X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation #1

Issue Date: 
November 2021
Story Title: 
Altar/Piece Alter/Peace

Si Spurrier (writer), Bob Quinn (artist), Java Tartaglia (color), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Guiseppe Carmuncoli & Marte Gracia (cover artists), Ivan Shavrin (cover variant) Nick Russell (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Shannon Andrews Ballesteros (assistant editor), Jake Thomas (editor), Jordan D. White (senior editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

The Krakoans are attending the Cruci-ball, a party the climax of which will be an orgy of death. They are unaware that an Onslaught-possessed Xavier is erasing the back-ups, meaning their deaths would be for real. Nightcrawler and Legion free Pixie and then have her attend the ball to free certain others with her souldagger. In a piece of astral plane created by Legion, Nightcrawler holds a sermon to Cortez and Lost, confronting Cortez with his deeds. Lost finally gets to pity Cortez instead of hating him, allowing her to cast out Onslaught, whom Orchis had based in her hatred. At the party, Pixie, Dazzler, Dr. Nemesis and more actively work against the rising aggression and then lead the crowd to the Altar, Legion’s new part of the astral plane. Pixie frees Magneto, who in turn chases Xavier. When Onslaught is driven from the crowd, it tries to possess Xavier and Magneto. With the help of Dust, Legion creates a congregation of souls from the partygoers, who drive Onslaught away for good. Two months later, Legion’s “altar” is flourishing as a community center of sorts, while Nightcrawler uses it a base for his Legionaries.

Full Summary: 

Many of the mutants, without even knowing it, have been manipulated by Onslaught, none more so than Charles Xavier, who is about to destroy the Cerebro back-ups that allow mutants to be resurrected.

Many others are on the way to the Cruci-Ball, among them Pixie, who is suddenly teleported away by Nightcrawler. He teleports them several times, until he drags her through a Krakoan gate. On the other side, she is surrounded by darkness and sees Lost and Fabian Cortez huddling there as well. Legion orders her to be calm and listen. She’s been compromised. Kurt adds it’s the dying. If Cerebro records your mind on Monday and you die on Wednesday, what becomes of Tuesday? She stammers, what are they prattling about. Why can’t she teleport out?

Kurt adds that they think he eats them and grows strong, and in the gaps he leaves his strings like a puppeteer. Who? she screams. She knows who, Legion replies. Pixie stammers then Onslaught rises from her mind and sneers, Legion urged him from the priest’s mind. He will not find it so easy now. He has sunk his hook into a thousand minds and fantasies.

Legion retorts he might want a wee think about whose skull he is in. And whose fantasies are currently in residence. “Repel boarders!” Kurt shouts dressed as a pirate, as he attacks.

Legion announces, “Welcome to the Altar where all minds are one.”

In Xavier’s mind, in the no-place, Onslaught senses Pixie go dark. No matter. He was slipped into a mutant mind by Orchis, meant to destabilize Krakoa. He means to do more. He plans a massacre the trauma of which will raise him to godhood.

At the Cruci-Ball, Loa asks Mercury to dance.

Onslaught steers Xavier to begin deleting the back-ups of mutant minds.

Standing alone in a cell, Fabian Cortez shouts for Nightcrawler. He wants answers (and a bathroom)! He did what Nightcrawler wanted. He told him what happened before he died. He passed on his stupid message.

Kurt appears behind him, startling Cortez. “The Spark,” ja, he agrees. He asks if Cortez knew they were going to leave him in a coma. Onslaught is in all of them now. He had to release Cortez in secret…

Cortez mumbles, at least he doesn’t need that bathroom now. Kurt continues that it worked. Fabian reminded him and triggered his epiphany. The idea he has been seeking. Cortez snarks that he hopes Kurt and his little cult are very happy together. But there are better ways to thank him than dump him in this place with the woman who tried to kill him three times. He points at Lost, who is huddling in the corner and muttering that she is lost. Kurt agrees. She hates Cortez, even if she hasn’t found her voice yet, but he deserves it. His priestly lack of judgment is inspirational, Cortez mutters. Another voice announces that Cortez killed her parents. They were visiting her in the hospital. Her powers had only just come in. His thugs ran amok for no reason except to make a fuss!

A shocked Cortez looks at the speaker, David Haller, his hair replaced by cables and tendrils leading somewhere. They’ll not take lessons on civility off a sebaceous gland with shoes, David snaps.

Cortez stammers that that was a righteous war with justifiable collateral. He doesn’t know where they brought him, but he demands to return to Krakoa. He wants to go on with his very important life and forget… Kurt gently interrupts him and points out he had to release him from his coma. What makes him so sure he is still alive?

Stacy X gives both Lost and Fabian a nudge and they fall. Kurt and Legion have asked the help of Dust, the Xorn brothers and Gorgon. During the fall, Cortez first gets attacked by Dust, then by energy then he gets cut by Gorgon. Cortez blames Lost for this and shouts that he hates her. She screams back that he doesn’t know the meaning of hate!

Suddenly, the surroundings change to hellfire and a giant Legion as the devil appears, ordering them to burn. Both scream in horror.

Nightcrawler then points out that Lost took Cortez’s hand when he was afraid, despite what he did to her. Doesn’t he see what a gift that is? A normal-sized Legion joins them and tell them they are not dead. They kidnapped them both while the Onslaught-infected numpties were planning their big shindig, but they are in his house now, so Cortez will stop bloody whining and start bloody listening. And if he ever wets his knickers in Legion’s brain again, David will choke him with them!

Kurt suddenly stands at an altar and announces the first sermon. Consider a shoal of fish… They swim through the endless depths – and they are hunted. Should a predator attack, the shoal reacts all together, ja? Well, not today. Today one of these little fish goes left when the others go right. Well, what happens? It gets eaten by a shark? Lost ventures, it is alone and lost. Not a very clever survival strategy, Kurt muses, if it is a shark.

At the Cruciball, Pixie teleports Loa away to a gallery above the party, then stabs her with her souldagger to exorcise Onslaught, as she has already done with DJ, Blink and Dazzler. They all reel, recalling the horrible feelings they had moments before. They look down to the party, sensing all that adrenaline and aggression. Dazzler shudders. She was going to sign a song about kissing with knives. DJ adds it will be built up. There will be fights. He had all the songs picked out already. Pixie spells out that, at midnight, everyone will murder everyone else. Just for the thrill. Because none of them know it’s a one-way-ticket.

At the Cradle, an Onslaught-possessed Xavier is busy getting rid of the back-ups.

At the Altar:
Kurt continues. Imagine if that crazy little fish could come back from the dead. What does it do the next time the shoal is in danger? It learns the lesson, Cortez replies impatiently. Leads the rest of the idiots to turn right all together. Nein, is the reply. It turns left again. Or maybe it does a little dance. Perhaps it tries to jump out of the water. Perhaps it attacks the predator head on.

The Cruci-ball:
Pixie heads down to the dancefloor again, telling the others she knows how to stop this. But she needs their help.

The Altar:
The little fish understands that playing it safe is only important in a world where death is the end!

Cortez protests that is the worst parable he has ever heard. He thought Nightcrawler was against this cheap death crap.

But it is not cheap, Kurt replies. Being eaten is quite traumatic, but this little fish keeps doing it. Why? Because the predator is just a shark and nobody understands why the lunatic little fish goes his own way. But sometimes the predator is a whale and it swallows the rest of the shoal instead. Mutants need not fear sharks, but there are more whales around them and monsters and whirlpools than they can count.

Take Cortez: pomposity… ambition… defiance. Always he has turned toward the front of the shoal. Kurt is asking him today to trust him. To believe that what is happening now in his heart isn’t cheap - it matters. He has done terrible things. But today, whether they like it or not, the Spark is with him. Kurt touches his shoulder and tells him it is time he swam into the dark and tried something new. It is time to put away his pride.

Fabian glares then his face crumples and he admits he has hated himself for as long as he can remember.

Cortez’ narration:
He was never blind to his privilege. Wealth, power, connections, he was too cowardly to throw it away, but it nagged him. He never earned anything.

Most kids are terrified when the X-gene kicks in. Whole new world of otherness and exclusion. Btu he was delighted. Finally, something to fight for. Does that make him a persecution tourist? Poor little rich boy, thirsty for some struggle. Maybe. Fact is he spent five minutes testing his powers and realized the joke was on him. All he does is boost other mutants. No starring role for Fabian Cortez. No heart-stirring arc: “spoiled brat answers the call to revolution, learns humility and heroism.” It’s because nobody wants to throw a parade for Captain McGuffin. In the end, he figured if he’s gotta be the bridesmaid, if he’s always got to be in someone else’s shadow, then he better pick the biggest damn shadow he could find – hence his fascination with Magneto.

A possessed Magneto struggles against Onslaught as he begs Pixie to leave. She stammers she knows he is guarding the professor and asks him to let her through.

Cortez’ narration:
Cortez admits that all those years he did appalling things in Magneto’s name. He set him up as a god, and he kept the blood sacrifices pouring in. He failed, obviously. It takes a rare power to control an ego as big as Erik’s.

Magneto warns Pixie that it takes every ounce of his will to resist the idea of annihilating her.

Pixie throws her soul dagger at him. Not made of metal, it passes through his defenses and hits his face freeing him from Onslaught’s influence.

Magneto shouts Xavier’s name and orders him to get out. Still possessed, Xavier flees and Pixie curses.

Cortez’ narration:
Cortez continues. Damn the leaders, that’s what he’d tell them if he had the guts. Damn these great men and their too-big-to-judge bull/&%$. He spent his life propping them up. Outdoing their excesses like some blood-spattered understudy. Fabian Cortez, rabid hench weasel! He’d burn the whole +#&% world for a pat on the head!

Angrily, he wipes away a tear as he continues ranting. The worst thing? He could bear all that… the loneliness… the nightmares. He could live with being this… this poisonous little trickle of mediocrity – if he’d ever believed in a single one of the causes along the way. But he never did.

Cortez swears and cries openly. He doesn’t think he ever believed in anything. Lost takes his hand. She cannot forgive him. He is a pitiful thing and that is how he will stay until he can forgive himself. But today at the very least she does not hate him.

Suddenly, she begins to glow and light pours from her orifices. Well done, Kurt tells Fabian. The Spark is within her now. Let them see how it burns.

At Cruciball, the revelers partake of Dr. Nemesis self-grown mushrooms while he rants and seemingly eggs on their violence. Dazzler grins that he is enjoying this way too much. Piffle, he scoffs as he dons his hat. If the Welsh one hadn’t used that ghastly knife to free him, his exquisite psychedelics would have incited an extremely entertaining spiral of violence. Much could have been learned. For science. Instead, he had to re-gene his beautiful mushrooms into feel-good bilge, just to make those idiots more compliant than they already were. What’s to enjoy? And yet he did his duty uncomplaining. Truly a martyr to mutantkind, she agrees with a grin as he passes out mushrooms that he promises will make one see unicorns made of pasta.

Dazzler tuns to DJ and orders him to drop it. She sings and, with all attention on her, she orders the guests towards a gate leading them to Arakko.

Xavier runs through the crowd, chased by Magneto, who realizes he erased the back-ups.

On Mars, they are led to the Temple Gate leading to the Altar. Inside the Altar, the celebration continues.

Cortez asks why all these children are here. Legion tells him he made this possible. All minds are one in the Altar if they want to be. Kurt continues. When they raised Cortez from his coma, he showed them what Marinette said as they fell from the sky. Lost reveals that, when her parents died, she was taken in by an organization. They did things to her. Kurt and David explain that Orchis used Lost to sneak Onslaught inside. They hid Onslaught deep, anchored it in her hatred for Cortez. The hatred he just cured, Kurt stresses. Does he understand? Red tendrils emit from Lost. Nightcrawler tells Cortez that he just smoked out the devil himself. 

Onslaught also leaves the kids, and Magneto has reached Xavier. Onslaught decides that he will then use its first and finest hosts, focusing on Xavier and Magneto and turning into a giant shape.

Legion asks the Xorn brothers to run intervention, while Cortez rants his beautiful heroic moment was yet again about fulfilling someone else’s damn journey. Kurt suggests he should not feel bad. He makes a #*&% hero. Cortez rolls his eyes and grudgingly agrees. Kurt continues, their sacred land has plenty of those. What they need right now is strong links in the chain. He nudges him toward Dust, who takes his hand while asking Legion if he is sure about this. Legion tells her she can connect a billion particles without effort. Turning to sand is literally the least amazing thing about her. Whoever called her “Dust,” did her a disservice. What would be better is “Congregation.”

Legion has created a special part of the astral plane as a kind of astral altar, a place of communion. Where every mutant is valued, where every mind could be as open or closed as they choose.

While Onslaught prepares to strike, Nightcrawler preaches to the crowd. He tells them of carnage averted by ice cream. He tells them, imperfect replication is the engine of individuality and love is the product of risk. He tells them evil can be overcome by humility and a new perspective can link a thousand hearts, and all of it is the same thing. It is the power and the privilege of always daring something new. He calls it the Spark.

The mutants connected by Dust attack Onslaught as one, as Kurt tells them they have fought this old devil before. He knows them. He knows their fear. He knows the darkness inside them, and Kurt thinks it is time to be honest. They cannot be a people without first being people – imperfect and impure. They must accept their share of this shadow. So just once let them not fight this predator but embrace him, crush it with all that makes them them. The flaws and passions and hopes and pains and stories and their unity.

Onslaught shouts in protest as Kurt continues: let this be their holy sacrament: let them grind him to gristle, so that he knows – so that they know – so that all the world knows “We rule us.”

Onslaught has shrunk to a tiny creature that gets squished in his hand. “We rule us,” Legion echoes his mantra.

Two months later, a much healthier and happier-looking Lost and Fabian Cortez tell a group of children, of how they almost lost this sacred land, because it was growing bigger but emptier… meaningless. And terrible things grew in that vacuum. The people who saved it will not allow that emptiness to return. In its place they have built a house of infinite welcome. A heart for their homeland. What they offer is no cult… it’s a culture.

Kurt waves at them before he enters the gate that leads to the Altar. Quite a change, he tells Legion. Luckily, the Astral Plane is enormous; there are all kinds of places and rooms being used. Some people are just connecting, Amahl Farouk is meditating, Gorgon is teaching martial arts in a dojo, another group is dancing. Loa is in a talk with Stacy X. Training… trauma healing, Legions muses. Anything but a bloody basketball court. What’s next?

Kurt chuckles it is David’s head. He knows what Kurt is planning. He was hoping to use this as a HQ. Mutant cops, David agrees, with his brain as the precinct. The council won’t like it. He’s okay with that, Kurt mumbles then states it is not a police. They must defend what unites them, not punish the growing pains. What then? David asks. Peacekeepers, sheriffs, mutant jedi? Kurt was thinking… Legionaries.

Characters Involved: 

Blink, Cortez, Dazzler, DJ, Dr. Nemesis, Dust, Farouk, Gorgon II, Loa, Lost, Mercury, Pixie III, Stacy X, Xorn, Zorn
Professor X, Magneto


Story Notes: 

This concludes the story from Way of X.

The story continues with Legion of X.

Written By: