By Eric Drumm
The battle for the fate of the first mutant child born since M-Day continues to mount, and the final conflict to determine her future rises on the horizon. The massive X-over "Messiah CompleX" has seen side-switching betrayals, a grim future and a few casualties, but judging by the solicitations for UNCANNY X-MEN #495
, we haven't even begun to see the destruction.
You better believe the serious changes hitting the X-Men won't come about without a few more sacrifices. Who will survive the final clash between the X-Men, the vicious Marauders and the mutant-hating Purifiers? You'll have to read the final parts of "Messiah CompleX" to find out, but in the meantime, take heed! We've cornered the masterminds behind the mutant books to drop some juicy hints on what's in store for the big shots in the X-verse.
: As head of Xavier's school as well as the torchbearer for Professor X's dream, X-Men leader Cyclops has stayed strong through this taxing time. While the X-Mansion lies in smoldering ruins, Cyclops must make the all-too-difficult choice between possibly securing the future of mutantkind by saving the newborn and protecting the life of his own son, Cable. Things look bleak, but Cyke's vast leadership experience and strength of character keep him from snapping.
: "He's a general without an army. The X-Men are no more, but where does this leave him?" quizzes X-editor Nick Lowe.
: With a situation like "Messiah CompleX," you need someone who can do what has to be done—someone with a killer's heart who can put aside emotion for the greater good. Wolverine fits that bill perfectly. Heading up X-Force, Cyclops' black-ops team, Wolverine went after Cable to retrieve the mutant baby from him by any means necessary. While both the baby and Cable slipped through his fingers, Wolvie's now on Muir Island to confront the Marauders and hack them to pieces—or die trying.
: "Wolverine has been given the last thing he wanted—responsibility for a team," says NEW X-MEN writer Chris Yost. "One of them's already died. Payback time is coming."
"His job isn't done. Just because there isn't an X-Men doesn't mean there aren't things to be done," adds Lowe. "The biggest unfinished business out of 'Messiah CompleX' is the Purifiers. Another big piece of that unfinished business is Mystique. Wolvie's got a big part of both."
: Finally regaining her sanity, Rogue rid herself of the memories and powers of people she "absorbed." Thankful to be alive, Rogue emerged a stronger X-Man than ever, and has stepped up to the role of team leader. Unfortunately, after a Marauder attack, she fell into a deep coma and remains in their custody. Whether or not "Messiah CompleX" reveals anything else for her remains to be seen.
: "We've taken Rogue through Hell and high water, and she's come out the other side of that process cleansed in some ways," points out X-MEN writer Mike Carey. "No memories or personalities apart from her own, no stolen powers—[she's] in a very different mental state than she was in recent months. But her journey isn't over yet: she's still got some discoveries to make about herself and her powers, and she's still got to face a challenge bigger than the one she just survived."
: You can't keep a good soldier down for very long. Resurrected from apparent death, Cable jumped into the fray and snatched the mutant baby for himself, believing her survival is tantamount to saving mutantkind. Fighting off the Marauders, X-Men and Purifiers single-handedly, it finally took a few slugs to the back from Bishop to put the big man down again. Back in the game thanks to Professor X, Cable's diving headfirst into the final battle on Muir Island, but one thing remains certain—nothing will stop Cable from getting that baby.
: "Cable is about to learn for himself the trials and tribulations of unplanned parenthood. It's one thing to rescue a baby: it's another to bring her up," explains Carey.
: Possessing a harder edge than his teammates, Warpath was drafted into X-Force to go after Cable. When his friend and fellow X-Man Caliban fell in battle, Warpath blamed himself and took the loss hard. Hellbent on vengeance, Warpath and X-Force have taken the fight to the Marauders on Muir Island.
: "Warpath is angry. Caliban's blood is on the Purifier's hands and he plans to get his revenge."
Yost looks at the bigger picture. "Warpath first collided with the X-Men seeking revenge...on them, for the death of his brother. Now an X-Man himself, one of his teammates sacrificed their life to save him," he recalls. "So when Warpath is given the opportunity to seek bloody revenge, he takes it. But for someone with so much guilt, so much loss already, will that opportunity be the end of him?"
: She may be a tad icy, but Emma Frost turns red hot at the thought of a mutant child in danger. Accompanying her lover Cyclops on the mission to save the child, she is determined to make sure that the baby ends up in safe hands. Using her psychic powers as well as enlisting her telepathic students the Cuckoos, she's been crucial in keeping track of the Marauders and fellow X-Men.
: "Well, Emma is in an enviable position. In the now very small pond of surviving mutants, she's the second biggest fish," says Carey of Emma's standing in mutant society. "And of course she's going to be absolutely content to be 'Mrs. Cyclops,' because she has a very demure and self-effacing nature and no personal ambitions or hang-ups of her own to speak of..."
: Knowing what the future holds in store for mutantkind must be a heavy burden, one the time-traveling X-Man Bishop bears begrudgingly. Claiming that the baby must die to prevent a mutant apocalypse, he gunned down both Forge and Cable to get to her. Framing Cable for the Forge shooting, Bishop joined up with X-Force and dropped into the meat grinder of the Muir Island trap.
: "Bishop has turned into a kind of fundamentalist now. He just has the one article of faith: that the messiah child is evil and has to be killed. You won't believe where that conviction is going to take him," warns Carey of Bishop's dark future.
: Returning to the X-Men after WORLD WAR HULK, high-flying Angel joined his veteran X-Men at the first response to the birth of the mutant baby. Last seen interrogating former Acolytes to gain info on the whereabouts of Exodus, Angel remains dedicated to ensuring the safety of the baby and preserving mutant life.
: "Someone very very bad is about to become interested in Warren Worthington. Warren's past is about to come back and bite him. Literally," warns Yost.
"He's not done yet. What is he doing in San Francisco? What does he have to do with the Purifiers? You'll have to wait and see," adds Lowe.