X-Men Forever (2nd series) #23

Issue Date: 
July 2010
Story Title: 
Do Not Go Gentle – Into that Good Night (part 3 of 3) (1st story) - the Shape of Things to Come (2nd story)

1st story: Chris Claremont (writer), Rodney Buchemi (penciler), Greg Adams (inker),
2nd story: Chris Claremont (writer), Fernando Blanco (artist)
Sotocolor’s A. Street (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Grummett,  Hamscher & Baumann (cover), Damian Lucchese (production), Charlie Beckerman & Michael Horwitz (assistant editors), Mark Paniccia ( editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

1st story

Jean Grey and Beast share a tearful goodbye, as his presence is necessary to make sure the plague X-firing system stays disabled until their explosives detonate. Jean leaves to warn the other X-Men that they have to leave the orbital platform. They do so, only to find they have to battle Sigrid Trask and her Neo-Sentinels outside. On the bridge, Tony Stark kills Amelia Trask, then forces the rest of the workers to evacuate. He contacts Beast and helps him with his work. In space, the X-Men find Trask near invincible until they lure her close to the station as it blows up. The X-Men leave with the bitter knowledge that neither Beast nor Tony Stark survived.

2nd story:
Several fringe worlds of the Shi’ar Empire suffer attacks from the Warskrulls. The Shi’ar find out the Skrulls could enter their security system due to the carelessness of one person, the empress’ consort, Charles Xavier.

Full Summary: 

1st story
Aboard the Consortium’s orbital platform, Jean Grey and Hank McCoy look into each other’s eyes. He reminds her that, as an Avenger, he took an oath to defend and protect this world. She accepts that. But not the rest. There isn’t time for anything else, he tells her simply. They are pushing their luck by taking this little time. He is all for a miracle but he just can’t see it happening. He can’t leave. He has to stay to make sure the Plague-X firing system is disabled – the projector offline - until these charges they’ve set go off.

Jean begins to cry. It’s not fair! He’s got so much to live for! He knows, but nobody lives forever! They kiss desperately.

Elsewhere aboard the platform, the rest of the X-Men and Nick Fury continue their fight against the Neo-Sentinels. Hard enough as the robots are self-repairing. The Sentinel’s leader, Sigrid ‘Ziggy’ Trask, gloats that eventually the X-Men will get tired and then her Sentinels will kill them. Hard words, Fury tells her as he fires at her. No less than they deserve! Ziggy believes.

Blowing a Sentinel up, Gambit remarks she has a point. Kitty Pryde shouts a warning and takes out a Sentinel behind him. Gambit is taken aback that he never noticed the monster behind him. Kitty jokes if something happens to him, ‘ro won’t forgive her.

While Cyclops blasts one Sentinel, he wonders why, despite being the epitome of logic, the Sentinels haven’t taken the obvious route and voided the X-Men, who are wearing no pressure suits.

That moment, Jean joins them. She mind-dumps the latest information to Cyclops and states they have minutes at most. They have to go! He orders her to mindflash Kurt to prep for immediate launch. He orders the rest to get out now!

In the control room, Amelia Trask is about to deploy all troopers to hangar bay. The mutants must not escape! And get Sentinels down to the reactor to stop the Beast!

An injured Tony Stark stumbles up there with a gun and tells her that her tin man wasn’t as good a killer as he believed. How? she bursts out. He is Iron Man! Tony replies and shoots her. He tells the rest of the staff to consider that their only warning. They have two minutes to evacuate the station before it explodes. Have a nice life.

The X-Men are doing the same thing, while Cyclops still wonders how to save Hank and Stark. The plane leaves as Jean tells him nothing can be done. It’s no different a choice than the one he made on the Starcore shuttle. The hero’s choice: the greater good for the greater number. Kitty offers she could go bad and grab— No time, Jean tells her. Scott orders the X-Men (who are already in the process of doing so) to get suited up. The fight’s not over yet. They face the Sentinels in space (with Jean not wearing any suit).

Meanwhile, aboard the station, Beast is trying to neutralize the activation nodes, only to have more come online. Pesky thing seems to have a mind of its own, he mutters. Machines do that sometimes, he hears a familiar voice. Stark is calling him over the comm-system. He’s looked better, Hank observes. Likewise, Tony retorts and apologizes. He truly thought he could save—There’s nothing for him to worry about, Hank assures him. Tony thanks him, then figures he could use a hand. He tells Hank to focus on the core nodes, while he will handle the control links. Hank agrees with a smile. Family, huh? Ain’t that a stitch.

He has no idea, Tony sighs. Dad had his dreams and ambitions. Tony’s turned out to be somewhat different. He thought he’d made a breakthrough with Larry Trask. His big mistake was not taking Ziggy seriously. Or Amelia.

Hank had a real hard time believing Tony had gone over to the dark side. That call was a lot closer than he thinks, Tony sighs.

In space, Rogue uses her suit’s augmented power to tear into a Sentinel. Cyclops blasts another, noting this is going too easy. Almost as if the Sentinels are testing their capabilities, setting up a future confrontation. Gambit detonates another Sentinel. Jean tears one apart, while raging about the unfairness of the situation.

Kitty and Nightcrawler pilot the Blackbird. Fury is aboard as well and notes the Sentinels seem to be seriously short on strategic combat brains. Kurt suggests they give thanks for small blessings. Be nice if that were true, Fury replies. But he thinks otherwise.

Kitty interrupts, informing them that they are getting a call from someone codenamed Deep Throat. About time, Fury replies and tells her to patch him through. Deep Throat turns out to be Tony Stark and Kurt is shocked when he gets his bio readings. Fury asks where he is. No time and no point, Tony interrupts, for both him and McCoy. Fury asks what happened. Sentinel. Bad joss. Sins of the father catching up with the son. He’s sorry, Nick tells him. He is too, Tony smiles, but they always knew the risk. He’s transmitting the full data load of the station computer. That should help them go after the Consortium. And as for these Neo-Sentinels, there is something they need to know…

Sigrid Trask attacks Cyclops from behind. He tries to take her out with an optic blast to no avail, as the Sentinels made her a Vibranium suit that makes her functionally invulnerable.

Jean threatens she will take care of her after she destroys her toys. Sigrid replies she will kill Jean’s boyfriend in the meantime.

Fury contacts Cyclops and tells him to drive Trask back toward her space station. Scott fires short optic blasts at Ziggy to drive her back. She gloats, believing he is trying to injure her and failing.

Jean telepathically contacts Hank and asks if she can help. Always in the market for a miracle, he jokes. She promises to stay with him till the end. They express their love for each other.

Alerts warn Ziggy as she gets too close to the station.

Hank tells Jean goodbye and the station detonates.

Within the Blackbird, Fury orders Kitty and Kurt to scan the scene. He needs to know the status of the Plague X generator. Was it neutralized in time? Kurt’s readings reveal there are zero emanations of the generator. Negative contact with Hank and Stark. Negative contact with Scott and – he belays the last statement. The rest of their teammates are alive.

Scott asks about Hank. Kurt tells him that he and Tony didn’t make it and reveals Tony was their mole. He knew to take out Ziggy. Once she was gone, her Sentinels stopped moving. Fury explains that Tony figured as much. They were taking telepathic orders from the two Trask women. Once they died, they had no more standing orders.

Jean looks wistfully into space.

2nd story:
Kapella, on the lateral fringe of the Shi’ar Empire:

The Shi’ar governor general is on the planet, while a Shi’ar crew is on a space ship. Suddenly, one crew member announces a significant anomaly.

Planetside, the governor and his guard too look at the sky. A wormhole opens and through it come Warskrull ships, which strafe the planet. Quickly the engine and weapons of the Shi’ar warship are crippled. The Warskrulls hail them and order their surrender. The Shi’ar refuse. Soon they and any of their defenses have been destroyed. The Skrulls own the planet.

Shi’ar defense of the realm headquarters:
The Shi’ar wonder how this could happen. The WarSkrulls were dealt with months ago. Five systems, along the peripheral frontier have been overrun. Complete destruction of local Shi’ar military units. All were caught by surprise. The admiral wonders how total failure of all border sensors was possible.  

A scientist explains that their highest level security echelons have been breached. The Warskrulls took advantage of someone else’s work. The system was recently penetrated by someone with imperial status. He made a comprehensive sweep of all their datanets. When he closed the door behind him, the lock didn’t completely catch. The person responsible is the empress’ consort… Charles Xavier.

Consort or not, the admiral swears, Xavier will pay!

Characters Involved: 

1st story:
Beast, Cyclops, Gambit, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Shadowcat  (all X-Men)
Colonel Nick Fury

Iron Man

Sigrid ‘Ziggy’ Trask
Consortium troops

2nd story
Unnamed Shi’ar

Story Notes: 

What kind of breakthrough should Tony have made with Larry Trask? When he first appeared in X-Men (1st series) #57, he tried to destroy all mutants until he learned that he himself was one.

The second story is continued in X-Men Forever Giant size #1.

Tony’s codename of “Deep Throat” refers to the pseudonym provided by Washington Port reporters Woodward and Bernstein during their investigation of the Watergate scandal, which ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. The identity of Deep Throat was finally revealed in 2005 to be former Associate Director Mark Felt.

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