Continued from Uncanny X-Men #279. Muir Island is in turmoil due to the influence of the Shadow King. X-Factor gets called in to make an assault on the Shadow King's nexus. The primary problem, however, is getting past the Shadow King's army of X-Men. Professor X is back in action as he goes against the very reason he started the X-Men. But it seems like allies are even scarcer than first thought. Story continues in Uncanny X-Men #280.
Note: Val Cooper does not appear in this issue. It's Mystique.
X-Factor has been called to Washington, D.C. from Archangel's vacation home in Colorado where they have been recuperating from the loss of the home (Ship) and, more importantly, the son of Cyclops, Nathan Christopher. Recognizing their duty to the world, X-Factor meets with Val Cooper. They see the hatred that seems to envelope the populace. A shot rings out and X-Factor quickly and efficiently finds the victim of the shooting and sequesters the shooter. Back with Val, the team learns that they've been called in by the President himself. Even more amazing is that another man also called for their aid: Professor Xavier walks in with Colossus.
Having blasted Rogue with an electromagnetic scrambling gun, Forge informs her that he's injected her with a neurosynaptic buffer to keep the Shadow King out of her head. Rogue mentions that she never felt as if the Shadow King were in control. Wolverine pipes in and states that there aren't any abnormal smells on the island so either the Shadow King is gone or he doesn't have a human body. Before any other theories are explored, Banshee tears through the sky and attacks the trio. Forge sends Rogue up to act as a decoy and Banshee shows no mercy. Seeing his opportunity, Forge shoots Banshee with the scrambler gun. Banshee falls to the earth and Wolverine pins him down while Forge injects the neurosynaptic buffer. With his mind clear, Banshee informs the trio that the Shadow King has a nexus under the Muir Island lab that is keeping a portal open from the Astral Plane, which allows the Shadow King's negative influence to pour around the world. Sadly, it seems as if Polaris is the key to that door and they may have to kill her to close it.
Aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. submarine, Professor Xavier is accompanied by X-Factor, Valerie Cooper, and Inspector Reisz as they make their way to Muir Island. Xavier explains that the sub has dampeners that inhibit the Shadow King from knowing of the teams' approach. They plan to breach the island via a secured location acquired by Forge and whatever group he can muster. They must find the nexus and sever the link between this world and the Astral Plane. There must be care, however, since his son, Legion, may be the Shadow King's host. To the side, Reisz and Valerie Cooper discuss the state of things. Reisz is actually the host of the Shadow King and he loves that he is able to be privy to Xavier's plans. Valerie is supposedly under his control and questions his methods by asking why he doesn't just kill Xavier now. The Shadow King explains that his is a dream that includes watching Xavier realize that the Dream is ended; and he can be patient. X-Factor leaves the ship with Xavier staying behind (the Shadow King would know instantly if Xavier were to accompany the team to the island).
On the island, X-Factor attempts to infiltrate the underground lab. Reisz expresses his skepticism. Archangel flies ahead and runs into some brain-washed friends. Moira, Madrox, Gambit, Psylocke, and Jubilee block the way. X-Factor quickly takes the troupe out. Xavier warns the team to watch out for the supposed host, Legion. Legion then shows up and announces that he isn't the host, but he'll still cause some serious trouble. He lets out a huge pyrokinetic burst that Jean is not able to block in time. Iceman does his best to quell the flames. At that moment, Reisz jumps on Xavier. Xavier calls out to Valerie. To the shock of the Shadow King, Valerie is not his puppet but the guise of Mystique, who summarily shoots Reisz in the face. On the island, Legion unhinges. X-Factor presses on to the nexus to find Polaris. They rue the fact that she may have to die. Just then, Forge's groups shows up. Forge doesn't have the time to figure something out, especially now since the Shadow King has found a new host - Legion returns as the Shadow King and blows the crap out of the island.