X-Men (5th series) #8

Issue Date: 
May 2020
Story Title: 
Swarm
Staff: 

Jonathan Hickman (writer), Mahmud Asrar (artist), Sunny Gho (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom Muller (designer), Lenil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho (cover artists), Marcos Martin (variant cover artist), Nick Russell (production), Annalise Bissa (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

The Brood begin journeying to Earth in carcasses of the Acanti aliens, seeking a King Egg which the New Mutants brought back to Earth following their recent adventures in space. Cyclops and Havok wake their brother, Vulcan, after a hard night drinking with Sway and Petra. Vulcan has been having bad dreams ever since his return, but before he explains the dream, he notices the Acanti carcasses above the moon. On Krakoa, Broo is with Oya, inspecting various houses established on Krakoa. When they arrive at the habitat shared by the New Mutants, Broo is shocked to discover the King Egg. He alerts the New Mutants to how dangerous the egg is, as the Brood will come for it – and as if on cue, one of the Acanti carcasses crashes onto Krakoa, spilling Brood everywhere. Moonstar, Magik, Wolfsbane and Magma are on hand to battle the Brood, and are soon joined by Cyclops and Jean Grey. They fight for some time, before Broo alerts Jean Grey to the egg, and explains that is why the Brood have come. Cyclops, Jean, Havok, Vulcan and Broo then take a space ship into orbit, along with the King Egg, in the aim of making the Brood retreat. In Shi'ar space, an Accuser has captured the Starjammers, and communicates with Sunspot via a transmission, wanting to know where the King Egg is. Sunspot offers to arrange for it to be given to the Starjammers who can then give it to the Accuser, if the Accuser lets them go. The Accuser agrees, but Izzy Kane discovers Sunspot talking to him, and gets word to Oracle that there is an Accuser in Shi'ar space. Oracle then reports that to Gladiator who is with his son, Kid Gladiator, hunting Brood in Shi'ar space – so now they have a new target.

Full Summary: 

Krakoa, the Akademos Habitat, the Sextant, as sun rises over the mutant nation, Amara Aquilla a.k.a. Magma stretches her arms as she walks into a communal area, where Dani Moonstar is also entering. 'Morning' Magma calls out. 'Good morning. How'd you sleep?' Dani asks. 'Like a baby. How about you?' Magma replies. Holding two cups of coffee, Dani remarks that she got a solid seven, so someone is doing something right. She hands Magma a cup of the coffee, as Magma asks 'What's that?' Dani turns to see that Magma is looking at a strange egg sitting on a table nearby and explains to her that it is something that Rahne brought back from space. 'Space stuff, space junk... whatever. Who knows?' Dani remarks.

Elsewhere, in deep space, where there are a million broken civilizations. A Shi'ar graveyard. At the edge of the empire is a bleed. The decaying energy of a dead universe. A river of dark matter flows from the collapsed then into the collapsing now – a spawning ground, where the carcasses of the large alien beings called the Acanti float in the space graveyard. Predators swarm over them – they are parasites – they are Brood, countless of which can be seen scrambling over the mouth and eyes of one of the dead Acanti. The horrid Brood are always expanding, all-consuming, and their number are unimaginable. Ten thousand worlds, six trillion drones, one thousand queens. As are the stars are their numbrts, and they have gathered here for one thing – to hunt the King Egg.

 

Somewhere, Gabriel Summers seems to float through waves of color. 'Gabriel' a voice calls out to him. 'Gabriel, wake up!' the voice exclaims, and Vulcan suddenly opens his eyes, which glow with energy. 'There he is' Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops remarks as he stares down at Vulcan. 'Brother, you look terrible. Late night?' Alex Summers a.k.a. Havok asks. Vulcan looks up at his brothers and tells them that he fears the fire within him has been extinguished. Vulcan is sprawled out on the floor, his legs raised up on the sofa, bottles of alcohol and packets of potato chips scattered across the floor. 'That... that was the beer. You drowned it' a woman with blonde hair wearing a green costume called Petra remarks as she lays sprawled on a nearby sofa. 'Shhh. I don't want any breakfast' his other original teammate, known as Sway, groans from another sofa.

 

Havok helps Vulcan sit up and tells him that he has to get his fire back. 'Not judging, but you guys are a little outta control' Havok remarks, adding that they never clean up, which makes it worse. 'C'mon, Gabe... this isn't a house, it's our home' Havok declares.

'Bad dreams again?' Cyclops asks. Vulcan rubs his face and replies that it was a bad dream – the same one every single time – every single night. 'It's all I remember from – huh?' Vulcan begins, interrupting himself when he looks up through the dome surrounding the Summer House on the moon. 'What in the world?' Vulcan utters as Cyclops and Havok look up too – and they see several large Acanti fly past, headed towards planet Earth.

Back on Krakoa, Idie Okonkwo a.k.a. Oya and the alien Broo walk side by side past several houses as Broo remarks that it is fascinating how much this place has changed already. 'It feels like I was just here for the independence party, and it's... it's...' Broo's voice trails off, as Oya tells him that he had it right – changed. She adds that the island keeps growing new structures as more and more mutants show up. 'It seems like every day you wake up and the world outside the window has changed completely' Oya adds. 'Too fast' Broo remarks. 'Not to criticize, but I have noticed  the need for the adoption of building standards' Broo adds, informing Oya that the last place she showed him was unacceptable. 'Oh, that's just the Gen X kids. It's how they are. Living like animals...this'll be better' Oya replies. 'Hello, visitors! Anyone home?' Oya calls out as she and Broo enter one of the houses. 'Sure! Come on in!' a voice calls back.

'Hey, Idie! Hello there, Broo' Dani Moonstar smiles as she turns to the new arrivals as she sits around a table with Magma, Rahne Sinclair a.k.a. Wolfsbane and Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik. Rahne points out that they are just having breakfast and asks if anyone is hungry. 'Look at those teeth, Rahne. Of course he's hungry' Illyana jokes. 'Actually, I'm juicing. I'm trying to drop a few – what are you doing with that?' Broo exclaims, interrupting himself as he points across the room. 'With what?' one of the New Mutants asks. 'With... THAT!' Broo declares, pointing at the egg on the table nearby. 'Ah, that's me space booty' Wolfsbane grins, boasting that with great cunning and guile, she won it in battle. 'Tis mine, ahn ye can't have it' Rahne declares. Broo adjusts his glasses and says that he isn't quite sure exactly how to put this – but he will do his best effort before shouting 'Listen here, you insane, befurred woman! That's a King Egg!' 'So?' Illyana asks. 'So? So? A King Egg disrupts the breeding cycle. A King Egg makes the queens go to war. More importantly... unless special precautions are taken... a Brood hive can smell a King Egg from a galaxy away!' Broo explains to the New Mutants, when suddenly, there is a mighty THOOM crashing noise outside.

The New Mutants, Broo and Oya rush outside, where they find one of the Acanti carcasses has landed nearby – and countless savage Brood are starting to emerge from the dead alien. 'Oh boy' Dani utters. 'Well...it looks like it's going to be one of those days' Dani tells her friends. Magik raises her Soulsword, and calls out to Magma. 'Yes?' Magma replies. 'Say hello' Magik instructs her, before Magma fires a massive blast of fire at the approaching aliens, burning as many of them as she can. The Brood move closer to the New Mutants,  so Magik and Moonstar engage them in battle. 'We have to hold them back until reinforcements get her' Magik calls out as her sword cuts through her alien foes. Moonstar readies a psychic arrow as she instructs Wolfsbane and Idie to get the younger kids to safety. Several young mutants can be seen nearby, as Wolfsbane tells them to head into the woods, towards the Arena. 'Yeah, I see your teeth. I know hungry when I see it' Magik calls out as she continues her battle against the Brood – when suddenly, a powerful optic blast streams past Magik, destroying several Brood at once, courtesy of Cyclops, who emerges through a portal with Jean Grey.

'What's the word, Jean?' Cyclops asks as he fires another blast. Jean runs alongside Cyclops and reports that the Council knows, and she is coordinating with about 30 telepaths, while two strike teams are incoming. Jean adds that she is doing what she can to keep everyone calm and orderly, but they are still going to lose people. 'Let me see what I can do about that' Cyclops replies. 'Captain' he calls out to Magik.' Commander' Magik replies as she slices her sword through one of the Brood. Cyclops fires an optic blast at close-range into one of the Brood and tells Magik that, if she doesn't mind too much, to make a hole for him. 'In fact, make a few' he asks. Magik creates several Stepping Disc portals in the air nearby, and Cyclops informs her that he won't be holding back here. 'So careful where you aim' he warns her as he starts firing optic blasts into the portals – the optic blasts then emerge from several other portals, striking the Brood in a furiously fast display. 'Always careful, Commander' Magik replies.

Broo approaches Jean Grey, 'Uh, excuse me' he calls out. 'I'm a little busy, Broo. Can this possibly wait?' Jean replies as she telekinetically tosses one of the Brood away. Holding the King Egg, Broo replies that it can't, and tells Jean that he knows why the Brood are here, and how to stop them. 'Well, now you have my full attention. Let's hear it' Jean remarks, turning to Broo.

'Scott!' Jean calls out telepathically a moment later, as Cyclops fights alongside Magik and Moonstar, his thoughts tell Jean that he is a little busy and asks if this can possibly wait. 'Uh, not really. I know why the Brood are here' Jean announces. Jean reports that the Brood are after an egg that Broo has, but the real problem is, even if they push these Brood back, this is just the first wave – they will keep coming and coming until  they get it. Jean then tells Scott that she thinks they have to get the egg off planet. 'Understood' Scott responds. 'We can work with that. Tell Alex to get the ship ready to launch' he adds, before announcing that he is on his way. Cyclops turns to Magik and tells her that Jean said they have get the egg off-world, and that they are going to gateway to the moon then lead the Brood away from Earth. He asks Magik if she can hold things down here. 'RRRRRR!' Magik replies, holding her sword up. 'Good girl' Cyclops tells her as he moves away, leaving Magik to continue fighting the Brood.

'Go ahead! Go through! They can't follow us!' Cyclops calls out to Jean and Broo who are waiting near a portal. He joins them as they step through the portal into a hangar bay where a space ship is waiting. 'Okay. We've got a head start. But that won't last long' someone remarks. Cyclops announces that they are here and asks if everyone is ready. Havok motions to the spaceship and informs his brother that Vulcan is already on board. As Cyclops and Habok board the space ship, Cyclops asks about Petra and Sway, but Havok informs him that he sent them down to Krakoa to fight with the others. 'We're good... we can go' Havok adds, before he, Cyclops, Jean and Broo join Vulcan inside the space ship. Cyclops buckles himself in and Vulcan remarks that this vessel is more than capable, that it wants to run, there is a great fire waiting to ignite inside it. 'Yeah, Gabriel. We know. Everything burns' Scott replies, before telling his brother to just punch it. 'I need to hear you say it, brother' Gabriel responds. Scott sighs, and mutters 'I want the fire to be the fire'. This causes Vulcan to laugh, before he sets the space ship off out into space.

Meanwhile, in Shi'ar space, aboard a strange vessel, an Accuser announces that he cannot say he is susprised by this failure, and that over the years, he has been failed by so many. 'One becomes used to it – the failure of the inferior' he remarks, adding that, usually, he just deals with it in his normal fashion – judgment and following judgment, penance. 'And do you know what follows that?' he asks, looking out a view screen into space, he explains that he takes a deep breath, a deep cleansing breath and a great peace comes over him, knowing that he has saved this universe from the further incompetence of the incompetent. The Accuser looks over at the captive Starjammers – Corsair, Hepzibah, Ch'od and Raza Longknife and states that here, today, he cannot abide the simple realities of failure – judgment is not enough. 'I was promised the King Egg. And these prisoners have told me you took it' The Accuser declares as he turns to a holographic connection that displays Roberto DaCosta a.k.a. Sunspot, with Josiah Guthrie hovering behind him.

