Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #517

Issue Date: 
January 2010
Story Title: 

Matt Fraction (writer), Greg Land (penciler), Jay Leisten (Inker), Justin Ponsor (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

After Nightcrawler reveals there are five Predators X inside the fast approaching cargo ship, Cyclops shoots it down. The Predators X, along with the pilot - Scalphunter - begin to swim to Utopia. Namor engages one of them, attempting to drown it. Magneto begins the attack on the two land Predators X by ripping the metal off of the first Predator X, enabling Northstar to hit it with his super-fast punches. Iceman then freezes it, ready for Colossus to land on it from a large height - he does so, and grabs its mouth open so Boom-Boom can put a plasma time-bomb in. Iceman then freezes it again, and it explodes. During Magneto’s initial attack, he became exhausted, so Nightcrawler teleported him to safety, where his passed out, leaving Cyclops, Wolverine, Psylocke and Northstar to battle the remaining Predator X, unaware that inside, Rogue and the White Queen are protecting Anole, Dust, Mercury, Surge Armor, Rockslide and Gentle while yet another Predator X stalks them through the vents. Namor finds himself struggling with his opponent, only for several Atlanteans to arrive, and spear the creature. Madison Jeffries and Storm arrive to aid Cyclops, while Rogue absorbs the power of the seven Young X-Men with her, using each of their abilities in such a way that she destroys the Predator X with seeming ease. Dazzler, Warpath and Wolverine put the finishing touches onto the last Predator X, just as the Stepford Cuckoos pass out when the Phoenix Force leaves them. Scalphunter shoots the remaining Predator X through the head, only to find himself in the brig, questioned by Danger, who asks him who sent him to Utopia, while Cyclops announces that they are staging a psychic rescue in the White Queen’s mind.

Full Summary: 

Utopia, where Nightcrawler has just teleported back to the island nation, exclaiming ‘Shoot it down -’ with great urgency. Cyclops and several other residents of Utopia have gathered nearby - Northstar, Wolverine, Psylocke, Magneto, Colossus, Sub-Mariner, Doctor Nemesis, the Stepford Cuckoos - as the large jumbo jet swiftly approaches Utopia. Cyclops turns to the plane, ‘I got it’ he remarks, before asking Nightcrawler if he cares to tell him why, before he destroys the plane. ‘Predator X…five of them!’ Nightcrawler reveals. ‘Then I better not miss’ Cyclops declares before unleashing a massive optical blast, which cuts the jumbo jet into pieces, which plummet to the water that surrounds Utopia.

Cyclops turns to the Stepford Cuckoos - Mindee, Phoebe and Celeste - and tells the psychics to scan the water and find out if the Predator X are in there and how many. He adds that they are going to need island-wide psi-links. ‘Yes, Mister Summers’ the girls reply in unison, before revealing that there were five Predator’s, but now only four remain. The girls add that one died in the crash and three are closer together than the other one, while the pilot has also survived and is swimming. The girls announce that the first surviving Predator is minutes away from the shoreline. ‘Their minds are berserk!’ they declare, while indeed, the pilot of the jet swims to apparent safety, past the body of one of the Predator X‘s..

Cyclops announces that the Predator X is a mutant hunter-killer with augmented powers. ‘Last time we only beat it by letting the thing eat Wolverine and him clawing is way from the inside out’ Cyclops reminds everyone. ‘Yeah, we ain’t doing that again’ Wolverine snarls. Cyclops declares that they have drilled for another Predator attack. ‘We know what we’re doing against these things’ he tells everyone. Magneto asks Cyclops if he has planned to fight four of them, to which Cyclops replies that doesn’t matter, as they have tactics and strategy. ‘And we’ve got freaking Magneto and the King of Atlantis on our side’ Cyclops boasts, referring to Namor the Sub-Mariner. ‘So listen close, pay attention and follow orders. Or these things will kill you’ Cyclops declares.

Namor reminds Cyclops that he said he would help him, not that he wanted to follow orders. ‘The King of Atlantis does not play army’ Namor adds as he takes to the sky, telling Cyclops to stay here and make his plans, while he takes care of the things swimming towards his island. ‘Ten dollars that says if he survives…he apologizes’ Cyclops remarks, as he and the others watch Namor take a dive towards the ocean, shouting ‘IMPERIUS REX!’ as he approaches one of the Predator X’s - then strikes it, forcing it under the water, Namor pushes the creature down further and further, as it tries to roar from its jagged-toothed mouth. ‘Amazing!’ Namor exclaims.

Back on Utopia, one of the Cuckoos informs Cyclops that one of the Predator X’s is on shore now. Indeed, one of them climbs up the cliff-side, with another not too far behind. Cyclops orders those other heroes around him into two teams. ‘Hit hard and make ‘em count!’ he declares as he, Northstar, Psylocke, Magneto and the Stepford Cuckoos head off in one direction, and Wolverine, Iceman, Colossus and Boom-Boom in another. ‘Last team to gut one of these things buys the beer’ Wolverine declares.

Meanwhile, inside, Rogue and the White Queen stand with several of the Young X-Men - Anole, Mercury, Dust, Rockslide, Armor, Gentle, Surge. ‘They’re here’ the White Queen remarks. ‘Sounds like’ Rogue agrees, before Anole asks Rogue why she isn’t out there fighting as well. Rogue explains that her powers work a little different these days, and supposes Cyclops didn’t want her in the field as a potential liability. ‘And God knows we’d hate to upset Scott Summers’ the White Queen mutters, arms folded across.

Back outside, Cyclops tells everyone to be cool, explaining that he wants to try something. He tells Magneto that the Predator’s are covered with a metal skin. ‘Do you think you can -’ he begins, while Magneto, hovering in the air, declares ‘I get it, Cyclops. Monster covered with metal…meet the Master of Magnetism!’ Magneto exclaims as he begins to pull at the metal covering the Predator X with his powers, until eventually, only the creature’s flesh can be seen. ‘…well that’s horrific’ someone remarks, while Magneto looks confused. ‘I think you just made him angrier’ Northstar declares, before Cyclops orders Nightcrawler to teleport Magneto out of here.

Nightcrawler does so, before the fleshy Predator X can get him, while Northstar begins speeding around the creature and lashing out at it with swift punches: ‘Never a dull moment, huh?’ he remarks. ‘This ain’t Alpha Flight, no’ Cyclops tells the former Alphan, before ordering the first wave to fall back. ‘Iceman -’ he begins, but his fellow founding X-Man already moves towards the fleshy Predator X on an ice-sled, and covers the creature in ice, before Iceman calls out to Colossus, who suddenly drops from the top of a nearby building, ‘Incoming!’ the Russian mutant exclaims, shattering the ice at full-speed, he wraps his steel-strength arms around the creature, forcing it’s gaping mouth open. Colossus tells Boom-Boom that he is ready for her, and the former New Mutant leaps over the creature’s mouth, dropping a burst of plasma energy into it, to which Colossus releases his hold, and Iceman once more encases the Predator X in ice. ‘We’re clear!’ Colossus exclaims. ‘Three…two…one…’ Boom-Boom remarks, her traditional countdown. The creature goes wide-eyed, before it explodes in a massive display, which Iceman, Colossus and Boom-Boom walk away from with ease.

Inside, Nightcrawler is contacted by Cyclops, telling him to inform Magneto that he did good work, softening up the creature for them. ‘I think he knows…’ Nightcrawler replies, while Magneto stirs. Holding the bridge of his nose, Magneto admits that he is not a young man anymore, despite that it may feel that way sometimes. ‘I just wanted to help’ Magneto whispers, before passing out. Nightcrawler contacts Cyclops, revealing that Magneto has passed out due to overexertion. ‘And with Namor off on his own…’ Nightcrawler begins. ‘That’s our two new big guns’ Cyclops remarks, before ordering the others to stick to the plan and trust in training. ‘And find the missing Predator, dammit!’ he adds, while Wolverine lunges the other Predator on shore of Utopia, as Northstar is knocked back by the creature’s tail.

Elsewhere on the Island, the missing Predator bursts its way into one of the buildings. ‘That ain’t sounding any too good y’all’ Rogue announces, while the Young X-Men with her look around nervously. The White Queen puts a finger to her lips, as if telling everyone to be quiet, while the creature can be heard rustling about in a nearby vent.

Back underwater, Namor still struggles with the other Predator X. He admits that the creature is certainly spirited, he must confess that he is getting a little bored, when suddenly, a spear is thrown through the creature‘s head, which then goes limp. ‘Ahh. Finally’ Namor remarks, as a bearded Atlantean swims towards him, flanked by several other Atlantean warriors, the bearded one addresses Namor as his Lord and announces that he has two dozen of the finest warriors Atlantis ever bred armed and ready to alleviate the Sub-Mariner of this tiresome task.

Back on the Island, ‘Any progress, Wolverine?’ Cyclops asks as he fires an optical blast into the Predator X’s mouth. ‘You kidding me?’ Wolverine replies, while Madison Jeffries stands nearby, ‘One second’ he tells Cyclops, as he uses his transmutative power to send shards of scrap metal into the Predator X creature. The former Alphan remarks that usually he would have time to make a robot warrior or something, but Cyclops tells him that it is okay, as reinforcements have arrived, just as the wind picks up.

Indeed, the powerful X-Woman Storm hovers overhead and exclaims ‘You there! The monstrous one. We are no amused!’. Her eyes flash, and immediately following, a burst of lightning strikes the Predator X creature. Cyclops smiles and tells his long-time teammate that she always did have a knack for great entrances. Storm drops to the ground and apologizes for her lateness. ‘You wouldn’t believe my commute these days’ she jokes, referring to having to travel from the nation of Wakanda, which she rules as Queen. Cyclops blasts the creature again with his optic powers and announces that they have stunned it, before pointing out that there are still more of them. ‘Fall back, regroup and continue the battery’ he orders.

Contacting Rogue, Cyclops asks her how everyone is holding up down below. As the jagged-toothed Predator X moves towards Rogue, the White Queen and the several Young X-Men, Rogue replies ‘Not great’, while the White Queen tells Rogue to inform Cyclops they have been compromised. Rogue instead tells Cyclops to hang on, before removing her gloves and extending both her arms as she tells the seven Young X-Men to touch her. ‘All y’all right now’ she orders. The kids do as Rogue requests, and after Rogue absorbs enough of their powers as she needs, she tells them that if the Predator X drops her they are to follow the White Queen. ‘Y’all run like Hell’ she adds.

Rogue lunges at the Predator, while the Young X-Men are ushered out of the room by the White Queen, who tells Rogue that she is getting the kids to safe ground and then coming back for her. ‘Ah’ll be done or dead by the time you get back’ Rogue replies, before she continues her assault on the Predator X creature, using the combination of powers she borrowed from Anole, Dust, Mercury and the others - culminating in a final explosion which shatters the Predator X, splattering its remains all over the room. ‘We are no longer compromised. The kids are safe’ Rogue announces. ‘Ho-lee…’ Gentle remarks. ‘We can…we can do that?’ Armor asks as she and the others glimpse the action. ‘Teamwork’s a hell of thing, kids’ Rogue tells them.

Rogue informs Cyclops that they can continue waiting down here, or join him surface-side. Cyclops tells Rogue to stay safe. ‘We’ve just about - Rogue?’ Cyclops asks when he loses psychic connection. Nearby, Dazzler, Warpath and Wolverine continue their assault on the weakened Predator X creature. Back down below, Rogue announces that she has lost psychic connection with Cyclops. ‘Mindee? Other creepy blonde girls?’ Rogue calls out, before declaring that it is like the power just went out or something.

On the surface, Mindee, Celeste and Phoebe suddenly keel over in agony, and in a glorious display, the Phoenix Force suddenly flies from them and into the sky above. ‘Oh no…the Phoenix Force is leaving the girls…’ Cyclops exclaims, before Warpath calls out to him, having trouble with the Predator X creature. The creature moves towards Cyclops, teeth bared. ‘Blaze of glory, Summers. Blaze of -’ Cyclops begins, when suddenly, a bullet is fired into the creature’s head, spraying blood all over Cyclops’ face. ‘Y’all look like you needed a hand!’ exclaims the Marauder known as Scalphunter - the man who piloted the jumbo jet to Utopia.

Cyclops points at Scalphunter, as he exclaims ‘Somebody want to kill that damn thing before its healing factor brings it back to life. And get Scalphunter down here, now!’. Moments later, the White Queen walks towards Cyclops, telling him that they lost psychic contact, to which Cyclops explains that the Phoenix Force left the Cuckoos and they were knocked out. He and the White Queen rush towards the motionless girls as Cyclops explains that they collapsed and lost the psi-link. ‘Are they alive?’ the White Queen asks, before kneeling beside one of them and discovering a pulse. ‘What happened?’ the White Queen asks, to which Cyclops replies that psychics are not exactly his forte, before telling her that without the Cuckoos they need her back. ‘Without a powerful enough psychic to keep us linked together we might as well all be handcuffed’.

Cyclops tells the others that the Predators were cybernetically modified, so they need to find out who did it and why. He tells the White Queen that first thing tomorrow they are staging a psychic rescue in her mind. ‘And I want Scalphunter in the X-brig before nightfall’.

Later - nowhere - apparently a desert island, ’Th’ hell?’ Scalphunter asks as he sits beside a fire on the beach in the dead of the night, the bright moon shining down upon him. ’This isn’t real. This isn’t really happening’ declares Danger as she approaches Scalphunter. Danger greets Scalphunter, before introducing herself. ‘Welcome to the brig. Who sent you to Utopia?’….

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Cyclops, Dazzler, Iceman, Nightcrawler, Northstar, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Sub-Mariner, White Queen, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Anole, Armor, Dust, Gentle, Mercury V, Rockslide, Stepford Cuckoos, Surge IV (all Young X-Men / X-Men students)

Warpath (member of X-Force)

Doctor Nemesis, Madison Jeffries (both X-Club)




Phoenix Force


Predator X creatures

Story Notes: 

Wolverine killed a Predator X by being devoured by it and then clawing it from the inside out in X-Men (2nd series) #207.

Alpha Flight - dull? Clearly Matt Fraction has never read an issue.

The Stepford Cuckoos have housed the Phoenix Force since X-Men: Phoenix - Warsong #5. Something similar happened to Marvel Girl III and Korvus in X-Men: Kingbreaker #4.

The White Queen has been stuck in diamond form unable to use her telepathy since Dark Avengers / Uncanny X-Men: Exodus.

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