X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #26

Issue Date: 
July 2003
Story Title: 
God Loves, Man Kills II - part 2

Chris Claremont (writer), Igor Kordey (artist), Salvador Larroca (cover), Scott Hanna (inked), Liquid! (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Mike Raicht (editor), Mike Marts (supervising editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Storm and Bishop are in the Rockies, fighting for their teammates’ lives against a foe Strom thought she would never face again. They are the Purifiers and, after a long-fought battle, the X-Treme team becomes the victors. While the fight is being carried on in the Rockies, in Chicago Kitty Pryde is wondering how she is going to break free from the cell her captors have placed her in. Suddenly, Stryker uses a mind device on Kitty to make her see visions of memories long faded. In those memories, her deceased friends, Illyana and Colossus, come to her aid and are able to talk her out of joining Stryker’s cause. Still determined, Stryker, in another room, prepares for another test-run. In the meantime, he sends Yuriko to Mount Haven via her ability to transport a holographic form through the Internet. There, Yuriko finds her team dead and a powerful mutant from Mount Haven possesses her. She removes her connection and begins to attack Stryker and her team of technicians. After decapitating a few of her employees, Stryker is able to flee, using Kitty’s powers through a collar device Yuriko created for them earlier. While Stryker runs for his life, in the Rockies, Sage interrogates the Purifiers and finds that Stryker is back in action.

Full Summary: 

Around dawn today, the prison transport carrying William Stryker was presumed destroyed by the X-Men. Knowing this not to be true, the X-Treme team came to the Rocky Mountains to ascertain for themselves what has transpired.

At the present, the X-Treme team has all been defeated, save for Bishop and Storm. These two arrive just in time to see one of the Purifiers preparing to kill Sage. Bishop, sneak attacking one of the Purifiers, knocks him off his feet and into a nearby tree with a plasma blast from one of his pistols. Storm remarks that they should use less destructive attacks if they are going to find out what has happened to Stryker. Bishop reminds Storm that these men have taken out three very powerful mutants and, if they give even an inch, it might be them on the ground, along with their teammates. The Purifiers on the ground comment on Storm being the most dangerous and they use hunter-seekers to try and put her out of action. Storm, in defense, creates a micro-tornado, which she thinks will destroy the three missiles heading for her. Missing her attack, Storm decides the best coarse of action would be to fly up and get more altitude. Storm, getting more distance, blasts the missiles with a hard freeze, destroying them. The soldiers on the ground have ammunition to spare though and they send more missiles after her. She easily takes care of two of them but, unknown to her, another missile approaches her from behind. Storm is barely able to miss the impact and she is sent falling towards the ground.

On the ground, the same Purifiers are attacking Bishop. They are using energy weapons against him, which he is then able to turn that power against his attackers. Bishop uses a type of spreader shot of plasma to attack the Purifiers. Battling his attackers, Bishop is able to slice through an electric-net one of the Purifiers attacks him with. He is also able to block a Gum Ball attack by another Purifier, using a fallen Purifiers body.

Near the battle, the three fallen members of X-Treme worry about Storm, who is falling to the ground. Sage comes up with a plan to free Sam using Wolverines claws. Luckily, the plan is successful and Sam catches his falling leader.

Back with the battle, Bishop is working on the soldiers, taking each one of them out with every battle maneuver he can muster. Dropping the last two Purifiers to the ground with a split-kick, Bishop begins to brag about his easy victory. Sage warns Bishop not to get to cocky, because the Purifiers don’t look done fighting yet. Standing to their feet, the Purifiers agree with Sage and they tell Bishop their armor was designed to deal specifically with mutants.

In the air, Cannonball holds Storm tight to his body. Sam tells Storm that the Purifiers, below them, have Bishop surrounded. Warning Sam, Storm tells him to close his eyes as she takes the Purifiers only offense from them. Storm’s eyes turn white as she electrifies the soldiers. Beneath Bishop, the soldiers all slump to the ground, unable to move. Bishop teases the soldiers about how they attacked a lady that could with just a thought send an electro-magnetic pulse to destroy their armor.

In Chicago, Kitty Pride sits, meditating in a prison cell remembering what transpired just a few hours ago. She remembers being alone at her place of employment and being shot by her assailant. Kitty considers phasing, but reconsiders when she thinks that her captors probably have thought of her doing that and set up safe guards against it. Kitty thinks to herself that the sensible thing to do is to wait and find out what her captors want with her. Sadly, her captors don’t want to wait and Kitty’s body begins to turn to bubbles.

In these bubbles is mirrored Kitty’s face. These very same bubbles begin to mutate and take shape. One shape is of her appearance when she first became an X-Man and took on the codename Ariel. Kitty remembers how she was only thirteen and before she joined the X-Men idolized them for being so different. She remembers all of her other dreams, as well, of being a ballerina, a lawyer, a doctor and even a mother. As Kitty thinks these thoughts, her future dream-selves appear behind her. The young thirteen year old begins to scream at Kitty about how she has messes up her life. Kitty agrees with the aberration and suddenly the rest of her dream-selves begin to berate her as well. Screaming for them to stop their yelling, Kitty hides her face in her arms.

Suddenly, the screaming stops and a man with a glow all around his head steps in, quoting the Bible. The man is revealed to be William Stryker and he places his hand out in reassurance to Kitty, who is still lying on the floor of her cell. Kitty begins to sit up and she reaches for Stryker, calling him daddy! Another voice interrupts Kitty and she turns to see Illyana Rasputin talking. Illyana tells Kitty that she can’t believe her eyes about the way she is agreeing with Stryker. Illyana reminds Kitty of how he tried to kill her a few years back. Stryker tells Kitty to not look away from him, but Kitty does and she sees Colossus behind her. Kitty asks Colossus why he is here? Aren’t he and his sister both dead? Colossus tells Katya that he will not allow Stryker to make her his puppet. Illyana tells Kitty that they are all just memories, but they represent the part of Kitty that is fighting against Stryker’s mind control.

Stryker tells Kitty that the more her and the X-Men try and change the world the harsher they make the world. Illyana tells Kitty that she knows being a mutant screwed up all her dreams, but she is at least still alive and can try to make her dreams a reality. Stryker holds a pleading hand towards Kitty and tells her that he offers her a better way. Colossus and Illyana stand defiantly near Kitty and Colossus tells her that the dreams she had were from childhood and Illyana tells her that she should ditch them and make for herself new ones. Quoting Solomon 3:9/10, Kitty stands to her feet and tries to strike the form of Stryker. Phasing through Stryker, she is jolted unconscious and to the floor.

On a view screen in a room nearby Kitty’s cell, Stryker talks to Deathstrike about Kitty’s stubbornness. The two discuss how Stryker plans on using Kitty’s innocence and faith to persuade her to his side. Yuriko tells Stryker that her techs have tried to psi-map Kitty’s mind to no avail. She explains that Kitty’s natural state is to be phased and with only shear force of will can she remain solid. She continues on to say that some of Kitty’s mind is even believed to be in other dimensions, due to her transparent ability. Stryker tells Yuriko, even with her trying to dissuade him, that he has faith and with it he will conquer Kitty’s mind and succeed with his righteous goal.

Yuriko begins to sit as Stryker asks her if she has had any more word from her surveillance team in Mount Haven. Yuriko morphs her fingers into I/O plugs and sends her mind through the Internet to the van her surveillance team is occupying. Once there, she is shocked to see her team’s bodies lying sprawled out around the van in death. Quickly, Yuriko morphs an armor exo-skeleton around herself and prepares for an attack. Instead, she turns around to see a ghost of a man simply telling her, “Hi.” The astral form tells Yuriko that she is not what he expected, but she is welcome to join him. Yuriko’s fingers morph into talons as she lunges towards the man. Fazing through him the man leans down towards the cowering assassin. He tells Yuriko that no one said she even had a choice in the matter.

Quickly, Yuriko pulls her fingers from the input device in her lab. She shakes as she thinks to herself of how their enemy knows about their coming and now he will be hunting them.

Back at the Rockies, the X-Treme team has camped near a cave and, as they stand around a campfire, they begin to interrogate the Purifiers, whom they captured only hours before. Half women, half men, the Purifiers sit together with their arms tied behind their backs. Logan walks in front of them, still visibly bruised from his recent battle. He continuously pops his claws in front of the prisoners in an intimidation effort. The Purifiers look towards Logan and each one of them tells him that they are not afraid of dying. Drawing in his claws for the last time, Logan tells the Purifiers that he isn’t going to interrogate them, because he lacks the stomach for it. Sage looks over the campfire at the Purifiers, as Logan tells them he is going to leave them to a professional.

Later that night, Sage walks from the other side of the cave and the X-Treme team stand in awe, as they ask her how she was able to make them talk without even laying a finger on them? Sage tells the others that the Purifiers looked into her eyes and seen the folly of trying to lie to her. Whispering into her ear, Sam asks Sage if she was just bluffing them? Lucas hands Sage a cup of coffee and she reports that Stryker has hundreds of sleeper-cells around the globe and some have been activated to complete certain missions. Sam asks the others why Stryker would bust out of jail, since that would make him lose his appeal? Logan smirking nearby tells Sam that he doesn’t need to worry, because Sage will figure that answer out. Sage tells Logan that the point is Stryker is willing enough to jeopardize his entire life for completing the mission he has set out on now.

Back in Chicago, Yuriko thinks that she needs to warn Stryker about her findings at Mount Haven. Shockingly, Yuriko realizes her body is out of control. Her talons reach towards a nearby officer and she horrifyingly decapitates the woman. The others in the room turn around in shock and Stryker asks Yuriko what is she doing? Deathstrike tells him that she has no control over her body and he needs to run for his life. Other guards scream out that there is a security alert in the Main Mission Room and for all guards to report at once. Shockingly, many men and women jump in front of Stryker, defending him from Yuriko with their own bodies. Yuriko tells the others that they need to kill her, to save Stryker. Stryker commands the others to block his escape and, as he runs, he thinks of how each one of his soldiers do not stand a chance of surviving Lady Deathstrike’s attack. Stryker removes his shirt to reveal a metal collar and he runs into Kitty’s cell. Grasping another metal collar, he wraps it around her neck. Stryker picks Kitty up and tells her that it is time she makes herself useful.

Deathstrike busts through the cell, only to see Stryker and Kitty wrapped in Mandroid armor. She tells William that her company made the armor and, sadly, it will not protect them. Stryker uses Kitty’s powers, apparently through the use of the collar apparatuses, and the two of them phase through a nearby wall. Yuriko congratulates Stryker and, as tears come from her eyes, she talks aloud how her mind is still her’s, but her body belongs to Mount Haven.

Characters Involved: 

Bishop, Cannonball, Sage, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Treme X-Men)

Shadowcat (X-Men former/ally)

Reverend Paul (astral projection)

Lady Deathstrike


William Stryker

Shadowcat’s thoughts of the past and what could have been:


Illyana Rasputin

Shadowcat as Ariel, a young girl, a ballerina, a doctor, a lawyer, and a mother

William Stryker

Story Notes: 

Colossus died in Uncanny X-Men #390. The two characters, Colossus and Shadowcat were close friends and often almost intimate.

Illyana Rasputin died in Uncanny X-Men #303.

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