X-Treme X-Men (2nd series) #8

Issue Date: 
January 2013
Story Title: 

Greg Pak (Writer), Paco Diaz (Art), Jessica Kholinne and Sotocolor (Colors), VC’s Joe Sabino (Letters), Kalman Andrasofoszky (Cover), Jeannie Schaefer (Editor), Jennifer M. Smith (Assistant Editor), Nick Lowe (Group Editor), Axel Alonso (Editor in Chief), Joe Quesada (Chief Creative Officer), Dan Buckley (Publisher), Alan Fine (Executive Producer)

Brief Description: 

On an alternate world overrun with zombies, a version of Dazzler approaches her base but gets no response from it. Finding that everyone else has been infected, she gives in and accepts her fate, but the disembodied Xavier appears and saves her. In the 616 universe, the team prepares to leave and uses Kurt’s power to teleport them to rejoin Xavier. They appear on a world thick with twisted, thorny vegetation. After setting out to explore, they come across a group of unicorns who flee from them in terror. After showing the unicorns that they don’t want to hurt them, Xavier’s new X-Force appears and starts attacking the unicorns. The two teams fight until the alternate Dazzler blasts the Xavier-unicorn and it turns into a huge demon creature. X-Force kills the demon and the unicorns and landscape disappear. Xavier appears and tells them that he has a new team and Dazzler almost ruined his mission. The planet suddenly starts breaking apart but Xavier can’t teleport them away. Sage brings the ship down but the alt-Dazzler blasts it. The two Dazzlers square off for leadership of the team and a fight breaks out. The alt-Dazzler ends up impaling Dazzler with a spear of light.

Full Summary: 

On another world, a rusty buggy drives through the ruins of an old highway. Abandoned cars litter the area and collapsing overpasses loom above. From inside the buggy, Captain Alison Blaire of X-Force submits her field report into a microphone she is wearing. She has a cross-shaped scar on her cheek and is sporting a bandana and a blue mark over her left eye. At day 321 of the infestation, she announces her location as two clicks north of the Danvers Air Force Base. She says she tracked the last non-automated human transmissions to Portland but the whole area was overrun. She set the tags and deployed the cerebra satellite.

Just then, a zombified person appears in front of the buggy. Alison confirms that there was no living human brain activity detected there and says they appear to be the last surviving human colony on the planet. With that, machine guns mounted to the buggy open fire on the zombie and blow him apart. She parks the buggy on a broken piece of highway overlooking a dilapidated and fenced-off air base. She says she is at the northern checkpoint and requests entry. She gives whoever is listening a clearance code to allow her to enter but no one answers. She asks if base command is there and repeats the question.

She gets out the buggy and uses her powers to send up a light flare. She says that it is Alison Blaire at the northern checkpoint and tells them not to fire. She starts to repeat herself but is interrupted by the severed torso of Angel dragging himself towards her. His wings are all twisted and his intestines are spilling out of his body. She looks past him to see a group of zombified people, including Captain America, staggering towards her. She starts blasting them with shotguns and her light powers whilst trying to hold back the tears.

After dispatching the group, she goes back to her buggy. The next day, she sits next to her buggy and gives the field report for day 322. As bodies lie around her, she drinks beer and watches as zombies stagger towards her. When she admits that she is done there, a telepathic voice suddenly speaks up and agrees with her. She turns around to see the head of Xavier in a floating bottle. She says that he is dead and points a gun at him. But he tells her that he is dead on this world but this is an infinite universe with countless realities. It’s time for her to let go of this one and begin her life’s true work.

(Meanwhile, back in the 616 universe)

The team is aboard their spaceship in Earth’s orbit. Dazzler asks if they can get moving but Sage tells her to wait a minute. Sage repeats back to her the team’s directive of killing the ten evil Xaviers across the multiverse. Dazzler tells her that’s what the disembodied Xavier head from an alterna-Earth told them. Sage turns to Howlett and asks if this is the kind of leadership he responds to.

Just as Howlett tells her he’s gotten used to it Kurt chips in and says he’s got Xavier on the line. A holographic projection of the disembodied Xavier appears and Dazzler tells him they rescued Kurt. He is slightly hostile and tells her not to call him “Xave” like she just did. She asks him if he’s ready to get the band back together but he tells her they are breaking up and the hologram disappears. Howlett comments that that was strange and Kurt asks if Xavier was making “bzzzzt” sounds with his mouth. A slightly annoyed Sage asks them if that’s the guy they entrust with their lives. Dazzler calmly asks whoever said she trusted him. Howlett asks what she’s hiding and Dazzler says that on the Wild West world the evil Xavier said he had figured out the bodiless Xavier’s secret. When Sage enquires about the secret Dazzler repeats what Xavier said “he knows what I’m capable of.”

Dazzler says they have to track that so-and-so down so they can find out what the hell he’s going to do. She asks Sage how long it will be before they figure out how to do a jump without Xavier. Placing Cerebra-like device on his head, Kurt tells her they figured out how to do it half an hour ago. Sage adds that she just wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page. With that Kurt uses his powers and teleports the entire ship across the multiverse.

The ship reappears amongst a landscape full of twisted branches covered in thorns. Sage says that Xavier is three kilometers north and Dazzler tells Howlett he’s on point. She tells Sage and Kurt to stay with the ship. Kurt objects but Dazzler tells him he’s been through more than any kid ever knew and she won’t put him through more. Before she can finish, Kurt interrupts and tells her what he’s been through is having his entire family killed. He’s going with her to make sure it doesn’t happen again. She relents and lets Kurt go with them.

Outside the ship, the team begins their journey through the thick undergrowth but Howlett immediately smells something. Suddenly, something is flung at them and, after being hit by it, the team realizes it was cupcakes. Howlett picks up one of the cupcakes, which is covered in rainbow icing, and looks at it confused. Before them, the team spots a group of unicorns, each colored differently and equipped with a cupcake-launcher strapped to their sides. One of the unicorns screams in fear and simply repeats “it’s them!!”

With looks of stunned confusion on their faces, the team stares at the unicorns in disbelief. Before they can do anything, the unicorns turn and run, fearing that Xavier is coming. Dazzler tries to explain what they are doing there but the unicorns don’t listen, instead they keep running away and screaming that they don’t want to die. Becoming annoyed with the creatures, Dazzler stops and uses her light powers to get their attention and calm them down. The unicorns dance around the light Dazzler is creating and they get a better look at them. Their feet aren’t hoofed like horses; instead they have two large toes sticking forward and another pointing back, much like Kurt’s. Their tails are lizard-like with a clump of bright colored hair at the very end. Kurt smiles and says “cute” and Dazzler thanks him and sarcastically says she is so glad he’s here to protect her.

Dazzler approaches one of the unicorns and tells it her name. The purple-haired unicorn says that its name is Charles. Dazzler asks if its last name is Xavier and it says it is. He tells her that the other Xavier is coming to kill them; he can feel him in his head. Dazzler tells him that no one is going to hurt his and he asks if she promises. Suddenly a voice behind her yells “X-Force!!” She turns around to see alternate versions of Hercules, Cyclops and herself rushing towards them screaming for them to kill the Xavier.

Dazzler immediately puts up a light shield to block the shots coming from the alt-Dazzler’s light gun. Dazzler says she wondered when she would meet an alternate version of herself. She compliments the other Dazzler on her boots but her opponent simply grunts. Dazzler tells her she needs to work on her quips.

Howlett faces off against Hercules. This Hercules is shirtless and is wearing metallic armor on his elbows and shins. The two men lunge at each other and Howlett can only muse on the fact he is fighting another Hercules again. Howlett unsheathes his golden claws and swipes at Hercules as the demi-god smashes him in the face with his fist. Beneath his helmet, Hercules suddenly smiles and says that he knows those claws. He grins broadly and picks Howlett up in his arms and says that he has come back to him. Rubbing cupcake icing off Howlett’s face, Hercules tells him he’s just as sweet as ever. A voice interrupts the two men’s reunion and yells that Xavier is getting away.

The voice belongs to the alternate Cyclops. This version is black and is dressed in clothes from the American Civil war era. Instead of a visor, he is wearing a pair of round glasses, tightly strapped to his head. He takes a shot with his eyebeams at the Xavier-unicorn but Kurt gets in the way and teleports his eyebeam behind his, blasting him in the back.

Dazzler uses her powers and flies forward, knocking her counterpart down. The alt-Dazzler calls her stupid and asks if she hasn’t seen enough planets die. Dazzler says she usually saves the world before it gets that bad. The alt-Dazzler lunges forward and head buts Dazzler, dazing her for a few seconds. That gives the alt-Dazzler enough time to turn around and blast the Xavier-unicorn with her powers. Xavier screams in pain as he is incinerated. However, the screams become something else and a grotesque, demonic-looking creature rises up from where the unicorn stood. Alarmed, Kurt says he misses the cupcakes.

X-Force rushes forward and begins attacking the creature. They hit it with everything they have and the creature falls. Dazzler looks around her as the other unicorns that start to dematerialize. She asks what’s going on there as the entire landscape dissolves away. The disembodied Xavier appears and says the demon Xavier created the entire fantasy to hide whilst he built his strength. Now that X-Force has killed him, his constructs are falling apart. When Dazzler questions the “demon Xavier” Hercules tells her it’s lucky they killed it in time otherwise the entire multiverse would have come crashing down around their ears. A disheartened Dazzler says that she understands but Xavier asks if she really does. He tells her she nearly ruined everything and he asked her to wait. Dazzler says that he didn’t; he pretended they had a bad connection.

Before they can argue further, they realize the ground they are standing on is also dissolving away. Hercules yells to Xavier to teleport them all away but he says he can’t, because there is still massive psychic interference and he hadn’t counted on having such a large team. Dazzler tells him not to sweat it and says she’s got wheels. As Sage brings their ship down to them, she invites them all on board.

Suddenly, a blast shoots out and hits the underside of the ship. Dazzler angrily turns to see where it came from and the alt-Dazzler is stood before her, holding her gun. She says that Dazzler likes to give orders. Dazzler says that she didn’t ask for the job but she’s team leader. Her counterpart tells her that she isn’t any longer and, when Dazzler asks who died and made her queen, the alt-Dazzler simply replies “everybody.” Kurt is creeped out by the response and Xavier speaks up and says that Captain Blaire has thousands of hours of combat experience. He goes on and says that given the urgency of their mission… but Dazzler cuts him off and tells him she won’t hand over her team to that psycho.

Captain Blaire speaks up and says she knows all about her because she used to be her. So fun, so bright, so brilliant even. So embarrassingly hungry for approval. She approaches Dazzler and lifts her chin up with her finger and tells her that if she wants the job then she’ll have to take it. With that, Dazzler leaps into action and propels Captain Blaire upwards with a blast of light. Hercules winces in pain but Howlett just grins. As Captain Blaire lands, she compliments Dazzler’s move but tells her she’s just proving her point. The two tear up the landscape with the light-powered fight.

Captain Blaire tells her that she could have killed her back then, in fact she could be killing her now. But even when she plays dirty she pulls her punches. Captain Blaire hits Dazzler from behind and Kurt immediately tries to help, but Cyclops fires an eyebeam in front of him to warn him to not to try anything.

Dazzler recovers and is amazed she’s still alive. She turns to Captain Blaire and says that she’s not the only one pulling her punches. She tells Dazzler that’s a good point and then impales her with a spear made of light. As Dazzler lies dying on the floor, bleeding from her stomach, her team rushes to her aid. Captain Blaire records day three of her X-Force assignment, which simply states that she’s done here.

Characters Involved: 

Dazzler, Kid Nightcrawler, Sage, Howlett (All X-Treme X-Men)

Captain Alison Blaire, Hercules, Cyclops, Xavier (All X-Force)

Demonic Xavier

Unicorn constructs

Zombified versions of Captain America and Angel

Numerous zombies

Story Notes: 

The team travelled to the 616 universe in X-Treme X-Men (2nd series) #7.1. They tracked a Brood infested Acanti whale that just happened to be an alternate version of Xavier. Dazzler met up with Cyclops and learned of the events of the Avengers vs. X-Men event.

The zombie world that Captain Alison Blaire hails from is similar to the popular Marvel Zombie line. It’s unlikely to be the same universe, given that Dazzler was killed in it and the zombies in it kept their intelligence. The zombies of this world seem to be like the mindless dead seen in many films and series like the Walking Dead.

Sage joined the team in X-Treme X-Men (2nd series) #7. She brought her spaceship that also functions like a giant robot with her.

The team landed on a Wild West world in X-Treme X-Men (2nd series) #4-5. The evil Xavier on that world made contact with the team’s Xavier and apparently found out the secret he was hiding.

Kurt’s ordeal happened in X-Treme X-Men #6-7.

Howlett revealed he was gay in X-Treme X-Men (2nd series) #7. Dazzler had been bugging him about it ever since she noticed his reaction to an alternate Hercules in X-Treme X-Men (2nd series) #3.

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