Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #240

Issue Date: 
January 1989
Story Title: 
Inferno part the first: Strike the Match

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: 

In Manhattan, Havok and Madelyne Pryor spend a romantic evening as the only patrons at a high-rise restaurant, seemingly unaware of the strange goings-on in the city below. Some scientists interrupt their evening, with equipment to analyze the apparently increasing in size Empire State Building, but they are ushered away and eaten by demons in the elevator. Madelyne however is aware of what is transpiring - including the trouble with the Empire State Building. They return to Australia via Gateway’s teleportation, but Madelyne departs almost immediately after Havok wants to continue their date. She is teleported to Bard College and mysterious powers destroys Jean Grey’s headstone at the cemetery, before Jean’s shocked parents, who wonder if Madelyne is Jean - before she turns them into demons. N’astirh appears and takes Madelyne to Nebraska, to what he calls an “orphan-age”, where she finds strange capsules with a connection to her. However, the surprises continue when Mr Sinister appears, informing Madelyne that she can call him “father”. In Australia, Dazzler is annoyed to find Rogue spending time with Longshot, and calls him her property, which annoys Longshot. Dazzler and Rogue fight, with the battle ending when Rogue is knocked into one of the X-Men’s rooms, where Colossus was painting a portrait of Psylocke. Havok is using the computer system and finds that Madelyne has made some adjustments to it, as the computer has finally located the Marauders - in the Alley - the former home of the Morlocks. At that moment, the Marauders are settling in to the Alley, but the X-Men soon arrive and a battle ensues. Both teams hold their own, until Malice / Polarise uses Colossus to break through the roof of the tunnel into the city above. Some of the Marauders and X-Men escape to the city - only to find it somehow transformed!

Full Summary: 

The Rainbow Room, a more romantic setting and more magical evening could not possible be imagined, as the orchestra slides silkily through its repertoire of Glenn Miller classics, while Alex “Havok” Summers and Madelyne Pryor joyously trip the light fantastic across the ballroom. Normally, this club atop the RCA building, itself the centrepiece of Manhattan’s far-famed Rockefeller Center – is booked solid, months in advance. Tonight, however, it is empty, which suits these two young lovers just fine. A lone waiter stands to the side, against the floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the sprawling city, lit by the moon. Madelyne wears a long black dress while Alex wears a tuxedo with a white jacket.

‘You look spectacular’ Alex tells Madelyne. ‘Pshaw!’ Madelyne retorts, telling him that it is merely the outward reflection of how she feels for the man she is with. ‘“Pshaw” yourself, flatterer!’ Alex exclaims, as they break their dance, and holding hands, head back to their table. ‘You doubt my word?’ Madelyne asks. Alex replies that sometimes he is not sure when she is being serious. ‘I’m here, Alex, with you. That should tell you something’ Madelyne replies. ‘Yeah – that I’m one lucky devil!’ Alex jokes, while Madelyne picks up a bottle of champagne from the ice bucket. ‘Truer words, my sweet…were never spoke’ Madelyne replies, before telling Alex to grab the glasses.

Alex picks up tow champagne flutes while Madelyne pulls him behind her, ‘Hey – what gives? We’re you -?’ he calls out. Madleyne replies that it is too stuffy inside so they need to get some air. “Stuffy”? Alex asks, pointing out that the club is deserted. But as they step out onto the balcony, Alex exclaims that it is hot as sin out here. ‘Interesting choice of metaphor’ Madelyne tells him. ‘Feeling a trifle wicked, are we, milady?’ Alex asks. ‘You noticed’ Madelyne replies, before they clink their champagne flutes together as a toast is proposed: ‘To kindred spirits’ Alex exclaims. ‘And lost souls’ Madelyne adds. ‘Never that…so long as I’m around’ Alex tells her. Madelyne calls Alex her “lion heart” and tells him to be careful what he promises. ‘You may find yourself –’ she begins, before they are interrupted by a commotion coming from inside the restaurant.

