The Fact Channel:
An interview with Lydia Nance, director of the Heritage Initiative.
Nance, a well-groomed, middle-aged woman rhetorically asks why the world fears and hates mutants and then points out people’s different reactions to Inhumans, Asgardians and other enhanced individuals. What threat do mutants pose? She answers that it’s the X-genome. Mutants are the only phylum that spontaneously enhances. The X-genome is a ticking evolutionary time bomb.
Her interview partner asks her if she isn’t splitting hairs to justify racial prejudice. With a smile, she clarifies that racism is based on aesthetic differences. What she is talking about is a condition that creates human weapons of mass destruction. He can call this bigoted but she can weather such accusations. Her organization is willing to protect the world – whatever the cost.
Elsewhere, in the streets of Manhattan, new X-Men leader Kitty Pryde orders her team (consisting of Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Old Man Logan and Rachel Grey (now called Prestige)): “To me, my X-Men!” Always wanted to say that, hasn’t she? Old Man Logan chuckles. Like he has no idea, she replies.
Their foe is Terrax, causing Rachel to ask if “Terry” isn’t dead. So was he, Colossus points out. And him, Nightcrawler pipes up. He hears there’s a version of him that still is, Logan mutters.
Kitty decides they need to put the ball in the air, as Terrax’s powers are ground-related. She orders Storm and Prestige to take Terrax for a little ride and the rest to keep a building from falling on them
Storm raises Terrax in a whirlwind. Rachel takes over holding him, while Storm hits him with a lightning bolt.
Kitty asks Colossus to hold the base of a building and Kurt to teleport her and Logan onto the roof. She orders Logan to jump upward and help Storm and Prestige, while she will phase the whole building, so it doesn’t destroy the whole block when it falls.
Logan attacks Terrax. While Kitty concentrates, she asks Kurt teleport away any stragglers. He is skeptical about her phasing an entire skyscraper.
Prestige takes out Terrax with the ground he has moved upward.
Colossus groans he cannot hold the building any longer. Kitty replies she’s got this and she phases the skyscraper as it falls through the other buildings.
The battle over, the other X-Men gather, still marveling that Kitty phased a skyscraper and rode it down. Storm asks where Kitty is and Logan warns them their adoring public is coming. The people are silent. Rachel remarks if the Avenger or Champions were here, they’d be cheering.
Kitty phases out of the rubble, sighing she could really use a beer. Does she have any idea how old her saying this makes him feel? Logan asks. Yes, she deadpans and turns to the people. She introduces herself as the X-Men’s leader (still without a codename after all these years) and asks if everyone’s okay.
She’s okay, a little girl pipes up. Her mother admonishes her not to talk to “it.” It? Kitty repeats. Really? Sorry, the woman snaps. “Mutant,” “Homo Superior,” “Enhanced individual”… whatever the politically correct term for people like her is these days. She thinks the word she is looking for is person, Kitty retorts. Human being even, if she is feeling charitable. But she sees that they are not. And surprisingly… she understands. She knows, it’s a long way back. They’ve never exactly trusted mutants and she knows things are different after their war with the Inhumans. And she knows to the extent that people have ever trusted them, they have a long way to go to rebuild that trust. But they are starting today.
Later, at the Xavier Institute for Mutant Education and Outreach. Kitty and Logan are sitting on the bleachers, watching a baseball game. Helluva speech, he concedes. Very Xavier. Thanks, she replies. Logan points out that wasn’t necessarily a compliment. Kitty observes he hasn’t changed. He replies, he’s gotten grumpier.
Colossus hits the ball and Nightcrawler teleports to catch it. What happened to not using powers? Piotr mutters. What happened to many things? Ororo points out, she often has to ask. “Chem Bol’she vse Menyatseya,” Piotr begins.“… the more they stay the same,” she continues. They continue their game.
Logan muses he always thought these games were a waste of time. But he was wrong. “Is that you, Mystique?” Kitty deadpans. “‘Cause there’s no way…” Cute, he snorts, but he’s serious. Softball’s normal and normal’s always been in short supply for this outfit. It’s like gold. Is he getting sentimental in his old age? Kitty grins. Tell anybody and he’ll gut her, he warns.
That moment, they are interrupted by a gentleman in a suit, Alex Sandstrom. He is with the mayor’s office. The city’s register, specifically. He hands her some paperwork. Kitty protests she had to sign a phonebook’s worth when the mayor agreed to let them relocate here. Didn’t give him much of a choice, Logan mutters.
The papers are an invoice for the first six months lease payments, as well as property taxes for the parcel they are occupying. This is for eighteen million dollars, Kitty points out. This is Central Park, he smiles. Arguably the most valuable residential real estate in the entire world. Kitty just stares at the number. Want him to claw him? Logan asks.
Later in the evening, Nightcrawler and Storm are watching a TV interview with Lydia Nance, who explains mutants are the only phylum that spontaneously enhances. That X-genome is a ticking evolutionary timebomb.
The more things change, the more they stay the same, Kurt sighs. Ororo remarks, Peter said the same thing to her this afternoon. But there’s another epigram she’s recalling, one favored by Magneto: “The past is prologue.” He’d appreciate her not quoting Magneto, he replies and points out it’s actually by Shakespeare, but what does she mean by it? That perhaps they are returning to their roots, their history. Perhaps after all the trials and tragedies they are returning to what they were. Outcasts? he asks. Heroes, she replies. That actually sounded hopeful, Kurt teases. Has she really been that bad? Kitty told him Storm wanted to leave the team, he replies. She led the X-Men into a losing war, she states. The X-Men didn’t lose, he reminds her.
On TV, Nance continues that they still don’t know the long term consequences of the mutant community’s aggression against the Inhumans.
Didn’t they? Storms ask.
Rachel is in a Danger Room sequence with students Rockslide and Armor. While the kids are struggling, Rachel easily dispatches their foes with her telekinesis. Impressed, the kids nevertheless accuse her of showing off. When Hisako calls her Ms. Grey, Rachel asks her to call her Rachel or Prestige. They ask about her new codename. Kitty’s idea, Rachel explains. She thought Marvel Girl and Phoenix were too rooted in the past. She wants her to look forward. Hisako agrees that Kitty seems to want that for all of them. Rockslide remarks he’s glad she is in charge.
Kitty, in the meantime, is sitting in her office, large stacks of paper in front of her. She wonders if it’s not too late to return to the Guardians of the Galaxy or return to being trapped in a bullet traveling through space. That was fun. She’d even settle for being an immortal demon ninja’s psychic puppet right about now. This used to be Professor Xavier’s desk. She thinks about him almost every day. She survived the experience, she smiles, then curses herself for jinxing it as Colossus enters, asking if she has a minute.
She tries to stay causal, asking what’s up. Peter replies he’s ordered some dinner, pizza Chicago style. Her favorite, Kitty admits. He asks, if she’d care to join him. No, Kitty replies decisively. As a friend, no problem. But he doesn’t mean as a friend, does he? Is it ever this simple with them? he asks. No, she agrees, but she has moved on. She’s sorry.
Silently, she prays, if there is any kind of God, someone will attack the city right now. Rachel bursts in, shouting someone is attacking the city. Kitty feels like the worst person ever.
As they are getting changed into uniform, Rachel asks what she interrupted between Kitty and Peter. Kitty doesn’t really want to talk about it. Rachel reminds her she’s telepathic. Kitty reminds her in turn she could phase her pinky into Rachel’s eye socket and solidify.
They join the others and Storm explains someone is attacking the United Nations building. A five person unit according to SHIELD intel. The X-Jet takes off. When they are above the damaged building, Kitty orders Storm and Rachel to fly into the center of the building. Take Colossus along and see if he stabilize it. Kurt is to teleport her and Logan down, so they can assess the situation. What’s to assess? Logan asks. Someone tore a hole into the building. Kitty explains she wants to meet this team.
Kurt complies and immediately her wish is granted, as they face a team consisting of Pyro and Avalanche-lookalikes, Magma, Masque and a reptile-like being who announce they are the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants!