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Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Jonathan Hickman (story), Ed Brubaker (scripter), Adam Kubert (penciler), John Dell (inker), Laura Martin & Larry Molinar (colorists), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Jim Cheung & Justin Ponsor (cover artists), Adam Kubert & Justin Ponsor, Nick Bradshaw & Marte Gracia (variant cover artists), Jake Thomas (assistant editors), Lauren Sankovitch (associate editor), Nick Lowe (consulting editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive editor)
Iron Fist protects Hope from Cyclops who has come to take her away. Hope runs for safety, while Iron Man intervenes and attacks Cyclops. In Russia, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Storm, Captain America and Professor X stand over the defeated Colossus and Magik, but the Professor knows Cyclops and Emma are succumbing to the Phoenix’s dark influence. Cyclops has taken down Iron Man, while Hope locates the Thunderer. Several more Avengers appear and confront Cyclops, despite their injuries. Hope and the Thunderer appear, riding Shao Lao, the dragon, who attacks Cyclops with the Iron Fist energy. Cyclops retaliates and downs the dragon, so Hope absorbs the dragon’s power and uses it against Cyclops, which annoys him greatly. Hope finds the Scarlet Witch, Iron Man and the Beast, and Hope seemingly uses the power of the Iron Fist, the Phoenix, and the Scarlet Witch and makes Cyclops disappear. Cyclops re-appears on the moon. The Watcher observes him and frowns. Cyclops decides that he needs more power and flies back to Earth to find Emma. Captain America and the others return to K’un Lun, and Iron Man reveals that he thinks he knows why Hope was able to defeat Cyclops. On Utopia, several mutants are forced to bow before Emma Frost, who is later challenged by Magneto, and doesn’t like it, pointing out that he is in no position to judge anyone. Later, Magneto tries to reach out to Professor X with his thoughts, telling him that they need his help, as Cyclops and Emma are losing control.
The mystical city of K’un Lun. Specifically. Right now, it is the beginning of the end. ‘Playtime is over. Time to face destiny, Hope!’ Cyclops calls out as he fires an optic blast at Iron Fist, who lunges at Hope to protect her. In the room where he is studying, Iron Man looks up from his laptop, ‘What the hell - Earthquake?’ he wonders, while a computer does a scan, and announces that the Phoenix energy field has been detected. ‘Damn it…it’s too soon!’ Iron Man mutters as he races out of the room. ‘She isn’t ready yet’ he adds. ‘Why even resist? You’re putting innocent people at risk, for no reason’ Cyclops announces. ‘Don’t you see what we’ve accomplished?’ he asks.
Hope and Iron Fist are backed up against a temple, and Iron Fist tells Cyclops that Mussolini made the trains run on time. ‘But you’re not taking this girl!’ he exclaims. ‘Please, Iron Fist…don’t make me laugh’ Cyclops replies, glowing with cosmic energy. Iron Fist quietly tells Hope that when he moves, she is to run. ‘No, this is my -’ Hope begins, but Iron Fist just tells her to find Lei Kung the Thunderer, as he will know what to do, if anyone does. ‘But…’ Hope begins, however Iron Fist moves towards Cyclops, so Hope runs like he told her to. ‘Really?’ Cyclops mutters, casting cosmic energy around Iron Fist ‘Have you not been paying attention at all since the world changed?’ Cyclops asks. ‘You’re nothing to us, Rand…none of you Avengers are’ Cyclops declares.
Iron Fist struggles in the energy, and tries to act, but Cyclops tells him to “forget it”, and throws him into some rubble. Cyclops turns and moves away, declaring that it is no use talking to the Avengers, as none of them understand. ‘I’m tryinf to save a whole species!’ he exclaims, while Hope rushes across a rickety old swing-bride. ‘C’mon, Hope…move, move…’ the girl tells herself. Cyclops suddenly senses something approaching his way, and is knocked through the air by Iron Man. ‘It’s called everything I’ve got left, Summers. Enjoy it!’ Iron Man tells Cyclops as he holds onto him and flies swiftly through the air.
Meanwhile, in Russia, specifically, the Verkhovansk Mountains, where Captain America, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Dr Strange, Storm, the Black Panther and Professor X stand over the motionless bodies of Magik and Colossus, after the Phoenixes prison was destroyed. ‘No, please…you have to come back with us, Professor. It’s too dangerous out here’ Captain America tells Xavier, who replies that is exactly why he can’t run away - he won’t turn his back on his people, not again. ‘I let them all, even Ororo, choose the wrong side…’ he admits. Xavier states that Cyclops and Emma are falling under the Phoenix’s dark influence, so he needs to ensure that mutantkind doesn’t fall with them.
Meantime, on the floating island of Utopia, Emma Frost hovers over several mutants. She enjoys how they bow to her. How their minds think only good thoughts, only adoration. Polaris, Boom-Boom, Cannonball, Sunspot, Velocidad, Surge and Hepzibah are among those before her. However, ‘You. Cannonball’ Emma calls up. ‘Yes?’ Cannonball looks up from where he is kneeling beside his former girlfriend Boom-Boom and his best friend Sunspot. ‘You think me cruel?’ Emma scowls. ‘No…I…I don’t’ Cannonball replies. ‘Your words and your thoughts don’t agree. Best if you change your thoughts’ Emma suggests as she turns and walks away on the air. ‘Yes…yes, ma’am’ Cannonball utters.
Nearby, ‘Damn it, Frost’ Magneto calls out through his mind. ‘What, Erik? What is your complaint?’ Emma asks him as she approaches him. ‘That’s no way to treat your own kind. It’s no way to treat anyone’ Magneto tells her, still speaking through thoughts. Magneto tells Emma that they have a chance here, to do something great, the power to change the world for all mutantkind. ‘And you -’ he begins, but Emma, still scowling, interrupts: ‘No. WE do not have power. I have power’ she corrects him, before telling Magneto that he has forgotten his place. She takes control of him, but he resists, and utters ‘Let…me…go…’.
Emma asks Magneto if she needs to recite his sins to him - absent father, traitor, murderer. ‘How many of us died under your watch on Genosha? How many of my students?’ Emma demands, before telling Magneto that he is in no position to judge anyone, and calls him an arrogant fool as she takes her leave. Sweat pours from Mangeto’s brow, before he collapses. He looks over at his helmet which sits on a step nearby. ‘Damn it…’ he mutters.
Back in K’un Lun, Cyclops stands over Iron Man, whose body lies in the rubble of a building. ‘You’re wasting my time, Stark…and it doesn’t matter. I’ll find the girl. This whole city can’t stop me’ Cyclops boasts. ‘Might be…mistaken about that’ Iron Man tells Cyclops, who boasts that he is practically a god, and that mystical kung fu doesn’t worry him. Iron Man’s armor tells him that his power levels are recharging, currently at eight percent, and that his outer hull will reseal in five point three minutes. ‘Not fast enough…’ Tony mutters to himself, while Cyclops turns and walks away, telling Iron Man not to get in his way again.
Elsewhere in K’un Lun, ‘Hello? Mister Thunderer?’ Hope calls out as she approaches a cave, and nervously enters it. ‘Ahh!’ she gasps when Lei Kung appears in front of her. ‘I’m here, Hope Summers…and it is time for your final lesson’ the Thunderer announces.
Walking through the village, ‘Come out, Hope! I’m not here to hurt you!’ Cyclops shouts. He turns when a voice exclaims ‘You even believe that yourself, Summers…or do you think she’s just an idiot?’ Hawkeye asks as he, Thor and the Thing appear. Hawkeye aims an arrow at Cyclops, while Thor tells him that it is time to pay for his crimes. ‘What Blondie’s trying to say is -’ the Thing begins, before Cyclops, fueled by the cosmic energy of the Phoenix, fires a powerful optic blast the trio, knocking them backwards. ‘How’s that for clobbering time?’ Cyclops asks, when suddenly, he is engulfed by a green energy. ‘That…hurt…what?’ Cyclops utters, looking up, he sees a dragon flying overhead, with Hope and the Thunderer riding it. ‘YES!’ Hope exclaims. ‘Again, Shao Lao!’ the Thunderer tells the dragon.
Shao Lao is the undying source of the power of the K’un Lun. Carrier of the Iron Fist energy, endlessly reborn, and who legend says once defeated the Phoenix itself. The dragon fires energy at Cyclops, who dodges from the blast. The dragon is a last, best hope…but this dragon is young, too young, not strong enough yet, as Cyclops retaliates, ‘NOOO!’ he booms, firing another powerful optic blast upwards, it strikes the dragon, causing it, as well as Hope and the Thunderer, to fall from the sky. ‘You hurt me…that won’t happen again, creature’ Cyclops tells the dragon as he goes over to it. Lei Kung appears and kicks Cyclops in the back, knocking him to the ground. ‘You would kill a wounded animal? You would hurt a little girl? Where is your honor?’ Lei Kung asks Cyclops.
‘You’re really siding with them, over your own people, Hope? Why?’ Cyclops demands. Hope frowns at Cyclops and tells him to look at what he has done. ‘Why would I side with monsters…who destroy innocent people’s lives?’ Hope asks him. Cyclops points out that he is trying to save their species. ‘If that makes me a monster, then I’ll be a -’ he begins as he approaches Hope, Lei Kung and the dragon. ‘STAY BACK!’ Hope screams, and green energy pours from her mouth, striking Cyclops. Hope is confused, ‘Oh my God…I absorbed the dragon. How did I do that?’ she asks, before starting to run away. ‘That’s it…now you’ve pissed me off’ Cyclops mutters.
Hope looks anxiously over her shoulder as she runs back into the village, where she is found by the Scarlet Witch, Beast and Iron Man. ‘Hope!’ the Beast exclaims, while the Scarlet Witch tells her to take it easy. Wide-eyed, Hope tells the others that Cyclops is here, and that he is more powerful now, and that she just used dragon flames. ‘And I don’t know how and -’ she utters, while the Scarlet Witch calms her down, telling her that she is not alone no. Here he comes…’ Iron Man tells the others. ‘YOU!’ Cyclops booms as he sees the Scarlet Witch. The Scarlet Witch tells the others to get behind her, as she casts her powers towards Cyclops. ‘Nice try…but I’m stronger than the last time we met…’ Cyclops smirks. ‘That was everything I had…’ the Scarlet Witch tells the others. ‘Yeah…that’s not good’ Iron Man remarks, while the Beast tells Hope to get behind them. ‘Give me the girl, or -’ Cyclops begins, before Hope burns with three kinds of energy - cosmic, chaos and dragon, and she screams ‘STOP THIS!’
‘What…? Hey…’ Cyclops utters as he falls to the ground, the energy around him vanishes. ‘No…how did you…?’ he asks, his voice fluctuating between normal and cosmic. ‘KIII-YAAAHHH!’ Hope shouts as she uses the “chaos fist” for the first time - slamming her fist into Cyclops as she screams ‘GO AWAY!’ the Scarlet Witch, Beast and Iron Man look on, while Hope utters ‘Whoa. What did I just do?’, and seeing that Cyclops has gone, she asks where he went.
In space, there is no sound. But Scott Summers hears himself screaming as he lands on the moon. It takes an hour to recover enough to stand - and he can’t stop thinking about it - Hope hurt him. That shouldn’t be possible. He frowns, and knows that he needs more power - he needs Emma. In the stars above, a Watcher stares down at Cyclops, who takes off, back towards the Earth.
A portal opens in K’un Lun, and Captain America, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Dr Strange, Storm, the Black Panther and Professor X emerge from it. ‘My God…Tony, are you all okay? What happened?’ Captain America calls out. The Scarlet Witch and Iron Man stand with Hope, and look at Captain America as Iron Man tells him that what happened was they missed it all - missed the turning point. ‘Because our girl Hope just kicked Cyclops’s ass…and I think I know why’ Iron Man exclaims.
Back on Utopia, Magneto strides towards the edge of one of the floating buildings. A panel opens up and he walks down some stairs towards the ocean that rocks below. He removes his helmet, and opens his mind: ‘Charles Xavier…please hear my thoughts…we need your help here, old friend. Scott and Emma…they’re losing control…’
Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik (all Phoenix Five)
Polaris (member of X-Factor)Magneto (member of the X-Men based on Utopia)Cannonball (member of the X-Men based at the Jean Grey School)Magma, Sunspot (both New Mutants)Boom-Boom, Hepzibah (both residents of Utopia)Surge IV, Velocidad (both X-Men students based on Utopia)
Beast, Storm, Wolverine (members of both the X-Men and the Avengers)
Black Panther, Captain America, Dr Strange, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, Thing, Thor (all Avengers)
Lei LungShao Lao