‘Cretin!’ someone exclaims. ‘Buffoon!’ another shouts. ‘Ignoramus!’ someone shouts. ‘Charlatan!’ another declares. ‘What the blazes -?’ Alex remarks, before he and Madelyne make their way back into the restaurant, where several scientists are standing around squabbling. ‘May I remind you, my dear Dr Snodgrass, that I am in charge of our ad hoc paranormal probe program investigation team!’ one of them shouts. ‘Which, of course, automatically makes you right about everything’ another mutters. Another looks at all the scientific equipment – “gizmos” he calls them, and remarks that they are plugged in, running to optimum specs and that every reading they have taken since they arrived confirms Dr Milan’s initial observation – that the Empire State Building is growing. Dr Snodgrass tells Dr Martin that he is too pig-headed to accept the truth, even when it is in front of their pointy, punt, puerile proboscis.

‘Is that slur, doctor, directed at moi?’ Dr Martin retorts, adding that his only crime is the common-sense assertion that buildings cannot grow. Alex and Madelyne approach the scientific group, and Alex, hands in pockets, asks if they are having a problem. ‘Anything we can helkp with?’ Alex asks, while Madelyne hangs behind him, her face hidden in the shadows. Dr Martin spins around, ‘Doubtful, at best!’ he snaps, before boasting that they are university accredited scientists engaged in highly sensitive research of a most delicate nature. ‘We can do without the interference of kibitzing playboy dilettantes!’ he exclaims.

The waiter steps towards everyone and exclaims that this establishment can do without the presence of those who have no regards for the bounds of propriety, not to mention common courtesy. ‘He’s interfering!’ Dr Martin exclaims, pointing at Alex. The waiter reminds the scientists that they were allowed here on the proviso that they behave themselves and not discommode the guests. ‘Since you refuse to abide by the terms of that agreement…I must ask you to leave’ the waiter exclaims, motioning to the elevator. ‘But – our equipment!’ Dr Martin declares. The waiter tells him that they can pick it up tomorrow, ‘Now GO!’ he orders. The waiter turns to Alex and apologizes for the hassle. ‘Actually – I can’t help feeling…this is my fault’ Havok replies.

The waiter leads Alex and Madelyne away from the elevator, where the scientists have got into. ‘Philistine!’ one of them exclaims. ‘Luddite!’ another declares. ‘Did you see his face?’ one of them asks. ‘Total physiognomic transmogrification!’ another remarks, only to be told ‘You’re hallucinating again!’ The waiter assures Havok that this was not his fault, and that the scientists are only getting what they most richly deserve. ‘I know what I saw’ Dr Martin remarks, before Dr Snodgrass looks at the strange images on the elevator walls and declares that she did not remember the murals from when they came up. Havok remarks that the weather has not exactly helped the waiter’s business, as they have not seen a soul since they arrived. ‘Oh, they’re to be found. Provided one knows where to look’ the waiter replies. Madelyne glances back at the elevator which begins to close. ‘Impossible!’ one of the scientists shouts. ‘What’s happening?’ another asks. ‘It’s got me!’ one of them exclaims. ‘The doors!’ ‘For pity’s sake!’ ‘Someone help me!’ ‘Get out!’ ‘Don’t let them close!’, but their cries go unheard, save for Madelyne, who does nothing.

On the balcony again, Madelyne looks through a pair of binoculars and stares at the Empire State Building. In normal mode, with magnification zero, the building appears normal. But in telephoto mode, with a magnification of ten, it is clear the that the Empire State Building now has a demonic appearance. Madelyne’s costume appears different as she does this – her black dress is gone, replaced by a skimpy dark blue outfit that leaves little to the imagination. ‘What are you looking at?’ Alex asks. ‘The Empire State Building’ Madelyne replies. ‘See anything interesting?’ Alex asks her. ‘Only you’ Madelyne exclaims, spinning around, she is once more in her black dress. ‘Ahh – the things you say’ Havok exclaims. ‘Are nothing, my angel…compared to what I do’ Madelyne declares. Havok then tells Madelyne that it is getting pretty late.

Shortly, they enter the elevator, and Alex remarks that it does not seem fair, making the staff stay late just to serve the two of them. ‘I don’t know…that kind of service makes me feel like a queen’ Madelyne exclaims, before Alex bends over and picks up a pair of glasses lying on the floor. He looks at them and remarks that he thinks they belonged to the lady scientist, and wonders why she dropped them. Examining the strange demonic “murals” on the elevator walls, Madelyne suggested that perhaps the scientist had no further need of them. ‘Very funny’ Alex replies, before suggesting that he has better leave them with the waiter. As the elevator moves downwards, Alex exclaims ‘Listen to the wind howl down the elevator shaft! Spooky – it almost sounds like…screaming!’ Madelyne leans into Alex and replies’ All in good time, Alex. But first…what really matters…’ as she kisses him.

