flank us' Sabretooth reports.

Betsy turns to the Black Tom: 'We're here on this eerily quiet research station. The Hellfire Club gave me just enough information to know that someday is up to no good. Tell me the rest. What exactly is the Someday Corporation doing with these mutants?' Betsy asks. Tom smiles and tells Betsy that he thinks she is about to find out. 'But, just in case it doesn't become painfully obvious – they've weaponized them' Black Tom announces as three mutants lunge towards the group, including the tiger-like man, the woman with the blonde hair who has an acidic haze, a woman who creates some solid stars, while the bald man with the thick beard can be seen standing atop one of the buildings on the research station. The tiger-man slashes his claws towards Betsy, who steps backwards. 'These are mutants who wanted to be placed in stasis?' she asks. 'Aye, lass. But they're sleeping no longer. Someone's turned them to wee little puppets, dancing on a string!' Black Tom exclaims as he attacks the tiger-man.

Nearby, several Hellfire Club soldiers gasp for breath as the acidic haze from the blonde woman passes across them. 'It burns!' one of them screams. Sabretooth rushes over to Monet and tells her to watch the fog as it is like acid. 'Corrosive acid death cloud – yes' Monet replies, flying away from the fog, she asks Sabretooth how much good it does for him to stand in front of her like a big, bad protector. 'Find something you can claw, Creed. I'll take care of this!' Monet exclaims as she slams her fist into the blonde woman. The woman with the stars flies over to Monet: 'Just imagine...I wanted to sleep. What on earth was I thinking?' she asks as she casts some stars towards Monet, who is knocked backwards mid-air. Back on the ground level, 'We've taken out their support team... burned them with acid...or transformed them with my devolution wave!' the mutant with the goatee style beard declares as he transforms the remaining Hellfire Club soldiers into primates, who confront Sabretooth. Sabretooth defends himself, 'Whatever's been done to you poor dirtbags...I don't know if it can reversed...but the way you're fighting...makes me start rethinking my decision to go easy on you!'

Suddenly, the tiger-man mutant appears behind Sabretooth, and leaps at him, knocking them both off the edge of the rig, they plummet to the choppy ocean below. 'What's that, fur-baby? You want a shot at the title? Bring it on, then!' Creed exclaims, before they land with a mighty splash in the water. Back up top, Monet has fallen to the platform as the star-woman stands over her. '...cut me up but good...bleeding out...' Monet utters. The star-woman tells Monet that there is no need to keep struggling. 'You're on the wrong side, anyhow' she adds. 'Just let my little pets put you out of yout misery, 'kay?' she offers. 'I...must feed!' Monet suddenly shouts, lunging at the star-woman with her hands showing off the jagged teeth which she latches on to the star-woman's face. 'Mmmm...better' Monet utters, ignoring the telepathic call from Betsy, who asks her where she is and if she is all right. 'Creed! Can you hear me?' Betsy cries out, but Creed is nowhere to be seen, a pool of blood appears on the surface of the water.

Betsy looks behind herself and her telepathic cries continue: 'If you can hear me... we need you! Get over here post-haste! The sleepers we fought...they were only the first wave!' Betsy declares as she and Black Tom Cassidy find themselves surrounded by dozens of other weaponized mutants.

Months ago:
The Hellfire Club, where Magneto is waiting outside the front door. A red car is parked nearby. Magneto announces that he hasn't been here in quite some time – the last time, he and the Black King nearly killed each other, and he has found little use for social amusements. 'That's why you brought me along. You speak tyrannical megalomaniac... and I speak old money' a woman with a cybernetic brace on her right leg declares as she steps out of the car wearing a white dress. She puts her arm around Magneto's and adds that she would like to point out that Magneto just described almost killing someone as a “social amusement”. Magneto asks Ms Raleigh what her point is and she replies 'Just watch me... and follow my lead. You want a seat at that table... I'm the woman to help you with that'.

But as Magneto and Briar step into a room within the Hellfire Club, they find a scantily clad Monet St Croix who declares 'Actually, I don't remember seeing your name on the membership list, either. So let's not get ahead of ourselves, hmm?' The glamorous Monet points out that they know Magneto, but her, not so much. Monet tells Briar to play her cards right, though, and maybe they can all play together, while Sebastian Shaw and Black Tom Cassidy stand nearby. 'This way, if you please. I'd love to get this meeting over with before my afternoon flogging' Shaw remarks. Magneto and Briar follow Monet and the others into another room.

'Fun bunch, Erik. My kind of degenerates' Briar whispers. 'Not exactly sure where you fit in, though' Briar adds. Magneto tells Briar that he doesn't have the luxury of being fastidious. 'In today's landscape... we are all X-Men. And we'll need as many as we can get, as cannon fodder, if nothing else. As a friend told me not long ago: X-Men die a lot!'

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Magneto, Monet, Psylocke, Sabretooth (all X-Men)

Black Tom Cassidy, Briar Raleigh, Sebastian Shaw (all Hellfire Club Inner Circle)

Unnamed weaponized mutants

Hellfire Club partygoers
Hellfire Club soldiers

Story Notes: 

Sabretooth mentions the last time he dealt with the Hellfire Club there were children running the show, referencing the most recent Inner Circle, which formed in Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series).

Magneto died at the end of Magneto (2nd series) battling the Incursion that was destroying Earth. Apparently he was resurrected at the end of Secret Wars.

Psylocke died once in Uncanny X-Men #227 and again in X-treme X-Men (1st series) #2.

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