Credits: Warren Ellis (writer), Ken Lashley (penciler), Tom Wegrzyn w/Philip Moy (inkers), Joe Rosas & Digital Chameleon (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)
Callisto’s body lies in the water, as Mystique and Nightcrawler reunite. She takes Nightcrawler to Cold Grey, her Antarctic base near Avalon. Nightcrawler confronts Mystique about stealing from the refugees, claiming that her shame is the reason why she never enters Avalon herself. He convinces her to go into Avalon with him to find Destiny. They’re escorted into Avalon by the monk Cain, and soon meet Destiny and her adopted son, Doug Ramsey. Destiny doesn’t want to leave Avalon, because she thinks that her absence might instigate the destruction she foresaw earlier. Damask and Dead Man Wade enter Avalon, although Damask is reluctant to go through with Apocalypse’s order to destroy the sanctuary when she sees how beautiful it is. Wade presses the assault and attacks Destiny’s tent. When Nightcrawler tries to talk Cain into fighting back, he has an apparent aneurysm after trying to restrain his inherent lust for violence. Damask turns against Wade, and Nightcrawler uses his teleportation powers to decapitate him. Now joined by Damask and the refugee Switchback, Mystique and Nightcrawler prepare to take Destiny back to America.
Dead Man Wade is now able to speak for some reason. He still doesn’t have Deadpool’s personality, and seems to have the mind of a child.
Mystique tells Nightcrawler that his father carried “fur in his genes”. He responds, “And what a father you found”. I don’t know if there were any concrete plans to reveal Nightcrawler’s father at this time, or if this was just supposed to be a joke. Chuck Austen later revealed that his father was the Devil or something back in an Uncanny X-Men storyline that’s become a shorthand reference for bad comics.
This is probably the best issue of the series so far, as the plot picks up and some of the emotional arcs are paid off. Cain, the pacifist inversion of Juggernaut, could’ve simply been another gimmicky reinvention of an established character, but he’s played for more than just shock value here. His recounting of the hundreds of deaths he’s caused and his “psychopathic need” for peace and redemption are handled extremely well. I also like Nightcrawler’s confrontation with Mystique, which helps to round out her character without alleviating her of her crimes. Damask’s conversion against Apocalypse is a little forced, but Ellis at least tries to make it work. Destiny, who’s essentially been a plot device so far, is given enough of a personality to make her reluctance to leave Avalon seem credible. I’m not sure how exactly her psychometric powers are supposed to validate Bishop’s claims (unless her powers in this reality would enable her to see not just his future, but his past in the original timeline), but I guess that’s material for a future story.