Suddenly, there is a blinding light, ‘HEY! We’re home!’ Alex exclaims as he and Madelyne appear in Australia. Alex exclaims that Gateway teleported them back to Australia, but wonders how he knew it was time to pick them both up. Madelyne replies that she assumes it to be a function of his power. Alex loosens his bowtie and declares that he will never get used to going on midnight dates in Manhattan, and coming home to high noon in the Outback. ‘And the next day, to boot’ Alex pints out, before telling Madelyne that it has been a lovely evening and that he hopes it is a long way from over. Madelyne replies that there will be other evenings, but for now, she would prefer some time and space to herself. Madelyne strokes her neck, before departing through a portal that Gateway opens for her.

‘Dunce!’ Alex tells himself. ‘Caring only about how you feel, what you want – when it’s Madelyne you should be concerned about’ he thinks to himself, before calling out to Madelyne, ‘Is there anything I can do –’ but it is too late, as she vanishes. ‘Teleported Gateway knows where. But you’ll never tell, will you, fella? Any more than you’ll send me after her’ Alex exclaims, while the enigmatic Australian Aborigine remains silent, holding a glowing rock. Alex slides down the side of the cliff, towards the deserted town below. ‘Silent unto death. And twice as spooky. And we’re supposed to trust him? We were having such a great time, Madelyne and I, why’d she -?’ Alex wonders, before declaring ‘Of course! The answer’s obvious! Maybe after all, I can help!’

Meanwhile, at Bard College, on ordinary nights, the cemetery of St Stephen’s Chapel is the most peaceful of places…where the living can find comfort and solace in their memories of those who’ve gone before. Madelyne Pryor has no such luck. She draws a memory from the place – it’s Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops, her husband. ‘I loved you, Jean’ Scott declares. ‘I love Madelyne. I’m glad she isn’t you – what we had was magic, I’ll treasure it always – but now I have a chance to create our own magic, to make what is…as unique and special as what was’. Madelyne frowns, ‘Liar!’ she whispers, before the image changes, and Scott stands with Madelyne before a celebrant, who asks Scott if he will take this woman to be his wedded wife, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony, to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, as long as they both shall live. ‘I will’ Scott replies. ‘LIAR!’ Madelyne screams.

Suddenly, Madelyne turns to Jean Grey’s headstone – her grave – ‘You! This is your fault! We were happy – we were a family – until you came back!’ Madelyne exclaims. Dressed in her exotic, revealing costume, Madelyne uses a mysterious power to destroy Jean’s headstone. ‘Why did you have to ruin everything? Why couldn’t you have just stayed dead?’
Madelyne exclaims. But nearby, a middle-aged couple are watching Madelyne: ‘John – that woman – could it be Jean?’ Elaine Grey asks her husband. John replies that he doesn’t know, as Jean has had so many incarnations. He then calls out to Madelyne, asking her what she is doing, why she is smashing that headstone – but Madelyne lashes out at them, ‘Curse you both – I’m not your precious daughter!’ she snaps as she uses her power on them, distorting their appearance. John and Elaine scream in agony, as Madelyne exclaims that she thinks this fits the punishment for bringing that witch Jean Grey into the world. ‘As for the stone…it’s but a foretaste…of what I mean to do to her!’

‘Bold words, Goblyn Queen!’ the demon N’astirh exclaims as he suddenly leaps towards Madelyne, who replies that she has the power to match, and will use it. ‘Poor N’astirh – did you believe me some toy fit only for your pleasure?’ Madelyne asks, before telling the demon to not bother denying it, that his thoughts are pitifully transparent. ‘Who…are you?’ N’astirh exclaims. ‘My own woman’ Madelyne replies, reminding N’astirh that she is also his employer, she asks if he has news for her. N’astirh replies that by the appointed time, and at the appointed place, all will be as she has commanded. ‘It had better be. Or you’ll answer to my pets’ Madelyne replies, as John and Elaine Grey’s transformation has completed – they now appear as demons at Madelyne’s feet. Madelyne exclaims that it is nice to see the Professor and Mrs Grey reduced to their demonic essence. ‘Won’t their baby girl be so pleased?’ she remarks, before declaring that, speaking of babies, she wants hers. N’astirh replies that his word is bond, and that a most promising lead has been unearthed. He asks the Goblyn Queen to accompany him, and in a flash of demonic energy, they all vanish.

