In a completely different part of the universe, exists the Promethean Galaxy. Within it, behind a wall of fire lies the Source, the beginning and end of everything. Before the wall, float several giants frozen in stasis. Sitting atop one of the giants, two normal-sized beings discuss their surroundings. One of them, sitting in his ornate Mobius Chair, is Metron, the intellectual knowledge-seeker among the New Gods. The other, whose face is obscured by shadows, warns him about the quest he is about to undertake. He reminds Metron of the fate of the Promethean Giants that surround them. They once tried to breach the Wall and, for their ultimate folly, they paid the ultimate price. Yet Metron would follow in their footsteps …
He has learned all there is to learn, Metron explains. One mystery remains: what lies hidden beyond the Wall. Perhaps there are things even gods are not meant to know, the other suggests. Metron asks the dark one not to mock him with false concern. He is only interested in his Psychon-Wave. True, the other admits, while they exchange gadgets. In exchange for the Psychon-Wave, he will give Metron the means to succeed where others have failed. The Omega-Phase-Helmet should enable the Mobius Chair to penetrate the Wall. At least, that’s the theory. His scientists were understandably… reluctant to test it.
He wishes Metron farewell and good luck and watches, as the Chair breaches the wall. A moment later, the Chair floats back – but there is no sign of Metron.
So, they both attain their heart’s desire, he muses. For Metron, the end of a quest and the final answer. For him, the fulfillment of a dream - dominion over the stars!
Elsewhere on Earth, more precisely at Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, the secret Headquarters of the X-Men: In the Control Booth, Professor Xavier observes several of his X-Men honing their various skills and powers in the Danger Room. Despite some taunting from Wolverine, Xavier is satisfied at the end of the exercise, thinking to himself that all three X-Men performed exemplarily. Kitty Pryde, who announces that dinner is ready joins them.
Much later, when everybody is asleep, they receive an unexpected visitor. Armed with Metron’s Psycho-wave, the mysterious being extracts specific memories from all of the X-Men’s minds. Memories of the teammate they loved and lost: Jean Grey, who became Phoenix, saved the universe, was eventually corrupted and destroyed herself.
The last X-Man the intruder visits is Kitty. She, however, awakes only to see red eyes and an evil grin. She phases out of her room and screams in horror waking up the others. Storm comforts her as all of the others note that they seem to have had nightmares. They are interrupted by a knock on the door.
Scott Summers answers it, unprepared by the sight that expects him: Jean Grey – Phoenix - begging him to help her. She moves towards him and disappears, nothing more than a ghost. Scott screams her name in anguish, as his eyes flare.
Elsewhere in New York: Titans Tower, home base of a group of teenage superheroes. This newest incarnation of the team was gathered by Raven, daughter of an Earth woman and an other-dimensional evil demon lord. She is an empath and a healer. In her dreams, her soul self rises only to suddenly be torn apart by a Phoenix raptor. She wakes screaming. First to answer her call is her teammate, Starfire a.k.a. Koriand’r, an alien princess in exile.
Kory takes Raven to the kitchen and tries to calm her friend, as Raven tells her about her vision. She saw Earth transformed into a wasteland, its people stripped of humanity. She explains that sometimes her dreams come true, as she has a random prescient ability. Suppose this was such a vision?
The team’s youngest member, Garfield Logan, the shape-shifting Changeling, joins them. Raven describes the dominant image of her dream. A woman, a goddess, shrouded within a majestic bird of fire. Gar decides to use his powers to give Kory an idea of what the bird looked like, so he changes into a (green) raptor. Shouting the name Phoenix, Starfire rushes to attack him.
A moment later, she apologizes, telling her friend she lost control when she saw the image of the evil one. She tells Raven to pray that it was only a dream, for, if that is their future, the universe may well be doomed. With a starbolt, she activates the Titans red alert, the group’s highest priority signal.
Minutes later, the team’s speedster, Kid Flash, races towards New York, while quickly stopping to disable a gangster’s car on the New Jersey turnpike.
Donna Troy, Wonder Girl, flies towards the Tower, angry that another date with her boyfriend, Terry Long, has been interrupted.
Victor Stone a.k.a. Cyborg, the final member, swings through Manhattan, Spider-man style, passing a ruined broken-down skyscraper on the corner 57th street Madison. He recalls hearing that the building was trashed by the X-Men and wonders if they are really outlaws as the media claim.
Upon his arrival at Titans Tower, Raven’s story is told once more. However, she points out that their leader, Robin, is still missing.
The young detective is busy in his hometown, Gotham City, where a burglary is in progress at STAR Lab’s. Having followed a tip, Robin found out that Intergang was back in business and takes out one criminal in what appears to be an outlandish costume. Robin unmasks the burglar, only to get a shock, for the face beneath the mask seems more demonic than human.
A voice behind him announces that it is a Para-Demon and it works for him. Robin turns around to see one of the Titans’ deadliest foes – the mercenary known as Deathstroke the Terminator. Gifted with supernaturally fast reflexes, Deathstroke takes out the young Titan and walks away. Unconscious, Robin doesn’t hear the Titans alert.
The X-Men, in the meantime, find themselves paying a visit to Jean’s parents, who tell them that they’d been awaked by strange dreams when they’d heard a noise in the living room. John Grey went to investigate and saw Jean, who asked him to help her before disappearing. The same thing that happened to Scott. The Greys ask for an explanation. The X-Men had told them Jean was dead. Is she or isn’t she? Cyclops tells them that Jean was disintegrated before his eyes. As he understands it, that’s death. But, as Phoenix, Jean had tapped into a primal universal force, wielding virtually infinite power. Can such a being truly die? He doesn’t know. But something is happening. The nightmares, the apparition… The Greys don’t care about that. They only want to know about their child.
They’re interrupted by a psychic projection of Xavier’s. He informs them that he has used Cerebro but has found no trace of Jean. He has, however, found something. Throughout the evening, mysterious incidents have occurred, beginning at Kennedy Airport, the North Atlantic, Sullivan County, Texas, Antarctica and Edinburgh. The timing of these events coincides with the Phoenix apparitions. More importantly, these are places where Phoenix manifested her powers. They should be able to anticipate the next event and be there. Wolverine agrees, noting how ragged Xavier looks. Xavier politely brushes him off and tells them to take care.
In the meantime, the Titans have found their unconscious leader in a back alley. The empathic Raven does her best to heal Robin and, soon, Robin tells them that he was ambushed by the Terminator. How did they know he was in trouble anyway? They didn’t, Cyborg replies, but when he didn’t respond to the red alert they came looking for him. Starfire joins them, announcing that there’s no sign of “the evil one.” The other Titans now finally want to know why Kory called them together.
Starfire reminds that she is from the planet Tamaran and that she’d been given to her world’s enemies, the Citadel, as a hostage to save her homeworld from destruction. She was being transported on a Gordanian warship when she learned of Phoenix. All major starfaring races were contacted by Empress Lilandra of the Shi’ar. Lilandra told them of an Earth woman who had once saved the universe and now might very well destroy it. The people on the ship watched in horror as they saw how Phoenix caused the star D’bari to go supernova and then destroyed a Shi’ar battle cruiser that sought to stop her. Lilandra pledged to end that threat and, soon after, reported that Phoenix was dead. Raven’s dream seems to indicate otherwise. The Chaosbringer must be found and destroyed, Starfire grimly states.
Cosmic menaces are a little out of their league, Robin states. How about asking the Justice League or the Avengers… Changeling also protests that they should do something about the Terminator. Recently, he almost killed Gar. Starfire reminds him that he is still alive; the people of D’bari are not. She asks her teammates for help. If they refuse, she’ll proceed on her own. Robin promises that they’ll try to find Phoenix. If they can’t, they’ll tackle the Terminator. Starfire thanks him with a passionate kiss. Out of breath, Robin announces that a woman named Phoenix used to be affiliated with the X-Men. A slim lead, but better than nothing.
In an electronic shop, a TV is running and a news anchorman announces that a Frost Industries research facility in Chicago has been leveled by explosions…
Elsewhere, in a giant complex, several workers are laboring towards an unknown goal. They are doing what they are told and only one person wonders what it is all about: Slade Wilson a.k.a. Deathstroke the Terminator, the most expensive mercenary in the world. A whip strikes at him out of nowhere, destroying the glass of champagne he was holding. With inhumanly fast reflects, Slade throws a few Shuriken at the attacker, destroying the whip. He follows up by drawing his sword and holding it to the attacker’s throat. The Para-Demon named Ravok nervously tells him that he was merely trying to test his mettle. Now he knows, Deathstroke replies. Too bad it’s the last lesson he’ll ever learn.
They are joined by their mystery employer and Ravok complains over Deathstroke’s behavior. What do they need humans for anyway? His leader tells him Deathstroke is here because he wishes him to be here and warns both of them not to push their luck. He orders Deathstroke to take his cadre to the final siphon point. Ravok’s object is the X-Men. He wants them alive an unharmed.
At the X-Mansion, within the hour, an exhausted Xavier has fallen asleep again but, this times, he remains on guard and awakes when he telepathically notices something. Too late, as Starfire crashes through the wall, threatening him. Instinctively, Xavier attacks her with a psibolt. Getting a good look at the stunned woman, he thinks that, at first, he mistook her for Jean but she is just a child. Why did she attack him? Suddenly, he is being attacked by ultra high frequency sonics inhibiting his concentration, courtesy of one of Cyborg’s gadgets, and then Xavier finds himself embraced by Raven’s soul self and unable to fight it. Kid Flash joins them, announcing that the mansion’s empty.
Robin angrily reminds the others that they just committed several crimes, such as breaking and entering, criminal trespass, vandalism, assault and possibly attempted murder. Being a Titan doesn’t give them any special status. He goes on to lecture Kory that she can’t simply attack people in their homes. Raven adds that she senses no evil in the unconscious Xavier. Only a deep abiding sadness, same as in the entire house. Could they have made a mistake? Starfire protests. Phoenix was an X-Man and Robin traced the X-Men to this place.
Suddenly, they hear a boom sound and a cadre of Para-Demons appear, attacking them and clearly mistaking them for the X-Men. Thanks to their superior technology, Ravok’s troops beat the Titans and take their prisoners with them through the Boom Tube. In the confusion, however, they missed Changeling. The shapeshifter quickly decides to mimic their forms as well as he can (being green) and jumps after the demons.
On a certain remote butte stands a huge device meant to siphon off any trace of residual Phoenix power. The Terminator oversees the procedure, wondering just what the boss intends to do with all that power. Not that he truly cares, as long as he’ll remember his friends – namely him – afterwards. Somebody taps him on the shoulder, asking for a light. Instead of being surprised, the Terminator attacks Wolverine and misses. Wolverine doesn’t. In the meantime, the other X-Men attack the Para-Demons and the device. Wolverine, however, hasn’t made sure that Terminator is down for the count and the mercenary shoots Storm. The Para-Demons rally and eventually win. Only Colossus is left standing and not for long, as the Terminator finishes him off as well. Terminator decides that they won’t rebuild the Psi-phon, as they are behind schedule anyway. Considering who their prisoners are, the boss won’t mind.
The Wall beyond the Promethean Galaxy, the beginning and end of all things, where they mysterious Source can be found. That ultimate barrier has now been breached and raw energy rips through the ether randomly, awaiting some use. On a floating rock nearby, Ravok announces that the X-Men are captured. His master is not amused. True, Ravok has captured the X-Men’s leader but those others are unknown to him. Ravok defends himself but, at this moment, the Terminator teleports in with the real X-Men as prisoners. Terminator quickly relays what has happened and that they weren’t able to siphon off that last energy. A loss that is regrettable but not critical, the master decides. However, he suddenly notices a green Para-Demon. Terminator quickly attacks him, revealing the Changeling. The stonefaced leader informs Ravok that he has had enough of his stupidity and unleashes the Omega Effect, eyebeams that completely erase Ravok from existence.
