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Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Jonathan Hickman (story), Jonathan Hickman (scripter), John Romita Jr (penciler), Scott Hana (inker), Laura Martin (colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Jim Cheung & Laura Martin (cover artists), Jerome Opena & Dean White (variant cover artists), John Denning (assistant editor), 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)
In Antarctica, Hope locates Wolverine and tries to convince him that she was destined to be one with the Phoenix, and that he needs to give her a chance. Wolverine agrees to help her, and they steal a space ship from AIM. In space, the Avengers space team are floating aimlessly, except for Thor, who confronts the Phoenix directly. Even his might is not enough to defeat the cosmic entity, and it consumes a planet before Thor’s very eyes. On Earth Cyclops and the White Queen are pleased that more of Wolverine’s X-Men are joining their side, and the White Queen possesses the mind of Toad, and through him, accesses the Cerebra system at the Jean Grey School, which she uses to tap into the supposed locations of Hope - but all she finds is X-Men and Avengers, fighting in Wakanda, Tabula Rasa, Latveria, at Wundagore Mountain and the Savage Land. At Avengers Tower, Iron Man is busy working on a weapon, while conversing with Captain America who is in the Savage Land, and has discovered where Hope is. Arriving at the Blue Area of the Moon, Hope realizes that she was tricked by Wolverine, as a team of Avengers arrives. Cyclops, the White Queen, Colossus, Magik and the Sub-Mariner appear on the moon, and the two teams are about to face off - when Thor falls to the moon, and the Phoenix appears.
Antarctica, where the snow falls hard. A can of beer can be seen sticking out of the snow-covered ground, and a polar beer lumbers towards it. However, the polar bear is covered in blood - presumably dead, it is strapped to the back of X-Man and Avenger Wolverine, who picks up the can of beer, ‘Thank you, Lord’ he utters, before seeing several more cans laid out ahead of him. ‘Eh?’ Wolverine wonders as he sees a jet up ahead. He drags the polar bear towards the jet, where a figure in a hooded jacket stands. ‘And here I thought it was just a beer trap. I’ve been looking for you’ she announces. Wolverine drops the beer cans when he realizes who is standing before him. She pulls down a scarf that is covering her face and greets Wolverine, who unsheathes his blood-stained claws and replies ‘Hello, Hope’.
Meanwhile, in deep space, specifically the inner rim of the Eridannian System, several powerful members of the Avengers float in space - Ms Marvel, Captain Britain, the Vision, War Machine, Valkyrie, Protector and the Beast, who is also a member of the X-Men. Only the mighty Thor remains conscious, blood trickling down his face as the cosmic energy of the Phoenix Force looms over him. He spins his mighty hammer, then hurls it towards the cosmic force. The hammer strikes the Phoenix, only to return to Thor’s hand quickly, as the Phoenix Force streaks across the cosmos, towards a planet nearby, which it quickly engulfs, leaving a wide-eyed Thor unable to stop it.
Back in Antarctica, ‘Logan - WAIT!’ Hope calls out, her hands surging with cosmic energy. But Wolverine tells Hope that there is no way she is talking herself out of this one. ‘It is what it is, kid’ he adds. Hope promises Wolverine that she can change his mind, and asks for one minute, while offering him more beer - not frozen. Logan pauses, before replying ‘One minute’.Still with the polar bear dragged over his back, Wolverine follows Hope into the jet, asking ‘And aren’t you a little young to be buying…’ to which Hope explains that Kid Omega is making some pretty convincing fake IDs, and sells them from his dorm room. ‘You know. At your school’ Hope adds. ‘Kid’s gonna be the death of me’ Wolverine mutters, before telling Hope that the clock is ticking. As Hope tosses Wolverine a can of beer, she starts with a recap - that the Phoenix Force is headed to Earth, to her, and that she believes that if she embraces it, she will be able to use its power to reignite mutantdom. ‘And you think that it’ll possess me and I’ll lose control and destroy everything and everyone on this planet’ Hope points out.