'Wow. You really beat the hell out of those guys' Sunspot remarks, adding that he isn't surprised, as the Starjammers usually have it coming. 'And, you know, now that I think about it, I kinda dig you, man. Good work. Way to put your back into it' Sunspot smiles, before assuring Ronan that he doesn't have his egg. 'But you do know where it is?' the Accuser asks. 'Let's just say I have a pretty good idea of where to find it. Maybe I make a call, things could be set in motion, you could end this whole thing a happy man. But I gotta ask, what's in it for me?' Sunspot replies. 'What do you want?' the Accuser enquires. 'Well, me, I'd like to see you work over Mister Mustache over there a little more, but he's family of a friend and I'm pretty big on paying it forward. So... let them go and I'll give the egg to them to give to you. Then you get what you want, they provide what they promised and then you can lose my number' Sunspot suggests, adding that that is it, because he just doesn't care enough to negotiate further.

The Accuser pauses, before announcing that he accepts. 'Of course you do' Sunspot replies, before ending the communication.

Sunspot turns his attention back to Cannonball's child, as the Imperial Guard member, Smasher a.k.a. Izzy Kane, enters the room and asks Roberto why he was talking to a Kree Accuser in their living room. Sunspot explains that he was just doing a favor to someone who doesn't deserve it. 'You know me, I'm a giver' Sunspot adds. 'I do know. Still...' Izzy's voice trails off, before stating that she is showing that the call originated from subsection 43, and sure, it is on the edge, but it still in Shi'ar space. 'Why is a Kree Accuser calling from inside the empire?' Izzy enquires.

In subsector 43 of Shi'ar space, a Brood spawning ground, the alien known as Kid Gladiator blasts his way through one of the Brood aliens and turns to his father, Gladiator, 'Did you see that? That – Dad – is how you keep the peace on the frontier!' Kid Gladiator boasts. Gladiator smiles at his son, and calling him Kubark, tells him he did well. As Manta and Oracle fly nearby, Oracle tells Gladiator that she knows this hunting trip with his son has been quite some time coming, and she is loath to interrupt. 'What's happened?' Gladiator asks. Oracle reports that she just received word from a Superguardian about a potential problem in this subsector. 'What is it?' Gladiator asks. Oracle informs him that Smasher believes a Kree Accuser is here – now. 'An Accuser?' Gladiator replies, before informing Kubark to reload his rifle, as they have a new target. 'What are we hunting now, Dad?' Kid Gladiator calls out. 'Better game' Gladiator frowns.

Characters Involved: 

Cyclops, Havok, Marvel Girl, Vulcan

Magik, Magma, Moonstar, Sunspot, Wolfsbane

Petra, Sway

Broo, Oya

 

Ch'od, Corsair, Hepzibah, Raza (all Starjammers)

Gladiator, Manta, Oracle, Smasher IX (all Imperial Guard)

Kid Gladiator

Josiah Guthrie

 

Unnamed Accuser

 

Brood

Acanti corpses

Story Notes: 

This issue contains a text only page called the “Shi'ar Battle record” which has information surrounding the after-action of the War of Kings, noting the deaths of Lilandra, Black Bolt and Vulcan, the latter two who were killed in the Fault, and also notes that Gladiator was crowned Majestor of the empire after the death or exile of a Neramani heir. There is also an updated page noting that Gladiator intends to surrender the throne to Xandra Neramani, and explains that Black Bolt emerged from the Fault, although no one knows how, while indicating that Vulcan never died.

This issue marks the return of Petra and Sway to the land of the living, the two were members of Vulcan's secret X-Men team, and both were killed in X-Men: Deadly Genesis #6.

The New Mutants obtained the King Egg in New Mutants (4th series) #1, and returned to Earth in New Mutants (4th series) #9.

Those issues also explain the bad blood between New Mutants and Starjammers, as the Starjammers pretty much abandoned them to Shi’ar jail in issue #1.

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