Some time later, the X-Men awake to find themselves strapped to a huge platform up in the air, all forming parts of a device. Kitty Pryde finds that she cannot phase through her shackles. Frozen valences, the villain gloats. There are no spaces between the atoms of her manacles for those of her body to squeeze through.
He gives the sign to begin and the Psychon-wave is activated. Nimbi of fire envelop the captive mutants, as Metron’s device reaches into the core of their beings and drains them once more of their memories of their fallen comrade. Those emotions tapped earlier at the X-Mansion pointed the way to areas where Phoenix had manifested that power. The Psiphons absorbed that residual energy. Finally, the Psychon-wave amplifies those elements to a near infinite degree and combines them with the raw primal energy unleashed through the breached wall. Light flares, a shape forms and finally a voice asks who dares?!? Who summons Dark Phoenix? I… Darkseid! the evil New God replies, as he reaches for Dark Phoenix’s hand and she, ignoring Cyclops’ protest cry, takes it.
Changeling of the captive Titans asks what this is all about and Darkseid goes into exposition mode, telling him that this is about a war between gods. He is lord of Apokolips, home of the evil gods and eternal enemy to their twin world, New Genesis, ruled by the lords of light. Darkseid wishes to create a second Apokolips from the ashes of Earth. Before dawn, Apokolips pits – vast seething chasms filled with molten magma from the planetary core - will appear one every continent. Civilization will end. Then he’ll send his dog soldiers and Para-Demons to crush what resistance remains. Those humans lucky and brutal enough to survive will form the nucleus of the new servitor race. When he is done, a new Apokolips will grace the heavens. From there, Darkseid will extend his domain first to New Genesis, then to all realms of existence.
Cyborg curses him, wishing he were free. Phoenix gloats that he should be thankful that he is not and states that she once destroyed an entire star system. Darkseid reminds her that they have business elsewhere and they step though an appearing boom tube and are gone, followed by Darkseid’s troops.
With them gone, the heroes find that the shackles have vanished as well and they are free to act. The Titans are joined by the X-Men and, after introductions, they decide to work together. Wolverine, who’s not overly happy to work with teenagers, points out that the air is getting thinner. Using one of his gadgets, Cyborg agrees stating that they are losing atmosphere and they’ve got about an hour left. However, his radar scan shows something moving in the vicinity and it seems to be a functioning mechanism. Xavier wonders that he receives a telepathic beacon from the artifact as well. Working together, the heroes manage to move the asteroid next to the object, which, as it turns out, is Metron’s Chair. Disappointed, the heroes discuss their next move, while the teams’ youngest members, Kitty and Garfield, start chatting. Watching the others, they sit down on the Chair and Kitty comments that she wishes she were home. The next moment the Chair disappears with them only to reappear a moment later. All she did was wish, Kitty stutters.
A whispered conference between Kitty and Gar later and they present their solution to fitting them all onto the Chair. Gar turns into a huge dragon that holds the Chair, while the others can hold onto him.
Colossus finds himself bothered by pangs of jealousy. He’d thought that “Lockheed the Dragon” was Kitty and his special character… their secret. Kitty seems rather attracted to Changeling. Speaking out loud in Russian, he chides himself for being a fool. Starfire is entranced. A new language for her to learn, she exclaims, as she kisses the surprised Colossus. Fräulein, sprechen Sie Deutsch? Nightcrawler asks hopefully. While a pissed Kitty turns her back to the situation, Robin explains to the others that Starfire’s species absorbs languages through physical contact. Sometimes, she gets carried away. The sooner they all get carried away, Xavier jokes, the better.
The X-Men and Titans all find a place on Gar’s back or his limbs and Cyclops silently vows revenge on Darkseid: Jean’s earned hr peace. He had no right to resurrect her or violate the X-Men in the process. A moment later, they teleport away, only to appear almost instantaneously in the sky over New York.
Xavier tells them to head uptown. He senses Phoenix’s unique psionic matrix there. As she believes them to be dead, she isn’t bothering to hide herself. Gar flies them towards Central Park, where the New York Philharmonic is giving a free open air concert. The Park is packed with over a half-million people.
Overhead, Starfire notices Wolverine’s smile and asks him what’ so funny. He tells her that he’s a scrapper and enjoys a good fight. This looks to be one of the best. He doesn’t mind dying, as long as he gets a fair shot at Darkseid.
Raven announces that se senses the empathic void that comprises Darkseid beneath them. But how dare they attack with all the innocents in the park? They have no alternative, the Professor decides and, once again, the Mobius Chair teleports them away. The next moment, they find themselves in tunnel system under the ground full of pits of molten rocks. Wolverine doesn’t’ smell anything but Xavier informs them that he can hear the villains’ thoughts. None of them are nearby.
Robin and Cyclops start planning. Robin spells out that they are no match for Darkseid and Phoenix but they require a mechanism. If the two teams can destroy it, that should buy enough time to summon every superhero on Earth. Storm, in the meantime, struggles with her claustrophobia and Wolverine and Changeling try to find the villains’ scent. Wolverine tells the chattering boy to hush up; they are close by. ‘That you are, runt,’ a voice agrees, as an energy blast, courtesy of the Terminator, comes seemingly out of nowhere and stuns him. Deathstroke’s cadre of Para-Demons attacks the next moment, for all the good it does them. Robin and Cyclops decide they can’t stay there. Cyclops order the Professor to phase shift the Mobius Chair out of there and asks Cyborg to clear them some room, courtesy of his white-sound generator. Cyclops then blasts them an escape route to the lower levels and Storm uses her weather powers to cause an avalanche, cutting off their enemies. All but one, as the Terminator escapes and decides to alert ‘the big guys’.
The two hero teams, in the meantime, have arrived. Below them is a huge cavern filled with techno toys and Dark Phoenix wryly comments that they have visitors. Darkseid wonders how they managed to survive, much less return to Earth. Terminator joins them at that moment and Darkseid orders him to keep their guests… amused, until his work is done.
Wolverine attack Terminator with his claws but the merc easily evades that strike. Starfire aims her starbolts at Dark Phoenix, claiming vengeance for the people of D’Bari. For all the good it does her, as Phoenix mockingly states that stellar energy actually makes her stronger. She physically attacks Starfire and knocks her out. Nightcrawler teleports on top of Phoenix, begging her to remember who she is and to stop this. Phoenix coldly replies that she knows exactly who and what she is and it is not Jean Grey. Raven embraces Phoenix with her soul self, announcing that she has never beheld so evil a creature. Phoenix merely mocks and Raven finds that her soul self is not strong enough to hold the angry goddess. Phoenix taunts that Raven is tainted by an evil that rivals her own. They are too much alike and could almost be sisters, she adds. Raven cries out in denial at this revelation.
Darkseid orders Dark Phoenix to end this. The moment is at hand for her to strike. The Phoenix raptor around her, Dark Phoenix let loose an energy blast and a hell pit is born.
Darkseid turns to the heroes and taunts them with an explanation that their world is doomed. In minutes, the Phoenix bolt will strike Earth’ core, causing an irreversible transformation. The borehole will immediately expand, swallowing New York. Simultaneously, other hell pits will radiate outwards to emerge on every continent. The heroes’ cause is lost, he announces, offering them a chance to give up and serve him.
However, inside the machine, Kitty, phasing through the circuitry, and Gar, in the shape of a rat, are doing their best to sabotage the machines.
Nearby, Xavier’s Mobius Chair appears at the side of the ailing Raven. Xavier urges the empath that Phoenix is the key. According to his mind scan, Darkseid failed to gather all of her residual energy. She is a flawed vessel and can be beaten but Raven’s help is necessary. Raven moans that she cannot. Phoenix touched a resonant chord in her, the part of her that is bound to her demonic father, Trigon. She could not remove Phoenix’s evil; instead, she almost became evil herself. Then they will all die, Xavier announces sternly.
Elsewhere, Phoenix comments that the still-struggling heroes don’t seem to be interested in surrendering. Darkseid tells her to do what she wishes to them, while he deals with these minor distraction. He refers to Kitty and Gar, who are tossed from the machinery. Darkseid tells them that they will share the other’s fate and Kitty shouts for help.
Dark Phoenix announces that they won’t be able to help Kitty anymore than they can help themselves. She intends to press her attack but it is countered by the empathic attack of Raven, bolstered and heightened by Xavier’s own PSI-powers. Raven drains Phoenix of rage, hatred and lust and fills that emotional void with the love felt by Xavier and all the X-Men for Jean Grey. Phoenix’s reaction is shriek torn from her very soul.
It doesn't go unheard by Darkseid. Robin uses the distraction to carry the two youngsters away from the villain. Wolverine and the Terminator are still fighting and Cyclops joins the fray at the same time, worrying what Charles is doing to Phoenix. He knows that she is Darkseid’s creation, not Jean, yet he feels her pain, as he would Jean’s.
The PSI-war rages on until Phoenix starts feeling discorporation nearing. Only her insatiable desire for survival at any cost gave her the concentration necessary to stay on his plane of existence. Once that concentration was shaken, her very essence began to unravel. Robin gets an idea and suggests to Phoenix that she needs power to sustain herself. So why doesn’t she absorb the Phoenix-bolt she shot into Earth back? Darkseid protests but the heroes concentrate their attack on him, while Dark Phoenix does just that and reabsorbs the power, thus sealing the hell pit. Moment later, she triumphantly announces that she has been restored and goads the heroes to face her if they dare. However, she finds that it wasn’t enough. She is still fading and moans that she doesn’want to die. Darkseid shouts that there is a way for her to preserve both power and life. She needs a physical form through which her energies can be focused. Phoenix agrees and Cyclops, guessing what’s coming, orders the others to get away from him. As he guessed, Phoenix chooses him and becomes one with him.
The next moment, the Phoenix symbol appears on Cyclops’ chest and an internal struggle begins. Having taken over Scott, Phoenix relives his memories, of his love for Jean. Memories that remind her of her true self. She realizes that to deny this would mean denying her true self, but to accept is her doom. It would have been better to remain dead than be given this brief taste of life, only to have it snatched away. Cyclops/Phoenix screams. Snatching away the visor, s/he turns to Darkseid and lets loose an optic blast which carries a red Phoenix raptor. An explosion follows and both Phoenix and Darkseid are gone.
In the park above, the concert reaches its finale; its eagerly awaited climax. The fireworks start and, at its crescendo, the Phoenix raptor appears, carrying Darkseid in its claws. For the audience, it is no more than a spectacular show. For Phoenix, it is a desperate race for her life, as she breaches the unimaginable distance from Earth to the Wall. A race she knows is in vain, as she enters the Source, from whence her life energy springs.
In New York, the audience is leaving and the heroes discuss their victory. Nightcrawler talks philosophy, Wolverine wants a beer and Storm asks Cyclops what he’s thinking. Both of them wish there had been another way. Ororo mentions that one thing puzzles her. If Phoenix had no conscious existence before Darseid recreated her, then who was the apparition that warned the X-Men and the Greys?
The Source wall.
The Mobius Chair appears and its original owner, Metron, comes to reclaim it. He announces that the Wall is sealed and the balance restored. All is as it was, with one exception. He thanks his ‘old friend’ for revealing the answer to yet another mystery of the Source. Farewell, he announces to Darkseid, now just one more face on the Source Wall, like all the other Promethean giants.