X-Men (2nd series) #42

Issue Date: 
July 1995
Story Title: 
Heaven Can Wait

Fabian Nicieza (Writer), Paul Smith (Penciler), Matt Ryan (Inker), Kevin Somers/Digital Chameleon (Color Art), Richard Starkings and Comicraft (Lettering), Bob Harras (Editor)

Brief Description: 

Exodus and the Acolytes have brought a mysterious, unconscious creature aboard Avalon which not everyone trusts. It soon kills Milan and Rusty Collins before waking up and breaking out of its containment field. The creature, Age of Apocalypse’s Holocaust, engages Exodus in battle, tearing Avalon apart. Voght flees to Earth, accidentally teleporting Cyclops and Phoenix back to the station. Meanwhile, Xavier and Storm hear news of a massacre by mutants from Archangel. Rogue, channeling Gambit, tries her hand at theft but is halted by Iceman.

Full Summary: 

From the safety of Avalon, Exodus contemplates the danger and beauty of planet Earth. He tips back a glass and toasts the Acolytes on a new dawn for mutantkind, heralded by a “child of the stars.” Crushing his glass in his fist, Exodus recounts their recent discovery of the strange extraterrestrial being around which they are currently gathered. The Acolyte Milan has been studying the DNA scans from the mummified creature, encased in a containment unit, and relays that it is not an alien. In fact, it is a mutant with one of the most powerful mutagenic signatures he’s seen. Upon this information, both Colossus and Milan express their doubts about bringing the creature on board, but Exodus rebuffs their misgivings by insisting that the mutant is a sign. Off to commune with Magneto, Exodus dismisses the Acolytes back to their chambers, while assigning Milan to watch over the mutant as penance for his doubts.

Alone with the creature, Milan reflects on Exodus’s madness and his own regret over not living the life of extraordinary sights and places that Magneto had promised him. He begins to electropathically connect with the life support system when, suddenly, the creature floods his mind with images of the Age of Apocalypse, including Magneto and Exodus among the X-Men. Weakly stumbling toward the door, Milan considers these images impossible and seeks to warn the others. Unfortunately for him, his foot begins to glow and burn, and he is dragged toward the creature. Calling out for help, Milan dissolves into nothing. The creature stirs.

Meanwhile, at the Xavier Institute, Professor Xavier watches coverage of the destruction caused by Juggernaut’s recent frenzied attack on Beast, Bishop and Psylocke. Storm interrupts to relay a message from Archangel that a massacre has occurred in Manhattan, committed by mutants. Xavier expresses interest in working with Detective Charlotte Jones to locate the murderers, while Storm laments their inability to involve Wolverine. They are interrupted again (for no apparent reason) by news from Beast that Juggernaut is still just as catatonic as his other patients, Gambit and Sabretooth.

Down in Florida, a shadowy figure in a trench coat approaches two massive doors. A playing card is placed between the handles and charged with just enough energy to open the doors. The figure advances inward toward a golden helmet, removing the case and reaching for it. Suddenly, ice encases the person’s hands and a voice cries, “That’s enough!” Iceman descends down on the would-be thief, revealed to be the red-eyed Rogue. Iceman explains that he was allowing her to try and work things out on her own and deal with what happened between her and Gambit. However, he can’t understand what she’s doing. She does not respond, a tear streaming down her face.

Back on Avalon, Rusty and Skids discuss their regrets over joining the Acolytes. Skids says it was a big mistake, passing it of as confusion in the wake of Stryfe’s mind control. Rusty believes it was only logical after Magneto had restored their memories and lives. They notice that Colossus seems unsure over his change in sides as well. “Act in haste, repent in leisure,” Rusty says. They mention that Peter told both of them not to trust Exodus, but Scanner’s astral form appears before they can continue. She tells Rusty that they’re having trouble contacting Milan, and Exodus wants him to investigate.

Before Rusty departs, Skids wonders aloud whether it is just a coincidence that Rusty is getting sent off right as they were about to discuss Exodus. Rusty assures her that it’s not a trap – famous last words. He heads off to the medical bay, not at all confident in the reassurances he’s just given to Skids. Rusty begins to recall the old, simpler days, but instead turns his thoughts toward the future and escaping Avalon. He wonders whether Voght or Rasputin would lead a revolt against Exodus and whether or not he would be brave enough to join in. When he arrives at the creature’s room, Rusty finds Milan missing and the machines smoking. The creature appears less emaciated. Peering into the glass, he finds two eerily green eyes staring back at him from the mummified body. It is awake. Rusty’s hand begins to glow and sizzle just as Scanner’s astral form arrives. Pleading for help, he quickly disappears as the creature’s containment field explodes.

Holocaust steps out of the debris, confused by his lack of life armor, and asks Scanner where McCoy is. Exodus appears, telling Holocaust that no one makes demands on Avalon. Holocaust replies, “Exodus? You’ve changed, X-Man. Where are the rest of your traitorous allies?” Exodus has no clue what Holocaust is talking about, but is intrigued that Holocaust recognizes him at all. Holocaust, still believing he is in the Age of Apocalypse, tells Exodus to stop playing the fool, but Exodus again denies knowing him. Holocaust proceeds to recount all his knowledge of Exodus, including his real name, Paris Bennet. Exodus is stunned, since no man alive knows his real name and recants his earlier opinion, declaring Holocaust a blasphemer. Crying that he is not an X-Man but rather a follower of Magneto, he attacks.

Avalon erupts as Exodus’s psionic attack rips it apart. The Acolytes feel the effects. Voght asks the computer what’s going on. Colossus sits up in bed, transforming into organic steel, recognizing that the damage is from the area where the creature was. “I knew he was dangerous!”

Back in the medical unit, Holocaust is confused. Exodus claims to serve Magneto and not the X-Men, but in Holocaust’s world they are one and the same. As they continue to battle, Holocaust tells Exodus that he is different – more pretentious than he remembers. But because Exodus mentioned that they were in Magneto’s stronghold, Holocaust seizes the opportunity, intent on finding “the traitor” Magneto. “Because he will die at my hands – for I am the son of Apocalypse!”

Back in Salem Center, Jean and Scott are driving down the driveway toward the mansion. Scott asks Jean how she’s feeling; she’s been “awfully quiet.” Jean confirms that she’s still in shock over the loss of her sister. Scott sympathizes, remembering how he felt when he thought Alex was dead. As they continue to drive, Voght begins to coalesce in the middle of the road, still phasing, clutching her face. Jean tries to brake, but slams headlong into Voght’s teleportation riff. They reappear on Avalon alongside the wreckage of their car. Exodus and Holocaust are still duking it out; Colossus and Scanner clutch Magneto’s unconscious body. Cyclops and Phoenix shout Peter’s name in surprise. He is just as surprised to see them; he didn’t expect them to be the help that Voght sent back. Colossus warns them that they should not have come, as in a matter of minutes they will all be dead.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Phoenix IV, Professor X, Rogue, Storm (All X-Men)

Cargill, Colossus, Exodus, Javitz, Harlan Kleinstock, Sven Kleinstock, Magneto, Milan, Rusty Collins, Scanner, Skids, Unuscione, Voght (All Acolytes)



Story Notes: 

Holocaust was brought aboard Avalon in X-Men: Prime.

Rogue is still recovering from the memories and powers she absorbed from Gambit when they kissed in X-Men (2nd Series) #41.

The massacre Storm references was committed by Gene Nation and investigated in Uncanny X-Men #323.

Issue Information: 
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