X-Men The End - Book Two: Heroes & Martyrs #5

Issue Date: 
September 2005
Story Title: 
Secret Origins!

Chris Claremont (writer) Sean Chen (pencils), Sandu Florea (inks), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Avalon’s Ian Hannin (colorist), Schmidt, Moore & Lazer (assistant editors), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Gambit learns the secret of his origin from Sinister. To stay immortal, Sinister kept on creating clones of himself and transferred his consciousness into their bodies. To break free of Apocalypse, he eventually created a modified clone, into which he spliced modified DNA of Scott Summers. However, Apocalypse had the infant clone stolen by the New Orleans Guilds and the child was raised as Remy LeBeau, adopted son of the Thieves Guild’s leader. The Summers and LeBeau kids are trying to break free and are helped by Gambit, who finally shows his true colors. While they try to escape, they are separated by a teleportation gate. Gambit and Bekka end up in the Blue Area of the Moon, where the Neverland concentration camp is situated. The other kids end up in a Western ghost town. With Meggan’s telepathy working again, she contacts Rogue, who flies to get them. Wolverine, X-23, Marvel Girl and Monet are all trapped in dreams, courtesy of the Ladies Mastermind, but, with the intervention of Phoenix, Wolverine manages to break free and help the others. They vow to take the fight to Sinister.
In Neverland, Danielle Moonstar has been reborn and intends to do the same. In Chicago, Kitty Pryde and Alice Tremaine meet for a live debate that may well decide the election.

Full Summary: 

Gambit and Mr. Sinister – two men who look startlingly alike. Sinister’s history began in the 19th century.


A brilliant geneticist, ahead of his time and ostracized by his peers, Nathaniel Essex lost his son, Adam, to a hereditary disease. In 1859, Essex encountered En Sabah Nur, a mutant who’d been born a slave in the glory days of ancient Egypt and who’d risen to become its conqueror.

Awakening after millennia of hibernation, Apocalypse was determined to lay his claim to the world of that era. In Nathaniel Essex, he sought an ally who would help him achieve that goal. After all, every Dracula requires his Renfield. Apocalypse lured Essex in, telling him to relinquish morality and in turn have the chance to follow his work to its end, witness sights undreamed of, usher in the new age he had foretold. Apocalypse enhanced Essex in every way, but in turn demanded obedience. Essex became Mr. Sinister.

But even though Sinister aged more slowly than other men, he still aged, which made him wonder about Apocalypse’s offer of immortality. He came to realize that Apocalypse offered nothing for free. To enjoy all he had been promised, he had to prove himself worthy. Building on the works of Gregor Mendel, he made revolutionary advances in the fields of cloning. Using and discarding both bodies and women, he perfected a process whereby he would engender a younger copy of himself and then, using his powers from Apocalypse, transfer the totality of his psyche from his old body to the new one. Thus, from generation to generation, Sinister would be reborn.

In the twentieth century, he worked behind the scenes to shape the future both of humanity and the emerging subspecies of mutants. He worked alongside visionaries, renegades and monsters, among them, for example, the High Evolutionary. He taught in Oxford, among his students a young Charles Xavier and Moira Kinross.

Over time, his servitude began to chafe and he considered how to break free. To accomplish that, he needed a body untainted by Apocalypse’s enhancements. Fortunately, he had a broad selection of his own cell samples from before his own transformation. He realized, however, that his brilliance alone would not be enough. He was human, not a mutant, but he could change that.

Working at the Nebraska State Home for Foundlings, he created a new clone and spliced some different DNA into the child. It was a perfect plan. Until it went horribly wrong, when the clone was stolen. For having been a slave himself, Apocalypse knew how one would think. Working through the combined Guilds of New Orleans, his agents stole the baby and placed him in the hands of the master thief, Jean-Luc LeBeau, who raised him as his son: Remy LeBeau aka Gambit.

As a man, Remy rescued the X-Men’s field leader, Storm. And from that point on, the joke was on both Apocalypse and Sinister. Because Gambit discovered in himself aspects of spirit and soul that not even Essex had suspected. The capacity to be a hero. The capacity to love with all his heart.


Sinister relates that he adapted Gambit’s power from Cyclops’ optic blast. In terms of genetic material, the two of them are brothers. Half-brothers anyway. With Gambit and one of the Grey girls – Jean or Rachel - he gains the genomes of the key components of human evolution. Those capable of transcendence from the mortal to the divine.

Doesn’t he think the X-Men will stop him? Gambit challenges his newly-found “father.”
They’ll try, Sinister replies, and like his current prisoners they will fail.

The four captured X-Men are all prisoners of their own desires made real to them, thanks to the Ladies Mastermind.

(Wolverine’s dream)

Dressed in a tuxedo, Wolverine finds himself in the Princess Bar, with the diminutive Seraph. He mentions that the clothes make him uncomfortable. Laughing, the woman tells him that just because he was raised in the backwoods that doesn’t mean he can’t aspire to be something better.

(Monet’s dream)

Monet finally confronts her evil brother, Emplate, looking for revenge.

(X-23’s dream)

X-23 is living the good life, lazing at the pool in the company of her lover or husband, Fantomex, and their child.

(Marvel Girl’s dream)

Rachel and Kitty Pryde are living a life of adventure on a world which is a strange mix of science fiction and fantasy.


The Ladies Mastermind triumph. Their prisoners have found ultimate happiness and won’t even try to escape. Using this as a cue, Dark Beast leers and suggests he could make Shakti really happy. Disgusted, the sorceress orders him to leave. Dark Beast turns to Technarx, who is still assimilating Proudstar, Warpath and Cable. Why is Cable crying? McCoy inquires. Involuntary response to the rewriting of core operating network, nothing of concern, Technarx explains. McCoy mockingly agrees, before pointing out that this wouldn’t be the first time to underestimate these guys.

(Wolverine’s dreamscape)

Sabretooth crashes into the bar, killing Seraph. He then attacks Wolverine and reminds him that, whatever Logan cares for most, he will always destroy!

Wolverine awakes next to Mariko Yashida, who suggests they enjoy their honeymoon. Wolverine bluntly tells her that she s dead and so is Seraph. These are the moments he dreams of. Do those moments include him? Sabretooth, who shows up again, asks. Is he ready for round two?


Meanwhile, in their containment chamber, the Summers and LeBeau kids are still arguing to the amusement of the guards outside. Suddenly, they are startled by a scream. They find Bekka LeBeau injured on the ground, apparently having ended up between the two fighting older kids. The guards run inside the chamber to find the kids were faking it.

The kids attack, but surprisingly the men are holding their own, when suddenly they are joined by Gambit, who easily dispatches of the men. The kids first look at him startled, then Bekka runs to hug him, joined by the others. At that moment, Shaitan attacks them. Gambit easily pulls Bekka aside, juggling her around while evading Shaitan’s attacks and finally taking him out.

He had hoped for much more from Gambit, a disappointed Sinister announces. But he still possesses the prime genetic material. One can always begin again. The brats have fulfilled their purpose, he informs Shaitan. He may deal with them as he pleases.

The children and Gambit, who is aware of the danger to them, run, when suddenly a transmat portal appears before them – on Sinister’s orders. Gambit, sill holding Bekka, stumbles through it. He immediately recognizes the strange ruins around them – the Blue Area of the Moon. No wonder they couldn’t find the Neverland concentration camp on Earth, he muses.

The other kids find themselves somewhere else. A desert town in the middle of nowhere. Megan finds that her telepathy is working again: She tries to psilink with her mother and finds in surprise that she links up with Rogue instead. Rogue explains that she imprinted Emma’s power, that’s why Megan reached her. Seeing through Meggan’s, eyes she realizes where the children are and flies to get them.

(Wolverine’s dream)

An empty restaurant. Jean Grey, dressed in a gown, is walking towards Logan. As he embraces her, he tells her that Sabretooth’s slaughtered every woman he ever loved. He saved the best for last. He doesn’t care if she is a fake. He won’t let him kill her. Glad to hear it, she announces, as she turns into the real Phoenix. Drawing him into a kiss, she announces that she is no fake. Somehow, she is telepathically synching into his vision. She warns him that she doesn’t have the strength to spare. If she dies there, this link will make it real. There is nothing more she can do to help him. Sabretooth enters. Wolverine unsheathes his claws. Her just being here is all he needs.


Wolverine unsheathes his claws in reality and attacks and kills one of the Ladies Mastermind. The other three X-Men awake and Wolverine announces that they are going to take the fight to Sinister.


A reborn Danielle Moonstar, now dressed in clothing reminiscent of both her Cheyenne heritage and of the Norse death goddess Hela, announces that for some death is only the beginning. Now it is Sinister’s turn.

A live debate in Chicago, days before the election, a one-on-one confrontation between the two candidates, Professor Katherine Pryde and Congresswoman Alice Tremaine. Tremaine quickly explains her point of view and states that it all comes down to one simple question: Do they want the next mayor of this great city to be a human being or do they want a monster?

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, M, Rogue, X-23 (All XSE)

Marvel Girl, Phoenix, Shadowcat, Wolverine (all former X-Men)


Dani Moonstar

Alex, Meggan and their sisters (Cyclops’ and Emma Frost’s children)

Bekka Raven and Olivier (Rogue and Gambit’s children)

Proudstar, Shatterstar (both X-Force)

Mr, Sinister

Dark Beast, Shaitan, Shakti, Technarx

Lady Mastermind

Mastermind III

Alice Tremaine


Nathaniel Essex / Mr Sinister

Colossus, Cyclops, Rogue (all X-Men)

Rebecca Essex

En Sabah Nur / Apocalypse

Sinister’s clones

The High Evolutionary

Charles Xavier, Moira Kinross (among a crowd of Oxford students)

Remy LeBeau / Gambit

Jean-Luc LeBeau (Leader of the Thieves Guild and Gambit’s adoptive father)

Members of the Thieves Guild

Unknown woman


In Wolverine’s illusion:



Mariko Yashida



In M’s illusion:



In X-23’s illusion



Their daughter

In Marvel Girl’s illusion

Marvel Girl


Story Notes: 

For more information on Gambit and Sinister, read the Spotlight On Gambit and the “Sinister Observations” article on Mr. Sinister. Also available is an analytical view of the so-called Third Summers Brother storyline, which this issue attempts to resolve.

The origin of Sinister and his first meeting with Apocalypse are told in the “The Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix” limited series.

Gregor Johann Mendel was a Czech-Austrian monk, who is often called the "father of genetics for his study of the inheritance of traits in pea plants. Mendel showed that there was particulate inheritance of traits according to his laws of inheritance. However, nobody (including Mendel) realized the significance of his work and it was largely ignored until the turn of the 20th century. Its rediscovery prompted the foundation of genetics.

Excalibur (2nd series) hinted at Sinister working in the Nazi concentration camps and at his being a mentor of Moira MacTaggart during her student days at Oxford.

Though the picture wrongly hints at Storm being an adult at the time, she was actually regressed to childhood when Gambit met and saved her (Uncanny X-Men #266-267).

Wolverine met Seraph, owner of the Princess Bar on Madripoor, during the two World Wars. Her friendship had a lot to do with teaching him responsibility and honor.

Rachel’s fantasy world seems to date back to one world Excalibur visited during the Cross Time Caper. [Excalibur (1st series) #16-17]

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