And we’re back. You might recall hellfire, fish beatings, magnetic lovings, sure. Picking up where we left off:
Archangel (Leader), Havok (Leader?), Nightcrawler, Iceman(‘s head), Wolverine, Husk, Jubilee, Juggernaut, Northstar
Others You Should Be Aware Of
Polaris, Nurse Annie, Professor X, Sammy the Fish Boy, Carter Ghazikhanian
In a Nutshell
Azazel’s plan is launched, Alpha Flight attacks the Juggernaut, and the story collapses into a hole of suck.
So let’s finish this.
We left our heroes fighting a bunch of something-or-others because of Angel wings while Azazel repeatedly yelled stop, but finally he unleashes some energy and forces the issue. Then he tosses out some gibberish.
“Read their truths, Ginniyeh. Are they rendered passive?” That’s the kind of slop you toss out when you want to sound smart. Oh, and Ginniyeh, along with Azazel and Ydrazil makes ‘Jillian’ sound even more ridiculous a name.
So with everyone rendered nice and passive, Azazel decides to throw a banquet and invites Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Mystique, Archangel, Abyss, some random guy called ‘Kiwi Black’ and the archaeologist that just happened to be hanging around the area. All of the others get sent off to the dungeon.
Back in Vancouver, Sammy the Fish Boy’s mom is having a mental dilemma about her son in which she doesn’t want her hubby beating on him, she blurts out that she never cheated on him (though she wishes she did) and that she should have left him with the Juggernsut, rather than getting beaten by his father. Then she answers the door to find Juggernaut who has come to see his little fish buddy.
Sammy’s parents, of course, freak out and run to find the magical Canadian Maple Leaf Button that apparently all Canadians have in case of Juggernaut visits. Sammy’s father states that there is a restraining order to prevent Juggernaut from coming to visit, which surprises Northstar since apparently Professor Xavier didn’t think to tell him about it when he sent him off with Juggernaut to begin with. So with tensions getting a little high (to say the least), Sammy himself finally shows up with his battered face (be it from the bullies or his father, both of whom have been beating the crap out of him). Uh oh.
Back in the demon pit, Azazel has a banquet featuring a bare table and a single goblet and asks who the leader of the X-Men is. Nightcrawler debates the issue and, wait a second what the hell is going on here? Why would a writer have a continuous discussion about the team leader? Cyclops yelled at Nightcrawler about it in Holy War, and now Nightcrawler is saying “Why does there always have to be a leader? Can’t we all just be equals?” There is absolutely no point to this question – it’s like Austen is daring fans to guess who the team leader is.
Azazel begins his villain monologue by revealing that he is the father of Nightcrawler, as well as Abyss and Kiwi Black and a bunch of unnamed teleporters whom the story didn’t require and thus died in transit. And that’s the truth because Ginniyeh has sewn her own eyes shut so that she wouldn’t be distracted from her telepathic abilities to discern the truth. And why did I tell you that? I have no idea – it was just tossed out there as exposition.
So Nightcrawler takes the moment of truthiness to confirm that Mystique is indeed his mother, but Azazel also takes the moment to reveal that it was he who had put Kurt in the care of Margali Szardos, a close friend of his. That little plot point hasn’t been touched upon since either. Anyway, Archangel again asks Azazel just who he is, and he reveals that he is what humans call Satan.
Now this doesn’t really work. You see, the Marvel U has a devil. His name is Mephisto. He’s got the whole hell and God and souls thing going. He even undid Spider-Man’s marriage, I heard. But I’m not the only one who doesn’t think this works – the random archaeologist who was asked to dinner calls BS on the matter and is quickly killed for calling Azazel a liar. Nice guy.
Meanwhile, back in Vancouver, Juggernaut is beating up Sammy’s abusive father when Alpha Flight shows up wearing ridiculous armor. And you haven’t seen ridiculous until you’ve seen Sasquatch in armor. I find it amusing that Alpha Flight is on perpetual call for this one mutant fish boy who can get beaten by bullies and his father, but can’t be visited by his one and only friend.
At the mansion, a random student gets around to telling Professor X and Nurse Annie that Carter has been skipping his classes (because he hopped aboard an X-Men mission, you might recall), but that goes nowhere.
In a dungeon, the leftover X-Men are left stewing over what to do. Iceman, who is nothing but a frosty head, if you recall, can’t rebuild himself because “there’s no water in the air”, but that’s okay. Havok has a plan.
I am tempted to go into the details of urine, the human body, moisture, and whatnot, but instead I’m just going to drop this point and move on.
Back to the banquet! With the archaeologist now dead, Azazel begins talking about…um…he begins talking…uh…actually, nothing he says makes any kind of sense. It’s just a ton of words tossed out and that’s it.
But then…I honestly have no idea what the hell is going on here.
So the dinner party lets out with Wolverine being flailed (I guess that was the reason he was in the sequence) while Azazel says he’s going to spend the next twenty years birthing a new batch of children with transportational powers to open a gateway to get back to Earth.
So let’s recap. Azazel came to Earth and went on a sexual escapade to breed a clan of teleporters that would come together and open a portal to allow him to come to Earth. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he needed the portal to get his army through. He hasn’t expressed any intent of conquest, but you never know. The circle of teleporters came together and worked, but there was a big flash and nonsense. Back to Canada.
Juggernaut is all punchy with Sasquatch while Sammy the Fish Boy stares on in awe. Juggernaut is his hero, after all, and he knows that his hero won’t let harm befall them. And then the house falls on his mom.
Back in the evil dimension, Azazel chides Kiwi Black for failing to protect the circle from the X-Men which caused the whole thing to collapse which is why everyone is in the bad guy place. And wouldn’t you know that Professor X, Polaris and Nurse Annie would show up at the crater and Polaris just happens to be able to open the gate because magnets. While she’s doing that, Azazel is standing around explaining how he used to get to Earth – he used Nightcrawler’s foster mother Margali to open the gate from her side, thinking she had summoned a demon. Azazel claims here that he encouraged the belief, suggesting that it wasn’t true…even though he’s the devil, remember. Oh, and then he mentions that he banged her. That’s both of your moms, Nightcrawler.
And then right as Azazel is saying the portal thing can’t be done, Polaris opens the portal thing in the middle of Abyss’s stomach. Gross.
One drastic art-style change later, Azazel notices that Abyss has a big portal in his stomach but Nightcrawler teleports his brother away before Azazel can get to him. You see, when Kurt told Azazel he couldn’t teleport, he was lying, which absolutely shocks Azazel. He seems to be the only one surprised by that revelation, but whatever.
Back in Vancouver, Juggernaut is beating the hell out of Alpha Flight, completely oblivious to the fact that his little fish buddy is crying over the injury to his mother. Sammy begs Jugs to stop right as Sasquatch comes up and beats the holy hell out of him until the others notice he’s not fighting back anymore. And that’s the end of that subplot.
In his castle, Azazel finds Ginniyeh unconscious, knocked out by Kiwi Black whose thoughts were shielded to her. Unfortunately, even though he had been around them this entire time, she didn’t notice he couldn’t read his thoughts until he KO’d her. Azazel, tired of the matter has her read his thoughts to the plan, since apparently its too much trouble to say “Kill them all” out loud. But she does, so no worries. So she goes off to kill everyone…except for Mystique, who’s right there. And probably not Nightcrawler or Abyss. But everyone else for sure.
In a torture room, the eyepatch guy whose name I’ve forgotten is having some trouble getting his torture victim, Archangel, to scream so he reveals that he and his buddies have been developing new powers over their time imprisoned, and his just happens to be telepathy which is a huge convenience to the plot since he realizes he can get Angel to scream if he goes after Husk. But that doesn’t really matter because Kiwi Black shows up and cuts his head off.
It’s here that I need to pause and speak about the drastic shift in art in this last page. The other five issues of this story were drawn (rather terribly) by Philip Tan. This final part was drawn by Takeshi Miyazawa, and ho-boy is there a big difference. But with that comes some glaring inconsistencies. In the previous issue, Juggernaut got his shirt completely destroyed by Alpha Flight. This issue, he’s once again completely dressed, with only a small hole in his pants to show for the battle.
But a bigger difference is Ydrazil, whose gone from hulking bearded black-winged demon thing to skinny, blue haired goth-rock artist. It’s a staggering difference to the point that I didn’t even realize it was the same person at first. That might also have something to do with the colorist, but both are credited to Avalon Studios, so I can only make an assumption on the matter.
Where was I? Oh yes! In the dungeon, Iceman is prepared for everyone to pee him a new body, Ginniyeh shows up to kill them. Jubilee is the first one to attack, but her “light powers” are laughed off as the villain says they are useless with a woman with no eyes. Remember that. No eyes. Husk is next up, transforming into steel while keeping her costume on…
…wait a second. Back in Dominant Species, a plot point was that whenever Husk uses her powers, she flash fries her clothing and thus fights completely bare ass naked. It’s almost like that was just tossed in for Archangel to sneak a peak and then get a line about pressing naked chests together. But that can’t be, right?
Anyway, Husk’s pointless attack blocks Havok from simply frying her and as everyone attacks, she starts doing some crazy gross Mr. Fantastic stretch thing and drops her face off revealing the EYES she actually does have and grabs Carter’s face (remember him?) until finally she simply withers away and dies. Catch all that? Good, because I’m not repeating it.
What happened? Iceman ripped all her water away to make himself whole, while killing her in the process. Remember the whole “X-Men don’t kill” thing that I think is still in effect at this point? Nerts on that, you.
In a corridor, Nightcrawler and Abyss are running around to nowhere in particular while Abyss yammers on like a little school kid about how cool Nightcrawler is (which this story has gone out of its way towards disproving) until Nightcrawler shuts him up and Polaris juts her head through his stomach. Apparently in the whole time since escaping Azazel, Polaris stopped looking into the portal and just sat around with Professor X and Annie waiting for the script to allow them to continue. Abyss explains his power to Lorna and she opens the portal to a huge extent and everything starts getting pulled in.
With the big portal open, the last of the prisoners – Wolverine, who I bet you’ve forgotten was even in this story – kills his guard and everyone meets up at the big portal for the big escape scene. When Iceman helps his crew escape, he just happens to be the one carrying Carter, so Annie – oh brilliant, wonderful Annie – kisses him directly on the mouth and thanks him repeatedly…while her boyfriend Havok, who she’s spent her entire published existence trying to get with, stands nearby with a dumbfounded look on his face. But you can’t really blame Annie, since in the world of Chuck Austen’s X-Men women are only able to express themselves through sexual means and thus kissing was really the only possible way that she could have thanked Iceman.
So everyone’s out except for Nightcrawler who has gone BACK to Azazel to have a quick sword fight. Azazel spends the entire sequence yelling about how he’ll find Abyss and rule Earth, ignoring that the huge portal that his crumbling castle is falling into is in the boy’s stomach. Anyway, right as Azazel is about to kill Kurt, the castle beneath him crumbles and he falls into the portal laughing like a madman for no particular reason, although the art doesn’t bother to show it. Everyone escapes and that’s the happy ending.
Now you may be wondering why Azazel was laughing there at the end. And really, it’s simple. His goal was to open a portal to Earth large enough to get him and his army through so he could launch an invasion and rule both realms. You may have noticed that his entire castle, along with him, just got sucked into the portal opened by Abyss. And where does that portal lead? Think about it…
So in the end, Azazel got blown to Earth along with his army, yet somehow the good guys still get credited with the win. I suppose killing Ginniyeh and Ydrazil was a win, but the story seems to have completely forgotten that Jillian was even a character, as after hitting on Nightcrawler she never showed back up.
But anyway, with Azazel victorious, the X-Men head back home where Nightcrawler hangs out with his new half-brothers Abyss and Kiwi Black, neither of whom ever appear with him again and both of whom lose their powers on M-Day. Nightcrawler calls Professor X his true father (not like that, ew) and everyone lives happily ever after.
You know, until Azazel takes over the Earth with his army, LOL.
And that’s that – next time we’ll be taking a brief break to see The Trial of the Juggernaut and with it a scene so awful that it had to be retconned.