Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #21

Issue Date: 
September 2019
Story Title: 
We Have Always Been, part 5

Matthew Rosenberg (writer), Salvador Larroca (artist), GURU-eFX (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Caramagna (letterer), Whilce Portacio & Erick Arciniega (cover artists), Jeff Powell (title page designer), Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (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: 

The X-Men arrive at the Hellfire Club intent on reaching Emma Frost. Juggernaut can't believe that none of the other X-Men could remember Emma until now. Once inside, they are confronted by Emma Frost. Havok expresses his concern about getting involved with Emma, while Emma wants to speak privately with Cyclops. Hope puts a gun to Emma's head, but Mystique does the same to Hope, and Sinister is with her. Mystique then reveals to the X-Men that she had been posing as Captain America. Emma explains to the X-Men that she removed herself from their memories and gave them slight subconscious suggestions to steer them in the directions she needed them to go – how to find each other and their list of targets. Magik is furious at this and lashes out at Emma, reminding her that they have lost people. Emma claims that she was thinking she was keeping everyone safe. Hope reads Emma's mind and is startled to learn an even darker truth. Emma reveals this to the X-Men – that the O*N*E is coming for them – but she has a plan. The X-Men mostly vote in favor to work with Emma. In a secret O*N*E medical facility, Triage is forced into working for General Callahan, and is on duty when the injured Wolverine is brought in. Triage wants to help Wolverine, but finds himself arguing with a doctor, who presses a device that renders Triage unconscious. Wolverine recovers and cuts his way through the soldiers, before he finds a cupboard where Velocidad is cowering, infected with the Transmode Virus, the O*N*E had been using Velocidad to grow multiple Warlocks. Wolverine then puts Velocidad out of his misery. The X-Men teleport into the O*N*E facility, where Wolverine is slicing his way through various soldiers. A huge Transmode-Sentinel appears and the X-Men engage it – but the Sentinel kills Banshee. Dozens of soldiers arrive and surround the X-Men, while Callahan appears on a monitor and reveals that he did something to Magik when she was under his “care”, and takes away her mutant gene, reverting Magik into the Darkchylde. The Darkchylde attacks several guards, before tearing the Cyttorak gem from Juggernaut, depowering him as she destroys the gem and teleports Cain Marko away. Hope was able to copy Magik's powers and teleports the remaining X-Men away. In Manhattan, Moonstar, Fabian Cortez, Dr Nemesis, Madrox and Warlox are on the run from the O*N*E when they meet up with the others outside the Hellfire Club. Moonstar warns Cyclops that they are going to have words when this is over, before the X-Men battle more O*N*E soldiers. Suddenly, the soldiers stop, and Emma Frost appears, a scar running down the side of her head after Callahan's device was removed from her head, and holding a Cerebro unit, she is with Sinister, and announces that as of now, the world at large cannot see them, and never even knew mutants existed. 

Full Summary: 

“You were right. One way or another, this may be the last X-Men story. I just don't know whether I should say I'm sorry or you're welcome.”

'You sure this is a good idea?' one of the X-Men asks as they gather in front of the gates of the Hellfire Club on the Upper East Side of Manhattan under the cover of night. 'Emma is in there. We need to get to her' Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops replies. Hope asks Scott if they are trying to help Emma or trying to stop her. '... we're trying to find out what's going on' Scott announces. Cain Marko the Juggernaut remarks that he still can't believe none of the X-Men remembered Emma before. 'She was, like, a pretty big deal for you all. Scott was, like, always over her like -' Juggernaut begins, to which Scott interrupts him: 'We get it' he mutters, before motioning to some guards up ahead and instructing Dani Moonstar to take the one on the left, Hope the one on the right, while he takes the one in the middle. An instant later, the guards are felled by a psychic arrow, an optic beam and a weapon blast.

Dani, Juggernaut and Jamie Madrox the Multiple Man hide the guards in some bushes, while Alex Summers a.k.a. Havok, Cyclops, Hope and Sean Cassidy a.k.a. Banshee stand in front of the doors. Dani reminds everyone that they don't know what is inside so they need to move quickly and quietly, and that on her signal they will open the door. But suddenly, the door opens, and Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik opens the door from the inside and announces that it is clear. 'So much for waiting for my signal' Dani remarks as the X-Men enter the mansion. 'I thought we were trying to be quick?' Magik asks. 'You didn't happen to stab Emma too, did you, 'Yana?' Alex asks. Scott reminds his brother that this is a rescue mission – for now. Suddenly, at the top of a staircase, Emma Frost appears: 'Not the romantic response I was hoping for, darling' Emma calls out, adding that she has never been one for being rescued. 'Other option is still on the table' Dani points out.

Meanwhile, at the Hotel Romeo, a secret O*N*E facility, inside the medical wing, 'We got four more coming in!' a O*N*E soldier calls out. 'What the hell happened?' a man in a suit wearing sunglasses asks. 'The X-Men happened!' another O*N*E* soldier calls out, as soldiers move between patients. 'Prisoner woke up in transport and tore us apart' one guard remarks, while a doctor bandages the severed limb of a Hellfire Club guard who is among the victims. 'Maybe next time you make sure he's really down before you start moving him, okay, Lieutenant?' a doctor suggests, before asking where the healer kid is. 'My name is Triage' Christopher Muse calls out as he approaches the doctor. 'We've been over this, Christopher. The faster you let go of that nonsense, the easier all of this will be for you' the doctor remarks, before suggesting they get to work. The doctor motions to the wounded and tells Christopher that he wants all the patients assessed before he begins healing them, as he doesn't want him to overtax his abilities on non-life-threatening injuries if they can avoid it.

Triage goes over to where Logan a.k.a. Wolverine lies motionless and blood-covered in one of the beds and touches his hand. 'What are you... stop! Not him!' the doctor exclaims. 'Why the hell is that thing even in my ER?' the doctor snarls. 'Callahan said we can't let him die' a O*N*E soldier reports. The doctor goes over to Christopher and asks him if he is trying to be clever here. 'What? You'd heal him and he'd save you? That it?' the doctor asks, reminding Christopher that they saved him, and the United States government is giving him the opportunity to be part of something that matters. Triage looks at the doctor and replies 'I already am. I'm an X-Man'. The doctor reaches into his jacket pocket, 'Still trying to be a hero, huh?' he asks. 'You forget about what we put inside of you? One push of this button and you're back to just being a normal human $%#&-up. So keep testing me, son'.

Triage responds by spitting in the doctor's face. 'Wrong choice, kid' the doctor declares as he presses the button on the device in his pocket – and Triage screams as he is struck down by a powerful surge. 'We needed that kid. Callahan is gonna have both of our asses for this' a O*N*E soldier mutters. The doctor wipes the spit off of his face and tells the lieutenant to relax, and asks if he picked up the other healer from Frost. 'We don't need redundancies. Bring him in from the transports and we'll get to work. We'll be fine' the doctor declares.

Back in the Hellfire Club, Emma walks down the steps towards her former teammates. 'Thank you for coming, my love. I knew you'd -' she begins, to which Cyclops interrupts her: 'Emma, don't' he declares. Emma tells him that they will talk in private later, but for now she sees that they did not bring what she asked for. 'The thing where you tell us what to do? That's over' Scott replies. Alex frowns and tells his brother that he knows he uused to love Emma, but that if she doesn't start explaining why she messed around in their heads, he is going to blast her through a wall. Scott steps between Alex and Emma and tells his brother to stand down, while Emma tells Alex that she wouldn't be so quick to forgo forgiveness, and reminds him that they last time they were all togeher, it was she and Scott who were trying to figure out what to do about Alex. 'Emma, I'm not trying to make this worse!' Scott snaps, to which Emma tells him that he doesn't have to do that, as she is a big girl and can take care of herself just fine. 'I'd shut his brain down before he could do anything. And that goes for all of you' she adds as Dani and Magik gather around. 'Even me?' Hope suddenly asks as she appears behind Emma and puts a gun to her head.

Emma smiles, 'Ah, Hope. The prodigal daughter returns, and using my own powers to psychically shield herself from me' Emma points out. 'Color me impressed. I was looking forward to seeing you after what you did to Scott's face' Emma adds. 'Funny. I was looking forward to doing the same thing to you' Hope replies. 'Not today, sweetie' a O*N*E soldier remarks as they appear behind Hope and put a gun to her head. Emma tells everyone to stay calm, and assures them that the O*N*E soldier is with her. 'With you all taking care of the O*N*E problem, I decided to let myself in. And I brought a friend' the O*N*E soldier declares. Emma addresses the soldier as Raven, and thanks her – so Mystique drops her disguise and Mr Sinister follows her into the foyer. 'Quite the crowd you've been running with, Frost' Hope mutters. 'I could say the same to you... it seems we've all had our backs to the wall lately' Mystique declares as she morphs into Captain America.

Back in the secret O*N*E  facility, Wolverine growls as he shoves his claws through a soldier. He lunges at another while bullets are fired at his back. He suddenly goes wide-eyed as he picks up a scent, 'dear god...what have you done...?' he utters. 'Logan?' a voice calls out. 'Show yourself...' Logan replies as he enters another room, and discovers an emaciated figure huddled in the darkness. 'Logan, it's me...' the figure utters. 'I know you?' Logan asks. The man appears old, bearded, and has been infected with the Techno-Organic Virus, and he introduces himself as Gabriel – Velocidad – and reminds Logan that they were on the X-Men together once. 'What did they... what happened?' Logan asks. Velocidad reveals that he has been prisoner here this whole time, that nobody has come for him all these years. 'I saw you in the sewers a month ago...' Logan recalls.

'A month? That can't be. Oh. My powers' Velocidad realizes, before the Techno-Organic voice takes over, and reveals that they have been using Gabeself to grow multiple Warlocks, that Gabeself is an incubator so they can produce Warlocks that reach maturity much faster, as normally it takes hundrds of rotations around Earth-sol. Wolverine tells Gabriel that it isn't his fault, and suggests they get him out of here, but Velocidad tells Wolverine that he won't survive, and that they have been keeping alive. 'No, just tell Blindfold I'm sorry I didn't believe her. Tell her she was right' Gabriel asks. 'I will, kid' Logan responds as he pops his claws into Velocidad.

In the Hellfire Club lobby, Emma smiles, and admits that she owes the X-Men an explanation. She confirms that she  removed herself from their memories, that she gave the slightest of nudges, subconscious suggestions to help steer them in some directions that she needed. 'And that's all you did in our heads?' Dani asks. 'What nudges?' Havok enquires. 'Where to find each other. Who to put on your little list of targets. That sort of thing. But I had a good reason. I was captured by the O*N*E and forced to work for them' Emma explains. 'So you made us work for you?' Magik snaps, shoving Emma up against a nearby wall. 'They were going to kill me, Ms Rasputin. What choice did I have?' Emma asks. 'Not dragging us down with you?' Alex suggests. 'Where's the fun in that?' Emma replies, before Magik raises her sword to Emma's throat and asks if they can kill her now.

Cyclops backs Magik away from Emma as he tells Emma that they lost people, and that they handed mutants over. 'What the hell were you thinking?' he asks. 'I was thinking I could keep you safe, Scott Summers. But you had to go and make a big scene and let the whole world see you. And I was thinking I'd find a way to save us. All of us. Mutants. And I did' Emma replies. 'If this is a trick -' Hope begins, using stolen telepathy to read Emma's mind, as Emma mutters 'Yes, tes, you'll shoot me in the face. Read away, love'. Suddenly, Hope goes wide-eyed and utters 'My God! Emma, show them'. 'As you wish' Emma replies, as she telepathically projects information to Cyclops, Moonstar, Havok, Magik, Madrox, Banshee and Juggernaut.

