Anole and Rockslide suddenly find themselves facing the hired villains of the Serpent Society. Anole has read the X-Men files on them. They fought Captain America and the Avengers. He and Rockslide are so dead!
These guys are so dead, Rockslide figures. Whoever the hell they are, he is going to stomp them like crazy. What are they going to do, clamp and bite him? He should say “bite me” to one of them. That would be funny.
They are seriously going to kill them! Anole hisses and suggests they get out of here. Ignoring him, Rockslide tries his joke. Kill them! King Cobra order and the fight breaks out as Rattler blasts apart Rockslide.
Anole hopes he’s okay. Rockslide blows up all the time but, with a blast like that, it will take a few minutes and he doesn’t have that kind of time.
King Cobra mocks him and suggests heroics may not be his forte. As Anole tries to dodge Death Adder, he instantly agrees and tries to hope the Cuckoos or Frost pick up his thoughts. Maybe Magik will tell someone they’ve missed the rendezvous and the X-Men will come save them. Like right now? Nobody’s coming though. Why did he think this would be a good idea? he wonders as he dodges blasts and blows. Why did he believe Santo when he told him he could be a hero?
Anole’s my freaking hero! Santo thinks. His body is gone but he can still see, because he’s awesome he guesses. Anole has blended in with the surroundings going invisible. Santo figures he has to help him, not that he needs it. Anole will whine for a little bit. Think about going for help or that he can’t do this. But then he’ll put aside all fear, the self doubt, and then he will kick butt as indeed he does, hitting King Cobra in the face.
He takes Anaconda and Santo figures Anole is probably knows everything about these tools. He’s the only X-student who actually reads the X-Men’s files. If he’d let them cut off his other arm and legs, he’d be some unstoppable full on dragon monster! That would be cool! His head too, maybe…
Anaconda finally grabs Anole and begins throttling him. He thought Rockslide would be back by now. He is dead! she hisses. Anole pokes at her eye with his lizard-like tongue. Disgusted, she lets go.
Desperately, he tries to call out to any telepath, Miss Frost, Psylocke, the Cuckoos! If anyone can hear him: he is dead! He is surrounded and dead! He just tried to do something. He tried to be an X-Man!
He’s going to bite off his head, Bushmaster informs him. The ground begins to rumble and a giant version of Rockslide reforms shouting: Bite me and prepare to get rocked! And as lame as that sounds, Anole is thrilled to hear it.
What the hell is that? the Serpents wonder a moment before Rockslide stomps them. Who’s next? he shouts but breaks off mid-sentence.
Santo belongs to him now, Mr. Negative informs Anole. Who is he? Anole asks. Mr. Negative is no one and all of them the possessed Rockslide replies. They are no simple vigilantes he decides. They are X-Men… Mutants! They have value and through them the city will belong to him.
Well I guess I know why the X-Men stay out of this kind of thing. Super-villains suuuuck!
Wakanda: a strange and rare guest is announced to Queen Ororo. And, as the Asgardian thunder god Thor appears in the sky, she figures it is as part of Steve Rogers’ mutant outreach program. Politely, he greets her before landing.
Later, they share dinner. Thor explains that he has been spending some time rooting through Asgard’s remains. In the pursuit, he found an item that should be of interest to her. He hands her a box with her name on it.
Ororo opens it to find an enchanted uru hammer like his. Stormcaster! she recognizes it. Forged for her by his brother Loki. Thor realizes this may have been an error. And this may be another scheme of Loki’s that may have survived his death. He warns her but she touches the hammer.
Energy engulfs Storm and, a moment later, she stands transformed into the thunder goddess. Loki, he should have known, Thor sighs. Lightning hits Thor. He falls and tries to tell her she is under an unholy curse.
Without a word, Storm flies upward and outside. Clouds gather. Thor follows and warns her to stand down, lest he has to do mortal injury to her. He can try, she snaps. She is not his to threaten.
Thor attacks, firing lightning at her. Storm’s winds protect her and push him back. He asks her to control herself.
She touches Mjolnir, creating a maelstrom. Lightning hits her and she turns back to normal.
Is this what Loki intended? she wonders. He thinks Loki intended little; he simply did what was in his nature. She is happy to have disappointed him, in any case. Once before, when Loki tempted her with this power, resisting it was almost impossible. She would not have thought she could resist it again. And after it took her a long time to get over it. Giving up the power was like sacrificing a piece of her. She wonders if Loki got what he intended all along…
The Baxter Building, HQ and home of the Fantastic Four:
Unacceptable! Kitty Pryde (stuck in her space suit) shouts at Reed Richards, leader of the Fantastic Four. He must be able to do something!
Mr. Fantastic apologizes. He is at a loss to explain her phasing phenomenon. He’s run a full spectrum of applicable tests, plus others that he thought might have an outside chance of helping, but there’s nothing he can add to her own doctors’ diagnosis. She’s stuck like this until--
While he splutters apologies, an angry Kitty turns her back on him and rushes outside. She mutters that she needs air or she will suffocate, then wonders how can she even suffocate? She can’t even breathe!
That’s it? Reed’s wife Sue asks. He’s just going to let the poor girl walk out? Reed defends himself. He looked at the problem from every conceivable angle. Also several additional ones. Colossus thanks him. Reed wants to show him some of the ideas he tried while Sue follows Kitty to the roof.
She finds her crying and tells her to let it all out. She can’t even wipe her own tears, Kitty states a little later. Hugging her, Sue tells her at least she knows she can cry. Kitty recalls she thought she couldn’t even breathe. She felt like she was having a panic attack, but she can cry. So she had some kind of breakthrough.
Kitty smiles weakly. She still can’t touch a thing though. She’s so close but can’t touch or feel. Sometimes, she thinks it would be easier if she just faded away. When she was a teenager, sometimes she felt dumb enough to want the ground to swallow her up. And then one day it did.
When you don’t want attention, it’s not enough to be able to vanish, Sue agrees, but that’s not what this is about, is it? How long was she trapped in that bullet? Kitty doesn’t know. It must have been like solitary confinement, Sue adds.
She wasn’t aware of time, Kitty replies, but it felt like forever. She remembers phasing the bullet and hoping someone would do the impossible and rescue her. After that, there was no sense of time passing. She faded in and out. Doesn’t know where she went. She would try and think of other things. Anything, usually Peter. When she could think, she’d remember him. About everything she lost. The physical pain was intolerable but the sense of loss and loneliness was torture. Misery. Unendurable. In the end, Kitty gave up hope. That was the worst thing of all. At that point, she wasn’t just intangible. She was invisible. Forgotten.
Sue takes her hands and assures her nobody forgot about her. And she is back now. No, she is not, Kitty sighs. She is neither here nor there.
Sue reminds her that she saved the entire world and everyone on it and then she saved a bunch of other planets. Kitty doesn’t care. She’s not a part of the world. She can’t be a part of it. She missed him so much and now she can’t even touch him.
Sue reminds Kitty Peter is patient… honorable. He’s waiting. That’s just it! Kitty shouts. Sometimes she looks into his eyes and catches a look of uncertainty. How can she ask him to be with her when she might stay like this forever?
Sue asks her not to give up. Neither notices Peter is also on the roof. Sue tells her doubt is her enemy. Kitty said she gave up hope when she was trapped inside the metal coffin. Maybe it’s her lack of self-belief that is keeping her from unphasing. Talk to Peter… Tell him what she told Sue. Don’t give up on herself. She reminds her that she saved the world and hugs Kitty.
How much did he hear? Kitty asks Peter. A little, just the end. There are laugh lines around her mouth. One can only see them when you look very close. He can see them. When she was gone… he thought of them and the way she smiles, the way her eyes almost disappear when she laughs. When he thought that he might never see her do that again… The pain was the most tangible thing he ever felt. Right now, he cannot touch her but she can touch him. Kitty smiles at that.
Where is Katherine? Reed asks Sue. On the roof with Peter, she tells him. When he asks if she is all right, she just kisses him and both couples hug.
Somewhere in eastern Europe, in the middle of a pentagram, Blink sits, praying to her dark goddess, trying to call her with her blood.
Light blinds her but it is not Selene who appears but Dr. Stephen Strange, who has brought Emma Frost, Warpath, Pixie, Blindfold and Husk with her, in an attempt to save Blink’s soul.
Emma kindly tells the girl this behavior is completely unacceptable, so she brought someone to talk to her about this. This is perfect, Blink purrs when she sees Emma. What better gift for the dark goddess than to be resurrected with the blood of her most hated enemy!
She doesn’t see the connection, Blindfold informs them. Emma asks her to focus. Blindfold clarifies that Blink is going to kill Emma now, but Warpath will save her, please. Blink throws teleportation shards at Emma but Warpath shoves her aside.
Pixie tries to capture Blink, who teleports away. Husk husks into another form and tries to make Blink remember her. Blindfold warns her that Blink knows who she is, and she is next. Blink reappears above Husk, trying to kill her.
Dr. Strange realizes Blink is too fast. Warpath asks Emma if she can’t get a bead on her. If she could, doesn’t he think this would be over? Emma snarks. Selene’s stench consumes her mind. She can hardly think inside her head – they have to take Blink out. She failed her once, Emma explains, and she won’t do so again.
Blindfold warns Pixie before Blink appears before her. Warpath tries to catch her but she blinks out again. Emma asks Blindfold to look further ahead. No thank you, the girl replies. Blink has realized what she is now. She knows Ruth can see her future. She’s putting her knife through Blindfold’s heart now, Ruth foresees… She would appreciate them stopping her very much.
Emma grabs Blink, keeping her from blinking out. Hysterically, Blink shouts that Emma left her to die! The X-Men left her to die! She was in pain for an eternity because they didn’t come back for her!
Her teleportation shards cut into Emma but she refuses to budge. She assures the girl they didn’t know. They did, Clarice insists. They left her and knew! Emma replies Selene lied and manipulated to enter her mind. Everything Selene did for Clarice, she did to make her kill for her, Emma points out. Finally, she calls for Dr. Strange’s help.
While Emma keeps on holding the girl, Dr. Strange casts his spell and Selene’s black magic pours outs out of Blink.
Emma reaches out to Clarice, who turns away ashamed and remembers. There was an old man, she mutters. Selene wanted his house and Blink killed him. She recalls she killed the men from the Hellfire Club. Emma insists it was Selene who is to blame. It wasn’t her fault, she repeats. Emma tells her she has done horrible thing in her life that were by her choice, things she has to live with. Losing Clarice was one of them. The only way she got through this was because she wasn’t alone and neither is Clarice. She hugs the girl.
Clarice asks what she is supposed to do now. Emma promises she has a place among the X-Men. She can’t, Clarice decides and blinks away.
Emma swears. She thanks Dr. Strange for his help.
Somewhere, Blink watches the sunrise. Freed from Selene’s influence, whatever she wants to do is up to her now…