X-Men '92 (2nd series) #4

Issue Date: 
August 2016
Story Title: 
Pages from the Book of Sins

Chris Sims & Chad Bowers (writers), Alti Firmansyah (artist), Matt Milla (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Travis Lanham (letterer), David Nakayama (cover artist), Carlos Lao (production), Heather Antos (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Storm, Bishop, Psylocke, Dracula and U-Go Girl are on the lawn of the X-Mansion, where Alpha Red, Wolverine, Jubilee and the others transformed into vampires are ready to do battle. Inside, Beast and a small group of students are all that is left to try and help their friends outside. Beast has given Dead Girl the task of using Cerebro to enter what is technically a virtual reality. The battle outside rages, but the tide turns when Wolverine manages to overcome the vampiric influence he is under and attacks Alpha Red. Dead Girl finds herself in the virtual reality environment, where she meets a dwarf appearing as a messenger of the Darkhold. Beast, Professor X and the students are soon confronted by Rogue and Gambit, who break into the lab. Back outside, Jubilee passes out, and Storm explains that Alpha Red's bite is starting to destroy his victims. Alpha Red confronts Dracula, his father, and prepares to kill him, until Storm comes to Dracula's defense, angering Dracula. Professor X pulls Storm and the Beast into the Astral Plane, where they witness Dead Girl talking to the Darkhold Dwarf, who gives her the opportunity of undoing everything that Alpha Red has done, and destroying all vampires in the process. Storm urges Dead Girl to accept the offer, but the Beast isn't so sure – because they can't be aware of the impact of what turning all of the vampires into human will do. Storm tells Dead Girl to just do it, accept the offer, but the Beast tells her that there must be time to make another plan. Dead Girl takes the offer from the Darkhold Dwarf and says “No more vampires”. Around the world, and beyond space and time, this announcement is felt. Outside the mansion, the X-Men, students, the Winter Guard and Maverick are all freed from the vampiric curse. Dracula watches over his son, who tells his father how betrayed he feels. Alpha Red then crumbles to dust, and Dracula blames Storm, who simply suggests to him that he get used to being human. A few days later, the students are helping rebuild the mansion, while Storm and the Professor discuss the recent dramas. Storm finds the Beast sitting under a tree, where the Beast tells her that despite their victory, he thinks they made a deal with the devil. Storm tries to explain her reasons, but when she tells him that it was us or them – mutants or the vampires – the Beast asks her where he has heard that before, and walks away from her.

Full Summary: 

Westchester, the sun shines down on the front lawn of the Xavier Institute, where Ororo “Storm” Munroe, Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock, Lucas Bishop, the student Edie Sawyer a.k.a. U-Go Girl and Dracula stand their ground, ready for battle. 'Alpha Red!' Storm shouts. 'You threaten to replace mutant and mankind with your bloodthirsty breed? Mark my words, monster – that will not happen! The X-Men will not allow it!' Betsy asks Storm if she sees that that they are obnoxiously outnumbered, to which Dracula asks 'But for how long?'

Inside the X-Mansion, Dr Henry McCoy a.k.a. the Beast is in a lab with several students – Chamber, Husk, Artie and Dead Girl, as he tinkers with some sort of helmet. 'And that's it. Everything you need to know about virtual reality in under a minute. Questions?' the Beast asks. 'Just one, Beast' Dead Girl replies, asking if it is too late to drop out of school.

Chamber prepares some equipment, while Husk and Artie stand on some stairs nearby. 'Afraid so' the Beast tells Dead Girl, pointing out that not only did Alpha Red's incantation preternaturally alter every vampire on earth, but it also corrupted their super-computer, Cerebro. The Beast explains that traditional antivirus methods are out of the question, and so their only hope is to access that same program through VR and digitally exorcise the software. 'And that's where I come in?' Dead Girl asks. The Beast points out that Dead Girl's unique mutant abilities make her immune to the supernatural, so she is the best chance they have got. 'I'm not sure, I -' Dead Girl begins, nervously. 'I'll pass you for the semester' the Beast tells her, handing her the VR helmet. 'Honor Roll, here I come!' Dead Girl exclaims, putting the helmet on.

Back outside, the infected Wolverine a.k.a. Logan and Jubilation Lee stand alongside Maverick, the students Kid Sensitive and Leech and the People's Protectorate members Darkstar, Red Guardian, Vostok and Ursa Major as Alpha Red laughs at Storm and tells her that she talks tough, but that it doesn't matter how grandly she speaks or how resolved she is to stop him, because he has already run. 'The age of the mutant is over. All around the world vampires are rising to a new day – one where our weaknesses to religion and superstition are a thing of the past. Children of the night no more! We are unstoppable. Trust me. You're going to like being one of us' Alpha Red grins.

Storm points out that they don't have time for this, and orders Bishop and Psylocke to do their worst. 'X-Force style!' Bishop shouts as he ruses forward, holding a large weapon. 'And the children?' Psylocke enquires, psi-knife at the ready. Standing with U-Go Girl, Storm announces that she will deal with the children, but they are to focus on Alpha Red.

'No! He's my son – that makes him mine to punish!' Dracula cries  as he flies forward. 'You threaten me with rebuke? You who were my father in blood alone? No, I think not, old man!' Alpha Red shouts, boasting that Dracula will find he has no power over him, or any vampire for that matter. 'I have finally taken your place. I needn't even sully my hands with your demise' he remarks. 'Wolverine... you know what to do' Alpha Red commands Wolverine, who suddenly pops his claws, and replies 'Got a pretty good idea, Bub' as he slashes his claws across Alpha Red. 'But you ain't gonna like it!' Wolverine snarls, and Alpha Red screams.

Dracula looms over Alpha Red, 'Face me child! For the sins of the son must now be chastised by the father!' Dracula calls out. Alpha Red just growls, while Bishop shouts 'Get some!' as he fires his weapon, striking Darkstar, Red Guardian and Vostok at the same time. 'Traitor!' Maverick shouts as he grabs Wolverine from behind. 'Bad form, Wolvie! What gives?' Jubilee asks. Wolverine explains that his healing factor is fighting the bite, but he doesn't know how long he has got, so he took a shot while he could. As she kicks Ursa Major in the face, Psylocke tells Wolverine that if he feels like losing control again, he needs to say the word and they will put him down. 'Nothing like having friends' Wolverine replies.

'Never eaten a teacher's pet before!' the transformed Vivisector snarls as he and other transformed students move towards U-Go Girl and Storm. M, Kid Sensitive, Leech and Mondo are among them, as Storm tells Edie 'Just like we discussed'. U-Go Girl replies that she is ready, and shouts 'Set. Go!' As the transformed students lunge towards her, she teleports them, herself and Storm away.

An instant later, Storm and U-Go Girl return to the front lawn. 'Phew! Light headed, but... it worked' Edie exclaims, asking Storm if the others will be okay. Storm tells U-Go Girl that is not for her to worry about, and instructs her to find safety and get some rest, reminding her that she has class tomorrow.

The transformed students look around as they find themselves in the Danger Room. M, Leech, Doop, Vivisector, Kid Sensitive, Mondo and the others look confused, and Kid Sensitive wonders why she dropped them off here. The Danger Room computer tells the students that Storm has prepared a stimulating training session for them today, and launches program “Daywalker”. The students stand ready for battle as they are suddenly surrounded by holograms of Blade, who announces 'Well, well, well... looks like it's open season on all suckheads!' 'Oh, crap' M mutters.

Meantime, 'Helloooooo? Is there anybody home?' Dead Girl calls out as she floats through the VR world. Beast contacts her and asks her what she sees. 'Nothing too exciting' Dead Girl replies, explaining that she is just doing the Wonderland bit, and that it feels like she has been falling for days.

Suddenly, she lands in a cemetery. 'Whoa. Scenery just changed' she informs the Beast over the communicator, adding that the whole place looks pretty grim all of a sudden, and while normally that is her thing, she is a little wigged out. The Beast tells Dead Girl to stay calm, and assures her that they will get through this together. 'I'm gonna hold that to you, okay?' Dead Girl replies as she examines the strangely designed VR world. She then asks the Beast if he has any idea what she is looking for, when a voice calls out 'It looks like you're having trouble finding something. Can I help?'

Dead Girl looks over and sees a short man in a suit standing next to an open grave, the headstone reads Dead Girl. Died '92. Dead Girl asks him who he is, and the short man in the suit introduces himself as the Darkhold. 'May I grant your darkest wish at the cost of your immortal soul?' he enquires.


Back in the real world, Dead Girl mutters 'Who are you?' as the Beast shakes her body, 'Wait, who are you talking to? Is someone in there with you? Speak to me, Dead Girl. Dead Girl -' but he gets no response, and his concentration is interrupted by a loud BLANG. 'Oh, now what?' he asks Chamber.

They turn to the monitors, one of them depicts Psylocke outside who is fighting Vostok and Darkstar, while the other depicts Rogue outside the room they are in, slamming her fists into the door. 'Trouble! Rogue's outside and – well, you get the idea, yeah?' Chamber tells the Beast. The Beast points out that they have bigger concerns than the barbarians at the gate. 'Dead Girl's lost...in a computer?' Husk asks. Professor X has woken, and he asks the Beast to let him help, explaining that even weakened he can  still form a psychic link with Dead Girl. Wide-eyed, Chamber reminds the Beast that Rogue can snap their legs off with one hand when she's not a blood-sucking fiend, and now she is almost inside. 'Y'all tend to Goth Gal. I'll take care of little miss Rogue' Husk declares as she shucks her skin into a dense form.

Artie projects an image of some dynamite, while the Beast tells Husk that she is being admirable, but unnecessary, as this room was built to withstand the Juggernaut, so unlike Dead Girl, they are perfectly safe.

But an instant later, the door bursts open, knocking Chamber and the Beast over. 'What I tell you, chere? Ain't never been a door ol' Gambit couldn't open' Remy “Gambit” LeBeau boasts as he and Rogue enter the room. 'I don't know about you, sugah, but I've worked up one heck of an appetite. Who we gonna eat first?' Rogue grins. But as she and Gambit move towards the others, Chamber releases a burst of energy, knocking them back. Chamber stands in front of Artie, the Beast, Husk and Professor X as he asks 'Anybody else hungry?'

Back outside: 'You're slowing down, Wolvie – I can tell!' Jubilee exclaims, telling Wolverine to stop fighting it, and to come back to the dark side. Wolverine tells Jubilee to look around, as it ain't just him that's losing steam. 'They're getting weaker, Bishop!' Psylocke calls out as she leaps towards Darkstar, while Bishop fires his weapon at Maverick, Ursa Major and Vostok. 'Good. Makes 'em easier to hit!' Bishop shouts.

Jubilee grabs Wolverine by the wrist as Wolverine tells her that something is wrong with them – and he doesn't just mean the obvious. 'Unhand him, Jubilee!' Storm calls out, while Wolverine tellls Jubilee that they are burning out. 'Speak for yourself, slowpoke. I'm just getting warmed – aaaah!' Jubilee screams as her powers vanish, and she collapses into Wolverine's arms. Wolverine tells Storm that Jubilee is burning up and asks what is happening to them. 'It's Alpha Red. His bite destroys his victims over time! Jubilee is but the first – unless someone can end this curse'

Nearby: 'Behind me, master! I will protect you!' Red Guardian calls out to Alpha Red, clanging his shield against Dracula, who slices Red Guardian's shield in half. 'Protect yourself, minion. For today you face Dracula!' the vampire lord declares, before Alpha Red tosses Red Guardian aside with ease, 'Out of my way, dolt!' he exclaims, boasting that he needs no protection from this. He then tells his father that he speaks the name “Dracula” like it still means something. 'Unhand me, Janus!' Dracula tells his son. 'As you wish!' Alpha Red replies as he throws Dracula into the air. He then stands on Dracula when he lands. 'Be honest, father – do you feel even a twinge of pride in knowing your own offspring accomplished what you never could?' Alpha Red asks, boasting that he has freed their kind, remove the defects that made them less than well, save for one – beheading. 'Some things never go out of style' Alpha Red declares, holding half of Red Guardian's shield. 'Noo...' Dracula utters as there is a surge of lightning and Storm blasts Alpha Red away.

'Dracula, are you -' Storm begins as she drops down beside Dracula, who gets to his feet. But Dracula tells her that he needs not her sympathy or her help, and warns her too get away from him. 'No!' Storm exclaims, telling Dracula that he must set aside his vendetta long enough to help her friends, as he promised. 'Or is your bloodlust stronger than your word?' Storm enquires. 'You dare question my honor?' Dracula roars. 'Can you not see everything has changed? Janus has broken it all! Any power I possessed is his now. Along with your precious X-Men!' Dracula declares. He asks Storm that if she wants him to help her friends, then to bring him a shovel and he will dig their graves. Professor X telepathically calls out to Storm, asking her if she can hear him. 'Now leave me to my vengeance' Dracula declares as he walks away from Storm. 'Professor Xavier?' Storm replies, to which Dracula asks her if she has gone mad.

'Professor! Henry! Thank the goddess you're both alive, but – is this the Astral Plane? Why? The X-Men are dying. I don't have time -' Storm exclaims, as the Beast tells her that they have a situation, one that demands the acumen of all three senior X-Men. The Professor explains to Storm that they are inside the mind of Dead Girl, within Cerebro. He informs Storm that Dead Girl is communicating directly with something called the Darkhold, the vast database of arcane knowledge that Alpha Red uses to modify his vampire spawn. 'Show me, Professor!' Storm declares.

Storm, Xavier and the Beast watch as Dead Girl tells the Darkhold dwarf that she doesn't want to sell her soul, she is just here to help the X-Men. Can't you just undo what that goth guy did to everybody?' The Darkhold dwarf asks Dead Girl if she would like help to eradicate all vampires from existence. 'Wait, you can do that? How?' Dead Girl exclaims. A scroll hovers before Dead Girl, as the Darkhold dwarf explains that the Montessi Program will unleash a wave of dark energy that will fundamentally alter their genetic makeup – they will, in effect, be made human again.

'Uh, guys?' Dead Girl calls out, looking around for help. The Darkhold dwarf grins, 'No need to whisper, user. I'm well aware of your friends' he reveals.

'Do it quickly! We haven't a moment to spare!' Storm declares. But the Beast tells her to wait. 'You can't seriously be advocating this! We cannot use some unknown power to turn them all human! How do we even know what it's saying is true?' the Beast points out. Storm tells the Beast that there are few in this world she respects more than he, but they have no time for debate. 'The X-Men are dying - Jubilee is dying! We must save them!' The Professor tries to calm them both down, but they ignore him.

The Beast continues, reminding Storm that he has already watched Jubilee die once today, and asks if she thinks he wants to do so again. He declares that he refuses to believe dabbling with dark forces they scarcely understand is their only solution.

'Stop arguing! Please, I don't know what to do!' Dead Girl shouts, covering her ears with her hands. 'Save them all, child' Storm tells Dead Girl. 'There has to be another way. Just a little more time' the Beast declares. 'There are not easy decisions when you're an X-Man, Dead Girl. You must -' the Professor begins, before the three vanish.

'Oops! I have terminated your connection to outside users! The psychic feedback of unleashing the Montessi Program would have burned away their souls and rotted their living flesh' the Darkhold dwarf explains. He grins as he holds the scrolls towards Dead Girl, telling her that she doesn't have to worry about that – she can end this right now. Dead Girl explains that she hasn't made up her mind yet. 'Have you not?' the Darkhold dwarf asks. Dead Girl growns, before telling the Darkhold to give her the scroll. She takes it, and the Darkhold grins again, 'Good! We're almost done! Now...say. The. Words' the Darkhold dwarf urges her. Dead Girl then utters three fateful words: 'No more vampires'.

At that selfsame moment, a cascade of otherworldly energy erupts from Westchester. It is felt in the Greenwich Village brownstone of Doctor Strange, master of the mystic arts. 'By the Vishanti, what have they done?' Strange gasps. It is even felt outside the bounds of Earth, a shifting of forces beyond the knowledge of men...and X-Men, as Lord Dracula of the Cross-Time Draculas remarks that this is unexpected. 'They think themselves victorious, but they shall soon discover a world without vampires is a world out of balance'. And closer to home, in the chambers of the Gamesmaster, the shadowy figure knocks over a figurine of Alpha Red and remarks that it is a pity, as the von Struckers were so close. 'On to round two' he declares.

In Westchester, for the X-Men and their allies, there is victory. Wolverine and Jubilee smile at each other, while Rogue, Gambit, Darkstar, Maverick and the others look around, and examine themselves, freed of the vampiric influence. But for others... there is only loss. 'Janus? No, this is not the victory I wanted!' Dracula exclaims as Alpha Red reverts to a human appearance, screaming in pain. Storm rushes over, 'Dracula, let me -' she begins, but a furious Dracula warns her to stay back. 'You did this!' he shouts at her. Dracula declares that Janus's humanity has been returned, but that the dark rituals that he subjected himself to were never meant for humans. 'No, father...they were meant for those who would rule' Janus replies. He looks up at his father, weary, as he announces that he dies knowing that he brought vampires closer to dominating these frail weaklings than his father ever did. 'It is only betrayal that stopped me. Your alliance with these pretenders to the evolutionary throne' Janus declares.

Janus's body starts to crumble, and his father tells him that he could never make him understand. 'You can only prey upon them so much before their desperation turns them into the predator' Dracula points out. Janus replies that it is better to die having tried than to spend immortality as a failure. 'Goodbye, father...I pray we never...meet again...' Janus utters as he dies. 'I'm sorry' Storm tells Dracula. 'You' Dracula retorts, telling Storm to save her words, as they mean nothing. 'You employed the same magics as Janus – magic I warned you against, Storm. Do you know what you've done?' Dracula asks. Storm replies that she protected those she cares for most. 'Something you could've done for him long ago' she adds. Dracula declares that he wanted to correct his failures, to which Storm suggests to him that he should try learning from them, instead. 'Failure is a part of being human, Dracula. I suggest you get used to it' Storm adds.

A few days later, Gambit is outside the front of the Mansion, supervising M, Artie, Mondo and Vivisector as they remove some rubble. Gambit tells them to act like they are getting graded, as construction is more useful than algebra around here. Storm and the Professor are on the balcony at the top of the Mansion, and Storm asks the Professor if victory always feels this hollow. 'Frequently, I'm afraid' Charles tells her, adding that no one ever said being an X-Man was easy – certainly not him, at least. 'I never want it to be easy to place these children in harm's way' Storm declares. Charles tells her that it never will – not for her. 'It's the very thing that separates us from our enemies'. Charles tells Storm that if she would like some advice from one old leader to another, she should focus on the positive. 'None of our students were killed – at least not permanently'. Storm asks about Cerebro, to which the Professor reveals that Henry's diagnostic scans show no trace of the Darkhold in their systems, that it seemingly purged itself following Alpha Red's demise. 'Gone without a trace... much like our “friend” Dracula' Charles adds. 'Speaking of Henry...where is he this morning?' Storm enquires.

Storm finds Henry on a hill away from the Mansion, where he sits under a tree. 'I believe you have a class to teach, Professor McCoy' Storm remarks as she approaches him. 'Funny. Professor Logan never seems to have such definite hours' the Beast replies, without looking up from his book. Storm asks him if he needs to talk, to which the Beast tells her that everything he wants to say makes him sound like a raving lunatic. The Beast closes his book, but without turning to Storm, he tells her that he looks around at their living annd breathing students and knows he should be celebrating their victory – but he just can't help shake the feeling that they have made a proverbial deal with the devil. 'We do what we must' Storm responds. 'Always' the Beast replies. 'But given the chance, are there not those who would do the same to you and me? Make us human against our will? End the “mutant meance” once and for all?' Storm has her back to the Beast, and doesn't look at him as she announces that she will not apologize for saving lives. 'We did our jobs – protected our students, and the world. I feel no guilt in ridding the world of another monster. It was us or them, Henry'. The Beast lumbers down the hill, and calls back 'Yes. “Survival of the fittest”. Now where have I heard that before?' Storm stands under the tree and does not respond....

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Bishop, Gambit, Jubilee, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine, Professor X (all X-Men)

Artie, Chamber, Dead Girl, Doop, Husk, Kid Sensitive, Leech, M, Mondo, U-Go Girl, Vivisector (all X-Men students)



Darkstar, Red Guardian, Ursa Major, Vostok (all People's Protectorate)


Alpha Red


The Darkhold Dwarf

Lord Dracula


Dr Strange


The Gamesmaster


In Danger Room Program:


Story Notes: 

Dead Girl uttering “No more vampires” is an homage to the classic “No more mutants” line uttered by the Scarlet Witch during the House of M.

The Darkhold Dwarf -  a messenger (or embodiment) of the Darkhold –first appeared in the series Darkhold – Pages from the book of sin.

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