Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #493

Issue Date: 
February 2008
Story Title: 
Messiah Complex, Chapter Six

Ed Brubaker (writer), Billy Tan (penciler), Danny Miki with Allen Martinez (inkers), Frank D’Armata (colorist), Joe Caramagna (letterer), Will Panzo (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Cover A by: Finch, Miki, Keith

Cover B by: Cheung, Dell, Ponsor

Brief Description: 

The Sentinels that guard the mansion suddenly and inexplicably turn against the X-teams and begin demolishing the Institute. Simultaneously, all the resident telepaths – Emma Frost, Xavier and the Stepford Cuckoos – are mysteriously rendered unconscious just as the attack is initiated. Beast tends to them and rushes to the lab, whereas Cyclops, Bishop, Warpath, Hepzibah and Gentle take on the Sentinels. Several students are injured and knocked out during the fight. Iceman suddenly returns, flying the Blackbird and bringing back some members of the New X-Men. Soon, all three Sentinels are damaged by the combined forces of the mutants. Much to everyone’s surprise, though, the Sentinel pilots are revealed to have been infected by nano-technology and transformed into human/Sentinel hybrids. The hybrids escape, promising a future massacre of all mutants. The X-Men that were dispatched to Alaska also return to the mansion, with the knowledge that Cable has the baby. Cyclops suspects that Cable is behind the Sentinel attack and assembles a team of trackers, comprised of Caliban, Hepzibah, Warpath, Wolfsbane, Wolverine and X-23 with the mission to track down Cable, take him out and bring back the baby, regardless of the costs. At Antarctica, Sinister and his allies abandon the base, with the former being quite pleased by the knowledge that Cable is now entirely on his own, on the run from everyone.

Full Summary: 

A jet is flying over Antarctica… not so steadily. “Logan! Can you fly us or not?” an upset Storm asks Wolverine, while holding the unconscious Nightcrawler. Flying the jet and visibly in pain, Logan tells her not to worry about him. His healing factor is kicking back in. He just experienced a bit of blind pain. “How’s the elf?” he asks her. Ororo explains that Kurt’s unconscious but not good. She’s done what she can to stop the bleeding but they need to get him home… to a healer.

Angel remarks that Colossus also got battered pretty bad. Piotr asks him to speak for himself: he assures him he shall be fine. Wolverine angrily states the obvious: they got their butts handed to them. He wonders where the hell Emma is. Storm reminds him that he communicated with her after they all lost contact. Logan explains that he did, just long enough to tell her who really had the kid. However, right now, he can’t get Scott or anyone else at the mansion: there’s a total radio silence. Storm asks him if he thinks Cable somehow cut off their signal. Logan’s hoping that’s all it is – but the way things are going, he isn’t optimistic.

The Xavier Institute

“Emma! Damn it!” Cyclops exclaims, as he holds the unconscious White Queen. All around him, total chaos prevails: the Sentinels that previously guarded the mansion have inexplicably turned against them, bringing down parts of the building. Standing next to Cyclops, Bishop releases his energy blasts on the robots, wondering what’s wrong with these fools. Scott joins the fight, targeting any robot in the vicinity with his optic blasts. Seeing Beast, he informs him that Emma is down: he didn’t even see what hit her! Hank replies that neither did he; however, it isn’t that hard to figure out! Carrying Emma in his arms, he assures Scott he’ll get her to safety – and also get them some help from the lab.

“New programming accepted. Destroy all mutants. Destroy all X-Men,” the Sentinels proclaim. Breaking out of his bedroom window – with only his pajama bottoms on – Warpath fiercely announces that he knew it! He knew it was just a matter of time till these a**holes turned! “But does anyone ever listen to the Indian? No!” James exclaims while jumping on top of a Sentinel and thrusting his knives into the robot’s metal exterior. Gazing at the whole mess through the broken window of the bedroom she and James share, Hepzibah releases a deep growl, indicative of her increasing fury.

Trying to avoid being fried by the robots, Cyclops tells Bishop that there must be a way the O*N*E shut these things down. Bishop explains he can’t get a signal to them. The Sentinels are blocking all channels. Scott believes then that they should get the robots away from the Institute. Bishop agrees and asks Scott who’s their fastest flier that’s still there.

Suddenly, releasing a battle cry, Gentle – his muscle mass visibly increased – rushes out of a collapsing part of the mansion and attacks the Sentinels. “Stupid kid,” a frustrated Cyclops comments on the stunt Gentle just pulled. “He knocked back a Sentinel… Give him that,” Bishop replies. Cyclops explains to him that if Gentle tries to hold that size for too long, he’s going to kill himself.

Inside a part of the mansion that’s still intact, Beast descends some stairs, still carrying the unconscious Emma. “What in God’s name…?” he exclaims, seeing all three Stepford Cuckoos – Celeste, Mindee and Phoebe – lying unconscious on the corridor. He realizes the fact that both Emma and the Cuckoos are down cannot be a coincidence.

Outside, the battle continues. Continuously releasing his optic blasts against the robots, Cyclops orders Gentle to stay behind him: he can’t do this! Nezhno implores him to let him help. The Sentinels are trying to kill them, anyway! Nearby, Hepzibah and Bishop use their guns on the Sentinels. Warpath is still on top of one the attackers, his knives obviously damaging the robot’s systems. “Error! Damage repair engaged. Deflect mutant!” the Sentinel states. “Hepzibah… now!” Warpath shouts. As the Sentinel is about to blast Warpath to smithereens, James gets out of the way of the blast and so does Hepzibah, thus causing one of the Sentinels to release its blasts on another Sentinel, effectively damaging it.

Antarctica – Sinister’s base

Sinister’s base is visibly demolished after the assault the X-Men just pulled against them. Mystique asks Sinister if there is anything left here that he needs. “Nothing,” an inexplicably calm Sinister replies. He explains that all the data was transferred the moment they were attacked. He tells her they should pick up their wounded and go. Mystique notices that he doesn’t seem upset that the X-Men hit them so hard… that they’re making them all run. Sinister explains he isn’t upset. Rather, he is pleased. The X-Men came at them because they thought they – Sinister and his Marauders – had the child. This means that he – Cable – is on his own… and he’s damaged… that changes everything.

At that exact moment, Cable is indeed on his own, running along a flume in a forest. The mutant baby is safely placed in a pouch on Cable’s chest, strapped on his body, akin to an animal’s marsupium. The baby is crying incessantly, much to Nathan’s dismay. Cable urges the baby to shut up for a minute. If it keeps screaming like that, it’s going to attract predators.

Back at the mansion, James and Hepzibah are running around, pursued by one of the Sentinels. “Any time any of you wants to jump in here!” James shouts. Hearing this, Bishop tells him to hang on. Standing on top of one of the demolished Sentinels, Cyclops asks Dust if she’s up for this: they need to know what’s going on inside this thing. Dust believes she can do it.

Visibly out of breath, Hepzibah tells James that they can’t keep up at this. Warpath replies that maybe they don’t have to. He urges her to get behind him… now. Indeed, up at the sky, the Blackbird jet soars right above the Sentinel’s head, causing it to crush. Inside the jet, Rockslide finds that what just happened is awesome: the robot’s going to topple! Iceman, who’s piloting the jet, tells the New X-Men to hang on. That hit took their forward thrusters: it’s going to be a rough landing. X-23 pleads her teammate, Mercury, to get Julian to whatever’s left of the medical bay. Standing above the unconscious, gravely injured Hellion, Mercury asks her to wait; what is she...? Without a response, Laura makes her way out of the ship and lands on top of the damaged robot, further damaging it with her claws.

Seeing the Blackbird land nearby, Cyclops tells Dust that the cavalry’s arrived, so they can do it… he’s counting on her. Sooraya assures him she shall find what she can. Assuming her sand-like form, she enters one of the damaged robots’ interior. Meanwhile, Iceman and some members of the New X-Men come out of the jet. Cyclops approaches them, congratulating Bobby on his good move in using the Blackbird. Bobby explains it was a desperate act: he’s got wounded students. He asks Scott what’s happening here. Scott admits he wishes he knew. The Sentinels just turned on them. They don’t know what happened to the pilots yet. Bobby admits that, at least, now it’s just like the good old days – everyone against them and giant robots to fight! Bobby eagerly joins the fray.

Inside the mansion, Beast sees Cannonball carrying an unconscious Xavier and scolds him, reminding him he shouldn’t be moving around. Sam explains he’s trying to help the Professor. Apparently, Xavier grabbed his head and screamed right when the whole building shook. Hank exclaims they’re taking out all the telepaths… why?

Meanwhile, one of the Sentinels finally gets Nezhno with a blast. Nezhno screams and collapses to the ground. “Mutant neutralized,” the Sentinel declares. Seeing Gentle lying still on the ground, Bishop mumbles, “Kid… Hey? Aw… Damn it…”

Up in the sky, Bobby is standing on his ice-tramp, while attempting to freeze a Sentinel’s head. He urges Scott to take the robot’s legs while he’ll keep him distracted. Cyclops tells Bobby to look out. Either this thing is going to fall… or Cyke himself is! Scott indeed blasts the Sentinel’s legs. As the robot falters, about to fall, Iceman reaches the ground and grabs the weary Cyclops. Warpath seizes the opportunity and jumps on the robot, finishing it.

Inside the broken Sentinel she entered, Dust is surprised to see some sort of obviously techno-organic life form. “Intruder. Mutant codenamed Dust detected. Terminate all mutants,” the being pronounces and unleashes a blast against Sooraya. Dust exits the robot and cries to Cyclops that this thing is not human! The being emerges, reporting the failure of its mission and initiating an escape sequence. Another similar life form arises from another ruined Sentinel and start rising upwards in the air. X-23 jumps on it, thrusting her claws in it and causing it to short-circuit. Both Laura and the being collapse to the ground. The other life form assures the X-Men that they will be terminated in due time – and then also rises in the sky and vanishes. The mutants wonder what the hell that was. Holding the unconscious X-23, Cyclops tells his people he needs field reports as soon as possible.

A little later, the X-Men team that was dispatched to Alaska finally returns. Wolverine finds Cyclops among the ruins, looking at a picture of Jean and himself. Logan shares with Scott his guess that they also got their butts handed to them. Scott explains it was a surprise attack… a blitz. According to Hank, the Sentinel pilots were somehow affected by the Nano-Sentinels Cassandra Nova created. It turned them into human-sentinel hybrids… into monsters. They destroyed everything. “Not everything,” Wolverine corrects him. Cyclops insists they’re hurt bad: Wolverine and the others have wounded; the kids went against the Purifiers and took casualties; all their telepaths were taken out. On top of that, their only healer right now, Elixir, was injured by a falling wall. He’s unconscious and probably will be for days.

Wolverine asks Cyclops if he really thinks Cable would go as far as to unleash nano-sentinels as some kind of virus. Cyclops reminds him that Cable had access to the nano-sentinels samples. He’s a capable scientist – plus, they have no idea what is agenda is here. They have to assume the worst. He informs Logan that Bishop is on his way to O*N*E headquarters to brief them on what happened. However, regardless of what the X-Men decide to do, it’s time for them to up the stakes.

When Wolverine asks him what he means, Scott explains it’s time their backs are against the wall. The future of their race is in the hands of a mutant who just turned on them – who could have killed them all. Wolverine assures him he knows; he just never thought Cyke would have the stones to pull the trigger. He stresses how Chuck would never come up with this plan. Scott knows that very well; however, these are desperate times… the kind Wolverine is at his best in. Wolverine knows what to do. The target is Cable. Wolverine is to take him down and get that child back by any means necessary. For that reason, Wolverine is to assemble a new X-Force team, consisting solely of trackers: Caliban, Hepzibah, Warpath, Wolfsbane, X-23 and himself. Indeed, a little bit later, said team departs, according to plan.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cannonball, Colossus, Cyclops, Iceman, Nightcrawler, White Queen (all X-Men)

Angel, Bishop, Cable, Professor X, Storm (former X-Men)

Caliban, Hepzibah, Warpath, Wolfsbane, Wolverine, X-23 (all X-Force)

Dust, Hellion, Mercury, Rockslide (New X-Men)

Gentle, Stepford Cuckoos and other Xavier Institute students

Unnamed mutant baby

Mr. Sinister



Alexander Lexington and Slayton, human/Sentinel hybrids (formerly of Sentinel Squad)

In locket photo:

Cyclops, Phoenix IV (both X-Men)

Story Notes: 

This is Chapter Six of “Messiah Complex.” It is continued from X-Men (2nd series) #205 and is continued in X-Factor (3rd series) #26.

This issue marks the formation of a new X-Force team. There have previously been three – now defunct – teams that have donned this name: a government-sanctioned group of volunteers, who acquired superhuman powers through exposure to cosmic/gamma rays [Cloak and Dagger (3rd series) #9-10]; the mutant group that evolved from the New Mutants and was originally led by Cable [New Mutants (1st series) #100] and the government-sanctioned team of mutant “celebrity” superheroes. [X-Force (1st series) #116]

The New X-Men attacked the Purifiers at their base in Washington whereas, at the same time, a team of X-Men was attacking Sinister at his base in Antarctica, coming up with the information that Cable has the baby. Simultaneously, the Sentinels at the mansion started attacking X-Men and students [New X-Men (2nd series) #44, X-Men (2nd series) #205]

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