Back in Australia, on the deserted road leading into the rundown, ramshackle town that the X-Men have adopted as their own, Rogue and Longshot are roller skating. ‘Catch me if you can, Longshot!’ Rogue calls out as she speeds ahead of Longshot, wearing a matching orange outfit – helmet, tank top, hotpants, kneepads and roller skates, while listening to music on a walkman. ‘And what happens if I do?’ Longshot asks. ‘Who knows…maybe you’ll get really lucky!’ Rogue exclaims as she spins around and reaches out for Longshot – but a voice exclaims ‘Don’t count on it you hussy!’ and a burst of light energy separates the two, both falling to the ground. Longshot looks up and covers his mouth, while Rogue frowns, as standing before them in an off-the-shoulder red min-dress is Alison “Dazzler” Blaire. ‘You mind telling me, Rogue…what you’re doing wearing my clothes and making time with my boyfriend?’ Dazzler asks angrily, light dazzling around her.

Rogue moves her sunglasses down slightly and leers up at Dazzler: ‘Scuse me all t’ blazes, Sugar. Ah thought he was a person – able t’ make his own choices about who t’ hang out with – not private property!’ Rogue exclaims. ‘Well, now you know’ Dazzler replies. Rogue stands up, while Longshot sits in between them, “Private property” he quotes. ‘Doesn’t that make me…sort of like a slave?’ he asks, while Rogue explains to Alison that as for the outfit, she did not mean any harm, she just wanted to see what it was like, dressed like a super-star. ‘Sorry’ she apologizes.

But Alison replies that is not good enough, and unleashes a beam of light energy from her eyes, but Rogue ducks the attack. ‘There’s only one Dazzler! And she doesn’t cotton to cheap impostors!’ Alison exclaims. ‘Who you calling cheap?’ Rogue asks, before commenting on Dazzler’s decent shooting, but taking to the air, Rogue tells Alison that she will have to do a whole lot better with her solid light photon zaps to tag her. Dazzler unleashes another beam of light energy, but it also misses Rogue, instead striking a wooden water tank, which breaks, and water splashes everywhere. Longshot asks Dazzler to stop, telling her that there is no need to be angry and that she will hurt Rogue. ‘That’s the idea! Whatever it takes, you tramp!’ Alison exclaims, releasing more light blasts.

Inside one of the buildings that the X-Men have taken over, Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin sits with a sketch board, and Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock poses on a bed for him, naked, save for a sheet covering part of her. Colossus thanks his teammate for posing for him, to which Betsy replies that it is her pleasure, but that she wants the portrait when it is finished. Colossus tells Betsy that he hopes it does her justice. ‘I’m sure it will’ Betsy replies, telling Colossus that he should not have such doubts about his talent. ‘You really are quite go-’ she begins, before Rogue shouts ‘Gangway!’ as she crashes through the window, thumping her way to where she lands on the bed. ‘Er…ohhhh…ahem…sorry about this’ Rogue mutters, while Betsy frowns.

Outside, Longshot turns to Alison and asks her why she did that. ‘Longshot – I – you – her – us!’ Ali exclaims, but Longshot tells Alison that friends do not own each other, and assures Dazzler that he and Rogue are just friends, the same as Dazzler and Rogue were. ‘You had no right to claim me as exclusively your own’ Longshot declares, before frowning and turning away from Dazzler, who hangs her head and watches him leave.

Watching these events transpire from the monitor room, Havok is wearing a green jumpsuit and exclaims ‘Ohhh, Longshot, what you said may be true, but it wasn’t nice. Ali made her intentions plain from the start. You should have done the same’. Alex announces that it is fantastic, that the X-Men are “invisible” to every scanning system on Earth, except their own, in the complex buried beneath the town. He adds that with it, he can not only maintain surveillance over everything and everyone for miles around, but he can access any international data network he needs. A scan of New York appears, and Alex remarks that the computer center is pretty much Madelyne’s domain, she can get the computers do go practically anything, but he is not half-bad himself.

Suddenly, Alex smells something in the air – cigarette smoke. ‘Y’ know, it can be really disconcerting – Storm…Wolverine – the way you sneak up on a body’ Havok tells Ororo “Storm” Munroe and Wolverine a.k.a. Logan as they appear behind him. Storm asks Alex what he is doing here, to which Alex reminds Storm that they have been trying to track the Marauders since they settled here, using a search program that he and Madelyne designed. Alex tells his teammates that he thinks Madelyne must have been tinkering with the hard and software herself lately, as there have been some major changes which he cannot quite figure out. He motions to the display of New York City, where an arrow indicates the Marauders apparent location. ‘Whatever she did…it paid off’ Alex declares, announcing that he thinks they have found the Marauders. Storm and Logan smile. ‘In the Alley – how appropriate’ Storm remarks, while Wolverine reminds everyone that was where the Marauders slaughtered the Morlocks and crippled the X-Men. ‘Past time, my friends…we paid them back…in kind’ Storm declares.

Elsewhere, in a strange tunnel, Madelyne follows the transformed Grey’s as they rush ahead, while N’astirh brings up the rear. ‘I’m here, N’astirh – wherever that is’ Madelyne mutters. N’astirh replies that they are in Nebraska, and that this specific environmental modality is referred to as an “orphan-age”, where younglings of the human species are raised who have no living progenitors. As they enter another room Madelyne remarks that it looks like none she has ever seen, and warns N’astirh that if he plays games with her, it is at his own peril. Suddenly, Madelyne notices some strange equipment – a large circular machine with several capsules around it. ‘What’s this? That cocoon – similar to the crèche I saw in Genosha’ Madelyne exclaims.

Given how empty the facility is, Madelyne wonders why she sees a baby lying in one of the capsules. ‘My son – no – that can’t be – ME?!’ Madelyne screams as she sees other capsules with young red-haired girls and teens in them. ‘Just like at the gravesite. Somehow I’m taking the images in my minds-eye…and making them tangible’ Madelyne tells herself, before wondering what her connection to this place is. ‘Why can’t I remember?’ she begins, before gasping and going wide-eyed as she brushes some dust off a panel, and the following words are etched onto it: “Mode: 1. Trial: 1. Line: 1. Primary Replicant Research. Codex Ident: Madelyne”.

Meanwhile, in Manhattan, once upon a time – and, sadly, not so long ago – a band of mutants lived in the catacombs beneath the city – a forgotten network of tunnels buried a mile and more beneath the city streets. They called themselves the Morlocks – after the characters in HG Wells’ classic novel, The Time Machine, and essentially, wanted to have as little as possible to do with a world that cared even less about them. And that is the way they remained – until the Marauders came to kill everyone they found. ‘Pretty impressive’ the deadly Scalphunter exclaims as he examines the surroundings. ‘Seen better’ mutters Sabretooth. ‘Never give an inch, huh, Sabretooth? To anyone. About anything’ Scalphunter remarks. ‘Why should I?’ the ferocious Sabretooth asks

Some of the other Marauders are moving boxes and equipment about, while Lorna “Polaris” Dane – possessed by Malice, floats towards them, magnetically lifting some equipment, she tells Scalphunter and Sabretooth to scout the Alley to make sure there are no rates left in the warren. Blockbuster lifts some heavy equipment and asks Polaris why Sinister is relocating them down here anyway. Carrying some poles, Riptide declares that theirs is not to reason why. Nearby, Harpoon lifts up some poles, while Arclight opens a crate and asks Riptide if he is not even a little curious. Riptide replies that he takes his cue from what happened to the proverbial cat.

‘Smart fella’ Prism exclaims as he watches Scrambler, plugging some wires into a machine. ‘What’s your complaint, Prism? Don’t we Marauders have at least as many lives?’ Scrambler remarks. Prism suggests to Scrambler that he wait until his number comes up, then maybe he won’t crack so wise. ‘Bigmouth li’l Korean knowitall – always pushing needling, thinks he’s so hot – someday he’ll get his’ Blockbuster mutters as he carries some heavy equipment down a darkened tunnel. He calls out to Prism and asks his teammate to increase his glow, as he cannot see – but suddenly, Blocksbuster comes to a stop as he bumps into something – or someone. ‘You wanna light, bub?’ Wolverine asks as he lights his cigarette.

Blockbuster looks up and sees Colossus standing over him. ‘You are a Marauder?’ Colossus asks. ‘Uh-huh’ Blockbuster replies. ‘How are you called, please?’ Colossus asks. Blockbuster introduces himself, before Colossus smashes him backwards with incredible force. ‘What was that?’ Arclight asks after hearing some commotion. ‘Sounded like –’ Scrambler begins as everyone starts looking around. ‘Incoming!’ Arclight calls out as she ducks when Blockbuster crashes through some crates. ‘It’s an attack!’ Prism shouts.

Down another tunnel, Sabretooth declares that scents are popping out from nowhere, all around them, and one of them is close by. Sabretooth moves towards her in the darkness, ‘Say your prayers, sweetness! Cause when I’m through with you –’ he begins, but is interrupted: ‘Oh, give it a rest…you great, thumping, macho toadstool!’ Dazzler exclaims as she unleashes some incredibly light, keeping Sabretooth at bay, he cries out as he is blinded and falls over. ‘One down! Nailed him, right on the money!’ Dazzler exclaims, telling herself that he was blinded and dazzled by her starburst strobe, which is about as intense a flash as she can generate. But she knows that he Sabretooth will be back in action once his healing power repairs the damage. ‘Scalphunter’s two!’ Dazzler declares as she takes the mercenary out with a beam of solid light.

Nearby, Havok tells Dazzler not to rest on her laurels, as these are killers, as ruthless and deadly as can be. Havok unleashes his solar blast on Prism, while wondering ‘So what…does that make us X-Men?’ Scrambler and Harpoon duck for cover as Havok’s power is reflected off Prism who is overloading and out of control, refracting and amplifying Havok’s power, sending it ricocheting around the tunnel.

Polaris, Vertigo, Arclight and Riptide are gathered together, with Riptide spinning furiously and releasing his stars, he exclaims ‘Ain’t these X-chumps supposed to be croaked?’ he asks. ‘Big deal, Riptide – so’re you’ Arclight reminds her teammate. Longshot darts about, catching Riptide’s stars, he knows that they can penetrate almost anything, but he manages to grab them all. ‘Impossible! You caught every one – without even a scratch!’ Riptide gasps. ‘But how?’ he asks. ‘Just lucky, I guess’ Longshot smiles as he remarks that since they belong to Riptide, it’s only polite to return them, and he throws them towards the Marauders, who all scatter.

The rest of the X-Men come into the light, with Wolverine telling them team ‘Punch it, troops – hard as you can – keep ‘em off balance – don’t give ‘em a chance to regroup!’ Havok continues to attack Prism, while Harpoon throws several of his weapons toward the X-Men. Scrambler ducks for cover, telling his teammates that these heroes mean business, that they are out for blood.

Nearby, Blockbuster has gathered himself, he sits up, and decides that Colossus hits pretty good. ‘But that’s okay…cuz so do I. Can’t wait to get my mitts on him –’ Blockbuster begins, before shouting out as the wall behind him suddenly sinks inwards – and several hands reach forward and pull him in. So much for Blockbuster.

His teammates, however, now appear to be faring somewhat better. Psylocke and Rogue look up in shock as Arclight uses her b-52 punches to send shockwaves into the wall, which subsequently collapse the tunnel on top of them. ‘Hah-hah! Squashed ‘em both!’ Arclight laughs. She goes over to where Psylocke’s cloak is sticking out from under some rocks, and pulls Betsy from the rubble. ‘Well well – surprise, surprise! Still breathing, Psylocke? I’m impressed’ Arclight tells Betsy to take a deep breath, as it will be her last, because her next punch is going to do to Betsy’s insides what she did to the wall – but Arclight finds herself suddenly under Betsy’s control. ‘Can’t act without thought, Marauder. And that’s my domain!’ Betsy declares.

Psylocke stands up as Arclight falls to the ground at Betsy’s feet. ‘X-Men’s psi-witch has Arc on the ropes!’ Scrambler calls out, before rushing towards her, exclaiming ‘Great! I always wanted to see what happened when my touch turned a telepath’s power inside out –’ ‘Scrambler – no – don’t’ Psylocke exclaims as the villain places a hand over her mouth – and an instant later, they are both sent careening apart from each other. However, Psylocke is fine, ‘Silly boy – thinking to surprise a telepath. I knew you were there. It was a simply matter to alter your perceptions…so you saw Arclight as me and me, her…and thereby trick you into doing my dirty work for me!’ Betsy declares as both Marauders lie smouldering due to the impact.

Unfortunately, other X-Men are not having quite so easy a time, as Malice magnetically lifts Colossus and propels him towards Wolverine. ‘Look out!’ Colossus calls out to his friend. ‘Shoot! Flamin’ Polaris is using her magnetic zaps on Petey…turning our strongest asset against us!’ Wolverine tells himself, only for Storm to appear – ‘Not so fast, Polaris!’ she calls out as she uses her own power over the wind to counter Polaris’s force beams. ‘Mexican standoff. Whoever breaks…gets pulped’ Wolverine thinks to himself. Nearby, Havok is crouched, watching Polaris. Betsy goes over to him and tells him that Storm is forcing Polaris to commit the totality of her strength to their struggle, and points out that Polaris has no reserve to shield herself from any other physical attack.

Havok replies that he cannot fine-tune his plasma bolts, so if he fires, he will kill Lorna. Malice overhears this, and smirks at Alex, ‘Poor Alex-ooozzums. For all the malice in our soul…you still see the face of the woman you love. Isn’t that sweet?’ she exclaims, remarking that it is a pity he will not cross over and play on her side of the street. ‘You’d like it, I bet, a lot’ Malice exclaims, before telling the X-Men to say “so long” to their big, bashful Bolshoi buddy, as Malice reverses her magnetic beams, adding their power to Storm’s hurricane wind, which propels Colossus upwards, giving him more than enough momentum to act as a battering ram, where he reaches the surface, and slams through the floor of a building, leaving several perplexed civilians.

Malice thinks that this should provide the Marauders with enough room to run, and she, Vertigo, Riptide and Harpoon make it to the surface, with Malice telling the X-Men that they concede today, but tomorrow, especially now that they know the X-Men are alive, will be a whole other story. Wolverine and Storm follow the Marauders to the surface, ‘Rabbit fast as you can, babe – I guarantee you won’t get far’ Wolverine calls out, before exclaiming ‘Holy!’ Storm is equally shocked, ‘Merciful goddess – the city?’ she gasps. ‘What’s happened to the city?’ Malice exclaims as everyone looks on shocked. What indeed?

Back in Nebraska, ‘I warned you, N’astirh!’ Madelyne snaps. ‘Milady wound her faithful…’ N’astirh begins, but Madelyne tells him to shut up, demanding the truth, once and for all. ‘Or the next wounds will be real – and I’ll cast what I leave of your pathetic carcass to my pets for dinner’ Madelyne exclaims as the still-transformed John and Elaine Grey scurry at her feet. Madelyne asks N’astirh why he brought her here. ‘What is this place?’ she shouts. N’astirh suggests to Madelyne that she pose those questions not to him, but to the “more-than-human” being responsible for its creation. ‘I wager all that he knows far better than I’ N’astirh exclaims.

Madelyne turns around and sees the new arrival standing in front of her. ‘You have a name, chum?’ she asks. Standing motionless and stern, the deadly new arrival replies ‘Most refer to me as…Mr Sinister. But you, Madelyne - my pride, my first and foremost joy - you may call me…FATHER!’

Characters Involved: 

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

Madelyne Pryor-Summers

Elaine & John Grey


Mr Sinister

Arclight, Blockbuster, Harpoon, Malice IV / Polaris, Prism, Riptide, Sabretooth, Scalphunter, Scrambler, Vertigo (all Marauders)


Dr Martin, Dr Milan, Dr Snodgrass

Waiter and orchestra at the Rainbow Room
Various demons

Early Madelyne clones

In Madelyne’s Memory:

Cyclops & Madelyne Pryor


Story Notes: 

Inferno - first part (only the Uncanny X-Men books are numbered 1st – 4th part, the other comics of the crossover aren’t).
The Marauders slaughtered the Morlocks in the Alley during the “Mutant Massacre”.

Madelyne saw the crèche in Genosha in Uncanny X-Men #238.

The proverbial cat that Riptide mentions was of course curious – which led to its death.

The reader is not shown what has happened to the city, only the X-Men and Marauder reactions to it.

During Madelyne’s and Havok’s date Madelyine’s black dress changes to a different style in every panel – without Havok noticing.

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