X-Factor (1st series) #44

Issue Date: 
September 1989
Story Title: 
Judgment War, part 2: Another World!

Louise Simonson (writer), Paul Smith (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Tom Vincent (colorist), Joe Rosen (letterer), Daryl Edelman (assistant editor), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

The Celestial lands on Cyclops - who makes a valiant effort to blast away the ground underneath him for safety, while his teammates in X-Factor have all been separated - the Beast has linked up with one faction of the Rejects, and befriended their leader, Zharkah, while the unconscious Marvel Girl is hostage of another tribe of Rejects. The Beast arrives at the Reject’s city, learns the story of Vlon and meets Zhakrah’s infant child, while it is revealed that the husband of Zharkah’s pregnant friend, Wilghe, has been killed. The Beast examines his surroundings, and takes in as much as he can about this new civilization. Archangel meanwhile is the prisoner of the Chosen, who believe he is a Reject, and plan to use him in the Arena. Archangel breaks free of his restraints, but is taken down by Lord Rask, who is unaware that the Princess Seera is developing feelings for her rescuer. Seera and her robotic companion, ZZ-105, discuss the situation, and come across the dualer, Lev, who is with another apparent dualer - who is actually Iceman, now unconscious. Seera and Lev argue for some time. Cyclops pulls himself from the ground once the Celestial has gone, and meets a mysterious man, who reveals that he saw the whole thing. Cyclops is keen to find his son and teammates, but his newfound ally has other plans. Seera contemplates how children are created in laboratory’s of the Chosen, but she is aware of other stories. The arrival of a soldier carrying a baby - who is actually Christopher Summers - that he found on the battle field, pleases Seera, who exchanges countless mood altering drugs for the baby, and uses her powers on the soldier to mind-wipe him of the baby’s existence. Seera knows that she will have her work cut out for her hiding the baby however. Back in the Reject’s village, the Beast explains that he is from another world and had companions. When he describes Marvel Girl, Zharkah realizes that she could be the captive of the other clan, but says nothing to the Beast. Above the planet, the Celestial forces Ship, its captive, to replay everything he has been through since his construction, only to have doubts about his past. Finally, Cyclops and his companion, a Beginagain, arrive at the hidden home of the Beginagains, a group of beings neither Chosen or Reject, who believe that their planet’s saviors were to come from the stars, and explain that the Celestials have been to this planet on occasion, and judged it - but fear that they are now here to destroy it.

Full Summary: 

‘Where am I? Transported here…fell in battle…I remember…but, what now?’ Scott “Cyclops” Summers, leader of the mutant heroes X-Factor thinks to himself as he desperately uses his optic blasts to against the massive foot which is about to step on him - the foot of a space god! Scott wonders where the others are - and calls out to them: ‘Jean! Angel! Iceman! Beast!’ he shouts, but he gets no response. Realizing his optic blasts do not faze the giant, Scott turns his optic blasts downwards, realizing that it is the only option left and that he better take it while he can. As the ground breaks beneath him, Scott hopes that the others got away, and that they saved his son. Moments later, there is silence, as the massive feet of the space god finally set down.

The armored giant is a sinister shape, towering over the plain, half hidden in the dust, kicked up by his landing. The group of beings known as the Rejects begin to flee from the space god in terror, taking the unconscious Jean “Marvel Girl” Grey with them, and Dr. Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast willingly accompanies them. As Rejects run about in chaos around him, Beast calls out to the one-eyed female leader of the Rejects called Zharkah, and informs her that the noise they can hear is the sound of his friend Cyclops’s optic blasts. ‘He’s back there somewhere!’ Hank exclaims.

‘Then he is alive and safe. Do not stop, Beast or you will be trampled…even by your friends’ Zharkah tells him, explaining that they flee in blind terror before the space god. Zharkah remarks that she knows all the nearby families, but that she does not recognize him. ‘Where are you from?’ she asks. ‘Where, indeed?’ Hank tells himself as he and the other Rejects run along a massive wooden bridge that link two pieces of land. Hank wonders how to tell Zharkah that he and his friends were snatched here from another world by one of those very space gods. ‘How can I expect her to believe -?’ he wonders, before informing her that he and his friends are strangers who have travelled here from very far away. ‘We know nothing about those gods…or the cause of that fierce battle’ Hank declares.