‘Don’t “think” - I know it’ Wolverine replies, reminding Hope that he has seen what the bird does with his own two eyes. ‘Yeah…but what if I’m right?’ Hope asks. Wolverine tells her that he doesn’t believe that. Hope suggests that he should, as that is what his school is all about - kids making a better world. ‘I believe the Phoenix is a thing of destiny - it’s coming and it can’t be stopped. I believe I’m meant to have it so I can do all the wonderful things that rebirth implies. But just in case you’re right and I’m wrong - in case I can’t control it…you’re the only person I trust to stop me’ Hope states. Wolverine knocks back the beer, and replies ‘Let’s pretend for a moment I’m, on board. You certain this is a dance you’re down for, little girl?’
‘Yes. So. Please’ Hope replies. Wolverine pauses and crushes his beer can, asking Hope if she has a plan in mind. ‘Yeah. Starts with us getting out of here’ Hope replies. They take their seats in the plane, with Hope asking Wolverine if he can fly it. ‘Sure’ Logan tells her. Hope tells Wolverine that is great, because she was so exhausted from being on the run that she almost crashed this earlier. ‘Okay, and then? After that?’ Wolverine inquires. As the jet takes off, Hope remarks that they are gonna need a bigger ship.
At an abandoned Hellfire Club safe house, the White Queen reclines in a chair and informs Cyclops that more of Wolverine’s staff and students have joined them, and even now, more are heading over to their side. Staring out a window, Cyclops replies that is good, as they need to get everyone they can. ‘Hope’s somewhere out there, running for her life, Emma - the spark to reignite all of mutantkind’ . ‘We have to help her’ he adds. ‘Yes, yes…five flickering flames, lighting up the world’ Emma mutters, reminding her partner that they have sent X-Men to all of the locations in the hope of finding her, or, at the very least, to prevent the Avengers from catching Hope. The White Queen announces that if they are going to truly stay one step ahead of them, then they will need something more. ‘Concentration from me. Control of the weakest of minds…and a little help from Cerebra’ Emma states as she takes control of the mind of the janitor for the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning - the mind of Toad.
Toad puts down his bucket and mop as he enters Cerebra, walking towards the controls, he sits down and puts the headpiece on his head - despite it being too big for him. ‘Ah! Hello, world’ the White Queen smiles, as she begins tracking down Hope.
In Wakanda, she sees Storm, Danger, Magma, Rachel Grey and Doctor Nemesis going up against the Black Panther, Quicksilver, the Black Widow and Iron Fist. ‘Now…where oh where could you be? Not in Wakanda. I see Avengers and X-Men fighting. I see a husband battling his wife…but no Hope - and no sign of what I’m looking for’ the White Queen informs Cyclops, referring to Storm and the Black Panther who are currently on opposing sides. Danger attacks the Black Widow, who retaliates with her “widow’s bite”, while Magma fires a blast of lava at Iron Fist, and Rachel takes down Quicksilver.
Emma states that in Tabula Rasa there is more of the same, as the Thing goes up against the Sub-Mariner, while Luke Cage is contented by Sunspot and Hepzibah. ‘You know what, fish boy? I don’t even care what’s going on…I just like punching you in your stupid face!’ the Thing declares as he smacks Namor backwards. As a giant creature bursts from the ground and traps the heroes in its tendrils, Emma states that the rivalries are just on new terrain, and over new causes. ‘Scars on top of older scars’ she remarks.
‘And in Latveria…there’s always Doom’ Emma jokes, while Spider-Man, the original Spider-Woman, Mockingbird and Daredevil go up against Dazzler, Colossus and Domino, while a host of Doombots surround them. Dazzler and Spider-Woman attack each other, while Mockingbird knocks Domino’s weapon from her hand. Spider-Man wraps Colossus in a web, while Daredevil kicks him in the face. ‘I don’t know what we were expecting…come see the glorious Carpathian mountains. Home of hairy goats and Doombots and - we promise - every mutant except the one you’re looking for!’ Spider-Man jokes, while asking someone to call for help.
‘And still no Hope as the battle rages at the base of Wundagore Mountain. Still no evidence of what I’m looking for’ Emma reports to Cyclops, while the Red Hulk smashes his way through ice-creatures created by Iceman. Psylocke stabs Hawkeye with her psi-knife as the archer fires an arrow towards Angel, who hovers overhead. Psylocke tells her ex-boyfriend to look out, while Doctor Strange and Magneto confront each other, though they appear to be at a stale-mate.
Emma decides this leaves her with only one possible place, and begins to observe the scenario playing out in the Savage Land, as Captain America confronts Warpath, and X-Man uses his psychic power to control a dinosaur, forcing it to attack Giant Man. Magik teleports in behind Giant Man and strikes him with her Soulsword, while Captain America has taken down Warpath. ‘Stay down, son. No need for this to be worse than it already is’ he remarks unaware that Gambit is sneaking up behind him. The White Queen informs Cyclops that Hope is not at any of the locations. ‘Tricky girl has figured some way to scatter her signal. She can’t be found this way, but he’s there. Do you want me to -’ she remarks, referring to Captain America. ‘Do it. We only need Hope to stay hidden until the Phoenix arrives. Until then, I need to know what they know’ Cyclops order Emma. Emma concentrates, ‘I…I…I have him’ she announces, while Captain America spins around and blocks several of Gambit’s kinetically-charged playing cards with his trusty shield.
From the safety of Avengers Tower, Iron Man contacts Captain America, asking him if he has had any luck finding the girl. ‘Looks like a dead end. She’s fooled all of us’ Captain America replies, before asking Iron Man how much time they have left. Working away, Iron Man replies ‘Less’, adding that there is a decreasing delta in the away team’s telemetry, that they are headed this way and fast - ten hours, maybe less. He adds that the only good news is now they have a better understanding of these things since the last time mankind faced a fully realized Phoenix entity: ‘Particle accelerators simulate the big bang’ Iron Man declares, adding that at the beginning of space-time, cosmic death and rebirth were only microseconds apart, so clearly, the bird was born in that moment. Iron Man adds that he has talked to the Beast, Giant Man and Black Panther, and they all agree.
‘If I’m going to build a Phoenix-killer, I’ve got to figure out a way to crack universal expansion. You following me, Cap?’ Iron Man reports. ‘Not really’ Cap replies as he slams his shield into Gambit’s face. ‘Find the girl. Get the girl. That I understand’ Cap replies, before telling Iron Man to give him a second. ‘Have I ever told you how disappointing it is that you can’t do two things at once?’ Iron Man smiles. ‘Yeah. Hold that thought. I’m getting a -’ Cap begins, while Gambit drops to the ground. ‘Well, I’ll be…’ Cap mutters, before telling Iron Man to contact the other teams and have them pull back and rendezvous at the Tower. ‘New plan. We don’t have to chase Hope anymore’ Cap explains. ‘You found her?’ Iron Man asks. ‘No…but I did just learn where she’s headed’ Cap replies.‘Scott…they know!’ Emma exclaims urgently, concerned.
Meanwhile, at the AIM Worldworks, a staging area for Advanced Idea Mechanics, Wolverine growls as he pushes through several of the AIM operatives. ‘You’re pretty good at this death and dismemberment thing’ Hope tells him as she fires a weapon at more of the operatives. ‘What can I say…? I’m in a mood’ Wolverine replies, dropping in blood from his victims, he leers at Hope, before asking ‘I wonder who might be willing to help us find what we’re looking for?’ A nervous AIM operative who has backed themselves up against a control panel offers to do that. ‘I thought you might’ Wolverine tells them. The AIM operative taps into the computer, I’m sure you know where you’re going, but just in case, telemetry is all pre-programmed for any number of destinations and everything you need for excursions…are you going to kill me now?’ the operative asks. ‘I dunno…how fast can you run?’ Wolverine replies.
