X-Men Forever 2 #15

Issue Date: 
March 2011
Story Title: 
The Price of Life – is Death!

Chris Claremont (writer), Andy Smith (penciler), Cory Hamscher (inker), Wil Quintana (colorist),) Tom Orzechowski (letterer ), Grummett, Hamscher & Quintana (cover art), Michael Horwitz (editor), Mark Sumerak (consulting editor), Mark Paniccia (senior editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

The X-Men now face both the Avengers and the sociopathic Queen Storm. Though they receive help from the other half of the team, things look bad until Nightcrawler absorbs Thor’s power and, overwhelmed by it, uses it to briefly knock everyone out. Cyclops uses the opportunity to try and talk sense into Captain America. Perfect Storm sneaks up on Cyclops to kill him but Havok throws himself into the blast’s way, sacrificing himself for his brother. Polaris angrily attacks Queen Storm and is helped by the real Storm, who has been healed by Dr. Strange. Together, they bring the fake Storm down.

Full Summary: 

In a small hut in Wakanda, Dr. Stephen Strange begins his spell to merge the energy “Ghost Panther” Storm and l’il ‘Ro back to the shape they belong.

Meanwhile, in the royal palace of Wakanda, the X-Men are in for a nasty surprise as the sociopathic Queen Storm has called the Avengers for help. Sanctimoniously, she informs the X-Men present – Cyclops, Jean Grey, Havok and Polaris – that by invading her home they have committed a crime against all of Wakanda and their fabled luck has just run out, as she has powerful allies.

Angrily, Cyclops asks if those allies know the truth, that Storm was the one who attacked Genosha without warning or provocation to annex the nation? Jean stands behind him adding that her reign is based on lies. They are here to set things right! Havok helps up his lover, Polaris, who was ambushed by Storm.

They want lies? an unimpressed Captain America asks. How about the fact that the X-Men faked their death? That is reason enough to doubt their claims. They are very skilled at deception, Queen Storm adds with a smirk. If the Avengers wish answers, they’ll have to take them by force. And, so the Avengers and Storm attack.

Perfect Storm strikes at Cyclops with a knife, a blow which he dodges. Havok tries to use his blasts on Thor, but as a god he is not impressed. Polaris attempts to warp the electromagnetic fields around the Vision with her powers while Jean Grey finds a formidable adversary in the unpredictable powers of the Scarlet Witch, who manages to beat her. Jean still has the strength, though, to call the rest of the team who are loading up on weapons for help. Rogue tells them to grab some toys and teleports ahead.

Rogue teleports atop the Scarlet Witch and ‘ports away with her, thus freeing Jean. Quicksilver becomes enraged and goes racing the palace in search for his sister, tracking her with the locator in her uniform. He vows he will rescue Wanda soon and make her abductor pay!

Freed up, Jean battles Spider-Woman while Polaris holds herself against Hawkeye. Captain America observes the battle between Cyclops and Storm, noting Storm has changed in a way he doesn’t like. But she is Wakanda’s rightful ruler and the Avengers gave their word to help. He throws his shield at Cyclops but it is diverted thanks to a shot from Nightcrawler’s gun. Heavily armed, the rest of the team have arrived and instantly join the fracas.

Nightcrawler tries to help Havok against Thor, hoping they can at least keep Thor from using his hammer. Gambit uses his vibranium spear against Cap’s shield while Lockheed fires a fiery blast at Spider-Woman.

Storm intends to gut Cyclops when Kitty challenges her, making fun of the scar she gave her months ago. What a harsh little girl she has become, Storm smirks. Savage, a beast and more like Wolverine every day. Formidable as that may sound, Kitty better remember that she killed him and happily intends to do the same to her! They cross blades and Storm disarms Kitty with a kick. Empty threats from a child without a weapon, Storm mocks. Unsheathing her claw, Kitty retorts, in case she forgot, she is the weapon now.

Hawkeye traps Sabretooth with a net arrow. He’s up against the greatest archer in the world, Hawkeye boasts. He ain’t impressed! Sabretooth snarls and tears the net apart. With a smirk, Hawkeye replies “let dance” and reaches for another arrow.

Meanwhile, Quicksilver finds his sister unconscious, lying in one of the main corridors. He realizes it’s a trap but figures his speed will protect him. He cradles her, only to have the “Scarlet Witch” hit him and kayo him. Her work done, she changes back to Mystique and tells Rogue the coast is clear. She praises Rogue for playing her part equally well. Rogue muses that, for the children of Magneto, they didn’t put up much of a fight. That’s the difference between his family and theirs, Mystique replies smugly. They were raised to believe they were the best, Rogue and her brother actually are.

Cyclops and Havok both are blasting at Thor, trying to separate him from his hammer. Calling them fools, Thor assures them that will not happen. In their last battle, he held back his full might out of respect for past battles when they fought side by side, out of hope the accusations against the X-Men might be wrong. But they did not face their accusers. They chose the path of the coward! He swats them aside, vowing they shall pay for that deception. Lightning gathers around Mjolnir.

Nightcrawler tackles him and touches Thor’s skin. When the power transfer begins, Kurt screams in agony. It’s too much! Energy crackles around him. That moment, Rogue teleports herself and Mystique to his side. Mystique exclaims that he has come into contact with a god and can’t handle the overload! If his flesh cannot sustain the power, Kurt vows, he will put it to good use and energy pours forth from him. Unconscious, he falls, his hair now white with a black streak in the middle. Pretty much everyone’s stunned as a result.

Cyclops figures he might use this opportunity to end this and addresses Captain America, asking him to listen. The X-Men are not the enemy. Storm set all this in motion when she murdered Wolverine. She was working with a clandestine outfit called the Consortium. Ziggy Trask is also their agent. They now control SHIELD. The X-Men didn’t kill Tony Stark. The Consortium had a plan to murder all the mutants in the world. Stark and Hank McCoy sacrificed their lives to save them.

Queen Storm sneaks up on them, intending to kill Cyclops with lightning. Noticing this, Havok throws himself in front of Cyclops and takes the lethal blow.

A horrified Polaris shouts her lover’s name and flies at Storm, taking her outside. Storm mocks her and repels her with her wind, calling Polaris a “commoner.” She wonders what that makes her? the Ghost Panther challenges her as she joins them in the sky and tells her she will bring her reign to its end.

Queen Storm is surprised to find that her foe can manipulate the weather as well. She betrayed the X-Men! the Ghost Panther reminds her and furiously shouts she killed Logan and T’Challa! She hurls lightning at the other woman. And now she’s added Alex Summers to her butcher’s bill! These crimes will not be forgotten or forgiven!

Who is she? Queen Storm demands. Justice! comes the reply. She has done enough harm! Her masquerade is done! Queen Storm hurls the lightning back. She has won this land with blood! And with fire she will shape it into an empire!

All but forgotten, Polaris reaches out to the giant Storm stature, manipulating it, so the giant hand reaches out and closes around Queen Storm, trapping her. Still she boasts, certain Polaris can’t hold her for long. Lorna intends to kill her but the Ghost Panther holds her back, reminding her that for X-Men there is a better way.

They land on the balcony where X-Men and Avengers both are waiting for them. Captain America reminds them all they just overthrew Wakanda’s ruler. He doesn’t see any happy outcomes here. The Ghost Panther assures him things aren’t as bad. Gambit wants to know what she did with ‘Ro. She’s right here, she replies, and thanks to the help of Dr. Strange back the way the Goddess intended. She takes off the helmet to reveal the one true (mohawked) Storm back in her body. Just as she has been restored, she promises, the throne of Wakanda shall be as well.

Characters Involved: 

Cyclops, Gambit, Jean Grey, L’il ‘Ro, Mystique, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Sabretooth, Shadowcat (all X-Men)

Havok, Polaris (members of X-Factor)

Ghost Panther/ “energy” Storm

Captain America, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman II, Thor, Vision (all Avengers)

Dr. Strange

Callisto, Masque (both Morlocks)

Queen “perfect” Storm

Story Notes: 

The X-Men faked their death in issue #1.

Mystique’s crack about her family is a bit unfair and certainly not true, as Magneto didn’t raise his children and wasn’t aware of their existence for most of their lives.

Strangely, in Avengers Annual #10, Rogue absorbed Thor’s powers without much trouble.

Issue Information: 
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