X-Factor (1st series) #68

Issue Date: 
July 1991
Story Title: 
Endgame, Part 4: Finale

Jim Lee & Whilce Portacio (plot), Chris Claremont (script), Whilce Portacio (pencils), Art Thibert (inks), Michael Heisler (letterer), Dana Moreshead (colors), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

In Apocalypse's base in the Inhuman Great Refuge on the Moon, X-Factor confronts Apocalypse. They are attacked by the Riders of the Storm, but defeat them quickly. They are then ambushed by Medusa and Crystal, allowing Apocalypse to imprison them and try to leech their life-forces to strengthen his own.

Blackbolt and the Inhuman Royal Family blast into the base and free them from the capsules they were imprisoned in. Jean and Beast go to help Nathan while the others blast Apocalypse.

Askani looks on, sees Hank and Jean about to touch Nathan's creche, and she prevents them from electrocuting themselves on it. They realize that the baby has been infected with the same virus Ship was infected with by Apocalypse and is likely to die. Nathan pulls Jean onto the Astral Plane, for her help in combating the virus, which appears in the form of Apocalypse. Jean yanks Scott in to help, and he stabs the Apocalypse avatar with a psionic sword. Cyclops awakens in the physical world, where he uses the combined strength of Nathan, Jean and his own to tear Apocalypse apart. Apocalypse is defeated, but Nathan is still dying. Askani tells Cyclops she is here to take him with her and save his life. Scott reluctantly lets Nathan go and the baby and Askani enter the time portal. The Watcher observes, and applauds Scott’s choice.

Full Summary: 

X-Factor is in Apocalypse’s fortress on the moon. Apocalypse taunts the team that it is time for them to die. Iceman retorts that they’ve heard that threat before, but they’re still here fighting. Apocalypse admires Bobby’s bravado, but their fate was sealed when they breached his citadel. He tells them that X-Factor, and all the other members of the fabled “Twelve”, will be obliterated and the instrument of that destruction is none other than Nathan Christopher!

The Riders of the Storm appear, striking out at X-Factor. Jean tries to grab hold of Nathan with her telekinesis, but he’s organically attached to Apocalypse. Iceman and Beast defeat Tusk, while Jean uses her telekinesis to take down Gauntlet.

Suddenly, the brainwashed Medusa appears behind Jean and attacks her, taking her down. Cyclops is distracted by the attack on Jean, which gives Barrage the opportunity to blast Cyclops and knock him out. Archangel heads toward Jean and Scott, but is caught up in a gust of wind. Crystal, who is under Apocalypse’s control after being abducted by the Riders, uses her elemental control of the air to smack Warren down. Beast and Iceman are apparently defeated off panel.

X-Factor’s members awake, enclosed within cylindrical capsules attached to Apocalypse. Apocalypse plans to use their lifeforce for his own rebirth, to elevate himself to his rightful place in the celestial pantheon. Cyclops is in anguish as he hears his son cry out.

An explosion rocks the room, blasting the Riders of the Storm. While X-Factor was fighting Apocalypse, their Inhuman allies and Charlotte Jones freed the enslaved Inhumans and arrive to break X-Factor out of their capsules. The conduits that were attached to the capsules are re-energizing Apocalypse, and Cyclops yells that they have to cut him loose. Apocalypse notes that Scott is a worthy foe and regrets having to slay him.

Askani, Nathan’s mysterious protector from the future, has arrived and observes the battle. She marvels at actually seeing the Chosen’s family in flesh and blood, as they are legends in her time. She wishes she had more accurate information regarding this point in time, as she has very little energy left and cannot afford to make a mistake. She is the last hope for her age and the sacrifice of her life must not be wasted.

Askani spots Jean and Beast heading towards Nathan’s crèche. She knows the crèche is electrically charged and will kill anyone who touches it. She jumps forward and knocks Beast away, taking the brunt of the electrical shock herself. A stunned Beast wonders aloud who she is. Askani tells him her name and that she is undergoing terminal discorporation. Nathan’s crèche is now inert and she urges Beast to remove him before Apocalypse can do him further harm.

At the same time, X-Factor and the Inhumans strike out at Apocalypse with all their might, but is has no effect on their monstrous adversary. Cyclops notes that in previous fights Apocalypse shape-shifted, but in this battle is only blasting them with massive beams of energy. Scott hopes they can find Apocalypse’s weakness and exploit it while they’re still able.

Jean and Hank are with Nathan and Jean says there is something wrong with the little boy. Ship concurs, and that there are anomalous readings from Nathan on a cellular level. Beast asks Jean how she knows something is wrong, if she’s scanning telepathically. Jean says no, at least not in any way she’s experienced before, but she knows Nathan is sick. Ship tells them Nathan is infected with the same techno-organic virus Apocalypse infected him with. Beast believes there must be a way to reverse the illness or slow it down, but Ship tells him that is unlikely due to a lack of time and technology. Askani calls out to Beast—she can save the Chosen, that’s why she’s here!

Jean wonders if they can trust Askani, and wishes she had her telepathy. She recalls the death of her friend Annie Richardson and being inside Annie’s head as she died and is unable to do even that with Nathan.

Suddenly, she is telepathically pulled inside Nathan’s head and is amazed by his young, raw power.

(on the astral plane)

She wonders if Nathan brought her to the Astral Plane to use her knowledge with his strength to psionically heal him. Jean is confronted by an image of Apocalypse, who is an avatar for the virus attacking Nathan’s body. Jean appears to be terrified, but it is ruse that allows her to pull Cyclop’s consciousness into the battle. He stabs into the Apocalypse form with a psionic sword and is overwhelmed by the psychic backlash.

Cyclops staggers up in the physical world, full of the combined power of himself, Nathan and Jean, and opens his eyes wide. An awesome optic blast rips into Apocalypse, tearing him to shreds. Scott quickly runs and grabs hold of his son. The virus is still ravaging Nathan’s body and he is dying. Jean tries to telepathically contact Nathan, but Beast warns her that she would die with Nathan if she were to be psychically attached to him when he dies. Ship tells them he has merged his substance with Nathan’s, but it only postpones the inevitable.

Scott calls out to Askani, asking her that if she was sent to save Nathan, where did she come from and who sent her. Askani responds that she is from beyond, a place where Nathan will be cherished as he is so desperately needed. Askani activates the time portal. Scott notes that she keeps calling him “kinsman”- she tells him they share the same birthworld, that they both claim the heritage of homo sapien and in that small sense are family. Scott then asks if when she has Nathan cured, she’ll bring him back. Sadly, she tells him no, that she only has enough energy to take Nathan to safety and he will be lost to Scott forever. Ship interrupts that Nathan is near death and Askani’s is close to discorporating and a decision must be made now. Cyclops reluctantly hands his son to Askani, who enters the time portal in a flash of light with Nathan.

Later, the Inhumans celebrate the victory over Apocalypse with X-Factor. Scott avoids the crowd and joins Charlotte, who is on a balcony gazing out at the moon’s surface. She tells Cyclops how sorry she is about Nathan and that he did the right thing. Scott replies that he’ll never know, but he can only assume the best about Nathan’s fate. The dream that binds X-Factor together is hope, as it was with the X-Men before them.

Elsewhere, in the Blue Area of the moon, the Watcher has observed Cyclop’s sacrifice and applauds Scott’s unselfish decision.

Characters Involved: 

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


Nathan Christopher Summers

Sergeant Charlotte Jones (Archangel’s girlfriend)


Blackbolt, Medusa, Crystal and other members of the Inhuman Royal Family


Barrage, Gauntlet, Tusk (Riders of the Storm)

The Watcher

Story Notes: 

The mutant Cable would later be revealed to be an adult Nathan Christopher from the future.
Scott and Jean get another chance to raise Nathan, when during their honeymoon their psychic essences are ripped out of them and pulled to the future where they raise and protect Nathan [The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix #1-4]

Aside from the members of X-Factor, the images of the fabled Twelve shown are: Charles Xavier, Storm, Cable, Cannonball, a dark-haired woman, and a man with fangs. The Twelve are believed to be a group of key mutants who will prove instrumental to the survival of mutants. Later, however, the “the Twelve” crossover proves that there was quite another reason for them to be gathered.

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