The Astonishing X-Men (Vol 2) #3: In the Shadow of Death!

After Phoenix, Nate and Wolverine have Darco’s situation under control, they spot the Blackbird in sight engulfed in flames. Cyclops is piloting the plane while Cable and Archangel are on the roof fighting Death off. They were trying to get to the Mannites before Death but did not intend on bringing Death with them.

Cable is tossed off the plane and that alarms Phoenix because her son is falling to his death. Archangel tells her he’s got Cable, but she needs to watch Cyclops’ back. Telepathically, she tells Cyclops to aim an optic blast upwards at Death as Death is about to plunge his sword into the cockpit. Next, she instructs Nate to telekinetically “slow down the ship’s descend” while she gets Cyclops out of the crashing plane. Suddenly, Death cuts off Phoenix’s psychic rapport with her husband. Phoenix is terrified because she recognizes Death’s mental signature.

Jean: (telepathy) Scott, I need you to try and relax.
Scott: “That should be easy.”
Jean: (telepathy) You’ve got to Scott! Let your body go limp. And Scott--
Jean: “How--? Death disrupted my telepathic link with Scott! Something...Something about the contact with his mind felt so familiar and yet horrible. Who is he?”
Jean: (Blackbird crashes.) “Now Nate! Erect a psionic shield to protect us all from the debris! Me...I’m getting my husband!”
Nate: “Nice grab, Jean.”
Scott: (To Nate.) “I’ll second that. Good teamwork, people, but we’re far from home free. (To Jean.) Good to see you, Mrs. Summers.”
Jean: “Likewise, Mr. Summers.”

For the moment, everyone is safe and Death is nowhere to be found. Cyclops feels that they should all be leaving the scene before the authorities arrive but Wolverine, Archangel and Cable aren’t convinced that Death has been destroyed. Cyclops and Nate proceed to argue whether Apocalypse has anything to do with this when one of the Mannites alert Cyclops that they can still feel Death’s presence and he is alive.

Suddenly, all the telepaths are attacked psionically. Wolverine and Archangel prepare to attack when Death grabs Wolverine’s foot from under him and drags him under. Death approaches the Mannites while the rest of the team tries to protect them.

Cyclops unleashes a full optic blast on Death but Death just takes him out with a punch. Death also takes out Archangel with ease. Phoenix tries to distract Death with an attack, giving Nate and Cable time to recover so they can combine their powers on Death. Death takes Phoenix down and prepares to strike, but hesitates and turns his attention to the Mannites.

Suddenly, Wolverine springs out from the ground and jumps Death. But Death kills Wolverine with a sword into his chest. Wolverine’s death shocks everyone. Just then, Darco comes out of “the changing”, and with the combined powers of all the Mannites, they manage to drive Death away. Nina thanks Phoenix for helping Darco survive “the changing” and vanishes to rejoin her siblings. Death retreats and vanishes, but not without leaving the X-Men in grief and shock.

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The saga of “The Twelve” follows with Uncanny X-Men #375