SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for “Uncanny X-Men” #16, which is on sale now.
As we learned in last week’s “IvX” #1, Emma Frost has a plan. With the Inhumans’ Terrigen mist now poised to disperse and render Earth completely inhospitable for mutants, Emma — along with Magneto and Storm — have decided to put that proactive plan into action. In the pages of “IvX” #1, the X-Men took out a number of the Inhumans’ heaviest hitters with surgical precision. Emma Frost and Dazzler took out Black Bolt, Fantomex made Lockjaw take a nap, Jean Grey trapped Karnak in a mental loop and Magneto imprisoned Crystal’s away team in their own ship.
While the main event series won’t ship its second issue until next month, this week brings us the first “IvX” tie-in issue in the form of “Uncanny X-Men” #16. The issue from writer Cullen Bunn and artist Edgar Salazar dives deeper into one moment from “IvX” #1 and expands upon it greatly.
The main cast of “Uncanny X-Men” all take the month off as the teen Jean Grey from “Extraordinary” makes a guest starring turn, along with the Stepford Cuckoos. The issue focuses on the Jean scene from “IvX” #1, focusing on Jean and the Cuckoos’ combined attempt to keep Karnak trapped in his own mind. Things have progressed from what we’ve seen before; Karnak is now running around in a mental prison set up by the telepaths to look like New Attilan.
Also the ruse has moved from the Tower of Wisdom to the World.
The World debuted in 2002’s “New X-Men” #130 and has since been home to a number of X-Men adventures. The World is an extremely high-tech research facility created by Weapon Plus (the shady organization also responsible for the Weapon X project) to breed new weapons. Time can be manipulated in the World, allowing it to speed up to the point where years pass in hours. The World was home to Fantomex, the super spy turned X-Men associate, as well as the teenage hero — and Apocalypse clone — Genesis.
But Fantomex has an ulterior motive to bringing Karnak inside the World. Fantomex struck a deal with one of Cuckoos, Irma, to allow him access to Karnak’s problem-solving skills. Irma would act as the bridge between Fantomex and Karnak, feeding altered analogues of the real problems Fantomex encounters in the World into Karnak’s vision. Then, as Karnak solves the similar problems in his trance, Fantomex knows what to do in the World. This side mission is of importance to Fantomex because he has been in control of the World for a while now, and members of the nefarious Someday Corporation infiltrated the World and stole parts of its tech.
Irma, feeling the stress of Fantomex’s altercation with the World’s defenses, lets her guard down and accidentally lets slip a chunk of the World that she’s been trying to keep suppressed.
2007’s “X-Men: Phoenix – Warsong” limited series revealed the origin of the Stepford Cuckoos. They were originally cloned by Weapon Plus from Emma Frost’s eggs, developed to work together as a psychic weapon and grown into teenagers within the World. After getting that flash, which Jean Grey sees and doesn’t know what to make of, Phoebe chastises Irma for slipping up.
Back in the World, Fantomex uses Karnak’s abilities to make his way to where the Someday Corporation broke in. There, he finds the device they used to hack into the World’s systems — a slug-like device that gives Fantomex pause for unrevealed reasons.
Fantomex then places his psi-shielding plates back in his mask, locking Irma out of his mind. Panicked, Irma tells the others of her secret mission with Fantomex — and they aren’t too pleased.
Fantomex continues on his quest, completely moving on from the matters of Inhumans and X-Men. “Let them have their war. I’m done with all that,” he says. Fantomex removed Someday’s influence from the World’s system — and filled the void with his own id, ego and super-ego.
Calling it the “God-King Virus,” Fantomex prepares himself for a massive transformation — one that he says will render him unrecognizable. “I will become the world,” he says at the end of the issue, teasing a potentially major shift in who — and what — Fantomex is moving forward.
“Uncanny X-Men” #17 arrives in stores on January 11, 2017.
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