UNCANNY X-MEN #403-406 (2002): Sunpyre, Radius die

Angel and Stacy X rescue a mutant in Zurich from the A.R.M. (anti-mutant militia), but then the mutant is taken by X-Corps.

Banshee’s X-Corps continues to grow, as several former Generation X members join. Chamber “joins,” but really is just snooping around–and finds Mastermind’s tank in the basement. He greets her with a psychic, “Hello” and finds himself shunted to the astral plane.

The purpose of this scene appears (a) to remind us that Magneto is dead and (b) signal that there is a new evil mutant cabal at work. Well done, Joe Casey!

Chamber tries to communicate with Mastermind but while he does, Sunpyre is killed by unseen members of X-Corps.

Nightcrawler expresses concern about X-Corps’ militant approach to mutant safety and rights. Banshee has arranged to get full immunity for its criminal members, like Blob, and even pays them for their services.

As these events are going on at X-Corps headquarters, Surge (a member of X-Corps) kills Jacob Eisen, the leader of A.R.M., and Mystique installs herself in his place. Turns out, Banshee did not send Surge on the assassination mission–and doesn’t know that Eisen is dead. But he does figure out that Mystique is an imposter–so he sends a team to investigate.

So at this point, we have Mastermind working on the inside and Surge/Mystique outside, manipulating Banshee’s vision of X-Corps into something far more extreme. We see Chamber attacked from behind–while he is trying to psychically converse with Mastermind–by Blob, Avalanche and Fever Pitch.

They then beat up the few members who are still at the base, seemingly kill Radius.

They then head to Paris for some public displays of destruction. Many of the members, like Madrox, are being mind-controlled by Mastermind. This is delicious irony because Banshee’s own plan was to have Mastermind make people want to join X-Corps.

We’re in all-out war now, and Mystique stabs Banshee in the throat.

In Paris, Madrox makes hundreds of multiples (all due to Mastermind’s control) and they take A.R.M. tanks and helicopters.

Angel starts blowing them out of the sky with a bazooka.

Mystique then frees Mastermind, and uses X-Corps as a command base for the terrorism in Paris.

But Banshee is not dead from his wounds.

He frees Abyss, who sucks Mystique into his darkness void.

Thus, the X-Men are able to stop the terrorists but, at the end of the issue, Chamber and Nightcrawler are missing in action.

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