Darkness falls over Africa and the former nation of Genosha. James Proudstar’s brother John told him this would happen. John is connected to Selene, and now, Selene is connected to everything. The sorcerers would feel it, John said.
In Los Angeles, Dr. Stephen Strange feels it. While attending a crowded nighttime sporting event, he recoils in pain as his eyes emit dark energy.
In Latveria, Doctor Doom feels it, as Selene’s ascension to power is like setting off a bomb in the spirit realm. Doom falls to his knees as plumes of dark energy pour out of his eyes.
In New Orleans, Doctor Voodoo feels it too. He screams as a vortex of Selene’s magic encircles him. Just like Johnny predicted, those with the power to do something about Selene’s ascension are hit the hardest.
On Necrosha, meanwhile, Selene lifts up into the air and cackles maniacally, her body pulsing with pure, white energy. She has risen, and there is nothing to sorcerers of the world can do to stop it.
James realizes Selene is absorbing every single soul she and Bard resurrected. She uses them to fuel her ascent to godhood. X-Force can’t hurt her—they can’t even touch her. Worse, she won’t ever stop.
Mortis suddenly grows worried as she witnesses what she helped facilitate. What’s happening? What did they do? Wither replies that they just did as their queen asked. Welcome to the new world, he says to Lois.
Selene, now enormous and emanating blue-tinted light, calls out to her children. She hungers. She orders her coven to bring her sacrifices—the ones with power. All of them, she adds.
Fires burn at the top of the facilities on Asteroid M. Suddenly, a bright red light erupts from one of the towers, pushing with it the green-and-yellow figure of Sean Cassidy.
Inside that building, Cyclops continues firing his optic blast at the rest of the attacking mutants. Don’t let up, he cries out to Magneto and Dazzler! Drive back the undead! Dazzler calls his plan insane; their enemies can’t die, and the X-Men cannot hold this ground.
Much to their luck—or so it seems—all of the undead mutants inside the building vanish in a flash of pink light. BLINK! Cyclops asks what the hell just happened, and where the Transmode-infected mutants are going.
The Stepford Cuckoos answer his question telepathically. From Cerebra, they monitor the position of all mutants across the globe and notice the signals on Genosha disappearing. They’re all dying, the Cuckoos say, referring to both humans and mutants alike. The girls don’t understand what’s happening.
Emma Frost does. “Selene,” she says. Cyclops asks Irma Cuckoo if she still detects the signatures of X-Force. When Irma reports they’re alive, Cyclops concludes they’re still fighting.
In this case, Cyclops is correct, for at that moment, X-Force is preparing for the confrontation with Selene. Warpath relays to them what his brother Thunderbird said while the members of X-Force paint themselves with ash. Because Johnny told James how to kill Selene, they just need to get to her. “And painting us up like scary mimes is going to help us do that how, exactly, Warpath?” Wolverine asks as he smears paint on his cheek.
In response to Logan’s question, James explains his ancestors could walk in the spirit world. The spirit of vengeance reminded him of this fact. Warpath’s people called this the Ghost Dance, and they could speak with the dead. They had a strong connection to these forces. Through their rituals, they could face their enemies with their souls protected. Through the Ghost Dance, they could kill evil spirits. Now, X-Force is going to use it to tear out Selene’s black heart.
With the preparation finished, Archangel, Wolfsbane, Elixir, Domino, the Vanisher, X-23, Wolverine and Warpath stand, their bodies and faces covered with ghastly, gray war paint.
Selene basks in the myriad energy she absorbs. Her ascension continues to horrify Lois London, who watches with wide-eyed worry. “We’re going to die here, aren’t we?” she asks her cohorts. Senyaka tells her death is nothing to fear. Wither, his eyes gently closed and his mouth upturned in a smirk, states they’re not going to die; they’re going to be rewarded. Selene needs them; she won’t forsake them.
At that moment, Blink reappears from her assignment to bring the rest of the resurrected mutant souls to Selene. She retrieved as many as she could, she says. Wither takes umbrage with this; what does she mean by as many as she could? Who is still out there?
Before Blink can answer, the sound of Telford Porter’s power signature heralds the arrival of X-Force. Annoyed, Wither and the Inner Circle turn to face their foes.
X-Force wastes no time in striking. “X-FORCE! KILL ‘EM ALL!” Wolverine shouts to his team. He instructs X-23 to come with him, while the rest, he orders to take down their assigned targets. Warpath, meanwhile, he sends to do what he needs to do.
Senyaka, Wolverine and X-23’s target, wraps one of his psionic whips around Logan’s neck. As he draws him closer, Suvik reminds him they’ve played this game before—and that Logan lost. He slams Wolverine into the wall. Grunting, Wolverine just tells him he’s a slow learner. X-23, however, is not. She sneaks up behind Senyaka and slices off his arm. Enraged, Senyaka pushes her away while announcing that death means nothing to him! “We heard you the first time, bub,” Wolverine says to Senyaka once his back is turned. He severs off Senyaka’s head.
Meanwhile, Domino and the Vanisher try to eliminate the elusive Blink. As Domino fires, Blink just mocks her; is she stupid? Does she really think she can touch her? “Yeah,” Domino says—clarifying she means the second part. She gives Telford the order and he reappears beside Blink in time to grab her by the arm. Before she can escape, he twists if behind her back, pinning her. Angered, she declares no one ever hurts her! She’ll teleport their hearts right out of their bodies for this! Do they hear her?
The Vanisher placidly tells his captive to turn around. Confused, Blink does as she’s told and finds herself staring in the face of Death. As he slices his metallic wing across her chest and torso, Archangel tells Blink to face him—to face her death.
Nearby, Wolfsbane battles Mortis. As Mortis lunges at her enemy, she tells her to get away, adding she smells like a filthy animal. In turn, Wolfsbane tells Mortis she can smell her—and that she smells like Dazzler. “Shut up!” Lois screams. “She’s daddy’s little girl, not me. She’s the Barbie Doll… the star. I’m nothing like her!” Rahne knows this already; Logan told her. Lois is a killer. With that, Wolfsbane swings her razor-sharp claws across Mortis’s neck, tearing a wide, deep gash. Lois screams as warm, red blood begins gushing out of her throat. She crawls along the floor, desperately trying to get away. All the while, Rahne continues speaking to her. She tells Lois that Alison Blaire is a good person. She would’ve helped Lois. Rahne knows what it feels like to think oneself a monster, and to need help. She asks Lois to just trust her—she knows.
“Will you just shut up and die, Sinclair?” a voice says from behind Wolfsbane. As Wither reaches his hand forward to clutch Rahne’s shoulder, however, another voice calls out to him, halting him. Wither turns and finds himself facing his old classmate from Xavier’s Institute, Elixir. Although Elixir claims he does not want to hurt Wither, he approaches him with his deadly hands ready for battle; he refuses to let Kevin kill anyone else. “Foley! You’re not going to let me kill anyone else? I’m going to kill everyone! Once you’re dead, we’ll go back to your little island, and I’m going to kill Frost and Mercury and Hellion,” Wither says. “I’ll find Moonstar and your parents,” he adds. “I’ll kill everyone you ever cared about!”
Hoping to avoid a fight, Josh begs Kevin to not make them do this. However, he spots Rahne sneaking up on Kevin with her claws outstretched and has to ask her to stop; he wants to let Wither come to him. Wither does. He leaps at Elixir with his lethal hands outstretched and a malignant smile plastered across his demonic face. “Do you know how long I’ve wanted this?” Wither asks. “Do you know how long that killing you has been all I can think about? And now I’m going to do it.” They lock hands, trying to overpower the other with their respective death touches.
Wither continues unleashing his rage at Elixir. “Laurie is dead because of you!” he shouts. “You didn’t protect her! I would have! You never cared about her, Foley… you’re supposed to save people… and you let her die!” As Kevin’s fangs elongate and his features grow more distorted, Josh’s golden skin slowly begins to wither. Still, he refuses to let go. “You deserve all of this, Foley… all of you deserve what’s coming to you!”
Elixir’s skin turns black. He looks Wither squarely in the eye and tells him he loved Laurie too. At that moment, Wither’s skin begins to glow gold. His jaw drops as a beam of golden light bursts forth from it. The same thing happens to his eyes. Confounded, he asks what’s happening to him—how this is happening to him—and begs Josh to stop. Josh apologizes—but refuses to stop. Wither screams as the bright energy consumes his body and crumbles him into dust. A moment later, he is completely gone, while Josh stands and stares at the remains of Kevin Ford.
Elsewhere in the citadel, Warpath frantically searches for the weapon needed to defeat Selene. His search brings him to a vast staircase in the middle of an expansive chamber. From across the way, his deceased brother, Thunderbird, calls to him and asks if he's ready. Warpath stops. He looks at his brother and, through the gray battle-paint covering his face, declares himself ready. When he asks John the same question in return, John merely leaps at him with his blade outstretched and cries "Hokahey!"
Warpath manages to halt the thrust of the spirit blade toward his face. Grabbing Thunderbird by the wrist, he holds it steady and uses the moment to reach out to his long-dead brother. He couldn't save his life, but he sure as hell won't let him suffer in death. John, however, refuses to submit so easily. As he takes a swing at James with his free hand, he tells his little brother that if he truly thinks he can fight him, he must prove it!
Thunderbird frees himself from Warpath's grip and slices at the top of Warpath's head with the spirit blade. Warpath ducks the attack, deftly moves behind Thunderbird and locks him in a choke-hold. He's not the same kid John left behind all those years ago, he says. He's changed. He's done horrible things—things of which he is not proud. "I know," Thunderbird says, his face placid and without struggle. "But you only have to do one more."
Warpath pauses. "I love you, brother," he says—right before snapping John's neck. As his brother falls to the ground and releases his death rattle, James tells him it will all be over soon.
Elsewhere, Selene feels Thunderbird and the others amongst her Coven die. Her worried eyes widen. She decides to take action against X-Force.
Beneath the towering Selene, Domino, Wolverine and X-23 look upward nervously. When Domino asks if anyone has thoughts on what to do next, X-23 responds by cursing. Domino doesn't find this very helpful.
A moment later, Selene smashes her fist down on X-Force. They barely leap out of the way in time. As she glares at them from her elevated position, she mocks their resilience. How noble of Xavier and his children to fight until the end, she snorts derisively. She reminds them, however, that the end draws near. Their souls are hers now—and she will have them all!
Meanwhile, in the corner of the room, Blink uses the last of her strength to grab the dying Mortis and teleport her to safety. They depart without notice.
Up above, Selene makes a grab for Archangel. As she grips him, however, she realizes she cannot feel his soul. She cannot feel any of their souls. Why? "Because you are weak!!" Archangel shouts. He slices off her hand. Instantly, it grows back, and Selene tosses her captive away. If she cannot feed on their souls, then she will have to be satisfied with burning the flesh off their bodies. Pointing her arms downward, she directs a white-hot energy blast at the scattering members of X-Force. Did they truly believe they could kill her with their claws and guns? She is a goddess!
Her blast catches Wolverine's leg. Amidst the pain, he orders Elixir to go and get Selene. Josh tries his best. He rushes over to her leg, climbs to her glowing torso and lays on his death touch. It has no apparent effect on Selene, however. Declaring herself beyond this realm, she brushes Elixir aside. She is neither human nor mutant, she proclaims! Her opponents are nothing to her! She slaps X-23 off her feet and clutches Wolfsbane around the neck. "I am Selene!" she shouts. "I am—"
"Hey!" Warpath yells. "We get it. You're Selene. Now how about you shut the hell up, goddess... and get ready to die." He lurches toward her, bearing in his left hand the spirit blade crafted from the bones of Selene's long-dead mother.
Despite how futile the attempt may seem, Wolverine orders his companions to restrain Selene. The scramble up her immense, blue body and try to hold her limbs in place. Selene's facial expression doesn't even change. They dare touch her? They will all burn, she says! As easily as ever, she smacks them aside—and commands them to burn. Wolverine, however, holds fast in his grip. He pulls himself up to Selene's shoulder and looks her dead in the eye. "I saved your life once, remember?" he asks. "Here's the news, you old hag... I was wrong." With that, he gives Jimmy the order.
James, sneaking up on Selene unnoticed, thrusts forward and plunges the spirit blade deep into her chest. At first, Selene merely stumbles backward, unfazed. As the debilitating effect of the mystical weapon spreads, however, she realizes what is happening to her—even if she doesn't quite understand. After all, she thinks herself a god; how can this happen? This is not how she meant for events to transpire! With her last breath, she once again attempts to declare what she was supposed to be—then explodes in a flash of pure, white energy.
Genosha, once again shrouded in darkness, falls silent. Slowly, the scattered members of X-Force pick themselves back up and check in with each other. When Wolverine asks Warpath if he's okay, he says he's fine, mainly because he hid behind Logan when Selene erupted. Domino, meanwhile, helps Laura off her feet and notes she is already healing. Elixir and Wolfsbane likewise report they're okay. As Wolfsbane reaches out to give Josh a Elixir a hand off the ground, however, he curtly tells her not to touch him. Vanisher, meanwhile, asks Archangel for a hand. "The only thing I would do to your hand is cut it off," Archangel says. He directs his attention elsewhere and encourages the others to do the same.
Where Selene once stood stands a pillar of light that reaches up into the sky, farther than the eye can see. Within this column, the souls of those Selene attempted to consume drift upward, away from the taint of Genosha. Warpath sees his brother's noble spirit amongst the dead, free at last from Selene's control. With his parting words, Thunderbird tells his little brother he can finally let go. He vanishes into the sky with all the others. Warpath merely lifts his hand and waves. "Thanks," he says.
The Vanisher is the first to speak after a prolonged silence. "...can we get the hell out of here now?" he asks. Wolverine answers affirmatively. The group heads home.
Angel's Aerie. Colorado. 48 hours later...
Out on the balcony overlooking the Rocky Mountains, Cyclops and Logan debrief. Cyclops tells his field leader that some of the resurrected mutants may have escaped Utopia before Blink was able to take the rest of them back. Although no one is showing up on Cerebra, Scott fears they could still be out there. Logan grunts. Cyclops then asks for a status report on his team. "Dom and Vanisher are in Brazil for some R & R, doing god knows what. They're in. But Warpath's out. He's made his peace," Wolverine states. "Elixir's gone, too. He's having a hard time staying gold, apparently. And Wolfsbane, she never should have been there in the first place." Cyke asks about X-23; Logan tells him she's out too. When Cyclops asks if she's okay, Logan responds by saying Laura is out of the team because he says so.
With the debriefing complete, Logan asks what happens now. Cyclops still needs him, he says; he still needs an X-Force. "It's all coming to a head, can you feel it? It's always darkest before the dawn, right?" Summers asks. He pauses for a moment. "The dawn hasn't come yet."