The Uncanny X-Men #498

    The Uncanny X-Men » The Uncanny X-Men #498 - X-Men: Divided - Part Four released by Marvel on July 1, 2008.

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    Brief Description:

    Shortly after the M-Day, in which the overwhelming majority of the Earth’s mutant population was de-powered, three middle-ages hippies in San Francisco, nostalgic of the idealistic 1960s, come across an amnesiac Martinique Jason aka Mastermind, who has retained her powers post-M-Day. Martinique sees straight into the hippies’ hearts and re-imagines herself as a ‘flower child’ while generating a citywide illusion that transforms San Francisco into a late 1960s version of itself. In the present, Martinique finally recovers from her amnesia and sends Angel, Hepzibah, Iceman and Warpath, all four now fully under her control, to go find Cyclops and Emma Frost – the couple meandering through the streets of San Fran – and fight them. Meanwhile, in Russia, a government official has captured Colossus, Wolverine and Nightcrawler and tortures them, curious to know why the X-Men retained their powers post-M-Day whereas Russia lost all her mutant agents back then. After the three X-Men escape, however, the official decides to utilize his ultimate weapon, a captive that goes by the name… Omega Red. However, Omega Red slays the official after the latter frees him and prepares to fight his longtime hatred enemies, the X-Men.

    Full Synopsis:

    San Francisco

    How long ago it was that Ron, Eli and Delilah met the Goddess? They can’t even remember now. Just that it was right after they saw the news about all the mutants disappearing…


    Three middle-aged hippies, Ron, Eli and Delilah meander aimlessly through the streets of San Francisco. Eli remarks that the recent decimation of mutants is a total bummer; it’s like the world just can’t allow anything different… “Or beautiful” Delilah adds. She wonders if her companions can remember what it was like when they thought the world was going to be beautiful. Smiling, Ron admits that he can’t remember ever being so naïve – but then, he has some memory issues! “Yeah, ‘cause of all that self-medicating,” Eli teases him.

    Ron pretends to be angry and wonders if Eli’s going to get judgmental of him. Eli explains he was kidding. “Oh, because I was gonna say, you’re in no position to be pointing fingers at…” Ron mumbles, continuing his ‘act’, when suddenly Delilah’s voice cuts him short: “Guys!”

    Delilah urges the two men to come and help her as she leans above a young woman who has seemingly passed out on the sidewalk. Delilah tries to help the young brunette get back on her feet, thinking the woman’s hurt. As the brunette slowly regains her consciousness, Eli asks her if she’s okay. “I don’t… I can’t… What happened…? I can’t feel them… I can’t hear them… Where did they all go…?” the woman rambles in a weak voice. Delilah asks her who she’s looking for. The woman admits she doesn’t know. Delilah wonders whether the woman hit her head. The young brunette, visibly disoriented, again repeats that she doesn’t know… she doesn’t know anything…

    Delilah deduces that the woman is hurt and they need to get her to a hospital. “No! No hospitals! No normals!” the woman cries, obviously repulsed by the idea. “Hey, I hear you… the suits running these places are like Nazis…” Eli agrees with her reaction. However, he wonders what they are supposed to…

    Right at that moment, the young woman – the Goddess – looks into the three hippies and speaks to their inner selves; she sees their potential and what she could do for them. In an instant, she spreads her touch of ‘magic’ – and the three, middle-aged hippies seemingly turn young and beautiful again, while their benefactress generates a green dress for herself, her head now wreathed with flowers: she has become a ‘flower child’ herself, just like the three of them.

    An enchanted Eli mutters that the woman could come with them – if that’s what she wants. The Goddess believes that would be best; she urges Eli to show her the way. Behind them, a perplexed Ron scratches his head, wondering whether he’s tripping or something. Delilah admits that she doesn’t know… now she’s the one confused. However, she admits this feels real. Ron realizes it’s the woman… she did something… she changed the world. Delilah retorts that she just changed them… but she thinks she gets it. She explains to Ron that the woman is like the key to the other planes of reality…

    As days pass, the changes the Goddess made in the three hippies don’t fade away. Instead, days become months and Ron, Eli and Delilah begin to notice other changes around them. They now know that the Goddess is “blessing” the whole city, more and more of the citizens becoming ‘flower children’. Ron, Eli and Delilah know that everything will finally become like it was, like it always should have been. They will live in the past like a dream… They will live forever and nothing will change and disappoint them again… like it all had.


    “What did you say, Goddess?” Eli asks her. The woman utters a single word: Martinique. “Excuse me?” a puzzled Eli exclaims. The woman explains that’s her name, Martinique… she just remembered that. How funny, she thinks; she was thinking about those X-Men and she… she thinks she knows something about them, too. “Like what?” Eli wonders. “Like I know it wasn’t me they were looking for” Martinique explains. Smirking, she thinks it’s time they met some of their new arrivals…

    Meanwhile, in the Red Room, in Russia…

    Wolverine, all four of his limbs chained, his hands in manacles, clenches his teeth, trying – in vain – to keep himself from screaming with pain, as electricity surges through his restraints and throughout his entire body. The torture ceases for a few seconds… and then it resumes.

    The captor of Colossus, Wolverine and Nightcrawler, a middle-aged Russian government official, assures Colossus – the latter also in shackles – that he’s not going to run out of electricity. The official also observes that Colossus’ friend – Wolverine – is not going to die anytime soon, either.

    “I’m not telling you a thing,” Piotr defies him. “You’d like me to keep showing Wolverine my brand of pain, then?” the official snidely remarks. Piotr encourages him to go right ahead; he’s sure Wolverine can handle it. Hearing Piotr say this, Logan, barely managing to flash a smile, remarks that this isn’t cool… And then he winces in pain as he is electrocuted again.

    The official exclaims it’s such a waste; all of them, X-Men, are a waste of potential. He is disgusted to see they’re not patriots to the countries they were born in or to the one where they reside. In frustration, he wonders: is there nothing they believe in? Piotr defiantly replies – in English – that tyrants like him should be crushed; does that answer the man’s question?

    The official is disgusted that Colossus won’t even answer in his mother tongue. However, he recalls that they had true patriots in their mutant program here at the Red Room. His own protégé, even, was of their kind… he was like a son to him. And then one day, over a dozen highly-trained men and women were simply useless; enhanced strength, X-ray vision, mental telepathy and many other valuable mutations had just disappeared. They thought they’d been targeted, of course, until they began getting widespread reports it was happening elsewhere… all over the world. However, the official notices that the X-Men seem to have survived this purge. That seems strange to him. It makes him wonder: did the X-Men somehow engineer this M-Day?

    Piotr retorts that’s insanity. He insists they help mutants. The official admits that so it is said… Yet, his mutants are dead, while Piotr and his friends seem as powerful as ever. “Dead? All of them?” a puzzled Colossus exclaims upon hearing this. He admits that he’s only heard of a small number who died from losing their mutations.

    The official repeats that these were patriots… So, when they saw they had no more purpose… “Well, I think you still have enough of Mother Russia in you to understand how they must have felt” the man adds, alluding at their doomed fate. Piotr can’t believe what the official’s insinuating: he ordered them… to kill themselves? Grinning, the Russian is amused that Piotr sounds shocked; he shouldn’t be.

    “But that’s good” the official adds – he wants Piotr to understand that those were mutants he cared for… and he didn’t flinch from doing what was necessary. The man then goes on to remark that, while it has been amusing to torture Colossus’ friend, Wolverine, it’s now time to move on to the demon. Two armed guards immediately remove the bag from Nightcrawler’s head, the later also shackled. “Kurt!” Piotr screams upon seeing his friend.

    The official decides to speak in English, so they can all understand the situation. He explains that Nightcrawler knows that the restrains he’s in are much like the ones which hold Wolverine; if he attempts to teleport, 10,000 volts will be ripping through every cell of his being. The official is quite confident that this mutant – Nightcrawler – cannot heal from such treatment. “So perhaps now you will be more forthcoming, comrade?” he asks Colossus, after threatening to harm Nightcrawler.

    “Kurt… I am sorry, tovarich,” Piotr tells Nightcrawler, effectively making his decision clear. The official wonders if Piotr thinks he’s bluffing. “Not at all,” Piotr replies. “Do it now!” the official maniacally screams, addressing the guards… and electricity is released on Kurt.

    At that exact moment, however, Nightcrawler teleports and rematerializes just above the shackled Wolverine. Kurt can’t help but scream, owing to the unimaginable pain and agony of 10,000 volts surging through his body but his plan succeeds: as he touches Wolverine’s manacles, he overloads and short-circuits them. A crisp “chkk” sound is heard… and Logan is free from his restraints!

    Nooo!” the Russian official screams. “I’m guessin’ yer gonna run now,” a berserk Wolverine snarls, unsheathing his claws. Now genuinely frightened, the official orders his men to stop Wolverine: “Open fire!” Wolverine easily maneuvers around the two guards’ bullets, leaps upwards and lands behind them, slashing them both.

    Several more guards appear behind Logan and start shooting at him. Undaunted thanks to his healing factor, Wolverine proceeds to take the remaining guards out, one by one, visibly enjoying the fight. He then turns to Colossus and assures him he will have him free in a second. Piotr tells him not to worry about him and instead look to Kurt. Logan kneels above Kurt, the latter almost stunned after receiving the electrical shock. “Elf… you alive?” Wolverine asks him. “Yes... ‘ported electrical surge with me… overloaded your restraints…” Nightcrawler mutters in a barely audible voice. “Yeah, I kinda noticed” Logan exclaims, admiring the insightfulness of his friend.

    Meanwhile, the middle-aged official has already exited the room. As he approaches a gate guarded by two men, he orders them to take the three mutants out: “Lethal force is authorized!” He then proceeds to push a red button on the gate: “Voice authorization… Red Room command clearance.” Access is granted to the man and he enters a pitch-black room that accommodates a longhaired, blond prisoner.

    The official orders the prisoner to get up. “What now… more experiments?” the prisoners mumbles. The official believes that it’s time to see if the pressure they put on S.H.I.E.L.D. to return this man home was worth it. “So… you’re taking off the leash, then?” the prisoner, now revealed to be Omega Red, remarks, sporting a sinister smile.

    Meanwhile, Colossus, carrying the unconscious Nightcrawler, crashes down the gate of the prison room, effectively bringing it over the heads of some of the guards lurking outside. Piotr urges Logan to follow the old man’s scent: he’s their path out of here. Wolverine remarks that, lucky for him, the official is behind this long line of cannon fodder! Saying this, he jumps over the crashed gate and starts fighting the guards. Logan effortlessly takes them out and the three mutants advance through the corridors, with Logan following the official’s scent.

    Suddenly, the X-Men see the official, riveted in the corner of a corridor, mechanical tendrils entangled around his neck, his face fixed in an expression of unspeakable terror. Piotr wonders what he’s doing. Logan explains that the man is dying…

    “Actually, Wolverine… he’s already dead,” Omega Red gleefully explains, appearing next to the dead man. Omega Red wishes he could’ve taken his time with him; he deserved more pain. However, he thinks he’ll just have to console himself by killing the three X-Men. Wolverine huffs that he knew this was too easy.

    Meanwhile, back in San Francisco…

    Cyclops and White Queen meander through the streets of the city, camouflaged as ‘hippies’ thanks to Emma’s telepathy, trying to figure out what has made San Fran somehow revert to its late 1960s, ‘flower power’ version.

    Suddenly, Emma exclaims that it’s too easy now. Scott asks her what she means. Emma explains that she was homing in on the person creating this whole illusion but it was taking some effort. Suddenly, though, it’s like she’s following a garden path instead. Cyclops assumes they’re being led. Emma agrees: that’s exactly it. “That’s probably not a good omen, is it?” Scott remarks. “No… it sure isn’t. Not for a couple of narcs like you” a voice comes in response.

    The voice belongs to Warpath, now bearing a new, hippie name… Running Sun! Next to him is his friend, Iceman, hippie name… Frosty! The two men are accompanied by Hepzibah, hippie name… Lady Kitten! And finally Angel, hippie name… Angel! The quartet looks utterly entranced and eager to fight. Scott telepathically tells Emma that she’s got to get through to them. Emma assures him she’s trying. Angel and the others are aware that Scott and Emma came to spoil their party. Thus, their Goddess sent them out here to stop them… any way they have to.



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    Uncanny X-Men 498 0

    This has been a peculiar run.  With Uncanny 500 on the horizon, this storyline that started in 495 feels somewhat like a desperate filler to try to get there.  Still, it's not without its charm and, out of all this issues to date, this one is perhaps the most satisfying from a writing point of view, where Brubaker ties in the weird hippy vibe with the House of M loss of powers.  Perhaps Brubaker's stretching himself a little thinly on all the Marvel titles he's writing as he's yet really to conv...

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