Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #239

Issue Date: 
December 1988
Story Title: 

Chris Claremont (writer), Marc Silvestri (penciler), Dan Green (inker), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Mr Sinister is monitoring the X-Men’s activities when he is confronted by an annoyed Malice, who has learned that she has been permanently bonded to Polaris’s body. Malice and Sinister argue for some time, before Sinister puts Malice in her place and explains that she is still free to possess others. In the Australian Outback, Dazzler performs a song at a pub, while Havok goes for a night-time run in an attempt to escape his inner demons, after briefly encountering Dazzler and Longshot who are returning from the pub, Havok is visited by Madelyne Pryor, who reveals she has been watching him. Storm is using the Reavers’ computer and suddenly uncovers a media report with Jean Grey. Storm races to find Wolverine, as she is shocked that her best friend is alive. When Wolverine reveals that he has known Jean was alive, he explains his predicament in not telling Storm this. Storm is furious, and the two deal with their emotions. Psylocke, Rogue and Colossus are having a mock battle to keep up their training, but things get nasty between Rogue and Psylocke, who knocks Rogue out, bringing the Carol Danvers persona to the front. The next day, Havok is enjoying the sun, and falls into a nightmare. He is startled by the arrival of Madelyne, who flirts with him. They discuss their absent lovers, before Madelyne convinces Havok to go to bed with her. Afterwards though, Madelyne has a video-conference with the demon N’astirh, who addresses her as the Goblyn Queen and Madelyne reveals her plans – that she wants the X-Men to have revenge on the Marauders and she wants her son back. But Madelyne’s son is being held in stasis by Mister Sinister, who is seemingly unaware that N’astirh has been spying on him. Meanwhile, in New York, strange things begin happening – such as elevators inside the Empire State Building devouring people – as the Inferno begins….

Full Summary: 

New York City, around the spiralling Empire State Building, all sorts of voices can be heard. Someone singing “Hot time…summer inna city…”. Someone announces that it is a “Roasty-toasty” Sunday in the Big Apple Baking, with no end in sight to the incredibly unseasonable heat wave. ‘No, I am not joking, officer – the telephone ate the man’s money…and then ate him!’ a concerned citizen reports to a police officer. A public radio announcement can be heard, with the disc-jockey informing listeners that they are still running behind on donations, that public radio needs their support, and if they don’t get it, they will have to sacrifice one of their announcers.

‘The Empire State Building…rises 102 stories above Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue…’ a tourist guide begins, while inside the foyer of the Empire State Building, a cleaner is sweeping the floor and listening to his walkman, while a man and a woman, and their three children, wait for an elevator. ‘Dad – hey, Dad! Howcum the elevator goes up to 113?’ one of the kids asks. ‘Junior’s right, dear!’ the woman remarks. ‘Junior should drop dead’ the man thinks to himself, while suggesting to his wife that it must be a misprint in the guide book. The little girl starts crying when her other brother pushes her ice cream off its cone.

‘After all…buildings don’t grow’ the man tells his wife. ‘Unlike kids’ he thinks to himself. ‘Lordy, the money it takes to keep them in clothes. And – sigh – ice cream. Wish I could drown ‘em in the stuff’ the man tells himself, before informing his family that the elevator has arrived. ‘All aboard’ he tells them. The three children WHAP, SLAP, BAWWL, POKE and TUG their way into the elevator. ‘MOM!’ one of them shouts. ‘Behave yourselves, children. After all, we’re tourists’ the woman reminds her kids. The cleaner moves closer to the elevator, but cannot hear the family as he whistles along to his music. ‘Oboyoby, this is fun’ someone mutters, but as the elevator door slams closed, ‘Hey? Whuzzat? What’s happening?’ Who turned out the lights?’ the father calls out.

‘HEY!?’ someone exclaims. ‘Daddy, help!’ one of the kids cries. ‘Open the doors!’ someone exclaims. ‘It’s hurting’ one of them calls out. ‘Daddy – something’s got me! Somebody – anybody!’ one of the kids calls out while some PAM PAM PAM noises are heard inside the elevator. ‘For the love of Heaven – have mercy!’ one of the parents calls out. The outer side of the elevator takes the form of an evil face, and blood slowly trickles out from the door. But the cleaner does not notice the blood. His eyes are closed as he runs his mop along the floor outside the elevator, cleaning the blood up without seeing it. He then carries on past the elevator, the appearance of which returns to normal.

Another place. Another day. Another man. Mr Sinister, by name. Here, in his command post, he has the entire world at his fingertips. It is said that information is power – if so, then conceivably he has it all. Access to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Sitting on his “throne” Sinister examines crystalline figures of the X-Men that are displayed in front of him, while monitors line the wall. ‘From the moment I learned of your existence, X-Men…I knew our paths would cross as adversaries’ Sinister announces. He declares that the Earth is growing too small – too crowded – for mutants and humans to possibly co-exist, that the day of Homo Sapiens is done.

Sinister exclaims that it is past time the species was removed from the evolutionary stage to make way for their betters, and remarks that he always assumed that the X-Men – humanity’s self-appointed champions, even though humanity branded them outlaw and outcast – would be there to oppose him. ‘It’s said a man is measure by the quality of his enemies. You were the best. How I was looking forward to that ultimate test of wits and skill and strength. But now – no thanks to me – you are dead!’ Sinister exclaims. Sinister remarks that he feels cheated and, somehow, diminished.

Suddenly, ‘SINISTER!’ a voice booms. ‘Malice – I thought I made it plain…I was not to be disturbed’ Sinister declares as his deadly Marauder enters his chamber. ‘The devil with what you want – and the devil with you!’ Malice exclaims angrily, revealing that she attempted to separate herself from Polaris’s body, only she couldn’t. ‘The psychic bond between us…’ Malice begins, ‘…is as unbreakable…as it is permanent. I suspected as much when I had you posses her’ Sinister declares as he remarks that Polaris and Malice are surprisingly compatible, that there is far more malice in Lorna Dane’s soul that the young woman ever imagined. Sinister points out that given the way Polaris’s magnetic powers have interacted with the energy matrix that is Malice’s own natural being, one would be tempted to observe that the pair of them were made for each other.

‘You had no right!’ Malice shrieks as she uses those powers to shatter all the monitors along the wall. But Sinister replies that it was his will, which makes it his right. Malice lunges towards Sinister, telling him that he will not sound so smug when she has torn out his throat and feasted on his living heart. ‘Malice, Malice, Malice…Sabretooth has not been a good influence on you’ Sinister remarks as he waves a hand in front of Malice, trapping her in some sort of energy field. ‘Or a good example’ Sinister adds as he clenches his fist, causing Malice to shriek in pain as the field closes in around her.

Sinister grabs Malice and tells her that he though she, above all others, would realize the folly of matching her strength against his. Tears in her eyes, Malice exclaims ‘I served you loyally – is this the reward I’ve earned – to be trapped?’ But Sinister assures Malice that she is still free to roam and possess whom she pleases, only now, she has a body to come home to. ‘I thought that was what you wanted’ Sinister adds. ‘This bond will keep Ms Dane subservient – even when you aren’t in “residence”!’ Sinister explains.

Sinister releases Malice from the energy field and tells her that, as with any bargain, there is a tradeoff – she loses a measure of freedom, while he loses a replaceable asset. ‘Unlike the Marauders, you are now unique’ Sinister remarks, telling Malice that she is the linchpin of the team, the one he depends on most – the unchanging pole star about which all the rest revolve, that points the way to glory and their true destiny. ‘Trust me – I did this not to diminish you, my best beloved…but to make you stronger’ Sinister assures Malice, and takes her hand. ‘I…do…’ Malice replies.

Shortly after Malice departs, Sinister returns to his “throne” and several crystalline figures appear before him. ‘She believed…because she wanted to. It made her feel proud, and special. It confirmed her standing in her own eyes as first among Sinister’s host…and in his heart’ Sinister declares, before remarking that it is a pity Malice forgot that he has no heart. ‘Vanity, ah vanity – the key to a person’s soul…and thereby…to dominance over them’ Sinister declares as he holds the crystal figure of Marvel Girl in his hand. ‘Pick them apart…within and without. Learn where they’re strong and where they’re not – what they fear and what they dream – know them…as well and better…than you do yourself…to destroy them!’ Sinister exclaims as he spins the Marvel Girl figure around, and it returns as Madelyne Pryor, before Sinister motions towards the Dazzler figure.

