The Citadel, headquarters of Genoshan state security. From its offices, this island nation is governed while its laboratories produce bio-engineered slaves whose efforts insure Genosha’s prosperity. Right now, two young mutants - Rictor and Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair of the New Mutants team stalk the Citadel’s darkened corridors, their intent, to bring the country down. Wolfsbane, her form mutated severely, follows Rictor, who tells her that Cable said to check these upper floors for Hodge, while Cable and Storm check those floors below. ‘And if we find Hodge?’ Rahne asks. ‘We call for help’ Rictor tells her, pointing out that they cannot face Hodge themselves. ‘You said you’d shake the Citadel apart…’ Wolfsbane reminds Rictor, who replies that he will, but that he can’t do it with X-Factor, the X-Men and the rest of the New Mutants still in it.
Suddenly, Cameron Hodge in his hideous scorpion-like cyborg form emerges from the shadows. He is the ally of Genosha’s president, and the arch-enemy of mutant kind. ‘Well, well! Two of the insects who destroyed my lab!’ Hodge booms as he leers over the young mutants. ‘Rahne! Get back!’ Rictor shouts, while radioing Cable and informing him that they have found Hodge. ‘Call for help all you need, gene-joke. There is nothing Cable or anyone can do to save you!’ Hodge announces. Wolfsbane growls at Hodge, while Rictor continues to hold his friend back, telling her that she cannot attack Hodge single-handed, that it is suicide.
‘Cable - we’ve got a situation here!’ Rictor reports, and, on the levels below, Cable, leader of the New Mutants, and Ororo Munroe a.k.a. Storm, leader of the X-Men, listen via the communicator. Unmoving Magistrates lie at their feet, while Cable tells Rictor to control Wolfsbane, and that they will be there soon. Storm points out that the Genegineer changed Wolfsbane, so she is no longer the gentle, obedient girl they knew. Storm fears that in her wolf-girl form, Wolfsbane no longer thinks rationally, and of course she loathes Hodge. ‘With good reason’ Cable points out. Storm remarks that Rictor and Rahne are too far away for them to reach by stairs or elevator, to which Cable tells her that they are not taking the stairs, and kicks open a panel in the wall, declaring that the air shaft, and Storm’s control over wind will give them instant access to the floors above.
At that moment, Wolfsbane transforms into a full wolf and declares that she will kill Hodge with her bare teeth and claws. ‘Rahne, don’t!’ Rictor protests, but he is unable to stop her, and Wolfsbane leaps over him, her form larger than ever. ‘What’s happened to her? She’s transformed into a power-house!’ Rictor exclaims. Hodge’s extendable neck rises above Wolfsbane and he remarks ‘My! What big claws you have, sweet Rahne. The transmode process seems to have released all your inhibitions‘. Wolfsbane prepares to bite down on Hodge’s neck, in an attempt to sever his neck wires, but a jolt of energy forces Rahne back, and Hodge boasts that teeth are no match for technology.
‘And technology is no match for my seismic power!’ Rictor shouts as he unleashes his powerful seismic shocks. But Rictor wonders who he is kidding, reminding himself that he has tried this before, and there is no way he can take Hodge out alone. Rictor tells himself that all this is going to get him is blown away, too, but wonders what choice he has. Both Hodge and Wolfsbane are thrust into the air as Rictor’s power strikes them. But, Hodge tells Rictor not to think he has won, and just because he has dropped Wolfsbane, that is simply so he can go after Rictor, who now presents the more challenging target.
Below, in the air vent, Cable tells Storm to stop, as they need to move into a horizontal shaft. ‘You know where we must go?’ Storm enquires. Cable explains that hr memorized the Citadel’s layout from the SHIELD documents that Valerie Cooper provided. As they crawl through the duct, Storm asks Cable if he hears that the sounds of battle have ceased. Outside, in the corridor, Hodge declares that he hears them, scuttling like vermin through the vents, and that he knows where they are. ‘There!’ Hodge shouts as his deadly tail strikes up through the duct and strikes Cable in his side. ‘He has Cable hooked!’ Storm tells herself, while Hodge pulls Cable back through the duct and into the corridor, slamming him on the ground.
Storm hovers over Hodge, ‘Cyborg, release him!’ she commands, reminding Hodge that he swore vengeance against her as she restored the X-Men’s powers. ‘How gratifying, Weather Witch, to face you at last!’ Hodge remarks. Clutching his wound in agony, Cable tells Storm that she can’t stop Hodge alone, so he radios Cyclops, announcing that Storm needs help.
