X-Men (3rd series) #21

Issue Date: 
January 2012
Story Title: 

Victor Gischler (writer), Will Conrad (penciler, inker), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Adi Granov (cover), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

The battle of X-Men versus Avenger is ended after a Symkarian excursion into the restricted airspace. So instead of fighting each other, War Machine, Storm and Colossus team up and head to Puternicstan. Meanwhile, the Domino rescue party, led by Psylocke, discovers a huge cache of Sentinels and get involved in a big fight with the Puternicstan special-ops. As luck would have it, Domino is doing fine on her own, easily dispatching the two men set to do an autopsy on her. Elsewhere in the city, Governor Strelonivich and Dr. Kamarofski fill General Nobakov in on their hidden agenda, to use the Sentinels to attack their neighboring countries. They get to field test the Sentinels’ new programming when Storm and her crew approach the city. It works, as the Sentinel attacks War Machine, fooled into thinking he’s a mutant, and begins to crush him.

Full Summary: 

near Puternicstan

Deep within the dense forest a battle of hero against hero rages on. Normally, Avengers and X-Men would be fighting on the same side, but not this time, not when an X-Man is down and deep in NATO-forbidden territory.
Though the battle has already begun Storm urges War Machine to give her a chance to explain. However, Rhodey is not one to cave. He restates his role as both a U.S. and NATO representative, and tells Storm her team needs to stay out of the area, no exceptions.
However, before War Machine can fire off another repulsor blast, the wily Storm fries him with a lightning attack. War Machine hits the ground, smoke pouring out of his shoulder sockets. Rhodey decides to return the favor and fires off a taser that latches onto Ororo’s gut.
Once the electric shock passes Storm crumples to the dirt, her muscles exhausted. War Machine approaches her cautiously and apologizes for the excessive force. Unfortunately for him, he’s underestimated the resilience of Colossus who has fully recovered. The realization comes when he’s sucker-smashed in the back.
Though he’s knocked back onto the ground, War Machine sits right up and lets loose with a solid repulsor blast that connects with Colossus. The metallic X-Men shrugs it off and slowly, methodically forces his way toward his attacker. Rhodey switches to shoulder rockets, but that doesn’t stop him either. Once Colossus is within range he decks War Machine with an overhand right.
Just then, three Symkarian jets fly overhead. War Machine tells Colossus to hold off. When asked if he’s surrendering, War Machine says those jets entered restricted airspace, which changes everything.

A Sentinel stands guard outside the governor’s building. Inside that building, the governor’s office to be precise, enters General Nobakov, who reports the intruder, Domino, has been taken care of. He tells her he got in touch some old KGB contacts and learned she was an agent of some talent. “Not anymore,” the governor retorts, as she stares out her window at her Sentinel bodyguard.
Anyway, she continues, mutants aren’t their problem. She’s more concerned about the Symkarians and the Latverians. If Puternicstan show even a hint of weakness it’lll only invite aggression.
The general has more news to share, namely that the mutant might prove valuable in reprogramming the Sentinels to their needs. He was told this by their resident lead scientist, Dr. Kamarofski. Anything that accelerates the timetable is good news, she exclaims happily. This confuses the general who knows nothing of any timetable. As she pours herself a drink Strelonivich apologizes, but tells Nobakov it had been necessary to keep him in the dark about certain, ambitious plans of hers.

Now that the fighting has stopped the three heroes talk things out aboard the grounded X-Jet. War Machine gets off the phone with some general and says the no fly-zone has been lifted since Puternicstan has its hands on a Sentinel. Keying in on the word “Sentinel” Storm says that’s X-Men territory and suggests he accept their help. I can go back to punching you in the face, Colossus chimes in with a smile.
Rhodey mulls it over, since his orders don’t include recruiting more help, but it doesn’t take him long to realize it’s probably for the best. “…let’s mount up and kick some giant robot ass,” he finishes.
With her hand working the map display Storm urges caution as they have an X-Man down somewhere in the city. She doesn’t want to charge in until Psylocke reports back with some intel on the situation. Then she’ll help him take down all the Sentinels she can.