'Wow... I... did not expect that' Dani remarks, and Cyclops announces that he isn't sure it is a good idea. 'What the hell are we talking about?' Juggernaut asks. 'The game is up, dear. The O*N*E is coming for all of us now. I can't protect you anymore and you can't protect me. We have no other choice' Emma declares. Dani asks if it will work, to which Emma replies 'With your help'. Hope tells Cyclops that they have to try, but Cyclops reminds her thast it isn't his place to say anymore. Magik tells everyone that they all saw the plan, and suggests they vote now. 'All in favor?' she asks. Madrox, Dani, Hope and Alex all raise their hands with Magik, who points out that the ayes have it. 'Excellent' Emma smiles, before declaring that she will need a few things. She points out that the X-Men still have Fabian Cortez in their little headquarters, and that she will need him – and they need to bring back Elixir.

A short moment later, a stepping disc opens up in the secret O*N*E facility, which is littered with motionless soldiers among small blazes that are dotted about. Magik, Cyclops, Banshee, Juggernaut, Hope and Madrox emerge from the stepping disc, as Cyclops tells Magik that he knows she brought them to the right place – so his next question is – what the hell happened here? 'Oh' Scott utters as he looks over and sees Wolverine shoving a O*N*E soldier up against a wall. Logan turns to the X-Men and asks them what they are doing here. 'You need to get out of here right -' Logan begins, before there is a mighty BOOM and a large explosion. When the dust settles, a large Techno-Organic Sentinel looms over everyone. Cyclops tells the X-Men to concentrate all fire on that thing, when suddenly, the Sentinel knocks Banshee out of the air, he drops to the ground – and Banshee looks up as the Sentinel releases some sort of fireblast at Banshee, who screams as he is seemingly killed a fiery blaze. 'BANSHEE!' Magik calls out. 'Get up!' she exclaims as she rushes over to the flames, but someone tells her that Banshee is gone, and they have to go.

A large number of O*N*E soldiers move in and surround the X-Men, with Cyclops telling them that he is sorry, and that it is over. Suddenly, General Callahan appears on a large monitor, welcoming Illyana back to the Office of National Emergency, he suggests she put that sword down, if not for her friends' sakes, then for her own. Callahan remarks that Illyana might not recall, but last time she was here, he had a little device put inside she and her friends, but she ran away before he could use it then. 'But now that you're back in range, I can make the mutant part of you cease to exist' Callahan claims. 'And you think that will make me less dangerous, old man?' Magik responds as she slices the head off a nearby soldier. 'So be it. You still girl' Callahan replies, and an instant later, Illyana drops to the ground, clutching her head, she appears in some pain as an energy courses through her body.

'What the...?' a nearby soldier asks. 'What's happening to her?' another enquires. Cyclops calls Callahan an idiot and tells ihm that Illyana's mutant side was the only thing holding it back – and an instant later, Illyana transforms into the Darkchilde, a hideous demon creature with hooved feet, large horns, red skin and a long flickering tongue. 'OPEN FIRE!' a O*N*E soldier shouts, but too late, as the Darkchilde casts a spell, and the soldiers are all teleported away. 'Code red! Code red! Evacuate the facility!' a voice announces over an intercom, while the Darkchilde approaches the X-Men. Cyclops asks Illyana if she iis still in there, but the creature's response is in a demon language. The Juggernaut then rushes forward, 'Forget this! I'm not waiting for that thing to try to kill me!' he exclaims. Cyclops tells Cain to wait, but it's no use, as the Darkchilde casts another spell, and Juggernaut finds himself held in stasis, unable to move. 'What are you doing?' Cain asks, before screaming as the Darkchilde plunges her hand into the Juggernaut's chest, and pulls the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak from him, reducing Cain Marko to a withered form. 'Cyttorak' the Darkchilde utters, before crushing the gem, and opening a stepping disc which Cain falls through.

