X-Men: Blue #16

Issue Date: 
January 2018
Story Title: 
Cross Time Capers, part 1

Cullen Bunn (writer), Thony Silas (artist), Rain Beredo (colorist), Virtual Caligraphy's Joe Caramagna (letterer), Arthur Adams & Ian Herring (cover artists), Jay Bowen & Anthony Gambino (graphic designers), Christina Harrington (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Magneto is reading in the X-Mansion when some strange affliction strikes him down. Cyclops is on the rooftop, trying to clear his head, when Bloodstorm joins him, and they bond over what it is like to constantly have someone else in their head with them. Bobby is watching something on the Mojo News Network, before a history of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants is shown – however, Bobby knows that the events depicted never actually happened. Polaris is leading a training session for Jimmy Hudson and Angel, encouraging Jimmy to push himself further, when suddenly, Polaris vanishes. Marvel Girl finds the Beast in a lab, where they discuss Cyclops and Bloodstorm, and the mistakes that the Beast had made. Marvel Girl picks up a psychic distress call from Magneto and when she races to his side, he tells her to read his mind – there, Jean learns that Magneto has been communicating with the Professor. Magneto is still struck down by the affliction, and tells Jean that he knew there would be repercussions for the original X-Men being here. He reveals he has a time machine and tells Jean and the Beast that they must go back. He then vanishes. The X-Men assemble in the basement, where they discover a time platform. Cyclops comes to Bloodstorm's defense when Iceman makes a joke about her, and Jean notices how quick Cyclops is to defend Bloodstorm. Danger appears and explains that Magneto wanted her to help prepare them for what they would face, before she, too vanishes. The Beast is able to get the time platform working, and the young mutants quickly fall through different realities, before finding themselves coming to a stop in a strange land, where they are confronted by the X-Men of 2099!

Full Summary: 

The X-Mansion in Madripoor, where Magneto sits on a chair in the library, book in hand, he suddenly cries out in pain and clutches his head. 'Whu... what is... nggh....' he groans, falling to the floor, '... why... I won't let you... when... when does this happen?' Magneto utters, in anguish.

On the rooftop, the time-displaced Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops sits, huncched over under the night sky. 'A lonely rooftop... the dead of night... this is more my haunt than yours, Scott' the reality-lost Bloodstorm remarks as she appears, hovering above the rooftop. 'Yeah, I guess so' Scott remarks, looking up at Bloodstorm before hanging his head again. He tells her that he hopes she doesn't mind, but that he needed some time to himself, to clear his head.Bloodstorm looks out over the sprawling city before them, before asking Scott what it is that troubles him. Scott tells her that it is kind of hard to explain, before revealing that he and Jean have a psychic rapport, he can never have a thought to himself – it's like she is always in his head. 'You wouldn't understand' he adds.

Bloodstorm tells Scott that he is wrong, that she knows exactly what he is talking about. 'Oh... you mean... uh... Dracula, don’t you?' Scott asks. 'I should've -' he begins, apologetic, but Bloodstorm tells him that it is all right, and that she wanted him to know that he is not alone. Bloodstorm remarks that this city is beautiful, and that there is nothing like this on her world. 'I suppose. Because of my visor, everything just looks red' Scott explains. Bloodstorm tells Scott that, once again, she understands. Her glowing red eyes look out over the city, and she tells Scott that they see things in the same light.

Inside, Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman sits before a large television. The announcement from the television is that this is the Mojo Entertainment and News Network, and the reality game show sensation has returned. Two panicked people appear on the screen as the announcement declares that the contestants have signed their rights away to compete for ten million dollars, and all they have to do is survive for 24 hours being hunted by feral wolves, vicious killers and a special surprise hunter. 'Let's just say... this episode of Dying to be Rich will leave you Kraven more!' Bobby wonders what he is supposed to be feeling here – is he supposed to be horrified or fascinated, as Mojo has established this perverse network somewhere here on Earth, and he knows they need to figure out how to stop him. 'So... am I rotting my brain or researching our enemy?' Bobby wonders.

The announcer on screen states that he knows he will be tuning in for that, before stating that they would like to take a moment to revisit the story of Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. 'Uh-oh' Bobby utters, before an image appears on screen of Magneto and his original Brotherhood facing off against the X-Men. The announcer reports that this week marks the anniversary of the confrontation between the Brotherhood and the X-Men, and, as people know, in that battle the mutant terrorist Magneto was slain, along with his minions, bringing an end to a wave of bloodshed and murder. 'But – but that never happened!' Bobby shouts, sitting up.

Inside the Danger Room, the glamorous Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris hovers, magnetic energy crackling around her, while the time-displaced Warren Worthington a.k.a. Angel hovers alongside her, his cosmic-powered wings glowing, while the reality-lost Jimmy Hudson looks up at them. 'I've sparred with Wolverine dozens of times. No offense... but you're not him. You're holding back. Your father... if he was anything like our Wolverine... wouldn't do that' Lorna declares. Jimmy explains that he doesn't know what his father was like, given he has amnesia. 'Besides, this is just a training exercise. I don't want to hurt anyone' Jimmy replies. Lorna tells him to trust her, that whatever he has got, she can handle it. 'And you just need the proper motivation' she adds, before instructing Angel to set Jimmy on fire. 'I'm sorry. What?' Angel frowns. 'I'm sorry, WHAT?' Jimmy exclaims.

Polaris smiles, 'Just a little bit' she adds, pointing out that if she is going to train him, she needs to see what he is capable of when he is not pulling his punches. 'And I -' Polaris starts to say, before she suddenly screams, and vanishes. 'Polaris?' Jimmy calls out. 'Where did she go?' he asks Angel, who declares that she just vanished. 'It's more than that. I'm not picking up her scent. It's like...it's like she was never here at all!' Jimmy announces. Both young men look concerned, and in unison declare that they need to find Jean.

At that moment, Jean Grey a.k.a. Marvel Girl and Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast, both time-displaced, are in a lab. Jean frowns as she leans on a counter and asks Hank what he is making. 'Elementary, my dear Jean' Hank replies as he hangs upside down, screwdriver in hand, he adds that he has no idea, and that he is just tinkering, and that hopefully, the device's ultimate purpose presents itself somewhere along the way. Hank looks over and tells Jean that she doesn't have to hover over him, and that he is doing much better now. 'Unless, of course, you're just hanging out with me to avoid Mr Summers and his new vampiric friend' the Beast suggests. 'Whatever, Hank' Marvel Girl frowns, assuring him that she is here because she is worried about him, and that this has nothing to do with Scott or Bloodstorm. 'Although it is your fault that she's here' Jean adds.

Hank tells Jean that for someone who can read the thoughts of those around them, she has never developed any talent for lying. He adds that it is an endearing quality, one of the reasons they are all so willing to accept their roles as her secondary or tertiary or quarternary choice for company – always after their beloved Scott Summers. 'Henry McCoy! I have made plenty of mistakes. I have been a premiere example of a jerk. I have screwed up over and over again, especially since we arrived in this time. But if you think I'm so self-important that I only want to spend time with you when there's not someone better around... then you're about as stupid as that crate of junk!' Jean exclaims. She strides over to Hank and starts to add 'I might not have every angle of life figured out but I -' when suddenly, she convulses as a voice calls out her name. Her head falls back, then she clutches her head as Hank asks her if she is okay. Jean tells him that she is all right – but it is Magneto who is in trouble.

Inside the library, Magneto is back sitting in the chair, but is slumped over, head in one of his hands. Jean and Hank rush into the library, as Jean calls out to Magneto, who assures her that he is all right, for the moment, but he needs her just the same. Still clutching his head, Magneto declares that he doesn't have much time – none of them do, and that he had hoped Jean would be better prepared – he then tells her that he needs her to read his mind. 'I don't -' Jean begins, but Magneto orders her to just do it, while there is still a chance. 'All right. I'll -' Jean begins as she puts a hand to Magneto's head. But as Jean begins to read Magneto's mind, she sees an image of Professor Xavier, 'To me, my X-Men!' Professor X exclaims, before Jean falls backwards, 'Ah – it can't be... it's not...' she groans. Clutching her head, Jean looks at the Beast and tells him that Magneto has somehow been communicating with the Professor. 'But how?' the Beast asks.

'How is that possible? It can't be true -' the Beast declares, turning to Magneto, who reveals that it is true, and that they knew one day there would be a price to pay. 'You couldn't be here... in this timeline... without repercussions' Magneto declares. He claims that he wanted to make this right, but they are not ready, they haven't done enough. Magneto hovers in the air and tells Jean that she knows what must be done – they need to use the machine and go back. 'Stars and garters!' the Beast utters as Magneto suddenly vanishes. Hank turns to Jean and asks her what she saw. 'He said we needed to “go back,” but what could that mean?' Hank asks. Jean's eyes glow as she tells Hank that it means everything is collapsing – time, reality, whatever, it is falling apart because they are here. 'And we have to fix this mess' she declares, before announcing that it means they are going back home. She then sends a telepathic call to her team, instructing them to meet her in the basement urgently.

Soon, Marvel Girl, Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast, Jimmy and Bloodstorm stand before a large green platform in the basement. 'A time machine. Magneto built a time machine. To send us back home. And none of us knew it' Jean declares. Iceman then jokes 'You'd think the resident vampire would have been lurking around down here...l ooking for prime coffin space or whatever' to which Bloodstorm shoots him a filthy look, and Cyclops tells Bobby that wasn't cool. Bobby frowns at Scott, who remarks that they all figured something was up, but that Magneto has always been good at keeping secrets. Everyone suddenly spins around as a voice calls out 'It would not have mattered'. Danger walks towards the young mutants and informs them that her holographic systems are wired throughout the mansion, and she would have masked the Time Platform if one of them stumbled upon it. 'You knew about this?' Jean asks.

'Of course, I did' Danger replies, explaining that Magneto informed her of his intent to send them back to their origination timeline, and he wanted her help in training them, as he wanted to make sure they were prepared for what they would face. 'But we already went back. We saw that the X-Men... we... were already there' Beast remarks, adding that it was as if they never left, which means this is not their timeline. 'Are you so certain?' Danger asks, before she vanishes. 'She's gone!' Angel calls out, while wondering what she meant, and what is going on. Jean suggests that the Timestream is mucked up, and she thinks someone – one of their enemies – has figured out they are not where – when – they are supposed to be, and are making a play. 'Everything we've done over the years... everything the X-Men have done... all the times they saved the world... we can't let that be undone because we're here' Jean tells the others.

Jimmy asks why they haven't all winked out of existence, but Jean tells him that she doesn't know, but suggests that perhaps time has not caught up with them yet. 'So this is our reality? But we saw ourselves... when Hank took us back' Scott remarks. The Beast then suggests that there might have been something wrong with the incantations, but Jean tells him not to worry about the spell – he should worry about the platform. She asks him if he can make it work. Hank goes over to a control console and announces that he can try. Referring to the darts of energy that flash across the platform, Bobby tells Hank that there is no pressure, but can he hurry it up before one of those time ripples, or whatever they are, erases them from existence. Jimmy points out that if they are all here, that must mean whatever they are doing right now is going to work, otherwise, they would be able to go back in time to fix things in the first place. 'I'm not sure that's how paradoxes work' the Beast remarks. 'But hey! At least we know what kind of Wolverine you are. You're Positive-Thinker Wolverine' Angel jokes. Examining the console, the Beast tells his friends to buckle up. 'Away we go' he calls out as everyone stands on the Time Platform.

Suddenly, they are no longer in the mansion, 'What is this? What are we looking at?' Angel asks as sees some people fighting. The Beast explains that they are traveling through time and space, and that it is not an exact science. He tells everyone to stay together and not to wander. Reality changes again, and the young mutants look at a large explosion as Cyclops asks the Beast why he is taking them to these places. 'I don't want to see -' Scott begins, but the Beast exclaims that he didn't set the coordinates, that it must have been Magneto. He supposes that this might be some sort of test run. 'We've got dinosaurs!' Bobby smiles as the landscape changes and a large t-rex looms over them. 'I'm working on it!' Beast calls out.

'YOU SHOULD NOT BE HERE!' Apocalypse booms as the young mutants materialize before him. 'This is not better!' Bobby exclaims. Reality changes again, and Jimmy, Scott, Hank, Jean and Bloodstorm look around awkwardly at each other as they see the wedding of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, the two locked in passionate embrace. Another change, and this time, the Phoenix Force bears down over the mutants, as Jean tells Hank to get them out of here – now. The heroes fall through the Timestream, while on the Time Platform, energy crackles, glows green, and then suddenly, it appears to shut down.

The heroes look around at their new surroundings, a city full of strange buildings and colors. 'Where are we, Hank?' Jean asks. Hank explains that, for the moment, they have stopped hopping randomly through time, but he doesn't think they have reached their intended destination yet. 'Wherever we are -' Hank begins. 'It's not home' Cyclops declares. Hank looks at a small pocket console and reports that something obviously went wrong. He tells his teammates to give him a few seconds, then he will have it figured out. 'What about this button? Is that for the year?' Bobby asks, pointing at a button. 'The year? That's simple' a voice calls out. 'Who -' Bloodstorm begins, as the heroes look up and see seven brightly dressed individuals standing above them – Metalhead! Krystalin! La Lunatica! Bloodhawk! Meanstreak! Cerebra! Skullfire! The X-Men 2099! Skullfire tells the young mutants that it is 2099 – and calling them barbarians, declares that they are a long way from whenever they are supposed to be!

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all time-displaced original X-Men)
Jimmy Hudson
Bloodstorm II


Bloodhawk, Cerebra, Krystalin, La Lunatica, Meanstreak, Metalhead, Skullfire (all X-Men 2099)

On television

In Magneto's mind
Professor X

In alternate realties

Cyclops & Jean Grey
Phoenix Force

Story Notes: 

The title of this story is based on the Cross Time Caper, a reality-hopping adventure that the original Excalibur team had in Excalibur (1st series) #12-19, 21-24.

Iceman is watching the Mojo Entertainment and News Network, which was established during the Mojo Worldwide crossover, which ended with Mojo stranded on Earth.

The time-displaced original X-Men arrived in the present-day 616 universe in All-New X-Men (1st series) #1. They discovered in All-New X-Men (2nd series) #19 that they could no longer return to what they thought was their true time period.

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