‘You fought those accursed Chosen well, for a Reject who knew not why he was fighting…’ Zharkah remarks, before explaining that the Chosen came, this time, in a well-armed raiding party, large and easily spotted by the Rejects’ sentries. ‘For all the Chosen’s self-proclaimed superiority, they lack subtlety, do they not?’ Zharkah adds, explaining that she and the Rejects attacked them before the Chosen could cross the bridge into the Rejects’ territory, and further their vow to expunge the Rejects from the face of their world. ‘And the giant…the space god…whose appearance ended the battle? He’s not on your side?’ Hank asks. ‘May you be kissed by mother-moon, no! I wish he were!’ Zharkah exclaims, before revealing that the space gods simply appeared about their world one day, and no one knows why they have come. ‘Surely you remember that?’ she asks.

‘No? Then you must have been mind-injured during the battle…for only that could force you to forget those creatures!’ Zharkah remarks, explaining that such injuries happen when telepaths and jammers are involved in battles . ‘If you crossed one of them, my friend, you’re lucky that all you lost were pieces of your memory!’ Zharkah adds that there is a saying: “When memories are a pool of blood, we are better off without them”. Hank notices something smelling, and asks what the stench is. ‘Below…where we dump our refuse’ Zharkah explains, where pits of rubbish are nearby.

As the Rejects climb wiring nettings up onto platforms, Zharkah explains that they live on the peaks, and motions to the pinnacle, where old Vlon is awaiting their return. Hank sees the huge, bizarre looking Vlon, sitting motionless, as Zharkah reveals that Vlon was their strongest telekinetic when he was caught in jammer crossfire. ‘He lost much more than memories, Now he sits up there all day. Staring into space…and playing with that little doll’. Landing on one of the peaks, a female Reject hands Zharkah an infant, who exclaims ‘Momma!’. Zharkah smiles at the sight of her child as she takes him in her arms, remarking that he looks like her in appearance, adding that he is bred near true, though they will need to wait until he is a bit older to see what power he will develop.

‘Zheops! No!’ screams another female as the body of her loved one is laid before her. ‘Dead! Slain!’ she exclaims. ‘When I am fit again for battle, I swear I to you that I will make them pay…a hundredfold will they pay me for your loss!’ declares Wilghe, kneeling beside Zheop’s body. Zharkah tells her friend that the safe delivery of Zheop’s babe will be the best revenge. Zharkah informs the Beast that there is food on the peak, and suggests he get some. She tells the Beast that when the wounded are healed and the dead prepared for burial, they will talk some more, and discuss how best to unite him with his friends. Zharkah leads Wilghe away, and Hank makes his way to the food.

Crossing a bridge by walking along the rope railings, Hank looks out at more towering sky scrapers, several of which shine with light. He wonders if that is where the Chosen live, and decides that if they do, the Chosen are technologically superior to the Rejects, if not superior in personal powers. ‘Everyone on this world is apparently a mutant…Zharkah spoke of her babe developing as if it were a natural progression…like teething’. Beast accepts a drink from one of the Rejects and thinks to himself that he still is not entirely certain what the fighting was about, and notes that the Chosen are apparently human in the form, while the Rejects are monsters by human standards. ‘Apparently they sort themselves out by physiology, not too different than on Earth’ Hank remarks, joking that it figures he would land among the Rejects, while wondering how Archangel would fare, as he is physically as handsome as ever, unless you count the blue skin and racing stripes - not to mention the razor-sharp wings!

At that moment, Archangel is strung up in some sort of casing, with his wings sealed in, while Lord Rask, Princess Seera and Lord Palik, a short green-skinned man with a large head, stand before him. ‘The Reject who stands before you, most perfect, trapped like a bug in amber…dared touch the perfect Seera, despite our strict taboos!’ Lord Rask tells Lord Palik. Suddenly, Warren “Archangel” Worthing III shouts that he knows nothing about their taboos and nor does he care. ‘I touched your perfect Princess, yes - and saved her from an attack that would have surely meant her death!’

‘So he keeps saying, most perfect’ Rask tells Palik, who agrees that Archangel did save Seera. ‘It was for her own lewd purposes, I’ve heard tales…’ he begins, until Rask interrupts, telling Palik that those things are not fit for the perfect Seera’s ears. ‘He says that he‘s called Archangel and that he’s from another world!’ Rask adds, remarking that he is quite mad, even for one of the Rejects, and very dangerous. Rask informs Palik that he has scheduled Archangel fro the Arena, and that the betting exceeds all records. ‘If he wins, Palik, I will be the richest man in Chosendom’ Rask reveals.

Suddenly, Archangel bursts through his casings, ‘Plastic shackles can’t hold me, scum!’ he shouts, before unleashing several of his deadly razor-sharp wings. ‘Lord Palik! Seera! Get back!’ Rask tells the others, explaining the obvious - that Archangel’s wing feathers can be thrown and that they are sharp as knives with a neural disruptor. Warren flies through the chamber in one of the Chosen’s labs, shouting that he arrived here with friends - a woman, three men and a baby. ‘What have you done with them? Tell me or -’ Warren doesn’t get to finish his sentence as Rask blasts him with an energy power.

‘Magnificent!’ exclaims Seera. ‘Indeed, he was, my dear Seera. Rask’s quick reaction saved us all’ Palik points out. Rask kneels before Palik and asks him to forgive him for that ill-mannered display of power. Palik tells Rask that there is no need to apologize, as it happens to the best of them under provocation. ‘And really, Rask, it was a battle situation, was it not? The Reject did try to kill us!’ Palik adds. ‘Did he?’ Seera asks, before announcing that she is going to her room, as all the excitement has left her feeling faint.

Seera enters a corridor, accompanied by a small robot, who declares ‘I heard you back there’. ‘Heard what, ZZ-105?’ Seera asks. ‘That exclamation, “magnificent”, was not mean for Rask!’ ZZ-105 replies. ‘Perceptive…for a robot’ Seera replies, before telling ZZ-105 that Rask disgusts her, always strutting around and bragging. ‘He wants to form a union, you know, but he cares nothing for me!’ Seera reveals, telling her companion that it is only because she is physically perfect, and therefore in line to rule. ‘And he wants to rule through me’.

‘Rask thinks it would be easy. Would it, I wonder?’ Seera thinks to herself, recalling that she did freeze in battle, just like Rask said she would. ‘And it was Archangel who saved me. That rankles Rask. I’m glad’ she tells herself, while certain that the Angel meant me no harm. ‘I’ve heard the Chosen…gossiping behind their hands. They think his touch defiled me. And Rask says he has to die’. Seera admits that her telepathic powers are weak, but knows if she were allowed to practice, she could become a jammer. ‘I’d like to practice on Rask. I’d gladly turn his brain to jelly’ Seera thinks to herself, before telling ZZ-105 that Archangel was magnificent. ‘Did you not truly think so?’ she asks the robot. ‘Can a creature like that really be a Reject?’

Seera tells ZZ-105 that Archangel says he is from the heavens and that others came with him. ‘Can that be true? Five strangers…from another world…just like in the stories of olden times you told me when I was a child’ Seera tells her companion. ‘Back when men and women did not live apart!’ Seera adds. ZZ-105 tells Seera that she should not remember that: ‘You should not believe…it was a defective program…I should not have told you’ ZZ-105 tells the pink-haired Princess, adding that they were just fantasies, magic tales of impossible events to quiet her restless nights. ‘That’s not what you told me then, ZeeZee…’ Seera replies.

Suddenly, another robot speeds down the corridor, ‘I’m late! I’m late!’ it exclaims as it speeds past Seera, ‘Hey!’ the Princess yells at it. The robot begs her pardon, explaining that it is bringing the scientist a special probe to examine the stranger. The robot enters a lab, exclaiming that he must hurry for the scientist has already threatened him with repairs. ‘Another stranger…?’ Seera thinks to herself as she approaches the lab, and looks in, where she sees the scientist standing over the other stranger - who, unbeknownst to her, is Bobby “Iceman” Drake.

The scientist remarks that, despite an exterior similar to the Chosen, there are subtle internal differences. ‘He may not be one of the Chosen. Certainly, I find no record of him in my files’ he reveals. ‘Then he is a Reject?’ asks the young female Chosen known as Lev. ‘Possible, fool, but unlikely. Does he look to you like a Reject?’ the scientist asks. Lev replies that he did when she first saw him. ‘He has a second form which mars his perfection - an ice form!’ Lev exclaims, revealing that during the battle, she thought that he was a Reject, and she bested him - fire over ice.

The scientist wonders if perhaps he is the creation of one of the outposts - the result of some experiment. ‘They keep such terrible records!’ he mutters, to which Lev mumbles that she thought she had captured a good Arena specimen. ‘You’re sure he’s not a Reject? I’d love to match him against Rask’s Archangel!’ Lev exclaims, which is when the Princess makes her presence known: ‘Then you would lose!’ she boasts. ‘Would I?’ Lev asks, before telling the Princess that she shouldn’t be here, where their imperfection might contaminate her.

‘I can be wherever I choose’ Seera snaps back, to which the scientist tells her that indeed she can. ‘You brightened my laboratory!’ he tells her. ‘Perfect in form, but less than perfect in battle…or so I’ve heard!’ Lev snaps. ‘And for all your battle skill, Lev, you did no more than snare one of our own!’ the Princess retorts. ‘Perhaps’ Lev replies, before asking how Rask’s captive is. ‘Is it true he actually touched you?’ Lev asks, before remarking that she hears the betting against him is brisk. ‘So Rask says. But I’m betting on the Archangel’ Seera reveals. The Princess turns to the handsome Bobby Drake, and remarks that he is indeed handsome, and that it is a shame he has a second, monstrous form. ‘Like you, Lev, he could almost have been on of the perfect’ Seera declares.

Suddenly, Bobby rouses, ‘He’s awake. Finally. Now we’ll get some answers!’. ‘Where am I?’ Bobby asks, rubbing his head as he sits up on the table. ‘Who are you?’ a wide-eyed Bobby asks the Princess. ‘More to the point…who are you?’ Seera asks. ‘Where do you come from?’ she demands. ‘I…’ Bobby’s voice trails off. ‘I…I don’t know!’ Bobby exclaims. ‘I can’t remember!’ he declares when the scientist asks him what brought him here. ‘Why can’t I remember?’ Bobby shouts, confused, he shoves the Princess aside, knocking her into ZZ-105. ‘Stop that!’ the scientist orders, before clamping a device onto either side of Bobby’s head, stopping him in his tracks.

‘He tried to touch you, perfect one!’ the scientist tells Seera. ‘His lack of manners shames us all!’ he adds, while Seera tells the scientist not to punish him, as he doesn’t know who he is, or what he is doing. ‘Magnanimous as well as perfect, it is to our credit that we made you’ the scientist tells Seera, while remarking that the Reject must have been caught in a jammer backlash. ‘In time, doubtless, his memories will return’ the scientist assures Lev, before remarking that they will search the records and try to find out who he is. ‘Until the, Lev, since you downed him, you will be responsible for his re-orientation and good behavior’ the scientist informs her. Lev just smiles.

Meanwhile, leagues away, a giant footprint marks the space god’s passing…not even the impertinent breeze dares ruffle the dust - and the massive print remains inviolable, until, suddenly, a massive burst of energy breaks through the ground, shooting rubble upwards, and moments later, Scott “Cyclops” Summers, the optically powered leader of X-Factor emerges. ‘Barely had time to blast a depression before it landed’ Scott thinks to himself. ‘I was afraid he’d never leave…and that hole would be my grave!’ Suddenly, a voice calls out: ‘You are unharmed, then?’

Scott turns to the ledge and sees someone standing on it. ‘I…think so. Who -?’ Cyclops calls back. The mysterious stranger explains that he felt Scott alive down there, and assures him that if he didn’t escape on his own, he would have dug him out. ‘But, of course, I had to wait till it passed far away’ he adds, before telling Scott that he found a clever way to avoid certain doom. The mysterious stranger proceeds to ask Scott if he is a Reject or one of the Chosen. ‘Neither. I’m not from around here. I was…transported to this place from…a world far away’ Scott exclaims as he walks over to where the stranger stands.

‘An odd claim. Certainly your brain frequency is bizarre. Even I can hardly scan you…’ the stranger remarks, adding that he is the most powerful interceptive telepath left on this peace-forsaken planet. ‘Not gods-forsaken, however. We have too many gods, like that giant who nearly crushed you. And now you claim you have been called here from another planet. If true, that is good news indeed’ the stranger remarks as he pulls Scott up out of the massive footprint by lowering his staff for Scott to grab. The stranger tells Scott that they must inform the others, and beckons him to join him.

‘I can’t. My friends where here. And my son…we arrived together. I have to find them!’ Scott explains, before calling out to Jean and Hank. ‘That will avail you nothing. I’ve scanned the area. Those who were here, and remain alive are gone, and have taken their dead with them. The green-skinned, cloaked, stranger tells Cyclops to accept what comfort fate has offered him, and come along. Scott gazes around and sees giant cities in both horizons, shrouded in mist. ‘If the others…and Christopher…have been taken…they’ve got to be there!’

Back in the Chosen’s citadel, Seera and ZZ-105 stand on a balcony, looking down on some vats. Seera remarks that Archangel said a baby came here with them. ‘I wonder what it looks like?’ she tells her robotic companion. ‘These are the only babies I have ever seen. Here where I myself was…made’ Seera adds, gazing at the vats. ‘Mixed in a vat…like a cake. And the ones that don’t rise probably are just…thrown out’ Seera remarks, before wondering how many of this batch will be allowed to live. ‘Three…four?’ she says to ZZ-105, before remarking that she cannot help but think that in many ways, the old method of reproduction was better. ‘And who told you there was another method, perfect Seera?’ another robot asks.

‘I…no one did, Sci-Bot. I figured it out for myself’ Seera replies, pointing out that the Rejects have no science, but no matter how many of them the Chosen destroy, their numbers increase. The Sci-Bot replies that the Chosen do not reproduce randomly or physically, that they will not demean their species by the creation of imperfect, non-viable, even dangerous offspring. ‘That is why you have the scientists…to create life and evaluate it…to choose who should live or be destroyed, for the good of your kind…and your world’, the Sci-Bot exclaims.

The Sci-Bot declares that that Seera is the zenith of their science. ‘Would you have your kind become monsters…like the Rejects?’ he asks her, before wanting to know if he should be forced to report Seera for wrong-thinking. ‘Robot - you are becoming over-wrought! And you are hearing things that have not been said!’ the Princess retorts, before asking the Sci-Bot if she shall be forced to tell the scientists that it is in need of repair. ‘No! No. That will not be necessary. Forgive my misinterpretation’ the Sci-Bot quickly replies, before opening a compartment and revealing some pills, telling Seera as a gesture of his admiration he would like to offer her something to soothe her disturbed feelings, to help her to forget.

Seera reaches for some round red pills, ‘Why…yes. That will’ Seera replies, before ZZ-105 bumps into her, ‘Not be necessary, Sci-Bot!’ ZZ-105 exclaims, before knocking the Sci-Bot aside, declaring that Seera is wealthy as is the right of perfection, and has, all the mood-mnders that her perfection will ever need. ‘Now be off and don’t insult her with your drivel!’ ZZ-105 shouts as the Sci-Bot takes its leave, while Seera turns to ZZ-105 and tells it that she is grateful for the old stories it told her, and that she would never betray it as their source. ‘I can never forget that, of all, you alone have told me the truth’ Seera tells ZZ-105.

‘Father-Sun! What is that?’ Seera asks a cloaked man walking down the corridor towards, holding, unbeknownst to him, Nathan Christopher Summers. ‘A babe…I think…one of the Chosen, perfect one. I found him on the battle plain’ the cloaked man replies. ‘The battle plain?’ Seera thinks to herself. The cloaked man declares that, even among the Chosen, few infants survive, and that this is one of princely perfection. ‘I kept finding it a secret. I almost feared to return it, lest the scientist who lost it have me slain in order to prevent me from revealing his carelessness’ the cloaked man tells Seera, before asking her if she will tell.

