X-Men The End - Book Three: Men & X-Men #6

Issue Date: 
August 2006
Story Title: 
Come the New Dawn!

Chris Claremont (Writer), Sean Chen (Penciler), Sandu Florea (Inker), Avalon’s Ian Hannin (Colorist), Dave Sharpe (Letterer), Schmidt, Sitterson & Lazer (Assistant Editors), Tom Brevoort (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-in-Chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Cassandra Nova has been reborn as Phoenix – and the Superguardians and X-Men’s attempts to fight her are met with slaughter. Eventually, she even causes the Shi’ar sun to go supernova. Finally, only Madelyne Pryor is able to stand. against her. While Psylocke surprisingly attacks Casandra from behind and keeps her busy with her psychic katana, Madelyne admits that she and Jean should always have been one and uses her psychic essence to restore Jean and Scott, before (one assumes) merging with Jean. Also calling in the psychic essences of Kitty and Wolverine, Jean and Scott tell the X-Men that aren’t needed to leave. After managing to get Xavier and Cassandra to admit both their faults together, those left form the Tree of Life. Twenty years later, Kitty Pryde is president of the United States and tells her story to Manoli Wetherell. Her greatest triumph comes when her long-time foe Alice Tremaine (now speaker of the House of Representatives) admits that Kitty has shown her that she was wrong about mutants and asks to be allowed to join the ceremony at the Xavier Institute. Kitty holds a speech in front of the remaining X-Men and their children, explaining that, in order for their society to evolve, it was necessary for the X-Men to end.

Full Summary: 

On Chandilar, X-Men and Superguardians alike stare in disbelief and shock – and in Marvel Girl’s case in grief – as Cassandra Nova who seconds before forced Rachel to lethally injure Jean Grey and Cyclops now stands reborn as Phoenix.

On Earth, at the Xavier Institute, in response to the events on Chandilar, the already injured Wolverine is flatlining and Beast and his wife, Cecilia Reyes, are desperately trying to save his life.

In Chicago, Kitty Pryde isn’t faring much better and her campaign staff helplessly wonders if she was attacked.

Back on Chandilar, Gladiator gives the order for the Superguardians to attack, bravely leading the charge herself. Moments later, Cassandra tosses Gladiator’s severed head past Storm and then proceeds to kill the rest of the Guardians, while gloating whether they truly believe they can fare better against her than their predecessors. Haven’t they learned from history?

Suddenly, a small light circle appears on her forehead and a laser beam burrows a hole in her head, courtesy of Dazzler, who quips that they took notes. Iceman and Storm follow up with attacks of their own, as does a bloodthirsty Aliyah Bishop, who blasts the frozen body of Cassandra apart with her ray gun.

That wasn’t very nice, announces Cassanda, as she brutally counterattacks her foes and takes them out one after the other.

Bishop charges into action, shooting the energy form of Magneto, who weakly thanks him. Bishop deduced correctly that Cassandra was using Magneto’s lifeforce to sustain herself. He follows this up by striking her with a leech blade to drain her energies into him. She commends him on making the right move. Unfortunately, considering how powerful she is now, she didn’t need Magneto and has more power than Bishop can absorb. She should let him go pop, she muses, but she wants to play.

On the other hand, his daughter deserves no such consideration. She gestures and raises Aliyah telekinetically. Then, Casandra forces the girl and the Brood embryo within her apart to kill the creature due to is betrayal of Xavi. Looking around at her falling foes, Cassanda furiously screams at the sky whether this is all there is.

There’s me, announces a calm Madelyne Pryor, standing over the bodies of Cyclops and Jean. Not anymore, comes the reply, as Cassandra unleashes an energy blast at her. Bored now, time to go, she adds, while looking at the sun.

On the Starjammer in orbit above Chandilar, alarm klaxons go off and Sage shouts out in horror, as she witnesses the Shi’ar sun going supernova.

Back on Chandilar, Madelyne still stands tall and unhurt. Angrily, Cassandra unleashes energy at her, shouting out that she is the Phoenix while Madelyne shouldn’t even be a ghost. Maddie informs her that she had it wrong from the start. She is the essence of Jean that loved Scott with all her heart. That’s why it never worked afterwards between Scott and Jean. Maddy is the part that was willing to die for Scott; the part that made them whole.

Firing more energy at Madelyne, Cassandra shouts that she is no match for her. Maddie snarls back that she doesn’t have to be. She’s an X-Man and they don’t fight alone.

That moment, Psylocke attacks Cassandrar Nova from behind, stabbing her with her psychic katana through Cassandra’s brain.

Maddie, in the meantime, kneels down to touch both Jean and Scott. Jean’s tattoos appear on her back, as she announces that she and Jean were never meant to be apart. But they were both too scared, too stubborn, to be the one to yield. We only thought of what we had to lose, she continues as she fades away, while Scott and Jean healed begin to stir. … never what could be gained, Jean finishes Madelyne’s sentence. Everything that went wrong about them came from that fear, she tells Scott. Until now. She simply tells him that she loves him and he loves her. That’s all she needs to know.

The exploded sun has almost reached the Starjammer. And Sage realizes that the flare will reach Chandilar in a little over eight minutes. Phoebe tells her that something is happening on the surface. The others won’t leave. Sage worries that, if they try to ride this out, she can’t guarantee the shields will hold.

On Chandilar, Psylocke is still holding down Cassandra. Wolverine and Kitty’s psychic essences are there as well, with the men being bare-chested and the women wearing Phoenix-shirts like Jean’s. Scott tells Bishop to take the others and get clear. This is more important than their lives; it’s an opportunity that may never come again. Nightcrawler announces that they are all in this together.

That’s what Cassandra never understood. Not simply the concept of sacrifice, but that of fellowship, continues Xavier, who is standing next to Magneto. In that way, this family can transcend even one so powerful as her. Cassandra cries out in denial shouting that this isn’t fair: she killed them both! Wolverine asks her if she hasn’t figured things out yet. They are moving to a place beyond the mortal perceptions of life and death.

Xavier tries to reach out to her and she slaps his hand away, shouting that she hates him. Bolstered by Magneto, Charles admits that he gave her good reason. His shame at what he’d done made him afraid his whole life that this terrible truth would be found out. And that fear gave her power over him. That hasn’t changed, she snarls. Until now, remarks Phoenix, who is still busy healing Cable. She tells Psylocke to step away from Cassandra. Betsy’s part is done.

Free again, Cassandra threatens that Phoenix’s arrogance will cost her dear. She tries to attack but finds she can’t, as Jean calmly informs her that she is on her ground now. Cassandra even provided an exploding star to replenish Phoenix’s strength.

Strange patterns corresponding to Phoenix’s tattoos appear on the ground and Jean asks the others – Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Storm, Xavier, Magneto, Cassandra, Cyclops, Rachel, Cable and Kitty – to assume their proper places in the Tree of Life, so that they may transcend this plane of existence.

Xavier hesitates. He apologizes to Jean, but he can’t do this. She – referring to Cassandra – is evil. Cassandra, on the other hand, won’t do this. Charles tried to kill her. He is the true evil! Both admit that they are afraid. Jean replies that this is the nature of new things. They’re scary. And there’s nothing they can do to stop them from their first breath to their last to beyond. But is that all they are? For all the power, the limitless potential they possess, are they both so limited?

Without her, Phoenix’s celestial tapestry is incomplete, Cassandra points out sullenly. Without them, she is left behind, Jean retorts. Turning to both of them, she remarks that neither of them is alone anymore. Their flaws make them human. Being human allows them to overcome them. Reaching out to both, she tells them to let the strength of the others sustain them, as they are sustained by the faith of those they love more than life. As the sun comes closer, they agree to try. Cassandra and Xavier clasp hands as identical tattoos appear on their backs.

As everybody takes their place, Xavier muses that he brought them together in search of a dream, never realizing that it was tainted from its inception. The fear and hatred he perceived in the world was but a reflection of what was in his own heart and soul. His first encounter with a mutant, his twin sister, led to a response of fear, hatred and violence. He was their teacher, if his world view was built on a foundation of fear and hatred, how could their be otherwise? And if they who possess such miraculous gifts choose to hide themselves from the world, is it any surprise that the world took their cue from them?

With the Tree of Life complete (its shape echoing the shape of Phoenix’s tattoo), Charles wonders how different things could have been if they had shown to humanity the wondrous promise of their genome. He decides that it is past time to lay that fear and guilt and shame to rest. The X-Men were his candle in the darkness. He never imagined that all he had to do to let the light in was to open his eyes. And that light is so beautiful.

20 Years later:

In the White House, a brunette teenager calls her two younger siblings, Doug and Sara, to hurry up or they’ll be late for practice.

Meredith Pryde then hurries inside the Oval Office to meet her mother, Katherine Pryde, President of the United States, who is just finishing up her interview with Manoli Wetherell. They are soon joined by the two younger siblings.

Meredith jokes about the official event later and that the dragon lady is outside, “Dragon Lady” referring to Alice Tremaine, now Speaker of the House of Representatives. Surprisingly, Alice asks if she can attend the ceremony. Kitty bluntly points out that Alice has hated her since the day they met. Alice explains that she hated a mutant. She was wrong. She offers her hand and Kitty takes it, inviting her to come.

Later aboard Airforce One, Kitty remarks that, that night in Chicago, Alice never called to concede. Alice explains that, when she heard Kitty had collapsed, she actually hoped she’d die. But Kitty proved to be a surprisingly good mayor, a halfway decent governor and, given a little luck, she might actually make a truly great… parent.

What changed her mind? Kitty asks. Alice refers to a quote by Robert Kennedy Kitty she is fond of. Knowing her, for the better part of her lifetime, she came to see that the things they had in common matter were a whole lot more than the prejudices that drive them apart. Manoli interrupts, reminding Kitty that she never finished her story. Sure she did, Kitty replies, clinking glasses with Alice. In the way that counts, Manoli just saw it happen.

Later, Kitty holds her speech in front of the Xavier Institute. Guests are, among many others, the surviving X-Men and their children.

Kitty explains that they have gathered on the centennial of Charles Xavier’s birth, which is also the twentieth anniversary of his passing. She says “passing” rather than “death” because, while he was a man, he was also the embodiment of a dream. And that dream brought them together. The X-Men were the embodiment of that dream and they few are what remains.

They expected to always be X-Men. It was how they defined themselves. They thought that it was the sum and substance of their lives, when in fact it was no more than a stage along the road. But they had to grow. Above all, Xavier was a teacher. With a final prima lesson for both sides. For humanity truly to evolve they had to lose their safety net. The X-Men had to end.

And, since then, they have come far. They have jobs, they raise families, a mutant sits in the Oval Office. They make themselves special, not by the flashy powers they were born with, but with how they choose to raise their kids and contribute to the community. They were outcasts then, who swore to protect a world that seemed to fear and hate them and often tried to bring them to an end. They met the enemy and it was indeed them.

And with that realization the conflict that divided humanity also came to its end. That is Xavier’s legacy, the fulfillment of his dream The struggle isn’t finished, it will likely never be – but for the sakes of their children they have made a start.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Bishop, Cable, Cecilia Reyes, Cyclops, Dazzler, Iceman, Karima Shapandar, Marvel Girl III, Monet, Nightcrawler, Nocturne, Phoebe Stepford, Phoenix, Professor X, Sage, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine, X-23 (all X-Men)

Aliyah Bishop


Madelyne Pryor

Marie D’Acanto, Evangeline Whedon (Kitty’s campaign staff)

Gladiator II, Hobgoblin, Smasher, Starbolt and others (Shi’ar Superguardians)

Cassandra Nova

Brood Queen hiding in Aliyah

20 years in the future:

Kitty Pryde

Iceman, Karma, unidentified Asian woman (possibly Karma’s sister Nga), Alice Whedon , Marie D’Acanto, Aliyah Bishop, Lucas Bishop, X-23, Wolverine, Psylocke, unidentified blackhaired woman (possibly Karima Shapandar or Monet), Beast, Cecilia Reyes, Cannonball, Mystique, Emma Frost, Nightcrawler, Nocturne.


Doug, Meredith and Sara Pryde (Kitty’s children)

Manoli Wetherell

Alice Tremaine

Megan Summers, Alex Summers and unnamed Summers twins, Olivier and Bekka LeBeau with possibly Olivier’s infant child, Ciaran, Francesca, Miguel Alejandro (Cecilia and Hank’s children), Danielle Paige, Nina Susan, Thomas Jefferson (Cannonball and Lila’s children), TJ and Cerise (Kurt’s and Kymri’s children)

Nate, Mrs Lancaster (members of Kitty’s staff)

Story Notes: 

The Tree of life is a mystical concept within the Kabbalah of Judaism, which is used to understand the nature of God and the manner in which He created the world ex nihilo. The Kabbalists developed this concept into a full model of reality, using the tree to depict a "map" of Creation. The tree of life has been called the "cosmology" of the Kabbalah.
The earliest texts which describe the tree of life are the Bahir, Sefer Yetzirah, Sefer Raziel Hamelech, and — probably the most influential — the Zohar. The latter describes the tree of life as being a sort of diagram (although not necessarily a physical one) that has 10 (sometimes 11) Sephirot and 22 (sometimes 24) paths which interconnect the various Sephirot. Each Sephirah and path is said to have a different characteristic — for example, a different number, letter, physical feature, planet, etc. There is much disagreement over the attributes which each Sephirah and path possess. Even the earliest texts have major disagreements with each other and with themselves, depending on the edition.

Positions in the tree of life and the Sephirah they correspond to:

Top: Xavier/Cassandra = Keter. (The Supreme Crown): The meaning "crown" corresponds, in particular, to "the head of nothingness," the source of Divine pleasure in the soul. The "crown" symbolizes the spiritual power to receive and integrate into one's consciousness the pleasure of Divine revelation, as our sages express with regard to the world to come: "the righteous sit with their crowns on their heads and receive pleasure from the radiance of the Divine Presence

Middle: Jean/Madelyne = Tipheret (Glory, Beauty): Tipheret represents the ideal balance of Justice and Mercy needed for proper running of the universe.

Below that: Scott =Yesod (Foundation): Yesod is the channel through which Tiferet strives to unite with the Shekhinah and pass on the creative and benevolent divine forces.

Bottom: Magneto = Shekhinah (God’s presence, Kingdom): The Shekhinah is a Talmudic concept representing God's dwelling and immanence in the created world. It was equated with the "Keneset Yisrael," the personified spirit of the People of Israel.

Top of the left branch: Kitty = Binah (Understanding, discernment): Binah refers to the analytic, distinguishing aspects of God's thought.

Below: Cable = Din (Judgment, Might, Power): This Sefirah represents the fearsome powers of divine punishment and wrath in the world. This power is needed to maintain control over the universe. However the destructive forces necessary to keep order and exact punishment also contain the seeds of demonic Evil: the "Other Side" (Sitra Ahra).

Below: Rachel = Hod (Majesty): Hod represents the lower channel through which God's judgment comes down to the world. It is also associated with the power of prophecy.

Top of the right branch: Nightcrawler = Hokhmah (Wisdom): Hokhmah represents the contemplative, synthetic aspects of God's thought. It is the primordial point of creation from which all knowable reality originates.

Below: Wolverine = Hesed (Love, Long Kindness, compassion): Hesed represents the generous, benevolent (masculine) side of God.

Below: Storm = Nezah (Eternity, endurance, victory): This Sefirah represents God's active grace in the world.

While Kitty addresses the journalist she is talking to as Manoli, it is clear that the artist meant her to be somebody else, as she is much too young.

Robert Kennedy’s quote: “We have met the enemy.”

Among those X-Men that have survived at the end: Iceman, Karma, unidentified Asian woman (possibly Karma’s sister Nga), Alice Whedon , Marie D’Acanto, Aliyah Bishop, Lucas Bishop, X-23, Wolverine, Psylocke, unidentified blackhaired woman (possibly Karima Shapandar or Monet), Beast, Cecilia Reyes, Cannonball, Mystique, Emma Frost, Nightcrawler, Nocturne.

X-Men shown to have died: Sage, Archangel, Storm, Madelyne Pryor, Dazzler, Lilandra, Dust, Hub, Cyclops, Magneto, Charles Xavier, Polaris, Colossus, Cable, Cassandra Nova, Phoenix, Marvel Girl, Captain Britain, Juggernuat, Northstar, Wolfsbane, Rogue, Gambit, Domino, Feral, Shatterstar, James Proudstar.

It is somewhat unclear as to why some X-Men survived and some didn’t: for example Nightcrawler was part of the Tree of Life and apparently survived. Storm on the other hand didn’t.

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