“Just what the flamin’ heck d’you think you’re doin’?” Wolverine bursts out as Dazzler, dressed only in a see-through negligee walks into his bedroom. “Isn’t that obvious, baby?” she purrs. He must have sensed it before this. She’s wanted him since the moment she first set eyes on him and she means to have him. She sits down next to him and kisses him before he can protest.
That moment, the other X-Men enter, led by an angry, pink-haired woman. She might have known! she busts out. It’s a good thing she decided to make a “bed-check.” And with Logan yet!
Nothing happened, Wolverine defends himself. But who’s to say it wouldn’t have, “Dazzler” points out, if they hadn’t been so rudely interrupted. Besides, she’s not giving little miss goody-two-shoes a hard time about where she’s spent the night, she shoots back and looks pointedly at Longshot.
Elsewhere, in the X-Men’s Australian Outback complex in the computer room: Rogue joins Storm, asking what she is up to. Storm explains she has been replaying the audio tape with Diamondback and Dazzler’s stories, trying to decide what course of action the X-Men should take. She again listens to Diamondback’s story.
Diamondback relates how recently she rejoined the criminal trade union called the Serpent Society on a trial basis after walking out, following the ouster of their founder Sidewinder. The new leader, the Cobra, had taken on a job from a couple of characters called Ghaur and Llyra to collect certain items of arcane mystic power. The Cobra gave each team of Serpents the location of one of these objects and they were on their way.
Diamondback and her group were to steal a mysterious jeweled Cro-Magnon skull from a scholar of the black arts called Mister Jip. They broke into his headquarters without raising a sweat. It was a trap. They got hit by a sudden burst of mystic energy and then the curtain fell hard.
Diamondback opened her eyes, thinking she must still be asleep, stuck in some lousy nightmare, but no, the monstrous albino being in front of her was her host, the mysterious Mister Jip. He bragged about using his mystic power while she was asleep to find out why they’d broken into his lair. When she asked about her teammates, he simply replied he’d sent them elsewhere. But he’d got other company for her in the meantime.
Diamondback heard a moan and she turned her head around to see herself, her body unconscious and shackled to a cross-shaped gizmo.
But she thinks the Dazzler is busting to open her yap about now, Diamondback finishes her narration.
Dazzler sarcastically thanks her, promising to use small words for Diamondback’s benefit.
Dazzler entered one of Gateway’s teleportational warps intent on heading to Sidney to get supplies. She never made it. She fell unconscious. She woke up shackled to a table looking at herself across the room being held by a weird device.
Mr. Jip explained that it had amused him to involve Dazzler in this affair because she had almost stumbled onto one of his schemes on an earlier occasion. He had used his knowledge of the black arts to switch Dazzler’s mind with Diamondback’s while they slept. He said that, if the Serpent Society succeeded in acquiring the four mystic objects and turned them over to Ghaur and Llyra, it would interfere with one of his plans. The bodyswitch was his way of blackmailing the X-Men into stopping the Serpent guys and collect the objects for him. Only then would he put things back right.
She can’t wait! This body has really fat thighs Diamondback bursts out.
Angrily, Dazzler continues that the “bimbo” and her came to the X-Men’s Outback complex and Psylocke telepathically checked and verified their story
End of Dazzler’s narration.
So what are they going to do? Rogue asks Storm.
Breakfast the next morning. Dazzler flips out again when Diamondback has an overly sweetened cereal and wants even more sugar. When she again bitches about last night, Storm has had enough and orders them to get dressed. They are going after the insane Mr. Jip and force him to restore the women.
Soon they gather around Gateway. Since Diamondback knows where Mr. Jip’s headquarter is, Gateway should have no problem sending them there. Diamondback touches Wolverine’s shoulder and takes a drag from his cigar, leading to another semi-hysterical crisis for Dazzler. Storm orders them to stop arguing. Gateway begins the teleportation process…
…however things do not quite go as planned, as Dazzler and Wolverine find themselves alone in the Savage Land. They find they have a mental image of a small stone idol. Wolverine guesses they are there to find the mystic relic. Just when she thinks things couldn’t get worse, she’s trapped in a prehistoric jungle with Tarzan of the raging hormones! Dazzler bitches. Wolverine tries to calm her. She orders him to unhand her and vows to find the doodad on her own.
She makes her way through the jungle, running into a bunch of pterodactyls. However, before they attack, a saucer flies by and scatters them. One of the Serpent saucers Diamondback talked about, she figures. Dazzler hopes it’s landing nearby and follows it.
