A comic shop. A young woman with glasses tells another member of the staff that this week’s comics are nearly all boarded. Her colleague answers the phone, wondering what Midtown Comics wants. He turns to the young woman. The call is for her. A guy named Doyle.
Anxiously, she grabs the phone and answers it some distance away, reminding Doyle they’d agreed never to… The man interrupts her, telling her this is threat level six one six. The girl, Kell, looks through some comics and answers hesitatingly this will be handled. If it’s there, the Avengers or Fantastic Four… Doyle interrupts her again, suggesting she check her files. The FF are in the Negative Zone today, and the Avengers are in the Pacific. Even Spider-Man is away. The young man at the other end, who sits in front of a computer screen in a darkened room, informs her that he’s put in a call to Xavier’s mansion.
That moment Kell’s colleague states that something is going on outside. There’s smoke everywhere. Doyle finishes his call, telling her he’s calling Marin. It’s time to re-form.
Kell steps outside. There stand the worst villains imaginable: Doctor Doom, the Green Goblin, the Abomination, the Red Skull, Dormammu, Loki and Mephisto. Doom boasts they should send their heroes against them. They represent a new age of fear. History will be rewritten to reflect this time. This is no longer mere threat or possibility. This is… canon!
Watching the proceedings in Manhattan on TV is an African-American couple. Suddenly, a phone rings. The woman answers. The man on the other side tells her to pass on a message and hangs up. Reluctantly, she tells her husband that some man asked for him and said there was no time to talk. He just said six one six.
Marin gets up and grabs his jacket. He has to get down there, he informs his wife. Reality itself is being threatened. This has to do with comics, doesn’t it? she demands angrily and orders Marin to sit down. This is bigger than all of them, comes his reply. Angrily, Jenn reminds him that he made his choice long ago – it was either that group and their comics or her and Senor Paws (referring to their cat). Marin apologizes but the Continuiteens need him. With that he jumps into his car and drives off.
Meanwhile, the X-Men’s jet is speeding towards Manhattan. Jean asks about the caller. He knew about them? Xavier, steering the jet, explains that the caller’s message asked him to bring the X-Men and that “the very universe” was at stake. If only he’d been in to answer the phone, he could have traced his mind.
This is all because Warren won’t wear his mask half of the time, Iceman announces. Xavier denies this and suddenly orders an evasive maneuver. Just in time, as the hand of a hungry Galactus is coming down at them. He fires eyebeams at them, hitting the jet. Xavier mentally manages to land the jet on the street.
In a nearby alley, watching this are the three young people who wonder whether the X-Men are in time…
Xavier and the three X-Men present, Beast, Iceman and Marvel Girl step out of the jet. Okay, Big Apple, Iceman announces, the X-Men are here. And they’re gonna get stomped, but they are here. That’s the spirit, Jean jokes. Odd, Xavier murmurs. But before he can explain, Iceman and Beast have a bomb thrown at them by the Green Goblin. Are they some pathetic stand-in for Spider-Man? he laughs.
Marvel Girl attempts to repel the goblin bombs but it isn’t working. Please, let them not be losing their powers again, Beast mutters. He’s not! Iceman points out as he covers them with an iceshield. What do they think is keeping them alive?
He tosses an iceball with a negative smiley at the Goblin, shouting his don’t explode yet, but he’s working on it. Suddenly, there’s no more sign of the Goblin. Hey, maybe he did explode him, Bobby ventures. No, he’s vanished, Jean corrects him. So has the Professor, Hank remarks, and calls out for him.
Xavier is in a throng of panicking people who are running in terror, and tries to calm them down. He informs Hank he will be joining them soon.
Tower of flame that way! Hank suddenly cries and points at it. Before the X-Men can run there though, Kell, Marin and Doyle address them, telling them they have this theory of all of this that could help. Cool, Iceman tells them. Get back inside and they’ll try to get back to them. Ignoring them, the X-Men are focused on Galactus walking down the street.
If Scott were there, he could laser-eye him, Iceman sighs. Doyle immediately corrects him that Cyclops does not have laser eyes. It’s a forcebeam! Kell suggest they hit the books and try to find a way to help.
Hank whispers something to Bobby who agrees he’ll try anything. He asks Jean to float the ice object he’s creating up to Galactus’s face and shouts at Galactus if he remembers the thing Mr. Fantastic showed him. Check it out. They’ve got one as well!
Looking at the awkward object, Galactus informs them that does not even look like the Ultimate Nullifier. He will spare their planet if they sacrifice the one called… Spider-Man. No problem, Iceman agrees. Jean protests though. Why would Galactus care about Spider-Man? She thinks they are up against someone else. She tries to telekinetically affect Galactus, who protests but is nevertheless surrounded by green mists… and turns into Mysterio.