Soon, a massive door slides apart, and appearing before Wolverine and Hope is a large rocket. ‘Whoa. I did say bigger, didn’t I?’ Hope remarks. ‘Hey…a redheaded girl says she wants to go to the moon…I gotta take her’ Wolverine replies. Hope just looks at Wolverine, strangely. A short time later, the rocket takes off for space.
Nine hours later, on the Blue Area of the moon, an artificial environment created by the alien race known as the Skrulls. The spaceship lands, and Wolverine and Hope step onto the Blue Area’s surface. ‘It’s so close now. I can feel it’ Hope tells Wolverine. ‘All we have to do is wait’ she adds, when suddenly, a voice calls out ‘I’m sorry, young lady. We’re going to have to complicate your plans just a bit’. Hope turns around and sees Captain America and several other Avengers - Iron Man, Hawkeye, Giant Man, the Black Widow, the Red Hulk and the Thing. ‘No. How did you people find me?’ Hope asks. ‘As soon as he knew where you were headed, Logan let me know’ Captain America reports, telling Hope that they cannot let her do what she wants. ‘We can’t risk it’ Captain America tells her.
‘HOW COULD YOU?’ Hope screams at Wolverine, who tells her ‘A little closing of the eyes, a little fondling of the hands and wolves will come in and devour all that you have. You took a nap. I made a decision’. ‘You broke your deal’ Hope points out, to which Wolverine states that he got her off Earth. ‘You think you know what this thing is, Hope - but you don’t! I wo-’ Wolverine begins, before he is knocked aside by a blast of optic energy.Cyclops, the White Queen, the Sub-Mariner, Magik and Colossus arrive via teleportation, and Cyclops politely asks the Avengers to step away from the girl. ‘Not gonna happen, Summers. Take your X-Men back home!’ Captain America replies as the two teams prepare to face off. ‘Proximity alert’ a computer announces. ‘Sure. But not without Hope’ Cyclops tells Captain America, while the computer announces that an incoming projectile has imminent impact. ‘Enact evasive maneuvers’ the computer states.
‘EVERYONE LOOK OUT!’ Iron Man shouts, before something - or someone - strikes the moon. ‘Oh, no…’ Hawkeye utters as the dust begin to settle, and Thor is seen lying in a crater. The Thing goes over to help Thor up, while Hope turns around and announces ‘It’s here’. The Avengers and the X-Men turn in Hope’s direction, concern falls across most of their faces, as the cosmic entity known as the Phoenix hovers above them….
Colossus, Cyclops, Danger, Dazzler, Magik, Magneto, Psylocke Sub-Mariner, Warpath, White Queen (all X-Men based at Utopia)Magma, Sunspot, X-Man (all New Mutants)Doctor Nemesis (member of the X-Club)Hepzibah (resident of Utopia)
Gambit, Iceman, Marvel Girl III (all X-Men based at the Jean Grey School)Angel (student at the Jean Grey school)Toad (janitor)
Beast, Storm, Wolverine (members of both the Avengers and the X-Men)
Black Panther, Black Widow, Luke Cage, Captain America, Captain Britain, Doctor Strange, Giant Man, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Iron Man, Ms Marvel, Protector, Quicksilver, Red Hulk, Thing, Thor, Valkyrie, Vision, War Machine (all Avengers)
Somebody needs a geography lesson – polar bears are generally located in the Arctic – but not Antarctica!Notably absent from the Tabula Rasa scenes is She-Hulk, who was in Tabula Rasa in Uncanny X-Men (2nd series) #12.
Boom-Boom is absent from this scene, despite being sent to Wundagore in Uncanny X-Men (2nd series) #12.