Meanwhile, it is Saturday night in Australia – specifically the middle of nowhere. But Alison “Dazzler” Blaire does not care. She is on the prowl, looking for action, hungry for some fun. Wearing a fitted red dress, Dazzler pushes aside the saloon doors as she enters the Outback Pub, where inside a dozen or so men are engaged in a brawl, while a band plays on the stage. Everyone stops what they are doing and watches as Dazzler approaches the stage, her high heel shoes clicking on the wooden floor. ‘Heard your music, boys…out on the open road. Wondered if you’d mind…if I sang with you for a while?’ Dazzler declares.

‘Lady, after quieting down this mob the way you did…you’re welcome to do whatever you please!’ one of the band exclaims. ‘Those legs…that smile!’ one of the patrons exclaims as he watches Dazzler, while Dazzler’s teammate, the enigmatic Longshot stands behind a wall, and tells himself that Alison has her audience, he hopes she knows what to do with them. Of course Dazzler does, and she does so with a vengeance. The audience is hooked from the first note – as she rips into a rough, raunchy rendition of “Proud Mary” that puts Tina Turner to shame. A brilliant light douses the Outback Pub, spilling into the outback itself.

One song flows into another, the band taking its cue from Dazzler, playing with a passion and intensity they have never known before, reaching for heights they never dreamed existed. The set builds naturally and inexorably to a fever-pitched crescendo of excitement, and as the dancing begins, no one present can remember ever having had so much fun. That goes double for Dazzler. This is what she was born to do – reaching out from heart and soul through her voice, to touch the hearts and souls of her audience, here is where she feels truly alive. It is a moment of sublime, transcendent glory, and Alison approaches the edge of the stage, where Longshot is waiting for her. Alison would cheerfully give her soul to make this moment last forever, and she and Longshot kiss passionately.

But Sinister suddenly snaps the crystalline figure representing Dazzler, remarking that he never considered the songbird a major player, as she was always too interested in her career.
He grabs the Havok figurine, and declares that Havok had such potential. ‘I knew that from the first – in those long ago days before you ever heard the word “mutant” or suspected the powers your possessed’.

At that moment, as night continues to fall over the Australian outback, Alex “Havok” Summers runs hard and fast. ‘Lord, I hurt. Good. Make the pain work for you. To drive the body harder!’ Alex tells himself as sweat pours down his face. Memories thrust through his mind – back in San Francisco, fighting the woman he loved who had turned bad, and he had only one chance to stop her. Alex tells himself that it doesn’t matter that he missed, only that he fired. ‘Faster. Harder! Push push PUSH!’ Alex tells himself, urging himself to smash runner’s wall to powder. Another memory flashes into his mind, this time of being in Denver, where a Brood had Storm. It was the Brood’s life or Storms, and he had to make a decision. Alex grits his teeth, ‘Human being or alien creature – does it really make a difference? Don’t think – run!’ he exclaims as the same situation replays in his mind. Suddenly, Alex drops to his knees, ‘Lord forgive me – I KILLED them!’ he exclaims.

Gasping for breath, Alex rasps that he tells himself that there was no alternative, and perhaps he believes it, ‘But what about next time?’ he wonders. ‘Suppose it’s some normal, ordinary person I’m up against? Suppose I make a mistake?’ But Alex’s predicament is interrupted when he notices some brilliant dazzling lights approach him – it is Dazzler and Longshot on a motorcycle, they speed past him. ‘Hiya, Alex! Boyoboy did you miss the show of shows!’ Alison exclaims, while Longshot declares that Alex will have to come along next time. Havok waves back to them, and thinks to himself ‘And crimp Ali’s style? Not hardly, Longshot. Where you and she are concerned, you lucky guy, three’s definitely a crowd’.

Alex tells himself that Wolverine is the born berserker, that he does not want to become like him. ‘But given my power – and the new role we X-Men have chosen for ourselves – how can I not?’ he wonders, before noticing that Dazzler’s lightshow takes the form of a familiar fiery image, and someone emerges from the lights. Alex sits and watches, wondering who it is – ‘Only me, Alex’ Madelyne Pryor declares. Havok apologizes to Madelyne and tells her that he didn’t realize he was speaking out loud. ‘And if you weren’t? Wouldn’t it be a kick if I could read minds?’ Madelyne replies as she takes Alex’s hand and helps him off the ground. ‘Ha ha – very funny’ Alex mutters, telling Madelyne that he likes her the way she is, before asking her what brings her out here.

Madelyne replies that she was watching Alex on her monitors and saw him fall, that she wanted to make sure he was okay. ‘Watching me?’ Alex exclaims, surprised. Madelyne explains that watching Alex has become a habit of hers. ‘I like looking at you, Alex. I worry about you. I…care’ she claims. Hand-in-hand, Alex replies ‘Yeah – so do I’.

Back at Sinister’s base, the villain holds the figurine of Storm in his hand, and remarks that she is so strong, so certain of self and role. ‘Yet can any leader truly lead…if her people will not trust her?’

At that moment, Storm is in the control center of the X-Men’s new base, and observes various images of herself in different costumes on monitors. Ororo “Storm” Munroe tells herself that it is amazing what is stored in the computer memory banks, and doubts that even the X-Men ever had such comprehensive files on themselves. ‘And to think – until we defeated them and took their place here – this complex was the home of a band of marauding super-cyborgs, the Reavers!’ Storm declares, before deciding that it would be good to find out where the Reavers came from and precisely who was responsible for their creation.

Storm hits a key on the control panel, and suddenly an image of Cyclops and a striking red-haired woman being interviewed by Trish Tilby appears. ‘What is this? I must have mis-keyed my command – I wish Madelyne were here…this computer center is really her domain’ Storm exclaims, before noticing the woman. ‘Blessed Goddess – that red-haired woman – it cannot be – JEAN GREY!’ Storm gasps wide-eyed as she sets her eyes upon Marvel Girl. An instant later, Storm flies swiftly from the control room into the Outback, screaming for Wolverine.

‘And what of the little wild man…whose entire being is grounded in his senses…when those senses tell him…what patently cannot be true?’ Mister Sinister asks as he holds the Wolverine figurine in his hand – and smashes it.

‘Cripes!’ Wolverine a.k.a. Logan shouts as he is suddenly knocked into the air by a furious typhoon wind. He realizes that the wind has come from nowhere, and that it must be Storm’s doing. The clouds above are dark and angry and Logan decides that with the wild weather to match, this is impressive, that Storm is pulling out all the stops, so she must be in a righteous mood. Storm suddenly busts forth from the dark clouds: ‘ALIVE!’ she shouts as she flies towards Logan, grabbing his shirt, ‘I saw her, Logan…on the video display! Jean Grey is alive!’ Storm announces. ‘Yes’ Wolverine replies quietly. ‘You knew –’ Storm begins. ‘Yes’ Wolverine replies, so Ororo drops him from a mighty height. ‘- and you never told me?’ Storm concludes.

Rain begins to pour down, and Storm quickly flies down and grabs Logan before he slams into the ground, asking him for how long he knew. ‘Nice throw. Better catch’ Logan replies. Storm tells Wolverine not to be flippant, or next time she may not catch him. ‘TELL ME!’ she then demands. Logan reveals that the first time he caught Jean’s scent was in the Alley, during their tussle with the Marauders. ‘So long ago?’ Storm asks, while Wolverine explains that he then caught Jean’s scent at her sister’s place, and it made him crazy. ‘That’s when I hit you, then I lost control, didn’t know what I was doing’ Wolverine explains. ‘All this time and you never said a word?’ Storm asks after setting herself and Wolverine down.

‘She was my best friend, Logan – name of a name, why didn’t you tell me?’ Ororo asks. ‘Because she was dead. We were there when it happened. Jean Grey died on the moon. Sacrificed her life to save the universe!’ Wolverine reminds Storm. Logan continues, ‘Only here are my senses suddenly telling me that not only is she still alive…but this Jean Grey has no trace of the Phoenix about her. The same woman – but fundamentally different. I didn’t know what to do. Still don’t, really’ Logan remarks, explaining to Storm that he didn’t tell her – he couldn’t tell her – because he wasn’t sure. The rain stops and Logan and Ororo stand and face each other, with Wolverine suggesting that his mind may have been playing tricks on him, that his senses might have been making a mistake, that perhaps he labeled the scent “Jean” because that is what he wanted it to be.