Cyclops turns to Madrox and tells him to get hope and Logan out of here while he holds the Darkchilde off as long as he can. Madrox holds Hope, who is under some strain as she announces that she has Magik. 'C'mon, honey. Time to run from the demon that lived inside our friend!' Madrox calls out, as a stepping disc appears. 'What is this, now?' Madrox asks as he, two dupes, Cyclops, Wolverine and Hope begin to vanish. 'I have her powers' Hope explains, and as they disappear completely, the Darkchilde appears to scream.

In Manhattan, 'This is bad. You recognize that, right?' Doctor Nemesis asks as he, a Madrox dupe, Fabian Cortez, Warlox and Dani Moonstar run from a number of O*N*E soldiers. Cortez tells them that if they unchain him, he can fight, too. 'They killed my associates back there' he adds, to which Dani tells him that she prefers to keep it to one problem at a time as she fires a psychic arrow back towards the soldiers following them. 'Self-friends will not be able to lose them as self-friends planned' Warlox remarks. Madrox tells him that they should just hope they can make it to the Hellfire Club and hold them off while Emma does her thing with Cortez here. 'Or not! We got a plan B?' Madrox asks as they find themselves confronted by another large number of soldiers up ahead. Help arrives when Havok appears and blasts the soldiers back with a surge of energy. The mutants run behind some cars as Havok tells them to come on and that reinforcements aren't far behind. He instructs Nemesis to get Cortez inside, as Emma is waiting for them both.

Cyclops appears and tells the others to come with him, and states that Emma confirmred everyone within a mile of this area has been evacuated – so anyone they see now is trying to put them down. 'Nobody gets into that building' he adds, referring to the Hellfire Club. 'Where's everyone else?' Dani asks. Cyclops reports that their mission went sideways, that they couldn't find Elixir. They found Wolverine, but he and Hope are wounded inside. 'What?' Dani snaps. 'Nobody else made it' Scott tells her, while Havok fires another surge of energy at more soldiers. 'When this is over we're going to have some words, Scott' Dani frowns as she, Cyclops, Havok, Warlox, Madrox and Mystique gather in front of the Hellfire Club gates. 'If we're both alive when this is over, you can say anything you want. But they're coming. So for now...hold the line, X-Men!' Cyclops replies.

Moonstar fires a psychic arrow at one of the soldiers, while Madrox attacks another hand-to-hand. Cyclops shoots a soldier with an optic blast, while Havok prepares to release a surge of energy. The fight goes on, when suddenly, Mystique alerts the X-Men to the fact that the O*N*E soldiers have all become frozen. 'Why'd they stop?' she asks. 'What do we do?' Madrox enquires. Curiously, one of the soldiers extends a hand to Havok and asks him if he is all right. 'Lemme help you up' the soldier adds. 'I can get up myself...' Alex replies. 'Of course, Sir. Have a nice day' the soldier responds, before turning and walking away, along with all of the other soldiers. 'Is this it? Did it really work?' Dani asks. 'I don't know...' Alex replies as he turns to her, before a voice calls out 'It did'. It's Emma, who stands on the Hellfire Club steps with Sinister, Nemesis and Cortez. Emma holds a Cerebro helmet in her hand, and the side of her head has been shaved and stitch marks can be seen across her scalp. Emma announces 'They don't recognize us. They can't see what we really are. And they don't remember us'. Emma smiles as she declares that as of right now, the world at large has never even heard of mutants. 'We never existed. You're welcome'.

Characters Involved: 

Banshee, Cyclops, Havok, Hope, Juggernaut, Magik, Moonstar, Multiple Man (all X-Men)



Emma Frost


Mr Sinister

Doctor Nemesis

Fabian Cortez






General Callahan


O*N*E soldiers

Hellfire Club guards


Story Notes: 

This issue has the Legacy numbering of Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #643.

Triage was briefly seen in Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #9, although this issue reveals he did not answer Jean Grey's call.

Hope shot Cyclops' face in Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #15.

Mystique has been impersonating Captain America on several occasions when interacting with the X-Men over the last few issues.

Wolverine encountered Velocidad in the Morlock tunnels in Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #11.

It has never before been established that Magik’s mutant power kept her dark side at bay.

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