It’s all an elaborate illusion, Beast realizes. So they may think, the giant Mysterio scoffs, but his new powers are growing still. Mysterio threatens he will return soon for they have earned the wrath of Mysterio,
Did they win? Bobby asks. They won. Yay us. They didn’t win anything, Jean replies. Xavier contacts them telling them he saw Mysterio as well. He should have realized this was his doing. He’s read abut his illusion crimes, Hank remarks, but Mysterio’s effects seem to be much greater than reported. Xavier agrees. Somehow this is no mere illusion. He wasn’t able to see through them. They also existed in his mental-scape. They’ll have to reflect upon it later. People are still frantic all over the city. He’s trying to stop the crowds before they turn into riots. He orders them to find Mysterio. They’ll talk soon.
Okay, they’ll just “go find Mysterio,” Bobby remarks. He doesn’t even know where the Statue of Liberty is. Jean recalls being addressed by a guy or girl. Could he or she have know something? Hank sniffs, he caught a whiff of buttery topping like movie theatres use for popcorn. Maybe they can backtrack it and get a trail.
The Continuiteens, in the meantime, have hit the comic books and Doyle has found something. Doyle asks them to recall how the X-Men accidentally attracted that extraterrestrial catalyst that gave them god-like powers. Then they sent the entity back into space via rocket, Marin adds. Kell looks at him. She thought he’d stopped reading comics. He… came across a few trades at the library, Marin replies. Doyle continues that said rocket passed over the Man-Thing’s swamp which as they know is also the…
…Nexus of realities! all three of them chorus. Right, now he tells them to look at this comic called X-Men First Class (not the original series, he might add).
They open the book, where things went a bit differently.
While the X-Men were inside Professor Connors’s home, they weren’t aware that Quentin Beck aka Mysterio was nearby, spying on them as he had planned to seek out Connors, hoping for the Lizard’s help in creating a new Sinister Six to defeat Spider-Man.
Someone wonders why Professor Xavier didn’t notice Beck spying on them. Lazy writing, Marin suggests. Or the meshing of realties was interfering with his mental powers, is Doyle’s reply. Kell adds that such an event could cover any number of plot holes before she realizes they aren’t alone anymore. The three X-Men have joined them. Marin spells out their real names and Jean forcefully asks how they know their identities. Frightened, Doyle asks her not to get mad. Marin whispers to him not to worry. She’s not you-know-who yet.
Doyle continues they have early information on such threats. That’s why he called their mansion. Are they behind this? Bobby asks. What, does he look like, the Beyonder? Marin shoots back. Who? Hank asks confused.
Doyle tells them the time has come to share their secret… with no less than Professor Xavier’s uncanny team of mutants. He asks them to listen close, for the story they are about to hear, incredible as it sounds, is completely true.
The Secret Origin of the Continuiteens!
Years ago, the three of them worked in the same comics shop in Brooklyn. It was a good life, an ordinary life. And then one day they faced a crisis. Kell informed them that the Wednesday shipment was delayed. Diamond Distribution had a warehouse in the Florida Everglades… not far from where the X-Men’s recent adventure went down.
How do they know about that? Marvel Girl interrupts. Doyle asks her to be patient and continues his tale.
Now, few stores order from this warehouse. It mostly stocked children’s comics. But they had to get those books in. Pull-list customers are not to be disappointed. They were the only ones who would rush out their order in time… and the three made the discovery of a lifetime. They had gotten their hands on books that shouldn’t be in print yet, that depicted the future. They immediately ordered as many titles ahead as they could. Luckily, Marvel created few new characters in the future so they could make sense of special tie-ins and crossovers.
Are they suggesting these books were from a different reality? Hank suggests and the three agree.
Doyle continues that the events of their world are just quality fiction to the Earth from whence their orders shipped. Sadly, Kell continues, that rift soon closed. She thinks the Man-Thing did it. Yet they were now privy to the greatest secrets of the worlds. And with that knowledge came great responsibility. They secretly intervened whenever threats to their own reality – their very continuity – would arise (such as mailing Dr. Strange back his lost book of Vishanti).
But they got too involved in their hubris. They started to interfere in natural events. Such as inadvertently endangering Don Blake when trying to protects his cane/hammer from Loki. They were just unthinking teenagers and they years were changing them. It became time to put away their special comics… and become men (Except for Kell, of course.).
Bobby, in the meantime, got some snacks. Did he miss anything? No, a bored Jean tells him. Hank in the meantime is studying the comics with the trio as Doyle continues that they were retired until yesterday when he received an unexpected shipment from the Everglades warehouse. This could only mean that reality was being compromised again. By Mysterio? Hank asks. Yes. He realized the water of the swamp retained some dimensional energies. He filled empty gas tanks with the water while the phenomenon was in effect.
How will they find him in all of Manhattan? Jean asks. Kell points to the comic, which explains that Mysterio is hiding right here in the old water treatment station on Roth Street. Wow, this is kind of like cheating, Bobby marvels. Does it really bother him? Hank asks. No, comes the reply. Marin informs them he can get them there and leads them to the Continui-Car. He’s just glad Warren isn’t here to see how uncool this is, Bobby mutters.
As they drive towards their goal (with Hank on the roof and Bobby icesliding next to them), they find increasing weirdness on the streets such as a Devil Dinosaur ridden by Moonboy or the Hulk stealing the Leader’s twinkies) the closer they get. It’s like a weirdness zone. Interesting theory, Professor Drake, Jean quips.
Hank actually agrees with Bobby. Where the charged water is concentrated, the effect will be the strongest. What are just illusions elsewhere are dangerously close to being reality in the epicenter. Because it becomes more probable, Doyle continues, then exclaims in shock as Marvel girl’s outfit changes to her green miniskirt version. Jean is shocked (by her lack of fashion sense) and suddenly the car is attacked by the Absorbing Man. Hank frees the people inside from the car while Bobby defeats the fake Absorbing Man.
Beast worries that the attacks are going to get more solid. They are outside Mysterio’s hideout now. Jean suggests using their powers to crash the car though the wall, surprising Mysterio.
Angrily, the villain demands why they keep showing up. Where’s Spider-Man? Not that he cares who comes after him. He has more than enough power now. With that he manifests Batroc the Leaper to attack Beast, over the Continuiteens protest that Batroc doesn’t appear until Tales of Suspense #75.
The Grey Gargoyle troubles Iceman as Mysterio announces he will soon be more than the master of illusion. He will be master of reality itself.
The Continuiteens check their issue of X-Men: First Class to see what’s happening and Doyle explains that Mysterio’s been adding the Nexus water to his fog mixture – but in exciting the molecules, he’s creating a new convergence point for the multiverse. But Marvel Girl has an epiphany.
Indeed, Jean realizes that this is all about mental manipulation, so she should be better at it than him. She uses Batroc and the Gargoyle to crash into the tank with the nexus water, creating a hole.
Still weirdness abounds, as suddenly Doop manifests saying something in his alien language. You know it, D, Iceman agrees much to Marin’s horror. Doop doesn’t exist yet.
Trying to hold off Venom, Beast asks if he is also from the future. Yes, Marin protests. It’s violating continuity. Beast orders everyone outside. The remaining water is tearing a rift in this time period. They could be cut off from their own reality.
The X-Men First Class book falls from Doyle’s hands. He runs after it, because he needs to know how it all ends. His friends try to hold him back, as Marin tells him it never ends. It’s all cyclical. Everything eventually comes back, is undone. Exactly what happens doesn’t matter.
Kell tells them to look. Beast’s prediction came true. They are completely cut off from the X-Men, separated by a green wall that they can’t breach. On the other side Iceman wonders where Mysterio and the comic people are. Comic people? Jean asks. Beast supposes if Mysterio didn’t escape, he could be cut off from their reality.
How ironic, Kell states. The greatest X-Men of all time – and she includes Wolverine when she says that – are right outside and have no way of knowing they are in here.
Will he just vanish? Jean asks. Beast believes that as the reality rips weave back together, universal logic will take over. The most likely eventualities with the least repercussions will fill all the holes. Mysterio ceases to exist. They won’t even remember him.
She can only imagine Mr. Hanley’s shock, when she doesn’t show up tomorrow, Kell states. He’ll never know, Doyle points out. Even his wife will forget him, Marin muses. Still it only feels right that he faces oblivion with the two of them. Kell takes his hands. She knew he never stopped reading. That’s because no matter what mainstream book he read, he knew somewhere on that Wednesday she would be reading that very comic, he reveals.
Energy begins to swirl around them as Doyle states I admit I always thought I would be the object of your affections. She’s sorry he thought that, Kell tells him. No, he meant M – are Doyle’s last words.
Realty reasserts itself. Iceman states that he still remembers Mysterio, so he must have gotten away. Jean tells him not to feel bad. He gets away from Spider-Man all the time. Yeah, but they are cooler, Iceman points out. They look inside and find no trace of Mysterio, just a comic starring the Extremely Thorough Continui-Teens. Funny, he’s never heard of that one, Iceman wonders.