Storm suggests that there is a simple solution – find Jean, confront her, and resolve the confusion once and for all. Logan asks Storm to give him a break, explaining that he was scared – that he still is. ‘I loved her, Ororo. I lost her. End of story. Only now, it ain’t over’ Logan declares.

In his lair, Sinister holds the statue of Psylocke in his hand and remarks that she was the X-Man he never had the opportunity to know, making her the wild card in the deck – outwardly the perfect, genteel, upper-class lady, and yet she faced Sabretooth on her own and survived, which was no mean feat. ‘Pity. I suspect you’d have proven a most…interesting challenge’.

In one of the caverns inside the X-Men’s Outback base, ‘On your toes, lady Lancelot! This time, Ah’m gonna ring your chimes for sure!’ Rogue exclaims as she flies towards Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock. ‘And how, pray tell, Rogue…will you ring chimes…you can’t even touch?’ Betsy replies as Rogue flies right past her, and into some rock. ‘Spit – she did it to me again – telepathically confused me so Ah’d tackle and illusion!’ Rogue exclaims. Suddenly, Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin tells Rogue that it does not matter, as he will soon have his hands on the real thing – but as he reaches for Betsy, she leaps above him, and pulling off her cloak, she wraps it around him. ‘You think so, Colossus? I think not!’ Betsy exclaims.

Colossus suddenly grabs Betsy, and throws her across the cavern. ‘Who’d have suspected…so much bulk…could move so fast…with such agility?’ Betsy wonders, deciding it was an instinctive reaction as well, as there was not the slightest thought to warn her of Colossus’s intentions. Realizing how fast Colossus threw her, Betsy tells herself to relax, not to tense up, to stay loose and limber and to let her armor take the impact. Suddenly, ‘Hi there, Psiwitch, remember me?’ Rogue asks as she flies towards Betsy, and slams her into the cavern wall, telling her that this landing ought to rattle her bones.

Betsy doesn’t look happy, and Rogue exclaims that Betsy is strong compared to normal folk, but that she can juggle main battle tanks. ‘No way, no how, you’re breaking this grip’ Rogue declares as she holds Betsy’s arms back over her head, and pulls her cowl down with her free hand. Rogue exclaims that Betsy’s armor is the only protection she has, and that she could peel it right off without Betsy doing a thing to stop her. ‘Point taken, Rogue’ Betsy replies, adding that the training is over and she yields. ‘Let me go, please’ Betsy asks, while Colossus watches them, confused.

‘Make me’ Rogue snaps back, narrowing her eyes. ‘Curse it, girl. D’you think I’m joking? Let me GO!’ Psylocke shouts, freeing herself from Rogue as she blasts her teammate with a psi-blast. Rogue falls backwards, and Colossus rushes over to her. ‘Is she -?’ Betsy begins. Colossus replies that Rogue is only stunned, and is already coming to. ‘Had to learn the hard way, girl – you couldn’t let well enough alone, you just had to get your own back between us – I hope you’re satisfied!’ Psylocke exclaims. Rogue leers back and exclaims ‘Hey, don’t yell at me, Elisabeth – this set-to was none of my doing’. Colossus helps Rogue up and declares ‘That is not Rogue’s voice!’ Hanging her head, Rogue replies ‘Nope. Carol Danvers. I’m running the girl’s psyche…while she nurses a beaut of a headache’. Taking off her armor as she stands by the edge of the water in the cavern, Betsy exclaims ‘Good’. Carol tells Betsy to be charitable, pointing out that Betsy hit Rogue pretty hard.

