X-Men: Age of Apocalypse #2

Issue Date: 
May 2005
Story Title: 
Coming Up For Air

Akira Yoshida (writer), Chris Bachalo (penciler), Tim Townsend (inker), Studio F (colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), John Barber & Sean Ryan (assistant editors), Nick Lowe (associate editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

The X-Men extend their goodwill tour beneath the streets and into the sewers. There they run into the Morlocks. Magneto offers them a chance to live above, but they don’t want it. A fight breaks out and both sides take casualties. After Storm takes out Leech victory is ensured. Later, Magneto and Xorn are being treated at the hospital in D.C. Magneto thinks the dream is dead, but with the assurance of his wife his hope is renewed. Meanwhile, Xorn gets a visit from her best friends Wolfsbane and Beak. All is not as it seems, however, when the two leave and Xorn is left alone. In Canada Weapon X and X-23 discuss their possible family ties. After much cajoling X-23 is able to convince Logan to join her in hunting down Apocalypse’s former elite. A few days later they find their first targets, Northstar and Aurora. It gets pretty gruesome but the father/daughter combo can’t be beat. In an unspecified location an unidentified person is stroking the glowing window of an elongated container. He calls whatever resides inside “his angel”.

Full Summary: 

Deep within the tunnels beneath Manhattan the X-Men have come searching for a group of mutants who’ve gone into hiding. Magneto finds them and lets them know that it’s safe to head to the surface. He tells them Apocalypse is no longer to be feared. Storm introduces them as the X-Men and that they’re there to help.
Marrow steps forward and scoffs at them. She gets right up in Samurai’s face. She insinuates that they’ll all be locked up if they ever go to the surface. She takes a bone club and smacks Samurai across the belly. She tells the X-Men to leave them in peace. Samurai strikes back with his sword, sending Marrow flying. He tells her all they want is peace, too.

Magneto tells Samurai not to harm them as they’re only acting out of fear. Samurai suggests that violence may be all they understand. A growl emits from above. Feral comes diving towards them slashing away. Dazzler smacks her with some light energy and knocks her into a wall. Thornn tells Leech to check on Feral while she goes after Dazzler and Samurai.

Samurai chides Dazzler. He tells her he could have handled it. Dazzler tells him he can have Thornn then. Thornn leaps at them, but they both dodge the attack. Instead, Thornn heads straight for Xorn and slices her across the midsection. Thornn starts laughing while the rest of the X-Men stare in disbelief. Magneto decides to up the ante and tells Storm to end it. Lightning bolts come from everywhere taking down Morlock after Morlock. Only Skids, Leech, Feral and Dana Moonstar remain untouched thanks to Skids’ forcefield. One of Storm’s lightning bolts bounces off Skids’ shield and nails Magneto. He goes down.

With Storm distracted over the mishap, Leech leaves Skids’ protective bubble and uses his power to take Storm’s away. Dana too leaves Skids’ forcefield and crouches next to the nearby Magneto. She removes his helmet. Magneto tries to explain to her that they’re only trying to help. She cuts him off and explains to him about fear. She tells him that after being in Sinister’s labs all those years they are all used to fear. She wants to know what Magneto fears most. An image of Apocalypse laughing encased in flames suddenly appears. Above Apocalypse’s outstretched hand is the fiery image of the Phoenix.

Magneto cries out, “No, please… there was nothing I could do…” Storm decks Leech, who is not paying attention at this point. With their powers back the X-Men go on the offensive. Silver Samurai slams his sword into the ground knocking Skids back and sending Magneto’s helmet flying. Dazzler takes Dana down quickly and the battle is over.

Storm goes to Magneto’s side to see if he’s ok. Dazzler wants to know what Dana did to him as he looked like he was suffering. Samurai consoles Xorn and says they need to get her and Magneto some medical attention. He wants Nightcrawler summoned right away. Hidden behind a sewer grate, Skids watches the X-Men. Resting between her legs is Magneto’s helmet.

