Marvel is pleased to present your first look at Age of X: Universe #1 (of 2), from fan favorite writer Simon Spurrier and superstar artist Khoi Pham! Discover the shocking foundations of the critically acclaimed and sold out Age Of X event! How did the last remnants of mutantkind manage to escape the clutches of the dreaded extermination unit known as…The Avengers? Behold, the merciless purge of the Children of the Atom and the rise of Fortress X’s rebel underground in the world that almost was in Age Of X: Universe #1 (of 2)
As the Age of X is set in an alternate universe, many familiar characters have different names. Keeping with the continuity of the story, all characters will be referred to by their new names. The most notable changes in this issue are:
- General Castle = Punisher
- Legacy (or "Reaper") = Rogue
- Redback = Spider-Woman
- Weapon S = Sabretooth
This issue consists of two separate stories; Avengers and Spider-Man. The Avengers story is continued in the next issue, whereas the Spider-Man story is a standalone. The creative teams are as follows:
- Written by Simon Spurrirer
- Penilled By Khoi Pham
- Inked By Tom Palmer
- Colored By Sonia Oback
- Written By Jim McCann
- Art by Paul Davidson
- Colored By Antonio Fabela
Plot Summary: Avengers
In the present day, Cannonball refuses to let Legacy 'play hero' on the battlefield, preferring to protect the dead mutants' live on in her. From the safety of Fortress X, Legacy observes the human's tactics as the memories of Captain America begin to flood back.
In the Grand Canyon, 1,000 days previously, Captain America & his team of Avengers descend on to a mutant riot at Camp Gorge. Captain America easily incapacitates Maggott, but Iron Man instantly vaporises the mutant claiming that he was reaching for a gun. Captain America knew that there wasn't a gun, and considers how much of a 'man' is left inside Iron Man who was infected with some sort of mutant-derived technological virus. Blob almost got the drop on Iron Man, but the Hulk easily knocks him aside and begins to choke him. Continuing to observe his team in action, Captain America considers how deep down the hulk's hate for mutants goes. No-one seems to know the reasons why Redback fights mutants as she doesn't talk, but she is a lethal assassin having previously despatched Mr Sinister. In the midst of the chaos she was about to execute Marrow when the Invisible Woman intervenes. She held the Hulk, Iron Man & Redback in an invisible forcefield until Marrow hit her across the back of the head. Marrows attack is easily defeated by Ghost Rider's fiery chains. His origin is a mystery even to Captain America, but Ghost Rider's attack is not a match for Chamber who creates a psionic explosion that finally liberates the mutants. They all flee, and Chamber & Marrow ride off on Ghost Rider's own motor bike.
Legacy continues to recall the disappointment, and the debriefing with General Castle. The team each acknowledges their poor performance, but by trying to compare the performance of the Avengers to the Fantastic Four the Invisible Woman invites taunting from the Hulk (now in the guise of a severely scarred Bruce Banner). He labels them as traitors which brings back the memories of the day when three of the Fantastic Four were arrested for harbouring Wolfsbane. Captain America consoles the Invisible Woman & reassures General Castle by promising that they'll work harder to operate as a unit. Castle then breaks the news to them; Magneto has stolen 22 of New York's skyscrapers. The news feed comes as a shock to the Avengers who cease bickering & all look stunned. Although the authorities had lost the location of the stolen buildings, General Castle informs them that they have some 'Specialist Equipment'.
The Avengers race through the forest at night on a levitated invisible platform, following Weapon-S whose jaw has been removed & replaced with two metal protruding tusks. Weapon-S had been promised freedom in exchange for his co-operation, yet his willingness to betray his fellow mutants only served as more fuel for Hulk to taunt the Invisible Woman who turned her own family into the authorities. He then recalls the day when he was transformed into the Hulk for the first time; a decade ago he worked as a scientist who was working on a pulse-array machine that would sterilise mutant volunteers. However, one of the volunteers was Banshee who began to scream. Her sonic scream caused the machine to misfire in the gamma spectrum. Transformed into a monster filled with pain, he uncontrollably slaughtered everyone around him; the mutants, his colleagues, commanders & fiancée. What angered him more was that the mutants who were also caught in the blast were reduced to atoms & that he had absorbed their matter into his own body. His rage begins to build as he confesses to the invisible Woman that he will never be clean again.
However, all their attention is diverted when Weapon-S located Fortress X. He implores them to set him free, having achieved his end of the bargain. However, the Hulk transforms back into his monstrous green form, willing to liberate Weapon-S by killing him. Captain America struggles to prevent any unnecessary deaths while iron Man downloads their latest instructions. The official command received is "Code Omega", meaning that the Hulk is given free reign to kill all mutants, which he quickly sets in motion by torturing Weapon-S for the few moments before crushing his skull between his hands.
Plot Summary: Spider-Man
In New York City Spider-Man dodges attacks from a couple of Sentinels. He misses the days when he was just labelled a "menace", and recalls the spiralling intolerance against non-mutant powered beings. The Human Coalition had become pro-active looking to sterilize powered beings to prevent them from having children with super-powers.
To end the fight, Spider-Man caught one Sentinel in his webbing and aimed it at the other. The collision causes a huge explosion, and gives him the chance to swing home.
Back at his apartment, MJ has everything packed except for Spider-Man's own belongings. When he says he's "not getting out" she kisses him on the cheek & threatens to unpack. Touched by her gesture, he craddles her heavily pregnant belly and considers the future of their unborn daughter. He begins to cry at the thought of his wife & daughter being caught because of him. The frustration drives him to smash a pot plant. He resorts to going down on one knee and begging her to co-operate. She reminds him of the wedding vows (for better or for worse) and kisses him on his wedding ring through his ripped glove, which makes him smile.
They stand and share a silent kiss when a blinding light interrupts them with a voice over a speaker demanding his surrender. In their last moment together, Spider-Man asks MJ to always remind their daughter before sending her to the place they first kissed. MJ runs out of the apartment just as Sentinel fire destroys the wall. Spider-Man pulls his masks back on & stands defiantly in the destroyed hole for a moment before diving in to a sea of Sentinels.
Later, MJ found herself sitting at the airport with a ticket to Paris with a note signed from 'You Tiger'. She recalled her first kiss with Peter Parker the photographer.
MJ passes through the airport scanner & a light changes from red to green. Smiling, she said she's "see you soon, Tiger".
Spider-Man smiles through his torn mask. The humans had him defeated and tied up, but they were still worried about what might happen if he bled on them. He continued to smile as the Sentinels took him away & he could see the plane fly away for Paris.