Two men in white trench coats carry a litter up a set of stairs. On that litter, covered in white linen, is the body of Domino. They take her to some sort of lab where the one named Goran asks if the medics even tried to resuscitate her. The one with “Glasses” doesn’t see why as nobody could survive a blast like that.
Both men stare at a computer monitor showing Domino’s DNA. “Glasses” says they’ve got tissue samples and bone marrow, which should be more than enough for their purposes. “You’d think so, wouldn’t you?” Goran replies, but says Dr. Kamarofski wants a full autopsy and all her organs preserved and stored.
The two men then talk about how crazy, but brilliant, Kamarofski is, though they’d be sure not to say that anywhere near him or they’d end up a corpse like Domino. So enraptured are they in making fun of Kamarofski they don’t notice the “corpse’s” eyes open. It turns out Domino is alive and the first thing she does is reach for a nearby scalpel.
inside the city

The rescue team of X-Men are traveling via rooftop through the city. Storm telepathically checks in with Psylocke who reports she had to scan a lot of minds, but learned where Domino was taken, and that they’re almost there.
Once they reach the roof of where Domino’s being held they spy two guards standing near the entrance. Jubilee and Warpath each choose one of the men and sneak up on them from behind. They easily take them out and gain access to the building. Once inside, Psylocke gives Storm an update and tells her she’ll request assistance if needed.
As they make their way down another hallway some random guy walks out of a room in front of them, carrying a soda. His shocked expression is priceless. Jubilee apologizes ahead of time for what’s about to happen to his face. Probably unable to understand her English the man is completely caught off guard when he gets a boot to the jaw, dropping his soda as he collapses.
Although they don’t find Domino in the next room they do discover the two inoperable Sentinels being worked on. Psylocke reports their discovery to Storm who’s pleased they may only have to deal with one mutant hunting robot. Storm suggests they gather intel on Puternicstan’s plans for these Sentinels.
The stealthy trio manages to take out all the workers in the warehouse without giving away their presence. Psylocke finds some blueprints on a nearby table and telepathically sends the images to Storm. Something on the blueprint bothers ‘Ro so Psylocke tells Warpath to open the big garage door behind them. He does, and what they discover is shocking.
They thought they were dealing with three Sentinels, and just recently thought they’d have to deal with only one that was operational. What they find, however, is an adjoining warehouse full Sentinels in seemingly perfect shape. Things get even worse when armed soldiers surround them, guns drawn.
The X-Men fan out, ready to fight. Psylocke gives Storm another update and tells her it’s time to join the party. Storm reports they’re inbound, and sure enough Storm is flying through the air above the city. Slightly behind her is War Machine, who’s carrying Colossus underneath.
elsewhere in the city

General Nobakov, Governor Strelonivich and Dr. Kamarofski are the sole occupants of a very wide hallway. As they walk, Nobakov is finally filled in on their secret agenda. As the governor explains, it was all Kamarofski’s plan and asks him to explain the rest.
Never taking his eyes off his tablet PC, Kamarofski mentions the flooding of junky Sentinels on the black market. The one thing they needed most importantly was a good brain. He’s been working on creating a Sentinel that could control their other Sentinels, similar to a queen bee sending messages to her drones. The only problem, Dr. Kamarofski says, is they needed a way to recalibrate their target sensors so they could focus on something other than mutants.
That problem, however, has now been solved by the captured mutant. Strelonivich asks him to explain and Kamarofski says they can use the mutant’s bio-signature to trick the Sentinels into believing any of its targets are mutants. That’s all well and good, the general agrees, but he still doesn’t understand the end game. Strelonivich smiles and says she’s going to show him the future of Puternicstan.

