Uncanny X-Men (4th series) #2

Issue Date: 
March 2016
Story Title: 

Cullen Bunn (writer), Greg Land (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Nolan Woodard (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Caramagna (letterer), Land & Woodard (cover artists), Kris Anka (variant cover artist), Christina Harrington (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 Detroit, Magneto breaks into the County Medical Examiner's office to find the body of the healer he and his team recently rescued. Psylocke is in contact telepathically, and thinks they should be spending time concentrating on finding the killer. She also blames Magneto for tossing the healer to the wolves instead of offering him protection. Magneto locates the dead healer and after checking him over, decides this matches the pattern of other recent deaths. Psylocke checks over their records – three other mutant healers have been killed in the last couple of days. Psylocke has identified two other mutant healers that could be in danger – Elixir and Triage. She sees an image of Archangel in the computer monitor and gets confused. In Vermont, Monet and Sabretooth are on their way to find Elixir. They discuss Sabretooth's current state of being, before arriving at some sort of church, where they find Elixir helping sort out donated goods. Elixir is surprised to see Monet and Sabretooth together and tells them that they shouldn't have come to recruit him. Monet explains that they have come to protect him. Apparently just in time, too, as a squad of Dark Riders appears. Talking about natural selection, they attack Sabretooth and Monet, who fight back while protecting Elixir. When Monet is tossed outside, she finds the bodies of the other volunteers, and warns Sabretooth to get Elixir clear. Elixir goes outside to heal his new friends, and he does so, but is shot by Gauntlet who was on top of the church. With Elixir dead, the Dark Riders teleport away. Sabretooth is confused as to why they didn't take he and Monet out, but a grieving Monet sits beside Elixir and points out that they got what they came for. Elsewhere Mystique is posing as an employee of the Someday Corporation in San Francisco, but her cover is blown, and security officials attempt to apprehend her. She fights them and escapes into a waiting car, driven by Hellfire Club guards.


Full Summary: 

San Francisco, California:
In an office, people are going about business in their cubicles. 'Hey, Clarice. We on for happy hour tonight? A bunch of people are going' an older woman calls out to a younger blonde woman who walks past her cubicle. 'Wouldn't miss it' Clarice smiles as she carries on down the path between cubicles.

'Miss Kenner?' a voice asks, and Clarice turns to see two men approaching her. One of them informs her that they are from security services. 'We'd like to have a word' he adds. Clarice replies that she is just going out on her lunch break. 'What is this about?' she asks. The other security official asks her to come with them. 'Well, I guess nothing lasts forever' Clarice smirks as her form suddenly changes – into the blue-skinned mutant Mystique a.k.a. Raven Darkholme. 'It's too bad, really. I liked being Clarice. She had friends... a social life. On the other hand, she never got to cut loose – like this!' Mystique remarks as she kicks one of the security officials in the face. She then punches the other, drawing blood. 'Someone point me to HR' Mystique jokes. 'I need to report some workplace violence' she remarks as several more security officials run towards her.

One of them is about to strike her with a taser, 'Take it easy and nobody has to get -' he begins, but Mystique kicks the taser from his grasp and uses the weapon on him, knocking him back into a desk, sending folders and stationery flying into the air. 'Come on now. You know better' Mystique remarks, grabbing another security officer in a headlock. 'Someone always gets hurt' she grins, licking her lips, while one of the office workers can be seen running away.

The office is inside a building called Someday, and a man in a suit walks from the building towards a car parked in the lot outside. 'Mystique? Are you all right? Are you hurt?' a voice calls out from inside the car. The man gets into the car, 'I'm fine... it's just... I don't know how they found me. After two weeks... the whole operation is blown' Mystique remarks as she switches back to her default form, and finds two people in Hellfire Club guard costumes sitting in the car, one in the driver's seat. 'As long as you dug up some useful intel on Someday, what does it matter?' one of them asks, pointing out that they can always start over again, once things have cooled down. Mystique asks the guard what his name is, and he tells her it is Reeves. 'Well, Reeves... if you like your tongue where it is, I suggest you keep your mouth shut' she warns him. Mystique adds that the details of what she found are way out of Reeves' paygrade, and declares that as far as starting out again goes, time, among other things, is not on their side.

Meanwhile, in Detroit, Michigan, darkness shrouds the County Medical Examiner's ofice, which, save for the bodies, is all but empty – and except for the one long figure that stalks the facility. Max Eisenhartd better known as Erik Lehnsherr a.k.a. Magneto looks at the body bags, 'He's here...somewhere amidst these bodies...amidst these numbers referencing unidentified corpses'. Suddenly, a telepathic call rom Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock tells Magneto 'That's right. We already know the healer came to a sticky end. Just like we know it's our fault he's there'. Betsy is inside the Blackbird jet, and is using Cerebro to enhance her psionic abilities, Betsy suggests to Magneto that instead of lurking around the ME's office, they ind whoever killed him. A map appears on the screen before her, and Betsy offers to call up a list of the usual suspects, then they can be on their way. But Magneto tells her that there is value in seeing something first hand. Betsy asks Magneto if he was so concerned about the healer then why he sent him away. 'If we...if you hadn't tossed him to the wolves...he might still be alive' she points out.

'I find that... unlikely' Magneto replies as he uses his control over metal to open the door to a cold store room, reminding Betsy that the world has turned against them. 'The Terrigen Mists are killing our kind. Do you realize how offensive I find that? Mists. Not so different from gas' he points out. Magneto lifts a finger, controlling the metal zip on one of the body bags, which slides open. 'This man... was never meant to survive' Magneto tells Betsy, as he looks down at the body of the bearded healer. Magneto reports that the bearded healer was killed by a concentrated energy blast, and that there is no bullet to examine, no striation marks to scrutinize. 'This was no simple hate crime. And I believe the pattern is becoming painfully obvious' he adds. Betsy looks at her monitors, depicting the headshots of three mutants. Betsy states that there have been three other deaths in the last couple o days – Marc Dale and Sister Salvation, also mutants with the power to heal, and a third person who they don't know much about, but reports indicated he had a “healing voice”.

Magneto declares that all o their other endeavors will have to wait, that this takes precedence. He adds that they need to identify and locate as many other potential targets as possible. Betsy reports that she has already pinpointed a couple of candidates that they might consider high-risk, and on screen, images of Joshua Foley a.k.a. Elixir and Christopher Muse a.k.a. Triage appear. 'I can -' Betsy begins, when suddenly, she sees Archangel's face before her. Betsy is confused, 'Warren? What are you doing here? How did you get in my...' she calls out, but his image is gone.

'Elizabeth? Are you all right?' Magneto asks. Betsy gets hold of herself and replies that she is fine, that she just lost focus for a second. She informs Magneto that she will alert Sabretooth and Monet. 'While we track down Triage... we'll send them to retrieve Elixir'.

Cooper's Mountain, Vermont, a purple car speeds down a deserted road, where inside the car Monet St Croix tells Victor “Sabretooth” Creed to slow down, and remarks that he is as dangerous behind the wheel as he is in a fight. 'I've been driving since before you were born, girl' Creed retorts. 'Yes, please remind me about how old and out-of-touch you are' Monet smirks, while reminding Creed that they can't help anyone if he drives them of the road and into a fiery death. 'Healing actor would get me through a wreck. And you'd be all right, too. You're sturdy' Creed points out. 'So annoying' Monet mutters, before glancing out the window and remarking to Creed that she guesses this is all a little unsettling for him – going on a rescue op, instead of a search and destroy slaughter-fest. 'Day's still young' Creed points out.

They come to a stop near a large building. Stepping out of the car, fall leaves tumble around them, and Creed informs Monet that he is picking up several scents, but nothing out of the ordinary. Monet tells Creed that she sometimes wonders if he is just making up the heightened senses thing, trying to live up to Wolverine's legend. 'If it helps at all, you smell better than, like...80% of the people I've worked with' Creed announces. '80%? And, who, pray tell, smells better?' Monet enquires. 'Rogue. Polaris'. Sabretooth replies. 'Lady Mastermind' he adds, to which Monet tells him he is just being cruel. Creed then remarks that Cable smells like old spice and gunpowder, which he thinks is nice. He turns to Monet and asks her what she knows about this Elixir kid. Monet reveals that his healing capabilities are of the charts – mending wounds, curing disease, creating entire organs from nothing, but that he can use his gifts to inflict harm, too, which she understands has always weighed heavily on his conscience. 'I'm sure you can relate' Monet remarks.

'Only familiar with one side of that coin, frail' Creed replies as they approach the building, and he adds that he would never have felt comfortable coming to a place like this, seeking solace and inner peace, even if they would have taken him in. Several men are outside of the building, unloading boxes of donated goods from cars. One of them looks up at the new arrivals, 'Oh...um...hello. May I help you?' he asks. 'You got a kid by the name of -' Creed begins, but Monet interrupts him, smiling, she informs the man that they are looking for a friend of theirs, Joshua Foley. The man turns to the building and reveals that he is here, and that Josh told them he might have unusual visitors from time to time. 'Told you. You mean he warned you' Creed points out. The man leads them to the entrance of the building. 'I don't know. Maybe, I suppose. I've always gotten the impression...he could take care of himself' the man replies, and once inside, amnongst boxes and racks of clothing, he walks over to Josh, and informs him that he has company. 'Well, whoever it is, tell them we can talk after I'm done -' Elixir begins to reply, before looking up and seeing Monet and Sabretooth.

