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Brief Description:

Rachel Grey takes a break from the scrutiny of the Sentinels stationed around the mansion to go and visit her grandparents. After a short time of relaxation, the Greys throw a party for Rachel to allow her to meet her many relatives. During the party, while dancing with his granddaughter, John Grey is attacked and killed before Rachel’s eyes. At the mansion, the staff and students are still attempting to stabilize themselves after the recent decimation that wiped out 90% of mutantkind. Cannonball manages to get in the way of the Sentinels while flirting with Betsy, and Nightcrawler receives a surprise phone call from his “daughter” TJ. Across the estate, the team attempts to regroup and recoup, while Scott and Emma host Val Cooper and her entourage. Val attempts to explain that the Sentinels and the Office of National Emergency are here to help protect the X-Men during this time of global uncertainty. Emma and Scott are understandably less than trusting and the tension in the room is high, but the meeting ends without incident. It appears that the Sentinels are something the X-Men are going to have to get used to…

Full Synopsis:

Rachel Grey is from the future. In her childhood she saw nearly all of the X-Men murdered…some mutants she helped hunt down and kill herself. It’s what she was trained to do. She lived in concentration camps, and each morning she awoke to the sight of the guardian Sentinels looming over the grounds.

Rachel is enraged by what she sees in front of the X-Mansion today…it reminds her so vividly of that other life…Sentinels guards surrounding the estate. It’s more than she can handle. For mutants, the world has suddenly become a frightening and deadly place. One morning, a huge percentage of the world’s mutant population lost the DNA sequencing that made them mutants. Rachel senses that this “M-Day” is just the beginning…of what she doesn’t know. The remaining mutants are scared, the feds are scared…and the X-Men are left in the middle, committed to peace. It’s too much for Rachel to deal with.

With her teammates’ help, she sneaks off campus to visit her grandparents. She has family now and it is high time she gets to know them. She promises Kitty that she will keep in touch with the team and heads out. The time away is like medicine…exactly what her sick soul needs…she is enjoying her vacation immensely.

One afternoon, Rachel and her grandfather square off in a game of one-on-one basketball. When the competition heats up however, Rachel goes “teke” and puts the ball through the net. Her grandfather jokingly reprimands her, but is interrupted by his wife, Rachel’s grandmother, who comments on how spectacularly they both played. Rachel’s laughter reminds Elaine of days gone by and she becomes nostalgic.

As Rachel and John start up another game, Elaine wanders back into the kitchen to continue preparing for company. She silently curses Charles Xavier for taking away her daughter Jean. She wants to enjoy her grandchildren, but she misses her daughters so much. Her melancholy is so intense that Rachel can’t help but pick up on it. The game stops and Rachel is saddened that she reminds her grandmother so clearly of her life’s losses. John Grey refuses to let his granddaughter sulk and drags her into the car for a road trip.

Back at the mansion, Betsy Braddock heads out for her daily run. Life is full of coincidences, but in her case it is amazing that within days of her resurrection, the world begins to fall apart. Before she begins the run, she limbers up, but a warning call comes from a Sentinel telling her that she is too closeto the perimeter. Betsy merely suggests that the Sentinels step off the property and solve the problem themselves.

To further “bother” the soldiers running the mammoth machines, Betsy begins a seductive stretching routine in direct eyeshot of each of the Sentinel guards. It is a tactic that always works for her. Get her opponent focused on her body and they will almost always forget about the deadly warrior that lives inside…

From a pier on the lake, Cannonball and Nightcrawler comment on Betsy’s effect on the Sentinels. She has held the attention of each one of giants for the last hour. Kurt’s phone rings, and Sam blasts off to see Betsy.

Kurt is pleasantly surprised to hear his “daughter’s” voice on the other end of the line. TJ is calling out of concern because she too has seen the news broadcasts of the Sentinels posted outside of the mansion. Kurt assures her that everything is as well as it can be. She should stay in London with Captain Britain. The X-Men can handle themselves.

Sam, meanwhile, has reached Betsy who is floating serenely in the air in front of the Sentinels. He blasts by Betsy and nearly knocks her out of the sky…Caught’cha nappin’ Betsy…Psylocke protests that she was meditating, but before she can say anything more, Sam has doubled around for a second pass and buzzes by her again. Psylocke comments that she doesn’t remember Sam being so fast. Just to prove her right, Sam doubles back again and buzzes in for a third pass. This time he grabs Betsy in his arms and brazenly asks for a kiss. Psylocke responds with a direct kick to the solar plexus and is launched directly at one of the Sentinels.

The robot extends its hand and catches Sam as it cautions him to stay out of restricted airspace. Sam protests that he didn’t do it on purpose…what are these monsters anyway…the X-Men’s hall monitors? Psylocke tells “mountain boy” that he’ll be okay…

In the carriage house, Bishop surveys the global situation by means of Tessa’s cyber-network. The news is bad everywhere. Storm was in Africa when M-Day hit and has not returned. Vange Whedon and her ward Marie D’Ancanto have taken up residence in her loft. Vange is a mutant-rights lawyer who, thanks to M-Day, has lost nearly all her clientele. And the government is leaning toward infringement on the rights of the remaining few more casually every day. Marie predicts that with the X-Men locked up by Sentinel guards, mutants who are now powerless may find themselves becoming helpless victims of anyone who wants to get even with them.

Meanwhile, in one of the X-Men’s conference rooms, Scott and Emma welcome Val Cooper and her government entourage. Val is appropriately sympathetic although she admits that she cannot empathize with the heroes’ situation. She introduces Colonel Reyes, head of security for the mansion, and Dr. Senyaka from the Center for Disease Control who immediately asks if the team has made any progress in determining the cause of this affliction. Scott and Emma reply that they haven’t but they are working on it.

As the conversation continues, Emma moves herself and Scott onto the astral plane to allow them to communicate in private about what is going on. Something is shielding everyone’s thoughts from Emma. She cannot read Val’s or anyone else’s mind. Emma can’t say if this is caused by a device or something else entirely…Dr. Senyaka throws an oddly confident smile at Scott and he wonders if even thought they can’t hear their visitors’ thoughts, perhaps their visitors can hear theirs.

Val continues the conversation by recommending that Emma call off her lawyers. Emma counters by suggesting that Val call off her Sentinels. Colonel Reyes interrupts with questions about Cerebra. Can this device track down former mutants? Emma insists that Cerebra will be of no use finding mutants that no longer posses the X-gene. The colonel instantly asks about back up records and last known addresses from before M-Day. Dr. Senyaka states that it is standard disease protocol to track all potential vectors.

Scott silently cues Emma that he deleted all the information from the computer’s memory. He lies and tells the doctor that Cerebra’s files were damaged in the recent power overload and that the contact information is no longer available. The tension grows palpable, and Scott punts: We knew a Cecelia Reyes…

The colonel grows visibly more tense as he explains that Cecelia is his kid sister. She joined the X-Men and he never heard from her again. He abruptly begins to list the ground rules that the X-Men will follow until this “emergency” has passed. All residents are free to come and go, but the colonel reserves the right to send a Sentinel to accompany any mutant leaving campus. Emma responds that he only has five, but the colonel bats it back by asking her if she would like him to deploy a Sentinel for each of them…

Val closes the meeting by reminding Scott that they are here to help. The president considers mutants to be a strategic asset, and it’s in national interest to keep those assets safe. Keep reminding yourself…we’re the good guys, Emma…

Back in Annandale, John and Rachel finish their road trip with a little grocery shopping. Rachel’s uneasiness becomes clear to John when he notices her staring at the photo of a Sentinel on the cover of a news magazine. He’s noticed that she tenses up every time she sees those robots, but all she’ll share is that the robots she knew weren’t friendly. John tries to soothe the young girl’s survivor’s guilt, but Rachel’s issues run deep…she can’t open up to him.

Later that night, Rachel chats on the phone with Kitty. Her grandmother has invited the entire extended family and she is a nervous wreck. Aunts, nieces, cousins…the house is bursting with relatives. In the future that is Rachel’s past, these people were all killed before she could ever get to know them. Now that she has the chance, she’s not sure she wants it…she wishes aloud that Kitty could come, but then jokes that with the driveway full there would be no place for her to park her Sentinel…Kitty makes Rachel promise to have fun, and says that they will talk later. Encouraged blessed little by Kitty’s pep talk, she steps out into the bustling crowd of company.

Hi…I’m Rachel…

Outside the house, in the dark of night, someone is watching the Grey household.

Unaware of any possible danger outside, Rachel is actually enjoying herself. She has met so many people…good, bad, and ugly…but they’re all family. Two relatives named Fred and Russell begin a conversation about mutant rights and concentration camps, and Rachel can’t help but sarcastically suggest that perhaps they should brand mutants with a big “M”.

A friendly young man swoops in and pulls Rachel from the conversation and escorts her away from the heated conversation onto the snow covered deck. He introduces himself as Terry Maguire, and there seems to be a bit of interest between the two. Before they can chat any more, Rachel’s grandpa shows up asking for a dance with his granddaughter. Rachel is embarrassed and telepathically tells him so.

He is amazed by her gifts and wishes aloud that they had known how to better cope when Rachel’s mom was alive. Rachel insists that they did a fine job…her mom saved the universe! John notices that Rachel is tense again, and she confesses that she doesn’t know how to dance.

Grandpa Grey places his arms around Rachel. Then it would be my great pleasure to teach you. Those are his last words.

In a flash of fiery fury, John Grey is blown to bits right before his granddaughter’s eyes.

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dmstarz's favourite marvel comic cover no168 0

Chris Bachalo is a bit of an acquired taste, I think - his figures are quite peculiar looking, though I like his very individual style very much. He's done a great job with Rachel Summers on this cover, not so much perhaps with her as such, though I do like how she looks a bit pouty and cross! It's the great use of rock and lava to spell out the book's name that really lifts this cover into the exceptional. Nice contrast of oranges, browns and yellows. Two other points. First, by pushing Rachel ...

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