New York City is charmed and awed by the superhero teams of The Avengers and The Fantastic Four. The news media is abuzz, with newspapers, magazines and photographers clamouring for the best stories.
Phil, a news photographer, is one of the many caught up in this whirlwind. He has ambitions to write a book about the Marvels. On his way home one evening, he witnesses a commotion in the streets. The word is, a construction worker was attacked. “They knocked him right off the scaffolding somehow -- but that wasn’t enough for them! They tried to blast him to bits -- clawed at him -- tried to smash him into the wall!” The construction worker was in fact saved from certain death by these mutants, who were not “real humans”.
Everyone was afraid of the “freaks” known as “The X-Men”. “They looked just like normal people -- but you never could tell.” People attacked the X-Men in the streets, claiming that these mutants were out to kill them. Once, Phil was caught up in the moment and threw a brick at Iceman, but the X-Men did not retaliate.
Phil pondered over his actions towards the mutants, who were “the next evolutionary step”. Were humans afraid of mutants because humans were slowly being replaced by them? “Where Captain America and Mister Fantastic spoke to [them] about the greatness within [them] all -- the mutants were death.” But the humans were not going down without a fight for their survival. Phil returns home to the safe haven of his family, and wonders who “would protect [them] from the mutants”? Sure the Marvels had superpowers, but at the end of the day, they were humans defending the city from costumed human criminals. They will need the mutant-equivalent of the Marvels to defeat the mutants.
The next day is just another normal work day for Phil. He is sent on a photographic assignment to cover the Fantastic Four at a sculpture exhibit of the Marvels. Unbeknownst to the public, the X-Men were in attendance as their civilian selves. Phil is amazed at the talent of a blind sculptress who accurately captured the likenesses of the Marvels “just from physical descriptions”, applauded by everyone and “even the Thing was accepted by the public” despite his strange and non-human appearance.
As he travels home from the glamorous exhibition, and past slanderous graffiti on the sidewalks, he remarks on the nature of the city going “from the heights to the depths in moments”. And how his world was going to be a more dangerous place to live in.