Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #60

Issue Date: 
May 2013
Story Title: 
The Fabric of Reality

David Lapham, Marjorie Liu and Greg Pak (Story), Marjorie Liu (Writer), Matteo Buffagni and Renato Arlem (Artists), Christopher Sotomayor and Lee Loughridge (Colour Artists), VC’s Joe Caramagna (Letterer), Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith and Rain Beredo (Cover Artists), Phil Noto (Varient Cover), Jeannie Schaefer (Editor), Jennifer M. Smith (Assistant Editor), Nick Lowe (Group Editor), Axel Alonso (Editor in Chief), Joe Qeusada (Chief Creative Officer), Dan Buckley (Publisher), Alan Fine (Executive Producer)

Brief Description: 

Three monsters have emerged from the portal and killed Xavier of the X-treme X-Men. In response, Dazzler blasts one with her light beams, but it absorbs her energy and grows in size. After trying various methods of attack, the teams realize that the monsters are nearly invulnerable. Karma tries possessing one but it ends up possessing her. They find out that the monsters were trapped between dimensions by the Celestials and that the constant travelling between worlds has weakened the barriers and freed them. Karma is dying but Iceman freezes the monsters and saves Karma. As the teams regroup to try and figure out what to do, Sage picks up on some thought the monsters are projecting. She screams for someone to shut the portal down, but it’s too late and one of the monsters walks through it to the 616 universe. As Howlett, Wolverine and Hercules go after it, the second monster heads off into New Apocalypse, whilst the third starts to drain energy from the portal itself. Prophet says that they could use the power of Apocalypse to defeat them but Jean Grey isn’t so keen. After some deliberation, the teams decide to split up with some staying on New Apocalypse and the other going to fight the creature through the portal. Sabretooth and Horror Show sacrifice themselves to provide a distraction whilst Kid Nightcrawler teleports a group of people through the portal. The remaining group in New Apocalypse heads off to formulate a plan of attack as the second monster tears through the city.

Full Summary: 

(Chapter Three)

In the beginning, there was only darkness. And then there was light. But the darkness remained in all of its magnificent hunger, waiting to trip everyone up.

Various voices yell out amid the chaos. One calls for Alison to wait but she yells back that she won’t. Her voice is suddenly cut off and someone screams her name in horror. Someone else asks if anyone else is seeing it. That thing is eating her power. Another voice yells that it’s not working and someone else yells to get her out of there as it’s going to kill her too.

Dazzler is facing off against the monster that just killed her team’s Xavier. She is firing her light beams at it as hard as she can but it’s not doing any damage. A little way off, Wolverine yells again for someone to get her out of there. Gambit throws some charged cards at the monster but Sage tells him not to. Howlett calls for Kurt to get Dazzler, which he does. She passes out and Kurt tries to wake her.

Prophet holds back Jean Grey but she tells him to let her go. He tells her they haven’t survived this long by being stupid. Sabretooth notices there are two versions of Wolverine, much to his dismay. Horror Show tells the rest of his team to let the others make the first move and maybe they will learn something valuable.

Sage tells Gambit the monster just fed off the blast he gave them. They absorbed and converted the energy. Their mass has increased by 20% in the last five minutes. Gambit acknowledges Sage and she tells him long time no see. Wolverine tells Howlett that he may look and smell like him but he’s learned not to trust appearances so he had better stay out of his way. Howlett says he will watch his back and they can save the fussing for later. Howlett then launches Wolverine through the air towards the monsters whilst telling Hercules to stay back. Hercules ignores him and charges forwards. He says he is a god and can never be… His words trail as he is stopped by the monsters before he finishes. There is a haze around them and when Howlett gets into it notes that the air around them is made of acid. He is barely making a dent in them too. Wolverine agrees and says they heal fast too. He slashes one across the head but the claw marks immediately start to seal.

They jump back down and Wolverine says they are not healing fast enough. The skin has been removed off one of his arms and his bare muscles are showing. They are getting burned alive and they won’t survive another minute at this rate. Howlett asks if he wants to run but Wolverine says he just got started.

Cyclops from the X-treme X-Men goes to fire an optic blast at the monsters but Sage stops him. She reminds him what happened when Dazzler used her powers on them. They devour energy and organic matter to survive. Cyclops says they have to do something and Dazzler says that he’s right. But first they need to separate Wolverine and Howlett from those things. Their healing factors won’t save them. A blur suddenly rushes past Sage, startling her.

Northstar flies so fast he punches a hole on one of the monster’s chests. As he speeds away, he tells them to try and touch him or at least get up from the holes on their chests. He gets to Wolverine and Howlett and drags them back to their teams. Gambit grabs Dark Beast and asks what he did. McCoy swears he did nothing but Gambit charges a card and holds it to his face. The monsters start to get up so Karma tries to possess one while it’s weak. However, she starts to scream in pain and purple mist flows out of her eyes and mouth. Possessed by the monsters, she turns to the team. She tells them all they taste so sweet after so many eons of darkness. The monsters tell the X-Men that they freed them but Wolverine tells them they didn’t. They says that they broke the walls the Celestials built to contain them. They have felt it for some time… tears, fissures, cracks… growing wider with each of their leaps. Cyclops suddenly realizes that it is their fault.