'Gotta admit, you're the last people I expected to come looking for me' Josh remarks, hanging his head, the young mutant asks if it is even worse out there than he thought. 'The whole world really has turned upside down. But – whatever you want with me – you're wasting your time' Josh declares, explaining that he came here to figure out who he is. 'And maybe I've done that. Some of it, at least. But I'm not done...not by a long shot. This is my life now' Josh explains. Monet inorms Josh that they are not here to recruit him, but help him, and reveals that there is someone out there doing bad things to healers like him. 'And if they come here...my guess is they wouldn't mind hurting this new family of yours to get to you' Monet adds. 'Wait – you're here to protect me? You – and him?' Josh asks, surprised. 'I'm sure you can understand if I'm hesitant' Josh declares, to which Sabretooth remarks 'At least I'm not hiding in some church when I could be out there doing some good'. Josh turns and starts to fold some clothing, 'Yeah. Whatever. I tried to hgelp people. Maybe I have. But I don't know how much good I've done. And I've hurt people, too' he points out, adding that these powers of his, he feels like he has only scratched the surface of what he can do – and it scares him, what he might be capable of.

Monet puts a hand on Josh's shoulder and assures him that they are not trying to belittle that. 'But – whether you buy it or not – you're in danger here. Sooner or later -' Monet begins, when suddenly, Sabretooth frowns, then leaps at Monet and Josh, pushing them to the ground as an explosion occurs nearby. Weapons fire strike Creed in the back as he holds Monet close to him. 'You're bleeding all over me, Creed! Stop playing hero and get off me so I can deal with whoever's shooting at us!' Monet exclaims. When the weapons fire stops, Creed looks around and remarks that he should have sensed them long before he did. Monet reports that she is not picking up and surface thoughts on telepathic sweeps, meaning their attackers are somehow masked. The Dark Rider called Barrage steps into view, 'Give the lady a cookie! You don't see us sneaking up on you... until it's too late. We're like natural selection that way' he smirks.

'This jackass wants to talk natural selection? Rolling up on me like that...he just nominated himself for a Darwin Award!' Creed snarls. There is a hissing sound, and suddenly, the lizard-like Dark Rider called Spyne sneaks up behind Monet and slashes her side with his clawed hand. Monet cries out, as Spyne move towards Elixir, and snaps his jaggged teeth-filled mouth in front of him. Josh screams in fear, but Monet gathers herself and grabs Spyne by his tail, 'I'll take care of this freak! Creed, get Elixir out of here!' Monet declares as she bursts through the side of the church, flying upwards, when suddenly, she is shot at, and drops Spyne as she falls to the ground, landing amongst the bodies of the volunteers who were outside when she and Creed arrived. 'That shot...can't see them...concealed...where did...' Monet utters as she tries to get to her feet, she goes wide-eyed, shocked as she sees the bodies of the volunteers around her. The fiery blue skeletal Dark Rider called Deadbolt appears before Monet and warns her that she is next. 'The Dark Riders aren't here for you...but you get in the way...you get culled with the rest of your -' he begins, but Monet smacks him in the face, 'Oh – SHUT UP!' she shouts.

Monet then calls out to Sabretooth, reporting that the Dark Riders have slaughtered everyone out front. 'Get Elixir clear – take him out the back!' she exclaims. Sabretooth punches Barrage, knocking the Dark Rider back and causing the guns attached to his arms to fire in either direction. 'You heard that, kid? Get out of here!' Sabretooth tels Elixir. 'Go! I'll hold this guy off!' Sabretooth snarls, but the wide-eyed Josh replies that he can't just leave them, he can't leave his friends. 'I can help. I can heal them. I can heal them -' he remarks as he heads outside, and power starts to flow around him, extending to the slain volunteers, who gasp as they are returned to life. Monet looks shocked, 'What are you doing? You've never been able to do anything like this before!' she points out. Creed looks out at Elixir, and asks him if he doesn't recognize a trap when he sees one? Suddenly, there is the fire of a weapon, and Elixir's chest blows open. 'ELIXIR!' Monet screams. 'Who -' she asks, while up on the top of the church roof, Gauntlet stands, his weapon smoldering. 'Job's done. Another one in the “win” column. We keep it up and sooner or later Akkaba will be forced to take note' he tells Psynapse who is next to him.

Gauntlet instructs Psynapse to black them out and make their exit. 'You got it, boss' Psynapse replies, as Gauntlet remarks that they can give these muties a chance to mourn their losses. Monet touches Elixir's hand, as Sabretooth goes over towards her and tells her that they can't stay out here, they gotta move Elixir. 'Sniper's got us dead to -' Creed begins, before looking around, 'Where'd thy go? They're just leaving us here? They're not gonna gun us down?' he asks. Sitting beside Elixir's body, Monet tells Sabretooth that they don't need to – as they did what they came to do.

Characters Involved: 

M II, Magneto, Psylocke, Sabretooth (all X-Men)

Barrage, Deadbolt, Gauntlet, Psynapse, Spyne (all Dark Riders)

Someday Enterprises employees
Hellfire Club guards
Unnamed healer

On computer screen:
Elixir, Marc Dale, Sister Salvation, Triage, unknown healer

In Psylocke's mind

Story Notes: 

Marc Dale had previously appeared in X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #42.

Sister Salvation previously appeared in Wolverine (2nd series) #18-23.

Written By: