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Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Jonathan Hickman (story), Matt Fraction (scripter), John Romita Jr (penciler), Scott Hana (inker), Laura Martin (colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Jim Cheung & Laura Martin (cover artists), Ryan Stegman & Marte Gracia (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)
Despite the presence of the Phoenix hovering over them on the Blue Area of the moon, Cyclops, the White Queen, Magik, Colossus and the Sub-Mariner face off against the Avengers but Hope unleashes her cosmic power against the X-Men and Avengers, before telling Wolverine that she was wrong, that she cannot handle the Phoenix, and asks him to kill her. Wolverine is ready to do so, but Cyclops knocks him back. Giant Man and Iron Man are nearby, busy working on a very large tank-like armor. The X-Men and Avengers again engage in battle, while Hope fears the Phoenix. On Earth, powerful disruptions are noted by Professor X and Legion, the Scarlet Witch and Lei Kung. Wearing his tank-armor, Iron Man flies towards the Phoenix, while the Avengers space team arrives on the moon, as Thor recovers. Cyclops stands by his belief that Hope and the Phoenix was meant to happen, despite Hope no longer wanting the Phoenix. Captain America asks Cyclops to stand down once more, while Iron Man releases his weapon at the Phoenix - which seems to dissipate and engulfs those on the moon. When the dust clears, however, the Avengers are confronted by Cyclops, the White Queen, Colossus, Magik and the Sub-Mariner who have now all been infused with the power of the Phoenix. Cyclops is annoyed, as the power was meant for Hope. The X-Men threaten the Avengers, before heading towards Earth.
The Blue Area of the Moon, where a small team of X-Men - Cyclops, the White Queen, the Sub-Mariner, Colossus and Magik - rush towards a team of Avengers - Captain America, Hawkeye, the Thing, Black Widow and the Red Hulk. Hope Summers burns with a powerful cosmic energy, and she thinks to herself that Colonel Thomas Ferebee was the name of the man on the plane who pushed the button that dropped the atomic bomb on human beings for the first time. She knows that a hundred and fifty thousand people - maybe more - died in a white-hot flash of fire, or in the silence that came after. ‘But no one ever says “Colonel Thomas Ferebee killed a hundred fifty thousand people”!’ Hope thinks to herself, understanding that they blame the bomb, not the bombardier who dropped it. ‘And yet without one…you don’t get the other. So…so am I the bomb? Or am I the bombardier?’ the young mutant asks herself as she falls to the ground, the powerful Phoenix Force hovering over the moon.
‘And if you could ask any of the dead…would it matter to them anymore? My name is Hope Summers…and this is all my fault’ Hope tells herself, while Magik blocks the Black Widow’s sting with her Soulsword, Colossus goes up against the Red Hulk, the Sub-Mariner tackles the Thing, Hawkeye fires an arrow at the White Queen, who is in her diamond form, and Captain America’s shield blocks Cyclops’s optic blast. Wolverine, meantime, rushes towards Hope. ‘Please stop…’ Hope calls out, but gets no response. ‘I said - STOP!’ she screams, sending a surge of cosmic energy towards the X-Men and the Avengers, knocking them all to the moon surface. The energy continues to pour from Hope’s eyes, and she tells Wolverine that she was wrong, that she thought she could, but she can’t, that it is too much.
Injured from the blast of cosmic fury, Wolverine slowly crawls towards Hope, growling, while Hope tells Wolverine that he has to kill her. ‘You think you can do that for me, Logan? You promised…’ Hope calls out. ‘Kid…I’ll try!’ Wolverine replies as he lunges towards her, claws bared - only for an optic blast from Cyclops to knock him away from Hope. ‘NO!’ Cyclops bellows.
Inside a nearby vessel, Giant Man and Iron Man are both busy working. ‘Looks like all hell is breaking loose out there’ Giant Man remarks. ‘Then let’s hurry it up in here’ Iron Man replies, adding that the closer the bird gets the more hellish things are going to get, before asking Giant Man if he has completed the diagnostic routines. ‘You’re ready’ Giant Man replies, ‘Or at least as ready as anyone can be to pilot a…whatever this is…without testing it first’ Giant Man replies. ‘Testing is for suckers. We’re men of science. Time top act like it. We’re pioneers. We’re pilots…right?’ Iron Man replies as he begins to interface with the ship, or, more specifically, a tank-like Iron Man armor. ‘So we’re the kamikaze’ Giant Man declares.
Back outside, ‘Kill you, Summers!’ Wolverine shouts as he lunges towards Cyclops, who releases another optic blast while replying ‘You can try’. Hope thinks to herself that at some point, they will stop treating her like a ball they are all trying to carry downfield, and just start trying to kill each other. ‘Little punk maggot -’ the Red Hulk exclaims as he tries to rip the juggernaut helmet from Colossus’ head. ‘Too many years of pain and fear and suffering. Too much death’ Hope tells herself, while Hawkeye fires another arrow at the White Queen, who replies ‘Please, darling, I’m made of diamond - do you think a little fire could -’, but Hawkeye quickly exclaims ‘Lady, shut the hell up!’
‘Watch where you point that thing!’ the Black Widow tells Magik as she forces the young mutant’s Soulsword up away from her. Hope knows there was a plan, but now there is just chaos. ‘I failed. And now, where there was hope. There’s just hate’. ‘Im-per-ius- the Sub-Mariner tries to exclaim as the Thing grabs him. ‘Close your smart mouth for good!’ the Thing threatens. Wolverine tells Cyclops that he has gone too far, and lashes out at him, striking just below his chest. Cyclops cries out in pain, but continues to fire optic blast towards Captain America, who asks him to stop this madness. ‘It’s all too late now anyhow’ Hope thinks to herself. She knows that a purifying fire from across the stars has come, and it is too late for them all. The Phoenix Force looms down over the Blue Area, and everyone looks up at it. ‘Come on, Stark…’ Captain America utters.
In the lunar orbit, the space-team of Avengers - Ms Marvel, the Beast, the Vision, Captain Britain, War Machine and Valkyrie - witness the Phoenix hover over the moon. While in Ibiza, Spain, Professor Charles Xavier and his son, Legion, are walking along a beach when they are both struck by surging mental pain. ‘Father - make it stop!’ Legion pleads. In the mystical city K’un Lun, Lei Kung stands near the temple, and tells himself ‘And so. It begins again…’. While, elsewhere, the Scarlet Witch’s hands glow with power, but she utters ‘No…no…’.
Back on the moon, ‘Ignition!’ Iron Man exclaims in his tank-like armor. ‘Here goes nothing’ Captain America remarks as he watches the large Iron Man armor fly towards the Phoenix. ‘Here goes nothing’ Iron Man says to himself as he approaches the cosmic force. Hope gets to her feet and Cyclops goes over to her, while Captain America tells him that they don’t have much time and that he has to stop this. The space-team of Avengers drops down to the moon, while Captain America tells Cyclops to step away from Hope, that they have to get her out of here. ‘Time to be a leader, son. Don’t fall sway to all this madness’ Cap tells him. ‘Madness? I’m trying to save my race. You’re trying to snuff us all out’ Cyclops replies, adding that none of them understands this thing like he does. ‘None of you knows this girl like me’ he exclaims.
With the X-Men standing behind him, Cyclops announces that this was all meant to happen - Hope and the Phoenix are meant to be together. ‘And you can’t stop it!’ he shouts, while, up above, the Phoenix Force engages Iron Man. ‘Oh, man. This better work’ Stark thinks to himself, announcing that the Phoenix is in range, he fires the disruptor, which releases powerful energy towards the Phoenix, striking it at close-range impact in spectacular display that lights up the cosmos, and a whiteness engulfs the moon. Hope thinks to herself that she spent her life waiting for this exact, singular moment, running from it, running towards it, fearing it, waiting for it. Every second, every hour, every day. The thing was, when it finally arrived, she just didn’t want it.
As the power of the Phoenix surrounds Hope, she learns that it doesn’t want her, either. An instant later, the white cosmic energy has vanished. ‘Ahhh. Avengers, sit rep. Are we alive? Who’s alive?’ Captain America calls out. The Hulk and the Thing appear to be sitting up, while Hawkeye and the Black Widow are motionless. ‘Wolverine. Wolverine? Are we - are you -’ Cap calls out as a reddish haze surrounds them. ‘The girl, Cap. Can’t see. Where’s the girl?’ Wolverine calls out. Up above, Iron Man radios Captain America, asking ‘Did I kill the Phoenix? Because it looked amazing, and -’, but Cap interrupts him, ‘One sec’ he replies, as he notices something behind him. Indeed, Cyclops, the White Queen, Colossus, Magik and the Sub-Mariner, wearing cosmic-variations of their costume, now with phoenix emblems, hover over the Avengers. They are surrounded by the cosmic power, and hope lies motionless in Cyclops’s arms. ‘The gift of the Phoenix was meant for her, not us. You people…did something…to it. And now she…now we are Phoenix’ Cyclops declares.
Cyclops states that Hope needs their help, that they will take her home, to heal her, to ready her. ‘We shall do its work while she is prepared for what comes next’ the Sub-Mariner declares, and the White Queen exclaims that this world can still be saved, be healed. ‘We have much work ahead of us’ Colossus points out. ‘Time to evolve tomorrow itself. Beyond everything you’ve ever imagined’ Magik remarks. Hawkeye and the Black Widow have since recovered and are standing with their teammates, while Captain America declares ‘You’re talking like lunatics. And the young lady made her decision known. She stays with us. Pyrotechnics and scary voices don’t chance that!’ he tells the X-Men.
‘Hah. “Captain America”. We are more than you now. More than human…more than mutant. Our task is more than you can even conceive. As you cannot stop tomorrow, you cannot stop us. Do not even try’ Cyclops announces, before casually knocking the Avengers back with a surge of energy. Carried in Cyclops’s arms, Hope is propelled along with the other X-Men back down towards Earth. She thinks to herself that it almost seems funny, that she used to wonder if she was destined to be the bomb or the bombardier in this war, when, all this time, she was just like everybody else. ‘My name is Hope Summers, and I was just like you. I was just another victim of what the Phoenix had in store…’.
Colossus, Cyclops, Magik, Sub-Mariner, White Queen (all X-Men)
Beast & Wolverine (members of the X-Men and Avengers)
Black Widow, Captain America, Captain Britain, Giant Man, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Ms Marvel, Red Hulk, Thing, Thor, Valkyrie, Vision, War Machine (all Avengers)
Professor X & Legion