NEW X-MEN #122-126 (2002): Imperial

Now that he’s broken Charles Xavier and introduced a bunch of new mutants that are strange and completely different from anything that came before, Grant Morrison takes a turn with the X-Men’s “space toybox.”

When we last saw Cassandra, she was possessing Charles’ body and going off with Empress Lilandra of the Shiar (and Xavier’s wife).  Now we see her using her host body’s abilities to destroy a warship and attempt to start a war between Earth and the Shi’Ar.

On Earth, Xavier is now able to psychically communicate with Jean and tells her that he wants to create a “mutant rights charter” before he dies–and he is dying.  He can’t sustain life in the broken body left behind by Cassandra.

So Jean has become his voice as he slips away.  She tries to negotiate with world leaders who express anti-mutant bigotry, and Emma Frost keeps losing her temper.  Meanwhile, Cyclops seeks out Xorn to see if the mysterious mutant can help heal Xavier. 

The Imperial Guard finally arrive with their mission to kill the X-Men.  (How Cassandra manages this manipulation is great, but the explanation isn’t necessary to summarize these issues.)  Lots of good fighting. Gladiator beats the snot out of Logan.

Emma and the Stepfords try to help.

It all gets sorted out when Scott and Xorn arrive and save the day.

The kids on the X-Campus play a major role, trying to help, and in doing so Angel (the young girl with the fly-like wings, not Warren Worthington) finds Beak naked in a healing tank.

The team and the (now-their-buddies) Imperial Guards arrive on Earth ahead of Cassandra–who is coming, with Lilandra.  Jean and Logan decide they can evacuate Professor X from Cassandra’s dying body and bring her into Jean’s psyche as a prisoner. 

Hank objects, saying that he has figured out how to heal her body and she can be shunted back into it–which is what she really wants, anyway, since Charles Xavier denied her the opportunity to live in a body when he killed her in the womb.

Cassandra finally arrives and mind-controls the new students, having them attack Logan.  Xorn’s healing powers help Jean temporarily contain Professor X’s mind as Cassandra’s body finally dies. 

X gets back in his body and Cassandra becomes  “Mummudrai,” which is a bodiless psychic entity.

And then Emma Frost gets the final blow: She tricks Cassandra into the synthetic body of a brain that is programmed only to learn.  So Cassandra is essentially imprisoned.

Imagine having to spend eternity in middle school…

And, finally, when it all ends, Professor X can walk.

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