Below, on another level, ‘We’ll be there as soon as we can!’ Cyclops a.k.a. Scott Summers reports as he, Jean “Marvel Girl” Grey and Wolverine a.k.a. Logan round a corner. Scott then radios his teammate Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Archangel, who is elsewhere in the building, and Warren reports that Storm and Cable are not far away, as he can hear Storm’s thunder. He tells Scott that he is on his way, and Cyclops suggests Archangel aim for Hodge’s back hump, as Forge thinks it is Hodge’s phasing mechanism. Scott tells Warren to be careful, as Hodge is dangerous. ‘Not nearly as dangerous as I’m going to be’ Warren replies as he flies on.
Scott turns to Jean and tells her that when they approach Hodge he wants her to keep well back from him, as her telekinetic shield may not stop him. The nearly naked Wolverine points a finger at Cyclops and declares ‘You’re not telling her anything she doesn’t know, bub. Or anything she’d listen to if she had the chance to finish that scum’. Angrily, Scott tells Logan to back off, and that this is none of his business. ‘We’re teammates. That makes it my business’ Wolverine declares. He begins to say that Jean is as much a fighter as the two of them, when Jean separates the two men with a burst of telekinetic energy.
‘Hold it!’ she shouts, before telling Scott that Logan is right, she is not going to hold back when her actions can make a difference, no more than Scott would. Jean then turns to Logan and tells him that she is perfectly able to speak for herself and make her own choices. Neither man answers back, so Jean declares ‘Good. Now come on, Storm is waiting’, and she telekinetically flies herself, Wolverine and Cyclops on through the corridor. ‘She’s some woman’ Wolverine remarks. ‘There’s not another like her’ Scott replies, while afraid that he might lose her, which he knows is making him soft in the head.
At that moment, ‘Lasers!’ Storm exclaims as she dodges Hodge’s attack. Hodge tells Storm to admit it, that he has her boxed into the end of the corridor, into a space too small for the full utilization of her powers. Storm is struck by one of the lasers, and falls to the ground. Ororo knows that Hodge is right, she cannot maneuver easily here to create wind effects. ‘But lightning is another matter’ Ororo tells herself, as she casts a powerful surge of energy at Hodge, blasting the madman backwards. Storm manages to climb into a crawlspace, but Hodge appears behind her. ‘My laser gun is gone, Storm, but as you see, I have other options for your destruction’ Hodge declares. Storm her body bleeding from various cuts, sees that Hodge has phased up behind her, meaning she has even less room now.
‘There is no escape for you!’ Hodge shouts, as he wraps tendrils around Storm and pulls her from the vent. Suddenly, ‘Drop her, Hodge!’ Archangel orders as he swoops into the corridor, towards his hated foe. ‘Well, well, Archangel to the rescue! My oldest, most hated enemy!’ Hodge remarks, telling Warren to make him drop Storm. Warren continues to fly towards Hodge, telling himself that Hodge’s upper unit is probably his phasing mechanism. ‘If I can destroy it while he’s half phased into the wall…he may be trapped there’ Warren tells himself, and he swoops down to Hodge, using his razor-sharp wings to destroy the mechanism on Hodge’s back. Hodge, and some rubble, fall to the ground.
‘You think me immobilized, demon, snared…unable to escape? Mutant fool! You may have destroyed my ability to phase, but I still have my cyborg strength…and my other weapons!’ Hodge boasts, as a small cannon emerges from his mouth, and it fires a green substance at Warren, who is relieved that Hodge dropped Storm. Warren knows he has to get Storm away, but before he can take off, the green matter strikes him, and covers his body and wings. Hodge’s tendrils wrap around Warren as the villain explains that it is a polymer compound he designed, a molecular adhesive. With Warren tightly imprisoned, Hodge tells him that his death, unlike that of the others, will require his undivided attention. ‘I want to savor it…’ Hodge exclaims.
Warren struggles, tangled in the polymer and the tendrils, unable to cut through with his razor-sharp wings, nor release his wing darts. Suddenly, Hodge’s saw blade moves towards Warren, ready to slice off his head, just as Warren once used his own wings to slice off Hodge’s head.
Meantime, in the corridors below, Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast checks on Hodge’s other victims, all imprisoned in the cells. They are more members of the X-Men and X-Factor: Bobby “Iceman” Drake, Sean Cassidy a.k.a. Banshee, Forge, Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock, and the enigmatic Gambit. The Beast recalls Cyclops asking him to get their imprisoned friends out of here, but Hank sees that they are all in worse shape than he is, and after the pounding he took, doesn’t know if he can carry them all. Hank decides that the first order of business is to get into the main corridor, and uses his incredible strength to tear open a panel on the wall.
Entering the corridor, Hank sees several mutates, Genosha’s bio-engineered slaves. He knows they belong to the enemy, but utter obedience has been programmed into their minds, and they just might be the answer to Hank’s prayers. He calls out to the slaves, telling them that he needs their help. The mutates just stare back at Hank, and he realizes that he is not using enough authority, and decides to try again, this time, shouting: ‘All right, you gene-joke bums. Get over here. I have a job for you and I expect you to put your backs in it’.
Back above, Warren is still unable to move, and he decides that it looks like Hodge will win. Suddenly, though, a burst of energy strikes Hodge’s saw blade. Warren realizes who his rescuer is, and Hodge shouts ‘Havok! So you have finally remembered who you are, and have come to save your little friend!’, but Alex “Havok” Summers isn’t interested in listening to Hodge’s taunts, he warns Hodge to drop Archangel, otherwise he will blast the villain to kingdom come. ‘Sorry to disappoint you, mutant, but I’m not giving up this little prize, even for you’ Hodge replies. Havok releases more of his powerful energy, but Hodge then throws Archangel, now free of the polymer, down at Havok, causing Alex to fall over.
‘I will gladly destroy the both of you together!’ Hodge booms as he prepares to bring a spiked foot down towards the two men, when suddenly, ‘NO!’ Jean shouts as she telekinetically grabs Warren and Alex and pulls them to safety, just as Hodge’s claw clangs on the ground. Wolverine congratulates Jean on her good work, as it saved them both. ‘As for this joker…’ Wolverine begins as he grabs Alex by the collar of his Magistrates uniform, but, holding Warren’s unmoving body, Alex tells Logan that he is on his side. ‘I remember who I am!’ Alex announces. ‘Took ya flaming long enough, boy’ Wolverine mutters. Cyclops remarks that his brother is stubborn, but that if you hit him on the head enough times, eventually he will see reason.
Havok points out that attacking Hodge one at a time won’t work. Cyclops remarks that is fairly obvious, but announces that Hodge has been weakened considerably. ‘If the four of us attack together, we just might have a chance!’ Scott declares, as he, Alex, Jean and Logan rush towards their enemy. Cyclops and Havok release their powerful energies, while Marvel Girl telekinetically lifts Wolverine onto Hodge, so that Logan can attack at close range. ‘Don’t count on it, mutants!’ Hodge shouts. Wolverine’s claws strike Hodge’s cyborg form, and Hodge remarks ‘Your claws are sharp, Wolverine…but mine is sharper!’ and strikes Logan with his stinger-tail, shoving it through Wolverine’s back. Logan cries out in agony, and is tossed about as Hodge thrashes his tail around, boasting that his claw is far more deadly, also.
‘Logan! I’ve got you!’ Jean calls out, as she tries to grab Wolverine telekinetically - only for Hodge to slam his tail down on Jean, knocking her over. ‘Think again, poor sweet Miss Grey!’ the villain snarls. ‘JEANIE!’ Wolverine cries out as he shoves his claws into Hodge’s tail.
In the basement, the badly injured New Mutants - Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie, Tabitha “Boom-Boom” Smith and Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta, as well as the young X-Man Jubilation Lee, better known simply as “Jubilee” - stagger from Hodge’s destroyed lab, when suddenly, there is a thumping against a wall. ‘What now?’ Jubilee mutters, before a panel rises, and the Beast enters the lab. ‘Beast! Are we glad to see you…’ Jubilee exclaims, while Boom-Boom frowns at her former guardian and declares ‘Oh, gross. You really are a mess!’. Hank tells the vain girl that she doesn’t look so good either, in fact none of them do, but Cannonball assures the Beast that they are well enough to deal with Hodge.
The young mutants join the Beast in the corridor, where the mutates are carrying the unconscious Iceman, Banshee, Psylocke, Forge and Gambit. In response to Cannonball’s statement, the Beast replies ‘Like heck you are’, and explains that Cyclops said to get them all out of danger, which is exactly what he is going to do. ‘Even if we have to get these mutates to carry you out of -’ Hank begins, before they suddenly run into a squad of Magistrates, including Chief Magistrate Anderson, who has a weapon held to the haggard face of the Genoshan President, Madame Reneau. Chief Magistrate Anderson announces that the Magistrates know their President is insane, and reveal that they have neutralized her, even as the other mutants work to neutralize Cameron Hodge. ‘How can we aid you?’ the Chief Magistrate asks.
At that moment, floors above, Wolverine’s claws rip through Hodge’s tail spike, while Cyclops and Havok continue to pour their energies on at Hodge. ‘That’s it, Cyke! Keep pouring it on…get this bum where it hurts!’ Logan exclaims. An instant later, Havok points out that it is working, and announces that Hodge is retreating to the roof. With Hodge gone, silence falls upon the powerful mutants. Wolverine limps his bloody body towards Jean, calling out to her, as Cyclops crouches beside her unmoving body. Havok rushes over, while Wolverine asks ‘Is she…’ his voice trails off, but Scott announces that she is alive. ‘And you?’ Scott asks. Wolverine replies that he has been better, as his healing factor is not what it was. ‘But we got Hodge on the run…and I’m game to follow him…’ Wolverine declares, before he collapses.
Havok goes to Logan’s side and asks ‘Yeah. How? Crawling on your hands and knees?’, before announcing that Wolverine is in no shape to continue the fight. ‘Neither is Jean’ Scott reports. Wolverine looks up, and though he hates to admit it, he thinks Scott might be right. Cyclops instructs Wolverine to take the communicator and rendezvous with the Beast at safe point-B, while he and Havok go after Hodge. ‘Take care of Jean and the others for me, Wolverine. Get them out of here. Keep them safe. They’re in your hands’ Cyclops declares.
Moments later, on the pinnacle of the Citadel, Cyclops and Havok have tracked Hodge down. They follow him and Scott tells Hodge to admit it, that the it is over. ‘The X-Men are free - our powers are restored, your “agenda” is finished!’ Scott declares. But Hodge spins around and tells Cyclops not to count on it, as even now his circuits are repairing the damage that has been caused. ‘Soon I will be good as new - and then I shall wreak such revenge upon you gene-jokes…and wipe your kind of the face of this planet’ Hodge boasts. ‘No way, Hodge!’ Havok shouts. ‘You’ll never kill again, Hodge - we’re here to see to that!’ Cyclops declares, as the Summers brothers both release their respective powers in full fury. An instant later, there is a massive BA-DOOM! Which surges through the pinnacle of the Citadel, energy pouring from both sides.
Down below, at the meeting point, Wolverine and Marvel Girl have met up with Beast, Storm, Cable and the others. ‘Oh God…Scott…Alex…’ Jean utters as she leans against Wolverine. ‘They’re letting Hodge have it, Red, with both barrels. They were the only ones who could’ Logan tells Jean, while Forge and Storm tend to Cable’s wounds, and the others stand nearby. ‘They’re doing it for Warlock. For all of us’ the Beast declares. Still holding the President at gunpoint, Chief Magistrate Anderson declares that she never dreamt they had such power, and remarks that if they keep it up, soon there will be nothing left. ‘The very heart of Genosha will be gone’ she adds. Madame Reneau remarks that Hodge must be dead, that nothing could withstand such punishment.
However, back on the pinnacle of the Citadel, Hodge continues to fight against the powerful mutants. He releases blasts of energy at them, and exclaims ‘You think I can be killed, mutant scum, but you are wrong!’ Optic and plasma blasts strike Hodge, who tells them that they have taken their best shot, and have failed. ‘I’m still alive. Functioning. And not to be defeated, by the likes of you!’ he shouts. He taunts the Summers brothers, telling them to hit him with the full force of his power, tear his body into scrap metal, and still he will live to destroy them. The power continues to pour down on Hodge, eventually bringing him to his knees. ‘No matter what we do to him, he just keeps on talking!’ Havok remarks.
Hodge boasts that there is nothing they can do to silence him. ‘I am your worst nightmare, for I have made a deal with a demon and cannot die!’ Cyclops’ optic blasts severs Hodge’s head from his devilish body, and it lies on the ground, warning the Summers brothers that even their own death will not protect them. ‘In my hatred I will pursue you…even beyond the grave’. But, Cyclops tells Havok not to count on it. ‘You might be our own private nightmare…but it’s time to wake up!’ Cyclops’ optic beam then knocks Hodge’s head from the pinnacle of the Citadel. ‘Scott. We did it!’ Havok tells his brother. Havok declares that Hodge was knocked over the edge, that he must have fallen 160 stories. ‘Nothing can have survived -’ Alex begins as he leans over the side to look, only for Hodge’s head to be lying on a small beam.
Tentacles spurt from Hodge’s mouth and he wraps them around Havok’s neck, pulling the handsome hero further over the edge. ‘Don’t worry, Alex! I’ve got you!’ Cyclops calls out as he takes his brother’s hand. By this time, however, Cyclops has slipped, and is clinging to some rubble on the roof. He holds on to Havok’s hand as best he can, while Hodge continues to wrap his tentacle around Hodge. ‘Don’t you see? The ledge you’re holding is crumbling!’ Hodge shouts. ‘He’s right, Scott. Let go of me. Save yourself!’ Havok tells his brother. ‘No way, Alex! I won’t lose my brother’ Scott replies, when suddenly, the rubble gives way, and the Summers brothers both plunge from the roof!
