In a world where the X-Men never existed and mutantkind has been hunted to extinction, the few remaining mutants band together to make their last stand. Who are they? And just how far will they go to survive? The Age of X starts here!
As the Age of X is set in an alternate universe, many familiar characters have different names. Keeping with the continuity of the story, all characters will be referred to by their new names. The most notable changes in this issue are:
- Basilisk = Cyclops
- Berserker = Warpath
- Legacy (or "Reaper") = Rogue
- Nightmare = Pixie
This issue starts following the events of Age of X: Alpha.
The mutants had already rushed out of Fortress X and were fighting the human forces. Magma wondered if there was any back-up when Basilisk opened his faceplate, nearly catching her in his destructive gaze. Looking at the fresh ruins, Basilisk quickly realised that the new recruits in old armor were a decoy. Cannonball reported their findings back to Magneto who located the source of the real attack. Away from the rest of the action, Magneto observed the action all around his Fortress with Legacy. She bemoaned the fact that Cannonball (as field leader) would only request her on the battle field for 'last rites'.
As Cannonball raced to the scene of the real attack, Tempo's squad encountered the Battle Wagon. She slowed the time of the human's plasma bolts giving the mutants time to avoid them. Gambit disabled the gun turrets, Frenzy attacked the vehicle physically and Nightmare induced horrific hallucinations in the minds of any humans who poked their heads outside the relative safety of the Battle Wagon. At the same time Tempo slowed time on only one of the treads, forcing the Wagon to immobilise itself as the free-moving treads created too much stress within the vehicle. However, the debris from the resultant tensile fracture hit Tempo leaving her mortally wounded. Meanwhile, inside the Battle Wagon the humans were being absorbed by Cypher's techno-organic matter.
With the Battle Wagon neutralised and the humans defeated, the mutants slowed their pace. Cannonball threatened to take Basilisk out of future battles for nearly killing Magma with his earlier attack. The ensuing argument was quickly diffused by Iceman, and ended by Frenzy who was cradling Tempo as she died. Cannonball then summoned "Reaper" (refusing to call her Legacy, against her wishes). Cannonball remained by Tempo's side as Legacy absorbed her life & memories (therefore allowing her to live on).
The moment was interrupted when Anole excitedly announced the arrival of the Force Warriors. The five psionically-powered mutants created new Force Walls while the younger mutants idolised them. Bling admitted she had a crush on Hellion, while Nightmare desired Legion. They were quickly rebuked for their shameless actions as Tempo had just passed away. As the sun set, all the mutants returned to Fortress X. Except for Legacy who decided to stroll around the perimeter to help clear her head as she cope with the new memories she'd absorbed.
Inside the Fortress the mutants all relaxed in their own ways. Moira MacTaggert cared for her adopted son, Legion. At the Rat Run bar, Frenzy downed drinks while insinuating that Wolverine was a coward; that he should die on the battlefield instead of cowering away as a powerless bartender. She only stopped when Basilisk arrived to take her home. Other mutants played cards around the various tables, exchanging witty banter & clinging on to their relationships. Karma considered what the world would be like if they had all been brought together before the laws had changed, however the others were so battle-beaten & pessimistic that they simply shrugged it off saying that it wouldn't have changed anything.
X monitored Legacy as she struggled with a vivid memory of an anti-mutant protest that Tempo had been at, watching Banshee, Laurie, Idie Okonkwo & Elixir being led away with placards around their necks. X warned Legacy to return to the Fortress & summoned an emergency strike-team when a stranger in armor appeared. Legacy observed the stranger hide a camera moments before reinforcements arrived, attacking the stranger. Northstar knocked them down and inspected the uniform for any ID, but Magneto arrived to identify her. The stranger was Katherine Pryde, an escaped inmate from Fortress X's Brig. Magneto took her away, dismissing Legacy's questions. He ordered the other not to breathe a word of what they'd seen so not to diminsh morale. Gambit offered to escort Legacy back, but she insisted on being alone. This bought her enough time to collect the camera that Pryde had hidden moments before.
Inside the Brig, Danger greeted Magneto. She insisted that she should be the only one to handle Pryde, but Magneto over-ruled her. As he walked through the Brig, Magneto passed cells containing No-Girl, the Stepford Cuckoos and an unconsciousness Charles Xavier who lay in a bed.
This issue is followed by New Mutants #22.