Jean tells Prophet that they have to do something. He says they are and then tells her to hold tight. Sabretooth says that Karma is being eaten from the inside out; they can practically see the life leaving her body. Still speaking through Karma, the monsters say that they crossed dimensions too many times and weakened the Celestial prison that bound them. They are now free and they will feed. And they will grow strong.

Iceman suddenly glides into the fight and blasts the monsters. He says they are not hurting any more of his friends. He envelopes them in ice as the team rush to Karma’s aid. Sabretooth says he hasn’t seen Iceman in a while; he thought he might be dead. Jean says that he is and that isn’t their Iceman. Nightcrawler and Kid Nightcrawler suddenly teleport in to the X-terminators. Nightcrawler says that they are strangers down there no matter how familiar they look. Deadeye pulls a gun on Kid Nightcrawler but the other two teams approach them. Wolverine, still healing from his wounds, points his claws at them and says they better run like hell because they are cowards. He tells Jean and Sabretooth he thought better of them.

Prophet interrupts and tells Wolverine to say it to him because he told them not to help. What Wolverine calls cowardice, he calls intelligence. Gathering data to formulate a strategy. If that meant some of them dying, then he can live with it. Especially if they learn something useful. Wolverine asks if he found out anything. Prophet asks what makes him think he’ll share anything with him, but Jean interjects that they don’t have time for this. She tells Prophet that if he knows something useful then he should share it with the rest of them.

Dark Beast says it’s too late. They wasted too much time and now those things are about to break free. Horror Show asks if Prophet found out anything useful. Prophet says that they consume energy and matter. Dazzler sarcastically says to tell her something she doesn’t know. He continues and says they can also be temporarily wounded and contained. Jean points out that it’s very temporary, as they watch the three monsters burst out of the ice. Prophet says that if they don’t find a way to permanently trap or kill them then they will look fondly on the days Apocalypse ruled the world.

Kid Nightcrawler asks Sage what the plan is. Sage says that her telepathy wasn’t strong enough to capture their thoughts. Now that they are stronger, they are projecting. She suddenly spins around to Dark Beast and screams to shut the portal. On his knees, McCoy says that there is no way to shut the portal from here. They watch as one of the monsters walks through the portal and disappears. Wolverine asks if it just went to their world and Dazzler swears. Sage says they smell life and power. They will take their world and this one. She turns to Prophet and asks what he is hiding because, whatever it is, the creatures can taste it. He tells her to stay out of his head.

Wolverine says they have to go after the monster. Prophet tells him he has no plan or weapon. Howlett tells him it’s better than just standing still. Wolverine yells for Northstar to give him a push past the other two monsters. Howlett says he is going too as he has an itch that needs scratching. Hercules chips in and says he is also going. Dark Beast says they have no idea how to close the portal but then gives up telling them otherwise. As Hercules grabs Wolverine and Howlett, Northstar tells the three men they have no idea what they are doing. Wolverine says they can’t let that thing loose on their world without a fight. Northstar slams into Hercules and the three men are catapulted through the portal.

(Chapter Four)

One of the monsters heads of towards the city of New Apocalypse whilst the other starts to feed off the energy of the portal. Iceman asks what they do now, to which Karma says they should go home. Dazzler tells them they can’t leave these two monsters and walk away from this world. Gambit says he can but Prophet tells them that they’ll all die and their world too. On the other hand, he might have a weapon… Apocalypse. Jean adamantly tells him he can’t, not for any reason. Prophet says she should know better than anyone that power is not buried forever.

Gambit asks if Apocalypse is there and Sage realizes that’s what the monsters can smell. Prophet says that whilst the man is dead the power that made his Apocalypse still exists and they have contained it. Dark Beast realizes that he means the Apocalypse seed and comments that he has been busy. Prophet turns to him and tells him to wipe the drool of his mouth.

A little way off, Nightcrawler tells his child counterpart to get away from him. Kid Nightcrawler is intrigued by him, though. Dazzler asks how the Apocalypse seed can be used as a weapon against the monsters. Prophet says the Apocalypse seed rivals the Phoenix Force in its transformative potential. Not even Apocalypse pushed it to its limits to see what it could do. It can inhabit anyone and it can be molded. It was created by the Celestials, who are apparently the enemies of these creatures.

Nightcrawler tells Kid Nightcrawler they are nothing alike and not to be deceived by appearances. The kid says that he has seen a lot and he has seen how different the same people can be. Alternate dimensions are his thing but he has never met himself before. He thought he was alone in the multiverse.

Prophet asks what choice they have and says they can’t rely on the other world to stop the creatures. If there is a possibility then it must be explored. Kid Nightcrawler says it’s all their fault from jumping through the dimensions. His older self tells him it isn’t just their fault. Karma tells Prophet he made a great argument but on the other side of that portal are friends and a world that needs them now. He agrees and says some of them will have to go back and some of them will stay.

He indicates to AoA Nightcrawler, Iceman, Cyclops and Dazzler. He reasons that a teleporter is essential and Bobby is the only one who can slow them down. And the other two have energy based powers that may prove useful when activating the Apocalypse seed. Dazzler tells him she doesn’t like the sound of that. Prophet says the rest of them will be going through the portal. Kid Nightcrawler tells Dazzler he doesn’t want to leave her but she says that they might need a teleporter on the other side. Sage tells him that she’ll be with him as well as Howlett and Hercules, who are already on the other side.

Prophet tells Jean he’s going with them. She tells him she had a feeling and then asks him if he’s going to shut the portal. He replies that it’s one less creature to come back to their world and it might give them a better chance. When she says he has no chance, he tells her he never thought of her as a pessimistic. He tells her there’s something she needs to know about the Apocalypse seed. He whispers something in her ear and she looks forlorn.

As they watch the monster feed off the portal, Iceman comments that it’s grown bigger. Sage tells him the more it eats the more mass it has. Imagine what would happen if it ate a world? Gambit says they had better not waste any time. Deadeye says they can’t get near it without it killing them and Sabretooth asks if Iceman can freeze it again, but he replies that he could barely make an ice cube right now. Horror Show asks about the teleporters but Nightcrawler says their powers don’t work like that. Sabretooth says it calls for a distraction and Horror Show looks at him and asks if he’s thinking what he’s thinking. Sabretooth replies that if it involves insanity and death, then they are on the same wavelength.

Jean tells Sabretooth they have been through too much together and they can find another way. He says there is no time. If anyone is going to save the world, it’s going to be her. Horror Show takes off his mask and asks if she has any words for him but she simply kisses him. Karma tells Iceman he might get stuck here and he tells her he’s trying not to think about that. Gambit tells him he doesn’t have to stay but Iceman replies that he would always wonder if he could have made a difference. Dazzler comments that they are strangers in paradise, but Gambit points out it’s more like hell.

Deadeye goes and stands next to Prophet, causing him to say he didn’t ask her to come. She replies that he didn’t have to as she wouldn’t have stayed behind, even if he asked. Kid Nightcrawler teleports Sabretooth and Horror Show closer to the monster. They thank him and tell him to get out of there. Both men look at each other and Horror Show tells Sabretooth he was a lousy dad. He says he knows but he still loves him. Horror Show says he really wants to die now. As they charge at the monster, the winds and energy from the portal swirls around them. Sabretooth tells his son to make it count but Horror Show says he doesn’t think that’s a possibility. They start firing weapons to get the monsters attention. It stops draining energy from the portal and turns towards them.

Everyone grabs a hold of Kid Nightcrawler and he says he has never teleported this many people before. Kurt teleports them in a huge cloud of smoke. They appear on the other side of the portal and Kurt passes out.

In New Apocalypse, Sabretooth and Horror Show are continuing their assault on the monster. Eventually, they are overcome by the energies it is wielding and they are vaporized. Jean Grey sheds a tear and then tells the remaining group to get a move on. Nightcrawler tells Dark Beast he can’t believe they let him stay. McCoy replies he told the woman with a computer in her head how to shut down the portal. He might be useful on this side. Nightcrawler replies that he just wants to get his hand on the Apocalypse seed. McCoy grins and says that power does have its temptations, even at the end of the world. The team wanders off as the other monster continues its rampage on New Apocalypse.

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Iceman, Karma, Northstar, Wolverine (all Astonishing X-Men)

Cyclops, Dazzler, Hercules, Howlett, Kid Nightcrawler, Sage (all X-treme X-Men)

Deadeye, Fiend, Goodnight, Horror Show, Jean Grey, Prophet, Sabretooth (all X-terminated)

Nightcrawler (AoA)

Dark Beast


Dreaming Celestial

Story Notes: 

This is the second issue of the X-termination event.

The read order goes…

X-Termination #1

Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #60

Age of Apocalypse #14

X-treme X-Men (2nd series) #13

Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #61

X-Termination #2

The Xavier from the X-treme X-Men was killed and his energy absorbed into the monsters last issue.

Whilst not indicated in X-termination #1, it evidently contained chapters one and two.

In chapter four, when Prophet is organizing who is staying and going through the portal, the panels and text are unclear as to whom he is speaking. The silhouettes are of Iceman, Cyclops and AoA Nightcrawler.

Issue Information: 
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