‘Fraternal love! How sickeningly human!’ Hodge remarks. ‘I shall survive of course. While you little heroes will be splats on the concrete!’ Hodge boasts, when, suddenly, ‘Think again, Cameron!’ Jean calls out, as she telekinetically tears Hodge from Havok’s neck, then wraps Havok and Cyclops in a telekinetic bubble. ‘It’s Jean!’ Cyclops exclaims. Hodge’s head bounces along the rubble-strewn ground, and he laughs, ‘Hee-hee-hee! What a ride…if not a totally satisfactory conclusion to this battle’. Hodge’s head comes to a stop at the feet of Wolfsbane, who gazes down at him and gasps ‘You…you’re still alive?’, to which Hodge replies ‘All the better to torment you, my dear!
‘NO!’ Wolfsbane shouts before shoving her hand into Hodge’s face, then picking his head up and tearing it in two. ‘I would na be so certain of that, monster!’ she cries. But Hodge can still communicate, and calling Rahne a “silly little mutate”, remarks that nothing she can do will silence him. Wolfsbane throws Hodge’s head into the air, while reminding Rictor that he said he would shake the Citadel down. ‘I read you, Rahne!’ Rictor replies. ‘If that horror won’t die…we’ll bury him alive!’ Rictor declares, as he raises his hands above his head, then slams them on the ground, creating a massive seismic shock, directed at the Citadel, which rumbles, then crumbles to the ground.
Several days later, Chief Magistrate Anderson makes a televised speech, stating that as a result of a severe nervous breakdown, Genosha’s President ordered the kidnapping of American citizens, thus flouting international law and causing the death of one of her captives. Chief Magistrate Anderson reports that Genosha’s military has overthrown the President and temporarily seized control of the government, pending lawful elections. The Chief Magistrates adds that President Reneau is in a high security mental institution pending trial as soon as she is deemed capable. When her speech ends, Anderson turns to Cyclops, Wolverine, Havok and Marvel Girl, who stand together, frowning. ‘Which will be never’ Wolverine remarks, adding that Anderson’s speech was filled with half-truths to cover her dirty little world.
‘Half-truths which will protect our mutates from outside exploitation’ Anderson explains. Havok announces that he will remain on Genosha to make certain that the mutates are no longer exploited from within, when suddenly, Wolfsbane declares that she is also staying. ‘You? Rahne…why?’ Rictor asks as he goes over to his friend. Wolfsbane points out that she is a mutate now, and that her place is here, with these people. She adds that she needs to help them, and to try to insure that some good comes of the horror that was done to her, and to those others. Wolfsbane asks Boom-Boom and Rictor to take Warlock’s ashes and sprinkle them on Cypher’s grave for her. Hugging the canister containing Warlock’s ashes, Boom-Boom replies that they will, and that she knows it’s what Warlock would have wanted. Cannonball goes over to put a hand on Rictor’s shoulder.
Days later, on the grounds of a cemetery in Salem Center, New York. The members of the X-Men, X-Factor and the New Mutants stand in funeral gar to say farewell to one of their own. Boom-Boom, Rictor, Cannonball and Sunspot stand close to Cypher’s grave, and Boom-Boom calls out ‘Goodbye, Warlock. You’re with Doug now…your best friend’. Tabitha remarks that she was told how, when Doug died, that Warlock couldn’t accept it, and even tried to give up all his energy for Doug to absorb and come back to life again. ‘It didn’t work. Doug is dead. But when we were in danger of death, you didn’t think twice…you gave your life as willingly for us, as you would have to save Doug’.
Boom-Boom kneels beside the grave and opens the canister containing Warlock’s ashes. She utters ‘Goodbye, Self-friend. We’re going to miss you’ as she pours Warlock’s ashes onto Cypher’s grave. ‘You and Doug…rest in peace’ Rictor declares. The mutants all turn and leave, with Sunspot, Cannonball, Boom-Boom and Rictor, the remnants of the New Mutants, walking hand-in-hand. ‘A country has been freed from slavery, but at a terrible cost’ Sunspot remarks. Cannonball announces that he hopes Wolfsbane is right, and that a greater good will continue to be served by Warlock’s sacrifice. The New Mutants fade from view, and beneath the azure sky, the mound of ashes seems to flash in answer, a glean shines from the dust. Is it merely the sunlight glinting on metallic dust…or the promise of something more?