X-Men (2nd series) #96

Issue Date: 
January 2000
Story Title: 
The Gathering

Alan Davis (writer, penciler), Mark Farmer (inker), Marie Javins (colors), RS & Comicraft’s Saida Temofonte (letters), Mark Powers (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Xavier heads out to recruit Magneto. After a heated discussion, Magneto agrees to help him. Back at the institute, the X-leaders are unsure whether Fiz is to be trusted. Jean tries to contact Iceman through Cerebro, but only manages to watch him get captured by Deathbird, the Horseman of War. Wolverine, the Horseman of Death teleports into the mansion. He succeeds in ‘porting Mikhail back to Egypt, but is unable to do it himself. He fights the X-Men, but ends up running away into the sewers. Part of the team is assigned to go after Wolverine, while the rest head to Egypt to rescue their friends. In Japan, Ahab, the Horseman of Famine, captures Sunfire. In the end, we see Apocalypse with all the captured mutants behind him. He believes the Age of Apocalypse will soon be here.

Full Summary: 

The sweet sleep of the wicked
Magneto realizes that the more he succeeds, the further away from his ultimate goal he becomes. He was able to take the island nation of Genosha as his own and create a haven for mutants. Now he’s not too sure if that was a good thing. Xavier enters his dream and assures Magneto that his main problem is that he doesn’t trust anyone. Then Xavier apologizes for intruding and tells him they need to talk.
Magneto awakes abruptly. He yells for Fabian Cortez, his head Acolyte. He tells him to review all security protocols, both biological and technical. Then he asks for a hypercharge. Cortez, with a slight smirk, gives it to him. Then he asks Magneto if he needs his help. Magnus gives him a slap across the face for his insolence. Right away he regrets his action. He knows it’s a sign of weakness and that Fabian is the wrong person to give that impression to.
Back at the mansion, Storm and Cyclops are talking about Wolverine. They both assume that Wolverine has been turned into Death, Horseman of Apocalypse. Also, that the other three Horsemen are allied. From the Danger Room control deck, they watch as Fiz trains with Kitty and Rogue. Scott’s not sure if he trusts Fiz, him being a Skrull and all. Storm disagrees, but they both decide to keep an eye on him.
Currently in other areas of the mansion, Nightcrawler is poring over Destiny’s diary, Colossus is watching over his brother, who is recovering well, and Psylocke, Jean and the Beast are in the Cerebro chamber to track down Iceman. Jean tells Psylocke that she will help her with the Shadow King imprisoned in her mind, once this crisis is over.
The scene cuts to Bobby who’s having a tough time of his own. He’s racing on his ice slide, trying to get back to the mansion. Deathbird, the Horseman of War, is chasing him. She breaks his ice slide and moves in with her sword. He blocks her with an ice shield and knocks her away with an ice blast. He keeps insulting her, trying to get her to lose her cool. It works and he is able to encase her in a block of ice. Unfortunately, it is not enough and she blasts out of it knocking Iceman unconscious. She stands by his body and teleports him away with her. Jean is in shock. She saw that Iceman was battling with Deathbird, but now she senses neither of them.
Professor X and Magneto meet each other at the Leningrad site. They go into their normal spiel about whose path is the right one. Magneto tells Charles he doesn’t feel safe on Genosha, he has too many enemies. Charles tells him to make peace with them. Angrily, Mags tells him to get to the point. Xavier asks permission for a mind link and sends him all the information that Fiz relayed in the previous issue. Magneto cannot believe that Apocalypse is still alive. He wonders what the connection is between the Twelve. He warns the Professor that he will kill him or his students if being part of the Twelve could bring about something horrible. Then he asks Xavier how he can help.
Back with Cerebro, Jean relays the conversation between Xavier and Magneto. Cyke can’t believe what Magneto said. All of a sudden, Jean registers a momentary doorway on the side of the complex. We’re shown a teleportation disc with Wolverine, the Horseman of Death coming through. In the infirmary, Moira gives Mikhail a clean bill of health. He is very pleased and so is Colossus. At this time, Jean sends out a telepathic warning of an intruder. Moira yells for her because the intruder just walked in. Colossus transforms to steel and grabs Wolvie. He blasts Colossus in the face and knocks him out. Mikhail jumps into the fray only to be knocked out by Wolverine as well. Moira pulls a gun on him, but he just knocks her into some medical equipment.
He’s about to leave with Mikhail when Cyclops comes in and fires an optic blast at him. The shot hits his arm and destroys the control module to his portal. It stays open so Storm tries to prevent them from escaping with some powerful wind. However, Wolverine manages to fling Mikhail through the portal before it closes.
In Japan, Sunfire warns his leaders of the threat of Apocalypse. They don’t believe what the X-Men have told him. He calls them fools and makes his way to leave. Just then, Ahab, the Horseman of Famine teleports into the room. Sunfire grabs the two men and flies them out of harm’s way. He engages Ahab with his raw power, but Famine eats it up. Sunfire collapses from exhaustion and is ‘ported away. The two men decide to alert the security council.
Back at Xavier’s, Shadowcat is slowly sneaking up on Wolverine. He turns around and skewers her with his sword, but it phases right through her. She tells him to fight Apocalypse’s control. He flips a button on the sword handle and sends a shock through Kitty that knocks her out. Rogue comes in and wallops him with a right hook, and then a left. He throws her into a wall. Fiz comes in next and takes a beating. Next up is Nightcrawler, who teleports many times hitting him all over. Nothing seems to hurt him. The rest of the X-Men enter the scene.
Logan slices a pillar with his sword and sends the whole place crashing down on the X-Men, giving him enough time to escape into the Morlock tunnels. Fiz enlarges himself and lifts the wreckage off the team. They wonder if Logan will ever be their friend again. Jean interrupts them telepathically and tells them she found out where the captured people are… Egypt. Cyclops orders Nightcrawler, Shadowcat and Archangel to go after Death. Jubilee demands that she goes as well (considering their past together). Fiz volunteers to join the rest of the X-Men for their rescue mission in Egypt. Cyclops allows it and off they go.
Back in Egypt, a Skrull high commander and a leader among the Monolith cult discuss the ramifications of seizing the Twelve. They decide that going after more X-Men would not work. They would probably be ready if they tried it again. They’re also afraid that they may now know the identity of their true adversary, Apocalypse. Nearby, Apocalypse tells them that the time has come to stop going after the Twelve. Instead, they will come to him. They will come to free their friends. He goes on to say that when he has assembled the Twelve, the Age of Apocalypse will begin. Behind him in containment bubbles are Mikhail, Nate Grey, Sunfire, Iceman and Cable.

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman, Marrow, Nightcrawler, Phoenix IV, Polaris, Psylocke, Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm, Professor Charles Xavier (all X-Men)
Jubilee (Generation X)
Sunfire, former X-Man
Nate Grey / X-Man
Moria MacTaggert
Mikhail Rasputin
Fiz, mutant Skrull
Fabian Cortez (Acolytes)
Wolverine / Death, Deathbird / War, Ahab / Famine (all Horsemen of Apocalypse)

Story Notes: 

This issue is part of The Twelve Crossover.
The Leningrad site is where Magneto sunk a russian submarine (the Leningrad) that was going to attack him in Uncanny X-Men #150. Everyone perished on board. He later raised the wreckage from the bottom of the sea to retrieve the nuclear missiles in its arsenal in X-Men (2nd series ) #1.

It’s not confirmed in the issue, but Famine is intended to be Excalibur supporting character Rory Campbell. In Excalibur #75, he saw a future vision of himself as Ahab, and him selling Moira MacTaggert’s Legacy research data ito Sebastian Shaw in X-Men (2nd series) #63 shows how far he was willing to go. His recruitment by Apocalypse happened off-panel and is unexplained.

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