The two coroners hear gunfire nearby and while Goran worries, “Glasses” is dismissive, reminding his partner it’s an enormous building full of men with guns. Goran can’t believe how calm he is with everything that’s happened recently. He then excuses himself to get some coffee and doughnuts. “Glasses”, standing next to Domino, who’s still playing dead, tells him to hurry back as he’s about to be wrist-deep in this mutant’s guts and Goran’s supposed to be helping.
Goran placates him with a “yeah, yeah,” as he leaves the room. Despite being alone the other coroner gets to work. He begins by donning a mask over his face and grabbing a bonesaw.
He certainly doesn’t expect his “dead” body to suddenly reach out and grab him by the throat, but that’s what it does. Domino also has a scalpel in her left hand and holds it against his throat. She demands to know where she is and how she got there and then nicks his skin, blood flitting through the air. She tells the young man if she doesn’t like the answers she’ll be wrist deep in his guts.
Minutes later, Goran returns, coffee in hand, complaining about the lack of doughnuts. Then he spots his partner gagged and tied to a chair. He immediately turns and reaches for the comms system, but a high-velocity scalpel pierces, and lodges into, the back of his hand. He cries out in agony as Domino sweep-kicks his legs and knocks him to the ground. The coffee flies from his hand and Domino catches it gingerly. As she places her booted foot onto his head she takes a sip. It’s disgusting; she compares the coffee to cake batter.
War Room

Elsewhere in the city, the three masterminds of the Puternicstan Sentinel program enter the War Room, a very large area with dozens of computers and various technological apparatuses. This is the first time General Nobakov has been notified of its existence. Strelonivich hopes Nobakov will help run it, and informs him they’ve also acquired a satellite.
This is all too much for the general who can’t believe what he’s seeing. The governor tells him their newfound wealth of uranium has made them a target, but also very wealthy, which is how all of it is being funded. Nobakov is still confused as he thought the Sentinels were going to be used solely as a deterrent, but Strelonivich informs him their enemies cannot be deterred, only defeated.
Her hand clenched into a fist, the governor tells Nobakov, who is not a native to Puternicstan, of the horrors she faced as a child. She was six when the first Symkarian tanks rolled through their streets, raping and killing. Then, four years later, the Latverians did the same. She says when the Soviets invaded, it was almost like a vacation.
The trip down memory lane is cut short when a nearby technician alerts them to intruders spotted in their airspace. The image is brought up on the big screen and they see it’s Storm, Colossus and War Machine and they’re closing in fast. The governor asks Dr. Kamarofski if the new technology is in place. With a wicked smile the doctor replies in the affirmative. He turns the modified Sentinel on, confident the test run will go smoothly.
nearby airspace

The rescue team is just above the city, Storm in the lead and trying to mentally reach Psylocke. The Sentinel comes out of nowhere and clocks War Machine with a simple, left-handed punch. This also causes a problem for Colossus who’s jarred from War Machine’s grasp and crashes to the ground.
The Sentinel keeps its sights on War Machine and flies toward his location. His sensors read him as a mutant, which is a big surprise to Rhodey. He’s quickly caught in the Sentinel’s grip and brought to bear in front of its face.
War Room

The governor watches this all go down on the big monitor, pleased as punch. Kamarofski looks at the readings and verifies the Sentinel’s protocol has been fooled by Domino’s implanted bio-signature. It doesn’t even have to be a living thing, Dr. Kamarofski adds. They could fool the Sentinel into thinking tanks or aircraft are mutants.
Though seemingly impossible, Strelonivich smiles even wider, her eyes still fastened to the screen. “With this technology…Symkaria will tremble,” she exclaims.
the city

The Sentinel decides to continue with its programming and commence with the termination of the “mutant.” Instead of using repulsor rays or eye beams it resorts to a good old-fashioned fist-squeezing. War Machine yells out in agony as his suit begins to crumble.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Domino, Jubilee, Psylocke, Storm, Warpath (all X-Men)

War Machine
Dr. Kamarofski

General Nobakov

Governor Strelonivich

Goran (coroner)


Story Notes: 

The KGB were the Soviet Union’s branch of national security, similar to the U.S.’ C.I.A.

Issue Information: 
Written By: