X-Men (2nd series) #35

Issue Date: 
August 1994
Story Title: 
Sunset Grace

Fabian Nicieza (writer), Liam Sharp (penciler), Robin Riggs (inkers), Digital Chameleon (colorist), Bill Oakley (letterer), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Jean and Scott stand upon the deck of a SHIELD Hellicarrier and the two newly weds are met by Nick Fury. He tells them about his recent finding of their comatose bodies and his need for their assistance near the town of St. Bart’s. Agreeing to help Fury, they immediately travel to the place where a dimensional rift has taken over the sky. Jean nears the rift and is sucked in. Scared for his partner’s life, Scott plunges into the abyss after her and the two X-Men arrive in a land with a plethora of images attacking their senses. Walking down a path, they meet up with the mutant that is causing the rift; her name is Sunset Grace. After requesting a meeting with her, she opens up to them about her past and her powers. She informs them of how her dimensional rifts were, at one time, a place of solitude for her but now they are a place of distress. She goes on to say that she has been in search for her family that disappeared into the portal years ago and just now has learned how to use her powers again to find them. Sadly, Jena knows the truth but is able to bring her family to her. After their arrival, Grace is overcome by joy and she makes everything that she almost destroyed safe once more by shutting down her rift. Luckily for the Summers, she sends them back through the rift before shutting herself in it. After a quick debriefing, Scott and Jean head off on their own and discuss if it was the right thing to do, by bringing her family back to life, even though they had died years ago. They agree that a make-believe life is the goal of a family.

Full Summary: 

Jean and Scott Summers embrace one another in a loving kiss. The two lovers talk to each other via their telepathic link and Jean is ecstatic that they are back in their bodies and in their original time. Scott tells her that it is great, because their telepathic link is still there. Jean tells him of how great it was to help raise Nathan Dayspring in the future and help save him from Apocalypse.

Suddenly, the two lovers are startled by a voice from behind them. The voice is that of Nick Fury and he questions them about their recent comatose state. He tells them that an ESPer Unit found them washed ashore on St. Bart’s beach and they’ve been unconscious for two hours. Shocked, Scott stammers about them truly being gone for twelve years. Jean tells him that Rachel must have sent the two of them traveling back in time to almost the same time they had departed for the future. Nick Fury tells the two mutants that he doesn’t mean to sound harsh, but he is more worried about S.H.I.E.L.D.’s problems than theirs, at the moment.

Behind Fury, a video screen shows an older lady that Fury introduces as … before he can say her name, Cyclops interrupts. Scott tells him that her name is Sunset Grace, who is a craftswoman that sells her goods on the beach. Fury continues on with his speech, he tells them that her real name is Grace Lavreaux, who is a fifty-nine year old widow and apparently a mutant! Fury continues on, as a new image is displayed on the screen. He tells them that she is apparently going to be responsible for the end of the world. Shocked, the two mutants brace themselves as the image appears on the screen. Above the beach, a hole in the atmosphere has opened up, revealing an horrific scenery and the hole seems to be getting bigger.

Jean stands before Fury and tells him that the two of them will help him, but it might be a better idea to get the rest of the X-Men involved. Fury, looking at his cigar, tells them that the time for assemblage is over, because, with-in a few hours, Sunset Grace’s dimensional rift will engulf the world. Fury goes on to say that it doesn’t matter what either he or they think, anyways, because Sunset Grace has asked for Jean and Scott personally to talk to her. Scott and Jean stand side by side and with Fury’s last words, Scott telepathically asks what Fury means.

After a thirty-minute debriefing, Jean, Scott and Fury leave for the island below them and to rendezvous with the other members of S.H.I.E.L.D. On their trek to the site, Fury tells them that a few of his men were sucked into the portal and, via their comm. Signals, he was able to hear Grace request an audience with Charles or the his two mutants she had felt earlier (that being Jean and Scott Summers). Nearing the makeshift lab, the two X-Men find that Fury was unable to contact the mansion, because it seemed their systems were disconnected. Worried about Fury’s revelations, Jean and Scott talk telepathically about their concerns over their friends’ safety. Jean asks if they should try and contact the Professor and Scott warns her that the crisis before them must be taken care of first. She agrees with him and, after talking about their marriage life not changing their past, the lovers head nearer the rift.

Once by the rift, Jean tries to contact Sunset Grace via her telepathy. Jean screams in pain that Grace is calling out to her through the void and pulling her into it. With that said, Scott watches as his wife is sucked into the portal and vanishes. Without hesitating, even though Fury tries with all his might to hold him back, Scott plunges into the portal after her. He thinks, as he runs, of all the friends he has lost and remembers the silent vow he made to himself the day that Jean and him were married that he would never lose her or let her be hurt. He also knows that the two of them are two halves of a whole and that, where one half goes, the other must follow.

Reappearing on the other end of the void, Scott tells himself that he has done dumber things than this before. Jean telepathically contacts him and asks him why he followed her through the rift. Scott tells her that he must have been dumb to do so. Coming closer to her, she asks him then if he thinks it better that his wife disappear and him to never see her again. Teasingly, he replies that he must be in a no win situation with her, now. She tells him that she is just doing her job as his wife. Coming upon Jean, who is leaning over men dressed in SHIELD issue uniforms, he tells her that she still has her humor. Jean, becoming serious, tells Scott that these are the SHIELD agents and luckily they are still alive.

Finally reaching each other, the two newly weds embrace once more and Jean tells Scott that the atmosphere around them feels charged with sadness. Scott tells Jean that they should help the agents go home. Jean agrees and she wraps them in a telekinetic cocoon, while Scott uses his optic beam to harmlessly propel the cocoon and its occupants through the portal. Jean tells Scott that she can sense the pain he is feeling about being burdened with his optic visors once more. Scott tells her that it is fine, but Jean is reluctant to believe him.

Walking down a path that seems to change in scope, one minute it is a stone stairwell, the next a stone path and, finally, coming to a stop, the two mutants walk on a path of roots leading to a giant tree. Beside the tree stands a woman and her name is Sunset Grace. She apologizes for the pain she has caused them, and she accepts their help in trying to ease her sadness. Walking onto to a bridge, the three mutants pass by paintings suspended in the air. Grace tells the two of them that it is mainly their fault she has begun once more to use her powers.

On the other side of the portal, Agent Richter and Nick Fury converse about something that seems to be coming through the portal. Suddenly, a flash of energy and their missing SHIELD Agents appear through the purple mist and Fury wanders if he sent two newlyweds that had just begun their lives into a place that will end them?

Inside the rift, Grace leads Jean and Scott through a myriad amount of different images. She tells them that it was a few days ago when she was walking on the beach, looking for shells, that she met the two of them. After parting from their presence, she heard a scream, not a vocal noise, but one of the mind. She goes on to say that the scream felt like a spirit was saddened about the loss of its life only after finding true piece with another person. She tells them that it was moments later that her mutant powers flared up again and she was able to open a rift in the atmosphere to her own personal dimension.

Jean holds Scotts hand and she tells Grace that it must have been her powers flaring up around the same time her astral form was being sent into the future. Jean next asks how her psi-call could have leaded to such sadness and pain for her? Grace tells them that she hadn’t used her gifts in so long that she had thought them gone forever. Briefly telling a story, she tells them that her mutants powers, as Charley called them, came freely out from her now and opened up a rift at the exact spot she had opened one up the last time. Scott surmises aloud that Grace’s powers must open up a dimensional portal to the Astral Plane. Jean puts an arm around Grace and asks her how there could be so much sadness and loss here.

The myriad of images changes once again and in its place or the pictures of a happy Grace playing with birds, dancing on mushrooms, meeting a mate and falling in love. As the images dance across their vision, she tells them that when she turned thirteen she was able to open a hole in the air and, when she turned fifteen, she was able to turn her hole into a place she called Neverneverland. She goes on to say that each time she visited her dimension, the dimension would grow. She tells them that, unlike Peter Pan, she finally grew up and adult life to precedent over her make-believe world.

The images change once more and this time they are the pictures of vivid scenes, a car crash, a lone woman surviving, a car falling through one of her voids and Grace’s eyes filling up with tears. She tells them that her and her family was traveling from the market when their car skidded off the road and went sailing over a cliff and headed towards the waters below. She tells them that her power instinctively began to work and she sent her family through the portal, leaving her to fight her way to the cliff above and out of a watery grave. She tells them that for some reason she couldn’t get her powers to work again and, sadly, she could not retrieve or go to her family.

Sitting on a cliff that seems to have a skull carved into its face, Scott summarizes the last part of Grace’s story, saying that she sent her family to the astral plane. Jean reminds herself that they saw the signs when they arrived into the dimension, in the form of the remains of a guardrail and the mangled sedan. Grace tells them that her world is that of make-believe but, when her family plummeted from the cliff, this world became her nightmare. She tells them that for months after their disappearance she couldn’t move or even talk and that’s when they sent him to her.

Scott states the obvious: that Grace means Charles Xavier was sent to her. She tells them that Xavier was so young then, younger than even the two of them are now. She says that she wondered how such a young man could contain so much humanity. He slowly puts together the pieces of her tattered soul but he could not help her unlock the dormant powers that she possessed and her family was lost to her. Until she met them, she goes on to say.

More images pour through the minds of the three mutants as Jean and Grace hold one another’s faces and watch one another as tears fall down their faces. The images of Cable battling Stryfe, Cyclops giving his son Nathan up to the future, Redd and Slym leading their young charge, Nathan Dayspring, through the future and Francois holding his son, Christian, as he stands alone in the emptiness of Grace’s Neverneverland, all flash across their minds. Jean tells Scott that their trip to the future was to teach his son, Nathan, about hope and to give meaning to his life, but Grace lost that chance the day her husband and son disappeared.

Scott begins to tear up and apologizes to Grace for all the loss her life has seen. Jean telepathically makes Grace look through her eyes and, in so doing so, Grace finds her son and husband. Two figures appear, adorned in robes and they embrace Grace. Grace tells Jean that her husband and son are much older now, but she finally realizes she done the right thing by sending them through her portal. Jean stutters that she doesn’t understand. Grace tells her that she does understand and she needs them to make her feel complete, because that is what family is, the sum of the parts are never as strong as the whole. Jean tells her to take her family then, to let them in her heart, as she lets the two of them free of her Neverneverland.

Outside the portal, Nick Fury watches and sees the field begin to stir once more. Suddenly, he sees Scott and Jean appearing and he announces to the others that they have made it back. Holding towels over their bodies, the two lovers look saddened for what they have just witnessed, but they tell Nick to not worry about them, because they are okay. Fury asks, what happened in the portal and where is Grace? Jean tells him that Grace decided to stay in her own world, because she had finally found happiness for herself. Jean goes on to say that Grace closed the portal from the inside and she has no reason to leave.

Hours later, Scott and Jean stand atop the cliff where the Lavreaux family went over, so many years ago. They hold one another and Scott asks Jean how she was able to find Grace’s family in the dimension. Jean tells her that her family was where they had always been, since the car accident, in Grace’s memories. She tells him that they had died before entering the portal and what is sad about the fact is that Grace always knew it in her heart. Scott asks her if it is wrong for Grace to be living a make-believe life in her dimension. Jean tells him that she wishes everyone could find such joy in one another, as Grace found in her family.

Characters Involved: 

Cyclops, Jean Grey-Summers (all X-Men)
Nick Fury, Richter, and other of Nick’s S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents

Sunset Grace

S.H.I.E.L.D. monitor display:
Sunset Grace

Cyclops & Jean’s memories:
Nathan Dayspring
Mother Askani

Sunset Grace’s world illusions
Francois and Christian Lavreaux
Jean Grey-Summers
Sunset Grace

Story Notes: 

Jean and Scott posed as Redd and Slym (respectively) in the limited series entitled The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix.

Written By: