Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #494

Issue Date: 
March 2008
Story Title: 
Messiah Complex, Chapter Ten

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, Keith

Cover B by: Simone Bianchi and Peruzzi

Brief Description: 

In Forge’s Aerie in Dallas, Bishop has knocked both Cable and Forge out and is about to kill the mutant baby, having his own, yet undisclosed, agenda. However, Gambit, Sunfire, Malice and Vertigo storm into Aerie and knock Bishop out, departing with the baby. Upon the arrival of the X-Men, Bishop, pretending that he is also interested in protecting the life of the baby, narrates how he came here after receiving the Stepford Cuckoos’ distress call and how he fought against Cable and the Marauders, before being rendered unconscious. Back at the Xavier Institute, the Cuckoos are using Cerebra to pinpoint the location of the baby. With the baby inexplicably blocking out Cerebra, Emma advises them to track down the baby’s abductors instead. Meanwhile, Cable returns to the Blackbird jet he stole from the X-Men and contacts Professor Xavier, thinking that he’s the only one who can help him retrieve the baby now. Eighty years into the future, in the mutant relocation camp, Layla guides Madrox’s dupe to a fellow prisoner who grew up here: a boy by the name of Lucas Bishop.

Full Summary: 

Eagle Plaza, Dallas, Texas

A crowd of people has gathered to observe the truck that Cable just crashed into the entrance of Forge’s penthouse apartment: the Aerie.

Inside the Aerie, Cable, Forge and the mutant baby are laying on the floor, the two men bleeding and unconscious, the shocked infant crying incessantly. Bishop stands above the baby, aiming his gun at her, ready to shoot her. The baby pauses, staring at him with fearful eyes. Clenching his teeth, Bishop pleads her to stop looking at him like that. She doesn’t understand… he has to do this. He’s about to pull the trigger…

… and a voice behind him assures him that’s an interesting thought but doesn’t think that is happening today! The voice belongs to Gambit, who storms into the room, accompanied by Vertigo, Sunfire and Malice (the latter in the body of Omega Sentinel). Remy admits it’s nice to see Bishop’s true colors after all these years. “No, not now!” Bishop exclaims. Without hesitating, Gambit kinetically charges some cards and unleashes them on Bishop. He orders Malice to grab the child and let the others handle the big one. Bishop screams that the baby has to die! It has to…

Suddenly, Bishop experiences an insufferable vertigo, courtesy of none other than… Vertigo. The green-haired mutate urges Sunfire to take Bishop before he blocks her out. Too late, though: Lucas screams at Vertigo to get out of his head and then shoots her, effectively injuring her.

Malice holds the baby in her arms, realizing that the infant is – extraordinarily – not afraid at all. Sunfire tries to lock up Bishop, urging him to stop fighting it: he’s lost already. Bishop again asks them to stop. They don’t know what they’re doing! Gambit is confident they do. They’re stopping him from killing a baby; Bishop ought to be thanking them. Saying this, the Cajun hurls a whole pack of charged cards against him. The cards explode, leaving Bishop bruised and tattered. Lucas struggles to stand on his feet but Sunfire strikes him from behind, sealing Bishop’s defeat.

Gambit asks Sunfire to stand clear; this has gone on long enough. He releases his cards on a part of the ceiling, causing it to crash down on Bishop. As Lucas finally loses consciousness, Sunfire suggests they kill him. Gambit disagrees: the X-Men will be there soon and dealing with this traitor might slow them down a bit. He then asks Malice how the child is. Malice explains it’s perfect: Cable kept it safe. She agrees with Remy, though: her link to their mutant tracker tells her that the X-Men’s arrival is imminent. They should depart now. Seeing Remy thoughtful, she asks him if there’s some problem. Gambit just wonders what changed for Bishop that he’d turn on them. He wonders what the hell he was thinking…

Sheepshead Bay, New York. Mutant Relocation Camp, 80 years from now

Madrox’s dupe approaches some fellow prisoners and informs them he’s trying to find his friend. He gives them a description: a young girl who talks a lot. The prisoners remain silent. “Uh… hello?” Jamie exclaims. One of the prisoners urges the others to just ignore him. Madrox angrily asks him what his problem is. The prisoner advises him to learn to X that attitude and leave him alone. In anguish, Jamie exclaims that this future sucks.

One of the guards approaches Jamie, asking the “mutie” what his problem is – and then hits him in the head with his gun-barrel. “Tryin’ to rack damage already?!’ the guard adds as Jamie collapses on the muddy ground. Another guard viciously kicks Jamie’s body, remarking that this one thinks he’s something special. “Is that it? You the new king of the trash mass?” he taunts Jamie and shoves his face on the mud with his boot. As the guards move away, they remind him that no one’s special here; he needs to remember that. Moaning with pain, his face all littered, Jamie stands up, just as he hears someone calling his name.

It’s Layla. Like Madrox, her head is shaven and she now sports an ‘M’ tattoo in her right eye. “Ah… God… no… they…” Jamie mutters in shock upon seeing her. Layla confirms they did it to her, too: what did he expect? It’s all right, though – she’s okay. “And I… I survive this…” she cryptically adds. Madrox replies it’s good to know and asks her if she gets them out of here soon. Sort of, she replies. She reveals that she knows why they’re here. She asks Jamie to follow her. They have to meet him. “Meet who?” Jamie asks her. “Lucas Bishop” Layla informs him. This is where he grew up.

Eagle Plaza – Present Day

In Forge’s lab, Bishop is standing in front of a monitor. “Give me a reading, blast it,” Bishop exclaims. Suddenly, Forge’s computer systems inform him that the X-Men Blackbird Mach-two is landing on rooftop. Bishop is surprised they’re already there; he needed more time. He realizes that Scott is really getting in his way now.

A little bit later, in Forge’s medical lab, the unconscious Forge has been placed next to Madrox prime – the latter being comatose ever since he sent two of his dupes in the future timelines. Bishop narrates a version of the events to the various members of the X-Men, X-Force and X-Factor, conveniently leaving out the fact he tried to kill the baby: he got the Cuckoos’ distress call and rushed to Dallas in his ship. However, when he got here, Cable had already taken Forge out and was pillaging his equipment room. He and Bishop fought; Lucas shot him a few times; should’ve had him. Cyclops tells him not to beat himself up and just tell them what happened.

Lucas finishes his story by telling them that just as he was about to grab the kid, the Marauders ‘ported in and it all went to hell; he doesn’t know how else to put it. By the time he came to and dragged himself out of the rubble, they were all gone – even Cable, though Bishop is doubtful that they took him with them. Scott agrees it’s not too likely: the Marauders’ focus has been the baby all along. Bishop admits that he let them get their hands on it; on the fate of the mutant race… and he failed.

Scott urges him to pull himself together. He assures Bishop this isn’t over yet and Scott himself is not giving up, so he’s going to need everyone who can still stand up at this point. He then asks the White Queen if she’s getting anything from Jamie. Emma teases him if he means picking up any messages from the future. She wishes so but no. Jamie’s basically brain-dead right now – more so than usual, even.

Cyclops wants to know if Bishop’s ship is in top running condition. “Yeah, why?” Bishop asks. Scott explains they lost one of theirs. He then turns to Wolverine and asks him to take X-Force and go with Bishop: his ship is faster than Blackbird. Logan asks him if he has any idea where they’re heading. Scott admits that he doesn’t – yet. However, he wants them in the air when he finds out.

Logan asks his “troops” to move; it’s time to go. Warpath protests that Hepzibah stays there. Hepzibah angrily replies that she does not do that; she goes with them. James insists that he can’t put her in harm’s way… not after Caliban… He argues this isn’t even her fight. Hepzibah urges him not to be an idiot. She picks her fights. “You best off not being one of them,” she adds. James asks her to listen to him… Bishop intervenes, asking to know what they’re saying: what’s happened to Caliban? Logan coldly informs him he’s dead. “My God…” Bishop remarks. Logan again tells them to move and reminds James it isn’t his say who’s on his squad. Hepzibah’s got skills and like Cyclops said they need everyone who can fight right now.

The Xavier Institute

The three Stepford Cuckoos are connected with the Cerebra. “No, Miss Frost… it’s not that,” they inform the White Queen, being in a telepathic session with her, since Emma is still in Dallas. They assure Emma they interface perfectly with Cerebra now. However, the baby is flickering in and out; almost as if she’s jamming her signal. Also present in the Cerebra room is Prodigy who believes that’s not possible… someone else must be doing that.

Emma also wonders: a baby blocking out Cerebra? The Cuckoos tells her that Prodigy just said practically that same thing – and he’s the smartest boy in the room, smart like a girl almost! However, even he doesn’t know what to do now. Emma tells them it’s simple. If they can’t lock onto the child’s energy signal, they track the mutants who kidnapped it, instead. Of course, one of the Cuckoos exclaims – why didn’t they think of that? They believe they would have eventually – they’re only three, after all. Scott urges Emma to tell the Cuckoos to try and find Cable, too. He’s done too much damage already. They need to shut him down for good: no more fighting on two fronts.

The outskirts of Dallas

Cable walks by the highway, carrying a backpack. He tells himself he’s an idiot. He got so far only to lose it all. All that fighting and running for what? So he could drop his guard the second he gets where he’s headed and let the future of the entire mutant race – the kid he was supposed to protect – get lost out there. Lost or worse.

Making his way through some fields, Nathan enters the Blackbird he stole from the X-Men and ditched there. He tells himself that now he’s got what he needs to fix himself so he can get out of here… but he’s screwed anyway. “Nice work, idiot,” he again reviles himself. He thinks that this is it; he can’t do this on his own anymore. The stakes are too high; it’s time for Plan B. He pushes a button on his metallic arm, hoping that he is listening.

He immediately establishes a telepathic contact with Professor Charles Xavier. He asks Charles if he can hear him. Xavier admits this is unexpected; everyone is out there looking for Cable. Xavier implores Nathan to tell him that no one else has been hurt by what he’s done. Nathan asks him to listen to him. Nothing here is what it seems and right now Xavier is the only one who can help him save the future.

Characters Involved: 

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

Angel, Bishop, Cable, Forge, Professor X (all former X-Men)

M, Multiple Man, Strong Guy (all X-Factor)

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

Prodigy (New X-Men)

Stepford Cuckoos (all Xavier Institute students)

Malice/Omega Sentinel, Gambit, Sunfire, Vertigo (all Marauders)

Unnamed mutant baby

People in the streets of Dallas

80 years in the future:

Layla Miller, dupe of Multiple Man (both X-Factor)

Lucas Bishop as a boy

Guards in mutant relocation camp

Mutant prisoners

Story Notes: 

This is Chapter Ten of Messiah Complex. It is continued from X-Men (2nd series) #206 and is continued in X-Factor (3rd series) #27.

The Uncanny X-Men issues participating in the Messiah Complex crossover came out with standard covers by David Finch, as well as variant covers by several artists. [#492 by Marc Silvestri, #493 by Jim Cheung and #494 by Simone Bianchi] Issues #492 and #493 also had second printing variants, with new covers taken from Billy Tan’s interior art.

Caliban died in the battle against the Reavers in New X-Men (2nd series) #45.

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