As lightning and fire rock Eagle Plaza, NPR engineer Manoli Wetherell and Freedom Force watch the camera feed coming from Neal Conan inside the building with the X-men. They are full-on fighting the Vietnam war with demons. The narration from the reporter gives the drama an extra edge. The traditional sequence introducing the characters is done in his voice and it’s effective and exciting because his words are being broadcast to the world—people will see how heroic the X-Men really are.
The demons are coming from Forge—not as he is today but how he was as a young soldier—his men massacred in a firefight he opens a gateway and summons the spirits of his dead comrades to wipe out the Vietnamese. Then he calls in a B-52 air strike to destroy the evidence. Epic illustration and tremendous coloring.
High above, the Adversary has constructed a floating citadel. Forge, Storm, and Roma are his prisoners. A new age is coming and they missed their chance to be a part of it by returning to the battle.
Wolverine and Neal discuss the merits of broadcasting this whole thing live on tv. Psylocke identifies Forge and Storm in the Citadel as well as the presence of two exceptionally powerful beings. Rogue rockets upward but is soundly rebuffed by hurricane winds. So much for the direct approach.
The plan is this: Longshot and his hollow bones will sail on the wind like a kite and carry them all up to the citadel, his tremendous luck will come in handy.
“It doesn’t bother you?” asks Neal. “Putting your life on the line against impossible odds?” Longshot is being heroic, and Madelyne believes in MLK’s Dream.
So they all hold onto this super long line and Rogue flies them up, throws Longshot into the wind, and Colossus is the anchor. He then has to transform to human to get off the ground.
Sure enough, they come through the window right in front of the Adversary. Longshot throws his blades and they cause the trickster pain because they are IRON.
Rogue tries to absorb the villain, but he’s too strong. Wolverine shreds with claws but they have no effect, because the are Adamantium.
So. This is bad-ass. Flying Colossus turns to steel and rips through the Adversary, releasing its true dark demonic form. Adversary congratulates Roma on her gameplay.
Rogue, using memories absorbed from Naze, opens a dimensional gateway to capture the Adversary, but he’s very strong and the combined powers of the X-Men can’t blast him into the gate. Only magic will do it, says Rogue. The Adversary taunts Forge for being afraid to say it, but he does: The gate was originally opened by him using his fallen comrades against their will. It can only be closed with a freely given soul sacrifice of all nine members of the Xmen. Forge has to remain behind to work the spell. The X-Men will give their lives to save the world. Including Madelyne, by the way, he needs all nine souls. She’s down for it and records a goodbye message to Scott.
Forge chants and the team glow with energy, then coalesce into a ball of light that Forge throws at the Adversary, closing the gate and ending the battle.
On Muir island, Kitty Pryde (remember her?) is watching on TV. Moira calls, Nightcrawler has woken up. But the X-Men are dead.
In Dallas, Forge escorts Neal to safety. Mystique calls him a murderer. He walks away.
In Roma’s citadel she casts a spell and summons the X-Men back. She gives them the choice to return back to Earth as they were or go start anew somewhere else.
Wolverine points out that Storm’s Plan Omega worked. They are thought dead and are free to wage war on their enemies as they like.
It’s too cruel to our families to let them think us dead, says Dazzler, but the threat to them is greater with the X-Men alive. All agree including Havok and Madelyne.
Roma salutes them. They have become legends.
Next: A New Beginning Down Under!
I’ve been going digital since 214, when my collection ended. This Fall of the Mutants series is the first time since that I’ve felt like buying physical copies. This was a really good story arc. It feels like we were treading water for a little bit with the old team fractured and new teammates getting established.
The stakes were really high, the drama was perfectly balanced, and I think the art is exceptional. Storm regaining her powers in such an epic story is fitting. If you consider her arc since she went punk back in issue 173, that’s a lot of change and development for my favorite character. I grumbled about it a lot, but I have to give it to Claremont, he did a great job with her. Very satisfying.