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The story, written in 1981, was set in 2013. The United States had become a dystopia, and people were divided into three groups: normal humans, normal humans with the mutant gene, and mutants. The first ones are free, the second are forbidden to have sons, and the third are either killed or held n concentration camps, with collars that turn off their powers. Everything is run by the Sentinels. And Europe has atomic boms, ready to blast the US as soon as the Sentinels attempt to go outside America. Nice 2013, isn't it?
The group held in the Concentration camp was composed of aged versions of the X-Men: Katherine Pryde, Ororo Monroe (Storm), Peter Rasputin (Collosus), Franklin Richards (the son of the Fantastic Four), Rachel Summers (daugther of Cyclops and Jean Grey) and Magneto (in a wheelchair). With the help of Wolverine, still on the loose, they managed to send Katherine Pryde back in time, placing her adult mind in the body of her teenager 1981 version. She told the others that, on that day, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants would kill the US senator Robert Kelly, along with Charles Xavier and Moira Mc Taggert, which led to the ant-mutant hysteria.
In the future (meaning, the 1981 future), the X-Men escaped from the concentration camp, but had to leave Magneto behind, and Franklin died during the next Sentinel attack. They sneaked into the Sentinel headquarters, the Baxter Building (the former base of the FF), ignoring that the Sentinels allowed them to do so to capture and kill them. Wolverine, Storm and Collosus died. Only Rachel stayed outside, protecting the unconcious Kitty Pryde.
In the present (meaning, the 1981 present), the Brotherhood broke into the Congress, but the X-Men turned up and took them out. Destiny left the fight and attempted to kill Kelly, but Pryde (whose mission all along was to prevent that) followed her and saved him. When she saved him, her adult mind returned to the future, restoring her teenager identity.
Several years later, Rachel Summers would go back in time as well, and stayed with the X-Men for a while. There were several mentions to the future involving her.
Days of Future Past contains examples of:
- Bad Future
- Bolivian Army Ending: Pointed inside the story. Angel asked: Did it work? Did Katherine change the future by saving Kelly? And Xavier replied: only time will tell...
- Its pretty canon that yes, it did work- All the Myriad Ways is in effect. Kitty never changed her future but she averted that particular horror for the present generation. That doesn't mean that other Bad Future horrors are not going to happen somewhere down the line, even ones almost identical to this, but at the very least they will occur later and due to seperate circmstances and situations thanks to her actions. Since, at time of writing, it is 2012 and none of this stuff has happened to the Marvelverse, time pretty much has told.
- Grave Marking Scene: There's a lot n the concentration camp with the graves of many people dead years ago: Johnny Storm, Ben Grimm, Charles Xavier, Scott Summers, Kurt Wagner, Susan Richards, Reed Richards, Lorna Dane, Henry Mc Hoy, etc.
- Kill'Em All: Warned in the cover of the second issue: "This issue everybody dies!".
- Mutually Assured Destruction: On the international level (merely mentioned) the USA and Europe are holding the sword of Damocles over the other.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The whole point of the story
- Storming the Castle: Averted. The X-Men thought that just 3 of them would simply got into the secured headquarters of the Sentinels and defeat them all... but it was a trap, and they were all slain.
- Terminator Twosome: Some years later, Rachel Summers moved to the past as well, trying to escape from that horrible future... and the hyper-advanced sentinel Nimrod followed her, to make it happen as it was meant to.