X-Men: Age of Apocalypse #4

Issue Date: 
May 2005
Story Title: 

Akira Yoshida (writer), Chris Bachalo (penciler), Florea, Irwin, Leisten, Mendoza, Olazaba, Sowd & Vey (finishes), 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 and the Guthries are at a standoff. Rogue and Charles are in the hands of the Guthries and nobody on the X-side wants to chance either of them getting killed if a fight breaks out. So they try to reason with Paige, but it only manages to make her even angrier. She recounts what happened to her in the Core and how she was abandoned until her family came to rescue her. She tells them she wants revenge. Weapon X wants to fight, but is cautioned against it by Silver Samurai who spots someone hiding amongst the shadows. It’s Psylocke and she frees Charles instantly with her psychic blades. Nightcrawler quickly teleports Charles out and the fighting begins. Magneto and Sunfire arrive at that very moment and proceed to kill Amazon, Cannonball and Jay. All that’s left is Paige and the now-conscious Rogue wants to deal with her. Rogue chastises Paige for a bit, spits in her face and tells her she’ll rot in prison. Paige, in a fit of rage, morphs her hand and prepares to impale Rogue from behind. However, Kirika reacts quickly and guts Paige from the back. Before Paige dies, she informs Magneto that they came for Charles under orders from Sinister. He wanted Charles so he could use him as bait for Magneto to hold up his end of the bargain. Everyone is shocked to hear that Sinister is alive and that Magneto has known about it. They all want to know what’s going on. Magneto tells them his big lie. It was not him who saved the world from the atomic bombs, but Jean Grey, who is alive and well and under the care of Sinister.

Full Summary: 

The X-Men and the Guthries are at an impasse. Rogue is lying unconscious, chained upon a slab of granite, while her son Charles is huddled next to her with irons clamped around his wrists. The Guthrie clan has taken both of them prisoner. Paige is holding onto Charles’ chain like a leash.

Storm orders Paige to release Charles, as he shares no blame in this mess. She reasons that he had nothing to do with what happened to Paige in the Core and should not be punished. Paige disagrees, as the old saying goes she says, “Home is where the heart is.” She tells the X-Men to prepare to have theirs ripped out, like hers was when she was left to die.

Dazzler tries to talk some sense into her, but Paige won’t listen. Paige accuses them of not caring about the Next Generation team. She points out that her team risked their lives to save Illyana from the Core, but none of the X-Men cared to risk their lives for them.

She recounts her tale of survival. She tells them how she fought back against the guards, without any of her team to back her up. She never gave up hope and finally Colossus came back to save her. She cried out for him not to leave, but despite his best efforts, he could not keep the entrance from being sealed shut.
She lost all hope at that point and realized for the first time she was all alone. After her defeat, she was chained to a wall and kept alive by the surviving inmates.
Jono, Skin and Vincente’s deceased bodies were lying right in front of her. She was left there with the inmates for about a week, up until word of Apocalypse’s defeat came. The Core was then abandoned and Paige was left totally alone. She wished for death, but it never came.
Soon, though, a miracle happened. Paige received some visitors. It was her brother Sam and sister Elizabeth. They had heard rumors she was still alive in the Portland Core and came to see for themselves. They freed Paige and took her back with them.

Paige continues to belittle the X-Men. She explains that even though she turned her back on her family to join the X-Men, they’re the ones who came back for her and nursed her back to health. And as her innocence was taken away from her at the Core, she says, so shall she take away the only piece of innocence she found with the X-Men, Charles.

Storm tries to reason with her some more. She explains that Colossus told them that only he, Kate and Illyana made it out alive. She assures her that if they had known about her survival they would have come back for her. Paige cuts her off mid-sentence and tells her she heard about her going after Bishop in Quebec, not knowing if he was still alive or not.

Weapon X, tired of all the talking, tells Paige straight up that she won’t be leaving with Charles. Paige congratulates Logan for finally coming out of hiding; they had been looking for him to join their cause. She tells him not to worry about Charles, as they won’t be hurting him… much. Logan’s about to tear into her, when Silver Samurai puts a hand on his shoulder and tells him not to do anything while she has the child. Logan, obviously not wanting to be touched or told what to do, tells the Samurai it’ll be hard for him to hold his sword while missing five of his fingers. The Samurai whispers to Logan to control his temper and look to the left. Logan does so and spots two purple eyes in the shadows above Paige.

Much to Paige’s surprise a purple blade comes out of nowhere and slices the chain holding Charles captive. The chain goes slack and she looks down to see Charles no longer there. Instead he is in the arms of Logan. She yells out, “No!”