Colossus watches Betsy remove her armor, as Betsy replies that Rogue was asking for it, and remarks that Carol recovered quickly enough. ‘One of the advantages of a dual psyche’ Carol explains, adding that one is always there to pick up the ball, when the other takes some lumps. Betsy is just wearing a revealing one-piece and pulls her hair back as she prepares to get into the water, with Carol remarking that Betsy’s armor certainly came through with flying colors – no dents on it, and no bruises on Betsy. Psylocke replies that it is about as good as can be, that it is state of the warrior art, though blessedly hot to wear. ‘Not really the outfit – or role – I ever imagined for myself’ Betsy exclaims before diving into the water.

Carol crouches at the water’s edge and replies ‘Likewise – for me and this body – but poker taught me, you play the hand you’re dealt. Winning and losing aren’t in the cards…they’re in the people playing them’ she exclaims. Betsy rises from the water, which drips of her body, and she exclaims that she should not have lost her temper, explaining that she cannot abide being helpless, and that she panicked. ‘I forgot the rules. I could have hurt Rogue – or much worse’ Betsy admits. ‘But you didn’t’ Carol points out, and remarks that Rogue is tough. ‘You’d be amazed at what it takes to do us real damage – especially with me as back-up. And next time, you’ll know better. The both of you’ Carol exclaims as she presses her fingers lightly against Psylocke’s bare shoulders.

‘You were my pride, my joy – the first, and in so many ways, the best – what I dreamed of accomplishing with you, my Madelyne! Now nothing but dust. What a waste’ Mister Sinister exclaims as he picks the Madelyne figure from the others that lay before him, broken and crushed. He holds the crystalline figure in his hand for a moment, before crushing it in his hand.

The next day, on a balcony attached the living quarters of the base, Havok is wearing only skimpy briefs as he reclines on a lounger , arms behind his head. A cold drink sits on a table next to him, as does a photograph of he and Polaris in happier times. A song is playing on the radio: “…devil with a blue dress, blue dress, blue dress…” someone sings. The music is hot – the sun is hotter – and Alex tries to surrender to both, hoping that they will transport him to some magical realm beyond thought and memory.

Havok’s dream:

Instead, he is plunged headlong back into the heart of them – dancing with his lady love, Lorna Dane, while big brother Scott waltzes with his bride. Suddenly though, Lorna is not Lorna anymore – as the Marauder Malice takes possession of her. In terror, Alex backs away – right into Madelyne – who is alone as well, with Scott nowhere to be found. There is darkness all around them, looming, threatening, closing in. It is only natural that Alex holds out his hands, and Madelyne takes them. All they have left is each other. Small wonder they hold on for dear life.


‘Whoa! Dream! Alex exclaims as he wakes. ‘Only a dream! Thank Heaven. Too bad’. Suddenly, despite his sunglasses, Alex holds a hand up to shield his eyes from the sun, while the song continues to play. “…devil with a blue dress on…”. Alex realizes someone is standing over him, but the sun is so bright, he cannot see who is there – it’s Madelyne, wearing a blue dress, the rays of the sun outstretched behind her as if in the image of something familiar. ‘YOU?!’ Alex exclaims as he falls off the lounger and onto his butt, knocking the small table over in the process, causing the photo of he and Lorna to crash to the ground, the glass breaks.

‘Well, now – that’s certainly a way to make a lady feel welcome – by reacting as though she was one of the Brood!’ Madelyne exclaims. Havok stutters, before apologizing to Madelyne, explaining that she startled him. ‘And then some’ Madelyne smiles. Havok gets to his feet, while Madelyne tells him that she heard his music, and that it sounded great. ‘You look great’ Alex replies. Madelyne thanks him and claims that she did it just for him. Alex glances sideways: ‘Madelyne, don’t please!’ he exclaims. ‘Don’t what?’ Madelyne asks. ‘C’mon – you’re my brother’s wife!’ Alex reminds her.

‘News to him, these days’ Madelyne remarks, adding that she did not walk out on Scott and abandon their baby. ‘I didn’t toss this commitment down the dumpster. If the marriage is over, it’s none of my doing’ Madelyne declares, telling Alex that all she asked from him is friendship, as she thought that was all he wanted as well. Entering the bedroom attached to the balcony, Madelyne declares that if she is wrong, if she has botched the signals with another Summers’ son – them is the breaks. ‘My lousy luck’ she mutters, before telling Alex that she didn’t mean to trouble him, or put him on the spot, and won’t any longer.

But Alex rushes after Madelyne and stands in the doorway, telling her that he doesn’t know what to think, that he doesn’t understand how Scott could act the way he has. ‘Anymore than I can the way I’m feeling now’ Alex adds. Madelyne puts hand on Alex’s face and tells him that they have both been hurt and betrayd by those they loved. ‘Is it so wrong to seek a little solace…to ease that pain?’ Madelyne asks him. Alex slowly enters the darkened room, replying ‘I don’t know. I’m scared. I…I…need …I want…’, his voice trails off as Madelyne exclaims ‘No more, dear heart…nor less…than I’ as they are engulfed by the darkness of the room.

Back at his lair, Sinister observes baby Nathan Christopher Summers held in stasis, and Sinister remarks that a game ends, and another begins. ‘The mistakes of one generation rectified in the next. For each piece that’s broken, there is a better one forged. The baby floats in stasis as Sinister declares that time, as always, is on his side, and wonders if his supreme self-confidence is his final vanity. He decides that time will tell, and that short-term setbacks do not matter because in the long run, he will win. ‘And you, Nathan Christopher Charles Summers…will help me do it!’ Sinister declares.
Sinister leaves the laboratory, unaware that in the shadows, the demon N’astirh overheard him. ‘Such a tiny world. Yet so many…seem so eager…to claim it for their own. Not least…myself!’ N’astirh exclaims.

Back in Australia, night has fallen once more. ‘How easily and naturally, Alex…you sleep the sleep of the just…and innocent’ Madelyne thinks to herself as she watches Alex sleep. Madelyne leans against a window, and tells herself that she should be so lucky. ‘Do I envy your dreams? Or, would you envy me the fact…that I have none?’ she remarks. Madelyne walks over to Alex and strokes his face, ‘Another time, another place…who knows what might have been?’ she exclaims. ‘Here and now…who can say what yet will be?’ Madelyne leans down and kisses Alex on the cheek, before declaring that she could save him, only it is best that she doesn’t.

Soon, in the communications room, N’astirh appears on the screen, and informs Madelyne, who sits on a chair outstretched across the room, that the sacred task proceeds apace. He calls her “Dread Majesty” and adds that the grand design fast approaches completion. He assures her that all will be in readiness at the appointed place, at the appointed hour. N’astirh remarks that the first faint sparks of the Inferno have already manifested themselves. ‘The Goblin Queen should be most pleased’ he exclaims. ‘Hardly, N’astirh – we have a bargain, remember?’ Madelyne exclaims, unimpressed, she declares that she is waiting impatiently for his end to be fulfilled. ‘I want the Marauders found – so that the X-Men can pay them back…for the misery they’ve caused. Madelyne declares that most of all she wants her son. A fiery image appears in Madelyne’s eyes as she warns N’astirh that if he fails in this, she will show him the true meaning of Inferno….!

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Dazzler, Havok, Longshot, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Madelyne Pryor-Summers

Nathan Christopher Summers

Carol Danvers personality

Mr Sinister

Polaris / Malice IV


Staff and visitors at the Empire State Building
Patrons and band at the Outback Pub

In Havok’s Memory:


Polaris / Malice IV

On Computer Monitor:

Cyclops & Marvel Girl (both X-Factor)

Trish Tilby

In Havok’s Dream:

Havok & Polaris

Cyclops & Madelyne Pryor

Story Notes: 

Inferno - This issue acts as Prologue (only X-Men titles are numbered during Inferno, even though this is called a prologue, Inferno has been going on for two months already in X-Terminators and New Mutants)
Polaris was possessed by Malice in Uncanny X-Men #219, and is freed from Malice’s possession in Uncanny X-Men #250.

“Proud Mary” is one of Tina Turner’s biggest songs. Originally recorded by Ike & Tina Turner in 1971, it reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Tina has re-recorded various solo versions since then. The song was originally recorded by John Fogarty in 1969.
Psylocke battled Sabretooth on her own in Uncanny X-Men #213.

Carol touching Psylocke is a strong hint that Claremont meant for Rogue’s problems with her power to be psychological.
Havok faced the possessed Polaris in issue #222.

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