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The Dark Phoenix Saga - Episode I: Dazzled

           Despite all Moira and Xavier's attempts to free Jean from the alien Phoenix, it still thrives in her body. Finally Moira concedes defeat, and suggests that Xavier return her to the Mansion. Meanwhile Gambit, trying to cheer Scott up, drags him to a nightclub where a new mutant is performing. Dazzler can create beautiful sparkling fireworks from sound waves, and quite literally dazzles her audience when she performs on stage. She takes a liking to Scott, especially after she's nearly kidnaped by a pair of cyborgs. He comes to her rescue, and chases the assailants away. She makes him promise to attend her show the following night.
           Xavier and Jean return from Muir Island right after he gets home. Jean seems tired and distant, but Xavier assures him that she'll be okay. He promises to continue her therapy, but reminds Scott that she'll draw her greatest strength from the psychic love-bond that she and Scott share.
           Dazzler's assailants, an elite mutant group known as the Inner Circle, decide that Dazzler wasn't good enough to join their band. Instead, they decide to recruit the Phoenix. Emma Frost, their telepathic 'queen', describes how Jean Gray absorbed the Phoenix entity and transported the M'Kraan crystal into the sun. She claims that she psychically linked with Xavier's own supercomputer, Cerebro, to gather her information.
           Jason Winguard, the illusionist, proposes to control the Phoenix by creating powerful illusions in Jean's mind. When Scott returns to the nightclub the following night, Emma and Jason infiltrate her mind. Jason creates a universe where she's in love with him, and makes her believe that her real life is only an illusion. When she wakens, instinctively searching for Scott, the Phoenix takes over her body and transports her to the nightclub. She walks inside just in time to see Dazzler making a pass at Scott. Jason quickly takes over her mind again, and leads her away.
           Scott and the X-Men trace her to the Inner Circle's hideout, an exclusive hotel which caters to the ultra-wealthy. They find Jason and Jean getting married, and break up the ceremony. Phoenix, the dominant part of Jean's mind, helps to defeat the X-Men in the ensuing fight.

The Dark Phoenix Saga - Episode II: The Inner Circle
           Xavier tries to telepathically contact Scott, but Emma Frost blocks his probe. Meanwhile, the X-Men have been captured and the Inner Circle are controlling them with Genosha collars. Phoenix is welcomed as the Inner Circle's newest member. Jason is certain that he can control the Phoenix, then realizes that Scott can still telepathically communicate with Jean. He drags Scott into the Phoenix's mind, and tries to kill him in a duel. Though the Phoenix controls their surroundings and helps to 'kill' Scott, Jean's psychic rapport keeps him alive.
           Wolverine, who escaped in the initial fight, breaks into the Inner Circle's hideout again. Phoenix tries to kill Wolverine, but Jean's love for him helps her break Jason's spell. She frees the X-Men, then escapes as the Phoenix takes over her mind again. The X-Men fight the Inner Circle again, until the evil mutants manage to escape. Meanwhile, Jason has followed Jean up onto the roof, so Scott follows him. Jason tries to control the Phoenix again, but she's grown too powerful. She attacks him and strips him of all his illusions. Then she proclaims herself as the 'Dark Phoenix' who exists only to destroy.

The Dark Phoenix Saga - Episode III: The Dark Phoenix
           The Phoenix claims sole command of Jean's mind. When Scott tries to telepathically reach Jean, the Phoenix attacks the X-Men, and defeats them. Jean regains control of her mind long enough to make sure Scott's all right. She tells him she loves him, then soars off-planet and plunges into the nearby spacial wormhole. The Phoenix emerges across the galaxy, and destroys an uninhabited solar system by plunging into its sun and feeding off it. Then she returns to Earth.
           A nearby Shi'ar ship reports the Phoenix's appearance to Lilandra, who immediately travels to Earth with her Imperial Guard, hoping to stop the her. The X-Men are also trying to stop her--they devise a pneumatic scrambler which they hope will control her mind. When Jean returns to her parents' home, they try to capture her. Enraged, the Phoenix melts the scrambler and attacks them.
           Jean's love for Scott finally distracts the Phoenix long enough for Xavier to enter her mind. Jean separates from the Phoenix, and helps Xavier overcome the alien entity--for now. Yet before they can return to the Mansion, Lilandra arrives and tells them that the Phoenix must be destroyed.

The Dark Phoenix Saga - Episode IV: Fate of the Phoenix
           Xavier invokes an ancient Shi'ar law which delays Jean's destruction--a formal duel, X-Men against Lilandra's Imperial Guard. Lilandra teleports Xavier back to her ship, and sends the X-Men to a giant arena. She insists that the Phoenix is far too powerful to be contained, and must be destroyed. The X-Men recognize Lilandra's wisdom, and agonize over whether to fight with Jean or against her, but finally unite with her.
           The fight takes place on the dark side of Earth's moon. One by one, the X-Men are defeated by Lilandra's Imperial Guard, until only Scott and Jean are left. Jean controls the Phoenix until Scott gets hurt. Then the Phoenix breaks free, and lashes out. The X-Men join forces with the Imperial Guard to fight her. At the last second, Jean regains control of her mind, and allows the Shi'ar ship to destroy her.
           When Jean is killed, the Phoenix entity separates from her mind. It realizes that it was wrong to hunger for emotions, and to possess Jean's body after its work was done. It offers the X-Men a chance to restore Jean's life, and takes a small spark of life-force from each of them. When it combines all those sparks in Jean's body, her life is restored. Then the Phoenix entity returns all the X-Men to Earth, and heads back into the the sun to protect the M'Kraan crystal.

The Juggernaut Returns
           Once again, Juggernaut returns to Xavier's mansion bent on destruction. He crashes through the doors, and attacks Xavier in the Danger Room. At the same time, across the world, another young archaeologist uncovers the mystical Tablet of Cytterak that gave Juggernaut his awesome powers. As the scientist reads the sacred incantation, Kane Marko loses his invulnerability and super-strength, and is nearly killed when a wall collapses on him. The wimpy little archaeologist suddenly finds himself possessing all the powers of the mythical, unstoppable Juggernaut.
           Xavier is faced with a difficult choice--whether or not to help Kane regain his evil powers in order to save his life. He sends his students out to find and stop the new Juggernaut. While probing Kane's mind, he learns that his treacherous step-father only married his mother for her money, then let her die so that he and Kane would inherit. He realizes for the first time why Kane hates him so much, and relives the anguish of discovering that he's a mutant.
           While Xavier struggles to save Kane's life, the new Juggernaut struggles to adapt to his new, massively strong body. Metal handles snap off in his hand, he breaks through doors just by tapping on them, he's too big to fit into his car. He can't even get people to like him because he's showing off his muscles, not his brain.
           Cyclops and Wolverine find him at a local nightclub, and attack him and take his mystical ring. As soon as they return it to Kane, his body heals itself and he's cured. The scientist, now wimpy again, discovers that his real personality will make him more friends than brute strength. Kane, though he still hates Xavier, knows that he owes his half-brother for his life. He leaves the Mansion without doing anymore damage, and Xavier realizes that's his way of saying 'thank you.'

Orphan's End
           Corsair crashlands his small spaceship in the lake behind Xavier's mansion. When Cyclops and Storm rescue him, they discover that he's really Major Christopher Summers--Cyclops' father! Their meeting is interrupted hy Rakna, a Shi'ar agent who claims that Corsair is a criminal. Corsair swears that he's being set up for kidnaping and attempted murder. Scott is furious to find that Corsair is his father--he's always believed that his parents were dead. While they escape, Corsair tells him how they were captured by Emperor D'Ken as scientific specimens. He was rescued by the StarJammers after D'Ken murdered his wife. Believing that his entire family was dead, he took over as the StarJammers' new captain.
           When the Shi'ar police corner them, Cyclops learns that Corsair is wanted for allegedly kidnaping a young girl named Jandra. Incensed, he turns Corsair over to Rakna. Storm flies off in search of Jandra and the StarJammers. Corsair insists that Rakna is a 'bad cop'--he was hired to kidnap Jandra, and Corsair has been protecting her. Cyclops keeps in contact with Storm until she's captured by the StarJammers. Then Rakna freezes him in a stasis beam while he interrogates Corsair. When one of his crew frees Cyclops and assures him of Rakna's duplicity, Scott rescues his father and they escape. Rakna tries to capture them, but they turn the tables on him, and defeat him. In the end, Cyclops realizes that he doesn't hate Corsair, and they start to become friends.

           Rogue, Gambit, and Wolverine head to the Alps for a vacation. Then Wolverine overhears rumors about a 'demon' who's been terrorizing the local village. Curious, they head out to investigate. Gambit, who can't ski very well, loses his balance and crashes into a pine tree. As he loses consciousness, he kinetically explodes the tree, triggering an avalanche. Rogue tries to fly them to safety, but they're caught by the snow before they can escape. Wolverine carries them to the nearest shelter--a monastery high up on the mountain.
           The monks welcome the X-Men and offer them food. Gambit can't be moved yet, so they decide to stay for a few days. While they're eating a simple meal, Wolverine makes some of the monks nervous by scoffing at their beliefs, and asking about the 'demon' from the village. Then Rogue walks into Gambit's room and finds one of them trying to suffocate him. The man flees through the halls, and she chases him. Then she charges through a barred door and finds herself teetering on the edge of a precipice--the door was locked to keep visitors from getting hurt in the burned-out section of the old abbey.
           Before she can react, someone grabs her and teleports her to safety on the patio below them. She finds herself face to face with the 'demon,' a bizarre-looking creature with indigo skin, glowing golden eyes, and long pointed ears. Wolverine comes to her rescue before the 'demon' can escape again, and nearly kills him. The monks intervene, explaining that the 'demon' is Nightcrawler, a mutant who's joined their holy order. As soon as Nightcrawler discovers that Rogue is also a mutant, and can fly, he apologizes for grabbing her--he was only trying to save her life. Then he tells the X-Men about his early life as a circus performer, until he joined the monastery. When he finds that Logan has lost his faith in God, he tries to minister to him.
           Though most of the monks have accepted Nightcrawler, Brother Reinhart hates and fears him. In desperation, he tells the villagers that their 'demon' is up at the abbey. They attack the monastery, hoping to kill Nightcrawler. The X-Men try to keep from hurting the angry villagers while they protect the monastery. Then Brother Reinhart sets fire to the building, and Nightcrawler rescues him from certain death. Reinhart finally realizes how much destruction his hatred caused, and begs for forgiveness. He and the villagers all learn that Nightcrawler might look different on the outside, but he's no different from them on the inside. Before the X-Men leave, Nightcrawler gives Logan a Bible, and urges him to read it.
           Still hoping for a vacation, the three X-Men head to Paris. Rogue gets impatient with Gambit's devil-may-care attitude, and heads off to find some solitude. She walks into a church, then stops when she sees Wolverine--who claims to hate God for making him a mutant--kneeling at the altar, a smile on his face. Comforted, she quickly backs out of the church and leaves him alone to pray.

Weapon X, Lies & Videotape
           Wolverine is being tormented by visions of Sabertooth trying to kill his old teammate/ girlfriend, Silver Fox. Xavier tries to restrain him, but he escapes and heads north, toward Canada. When Beast discovers where he's going, he follows Logan in the Blackbird. Wolverine finds himself back at the laboratory where his bones were fused with adamantium, and he relives the entire fusion trauma. When he and Beast break into the lab's inner chamber, he's assaulted by more visions from his past--images of being trained as a professional assassin.
           Sabertooth has also been drawn back to the laboratory by strange visions of betrayal by people he trusted. They start fighting--until Silver Fox and Maverick, their old partners, show up and stop them. They tell Logan and Sabertooth that they were all psychically altered in a bizarre experiment code-named Talus. Each of them start experiencing false memories of being betrayed by each other. Then they learn that Professor Oyama, Uriko's father, was behind the assassination training and the adamantium fusion experiments.
           When they enter the final chamber, a Talus robot tries to capture and 'reprogram' them. They fight the robot, and barely manage to destroy it. When another robot appears, Beast piles the unconscious mutants into a pickup truck and breaks out of the complex. The laboratory is finally destroyed. As everyone leaves, Logan realizes that he can't trust his memories anymore--he doesn't know what's true and what's false about his past. Beast reassures him that he can believe in his memories of the X-Men, and takes him back home.

Proteus - Parts I & II
           Moira and Banshee are in their laboratory at the Muir Island Research Facility, working with Proteus, an energy-based mutant. As Moira's therapy takes effect, the mutant's golden glow vanishes to reveal a teenage boy. Then he breaks free of his chamber, and possesses Banshee's body. Moira calmly urges him to leave Banshee before he accidentally hurts him, and begs him to continue his treatments. Furious, he releases Banshee and advances on her, insisting that he wants to see the real world 'out there.' The room starts spinning as Moira trips and falls.
           Xavier is stunned when Moira calls him, panic-stricken, begging for help. He and his students hurry to Muir Island. En route, he reminisces about how he was once engaged to Moira, and how she broke their engagement to marry Joe MacTaggert. A short time later, they were divorced, and she devoted her life to mutant research.
           When they arrive at Muir Island, Moira tells them that Proteus escaped, and may have already headed for the mainland. He has the ability to warp reality merely by thinking about it, and can temporarily possess another person's body. He's also fully telepathic. She's afraid that he might inadvertantly hurt someone...or that they'll hurt him. Xavier and his students split up and cover different parts of the city, searching for him.
           Kevin moves from one body to the next as he explores the town. Finally he's discovered, and the people riot trying to escape from him. He gets angry because they're hating him, and starts warping reality to escape. Then he senses Xavier's presence, and curiously approaches the telepath. Rogue tries to protect Xavier, and inadvertently absorbs his powers. The X-Men try to keep people from being hurt as the world goes crazy around them. Then they chase after Proteus again.
           Unknown to Xavier, Moira calls her ex-husband, Joe MacTaggert, and warns him that Proteus is loose. MacTaggert tells her to keep him away until after the upcoming elections are over. Then they spot Kevin, and try to stop him. Xavier tries to telepathically calm him, without success. Kevin insists that Moira has deliberately kept him from seeing his father. He warps the ground into a huge fist and grabs her. Wolverine is about to attack the boy when she screams for him to stop. She finally reveals that Kevin is her son. As Kevin escapes, he lashes out at each of them. Wolverine is the most badly shaken--Proteus temporarily splits him into several pieces and melts him into the ground. The effect disappears as soon as he's out of range.
           The X-Men follow him to Edinborough and confront Joe MacTaggert. He's more interested in his political career than in Moira's son, and refuses to cooperate with them or see Kevin until after the election. Proteus refuses to believe that MacTaggert doesn't want to see him. He confronts MacTaggert during a political rally, and nearly destroys the building in a furious rage when MacTaggert runs away from him. Unfortunately, MacTaggert isn't the only one frightened by Proteus--for the first time in his life, Wolverine is so terrifed that he also turns and runs from the confrontation.
           Kevin blames Xavier for 'interfering' and chasing MacTaggert off. Distraught, Moira realizes that she has to stop Kevin herself. She returns to Muir Island for Banshee and her medical equipment while Kevin follows MacTaggert to another political rally. This time the boy does try to control his powers, but MacTaggert is still terrified of him. Xavier promises to help Kevin control his powers and his emotions. He allows the boy to briefly possess his body to prove that he's sincere. When MacTaggert realizes that the press is watching him, he finally approaches Kevin and talks to him. Though Kevin is triumphant, Xavier is saddened--he wishes that Kevin really was his son. After spending some time with McTaggert, Kevin returns to Muir Island...and the X-Men go back home.

The Lotus and the Steel
           Wolverine is losing control of his emotions, and is once again suffering from uncontrollable rages. Despite Xavier's attempts to help, he leaves the X-Men and returns to Master Oku's temple in Japan to find peace. While he helps to build the monks' new temple, he restores his inner balance by studying the ancient ways. Gradually he gains reluctant acceptance from the wary townspeople. Though rumors of an enemy disturb him, he chooses not to interfere, even when he's confronted by the evil mutant, Silver Samurai. Every year the tyrant demands a tribute from the villagers. When Oku's people can't pay, he retaliates by doubling the tribute, and destroying their new temple.
           Kisara's brother decides to end the reign of terror. While he and his companions lay traps for Silver Samurai's cohorts, Wolverine wrestles with his troubled emotions. He knows that he has to protect the village, but hates the thought of fighting again. Oku convinces him that his purpose in life is to protect others in need, so he finally joins in the battle. Meanwhile, Jubilee has followed him to Japan, fearing that she was responsible for his decision to leave the team. She arrives just in time to help Kisara and the townspeople defeat Silver Samurai's henchmen.
           Wolverine defeats Silver Samurai by controlling his rage and analyzing the warrior's style of attack. Oku and his monks begin rebuilding the temple, but Wolverine realizes that he's needed elsewhere. He and Jubilee leave the village and return home.

Have Yourself a Morlock Little Christmas
           It's Christmas Eve, but not everyone shares in the Christmas spirit. Despite Jubilee's pleas, Wolverine refuses to help decorate the tree or sing carols with the rest of the team. And in the kitchen, Jean and Gambit start fighting over how to prepare Christmas dinner. They're all interrupted by an explosion from Beast's lab--he was trying to concoct a special cranberry glaze, but it blew up on him. Jubilee tries to lift Wolverine's spirits by taking him shopping with Storm and her. He reluctantly agrees, but his foul temper doesn't improve.
           Later, while they're ice skating in the square, a runaway ambulance crashes into the rink. They find two of the Morlocks inside, trying to steal medical supplies. The Morlocks tell them that the little boy, Leech, is very sick. They appeal to Storm, their de-facto leader, and she agrees to help. Wolverine and Jubilee go with her to the Morlocks' tunnels. Storm wants to fly Leech to the mansion for medical care, but he's too far gone. The only thing that will save his life is an immediate transfusion. Storm argues with Wolverine until he reluctantly agrees to donate his blood--she hopes that his mutant healing abilities will cure the child. Meanwhile, she asks Rogue to fly Beast to the tunnels to help them.
           Jubilee realizes that even though the Morlocks are desperately poor, they're still happy. She finally understands that presents aren't what makes Christmas special--it's love and being part of a caring family. After Leech recovers, Storm realizes that she hasn't been a proper ruler. She cedes her leadership back to Callisto, whose first official act is to invite the X-Men to share what meager food they have for Christmas Eve. Jubilee gladly donates the food and presents she'd bought for the X-Men.
           Gambit is outraged to find that, after all his hard work in the kitchen, half the team won't be there to appreciate his Cajun-style Christmas dinner. However, Xavier realizes that Jubilee has learned the most important lesson of all--Christmas means giving, not getting, to help other people and make them happy. He praises Jubilee for her compassion, and lets the absent X-Men spend the evening with the Morlocks.

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