But Seera suggests that she return the infant for him. ‘Your perfection…dare I…the scientists…if they learn it was I who found it…’ Father Sun begins. ‘How can they learn, unless you tell them?’ Seera asks, before offering the cloaked man the Sci-Bot’s drugs, telling the cloaked man that she will make it worth the risk, ‘All this I offer you…perfection’s ransom…’. With that, many more drugs fall from ZZ-105, and Seera tells the cloaked man that he can have all of these so that he will accept her offer. ‘Take him!’ the cloaked man shouts, practically throwing Christopher into Seera’s arms.

‘Take him? I can’t…touch…’ Seera begins, before looking at the baby in her arms, and smiling as Christopher touches her face. Seera then puts her head to Christopher’s. Seera turns to the cloaked man who is kneeling on the floor, scooping up the drugs, before she proceeds to use her telepathy on him, telling him to take more - take as much as he likes. ‘And then forget…about me…and this babe. Forget you ever saw him!’ Seera exclaims. ‘You jammed him!’ ZZ-105 declares. ‘Yes’ Seera replies, assuring ZZ-105 that she didn’t damage him. ‘I think I just made him forget’ she adds, exclaiming that she knew she could do it if she wasn’t in the midst of a battle. ‘I did need the practice, you know’ Seera adds.

‘You needn’t justify your actions to me, perfect Seera. I’m just a robot…’ ZZ-105 replies, to which Seera tells ZZ-105 not to get all huffy, ‘After all, I am as you raised me’. Pointing out that ZZ-105’s innards are now empty, Seera places Christopher inside the robot, telling ZZ-105 to hide the baby until they are able to get him away in safety. ‘Think about it, Zee-Zee. Won’t it be fun to raise another child together? A perfect child who came to us from the stars…’, Seera exclaims.

Meanwhile, in the Rejects’ city, the feasting has gone on for hours, only recently has Zharkah joined them to hear the Beast’s description of his lost friends, and to grow increasingly perplexed: ‘Iceman has both an ice form and a human body…’ Hank remarks. ‘Two forms…? Then he’s a dualer? But what is human?’ Zharkah asks her new companion. ‘He’s physically normal, like me…if you lose the fur…and fangs’ Beast explains, while the Rejects all watch and listen, captivated. ‘Normal. Like one of the Chosen’ Zharkah remarks, before asking about the female. Munching on a drumstick, Hank replies that she has one form, very beautiful and is a telekinetic with red hair. ‘Covering her body…like you?’ Zharkah asks. ‘Why…no. Just on her head. I suppose she could also pass for one of the Chosen’ Hank explains.

Zharkah’s mind begins to wander, and wonders if the Beast’s red haired friend is the perfect captive of the Neakj Clan, the one Murke pathed a picture of. Zharkah recalls that the captive is unconscious, the victim of one of the Jammers, and she may never wake up. An image of the chained Jean flashes into Zharkah’s mind as she wonders whether to insult the Beast by suggesting that this woman may be his friend. Zharkah remind herself that such liaisons are unthinkable, except among the Beginagains, and wonders if the Beast is a Beginagain and she doesn’t know about it.

Zharkah decides that the Beast seems to have been selectively jammed, for he knows nothing of where he is from and little enough of Reject customs, though he does remember his friends. Zharkah wonders if this is a trick, if perhaps he has been sent among them as a spy who plays the Beginagains game, and therefore not to be trusted. ‘He saved my life. I like him…and he has earned my loyalty. And yet…’ Zharkah’s thoughts trail off, while Hank too is deep in thought: ‘The stars are incredibly bright here. Can one of them be our Earth’s sun?’ he wonders, before shouting ‘Look! A shooting star!’, before wondering to himself if it is a ship of the orbiting space gods, rocketing to their home world. ‘One of those giants has our Ship. I wonder how it’s faring…and what their plan for us might be!’

High above the planet, the space god looms, holding in its massive hand, X-Factor’s Ship. ‘I have told you all there is to tell!’ Ship tells the space god. ‘Shared with you all the data I have accumulated…data of Earth and the times of change…of my construction and awakening to awareness in the hands of the arch fiend Apocalypse…of my rescue and release by the mutant humans, X-Factor’. Ship adds that X-Factor are his saviors and his friends, before asking the space god to release him. ‘You know everything that there is to know. Allow me to go to their aid’ Ship pleads.

The space god speaks not a word, simply floating unmoved, buoyed on a sea of stars, and Ship knows that it has not yet told all. Nor learned all, either. It has recounted the tale as Apocalypse told it - and it has rung false. For if Ship were Apocalypse’s creation…his machine, then why was Apocalypse forced to shackle Ship’s burgeoning consciousness in order to force Ship to his will…? And so, Ship thinks back to the earliest time it can recall…tries to reach beyond its own awareness…and begins its tale again.

Meanwhile, far below, Cyclops follows his alien guide through miles of tunnel, carved from living rock. Examining his surroundings, Cyclops remarks ‘Water is flooding into the tunnels?’. Cyclops’ guide explains that they are beneath the river on the boundary between the worlds of Rejects and the Chosen. ‘As we are in this life. A pleasingly symbolic location for a hideout, don’t you agree?’ the Beginagain adds, before opening a door into a cavern, revealing that they are called the Beginagains, for they would have both factions put aside their differences and begin again to work together in peace and harmony. ‘Would we not, my son?’ the Beginagain remarks to his son, who is in the well-lit cavern, where tables of food are stationed, and several other Beginagains mill about.

‘Some of you share that dream, my father. As for the name, father, it is as good as any other’. The younger Beginagain tells Cyclops that Zalph pathed his coming and motions to the food that is prepared. The younger Beginagain tells Cyclops to come inside and eat, drink, and question them, as they shall him. ‘Who are you?’ Scott asks. The older Beginagain explains that they are neither Chosen nor Rejects, nor will they ally with either faction. ‘The Chosen would not accept us, in any case, though we have among us both factions who have rejected the warlike ways of their peoples’.

The older Beginagain reveals that the Chosen and Rejects know that every year there are fewer live births among both their peoples, and that it is madness to continue to actively destroy their kind. Touching a crystal-ball like object, he reveals that their mind travelers, staring into their crystals have searched the past to explain and expand their fragments of the ancient knowledge - and discovered mention of saviors from the stars! He explains to Cyclops that, at first, both the Rejects and the Chosen thought these space gods were their saviors, and by worship, tried to sway the gods to their own petty purposes.

The older Beginagain explains that the space gods didn’t seem to hear them, and went about their business enigmatically, as if none of them existed. ‘Then each faction fell upon the other with renewed fury, like envious children who are certain that the others are more favored. And so out world is as you see it…’ he concludes. ‘But who are these space gods…and where do they come from?’ Cyclops asks. The younger Beginagain replies that no man knows their origin, but that the mind travelers tell that the space gods have been on this world four times before.

‘With each appearance they have evaluated us, have found us acceptable by whatever standard that they use…and have left us to progress alone until their next appearance. ‘Then this is the fifth host…?’ Scott asks. ‘That is correct. The Chosen among us believe that we have changed so radically in form and function that the space gods are no longer sure that we are human. The Rejects say that we have reached a new developmental plateau, which we must embrace without reservation, and follow where it leads, even to oblivion. Even our mind travelers cannot say by what criteria the space gods will judge us…but only that, if we fail, our world will be destroyed, utterly!’

At that moment, hovering above the planet, one of the space gods’ massive ships, as large in diameter as the planet, shines ever so brightly….

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all X-Factor)

Nathan Christopher Summers


Lev, Lord Rask, Palik, Sci-Bot, Princess Seera, ZZ-105 and others (all the Chosen)

Vlon, Wilghe, Zharkah, Zharkah’s baby and others (all the Rejects)

Dykon, Ryest and others (all the Beginagains) (all unnamed)


Story Notes: 

X-Factor arrived on this planet, in the midst of a Civil War, in X-Factor (1st series) #43.

Seera froze in battle in X-Factor (1st series) #43, only to be rescued by Archangel from a giant Reject.

Lev encountered Iceman in X-Factor (1st series) #43, not long before Bobby lost his memory.

A Celestial practically stood on Cyclops in X-Factor (1st series) #43.

Nathan Christopher was found, you guessed it, in X-Factor (1st series) #43.

Ship was freed from Apocalypse in X-Factor (1st series) #26.

Issue Information: 
Written By: