X-Men: Phoenix Warsong #3

Issue Date: 
January 2007
Story Title: 
Phoenix: Warsong, part 3

Greg Pak (Writer), Top Cow Productions, Inc. (Art), Tyler Kirkham (Penciler), Sal Regla (Inkers), Troy Peteri (Letters), John Starr (Colors), Rob Levin (Production), Marc Silvestri (Cover), Sean Ryan (Assistant Editor), Andy Schmidt (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-in-Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

John Sublime, on video, explains to the Cuckoos that they were created by Weapon Plus and sent to the Xavier Institute to develop their powers, all the while unknowingly transmitting any sort of information they discovered at the school as data to the Cuckoo Collective at The World. He shows the girls three pods and tells them to rejoin their sisters, but Celeste is scared and wants nothing to do with Weapon Plus or the Phoenix. Phoebe relishes the power of the Phoenix, but wants nothing to do with Weapon Plus. Mindee, however, ends up being more susceptible to the call of her test tube sisters and ends up being pulled into the pod and rejoins the Collective. Sublime’s machines capture Phoebe and put her back in the Collective, but Celeste escapes and finds Jake Oh, and asks him to kill her as she can feel the Phoenix trying to break free. Cyclops, Emma, Kitty and Colossus arrive and Emma discovers a chamber full of deformed Cuckoos, who all call her mother. She then discovers that, after her Hellions died and she was left in a coma, John Sublime stole thousands of her eggs and took them to The World to accelerate their growth. The thousands of Cuckoos are her children. Cyclops and his squad find Jake and Celeste, but Celeste cannot hold back any longer the Phoenix, who after failing to lead the Cuckoos away from The World now wishes to be free and burn away the facility. Wolverine and Beast arrive and find Sophie and Esme again, but the girls tell them that they are on the same side now and must save the world. Wolverine kills Celeste, but is too late and Celeste fully becomes the Phoenix, ready to burn away “that which does not work.”

Full Summary: 

The World - Sub-Basement Area:

Home, repeats Phoebe, confused, as she looks around the labyrinth that contains thousands of tubes, each with a Cuckoo suspended inside.

Yes, says the voice of Weapon Plus Director John Sublime, on a video monitor. This is the Weapon Plus facility known as The World. Phoebe doesn’t think that this is right, but Sublime tells her that it is. He sent them away from the nest with the X-Men so they could develop their talents. However, now they should just look around them. This is where they belong.

Celeste goes up to the monitor and tells Sublime that being naked in a test tube is not where she belongs. She then asks him who he is. Sublime introduces himself and explains that he created the Weapon Plus facility. He built it for the three Cuckoos and all their sisters. “Ew,” says Celeste, realizing that the thousands of Cuckoos look-a-likes are their sisters.

Phoebe tells Celeste to hush, but Celeste tells Phoebe that this is creepy and that Sublime put those girls in bottles. Phoebe asks Sublime, if the girls are their sisters, then how come the Cuckoos cannot hear them in their telepathic collective mind? Sublime tells her that the three don’t know the language yet. If Phoebe listens harder, she will understand… just like how Mindee has.

The two girls look over to see Mindee standing face-to-face with a Cuckoo sister in the tube. Sublime continues to explain that it is a sound they have heard in their bones all their lives; energy transformed into information. These thousands of Cuckoos still in tubes were created to collect that information and now it is time for the three remaining Cuckoos to use it. The three girls face their sisters, and notice three pods emerge from the coils that suspend the tubes in the air.

Phoebe tells Mindee not to touch the pods, but Mindee refuses to listen and tells Phoebe that she knows Sublime is right. This stab at individualism has been fun, but they belong with their other sisters. It is what they were meant for. Phoebe tells Mindee that it may have been right before, but they have a different purpose now. She then creates a fireball and tells Mindee that, when the fire came for them, it scared the X-Men and Celeste. She can even feel Celeste right now trying to snuff it out. Celeste complains that she isn’t doing anything, but Phoebe tells Mindee that Celeste thinks that the Phoenix is there to destroy everything, but it feels so right to Phoebe. All this Weapon Plus talk, however, feels wrong. Mindee tells Phoebe that it is the Phoenix that is trying to confuse her. They were made for one purpose.

Suddenly, the pod opens behind Mindee and coils and mechanical tentacles fly out and attach themselves to her. Phoebe is horrified, but Mindee, as she is pulled into the pod, tells her sister that she is part of the collective now and it is so clear, if only Phoebe would listen. She can hear it.

Mindee begins to become enveloped in fire as she becomes angry, but before she can do anything, Sublime apologizes to her, saying that he really must insist that the remaining Cuckoos join their sisters. A giant robotic construct rises from beneath Phoebe and grabs her with its tentacles, knocking her unconscious, with the video monitor of Sublime at the top of the being, acting as a head.

Terrified, Celeste screams and runs for dear life.

The World – Outside:

Cyclops’ team of X-Men arrives and confirms visual of The World. Cyclops bets that Sublime has a dozen killer cop cars down there for them, and tells Colossus to have the jet hover over the facility. They have to figure out if they are there to rescue the girls or destroy them. He then asks Emma if she is picking up any signals. Emma concentrates and then finds that the girls are quiet - almost muffled, as if they were sleeping. Cyclops asks Kitty about any wireless signals, and Kitty explains that there is a lot of noise. The only clear signal is one coming from a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, so that must mean someone is down there in the ground.

Wait, says Emma. She announces that the girls are talking. Emma hears the Cuckoos call out to her, and so do the other X-Men. Cyclops asks Emma about the Phoenix, and Emma replies that there is no trace. The girls are back in their all-in-one mind and are scared, but safe – or at least that is what they want them to think. Cyclops asks her if she thinks it is a trap, to which Emma replies “don’t you?”

Colossus armors up and asks Cyclops if this is a rescue mission or not. Cyclops tells him that they are still figuring it out, but either way step one is the same. They will kick some butt. The four X-Men jump out of the craft, with Emma in diamond form, and descend through the broken hole in the dome of The World, where they begin battle with the whale-brained war machines.

The World – Tunnel:

S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Jake Oh contacts the Helicarrier and reports that he is below the facility, trying to track down the girls. He informs them that the girls call themselves Mindee, Celeste and Phoebe and they are in their pajamas. When Jake hears no response, he pauses, and then frustratingly says that he has been yapping into his intercom with no response for a long time. Is anyone going to talk back to him? Suddenly, he hears a loud explosion and then tells S.H.I.E.L.D. command that, if they happen to care, he is heading back up. Something is happening on the surface.

At that moment, Celeste grabs Jake, who whips out his gun and spins, pointing the gun under her chin. Realizing who it is, Jake tells her that she is going to get herself killed sneaking around like that. That is the idea, says Celeste, which confuses Jake. She tells him to shoot her, again confusing Jake. She tells him to do it before it is too late, making Jake ask what again. Annoyed, Celeste tells her to stop asking what. Then stop talking crazy, Jake says. Celeste tells him that only Miss Frost understands that they cannot control it. Has Jake ever heard of the Phoenix?

The World – Far End of the Tunnel:

The X-Men reach the tunnel and Colossus begins to punch his way through. Cyclops asks Piotr what he sees, but the Russian has found nothing yet. The group hears gunshots from the other end of the tunnel. He tells Kitty to take point and then begins to speak to Emma, but Kitty points out that she doesn’t think Emma can hear them.

Cyclops turns to see Emma, who is overcome by voices calling out her name. Emma tells Cyclops to follow her, but Cyclops tells her to stop as she said herself it might be a trap. Emma tells Scott that she knows, but her girls need her. Emma then hears the voices telling her to please hurry. Cyclops and Colossus follow Emma, while Cyclops sends Kitty to track down the gunfire.

The three X-Men reach the end of the tunnel, and Emma is shocked to see what she finds. Before her are many tubes, each containing a person in them that looks so much like the Cuckoos, but these girls are each deformed and inhuman looking. The mutated girls are surprised to see Emma and are happy that she came for them. They call Emma… mother.

Confused, Emma begins to mumble “no” over and over, but one of the monster Cuckoos tells her that it is true. They remember. The Cuckoo explains that Emma’s students, the Hellions, had just been killed and Emma was hurt. She slept a really long time. That is when John Sublime came and took them from her. He had thousands of eggs in a single syringe. They were so little then. He brought them to The World and helped them grow. He said one day they’d be all together again. The girls have been waiting for so long. The monster Cuckoos then begin to call Emma mommy, and tell her that they love her. Emma screams in horror and falls to her knees.

Emma switches to diamond form to block out the cries of the Cuckoos, and Cyclops comforts her. He asks her if she is okay. Emma asks Cyclops in what strange alternate reality would a woman who just learned that her eggs had been harvested to create a roomful of deformed, psychic daughters ever consider herself okay? Fair enough, says Cyclops. It gets worse.

He tells Emma that this is a Weapon Plus Project. Sublime made these things for war and now they are talking about thousands of embryos. He doesn’t want Emma to open his mind back up to the Cuckoos, but he wants her to probe them. They have to find out where the rest of them are, and what they can do. Suddenly, the wall breaks open as Kitty comes phasing through a whip of metallic tentacles. “Uh, a little help here?” asks Kitty.

Cyclops attacks the tentacles, and nearby Jake Oh and Celeste arrive. Jake starts shooting at the tentacles and tells Celeste to stop freaking out as her friends are here. They are too late, says Celeste. He needs to kill her. Jake tells Celeste to shut up. Kill me, says Celeste. Shut up, says Oh. Kill --, says Celeste. Shut --, replies Oh.

Emma sees Celeste and switches back to her flesh form. She reaches for her and asks her where Phoebe and Mindee are. Jake covers Emma and shoots at the tentacles behind her, telling Emma that Sublime has the other girls, whatever that means, and Celeste is probably going to ask her to kill her. Celeste does just that, and Jake tells her that the killing thing is getting old. Emma hugs Celeste and tells her that she sees that she likes the boy, but the crazy telepath act only attracts a very specific type of man.

Celeste begins to cry and tells Emma to get out of her mind. Emma cannot help her. Doesn’t she get it? The Phoenix wants to come out and Emma cannot control her. However, Emma tells Celeste that maybe she can stop her if Celeste just lets her in. When Celeste asks her what she is going to do, Emma tells Celeste that she will just flick a few switches in her brain, the same way Professor Xavier helped Jean Grey back when she was the Dark Phoenix. Celeste tells Emma that Xavier put in psychic blocks to hold in the Phoenix, but it did not work. I know, says Emma. Celeste realizes that Emma isn’t just going to put in psychic blocks. She is going to psychically lobotomize her. Will… she still be herself? I don’t know, admits Emma.

Celeste tells Emma not to cry as she opens her mind to her. She calls Emma mother, and admits that she is ready. Emma is about to begin, but suddenly a tentacle hits her in the back of the head. Emma is knocked out. Celeste apologizes, and then releases a blaze of fire from her body.

The World – Outside:

Beast and Wolverine arrive in the other jet and spot the first jet hovering over The World. Beast radios Cyclops and tells him that they lost the zombie Cuckoos, but they are there. Suddenly, they see an inferno blast out of the hole in the dome.

The two open the hatch and look out. Beast has put the jet on autopilot. It will get them over the hole, but that is assuming the fire doesn’t kill them both. This is pretty bad. Wolverine, however, tells Beast that it is worse than he thinks. The two are then attacked by the zombie Cuckoos, who are glad that their professors finally made it. The girls pull the two out and they free fall to the ground. Beast battles Sophie and tells her that he has had it up to here with them. Sophie tells Beast not to be angry. They are all on the same side now.

Tentacles rise out of The World and grab Wolverine. Esme rides on one tentacle and Wolverine tells her that they are not on the “zombie-Cuckoos Weapon Plus destroys all mutants side.” Esme tells Wolverine that they is bigger than that. It is time to save the world.

The World -: Sub-Basement Area:

Celeste falls to her knees in the crater left after unleashing her fire fury. She grabs her head and says that she isn’t going to let the Phoenix out and chants it over and over. Emma recovers and Cyclops tells her to reach out to Celeste and help her control it. I can’t, says Emma. Cyclops reminds Emma that Celeste is her daughter. Emma tells Cyclops that Celeste told her that neither Emma nor herself could contain the Phoenix. It is too late to rescue. It is time to destroy.

Cyclops turns to Colossus and Kitty and tells them that Celeste has nano-tech in her bones. Perhaps phasing will do something. Kitty isn’t sure if that will help or not, but Cyclops tells her that now is the time to find out. Colossus grabs Kitty and prepares to throw her, though Kitty tells him to wait.

Celeste looks up and says, “Oh, hello.”

Wolverine comes out of the sky and slices through the top of Celeste’s head.

“Ouch,” says Kitty.

Nothing personal, kid, says Wolverine to the dead Celeste, who has blood streaming over her face from the three slices across her skull. Suddenly, fire erupts from the wounds and Celeste turns to Wolverine, calling him the “funny little man…”

Realizing that the Phoenix has emerged, Cyclops begins to shout an order to Colossus, but it is too late.

Celeste’s clothes burn away to reveal a light blue Phoenix uniform and she flies out of the area and into the sky, with the Phoenix Raptor ablaze, erupting the entire facility in an explosion. The Phoenix announces that she is life. She is fire. She burns away that which does not work. Her name is Phoenix.

Below, Jake Oh lies unconscious under some tentacles, possibly dead. Kitty rushes to the aid of Colossus, who is back in his flesh form and unconscious. Beast comes to the aid of Cyclops, who is also not moving.

Emma gets up and looks around at some of the tubes, which are now shattered and damaged, injuring some of the Cuckoo Collective. As Sophie and Esme come to Emma’s side, the White Queen announces to Celeste that mommy is mad.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde, Wolverine (X-Men)

Celeste, Esme, and Mindee Cuckoo

Reanimated Zombies of Sophie and Esme

Thousands of Weapon Plus data processing Cuckoos

S.H.I.E.L.D. Special Agent Jake Oh


John Sublime

Story Notes: 

John Sublime is the creator of the Weapon Plus program, a super-soldier program that takes mutants and uses them as weapons to exterminate the rest of mutant kind. There have been various incarnations of this program, with Wolverine being part of the tenth program, thus called Weapon X. It was revealed in the future timeline in New X-Men (1st Series) #151-154 that the Cuckoos were part of the Weapon Plus program as Weapon XIV.

Cyclops was at The World with Wolverine and Fantomex in New X-Men (1st Series) #142-145.

In Uncanny X-Men #281-283, Trevor Fitzroy attacked Emma Frost and killed her students, the Hellions. Emma was left in the coma and taken back to the Xavier Institute, where she would remain in her coma until Uncanny X-Men #313-314. Apparently, sometime in-between Sublime somehow got inside the mansion and stole her eggs.

Issue Information: 

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