X-Men Legacy (1st series) #235

Issue Date: 
June 2010
Story Title: 
Second Coming: Chapter 4

Mike Carey (Writer), Greg Land (Penciler), Jay Lieten (Inker), Justin Ponsor (Colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (Letterer), Daniel Ketchum (Assistant Editor), Nick Lowe (Editor), Jeanine Schaefer (consulting editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-in-Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher), Alan Fine (Executive Producer)

Brief Description: 

While Cameron Hodge prepares to lobotomize the gravely injured Karma, the rest of the New Mutants do their best to battle the Right. Cannonball attempts to rescue Karma, but he fails, and Hodge throws him down a hole. From the Blackbird, Cypher sees that his teammates are in trouble, so sends Warlock in to help them, despite Warlock’s protest. Warlock unleashes his techno-infection on the Right operatives, taking them all out with ease, before attacking Hodge himself, and ripping his head off. Cannonball is rescued and the team reunited. Given her connection to Hope, Rogue is enlisted to join the squad locating her, with Ariel as her teleport transport. They join Wolverine and the others, before Nightcrawler begins to teleport Rogue in the location of Hope, while the others follow in jeeps. However, Bastion is aware of their scheme, and launches a jet fighter - which drops a missile on the jeeps, killing Ariel. Wolverine and the others meet up with Cable and Hope, and Cable agrees that Hope should be taken to Utopia, so Nightcrawler teleports her and Rogue away.

Full Summary: 

The Headquarters of the Right, where the diabolical man-machine Cameron Hodge ins his spider-like robot body leans over the gravely injured Karma. ‘Vile little brat. Thought you could vomit your mutant filth into my brain. I can touch people’s brains, too. Let me show you’ Hodge remarks as he prepares to shove his deadly-sharp appendage into Karma’s head - ‘How about we don’t?’ Cannonball suggests as he blasts forward, smacking Hodge upwards and away from Karma. ‘On account of the punch line’s a little obvious’ Cannonball adds, before calling out to Mirage, Magma and Sunspot, telling them that they have to get Karma back to base. ‘Take out the rest of the smileys!’ he orders. Sunspot punches one of the Right, while Mirage tries to remove the helmet off another. ‘I’ll finish up here!’ Cannonball exclaims as he blasts past them, still pushing Hodge upwards.

At Utopia, inside the monitor / control room, the White Queen places a finger on Rogue’s head. ‘Nothing. Nothing at all’ she remarks, to which Rogue quickly replies ‘Ah can only tell you what Ah feel, Emma’. The White Queen replies that, regardless, Rogue’s mind is a lot less crowded than it was the last time she visited. ‘I do like what you’ve done in there’ the White Queen jokes, before announcing that there is no psychic or empathic link between Rogue and Hope. ‘Then it’s something else. Ah didn’t say Ah could explain it’ Rogue replies, declaring that she is tied to Hope. ‘Ah felt it when she first arrived, only then Ah didn’t know what it was. Scott, Ah know how this sounds, but -’ Rogue begins, before Cyclops declares that it sounds like perfect timing.

Cyclops tells Rogue that she will rendezvous with Wolverine’s team, then she and Nightcrawler will take point, and the rest will follow her in. ‘Right now?’ Rogue asks. ‘Right now’ Cyclops replies, announcing that Ariel will take her, and Emma will let the others know she is on her way. ‘Someone order a cab?’ the flamboyant Ariel asks as she appears in the room, creating a doorway which she and Rogue then leave by. ‘Another act of faith? Or just strategy on the fly?’ the White Queen asks. Cyclops reminds his girlfriend that Hope brought Rogue back from her coma just by touching her. ‘I can believe that there’d be a bond between them. And the strategy is what it’s always been, Emma. Survive’ Cyclops replies.

Back at the Right stronghold, ‘My, you’re a persistent soul, aren’t you, boy?’ Hodge declares as Cannonball blasts towards him. ‘Might even do some damage, if I stood still long enough to let you’ Hodge adds - suddenly, Cannonball comes to a stop as Hodge raises Karma from the ground, sans her missing leg. ‘But you don’t corner too well, do you?’ Hodge asks ‘Shan - no!’ Cannonball gasps. ‘That was always your problem’ Hodge remarks, before declaring ‘As for your invulnerability - I understand it switches off as soon as you stop moving. Back when I was in public relations, I would have had to work hard to sell that one’ Hodge jokes as he uses an appendage to smack Cannonball aside.

Hodge has Karma and Cannonball both hanging off his appendages and remarks ‘You see. This is what’s in store for all of your tainted bloodline. This is how it ends’ Hodge boasts as he drops Cannonball down a hole in the floor. Inside the Blackbird, Cypher and Warlock watch their teammates battle the Right. He analyzes the battle moves, and tells himself that it is all the same language - but he is the only one who can read it. ‘And it’s soon to be a dead language. Unless -’ Cypher thinks to himself before turning to Warlock, telling him that they have got what they came for. ‘But we’re not getting out of here if you don’t hold up your end’.

Warlock holds up a hand as if to protest, and exclaims ‘What does self-soul-friend mean? Self is still weak!’ Cypher motions to the Right operatives on a monitor and tells Warlock to take their strength. ‘Negative! Negative! This thing must not be! Self promised not to kill -’ Warlock declares. Cypher tells his dear friend that he understands. ‘Listen to me. This is war. We didn’t choose it, but it’s war. The rules are different now’ Cypher explains, telling Warlock that he either does this thing, or else it is all over and they have failed. ‘And every single one of us dies!’

Meanwhile, ‘You notice the static cling? Happens every time’ Ariel smiles. Rogue tells Ariel that she will live. ‘You’ve got a lot less to lose, miss green-jeans’ Ariel remarks, before they are approached by Wolverine, Psylocke, Archangel, Colossus, Nightcrawler and X-23. Standing around an abandoned gas station. Wolverine tells Rogue that she is a sight for sore eyes - provided she can really do this. ‘Bastion’s got a through-link on Cable and the kid, unlike us. All we can do is chase the carnage, and we’re pretty much running on empty’ he explains. Nightcrawler mutters that they passed empty a thousand miles back. ‘I saw it waving’ he adds.

Wolverine tells Nightcrawler that he is up, that he can take Rogue and keep the jumps right and short. ‘And talk to us in every time you land. We’ll keep pace with you as far as we can’ Wolverine exclaims. But Nightcrawler asks if they can’t all go together, using Ariel’s power. ‘Sure. So long as we only go places where there are doors. Out in the wilds of where-the-hell-are-we, I’m a lot less limber’ the striking young woman replies. Wolverine declares that Ariel is there back up, so she stays with him and X-23. ‘Now move. Every second we waste, these guys are stealing another yard on us’ Wolverine declares.

Nightcrawler complies, and several bamfs are seen as he teleports himself and Rogue across a field. Exhausted, Nightcrawler pauses at one point, and asks Rogue where they are going next. Rogue motions ahead: ‘That way. Northwest, more or less. Maybe half as far as we’ve come’. Rogue remarks, before calling out to the White Queen, who, replies that Doctor Nemesis is tuning into a grid reference, which she will feed to Wolverine as soon as she has it. Cyclops is standing nearby and orders Rogue to keep moving. They teleport again, although Rogue asks if Nightcrawler can take a breather. ‘He just jumped eight hundred miles inside of a minute - with a passenger’ Rogue points out. Nightcrawler replies that he is fine, that this is like a vacation trip, only greatly accelerated. ‘Next time, we must bring a picnic’ Nightcrawler jokes.

Back on Utopia, the White Queen glances at Cyclops and tells her boyfriend ‘You want to be out there, don’t you?’, but Cyclops tells her that he is fine. The White Queen assures him that he made the right call, as they cannot afford to have both he and Wolverine away from Utopia at the same time. ‘At least this way, we’ve -’ the White Queen begins, before she convulses and begins to scream. ‘Emma, what is it?’ Cyclops asks. ‘Massive psionic feedback, oh God!’ the White Queen exclaims. ‘From where?’ Cyclops asks. ‘From - from -’ the White Queen begins, when suddenly: ‘Mister Summers?’ a voice calls out. Cyclops spins around, and in the doorway sees the Stepford Cuckoos, blood trickling from their noses, they exclaim ‘Cerebra just screamed. Really, really loudly. And then shut down’.

At Bastion’s stronghold, ‘Exquisite timing. Mr Pierce has done his job’ Bastion grins. ‘How did you - did you feel it?’ Stephen Lang asks. Watching several monitors, Bastion replies that every Cerebro-type device creates perturbations in its own scanning field. ‘Yes. I felt it when those disturbances stopped’ he adds, to which Stephen remarks that the X-Men can no longer track their own people. ‘You’ve dropped a hood over Scott Summers’ head, and tied it tight. While our own Cerebro-tech is functioning as well as ever’ Lang declares. ‘No. Better than ever. Without that slight deform in the scanning field, I see their soldiers that much clearer. They’ve called in reinforcements, which was exactly the right thing to do’ Bastion exclaims, adding that in fact, he was absolutely relying on it.

Back at the Right’s anti-mutant personnel weaponry manufacturing plant, Mirage, Magma and Sunspot continue to battle the Right operatives. ‘This, my children - this is how you kill mutants. A joyous harvest. A Solemn sacrament!’ Hodge booms. ‘A sacrament! Yeah! I give this kill to the Right. To the just. To - wha -?’ one of the operatives gasps as a techno-infection spread through his armor - and engulfs him. ‘No! God, no!’ he pleads. Warlock stands in amongst the Right operatives, connected to all of them via the techno-infection, he apologizes to them. ‘Self mourns your soldiers, entity-designate-Hodge’ Warlock exclaims. ‘But self will not mourn YOU!’ Warlock shouts as he lunges towards Hodge.

At that moment, Archangel flies overhead, while two black jeeps travel through an oil field. ‘Okay. We’re getting close’ someone in the first jeep announces, adding that according to Nightcrawler, there should be a turn up ahead, a dirt track. Ariel leans forward from the back seat and remarks to Wolverine and X-23 ‘Big surprise. The last time we saw blacktop was three counties over’. Psylocke telepathically contacts Wolverine, telling him that she doesn’t like this. Wolverine asks his friend ‘What’s the matter’. As she drives the second vehicle, Psylocke explains that something is flattening the air, that she can feel it in the same way she feels her own telekinetic fields.

‘I think it’s something coming in our direction - high up and very fast. We should get ready for -’ Psylocke begins, before calling out to Archangel, concerned for him. But, up in the air, Archangel manages to dodge a fighter jet, which suddenly appears overhead - and fires a missile! ‘Oh, spit!’ Ariel exclaims as she looks out the window - just as the missile crashes into the first jeep - engulfing Wolverine, X-23 and Ariel in flames. Archangel shouts out in anger as he swerves around, and flies into the jet - tearing it apart, it bursts into flames.

The second jeep stops, and Colossus and Psylocke get out. ‘Bozhe moi!’ Colossus gasps. Suddenly, two figures emerge from the flames - ‘Logan -’ Colossus exclaims as Wolverine and X-23, badly burnt, both approach Colossus and Psylocke. ‘It don’t matter. We’ll heal. Ariel won’t’ Wolverine declares. Psylocke turns away, while Colossus hangs his head. Wolverine tells his friends not to look back. ‘We gotta keep going. We stop now, they win. Payback comes later’.

In the control / monitor room at Utopia, the White Queen holds her head as she announces that there was a missile strike, with a direct hit - and that Ariel is dead. ‘I’m so sorry, Scott’ the White Queen declares, as she, Cyclops, and Pixie hang their heads. Cyclops breaks the silence, declaring that now they are blind and lame. ‘And they know who we’ve got in the field. Where to hit to do the most damage’ Cyclops points out. Pixie asks Cyclops to send her, exclaiming that she can do it. ‘The answer’s no’ Cyclops declares. ‘But -’ Pixie protests, to which Cyclops declares that Nightcrawler has been through hell a thousand times, so once Rogue finds Hope, he will get her back here no matter what Bastion throws in his way. ‘I can’t send you out there to die’. Cyclops adds that every death matters.

Back in the Right stronghold, ‘Gods of hearth and home! What is Warlock doing?’ Magma gasps as she rushes over to Cypher, who replies ‘What I told him to do, Amara. What he has to do’. Warlock is attacking Hodge, clutching at his head, while Hodge exclaims ‘You’re not one of them! You’re an alien! You’re not even part of this fight! You don’t have to -’ Hodge exclaims, but Warlock exclaims ‘Negative. Self does!’ And with that, Warlock pulls Hodge’s head from it’s spider-like robot body.

The techno-infection begins spreading into Hodge, who is exclaiming ‘Hodge. I’m Cameron Hodge. The Right. The truth - the life - you can’t -’ his voice trails off, as Warlock holds his withered head up. Sunspot picks up the liberated but still very wounded Karma, while Mirage tends to the rescued Cannonball. Sunspot contacts the White Queen, telling her that if she can hear him, they are done here. ‘And we know how they’re tracking Hope and Cable. You need to hear this. Like, now’.

Meanwhile, at the site of the former Three Creeks Trailer Park, in Nebraska. Inside one of the run-down units, Hope tells Cable to sit still, ‘We’ve done this a thousand times and you always squirm. Knock it off’ she exclaims. Cable replies that he cannot reload without moving, while Hope tells him that his arm is all kinds of messed up. ‘I have the shell patched, but I can’t fix all the crap inside it’ she tells him. ’I’ll be fine’ Cable replies, before telling Hope to get something to eat, as they are moving out again in five minutes.

Hope complains that they only just got here, to which Cable tells her that he knows. ‘And it’s in the middle of nowhere. There’s no way they can find us all the way out here’ Hope declares. Cable replies that he knows, but that the enemy has been one move ahead of them all the way. ‘No way they should be this good. So we keep moving. And we brush over our trail as we go’ Cable declares. ‘We don’t give them a chance to get a fix on us’.

But, outside, members of the Sapien League have surrounded the unit where Cable and Hope have sought sanctuary. ‘Got them. Two heat signatures, closely grouped’ one of the Sapien League members announces. One of the Sapien League operatives begins giving out the orders - when there is a familiar noise - snikt - as Wolverine, Psylocke, Colossus, Rogue, Archangel, Nightcrawler, and X-23 appear. ‘It’s a great plan, bub. With just one tiny little flaw. Let us spell it out for you’ Wolverine exclaims.

‘What was that?’ Hope asks, nervously. Cable explains that there is movement on the perimeter, and orders Hope to stay here and get down. Suddenly, ‘No need to trouble yourselves. The job’s already done’ Nightcrawler announces - although he finds a gun aimed at his face, he smiles and informs Cable that Wolverine wishes to speak to him, outside.

Cable and Hope go outside, to find bodies of the Sapien League lying on the ground, while the heroes stand around them. ‘Not like you to leave yourself with an exit, old man’ Wolverine tells Cable. ‘I had seven exits. And we’re about to take number six’ Cable boasts. Wolverine informs Cable that there is something he should know first, that they received intel from Cyclops. ‘This garbage keeps piling up for a reason’ Wolverine declares, revealing that the enemy’s entire grid is riddled with the techno-organic virus, just like Cable. ‘And like calls to like’ Wolverine points out. Wolverine adds that the enemy can pinpoint Cable close enough to count the hairs on his chin, before asking him if he has another plan. ‘Of course I do’ Cable replies.

Cable and Hope go back inside the unit, and Hope exclaims ‘What??? Is that - is that meant to be some kind of stupid joke?’ she asks. Cable puts some items in a bag and assures Hope that it is no joke. ‘Good. Because I’m not laughing’ Hope replies. ‘Look at me, Nathan. Dammit, look at me when I’m talking to you!’ Hope exclaims. Cable looks up and hands Hope the bag, while Hope tells him that they always stick together and watch each other’s backs. ‘Not this time’ Cable declares, to which Hope asks him why not and reminds him that he taught her to be a soldier. ‘Now let me fight’ she asks. Cable tells Hope that she is not a soldier in this war, but a strategic asset. Hope hugs the backpack that Cable gave her, while Cable looks down.

Back outside, Rogue touches Wolverine’s face and asks him if he is sure about this. ‘Deal’s done. You go with the Elf - and the kid. You’re the only one who can find her again if something goes wrong’ Wolverine points out, before asking Rogue if she has everything she needs. Rogue’s form is transformed - now appearing with metallic skin, feathered wings, deadly claws and psychic power, Rogue thanks her teammates for the loan. ‘Ah guess Ah’m as ready as Ah’ll ever be’ she announces.

‘Then let’s go. Let’s get out of here’ Hope mutters as she approaches Rogue. ‘Now? But -’ Rogue begins, to which Cable tells her that the sooner they leave the better, as they have a lot of ground to cover. Nightcrawler approaches Cable and remarks ‘If you two need a moment to say goodbye -’, but Cable interrupts, declaring that he never says goodbye and suggests that they get moving. ‘Ready, Hope? Rogue asks the girl. ‘Yeah. More than’ Hope mutters. Kurt touches both Rogue and Hope and declares that their carriage awaits, before he teleports them away. Wolverine grins and raises his claws: ‘Okay, people. We’ve drawn decoy duty. Anybody know any really short prayers?’

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Psylocke, Rogue, White Queen, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Cannonball, Cypher, Karma, Magma, Mirage II, Sunspot, Warlock (all New Mutants)

X-23 (member of X-Force)

Pixie III, Stepford Cuckoos (all X-Men students)

Ariel II

Hope Summers II

Bastion, Cameron Hodge, Steven Lang
Operatives of the Right, the Purifiers and the Sapien League

Story Notes: 

This is Chapter 4 of the Second Coming crossover. It follows New Mutants (3rd series) #12 and continues in X-Force (3rd series) #26.

The New Mutants previously battled the Right in the classic New Mutants (1st series) #60-61, part of the “Fall of the Mutants” crossover.

Hope, then a baby, brought Rogue out of her coma during the “Messiah Complex” crossover.

Ariel first appeared in the Fallen Angels mini series, and was not heard of or seen for years, until she showed up during the “Utopia” crossover.

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