Uncanny X-Men (1963) - #243
"Ashes" (Newsstand Edition)
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Robert 'Bob' Harras
Daniel 'Dan' Green
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Cover Date: April 1989
Cover Price: US $ 1.00
Issue Tagline: Sinister Triumphant!
Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 36 pages
This is a version of the following issue:
Uncanny X-Men (1963) #243 - Ashes
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On top of the Empire State Building the X-Men mourn for Madelyne Pryor and talk about everything that happened during Inferno. Suddenly Jean Grey cries out. She forms a telekinetic bubble around herself and lets nobody in. Psylocke uses her telepathy to bring herself, Cyclops, Storm and Wolverine inside Jeanís mind. There they are at the Blue Area of the moon and witness the last instants before Phoenix sacrificed herself. She perishes shouting Scottís name. The X-Men see that her energy does not dissipate, but rises towards earth. Cyclops wonders how Jean knows of these events, since she is suspended animation at Jamaica Bay at the time. Suddenly a large fist appears and smashes the memory, it is Sinister. Psylocke tells the others that if he destroys all memories, Jeanís soul and mind will be completly obliterated. The X-Men float through more shards of memories, which are clearly Madelyneís. In the center they find Jeanís memories loosely assembled around an image of the mansion, which is guarded by a redheaded figure. As the X-Men approach she looks like the Goblin Queen and fires a blast, then she turns into Jean as Marvel Girl and asks for forgiveness. Betsy understands that Jeanís condition is a result of trying to integrate two powerful individual psyches. Storm suggests to bring Rogue into the mindscape too, since she faces a similar effect each time she uses her powers, but Psylocke discovers that an outside force blocks her from going outside of Jeanís mind. A huge image of Sinister appears and he destoys another memory shard. The X-Men try to fight him, but physical powers are useless, only Betsyís telepathy stands a chance and she succeeds in building a barrier, keeping Sinister at bay. The others try to talk some sense into Madelyne's personality, who gained the upper hand again. Both Scott and Logan fail, she refuses to help and is glad that the X-Men might die along her. Storm realizes that this isnít Madelyne at all, it is Jean who is about to give up; she was terrified about the Phoenix forceís offer and denied it with her every being. The results were Dark Phoenix and the Goblyn Queen, maybe it would be better if things ended right now. Psylockeís shield breaks and Sinister gets through again. He heard the last part of Jeanís fears and offers her to break the terrible cycle by stripping her of memories and identity that have caused nothing but pain. Madelyne refuses, she changes into Dark Phoenix, then into Jean and tells him that this is her mind, her soul, her life and she means to keep them herself and she blocks Sinister out.
In Xavierís manison, which he uses as a hideout, Sinister tells Malice to alert the others, since the X-Men are on their way. Jean learned of his location during their final battle for her mind. The X-Men and X-Factor have split up into smaller teams, the first, consisting of Jean, Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine and Archangel enter the mansion through Stormís former attic. Psylocke and Rogue use the hangar bay as their way in. Meanwhile Beast and Longshot brought Mr. And Mrs. Grey and baby Christopher to the X-Factor ship. They argue which one stays behind to guard the Greys and who may go to help fighting Sinister. The remaining mutants, Colossus, Iceman, Havok and Dazzler, approach the mansion through the Morlock tunnels beneath the Xavier estate. They cover forty miles without problem, but right before the mansion they run into a demon-transformed Blockbuster. He is faster and stronger than they remember and knocks Colossus and Iceman out before they can do anything. In the narrow tunnels Dazzler shoots a full force laser beam, but she has no effect. Blockbuster grabs her, but suddenly Havok unleashes a plasma beam and kills him. Alison wonders, because he was always afraid of that, Alex replies that Inferno changed him. In the hangar bay Sabretooth sneaks up on Betsy and slams her into the ground, he wants to rip her throat, but Psylocke reaches into his animalistic mind and stops him in mid-air and fries his mind. Upstairs in the mansion, the first group discovers that Sinister has searched through everything, personal and private rooms, even the Professorís office. While they are most distracted Malice strikes and hurls metallic debris around and Jean and Ororo quickly defeat her.
The X-Men gather in the main room and start to interrogate Polaris/Malice, who is held in one of Jeanís telekinetic fields. She refuses to reveal any information about Sinister. Storm orders Psylocke to mindprobe her and try to separate the two women, but Malice says that would surely kill her, because the bonding is permanent. She turns to Havok, claiming that she still loves him, and Alex asks her to prove it by giving them the needed information. The mansion explodes, all lie around unconscious. The only one who is unhurt is Malice. Ironically the field that held her shielded her from the impact. Sinister comes out of hiding and pulls Jean from the debris, now he has the original to tamper with and he orders Malice to kill the other members of the X-Men and X-Factor as Longshot arrives on the scene to stop them.
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