In Canada, X-23 is practicing her combat skills on some firewood. Weapon X is sitting on the porch watching her. He asks her why she has to yell every time she chops a block of wood. She apologizes and tells Logan that it’s a hard habit to break, to which he replies matter-of-factly that she has no idea where the habit came from.

She sits down on the bench next to him and grabs a bottle of beer. She discusses her personal characteristics, which are remarkably like Weapon X’s. Unfortunately she has no memory of what happened to her before the X-Men found her in one of Sinister’s labs in Manhattan. Her first memory is of when she was released from her container surrounded by Magneto and his people. She had made a fist and claws popped out of her hands. Magneto took notice and figured she was somehow connected with Logan. He brought her into the X-Men and helped train her. Eventually Magneto started telling her stories about Logan and she started having flashbacks. Snippets of her possible past were popping up in her dreams too.

Still, she tells Logan, this didn’t help her deal with her past. All it did was raise more questions. For all she knows she could be a clone with implanted memories. Logan acknowledges the possibilities but reminds her that nobody grows metal on their bones no matter what. She agrees and admits that she had Magneto do it to her after she realized the Weapon X program wasn’t around anymore and couldn’t be of help.

Back in D.C., Magneto is being looked over by doctors. Rogue is there with him and he flat out tells her that the dream of human/mutant coexistence is dead. She can’t believe what she’s hearing. She wants to know what that girl did to him in the tunnels. He claims it was merely a psychic blast that knocked him out, but he hesitates before saying it. He continues, telling Rogue that after taking up Xavier’s dream he followed it up to and even during Apocalypse’s rule when it seemed all hope was lost. She reminds him that they won and that Apocalypse is now dead. Magneto tells her that their victory has only made it more difficult. The humans are free, but now most of them hate and distrust all mutants. Rogue tells him that in time the humans will forgive. Magneto tells her that it’s not just the humans. There are mutants out there who hate them as well. The Morlocks they tried to liberate earlier loathe them. He doesn’t know how they can win the humans over when they can’t even gain the support of their own kind. Rogue tells him he’s speaking nonsense. She reminds him that he single-handedly saved the world from devastation and if he can do that he can make the dream happen.

They’re about to kiss, but Magneto pulls back. He tells Rogue that he’s tired, tired of living a lie. She asks him what he means, but they’re interrupted by Quicksilver. He has news for his father. Cerebro picked up mutant signatures in Mexico that match some of Apocalypse’s former entourage. Rogue tells Magneto to go with Quicksilver and fight for the dream. Quicksilver checks with the doctor to make sure his father is well enough to go. The doctor gives him the green light and they take off. Rogue watches as they leave and tells them to be strong for all of them.

Elsewhere in the hospital, Wolfsbane and Beak pay Xorn a visit. Beak tells her they came as soon as they were allowed. Wolfsbane tells Xorn she heard that she was almost killed. Xorn tells her friends that she’s all right. She has thick skin and it was just a scratch. She says it must have looked worse from the others’ point of view. Beak informs her that they have the Morlocks responsible for her condition downstairs in holding. Wolfsbane wants to give them some payback, but Xorn reminds them of what it was like in Sinister’s pens and how they’d probably react if someone tried to take them away from their home. Beak and Wolfsbane admit that she’s right. Xorn tells her two friends that she needs her rest and asks them to leave. Beak and Wolfsbane say goodbye and head out. Xorn lifts up the bottom of her shirt and looks at her belly. There’s a patch of metal where she was slashed by Thornn’s claws.

In an undisclosed location, inside a dimly lit laboratory there sits a container big enough to fit a large human being. Up where the head would be there’s a porthole glowing bright yellow. Four people wearing what looks like biohazard suits are present. One of the four places his hand on the porthole and then leans over and kisses it. He says, “My angel…”

Back in Canada, Weapon X is stoking the furnace while X-23 sits behind him. She tells Logan that in exchange for the adamantium bonding done by Magneto she is supposed to bring him back to the team. Logan advises her not to make promises she can’t keep. She tells him that they need him back badly. He already knows why they want him, though. They want him to do the killing they aren’t willing to do. He tells X-23 that he’s done with death. She asks him why he can’t let her death go then.

He turns around to face her and asks her what she means by that. X-23 tells him that Jean is dead and she’s not coming back. She tells him to accept it and move on. Logan growls and pops his claws. He goes over to X-23 and tells her not to talk to him like that. Whether she’s his daughter or not, if she brings it up again he will kill her. He sheathes his claws. He tells X-23 that he knows what she’s trying to do by bringing Jean up and he’s not going to let her play with his emotions. He tells her there’re no more emotional needs left in his life and heads out to the porch. She asks him about revenge.

Logan stops short. She asks him if the chance to get back at the mutants responsible in part for the loss of Jean is enough to get him going. He tells her he’s listening.

A few days later Weapon X and X-23 track down Northstar and Aurora. Aurora is giving her brother a report that a group of settlers are setup fifteen miles from their position. Northstar is pleased as the settlers probably won’t be missed and they should have fresh supplies. Weapon X comes out from hiding and asks about the two-for-one special. The Beaubier siblings are shocked to see Logan. They can’t believe he survived. Logan tells Northstar that he just asked the same thing. Aurora asks from whom. She’s answered by a leaping X-23 who’s headed straight for her. X-23 snags on to her as she heads skyward. Northstar yells out for his sister. He tells Logan he’ll pay for this. He takes off at super speed and rams Weapon X through several trees before finally stopping. Logan tells him he expected more from a Canadian. Northstar takes off to the sky with Weapon X in tow.

Aurora is beating the snot out of X-23. She lands punch after punch after punch. She tells X-23 to just die already. X-23 says she wants a souvenir first and with a flick of her wrist she chops off Aurora’s right hand. Aurora screams and calls out to Northstar for help. X-23 seizes the moment and plunges her claws into Aurora’s belly. Northstar yells out to his sister and drops Logan. He takes Aurora away from X-23 and lands off in the distance.

He asks her if she’s ok. She tells him to watch out from behind. He turns around only to be pummeled beneath the snow by Weapon X and X-23. A moment passes and then both Weapon X and X-23 emerge. Logan tells X that she performed well. He also tells her that he feels awesome after that battle and thanks her. She asks if he’ll come back with her now. He says he will, “and God help anyone who gets in his way.”

Characters Involved: 

Beak, Dazzler, Magneto, Quicksilver, Rogue, Silver Samurai, Storm, Wolfsbane, Xorn (all X-Men)

Charles Lensherr

Weapon X

Feral, Leech, Marrow, Dana Moonstar, Skids, Thornn, possibly Mole (all Morlocks)
Aurora, Northstar (all former Mutant Elite Force)

Mr. Sinister (unidentified man)
Jean Grey (person in the container)

Story Notes: 

All six covers of this limited series line up to make one giant picture.

In the AoA Marrow should be a kid and not the adult she appears to be. In regular MU she and her fellow Morlocks were transported to the Hill, an alternate dimension, by Mikhail Rasputin to save their lives from drowning. There, time went a lot quicker and when Mikhail finally transported them back home they were all 10-15 years older (Uncanny X-Men #325). In the AoA, Mikhail became a Horseman to Apocalypse and those events would never have transpired.

Dani Moonstar was killed by Damask in X-Calibre #2. The similar looking and similar powered mutant is - according to the writer - her sister, Dana, a character who doesn’t exist in the MU proper.

In X-Men: Age of Apocalypse #1 you are left to believe that X-23 is indeed Weapon X’s daughter. However, in this issue, it is stated that their relationship is presumed and not definite.

In X-23’s flashback the first panel shows her lying unconscious in a container with X-23 clearly printed on the outside glass. Several panels later shows one of her “past” dreams where she’s outside a Japanese home standing next to an older woman, possibly her mother.

AoA Beak closely resembles the Morlock Leech. He looks nothing like his 616 counterpart.

Northstar and Aurora were part of Apocalypse’s Mutant Elite Force before his downfall. They watched over the breeding pens and over New York City.

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