A few hours later, she finds it landed next to an excavation site. She tries to sneak up when she is surprised by Puff Adder. Instinctively, she tries to use her light powers, only to recall that she doesn’t have them in this body. She tries to run away but gets zapped by the Asp. Puff Adder remarks she looks like Diamondback (in spite of wearing Dazzler’s costume). Asp orders him to load her into the ship. They can question her in four hours when the effect of her venom bolt wears off.
Some three and a half hours later, Dazzler wakes up tied up in their ship. She has regained consciousness but her muscles are still paralyzed. “Hi kiddo, got a light?” Wolverine asks as he lights a cigar. Bet she wonders how he got here, he leers. It was simple with his “animal” instincts to slip past the bozos outside. He was thinking about rescuing her, but he’s sure she doesn’t want nasty old Wolverine touch her. Isn’t that right? Dazzler’s reply is incoherent but he chooses to interpret it as “all is forgiven,” unties her and carries her outside.
However, outside the ship they are discovered by the three Serpents who already have the idol. Asp orders the other two to get him.
Boomslang, throws dangerous boomerang like weapons at him. Wolverine dodges them and isn’t much bothered by those that hit him. He kicks him in the chest, advising him to get a real power and lose the stupid accent!
Asp throws Puffader the idol, while she attacks Wolverine with her venom bolts.
Wolverine, who is actually badly hit, hides in the jungle and then sneaks up on her from behind, hitting her. That moment, the strong Puffadder grabs him and tries to squeeze him to death.
Luckily, Dazzler’s paralysis has passed. She wonders what to do without her light powers, then hopes that Diamondback’s body retains the sense memories of her abilities and expert marksmanship with thrown objects. She grabs the idol, turns her bandana into a sling and manages to take Puffadder out with an expertly thrown toss to the head.
Dazzler hurries to Wolverine’s side to see if he is okay. Begrudgingly, he admits she took quite a risk. She might have broken the knickknack and then she’d never have been returned to her own body. As he touches the idol, they are suddenly teleported away.
Havok, Colossus and Rogue find themselves in a car junkyard in Lima, Ohio. They too have a distinct image in their heads, of an American Indian totem. Judging by the trail of destruction, they figure the Serpents have arrived before them. At least they left them a definite path to follow, Colossus remarks. Rogue flies ahead until they reach a shopping center. Empty. They figure the locals evacuated. The three split up.
In the clothing department, Colossus is attacked by Anaconda, who takes him into a death grip, intent on crushing his metal frame.
In the grocery section, Havok figures they should at least have switched off the muzak before they left. At least things can’t get any worse, he figures, only to be immediately proven wrong. That moment, he is hit by Black Mamba’s dark force that takes on the form of the one you love most. The dark form appears to him as his lost lover, Lorna Dane, hugging and crushing him.
Rogue flies through the household ware section, figuring she’s always hated snakes. Coachwhip attacks her with her whips that can rend steel.
Elsewhere, Colossus flexes and manages to shake off Anaconda. He hears the sound of digging somewhere close.
In the grocery section, Alex realizes “Polaris” is going to kill him. Why is she doing this? he asks and his tortured mind changes the image to the present malevolent visage of Polaris possessed by Malice, who snarls that she hates him. He tried to kill her!
Now wanting only to escape the grip, Havok blindly unleashes bolts of plasma energy from his hands with immediate results.
Rogue grabs Coachwhip’s whips, swirls her around with them and into the steel girder.
Soon, all three X-Men have gathered around the excavation site and the last Serpent member is quickly persuaded to hand over the totem. The moment Rogue touches it, the three X-Men are teleported away.
Storm, Psylocke, Longshot and Diamondback (in Dazzler’s body) have been sent to Iceland. In their minds, they see the image of a small rock and figure it is the object they have been sent to retrieve. Longshot starts examining all the rocks on the beach one by one. Diamondback wonders how they are supposed to find one specific rock and Storm points out that a serpent ship is landing nearby.
The Serpents wonder about the same problem as Diamondback. Storm shouts that the X-Men claim this area and warns them to leave. Predictably, the Serpents attack. Diamondback plans to KO Black Racer with a throwing diamond, only to find out her new body throws like a girl. Taking to the air, Storm suggests she use Dazzler’s light powers.
Diamondback tries it and blinds Black Racer momentarily, allowing Psylocke to take her out with a psychic bolt. The telepath is unaware that Cottonmouth is behind her, ready to bite her head off.
Storm uses her lightning to scatter Rattler and Bushmaster. When she sees Betsy in danger, she strikes him down with lightning.
Psylocke tells her that she senses Diamondback in danger. Bushmaster attacks Diamondback, demanding why she is wearing his teammate’s uniform. Diamondback dodges his blow, trying to convince him of her identity. Finally, she tells him to kill her if he likes.
Rattler, in the meantime, plans to take out Storm.
While the two do battle, Diamondback reminds Bushmaster how she recently saved his life. He decides to keep out of the battle due to that debt, but calls her a traitor and warns her it is now repaid.
Longshot, in the meantime with his uncanny luck, has found the rock. Rattler tries to dislodge the rocks at Longshot’s feet to bring him and it sliding down. The result is an avalanche that buries Rattler and Longshot. Storm and Psylocke try to dig him free while Diamondback grabs the rock. At that moment, the three of them are teleported away.
All three groups, with the exception of Longshot, arrive in Mr. Jip’s lair. Storm demands they have to return for Longshot but Mr. Jip wants to seal up their transaction first. Dazzler shouts that Longshot’s life comes first. Mr. Jip commends her lack of selfishness. As a show of good faith, he therefore advances his half of the bargain. With a gesture, Diamondback and Dazzler are back in their own bodies. Dazzler asks what the equipment was for earlier. Merely for effect, he tells them and orders them to place the objects on the table with the skull.
As soon as they do, the objects begin to crackle with energy. Rapturous, Jip remarks. It is inconceivable to him that short-sighted cretins like they would trade the glorious thrill of forbidden knowledge and power for one inconsequential human life. Wolverine threatens him with his claws. Jip agrees to one last deal. His life for that of their absent comrade, whom he held in abeyance.
Longshot is teleported to their side and the others greet him enthusiastically as he explains he fell into a bog hole under the rocks. Wolverine and Jip still have a stalemate as suddenly Sidewinder, former leader of the Serpent Society, teleports in. Unsurprised, Diamondback grabs the mystic trinkets.
Sidewinder explains that Ghaur and Llyra hired him first. Sidewinder told them that his group had betrayed him and that they should contact the Cobra instead. Diamondback pretended to rejoin the Society of traitors and cowards to steal the object. At her signal, he tracked her via a surgical implant he had placed in all Society members.
With that, he teleports himself, Diamondback and the trinkets out.
Angrily, Jip tells the mutants to leave and teleports them away. He seethes at his failure. He had hoped to spoil the plans of Ghaur and Llyra and prevent Dagger from becoming the target of the worshippers of Set, as he has his own plans for the unfortunate girl. Storm may have reasons to regret that failure as well, he muses.
The X-Men find themselves back in their Outback headquarters. Rogue wonders why everyone was after the magical objects, while Storm worries that no good will come of them. Dazzler apologizes to Wolverine for not taking him at his word and invites him to a root beer. If that’s what it takes to be pals again, he might even go that far.
Elsewhere, Sidewinder sends the Serpent Society a message that he will send them ten percent commission upon completion of the transaction.
In the Bermuda Triangle, the island Magneto once raised now serves as headquarters to Ghaur and Llyra. Sidewinder and Diamondback hand them the objects and get a chest of sunken coins in payment. They later wonder what they want those objects for.
Llyra remarks the foolish humans trade away the means of their own destruction for a chest of shiny baubles. They hand the objects to the Lemurian alchemists and order them to begin the process. To recreate the Serpent Crown and haste the time of Set’s domination of Earth!
The four X-Ladies, Storm, Dazzler, Rogue / Carol Danvers and Psylocke return from their eventful trip to the Hollywood Mall to their base in the Australian Outback. However, even after they’ve left, the teleportation gate stays open and the girl they rescued from some mutant hunters at the Mall, Jubilee, comes jumping through, almost landing in Gateway’s bonfire.
Sitting down, she greets him with a “hi” only to be followed by where the heck is she? Smart move, she derides herself. Not only is she stuck in the middle of some desert, but it’s with some dude who probably doesn’t even know how to talk, much less English. “Welcome, child,” Gateway greets her with a smile. Instinctively, Jubilee screams and creates some of her sparkling effect fireworks. Bad move, she realizes and quickly runs downs to hide between some rocks.
The X-Men have woken up from the display, figuring something is going on with Gateway’s bonfire. Not that it does much good to ask him, since he doesn’t talk.
Jubilee keeps on hiding, wondering what to do and whether she will freeze or be eaten by wild animals. Gateway gestures at her to follow him and leads her to a crater where she finds the entrance to a tunnel at the bottom. He pushes her down and she lands in part of the underground base, the Reavers’ treasure trove. In fact, she lands on a mountain of gold.
Seeing the treasures, she wonders what kind of people she followed here. She diverts herself from her fears and suspicions by trying on some of the jewelry and admiring herself in a mirror. Suddenly, she believes she hears a noise and turns around, startled. She then chides herself for jumping at shadows.
Jubilee sneaks out and goes exploring the ghost town while the X-Men are playing baseball. She loots the larder. She watches the X-Men play and banter and wonders if she should just walk out and introduce herself. Curiously, when she looks back inside, her bag is no longer on the counter, but by the door. Jubilee he tells herself she just forgot and sneaks back into her cellar room. She examines her hauls, several costume parts she scrounged and tells a snapshot of her parents all about it. Her real parents died on Mulholland Drive. An accident according to the cops. Jubilee doesn’t believe it.
Trying on Rogue’s outfit, she is frustrated by her lack of curves. Finally, she manages a combination she is content with: Cast-off leotard from Dazzler. Tights and boots from Rogue. Gloves from Wolverine, vest from Storm, bag from Longshot, and a pair of sunglasses. As she gets ready to step out, the picture falls and the frame is cracked. She tells herself it meant nothing.
It’s a stormy day and she spends it in the cavern underground with the lake. She swims when, suddenly, tentacles grab her - some kind of robot dog. Instinctively, Jubilee flashes fireworks in its face. The dog lets her go but doesn’t give up. She grabs a baseball bat and slugs him. The dog grabs the bat with its tentacles and bites it apart, then chases her out of the cavern.
The dog attacks her and she falls into another room full of wall to wall screens showing her. Like it’s the dog’s point of view.
Crying, she shouts at it to stop. She surrenders! The dog attacks and Jubilee hits it with her powers, brighter than ever before. This time, though, her sparkles actually do damage and she realizes her powers entail more than just a lightshow.
She grins, feeling like she passed some sort of test. She needn’t be afraid anymore, because she has power herself!
Many millions of years passed since the demon god Set fled the planet Earth for the second time. The Watcher relates how, during that time, he witnessed the origin of beings on the evolutionary borderline between apes and humans. A godlike entity named Sise-Neg created a green haven for two of these creatures from whom, over centuries, an entire tribe descended. And each year, in the course of the tribe’s migration, the leader of the tribe and his mate returned to the garden. Could they have fully grasped the concept, they would have thought the place sacred.
But this year, to their amazement, they discover the garden inhabited by a tribe they had never seen before. A tribe free from the signs of care and hardship that mark the members of their own tribe, as if all their needs and desired were sated.
The strangers’ leader comes forward and the two wanderers hear him speak to them in their minds using concepts beyond the wanderers’ own primitive language. “Welcome to paradise, friends,” the stranger says. “We are the tribe of mighty Set,” he tells them. “And Set wishes you to join us.” He tells them how Set cares for them, feeds them, gives them warmth and keeps them healthy and alive. They will live forever in happiness, he promises. Would they like what to do to join them?
The two wanderers grunted “Yes. How?” Mighty beings are coming from the sky bringing gifts, the stranger says. He tells them to help Set, so he’ll help them. Set wants food. Their tribe would be his food. They are to help kill them, then the couple would not die. And they would have to bring them to the visitors from the sky.
The two wanderers begin to understand what evil is and reject it, hitting the stranger. And the horrified wanderers see the fallen stranger begin to change, reverting to his true, unholy form as one of the dread serpent-men, a race of shape-changers created by Set to prey upon the evolving human race.
Greatly outnumbered, the two wanderers fled, howling for help from the rest of their tribe. The other wanderers come swiftly in response and together they drive the Serpent-Men from the garden.
No sooner is the battle finished than they see the sight the stranger predicted, for descending over them is the colossal starship of the first host of the Celestials. And hovering before the ship is the goddess Gaea, shining like a star, smiling at the amazed tribe and beckoning them forward to accept the gifts of the space gods.
Gammenon the Gatherer scoops the terrified wanderers up in his giant hands and carries them into the vast ship. Enviously, the serpent men approach but Arishem the Judge turns upon them and drives them from the scene.
Within their ship, the Celestials alter the genetic make-up of the wanderers, creating three races of humanity. There are the Eternals, virtual immortals with vast powers, the Deviants whose genetic structure varies wildly. The Celestials let the remaining wanderers evolve naturally into normal humans but give them latent genes that would someday produce superhumans.
At first, the serpent men and other new demonic races terrorize the emerging human race. But humanity grows strong and fights back, finally forcing the remaining Serpent Men into hiding. The legendary king Kull of pre-cataclysmic Atlantis slays most of the last Serpent-Men on Earth. Most but not all…