It’s Psylocke to the rescue and she’s sporting a psychic blade from each hand. Logan remarks that it’s nice to see her. She retorts that it hasn’t been long enough; she is back to clean up another one of his messes. He tells her it’s not his mess, but appreciates the help. He tosses Charles to Nightcrawler and tells him to get the kid to safety. Nightcrawler doesn’t appreciate being ordered around by him, but knows it’s what’s for the best. Weapon X snikts his claws and yells for the X-Men to attack. Paige, not to be outdone, yells, “Bring it on!”

A loud tearing noise erupts from above before the fight can even begin. The roof above them is tearing open. Everyone looks up. It’s Magneto and Sunfire, and the Guthries aren’t too thrilled. Paige comments that he was supposed to be in Mexico.

Magneto announces to the intruders that their lives are forfeit for coming into his home and threatening his family. He tells Sunfire to fry Amazon, which he is more than happy to do. Amazon screams out in agony before her body is reduced to ash.
Cannonball cries out for his sister, but sees it’s too late. He tells Josh to take to the air for an escape. Before they even reach the roof, debris starts closing in around them, crushing them. Cannonball yells for Josh to stop it, but Josh, who is in the same predicament, yells back that it’s not him. It’s Magneto, of course, and he has both of them wrapped up in a collapsing ball of metal. He can tell Cannonball is blasting away in there, trying to stay invulnerable. He lets Cannonball know that he can keep it up all day, and asks if he can do the same. Cannonball resigns to his fate and stops blasting. The ball of metal quickly collapses to the size of a large beach ball, killing both Guthrie boys.

Quicksilver enters the scene with Gambit on his back. Gambit hops off, while Quicksilver runs over and decks Paige into the wall. He tells her she’ll soon be joining her family in hell, but is called off by Rogue. She’s conscious again and wants Paige to herself.

She explains to Paige that they thought she was dead. They moved on with their lives and worked for the betterment of those among the living. They did what was right. She tells Paige that they’ve all lost more than she can imagine as X-Men, and they do not pity her. She grabs Paige by the kerchief around her neck and spits in her face. Then she lets her fall to the ground and tells her she deserved to die in Portland. Rogue tells her Paige should be killed right now, but thinks having her rot in prison for the rest of her life would be a better punishment.

Paige husks her fist into a metal spike and screams out. Her scream is cut short as six blades of adamantium enter through her back and come out her stomach, courtesy of Kirika. Paige goes down. Rogue walks over to her husband and takes hold of him. Magneto thanks Kirika for her actions. She tells Magneto that he owes her one.

Paige isn’t dead just yet. She weakly calls out to Magneto. He steps toward her cautiously with Rogue at his side. She informs Magneto she wasn’t just there for revenge. Their main plan was to capture Charles to be used for bait for Sinister. Sinister wants to make sure Magneto holds up to his end of their deal. Behind him, Rogue asks what she means. She demands to know what Sinister has to do with this. Logan is surprised too and wants to know what deal they have together.

Magneto takes off his helmet and tells them it’s his fault. He tells them although he didn’t trust Sinister; he did it for the good of the dream. He knew with Apocalypse defeated the people needed a mutant leader they could believe in. If they thought he saved the planet, then it would be him. He admits he wasn’t the one who stopped the bombs. His X-Men are hanging on his every word. Rogue asks if it was Sinister. Magneto tells her it was not. It was Jean Grey that stopped the nuclear attack, he informs them. She’s alive and Sinister has her.

Characters Involved: 

Dazzler, Gambit, Magneto, Nightcrawler, Quicksilver, Rogue, Silver Samurai, Storm, Sunfire (all X-Men)

Charles Lensherr


Weapon X

Amazon, Cannonball, Husk, Josh Guthrie (possibly codenamed Icarus) (all Guthrie siblings)

In flashback:

Glarg, short unnamed guy (possibly Puck), olive-skinned guy, green guy (all Canadian attackers from issue #1 of the LS)

Story Notes: 

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

On the opening splash page where the X-Men face off with the Guthries, “The Age of Apocalypse” is engraved along the wall.

The mission to save Illyana from the Core takes place during Generation Next #1-#4. During that mission all of Paige’s teammates were killed except for her instructors, Colossus and Shadowcat, who escaped with Illyana.

Sinister was believed dead in X-Man #4 after a battle with Nate Grey. After the battle Sinister realized his wounds were mortal and died on-panel. Sinister was revealed alive in the X-Men: Age of Apocalypse One Shot when he pays a visit to Magneto’s office and confronts him about his secret. His reemergence can be explained by his penchant for cloning.

This issue marks the first appearance of Psylocke in the AoA universe. In the original series Psylocke’s whereabouts were unknown. Most telepaths were hunted down in AoA and it was widely considered by fans that Pyslocke’s remains might have been part of the brainpool that protected Apocalypse’s stronghold. Strangely she is also depicted as an Asian woman here, even though it is unlikely that the same circumstances that led to her being transformed from Caucasian woman to Asian occurred in the AoA.

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