Uncanny X-Men (4th series) #17

Issue Date: 
March 2017
Story Title: 

Cullen Bunn (writer), Ken Lashley (artist), Nolan Woodard (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Caramagna (letterer), Ken Lashley & Nolan Woodard (cover artists), Mike Choi & Dan Brown (variant 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: 

In Limbo, Sabretooth and Rachel Grey are searching for innocent Inhumans who were dropped in Limbo when the X-Men captured the Inhuman Royals. These innocent Inhumans are being killed off by Limbo demons, and the pair want to rescue them. Their partnership is an uneasy one, and as they search, Sabretooth contemplates how much he has changed recently – for not too long ago, he would have hunted the Inhumans himself. They find one of them, barely alive, so Sabretooth sends Rachel to take the Inhuman to safety, while he continues on to a cave, where he finds Monet, still infected with the energy-draining requirements of Emplate. Monet is ready to drain one of the Inhumans in the cave, while another looks on, horrified. Sabretooth talks to Monet and tries to get her to back down, but the desires of Emplate have taken hold of her, and after she drains the Inhuman, she attacks Sabretooth. Sabretooth doesn't want to hurt Monet, but he discovers that with all the energy he has left Monet suck out of him since she was transformed, Monet has taken on some of his enhanced refleces, strength and healing factor. Sabretooth reaches Monet, who tells him that the Inhumans and the Terrigen Mists have killed Madrox, and other mutants – so don't the Inhumans deserve this? Sabretooth knocks Monet over and goes after the Inhuman who runs from the cave. Sabretooth feels the old him chewing him up from the inside, the only thing keeping it at bay is fighting for something he believes in. He finds the Inhuman who is being watched over by three hungry demons. Sabretooth battles the demons and slaughters them, releasing his bloodlust. The frightened Inhuman thanks Sabretooth for saving him – but Sabretooth tells the Inhuman that he didn't save him – he saved Monet. Monet leaps toward the Inhuman and drains its life. Sabretooth promised Monet he would keep her secret and help her. He walks away and decides to tell the X-Men that the demons got the Inhumans.

Full Summary: 

Limbo, where Victor “Sabretooth” Creed and Rachel Grey trudge across a barren, rocky landscape under a burnt red sky. 'Damn' Creed remarks as they come across the petrified body of an Inhuman, motionless on the ground. Creed crouches near the body and informs Rachel that the Inhuman hasn't been dead long, but you wouldn't know that by looking at him. Rachel asks Creed what happened to the Inhuman, and what could have done this. 'You need ask?' Creed replies, looking up at several winged demons who fly away behind a nearby mountain range. 'What have we done?' Rachel asks, hanging her head. 'Inhumans getting killed by demons... after we dropped them off in Limbo... isn't going to win us any popularity contests' Creed tells Rachel, who declares that the Inhumans aren't even supposed to be here – they just got caught up in the undertow when they grabbed the key players. 'This isn't what we wanted' Rachel adds.

'It's not what most of us wanted' Creed corrects her. 'What does that mean?' the confused Rachel asks. 'You know damn well what it means' Creed snarls, before asking how many more are unaccounted for. Rachel tells him that there are three they know of, and that they aren't going to last long with these demons. Creed asks her if she can locate the others, and using her telepathic power, Rachel reports that she is trying, but that she has to be careful, for casting a wide net, there is no telling what kind of awfulness she will pick up. 'Don't put yourself at -' Creed begins, reaching out, he puts a hand on Rachel's shoulder, but she pulls away: 'HEY!' she shouts. 'Don’t! Don't touch me!'

Creed pulls away and holding his hands up, tells Rachel that no offense was intended. Creed suggests that they track the Inhumans the old-fashioned way, and starts to lead the way, telling Rachel to keep her psychic sweeps localized and she won't need to worry about getting too close to anything unpleasant. 'It's safer that way' he frowns, while Rachel follows him, a few feet behind. Creed tells himself that is a joke, that there ain't no such thing as safety – not for the Inhumans and not for the mutants – either the Inhumans pissed that idea away when they released the Terrigen across the Earth, or the X-Men did when they struck back. Creed and Rachel examine their surroundings as they walk across the barren land, and Creed notices scratches against a rock, splattered with blood. He thinks that he has been in some inhospitable holes in his time, but this place, Limbo, is the belle of the ball.

The rocks are razor sharp, and Creed touches the blood. He knows that if you brush up against them you are going to rip something open – but on the bright side, the blood gives him something to track, something he knows. He puts his blood-covered fingers to his noes. It makes it a little easier to pick out a scent among the rotten egg brimstone that sticks to you in Limbo. The trail is faint, fleeting, but it is there. Creed tells Rachel that they have to move fast, and explains that the rocky ground here, it is as if it drinks the blood, sucks it right down into the pores. 'Lovely' Rachel mutters, while Creed decides that there is part of him, deep down inside, that appreciates the the benefits of this locale – rocks that can gut you and then slurp down the blood – can go a long way to covering up a killing. He realizes that, back in the day, this could have been his stomping grounds. But that was then – and this is something different.

Suddenly, moving around from behind some rocks, a green-skinned Inhuman appears, blood tricking from her mouth, she begs 'Please...don't...please just leave me alone...'. Rachel goes over and the Inhuman collapses into her arms. She tells her that it is all right, that they have got her and she is going to be all right. The weak Inhuman asks 'What is this place' and reveals that demons attacked her and ruined her wings. Rachel tells her that they have healers and can help her. 'Why would you bring me to a place like this?' the Inhuman enquires. Creed tells Rachel to get her out of here and he will find the others. Rachel asks Creed if he is sure, to which he replies that he will be fine, and adds that if this is Hell, then he is going to end up here eventually, so he might as well get used to it.

'Attacked by demons' Creed thinks to himself as he passes over a ridge, deciding that the Inhuman kid might not realize it, but she dodged a bullet. He sees a winged demon, its body destroyed ahead of him, and Creed thinks that there are worse things than demons out here. He knows the Inhumans are running scared, and he can't blame them – yanked from their homes, thrown into a place like this – not too different from the mutants trying to avoid the T-Mists – and perhaps they should be afraid – maybe they should learn what it feels like. Creed approaches a cave, and tells himself that one thing is for sure – a mutant, someone who's been hunted – someone living in a world where the air itself is poisonous – would know better than to run off into the shadows. Because, in the shadows – that is where the monsters dwell. 'Monet' Creed calls out as he finds Monet St Croix within the cave, her hand over the face of an Inhuman, while anoher horrified Inhuman stands nearby and watches.

Monet's eyes are red and the energy-sucking tendrils within her palms that she has recently come to possess – or rather, be possessed by – writhe about. 'Victor. What are you doing here?' Monet snaps as she spins around. 'Looking for missing Inhumans' Creed replies, adding that they aren't supposed to be here, so he figured they might be in some sort of danger. 'Looks like you found them' Creed points out. 'And the X-Men sent you to find the errant Inhumans? You? Oh, that's rich' Monet declares. Creed informs Monet that he wasn't sent alone, and that Rachel Grey is on the hunt, too. 'Oh...little miss “Always the Hound, never the Phoenix” is with you, too? Where is she? I'd love to catch up' Monet adds sarcastically. Creed informs Monet, who moves away from the Inhuman, that he sent Rachel back, and reveals that he picked up Monet's scent a ways back – hhe figured he should have a word with her on his own first. 'Aw. Protecting your new friend? I'm not sure I like that' Monet responds.

'This isn't you. It's your brother. But... he needs to feed on mutants... not Inhumans' Creed reminds Monet, pointing out that Emplate can't be getting anything from the Inhumans. 'Maybe not. But I get a different kind of satisfaction supping on these worthless sacks. After all, the mutants who have died because of them... after Madrox died because of them... they...' Monet's voice trails off. Creed stands close to her: 'No. Monet. You can't do this. You have to stop -' Creed begins, when Monet shrieks, 'DON'T TELL ME WHAT I HAVE TO DO!' as she lunges towards Creed. The  palms of her hands reaching for him, Creed falls back over the energy-drained Inhuman, while the other Inhuman looks on, confused. 'This is what I want, Victor. Maybe you... now that you've been denied what you really want for so long... can't understand that. But I'm not like you. I'm free!' Monet exclaims. 'Aw, M... you must know that's not true... and when the X-Men find you -' Creed begins. 'But they didn't find me! You did! And we both know you don't have what it takes to stop me!' Monet snaps as the tendrils thrashing about from her palms lash towards Creed – who slices his claws through one of them, cutting it almost back to the palm.

'Don't push me, girl! You don't know me nearly as well as you think!' Creed warns Monet. The Inhuman looks at the remains of the bloody tendril that fall onto a nearby rock, while Creed informs Monet that if he has to hurt her in order to help her – that's what he will do. 'It's cute that you think that, Victor. Cute, but sad' Money replies, reminding Creed that he has been helping her all along – helping her keep her condition a secret – helping her feed. Monet reveals that Creed offered his own marrow up so often that she has absorbed some of his abilities – his healing – and his claws! With that, Monet, sporting Creed-like claws, leaps at Sabretooth and slashes him across his chest. If that wasn't the worst of it, Monet is already stronger than Creed. 'He's pulling his punches, sister! He doesn't want to hurt you' Emplate's voice can be heard through the mouths on Monet's palms. Creed tells himself that now Monet has got his regeneration factor, his claws, and his own abilities, ever since he started letting her feed on him, have been diminished. His reflexes are slowed, his strength is waning, and his healing is taking too long.

Creed and Monet lunge towards each other, and Creed tells himself that it is like he is tussling with a faster, tougher, more vicious version of himself – so he supposes that means he doesn't have to hold back after all – not if he wants to survive. But Monet gets the first strike in, raking her claws up Creed's body. He roars in pain, and knows that Monet is fighting like hell, but that it doesn't mean she wants him dead. Creed realizes that Monet's animal instincts have taken hold, and she feels the same things he does – the blood, the adrenaline, the pain. Creed reaches out to slash Monet, but she responds, latching one of the tendrils around Creed's neck, while the Inhuman watches from several feet away.

Creed pulls on the tendril and tells M that he knows what she is doing – attacking him with her brother's tongues. 'You know I'll cut them... know I'll take his voice away... at least for a short while' Creed points out. Suddenly, Monet's red eyes vanish, and she looks slightly calmer as she remarks 'They deserve to pay...all those mutants who died...Jamie...the Inhumans deserve it...don't they?' Monet asks. Creed doesn't answer her – his attention is drawn to the Inhuman who starts to run away out of the cave. Creed knows that the Inhuman is scared, lost in Limbo – where anything might find him. Creed pushes Monet away, slamming her into the cave wall. Creed starts to leave the cave, while a solemn Monet hangs her head.

Creed tells himself that, at one time, he might have let the Inhuman go, let them take their chance with the demons – but he doesn't have that choice anymore, at least, not a choice he is willing to make. Creed rushes across the barren terrain, knows that he is slipping – he can feel it. The old him coming back, chewing him up from the out – the Creed who doesn't care about anything but the kill – and it scares the hell out of him. He tells himself that the only thing that keeps it at bay, that keeps the devil at bay, is fighting for something worth believing in. But sometimes, those devils fight back. Creed comes to a halt as the Inhuman is several feet away, looking up at a ridge, where several horrid winged demons are waiting. The demons hiss, and the terrified Inhuman looks around. Sabretooth roars, then lunges at the demons. Creed thinks that every cut he makes slices away at who he is now. He shoves his claws into one of the demons' throats, and holds on with everything he has got, digging in, grasping at the lie as he feels it oozing warmly from between his fingers. He tosses the demon aside, while the other demons close in around him. 'That's how people are wired, isn't it? We're all too willing to fight tooth and claw for something we know isn't true' Creed tells himself, while the Inhuman covers his face, cowering in fear.

Grabbing one of the demons and slamming it to the ground, Creed tells himself that he knows he is not the man he has been pretending to be – but he doesn't want to let it go. A monster, a Marauder, an X-Man...it all gets so fuzzy in his head sometimes – his true nature mixing with the twisted, funhouse-mirror version. The third demon looms over Creed, who tells himself that he can't shake the cobwebs free – half the time when he is fighting alongside the X-Men, he is daydreaming about slaughtering his teammates – because that is what he is supposed to be doing. Creed grabs the third demon, and bites into it, tearing away the demon's flesh. Creed can't keep living the lie, and he doesn't want to go back to what he was, either – and that means becoming something new, something other than the truth – something other than a lie. The third demon drops dead, and Sabretooth, drenched in blood, gets to his feet.

'Th- thank you' the Inhuman calls out, getting to his feet, the Inhuman announces that he doesn't understand any of this – he doesn't know where they are, what is happening. 'But thank you so much for saving me from those things. 'Don't thank me, kid. I didn't save you. I saved her' Creed tells the Inhuman as Monet flies towards them, Emplate's tendrils thrashing about from the palms of her hands. The Inhuman screams. Sabretooth looms over the Inhuman, before Monet latches onto the young Inhuman. Creed thinks that he couldn't let the Inhuman slip away, as the X-Men might have found him, and he would have told them about Monet. He knows he has to fight for something to keep his head straight, and he promised Monet he would keep her secret, until they could figure out a way to beat the darkness inside her. Creed wallks away, and thinks that at least one of them needs a little hope, and decides that he will tell the others the truth – the Inhumans didn't survive the wilds of Limbo. The demons got them. And with that, tears fall down the face of the terrified Inhuman as Monet pulls him closer....

Characters Involved: 

M II, Sabretooth (both X-Men)
Rachel Grey (former X-Man)


Unnamed Inhumans
Limbo demons

Story Notes: 

This issue ties into the Inhumans vs X-Men storyline.

This issue finally confirms who Monet had been so angry about the Terrigen Mists killing – Multiple Man, who Monet was close with in X-Factor (3rd series). His death took place in Death of X #1.

Monet and Rachel Grey never got on with each other as members of the X-Men during X-Men (4th series).

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