- My brain screams at me to draw my gun, but my arm refuses to move. The air is alive with gunfire. And I'm not alive with anything.
- -- Darwin
Appearing in 1st story
- Multiple Man (Jamie Madrox) (Mentioned)
- Hela (Mentioned)
- Unnamed townsfolk
- Apocalypse (En Sabah Nur) (Mentioned)
- Horsemen of Apocalypse (Mentioned)
- Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair) (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Earth-TRN238 (First appearance)
- Town With No Name
Synopsis for 1st story
After leaving X-Factor in Las Vegas, Darwin is walking through the desert. While he doesn't need it to survive, he still finds himself craving water. Knowing that cacti can store water, he finds a cactus and bites into it. A short time later, he feels refreshed but also light-headed, like he doesn't have a body anymore. He lies down to rest, when he hears someone calling for help.
It's a woman dressed "like a refugee from Unforgiven" being chased by a dragon. Darwin fights and kills the dragon, his evolutionary powers protecting him from any harm. He carries the woman, looking for somewhere she can get medical aid, when he finds himself in a long-abandoned old west ghost town that strangely has an ATM (also long abandoned).
A strange man in town tells him that it used to be a movie set. Hollywood made the town and used it to film lots of movies, but they eventually stopped making westerns. The owners tried to make it a tourist attraction, but nobody was interested, so the town was abandoned leaving everything behind, including all the costumes, and the homeless moved in.
Darwin asks the man where he can find medical assistance, but the woman he's carrying is suddenly, almost magically, in much better health. She gives him a gives says he tastes like death. More people appear, asking question about Darwin, like whether he is the new Sheriff. Darwin asks how they get food and water, and way they would even want to live there, to which a man replies that they don't.
A voice from inside the saloon, asks if the woman really thought she could escape. The women replies that she has brought back a champion and ushers Darwin into the saloon, with the townsfolk asking Darwin to kill the Sheriff, whose name is Tier.
Darwin finds Tier sitting at a table. Tier asks Darwin to sit, saying he finds familiar. Darwin says they have never met, but Tier replies that doesn't mean they won't. Darwin asks what Tier mean, but Tier just shoots him under the table. Darwin stands up, and Tier shoots his head off. Undaunted, Darwin grabs Tier, takes his gun, and grows a new head. Darwin says what he really just wants to talk, and get some answers, like why everybody in town, like the woman, is being treated like a prisoner. Tier says she had no right to leave, that she is Mankind's Whore, the Whore of Babylon.
Tier grabs Darwin, insisting that Darwin should be dead. Darwin says he has the mutant power to evolve, but Tier replies that means nothing in that place. Tier looks in Darwin's eyes and sees that Darwin is a "death bringer".
Tier explains that the nameless town is a staging area for the Apocalypse, and that time has no meaning there. Darwin thinks he means the mutant Apocalypse, but Tier corrects him, says that Apocalypse and his horsemen are mere shadows of what is coming. He says the real horseman cannot be so easily stopped. Tier declares himself to be the Beast of the Earth, like from the biblical Book of Revelations. He challenges Darwin to duel, bring out a case with three six-shooters (6-6-6) in it.
Outside the saloon, Tier describes the guns as something more than any normal weapon, that if God were ever shot by one, even God would bleed. Tier asks what Darwin thinks would happen after Darwin kills Tier, whether he would be able to simply walk away from that place, or would he be forced to take Tier's place, sooner or later. Since Darwin is an immortal, he's different from humans or even mutants, who are anchored by mortality. Tier prophesizes that Darwin would wander endlessly through life, watching everything and everybody around him die, until it drove him mad, and made him return to the town to help usher in the end of the world so that he could finally know peace.
Before they draw their guns, Tier says he now knows why Darwin seems familiar. Darwin knew his mother: Rahne Sinclair. Darwin freezes, and Tier draws shooting Darwin down. As Darwin dies, Tier warns him that they are coming, and there's nothing Darwin can do about it. The Whore of Babylon says that it's too bad, and she thought he could have been the one to stop it. Another man says, it still might not be too late, but that Darwin would have to act before the floodwaters rise, otherwise it's all over.
Darwin wakes up in the desert, in the rain, back where he had lain down for a rest before the dragon came. Except now one of Tier's pistols is on the ground by his hand.
The suicide of a high school student triggers X-Factor's most personal case as X-Factor is hired to learn the identities of the bullies who drove the student to take his own life. But once they have the names, do they turn that information over to the authorities...or to the student's angry family, who may well take punishment into their own hands?
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